Category Archives: illustration

My Favorite Things – Free Time to Work on My Cartooning Process

This week I’ve been enjoying simply being “The Wife” while keeping my husband company on a New York City Ballet tour to Washington, D.C.   Aside from my responsibilities (none, actually – though I’ve been happy to shop for the food for our meals), I’ve mostly been busy in our hotel room working on my cartoons.   Having time to buckle down and see how many I can churn out is both a pleasure and a challenge.  It’s easy to chalk up my struggle with writing gags when I’m at home to the fact that I rarely get large chunks of uninterrupted time for cartooning.  However, this week has shown me that having large chunks of time to brainstorm gags doesn’t necessarily make the process any easier. 

Gag writing is hard.  Period.

(If you don’t believe me, try your hand at the caption contest found each week at the back of the New Yorker magazine.)

That said, the gag-writing process IS interesting, and when you finally do come up with something that feels right, it’s truly an awesome feeling.  Besides exercising your funny muscles (if you don’t go insane, first), it’s very possible that the mental gymnastics might also stave off dementia in the long term.  Or so I hope…

In case you’re curious, here are some helpful articles with tips on gag writing and working around mental blocks:

Of course, gag writing is only half the battle.  Drawing engaging and funny images is, in my eyes, equally important.  Although I’ve always found the drawing part of cartooning to be easier than the gag writing, I’m constantly challenging myself to get better at drawing, too.  These days my focus is on creating my drawings more quickly so that they look more “tossed off.”  Drawing in pen is definitely a challenge, but one benefit to working this way is that you are forced to pare down to only the essential lines.

(It also gives you something to do at breakfast while your husband checks his phone…)

(Or, you contemplate taking your morning vitamins.)

Of course, it’s one thing to draw a funny solo figure like the ones I drew above, but to actually come up with the layout for a cartoon scene to match your gag involves a little more planning.

Today I hit on the idea of doing my (VERY) rough initial layout drawing digitally in my Corel Paint Shop Pro X8 photo-editing program.

From there, it was a lot easier to proceed to the pen drawing on paper….

And the gag?  Well, for that you’ll have to be patient and wait ’til next week when I can properly scan the cartoon and add in the caption.   After all, there are some limits to what you can do in a hotel room!



Filed under 10 Thousand Hours, Cartoon Illustration, Digital Illustration, Drawing, education, I Love What I Do, illustration, ink sketches, motivation, My Favorite Things, New work, Pen Drawings, practicing drawing

From My Sketchbook – Rhymes and Doodles

Goodness sake, this train’s a dive!

And here I wore my best beehive.

Maybe next time I’ll plan ahead,

Walk or take a cab instead.



Filed under Cartoon Illustration, drawing faces, Funny Illustrations, funny poems, illustration, ink sketches, Pen Drawings, practicing drawing, quick sketch, Short Rhyming Poems, silly poems, silly rhymes, Sketch Practice, Sketchbook Journal, subway sketches

From My Sketchbook – Rhymes and Doodles

We each have a unique psyche,

Calm, nervous, excited or spiky.

Acceptance and love will go a long way,

To helping us make it through the day.

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Filed under Art, Cartoon Illustration, Drawing, funny art, funny poems, I Love What I Do, illustration, quick sketch, Short Rhyming Poems, silly poems, silly rhymes, Sketchbook Journal

Funny Chef Cartoon Wall Art from Joana Miranda Studio

‘Tis the season for cooking…and, maybe overeating, too? This cooking demo cartoon print is sure to delight chefs, or the gourmand in your life. The illustration is perfect kitchen wall decor, or, if you’re so lucky as to have a pantry, hang it there.

(To see a larger image and for more info, please click here.)

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Filed under Art, Cartoon Illustration, funny art, Funny Illustrations, Humorous Illustration, illustration, Joana Miranda Studio, Joana Miranda Studio at Etsy, pen and ink

My Favorite Things – A Clean House (and the Products That Make Cleaning Easy!)

I’m one of those people who (usually) can’t do my work until the house is clean.  Unfortunately, these days I’ve been so busy that even cleaning our 840 square foot apartment has to be done in little increments over several days.  And sometimes I resort to “speed cleaning.”  I figure I’m killing two birds with one stone – tidying up AND getting a workout at the same time.

These days, the three miracle cleaning products in my “cleaning bucket” are as follows:

E-cloth Glass and Polishing Cloth – This cloth cleans glass, mirrors and other shiny surfaces with just water.  I keep a small spray bottle of water handy and run around spritzing anything I think needs sprucing up.  Voila!  Gleaming mirrors and shiny surfaces in seconds!  (I got mine at the Vermont Country Store, but you can read more about this product and order yours online here.)

Wenol All Purpose Metal Polish – Though we don’t own much silver, I do like to keep our His and Hers sterling silver napkin rings looking spiffy.  Wenol works wonders on tarnished household silver objects and actually helps keep the objects tarnish-free for longer.  Pick up a tube for yourself here.

Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Sponge – Even though we’re pretty careful, our white walls end up with the occasional scuff mark (yours would too if you lived in as small a space as we do!)  These sponges do the best job of removing scuff marks and other seemingly impossible to remove dirt off of the walls.  I found that they also did wonders for brightening up the old tile on our bathroom floor.  Make sure you read the directions carefully and do a small patch test.  The sponges can dull the finish of paint or other surfaces.  I bought mine at our local hardware store; you can also order yours online here.

How about you?  Do you have miracle cleaning products I should know about?  I’d love to hear…

Happy Cleaning!

(P.S.  If you’re curious about the illustration above, click here to see more views and to purchase.)


Filed under Art, Cartoon Illustration, education, funny art, Humorous Illustration, illustration, Joana Miranda Studio, Joana Miranda Studio at Etsy, marker and ink illustration, New work, Review

Friday’s Thought – The Little Details

“The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life.”

(William Morris)


Filed under Art, Cartoon Illustration, Drawing, drawing faces, Friday's Thought, funny art, Humorous Illustration, illustration, Influences, inspiration, Joana Miranda Studio, marker and ink illustration, New work, photography, wisdom, wise quotes

From My Sketchbook – Rhymes and Doodles

The New York City Ballet fall season started up today, and I headed back to Lincoln Center for a full day of rehearsals on Swan Lake.  The pace at NYCB is always in high gear (opening night is tomorrow!), and to top off 5  1/2 hours of orchestra rehearsals, I then headed off to the Empire Hotel to support my husband who was acting as emcee for an evening of music and talk with some of the choreographers of the new works being put up this season.

Not being as youthful as I once was, I found myself fading fast as the evening wore on.  A big hint that I had reached my limit was when my black ballpoint pen ran out of ink and it felt to me like the world was ending.

Note to self: Get more sleep and carry around a spare black ballpoint pen!

I did manage this sketch of a patron listening in rapt attention to the music.  (She actually WAS wearing a striped shirt in shades of blue!)  So…

It’s all good!

She listened to the tune,

Which ended all too soon.

Then my black pen up and died,

And I left feeling fried.


Filed under Art, Cartoon Illustration, Drawing, drawing faces, From My Sketchbook, Humorous Illustration, illustration, ink sketches, New York, New York City, practicing drawing, quick sketch, sketchbook, weekly sketch project