Saturday, December 19, 2009

Bits from the sketchbook

Time to start keeping up with posts more regularly! Here are a few things from the sketchbook:

First an old wandering wizard and his traveling companion.

I love winter for all the interesting layered fashions that people wear around the city. The bottom was a lovely woman on the subway with a great hat. The top figure was done from memory of a neat jacket a girl was wearing on the street.

I'm very lucky to be living in the heart of Park Slope, where there are so many interesting people on every corner. One of my favorite regulars is the Accordian Man. He sits out on various corners and plays some really lovely music- and I have always had a soft spot for accordion. So one evening as I was waiting for a friend, I sat at the Connecticut Muffin and sketched him for about 20 minutes.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Queen of Hearts finish

I love it when friends commission a piece and say "just do whatever you want". It allows me to experiment and discover new ways of working that I might not otherwise have a chance to explore. This was originally meant to be much smaller and simpler than it turned out, but I ended up having so much fun it sort of kept going. I posted a WIP a few months ago and just realized I never posted the finish, so here it is:

8.5x11 watercolor on Canson 140 lb watercolor paper.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Illuxcon Sketch Dump

So I went to Illuxcon this weekend with some amazing artist friends: Kurt and Zelda and Rob Rey. All you have to do is go check out the guest list to figure out what an amazing time I had. It's a small con, only around 200 attendees, but concentrated with some of the best artists in the industry, fascinating panels and lots of great conversations. In case you haven't heard me talk about this at length already: the people in the sci-fi/fantasy industry boasts of the most generous, supportive, down to earth sorts of folks around. I used nearly 20 pages of sketchbook during the con, so without further ado, here are some highlights:

Spot the art-stars! Sculptors Thomas Kuebler and Jordu are here...

Jordu and Thomas did an amazing collaborative sculpture during the con. Here's a pic swiped from Christopher Burdett's blog:

Here we have art directors Jon Schindehette (D&D) and Jeremy Cranford of (WoW) who both took time out of a very busy schedule to talk to me about my portfolio. You guys rock! Also Kurt Huggins.

Scott Altmann, another favorite.

A couple of Chris Burdett and Rob Rey.

Drawing people sleeping is fun- and creepy. Here's Kurt.

And Zelda sleeping in the car. Then while listening to Florence and the Machine's Rabbit Heart, I started sketching a rabbit and just felt like continuing the theme. Introducing Fungarabbit and Bunthulu:

© 2009 Kristina Carroll.

Some exciting projects on the horizon so expect more soon!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Amanda Palmer Tarot: Seven of Wands

And here is a teaser for my final piece for the Amanda Palmer Tarot deck: The Seven of Wands. The most challenging part of this project was combining my vision of what the card meant to me with Amanda’s music. I knew that I wanted to use “Astronaut” as my basis but do it from the perspective of the person flying in the face of science, not the one left behind. I went through pages and pages of thumbnails before finding one that felt right and after shooting reference, began a charcoal drawing. I was still finding difficulty in placing imagery from the song in my drawing that would marry the concept with the card, until a random smudge in the charcoal put in my mind the milky way swirling around this larger than universes figure and suddenly everything started working. Another smudge on the rod in her hand made it burst into flame and suddenly echoes of Prometheus tied the whole piece together. From that point the drawing basically finished itself. I started laying down oil paint up to a certain point and finished digitally. Now I look at this piece and see a universal figure overcoming a universe in her way to achieve her goals. To me it is an image of perseverance, courage and inspiration and I can only hope others might look at it and feel the same.

Monday, October 5, 2009

More Amanda Palmer, Queens and faces

Ok, ok. So it's definitely been too long since my last post. I will try to make this one count! I've been doing a lot of work for Shadowrun, none of which I can show you of course. But I can show you some of the side projects I've been working on in between.

First off a couple more tiny portraits. Here are Mark and Valya:

These two were a lovely couple and I really enjoyed working from several pictures of their beautiful family. I tried to capture the most striking emotion that both portrayed in their images. Mark definitely struck me as a thoughtful, far-looking person and Valya had a smile that I knew would be infectious in person.

Next is a little private commission work in progress I've been on for a bit. The Queen of Hearts:

Pencil and watercolor.

And finally, the piece I have been working on for the Amanda Palmer Tarot deck. The Seven of Wands with inspiration drawn from Amanda's song, "Astronaut":

I really do love working in charcoal. The flexibility and texture allow for so many happy accidents. Such as a random accidental brush turning into the milky way wrapping around a figure.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Poetry and Bella

New tiny portrait done for the lovely Bella. I've been writing little bits on the back of these that I find tell a story about the piece. Lately I've been inspired by Baudelaire a great deal so here's the line I chose from Autumnal

"Sister and Mistress! be the fleeting warmth
of a sumptuous autumn or a setting sun."

Speaking of poetry and tiny portraits, you may remember my Medusa Palmer:

Well none other than my favorite author, Neil Gaiman himself, became my first customer and bought it! (Note to self: painting high profile writers' girlfriends as mythical creatures sometimes works. Especially when they're lovely supportive folks like Neil.)

