time to begin

time to begin

One recent evening, I started randomly sketching to help me wind down at the end of the day. As I kept drawing, a couple emerged. I was happy with how it was developing and decided to keep going with it. Then I had an idea to add another element to perhaps make it a bit more intriguing…but decided to share the sketch on my TwitterInstagram and Facebook accounts before adding that little detail. 😉

So, this is the final painted result!

Hmmm…seems like they have some interesting plans ahead… 😉

I also decided to record myself while I painted the final sketch! Here is a speedpainting video I put together.

If you enjoyed watching, I hope you’ll visit and subscribe to my YouTube channel!

While you’re there, you can take a peek at a few other speedpainting videos I have posted. Happy viewing, and thanks! 😀


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category: illustration, miscellaneous

roman crazy commission

roman crazy commission

Here is a brand new illo that the very funny and very sweet Nina Bocci commissioned me to create, based on a scene from the upcoming book, Roman Crazy by Nina and Alice Clayton.

Seems that Avery and Marcello have differing opinions on taking a Vespa ride after a delicious pizza dinner. 😉 Read more about these two, and their adventures in Italy, when Roman Crazy is released on September 13!

I hope you all pick up a copy and check it out!



category: commissions, illustration

birthday treat

birthday treat

While there was a scene in Gabriel’s Inferno by Sylvain Reynard involving a piece of chocolate cake, Julia was not much of a willing participant. She tried with all her might to resist the delicious dessert, despite Gabriel’s repeated attempts to get her to have a taste.

But since September 1 is Julia’s birthday, I thought I would create an illo that also involves chocolate cake…but luckily for Gabriel, she seems more than happy to have him assist her in sampling a slice this time! 😉

I really enjoyed creating a fun little piece like this, and have to thank Betty and Perling of The Gabriel Series Podcast, for reminding me that it was Julia’s special day.

The two of them do a great job on their podcast, and are broadcasting a special birthday episode to celebrate Julia’s birthday! They were even kind enough to invite me to appear on the show along with Argyle Empire and NoNe this coming Sunday, September 4 at 6p EST!

Here’s a link to their podcast:

The Gabriel Series Podcast

I hope you’ll all tune in, and be sure to check out their archive for past shows!

See (or rather hear) you all this Sunday! 😀



category: Gabriel's Inferno Trilogy, illustration


constellation commission

The very lovely Jennifer Locklear recently commissioned me to create an illustration based on a scene from her upcoming book, Constellation.

Sharing a private moment atop a rooftop garden are Kathleen and Jack. You can learn more about the two of them, and their story, when Constellation is released on October 20!

Plus, be sure not to miss the book’s cover reveal coming up on September 1!

I really hope you all check it out!



category: commissions, illustration

San Diego Comic-Con 2016

As usual, San Diego Comic Con never disappoints. It’s always total sensory overload, but always a lot of fun too!

Passes to attend are getting harder and harder to come by. But even if you aren’t lucky enough to get a pass, there seem to be more and more off-site events each year.

ferris wheelSeveral attractions were grouped in an area near Petco Park again this year, including this ferris wheel! Not to mention several food trucks!


superman statue I stumbled upon this huge Superman statue as I strolled to the convention center!


south park Directly across from the convention center was quite a large South Park area. Several scenes from different episodes were depicted. I chuckled at a few of them (but had to explain them to my friends.) 😉


Of course there are always lots of cosplayers. I didn’t realize until I checked out my photos later, that I really didn’t take many shots of them. It was extremely crowded inside the convention hall, so a bit more difficult to get good shots. I did note to myself that it seemed like Harley Quinn dethroned Slave Leia this year. I saw a lot of her–both the classic comic book version and the version in the upcoming Suicide Squad movie. 😉

silver surfer But I did manage to get a photo of the Silver Surfer (if you think about it, there really wasn’t much required for his costume, was there?)


warcraft There were massive booths and massive pieces on display…


stay puft …as well as tiny little figures as well. (I just loved this angry Stay Puft Marshmallow Man!)


The main reason I enjoy going to SDCC is that I get the chance to see some of my favorite artists in action, and am sometimes lucky enough to chat with them as well. For some reason a few artists I highly respect spoke with me at length and even asked me about my own art! Bobby Chiu is not only a wonderful artist that has done concept work on several movies, but also runs an art school, has a very inspirational YouTube channel and recently won an Emmy for his animated series, “Niko and the Sword of Light.” He’s a wealth of information, and I’ve learned a lot from him.

I mentioned Pascal Campion in my SDCC recap last year. I always stop by his booth to say hello, but this year he gave me a big hug and we had a lovely chat. He’s always willing to ‘talk shop’ and this year he seemed curious about my art, so I let him see my site. *gulp* I warned him that some of the pieces may be a bit racy, but as he began to scroll through the images, he said, “oh, these aren’t that bad!” ;D Then he smiled and said, “I like this one!” and showed me the illo of Christian and Gabriel in ‘all wrapped up!’

