Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Finished Cans

Like my cans? Too bad that joke won't be used as much as it was this past month. I heard that instead of installing the cans now, they will be on display through winter with a big reveal in the spring. Stay tuned for the upright version.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Trash Can Update

using the laptop for color reference
OK everybody now

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Sketch to Can

Some progress work on the cans. First, I converted my Illustrator designs to just the lines, then chopped the image up in photoshop to fit on 12 pages. Taped those down on the floor, laid tracing paper over them, traced them with a sharpie, then used transfer paper to get the sketches on the cans. With some help from the animals, this took longer than hoped.
Laying out the pages


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Ultraviolet Progress

Some more progress on the illustrator file for Ultraviolet Cafe can. Changing colors and opacities, adding shapes.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ultraviolet Design

I thought since I'm trying to learn Illustrator, before painting the cans, I'd use the sketches to do some color vector illustrations. Besides this I've done a couple tutorials through vector tuts, but thats about it. Here's an in-progress shot for the Ultraviolet Cafe trash can. I used the pen tool to trace all the lines in the sketch. Then, I filled in colors and removed the outlines to start to get a sense of what it will look like eventually.
in progress lines over sketch

preliminary shapes with color

Trash Can Sketches

Delaware Avenue, Albany NY is a street close to where I live now, and even closer to where I got my first apartment here in Albany in 2000. I submitted 4 designs to several merchants on the street for some new trash cans that will be installed at the end of the month. Here are a couple:

Friday, September 17, 2010

Monday, September 13, 2010

Skull Paintings

Finished skull paintings for the UAG's Undead show in October. I cut some of these mexican loteria cards I had lying around for ever, thinking I'd have a use for them some day, and stuck 'em to the edges.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Skull Squares

I can't help but think of the Brady Bunch. These will go to 4 square canvases 5"x5" each.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Candy Skull Sketches

Some skull sketches for some pieces I'm working on for the upcoming, "Undead" show at the UAG. With some of my favorite hobo names from John Hodgeman.
Lil' Max Meatboots

Meep Meep, the Italian Tailor

Cthulhu Carl

Ol' Barb Stab-You-Quick

Monday, August 16, 2010


Its been a while since I posted art. I won't make excuses but I was closing my old shop and moving to a new one, as well as taking an overdue trip to Puerto Rico to visit family.
So, this is a thought of how a couple characters (not the pug) may look for a SUPER TOP SECRET story I'm working on written by a couple of VERY talented writers. I don't use caps often so take it seriously people! 

The story involves 2 kids - a boy and a girl, as well as lots of machinery, and more characters I will save for later. I plan to spend more time developing the characters' personality (more sketching) than I did with Philo & Sophy. There won't be a race toward a big deadline with an art exhibit either, but we will be completing packets with a few finished illustrations to send off to publishers.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

2 cards

A postcard and a business card arrived in the mail this week. Here they are.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Philo & Sophy Mailers

After agonizing over color in the printed books, I'm finally satisfied and ready to mail 'em out.
Each package consists of:
1. The printed book, from
2. Our query letter
4. all inside one, eco-friendly "rugged" mailer (hoping "rugged" means it will arrive in pristine condition)

I sent 5 out last week, and will send another 5 out as soon as I get the next order. In a nutshell, it's expensive, but worth every penny. 


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Shop! Buy!

I just updated my Etsy shop with all the originals I have left from the Philo & Sophy book, as well as some sweet prints.
page 14

page 15
I really like how pages 14-15 look separately and without the text. Hm, I may just order some myself...

Friday, July 23, 2010

Promotional cards

A postcard and a business card por moi! JPGs here, waiting to get printed versions in the mail. I chose to use my Adventurer painting, and part of my favorite page spread from Philo & Sophy, pages 4-5.
business card front and back

postcard front and back

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Water Babies Sketch

Here's a sketch for an illustration of The Water Babies story I'm thinkin' I'll do soon. I got inspired to create my own art in response to books I've read from picture book report.