Well I couldn't send something off to Neil without doing something special so, again inspired by Baudelaire, I came up with a little story/poem in response to his Beauty. Yeah, I wrote something. Weird right?

Baudelaire's Beauty

The sister with one human eye
conceives her love as a dream of stone.
But the heart is not a perfect mirror
and what is frozen by a blink,
melts in a gaze.

©2009 Kristina Carroll

Perhaps I'll start reading Byron next.

Don't forget, you can get your own tiny portrait for just $40 plus shipping. And now I'm going international! That's right, don't think that because you're overseas, you can't join in the fun. I'm a global kind of gal!

Monday, August 3, 2009

A Couple More Tiny Portraits

One more of Kurt and Zelda of Teetering Bulb! The one of Kurt was done in person while having wine after an amazing day of art and walking. That's why it's the color of wine! (Right Kurt? )

Get your own Tiny Portrait!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Portraits! Get your Portraits! Tiny, adorable Portraits!

So I've been teasing a few of you the last couple days about my new project that I'm hoping will excite people and maybe evolve into something really fun. SDCC was a great experience, as always and one I wouldn't give up for the world. Alas, it has left my funds dreadfully depleted and so I am trying to be creative instead of , you know, panicking or holding up the local coffee shop. (Guerilla coffee- your time is coming. All you hipster bloggers with teeny laptops should fear)

Here's how it starts:

Some heads inspired by some favorite faces from films:

Getting a little creative with some. First guy based on Rufus Sewell needed some wind. And Amanda Palmer's cool hair made me just want to make it bigger, until she became a sexy gorgon. Perhaps Medusa killed Amanda Palmer?

Then I worked on some of my friends. The top two are the amazingly talented Kurt and Zelda of Teetering Bulb and the bottom two are Gregory Manchess and Michael Kaluta- two amazing and generous artists and friends. I really went for likeness/personality in these and am quite happy with the results!

All of these are 3 inches by 3 inches on Canson watercolor paper.

So here's what is going to happen. I am going to keep making portraits and I am going to offer them at the amazing price of $25 each, plus $2 for shipping anywhere in the US. That is an original work of art for only $27! Holy cow! Not only that, but I will sign and title each and maybe even write something fun on the back just for you as a surprise.

But wait there's more.

Are you looking at these and thinking, well these are nice enough and all- but I don't really know any of these people? Well how about an original made to order? That's right- I am also taking requests. Send me a decent photo of someone. Anyone. And I will paint it up for you. Same price. You can even pick favorite colors if you want. Now there's a birthday present that will make people talk! Order in the next few days, and I will have your painting done and in the mail within a week.

Email me to start your own collection of Carroll originals or with any questions at Kristina (at)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A taste of what's to come

3"x 3"
Watercolor on Watercolor Paper

Stay tuned! More Soon...

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Catching up with myself

Wow moving is exhausting, and my art making has suffered. So here are a few pieces that I just haven't had a chance to get on the website yet.


And Echo.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Plein Air

It has come to my attention that I have let the blog slip a little this month! Between weddings and moving and job hunting I've gotten lazy so let's jump back into the swing with a little plein air work I did these last couple of weeks. Hey Kelly- this is for you! ;)

So the first I did in about 1.5 hours while my good friend and very awesome model, Kate, (who you might recognize from my 'Eleanor' series) sat for me. She was a sport, and introduced me to the best ever dumpling place after that session.

This one was done a week and a half ago on a very overcast day at Bethesda Fountain in Central Park. It took about 3.5 hours total and was quite a pleasure despite the chilliness. I chose this angle to do something different, and I liked the way the trees framed the angel perfectly.

That's all for now! The next plein air pieces will most likely be done in Prospect Park, only 2 blocks from my new apartment!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Variations on a Theme

First of all- thank you to everyone who voted for me in the last Art Order challenge! With your support I won the game! So get ready for another round of pencil fencing, because here's my submission for this week:

Variations on a Theme asked us to take a race from the 4th edition D&D set, put it in a pose and do 3 variations of the armor. I chose the Deva mostly because of it's newness to the world, and the potential for some crazy design. It is described as having a persian/japanese influence so I went to town on reference and had a blast trying to find different ways to marry the two styles. I plan on working on some color this week, to really finish these up as I just enjoyed them so much.

So if you like my Devas, head over to ArtOrder after Tuesday's (tomorrow's) posting and leave a vote for me in the comments section. FYI, Jon is no longer accepting anonymous votes, so please remember to put your name in the appropriate box!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Concept Tuesday's Devolved Gnome

So I did this week's concept Tuesday challenge over at Artorder and wanted to share the results. The challenge was to devolve a Gnome from the 4th edition D&D manual and here are the results:

Here are a examples of the original concepts by Raven Mimura:

I thought that being a trickster fae, the Gnomes ought to be more primal and animalistic with their ancestry so, going off the original design, I based my devolution on the shape of the spider monkey. The Gnome, which now lives in the roots of trees, used live on top of them. Tails, long hands and flexible feet serve the early Gnomes in leaping through the branches and swinging from tree to tree gracefully. Tricksters from the start, their long tails and clever fingers and toes also aided in swooping down to steal shiny objects from surprised passerby and disappearing back into the leaves before anyone could register what happened.