Mark Brooks is extremely talented but also extremely kind and often hilarious. This is the first time I’d talked to him. He explained his technique and the challenges he had while working on the new Han Solo comic. He had me flip through his original comic pages and commented on them as I viewed them. What a treat!

I wasn’t familiar with Art Thibert but happened upon his table in Artists’ Alley as he was inking a commission. I ended up chatting with him for quite a while. He has over 30 years experience in the industry and was willing to talk about all sorts of things.

They were all very generous with their time and I tried to soak up as much information as I could!


tin fish My friends and I always make sure to have the fish and chips at Tin Fish in the Gaslamp. I’ve learned we aren’t the only ones that make this part of their yearly SDCC routine. 😉 Everything is absolutely delicious! It goes without saying that we will always stop there at some point. I highly recommend Tin Fish if you ever find yourself in the area! (unfortunately we missed out on the free frozen yogurt that NBC was offering next to the restaurant!)


snoopy …and of course the Con wouldn’t be complete without a shot of Snoopy! (it looks like he’s shaking his fist at me, but he was really waving hello!)

Already looking forward to next year…


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category: SDCC

dirty pool

dirty pool

Ever since I began attempting to depict scenes inspired by the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, a friend of mine has been asking me to recreate the pool table scene. (She once decided to sketch Christian and Ana herself, which I shared in a post from a while back, if you’re curious) 😉 I’ve gotten the request from a lot of you over the years as well, but I just wasn’t quite satisfied enough with any of the ideas I was picturing in my head. Finally, I decided to stop overthinking it, and just give it a try!

Little flirtatious competitions pop up throughout the trilogy, but this time Ana is bubbling with excitement since Christian has no idea how experienced she is in the game of pool (thanks to José!) For once she thinks she can meet or perhaps surpass him in a skill, and even allows herself to feel a little overconfident about winning the wager and earning herself a visit to the playroom.

Christian was never specific as to what his prize would be if he won the pool game…but Ana finds out soon enough… 😉

I chose to attempt to illustrate Christian demonstrating his ever-present creativity while slowly revealing to Ana what he desired as his winning prize…and to reassure her that he had not lost his edge. Not that Ana should have had any doubt about that, but is very quickly reminded!

While he never disappoints with the element of surprise, the one thing Ana can also always depend on is Christian making sure things are a little more interesting than expected. After this wager, she would probably never look at a friendly game of pool the same way again! 😉

But in any games, competitions or challenges they enter into–no matter what the outcome, or who is the victor–both Ana and Christian both end up winning and enjoying themselves. 🙂



category: Fifty Shades of Grey, illustration

all wrapped up


all wrapped up

Looks like we’ve walked in on Christian and Gabriel while both are very casually dressed, to say the least! 😉

But actually, I’ve enlisted the two of them for a bit of shameless self-promotion. Hope you don’t mind, but I thought this silly illo would be a fun way to tell you all about some new items in my Society6 shop!

My two lovely models have tastefully wrapped themselves in selections of newly added towels–which include beach towels and hand and bath towels as well! (…now the illo begins to make sense, right?) ;D

Over the past few weeks I began adapting my illos to the new towel designs and quietly added them to my inventory of items as I completed them. A few of you had a very sharp eye and noticed the new pieces before I could announce them!

I’ve already heard fantastic feedback and received wonderful photos on Twitter from some of you that snapped up the towels soon after they were added to my shop and made available. I was very pleased to hear that they are all happy with their items, and some ordered even more! I want to send out a huge “thank you” to all those that spotted and purchased the new additions so quickly! 😀

A few weeks back, throw blankets and wall tapestries were also added to the item lineup. However, many had expressed frustration that there were only a few items listed. But I am very happy to say that over the past few weeks I worked very hard to create special versions of every illo in order to make them all available as well!

While I was at it, I tried to make each illo design available in as many items as possible. So, if it’s been a while since you’ve stopped into my shop–or even if it’s your first time visiting–I hope you have a lot of fun taking a look at the new and much wider variety of designs and products, and maybe something special will catch your eye! 🙂


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category: Fifty Shades of Grey, Gabriel's Inferno Trilogy, illustration, miscellaneous

raven in a gilded cage

raven in a gilded cage At first glance you would assume this to be a romantic kiss between a couple by candlelight. But looks can be quite deceiving. It is just one instance of many, where things are not always as they appear to be, in The Raven by Sylvain Reynard. I thought I would attempt my first illo of Raven and William in their first meeting together, where one does not have a visual advantage over the other. 😉

Prior to this moment, several things Raven believed to be true were now in question. Her seemingly quiet and simple life had changed drastically due to her own kindhearted choices and her new mysterious acquaintance. This most recent conversation with William had revealed new information that had completely thrown her neatly rationalized thoughts into disarray.