This may be the children's book I remember most from when I was a kid. This, and another story (with more fish!) called, Three is Company. I have a hard bound copy of The Water Babies which my Mom gave to me in 1988, so the front inside cover says in the cursive handwriting of an 11 year old girl.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Its Here!

I just looked at the 2nd proof and well, it's looking pretty nice! You can purchase it now, at Lulu HERE.

Joseph and I will be sending copies plus the manuscript and query to several children's book publishers very soon. I hope to, at the very least get some feedback on the work.

More news to come!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Philo & Sophy Final Cover

This means I'm done! Just need to spend some time putting PDF's together and uploading to lulu. Oh and writing the inside pages. But I'm done!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Philo & Sophy Cover Progress

I may not be keeping up with the 12 week challenge, but I have all intentions on finishing the assignments. I also need to finish this before Philo & Sophy gets printed.
The sketch on tracing paper, ready to transfer. Painting started!

Philo, Sophy, and the dog are finished. Grass and flowers almost there.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Philo & Sophy Final Paintings

The ConTEXT show came down this past weekend, and I took my pieces over to a friend's house to have them photographed.
pages 4-5

You can see them all on my portfolio or flickr site

The printed book is still coming, hoping to have it available sometime in May.

Philo & Sophy Cover Sketch

The sketch I'm using for Philo & Sophy's book cover painting is also part of my week 4 assignment for the 12WC.
sketch with lulu crop areas

Weeks 4, 5 and 6 are all about creating 2 portfolio pieces each week based upon the research and planning you have completed in weeks 1 – 3.

The question of the day is... Can I complete 2 illustrations this week when I only have one sketch done? It is only Tuesday. 

Sunday, April 25, 2010

12 Week Challenge - week 3

Things running around in my head, bookmarked on my computer, all coming out on paper. I keep thinking back to my senior year at SCAD when we were having discussions just like this - about where to send your promotional materials, how to research companies and target those art directors and publishers that fit your style. So, 10 years later I'm getting around to this, and even though a lot has changed, illustrators still make art, and they still mail postcards.

The assignment:

Based on your research, gather a targeted list of 10 Companies, Publishers, Art Directors or Manufacturers that you will be contacting when we get to that part of the challenge.

1. Frank Sturges, artist representative
2. Lindgren & Smith, artist representative
3. Marlena Agency, artist agent
4. Jennifer Vaughn, artist representative
5. Magnet Reps, artist representatives
6. Maili Holiman, George Lucas Educational Foundation's magazine
7. Jody Churchfield, O Magazine
8. Michael Schnaidt, Entertainment Weekly
9. Lexie Rhodes, Thriving Family Magazine
10. SooJin Buzelli, PlanSponsor Magazine

Armed with everything you now know about your list of contacts, plan out 6 portfolio pieces that you will be creating in the next 3 weeks of the challenge.

1. Participate in Illustration Friday for one week
2. The Water Babies book illustration
3. Book cover illustration for Philo & Sophy
4. Portrait of a famous person
5. Illustrations for a news article
6. Illustration for a magazine article

I took a trip to the library reference department to look through the Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market book, and then to Borders to look through the magazines. It helped to go to the library first, then browse the most current publications and book covers second, to tighten up my list. Both things I need to probably do once or twice a month. A good excuse to go to the bookstore and look around.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Deity Hybrids

A sketch I did today, thinking about subjects for new paintings. I've always liked the styles in Byzantine art and Hindu deity paintings. So I did a hybrid of the two. Vishnu and some christian saint.

I'm almost done with my 12WC assignment for week 3. Its not art yet, but I hear the following 3 weeks will involve working on 6 illustrations.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Rosy Cheeks

I bought a new watercolor sketchbook and one of those travel watercolor pocket things with a brush. I've used watercolors before, but never really sketched with them. It was a nice way to pass the time at work.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

12 Week Challenge - week 2

Week 2's assignment went a little bit faster for me I think because after completing week 1, and since I've been brewing all these thoughts in my head while working on my book, I had been thinking about this a lot. Getting it out on paper was the natural next step.