So if you like my piece, please head over to and vote for me!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Oil Sketch

So in celebration of finally being able to go outside again, I decided to do some painting from life. Here are some windows I can see from my back porch. And by porch I mean fire escape.

I spent about an hour and a half on this I think. I am going to do more at different times of day to see how the light changes. This one was 5:30ish- 7. The little spot of yellow between the windows was only there for like 5 minutes, and it was fun trying to capture things like that as they came and went.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


So I've been rediscovering charcoal lately and decided to do a few Fairy Tale illustrations in it for something a little different:

I was looking at a lot of Shaun Tan's work for these pieces, trying to channel his atmosphere and sense of whimsy. I really enjoy just pushing the medium around, rubbing and lifting out. Charcoal is like oil in a lot of ways with its fluidity and the way it stays 'live' on the paper indefinitely. It offers a lot of opportunities for those happy accidents, focusing on atmosphere and gesture. I think I will be experimenting a lot more with it this summer.

The story is The Maiden in the Castle of the Rosy Clouds. Though the title is a bit of a mouthful, the story itself is really lovely- sort of Don Quixote/Fisher King-esque with one of those perfect bitterweet endings I love so much. It's from the Swedish Folk Tales book illustrated by John Bauer, and if you don't know HIS work then you're missing out. If you're a fan of Brian Froud's art, you will recognize a LOT of Bauer there:

Monday, April 20, 2009

Richard Painted

And here's the finished Richard! I think it's one of my new favorite pieces, I had such a great time playing with skin tones, figuring out the fur and just messing with edges. After such a complicated piece like Legolas, it was very relaxing to just do a simple-ish portrait. Richard's wonderful, weird creations can be found at This piece will be part of Richard's massive show at the Shelburne Museum in Vermont from May 17-October 29 of this year. So if you are in Vermont- stop by and tell me how it is! Last I checked, about 25 other artists are going to be displaying their own hybrid portraits in addition to Richard's own lovely creations, so it is definately worth the trip. Also- It has a 220-foot steamboat in its yard.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Night on Macdougal Street

So my very talented friend Brennan (who you can recognize as the left twin from this post), with whom I am graduating SVA with in a mere month, bribed me with his charm, wit and DMing skillz to help him out on his thesis film: Night on Macdougal Street. It started with some storyboarding followed by a few appearances as an extra, then as the savior in a pay phone prop emergency and finally some drawings to run with the credits. The drawings, as Brennan tells it, were inspired by the end credits to My Neighbor Totoro (see why we're friends?) where the illustrations show a few scenes of life for the characters after the ending of the movie. The movie itself, to give a quick synopsis, is a semi-autobiographical account of a comedian's 8-year old son being left in a comedy club and looking for his dad around the West Village neighborhood full of tough bouncers, seedy club owners, creepy crack heads and sweet waitresses. It ends with the kid calling his dad (from said payphone) and returning to the club to wait for him. Then: roll the credits.

First we have the father exiting a cab.

The bouncer and waitress deliver Devon (the kid) to a sheepish father.

Then he tucks in a sleeping Devon.

And then a series of shots of Devon with the various other characters appearing in the film.
Devon, dad, comedians and Comedy Cellar owner (played by Brennan's REAL dad, Joe, in the glasses)

Devon with some ladies of the club.

Devon with the Cafe Wa owner and Terry the Crack-head.

Devon with some more comedians.

That's Colin Quinn on the left in that last one. He makes a very short cameo, as he is a friend of Brennan's comedian dad.

Brennan wanted the style of these drawings to be fairly simple sketches, much like the artwork on the walls of the Olive Tree Cafe where part of the film takes place (and one of my all time favorite spots in NYC). The real challenge was getting the likenesses of all the characters, especially the kid who played Devon. An early copy of the film and a folder full of screen-captures made my job much easier, and I am pretty happy with the results.

You can see the fruits of my (ok, and Brennan's) labors on the big screen at the Dusty Film Festival May 4-8. Not sure exactly when Night on MacDougal street will be showing, but I will post here when I know more.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

I'm in a show!

The Amazing and Talented Lana Crooks over at Crooked Art co-curated a fantastic show in her gallery in Chicago. I sure wish I could see it in person, because a few of these dolls look really stunning. in particular, these beauties by Joe Shea :
Just wow. I want.

Anywho, here are the gallery shots of my Jack and the Beanstalk set. I liked the feeling the wood showing through gave them, made them seem more like old handed down toys to me, so I left them unvarnished.

And a few detail shots of my own:

Check out the A.Okay Gallery website at