From Techniques

My favorite jewelry, rendering, and drawing techniques shared

Children’s Book Illustrations – My SCBWI Draw This! August Entry

My children's book illustrations start from a word, concept or idea. From there I create a rough pencil draft but try to refer to it merely as a guide...

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Anatomy of a Cartoon (& Rejection as a Creative Catalyst)

Anatomy-of-a-Cartoon-example-NY-Illustration-by-Joana-Miranda

Sometimes the best cartoon ideas don't quite work out as planned. Here's an honest look at the anatomy of one of my own cartoons...and why I decided to scrap it in the end.

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New Illustration – Mud Season is Upon Us

Funny cartoon illustration depicting a muddy day by Joana Miranda

My latest illustration was created with mud season in mind. It also happened to be created for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Draw This! contest.

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From My Sketchbook – Forensic Art?

Second "blind" "forensic" Berstein sketch by Joana Miranda

I was away from home these past two weeks playing with the New York City Ballet up in Saratoga, NY.  With 3 rehearsals and seven shows per week, there was not a whole lot of time for sketching or cartooning.  Being in a hotel and having maid service and the chance to watch late night TV in bed was a nice perk, though.  In addition to lots of Food Network shows, my husband and I watched quite a few episodes of Forensic Files.  The latter got me thinking about what it takes to be a forensic artist, and if it is something I would ever be interested in doing (or could do.)  After digging a little online, I was surprised to learn that there are only about 30 full-time forensic artists working in the US.  The field is obviously tiny and highly specialized.  According to this article, becoming a forensic artist is usually somewhat of a round-about process which almost always involves working for law enforcement in a different capacity.  I was also intrigued to read about Lois Gibson, one of the most famous and successful forensic artists in the business today.  The importance of having people skills – forensic artists need to be highly empathetic listeners – combined with having artistic know-how would certainly be an interesting challenge.

For fun (and since I only did ONE cartoon sketch last week, tsk tsk), I asked my husband if he would participate in an experiment with me.  I asked him to think of someone, take a quick look at a picture of them, and then describe their face to me from memory.  I did all of the questioning and tried not to ask leading questions (i.e. instead of “Were their eyes brown?”, I asked “Do you recall the color of their eyes?”)

My first sketch (done in pen since that’s what I usually use for my quick sketches) resulted in this image:

My husband then told me that the nose was too high, the jaw-line should be thinner, the hairline lower and the hair “more wild.”  The second “blind” sketch resulted in this:

After he told me that he had been thinking of Leonard Berstein, we checked my sketch against photos of Berstein.  I think there is a bit of a likeness.  For sure, the exercise was thought-provoking and fun all around!

From My Sketchbook – Rhymes and Doodles

A wrinkle here and there gives the needed flair...

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My Favorite Things – Potato People, or, How to Draw Cartoon Figures

The humble potato as cartoon figure model...

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From My Sketchbook – It’s Fall in the Big Apple!

As you can see, it (finally) turned colder in the Big Apple this week. And I'm not complaining!

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From My Sketchbook – The World Through Squinty Eyes

Sometimes what you don't see is even more helpful than what you do! Curious? Try my Squinty Eye technique...

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