Tag Archives: illustration

Inktober 2016 // Week One Recap

I’m not a stranger to drawing deadlines. When I was cartooning I would do about two cartoons a week. When I was working on “Guaiyayon Na Trongkon Mansanita” I was on a pretty strict two to three drawings a day schedule. Deadlines are stressful, even when you’re doing something you’re passionate about. It’s a bit easier to stay motivated when you’re held accountable by an editor or a publisher. This month I’m doing a drawing challenge and I don’t have anyone to answer to except for myself. Self accountability can either hurt you or make you stronger. I’m hoping I can whip myself into illustration shape. Inktober is kind of the Cross Fit of art challenges.


Inktober is a 31 day drawing challenge that was created by the artist, Jake Parker. He started the challenge in 2009. I can’t remember when I first heard about it, but I think I learned about it from a You Tuber. I never committed to the challenge before. I would always do a day or two and then lose motivation.

This year, for some reason, I’m really trying to commit to the full marathon of it. And It might seem a bit silly, but I’m really proud to say that I completed a whole week of the challenge and fully intend to cross the finish line.

I’m using the prompt list that is posted on Jake Parker’s site. Prompts are an awesome tool for artists. Cartooning is basically drawing with prompts thrown out at you by society and politicians. Illustrating a book involves working with prompts from the author. So I like the challenge of prompts and the official list is single word prompts, which gives artists a lot of flexibility. There are lots of other Inktober prompt lists available on the internet too. I noticed a lot of witchy prompts and spooky themed prompts on Instagram. I think some artists also come up with their own personal lists. I might try that next year.

picsart_09-12-03.12.17.jpgI made a mini haul purchase from Jet Pens to prep for Inktober. I needed new pen nibs and I really wanted to try Prismacolor’s Col-erase pencils out. I’m loving them! Seriously, I think they’re great for sketching and they do erase pretty well. Look out for a review later this month. I’m also using Deleter ink, Copic markers – mostly in grey tones, and Sakura Microns. By the way, Jet Pens is a great place to order supplies online. If you spend over $25 they ship for free, even to Guam! I love them and I’m not getting anything to say that. I just really appreciate being able to buy supplies at a reasonable price and not having to pay double for shipping.

Art supplies are fun, but I have to say that a great part of this challenge is that you don’t need a ton of special supplies. All you need is ink and paper. A ball point pen would do. And there is a lot of great artwork out there done entirely in ball point pen.


I’m documenting my Inktober experience on Instagram and Twitter. Both those feeds are embedded in this blog, but I’d love for you to follow me on either platform: @illusdreted. Are you doing the Inktober challenge? If you are, comment with your Instagram, Twitter, or Snapchat username so I can follow you! And if you’re looking for some drawing motivation or inspiration check out the hastags: #inktober & #inktober2016 . There are artists all over the world participating. They use all kinds of different techniques and are of all skill levels. It’s kind of become a world wide online gallery allowing you to observe artists’ work as they challenge themselves and grow. Thank you, Jake Parker!


Read, Write, Dream, Draw – The book I illustrated has been published!

I missed a pretty awesome opportunity a little while ago. A series of workshops for children’s book authors and illustrators was being offered. If you had an interest in creating children’s books and could commit to all the days of the workshops, the opportunity was available and it was funded through a grant, making it free for participants. I was definitely interested, but sadly could not commit to all the days of the workshops, because like many local artists, I have a day job. – Just a side note, I switched jobs twice last year. It was a year of … transitions.

That was a major bummer until I got a message from a friend, asking me to call her. Victoria Lola Leon Guerrero is the managing editor of University Press, which just created a branch, Taiguini Books, that focuses on publishing cultural books. As it turned out, Taiguini Books decided to choose a few of the stories that were worked on at the workshops to produce in time for FestPac. They picked four stories to publish. At the time of the selection the authors had already chosen illustrators. Lola called me because one of the illustrators had backed out and she needed an illustrator who could turn it out really quickly, like a month. Yeah. Despite the deadline anxiety I enthusiastically agreed. A lot of that enthusiasm was brought on by the story and the fact that I could relate too it.

