My love for colored pencils dates back to my childhood. Many kids grow up with Crayola: pencils, crayons, sketchbooks – you name it! In 2001, however, I discovered the brand that would revolutionize my art: Prismacolor. You don’t truly understand what “student grade” and “artist grade” mean until you upgrade! As my passion for colored pencil art grew, my skills grew with it. I created larger, more ambitious pieces.

Flash forward to 2011. After my college graduation, I visited family in San Carlos, Mexico. My aunt suggested starting a series of animals based off the woodcarvings of Oaxaca (wuh HA kuh), Mexico; also known as alebrijes, they’re lovingly crafted, elaborate works of art. My first piece for the series was a simple turtle. Now, eleven Oaxacan Animals later, I bring you the Oaxacan Barn Owl Dragon.

For her size, she is the fastest colored pencil painting I’ve created – but she still took 32 hours to complete! Over the course of eight days, I braved hand cramps, sore shoulders, and an indented thumb. I call these works “paintings” because they’re highly saturated. I build layer after layer of color, seamlessly blending hues as I work. It requires gradually increasing pressure, and I often indent the paper. It’s slow, satisfying, and utterly rewarding.

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All my colored pencil paintings begin with a rough sketch

Color palettes help me envision the finished artwork!

My artsy arsenal: Prismacolor, Derwent Coloursoft, Lyra Color-Giant, and Blick Studio colored pencils