I read we will start creating work next week for the 12WC, but I've already prepped a board so I can work on the cover illustration for Philo & Sophy. I can't wait to bring the show down and photograph the work so we can get it printed. I keep thinking of this then remembering, "OH, I gotta do that cover...".

The assignment:

Create a 1-page strategic business plan for your project/career. Here it is:

Robyn Diaz Illustration OGSM

To work independently as an Illustrator, and travel with my family

earn an income of 50k this year
get work within the editorial market
form relationships with publishers and art directors

begin sending self promotional materials quarterly
maintain my blog with updated work, weekly
collect contacts through online resources and podcasts
continue to create work for my portfolio
sell prints of my work through etsy and my website and UAG
sell my children's book through my website and through lulu
mail my childrens book to potential publishers
Actions to take:
photograph my most current work for promo materials
design my promo materials
promote my etsy site
participate in Illustration Friday to develop my conceptual work
Contact art directors, at reps, and publishers
publish my book for the ipad

responses from my mailers
feedback from art directors or publishers
followers on my blog
income from illustration work
income from selling prints online
income from selling my book online
responses from publishers to my book
more work in my portfolio/editorial pieces

This is so OCD I'm almost embarrassed to post it, but I'm sharing, so here is my OGSM chart. next post will involve art, I promise:

Sunday, April 11, 2010

12 Week Challenge - week 1

This is the end of week one in the 12 week challenge thats going on through, and I've done a whole lot of internet searching. I usually spend hours looking and oogling over other artists' work online, but this time I had someone telling me to really think about it and apply it to my career.

The assignment:

Here's what I came up with for the first week, where we were told to ask ourselves, "If I could illustrate anything and get paid for it, what would it be?"

I pondered all week on this. I know one thing, stories inspire me to make art. I chose the Editorial market for my focus because the assignments can accompany an article or story, and it is fast paced work, which I love. I most recently finished some children's book work, and I imagine my style will still lend itself to that genre, but during the next 11 weeks I'd like to practice my conceptual skills and develop my editorial pieces.

Is my idea commercially viable? Part of my reason for choosing Editorial Illustration is because there are many opportunities for jobs through various publications. I found most Illustrators with Editorial work were published through magazines. Some I saw listed were:
Rolling Stone Magazine
Technology Review Magazine
Mens Health Magazine
Plan Sponsor Magazine
Runner's World Magazine

Big players? I searched for artists through Communication Arts Annuals, and Illustration Mundo, as well as the long list of artist faves I have bookmarked. Some of them I found working in this market:
Chris Buzelli
Christina Ung
Jon Reinfurt
Martin Haake
Alberto Cerriteno

Why are they successful? Each of these artists' have a clear focus and style that is obvious when you look through their galleries online. Most of them do more than one type of Illustration and have 2-3 different sections for them - Editorial and Book for example, but their style is consistent across. Their portfolios contains lots of images to show their technical and conceptual abilities, basically that they can do the job, and when a client hires them they can be sure to get a certain style and level of quality.

On Self Promotion... Most of the artists I looked through do not list flickr, twitter, and blogs on their websites. They just lits their phone and email and sometimes their address as contact info. Many of them do blogs which are updated regularly with news or work, lots of blogs with process images. Some have buttons for flickr, twitter, facebook, blogger, etc.

Prior to the 12WC I listed to a few different podcasts - BIPT, and EFII were a couple - and there were a lot of conversations about self promotion.  besides the internet, It seems like most artists still mail out postcards quarterly, and some will do a neat packages of cards, or calendars, and other quirky ideas to stand out from the bunch when doing mailers. One artist I found had a neat example of her mailer on her website under her "self promotion" link. Her name is Meg Hunt, and she also shares a lot of info about her process through an FAQ page, as well as videos of her work progress through her flickr site.