Guaiyayon Na Trongkon Mansanita is about young siblings and the Mansanita tree that they grow up with. Delores Indalencio Camacho, the author, wrote the first draft of this story over a decade ago. She’s been holding on to it in her mind even longer, since it is in fact the story of her, her sisters, and their mansanita tree. My cousins and I grew up with a siniguelas tree at our grandparents house. It shared a similar life and fate as the Camacho’s mansanita tree. Children played in it’s shade, their laughter carried by the wind through it’s leaves. They climbed it’s branches and were treated to the fruit it lovingly produced. I think a lot of people who grew up in Guåhan, at least my generation and earlier, can relate to this story.

It ended up taking a little over a month to complete the illustrations. It was a fun filled journey. I spent most Mondays in Lola’s office with her and Ms. Camacho going over sketches, the line drawings, and finally the colored and completed illustrations. I’ll explain more of the behind the scenes details in a future post. It was a truly great experience. A lot of that had to do with the support that Taiguini Books provides through Lola’s hard work. I’m honored that Ms. Camacho agreed to have me illustrate a story that was so very special to her.

Guaiyayon Na Trongkon Mansanita was written by Delores Indalencion Camacho and Illustrated by myself, Andrea Nicole Grajek. It is written in CHamoru with english translations in the back of the book. If you’d like to purchase a copy they are available at MARC at UOG, as well as the UOG bookstore. You can also purchase them at Bestseller. They are $17 each. You should also check out the other three children’s books that Taiguini Books published. They would all make a great addition to your children’s book shelf.

In the coming weeks I’ll be posting about the illustration process, the importance of literature for Pacific children, as well as my experience working with the author and publisher. So look out for that.

Head in the clouds


The start of a new series, I hope. Maybe a book? Or magnets? We’ll see where it goes.


Merry Christmas!


A few of my favorite artists’ blogs

5 of my favorite artists' blogs - reconstructing wonderland

I enjoy following other artists’ blogs. They can be a great source of inspiration, motivation, and just plain enjoyment. I love seeing my reader filled with fun illustrations, beautiful paintings, and awe inducing animations.

1. myfanwytristram.com

myf draws apparently - one of my favorite artists' blogs

I really like Myfanwy’s illustration style. I especially like this comic strip. She also sells prints, postcards, and greeting cards.

2. doodlemum.com

doodle mum - one of my favorite artists' blogs

Angie’s posts are consistent on my reader. That is a great thing. I really wish I was as consistent with my blog. Her illustrations are super cute. I always want to doodle my life after visiting her blog.

3. kellymarie21.wordpress.com

kellymarieholmes - one of my favorite artists' blogs

Kelly is another super consistent blogger. I subscribe to her blog via email, so I get sent her little illustration treats straight to my inbox. Besides illustrating her characters with bits of attitude (the best kind), she is also an animator.

4. karengillmoreart.com

karen gillmore - one of my favorite artists' blogs

Karen’s blog is so awesome! I love her comic strips featuring her Art Muse and I enjoyed the updates on her Spam illustrations. Her blog is always a motivator.

5. prashart.blogspot.com

prashart - one of my favorite artists' blogs

I have been following Prashant Miranda’s blog for years. I think his blog and artwork may have helped me realize that illustration was what I wanted to do. His work is so beautiful. It’s whimsical and moving and just amazing. And then there is his animated work which is just ridiculously magical.

I recommend that you check out these blogs, even if you aren’t an artist. Are you subscribed to any art blogs? What are your favorites? Do you have an artists’ blog? If you do please share a link in the comments. I’m always on the look out for new blogs to follow and art to swoon over.

I wish I felt like this

Reconstructing Wonderland x illusdreted.com

I’ve been feeling really yucky lately. I should feel pretty good. Everything is going fairly well. I’ve been having anxiety attacks though. I might just be adjusting to all the things I have going on in my life, work and personal.

Today I was fighting with a cartoon block and a deadline. I had personal issues running through the back of my mind. I also really miss my best friend. I was frazzled and lonely.

After some struggling, I made my deadline.

But the other stuff was still bothering me. Plus I knew that there would be more deadlines to come. I just wasn’t feeling very strong. I felt down on myself, like I wasn’t doing my best.

An awesome part of being an artist is that when you aren’t feeling strong or beautiful, at least you can attempt to create something strong and beautiful.

Outfit of the (stormy) day


Guam was visited by tropical storm Halong on Wednesday. I went to get some batteries and breakfast early in the day and it was a rare moment when I remembered that I own rain boots. I don’t wear them as much since my rain boots partner has moved to San Diego. I miss you, Nella!!