Not that the circumstance surrounding this latest conversation were on mutually agreed upon terms. While previous visits Raven received were surprises, this time she found herself an unwilling guest in William’s villa. But while his unexpected and passion-filled kiss may have helped quell any thoughts that there were chances that he had intentions of bringing her harm, it held small comfort.

For as quickly as the kiss began, and Raven gave in to her growing attraction to the mysterious stranger…it abruptly ended. It was then made very clear, and in no uncertain terms that the evening and their conversation was over, and she should retire for the night. This left Raven more puzzled and bewildered by William than ever before.

But she would soon learn the answers to many of her questions, and embark on a future she would have never imagined possible.



category: illustration, The Florentine Series

bits & pieces 3

kendo practice partner

Here is a roundup of a few pieces I’ve worked on and posted on my TwitterFacebookInstagram and Tumblr pages, but haven’t yet posted here.

But first, the new one above is an illo I’ve been slowly working on over the past couple of weeks. I haven’t had much time to sit down and work on an illo at length, so I’d been visiting this piece when I have a few minutes here and there.

A photo caught my eye which featured a man wearing a Kendo mask and holding a practice sword while standing in a room littered with random objects. I really liked the pose so I used that as a starting point. From there I decided to remove his helmet (which he has carefully placed on the floor, of course), gave him a face (heehee), changed the background and did slight tweaks to his pose.

While I painted it, I imagined that he had just finished a practice session and was turning to face a visitor after removing his helmet (which explains his rather unruly hair!) 😉


speed paint fail

Fortunately (or unfortunately) this quickie illo is all that is left from my first attempt at recording myself painting. On a whim I decided to try out some recording software to try creating a speed painting video. I began doodling whatever came to mind, using no references and with no plan in mind. When I finished, I realized it did not save correctly and lost the recording. 🙁 I have since figured out my mistake, so I’m sure I’ll give it another try sometime soon. It will be fun to see the entire process from sketch to finished illo sped up into a minute or two.


social media shocker

Out of a bit of frustration that had been simmering for a while, came this illo. I cannot figure out why, but there are Instagram accounts using my site name and logo without my permission and pretending to be me. Sometimes they even go as far as to copy some of my posts word for word, and tag several other accounts on each post unnecessarily. It’s extremely irritating and I find it very rude that they are creating these misleading accounts.

So, just to let you know, the *only* Instagram account where I post my images can be found at: ruffles_and_restraints. If you frequent Instagram, I hope you’ll give my account a peek! 😉


wading and waiting

Up until just recently, I had been using the same single brush on every illo I’d created. Then I came across some different brushes and decided to try them out. The above illo is my first attempt with one of the new brushes! I had a lot of fun painting this one 🙂


Happy New Year 2016

And this last illo is the first illo I created to celebrate New Year’s Day! 😉


Phew! There were more illos than I realized! To see any new sketches, quickie illos or other pieces when I first share them on social media, be sure to follow me on any of my accounts. There are quick links to all of them in the ‘about’ section at the top right of my site–just click on the logos. 😉 But even if you don’t partake in social media, I’ll always do my best to share them here also!



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category: bits and pieces, illustration, miscellaneous

sealed with a kiss

sealed with a kiss

To celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, I thought I would try something a little different. While trying to come up with an illo idea, a scenario popped into my head that would have taken place after the time frame of the Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy.

The lipstick scene was quite powerful in Fifty Shades Darker, and traces of that encounter (no pun intended) were revisited a few more times later in the story. It was a powerful and intimate scene, which was one of many instances that showed Christian attempting to overcome painful childhood memories but also showed his willingness to grow closer to Ana.

But I thought it would be fun to create an illo where one day–perhaps on Valentine’s Day– Ana surprises Christian in bed with the same tube of lipstick. By now, Christian had overcome his aversion to being touched in the areas he directed her to map out on his torso. So, he’s a bit puzzled…but when it comes to Ana…always intrigued. 😉

Seeing his confusion, she explains that although the last time he had her apply the lipstick to his body was an important moment for them both, it was also quite an intense experience for Christian to endure at the time. While it helped him on his road to escaping the traumas of his past, it probably didn’t hold entirely positive memories, since it did cause him so much anxiety.

So, she decided to create a new and more positive memory, while also acknowledging how much he had overcome and how much they had grown together. She suggests that she would now use the lipstick on him again…applying it in her own special way…in a series of kisses!

Plus one more kiss for good measure…although I’m sure there’s plenty more where that came from! 😉

Happy Valentine’s Day!



category: Fifty Shades of Grey, illustration