AH, words! I'm ready for my next project!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Philo & Sophy Opening

Friday was great, thank you to everyone who came out to support us and share a fun evening together. I sold 3 paintings, and finally met the inspiration for Sophy - Joe's daughter, Sophia. Look for a book available to purchase, sometime in May.
Joseph, the author, and I

The show runs until April 23.

247 Lark Street
Albany NY 12210

Gallery Hours
Thurs/Fri 5:30-8 pm
Sat 2-8 pm
Sun 2-6 pm

more pictures of the opening here.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Oh yeah! So the reason for this insane deadline is because Joseph and I are the featured artists for April at the Upstate Artists Guild.

Friday will be awesome, can't wait to see everybody!

UAG presents ConTEXT, a national show of work containing text.
April 2nd through April 23rd
Opening Reception April 2nd 6-9pm
UAG Gallery
247 Lark Street
Albany NY 12210

12 Week Challenge

I signed up so there's no turning back. That's how I roll people. Starting April 5th I will start getting assignments in this 12 week challenge - I can't imagine being as busy as I was for the Philo & Sophy project I just finished (YES just FINISHED... like 30 minutes ago), but I hope I can push myself again and see things happen.

I'll keep you posted.

I look forward to meeting a bunch of cool people and making lots of art.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Philo & Sophy lettering

The day after my birthday I finished all 14 paintings. Now on to lettering. So, they really weren't finished before, now they are getting there. I agonized over the fact I would have to paint over my paintings with words but as I started to put the text in, everything came together.

To lay out the text, I had to keep in mind the bleeds and margins according to lulu. The paintings are 12x18 to give a little wiggle room for this. I had to leave a little over an inch in the middle for the gutter, 5/8" on the sides, and 7/8" on the top and bottom. A while back, I figured out where the text would go using Illustrator. Now that the paintings are ready for lettering, I used tracing paper to hand draw all the text the way I wanted. I didn't want it to look like font, and it was fun to freehand it. But man did I underestimate how long this step would take. I think it took me a week without a lot of late nights to figure this out.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Philo & Sophy painting progress

I love talking with other artists about what its like when you're forcing yourself to create something. It SUCKS. We all love making art, but when you're not feelin it, it is probably better for everyone to just sleep. I had a schedule at this point to finish 2 paintings a week. I had made it through the store opening and the holidays. It was now the end of January. 2 paintings a week turned out to be more like, 5-8 paintings started, 0 finished. I didn't start finishing paintings until March.
It was easier to work on all the paintings that had the girl in them at once. All the paintings with dogs in them at the same time, etc. I almost can't imagine working on just one piece at a time.

More in-progress work here.

Looking back

I'm so glad I documented this since its neat to see how the drawings and ideas changed. A lot changed once I figured out I wanted 8.5x11 pages. Then, layouts were changing to make the whole sequence of images more cohesive or to fit the text considering all the bleeds and margins. The little changes happened when I got my hands on some reference.
Some of the layouts were adjusted at this stage while I learned a lot about how people read books. Thankfully I had some friends who knew much more about this than I did.
This one read a lot better flipped! That was an easy revision...

Philo & Sophy sketches

After I got back from a super awesome trip to Italy with some of the most amazing people in the whole wide world... I started seriously working on this project. This was about the end of September 2009. Funny because at the same time I decided to open a second store in Troy. While I was not scouring craigslist and driving Jorge's truck all around here and there picking up crap, I was finalizing the drawings for Philo & Sophy.
From here they got transferred to the Gessobords.
But not until after I spent about a week or two planning my color schemes in Photoshop.

You can see more of these preliminary sketches here.

Philo & Sophy thumbnails

I really can't remember when this started, maybe a year ago now, but I decided to work on some illustrations for a story for a friend. Joseph Ulrich is the author and you can learn more about him at

I'm adding this post now that I've already finished the 14 paintings, and have begun lettering but I'm gonna pretend I'm just starting out so I can make this a little more interesting.

I started with Joe's story and some thumbnails. Here are some of the final thumbs I went on from the beginning.