Category Archives: My Favorite Things

My Favorite Things – The Early Fruits of Summer

I’ve had a hectic two weeks – including playing 14 Wicked shows and a trio concert in Vermont – so tonight I am relishing having a teeny breather before we head off to Saratoga, NY for more fun with New York City Ballet.  Escaping the heat and noise of the Big Apple is quite welcome at this time of year.  Speaking of fruit, my appetite was piqued on my short stay last weekend with my mom in her cottage in New Hampshire.

Here’s what’s flourishing in her garden right now…

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Filed under My Favorite Things, nature, photography, travel photography

My Favorite Things – Coming Up With a Cartoon: A Step By Step Guide

Single panel gag cartooning is a challenging yet rewarding process on many levels.  For those of my fans who are curious how I work, here’s my step-by-step guide for creating cartoons:

  • Start with a strong emotion (anger, exasperation, love, surprise, jealousy, oblivion, etc.)  The more personal to your own experience, the better.
  • Google the emotion and read multiple articles taking note of any interesting phrases, words, or descriptions you come across. (I find that Googling “Huffington post + a phrase that includes my emotion word” is often a good place to start.)

  • *Search for synonyms, antonyms or words that rhyme with your key words.
  • *Look for “play on word” possibilities.
  • *Be open to letting your mind wander.  You may be surprised where you end up!
  •  *Research any potential cartoon themes using the Google IMAGE search to make sure your cartoon idea hasn’t already been done.

*These steps sometimes take me days and LOTS of note taking.  I keep my notes on my computer in a “Cartoon Gag” word document.  It’s important to have a record of your process since you never know when a discarded idea might jog your funny bone…

  • Sketch out your cartoon idea lightly in pencil.
  • Revise.  Scan your sketch into a photo-editing program (or hold it up to a light) so that you can see the reverse image of the sketch.  You’ll be amazed how many flaws you see when you reverse the sketch.
  • Ink over your final pencil sketch.
  • Choose a color palette.  For cartoons for publication, I stick with either black and white line drawings, or shades of gray.  For my shop at Etsy I have more leeway to introduce pops of color.
  • Pat yourself on the back.  Not only have you stretched your brain and your creative eye, but you’ll probably find that the strong emotion you started out with is now transformed…therapy doesn’t get much cheaper than that!

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Filed under art, cartoon illustration, drawing, education, funny art, humorous illustration, illustration, inspiration, Joana Miranda Studio, Joana Miranda Studio at Etsy, My Favorite Things, New work, pen and ink, techniques, Tool Box

My Favorite Things – Flowers, Of Course

With so much work on my plate this spring, there were almost no opportunities for outings with my camera.  So I welcomed having a free afternoon today to walk over to the Conservatory Garden to see what’s blooming.  Needless to say, it was a feast for my eyes and for my camera.


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Filed under My Favorite Things, nature, New York, photography

My Favorite Things – Springtime in Central Park

Spring comes without fail every year, yet I still find myself always amazed when the trees burst into flower and Central Park becomes a riot of colors.

Even though the skies were grey yesterday, here’s what I saw when I took my afternoon stroll  in the park…


Filed under My Favorite Things, nature, New York, photography

My Favorite Things – The Chrysler Building

Completed in 193o, the Chrysler building is considered a leading example of Art Deco architecture.  The terraced steel crown makes this landmark a true gem in Manhattan’s skyline, and I never tire of photographing it.

Here are just a few of the photographs I’ve taken of this magnificent building…

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Filed under architecture, My Favorite Things, New York, New York City

My Favorite Things – Cafe Dates with My Cartoon Friends

I do have real friends, actually, but sometimes it’s just as fun to take myself out to a cafe with my sketchbook for some people watching and cartoon friend creation.

Case in point, this past weekend I walked to the Upper West Side Maison Kayser

And ordered a cafe latte and a slice of flour-less chocolate cake.

It was a hopping time to be at Maison Kayser, so I had fun picking subjects to sketch.  A party of four arrived at the table across from mine a short time after I sat down.  I captured one of the gentlemen in the group perusing the menu…as you can see, people tend to look happy when they’re reading the menu at Maison Kayser

And I could imagine him thinking…


Oh dear, oh my, what to choose?

Everything’s good, so there’s nothing to lose.

My belly has room for dessert, of course,

Too bad the sugar will cause remorse.


Filed under art, cartoon illustration, drawing, drawing faces, From My Sketchbook, funny art, humorous illustration, illustration, ink sketches, My Favorite Things, New York, practicing drawing, Quick Sketch, sketchbook

My Favorite Things – A Chance to Win $10,000!

(Actually, even better is getting lots of encouragement and votes from my family, friends and fans.)

Yes, I’ve decided to enter the Etsy #DifferenceMakesUs Contest.  Winning is entirely based on popularity (number of votes across different Social Media platforms), so if you like me and my work, I hope you’ll consider voting!  You can submit your vote here up until midnight on April 6th, EST.

Happy Voting!


Filed under art, cartoon illustration, drawing, funny art, humorous illustration, illustration, Joana Miranda Studio, Joana Miranda Studio at Etsy, marker and ink illustration, My Favorite Things, New work