My hair isn’t actually blue. My hair is really dark, almost completely black. I decided to color it in blue, because it seemed like it would look more interesting and honestly, be more fun to color in.

An illustrated scenario

reconstructing wonderland: an illustrated scenario


Merlot + captured + skull

This was a fun activity. And I was really excited that everyone was able to finish.

A great way to turn thirty.

Wow! I am not sure I have ever been this exhausted. Usually that would be a bad thing, but in my current case it actually feels really good.

MVGuam, Sunday Variety, illusdreted, nezumi

I started off my last week as a twenty-something, as the Q&A feature in the Sunday Variety. If you haven’t seen the Sunday Variety you have to pick it up next Sunday! It’s a great paper with really fun articles about people and activities in our community. I was featured because I was coming out as the editorial cartoonist for the Marianas Variety. For the last few weeks I’ve been the artist behind the cartoons signed Nezumi. At first I was reluctant to make it known that I was Nezumi. Our island is really small and I’m still trying to develop the thick skin my mom keeps telling me I need. Again, our island is small and I didn’t really have a choice about coming out. People were guessing. At that point I thought I should just own it. So I did with the help of the Sunday Variety’s editor and talented local artist, Mar-Vic Cagurangan. She asked some serious questions and some seriously fun questions. Overall, I’m more than pleased and grateful for the article.

I’m a horrible procrastinator and control freak. This makes for a really bad combination. Come Monday I was rushing around with Allan running errands for the opening of my solo exhibit, IllusDREted. The guy at the frame shop straight up asked me why I waited so long to turn in my pieces to be matted and shrink wrapped. They are amazing though. Even though it was the last minute, they got my pieces ready for me in time for the show. I was again lucky when I decided to try out a different printer, to have some of my artwork reproduced for prints. I went to the place in Hagåtña, that came with many recommendations. The staff was so helpful, even though I was crazy indecisive about everything, from which pieces I wanted reproduced to which paper I wanted them printed on. They turned out great and I will definitely be going back there.

Because I am crazy, I decided I wanted all the frames for my pieces to be white. Because I am broke, I bought all the frames at the two dollar shop and convinced Allan to spray paint them all white. After work on Tuesday I nearly had a panic attack trying to get all the pieces in the frames with out peeling the freshly dried paint. It worked out and we were hanging the art work by 10 p.m.

illusdreted, guam art, Guma TASA

photo courtesy of Marvic Cagurangan

The tags and the pieces from the frame shop didn’t go up until 4 p.m. the day of the show. An hour before the opening I was sitting with Allan and my parents, having dinner and wondering if anyone would show up. It was actually kind of nice having that quiet time to reflect and calm my nerves a bit. And then they started showing up, slowly at first. And then, Bam! As the coffee shop started to make it’s daily metamorphosis into a bar the place started to fill up with people from all different parts of my life. My closest friends mingled with my coworkers. The people I cherish from my days bartending were chatting it up with my friends in the arts community. And my family, including my 3 nephews, were able to come through and enjoy the show. There was so much love in the room.

And did I mention the band? R&R was amazing! And they play at Guma TASA every Wednesday night. I think my eldest nephew, a Rock Star in training, was more stoked on the band than on my show.

I feel like the opening night was successful. People had fun with the art activity and I sold some prints. I actually still have some prints for sale. They are 8″x10″ and are $10 each. There are 3 different ones and if you would like to buy a set it is $28 for three. I am working on an Etsy shop, but until I get that up I can deliver and collect payment locally or send you a Paypal invoice and ship it to you. It will be $5 for shipping and handling. You can email me at drea_nicole@yahoo.com if you’re interested. If you go to the show and see an original you would like to purchase let me know.

illusdreted, guam, illustration

Want to see more pictures of opening night? Check out Creative Indeed. The talented and inspirational Michele Pier covered the show for her newsletter. I’ll be posting more pictures soon, too.

I’ve been working on this blog post since the day after opening night, but I’ve been so busy that it has taken me this long to wrap it up. There was more I wanted to add to this post, but since I have other things that also deserve posts I decided not to drag it out. So much happening and so much I want to share. I can’t keep up with it. But that will be another post on getting organized and time management. 😛


illusDREted, art exhibit at Guma TASA this Wednesday

illusDREted, art, exhibit

I still have so much work to do, but I’m really excited!  🙂