My 2016 Morning Routine

Goooood morning! It may seem like I’m jumping the gun, titling my productive morning routine for 2016 already but – hey! – it’s December! Close enough. ;)

I’ve only been liberated from my old work schedule for a little under a month now, but already I am really enjoying waking up later in the morning than I used to. I’m talking going from 4AM to waking up at 6:30 in the morning. That’s nice. That’s progress! But mostly really nice because it feels like I’m sleeping in haha.

I like to start off my day with a loosening yoga practice to wake up my body and stretch out any stiff limbs I get during the night. Yoga is my favorite way to wake up in the morning – it gives me a chance to reflect on how my body is feeling, slow down my racing mind, and generally enjoy the fact that I’m alive and moving and have so much ahead of me.

For yoga I generally start off with 3-4 sun salutations, and then I play a bit from there with favorite poses or new ones that I’m trying to get better at (like the firefly pose, youch!)

Usually I have a fairly simple and healthy breakfast (usually). I’m still trying to make better food choices, but most often I am energized by a bowl of oatmeal with a scoop of peanutbutter, cereal, or turkey bacon and eggs. Today, though, I thought I’d try something new and make baked avacado and eggs. Yum!


It was actually pretty good! And its filled with healthy fats and fibers so no complaints here! Although I did end up adding a couple strips of turkey bacon and some bread to the plate – I’m a creature of habit guys. :P

You can find the steps for this simple and delicious recipe at if you’re feeling spontaneous.

And, of course, I love to add a cup of tea to almost every meal. This morning, I chose my Chocolate Rooibos Mint from This mix has such a full, nutty, chocolately taste that makes my tummy feel all warm and my tastebuds siiiinggg*~*~


Annnd lastly. My morning does not feel quite complete until I’ve done or started a daily sketch. It was suggested I draw the zodiac signs in my style so I thought – heyy why not. Today, I chose to draw Taurus because that is my sign and we are the best. <3

He’s just a pink undersketch for now, but I can’t wait to share once I’ve colored and inked him this afternoon!

So there you have it – an outline of my usual morning routine. I like to keep it simple and never really vary from the list unless I have to. The power of a habit becomes stronger with each day and now that I’ve been doing this for a while it is easy to get back into. Only difference is I don’t have to wake up at an ungodly hour to be done in time for work!

Starting the first few hours of your day with a handful of the most important things you know you want to get done is a great way to set yourself up to stay on track for the rest of your day. Having a healthy meal, daily exercise, and accomplishing small goals can make you feel good, energized, and ready to get stuff done! 

I hope today’s entry has inspired you to establish simple habits that will set you up for success in the long run.

Some questions I have for my active readers!

  • How do you usually start a productive day?
  • What are your most effective habits?
  • Do you like to organize tasks via lists or make them up as you go?

That’s it for today guys! Thanks for reading~


Student Corner: Finishing My First Classes!

As my online classes in Art History come into its last few weeks of presentations, I am both very happy for it to be over and also excited for the classes to come next month!

Since signing up for the Art Institute of Phoenix in November, so far I’ve come in with mixed feelings. The Art Institute gets a lot of negative buzz – just look on youtube and you’ll find a myriad of jaded graduates, students, and ex-students giving their input on what a horrible scam the Art Institutes was for them! I’ve been looking into the institutes since my junior year of high school – I know that its reputation is not the best.

But my dad always told me that anything you go into is only as valuable as you make it out to be. Meaning, my education, no matter where I go, is only going to be as valuable as the amount of work I put in while keeping in mind what the school can do for me. Everything is going to come down to what this school can do for me. And I need to ask myself – would I have learned what I am going to be learning on my own? Probably not. I wouldn’t know where to start!

I know I’m really not one to be talking, as I’m still green behind the ears and probably blinded by rosy glasses as a freshly new student. But I can’t help it! I’m not going to go into the goal I’ve set up for myself for years with a negative mindset, expecting the worst. That’s just not me, guys!

A traditional education is not for everyone, but as far as I’m concerned, I’m going to make the best of mine and see where it takes me… It’s not so much the degree I care about as the knowledge I hope to gain.



I did a lot of sketching in between work and classes this month. Here’s a few of my favorites!


That said, I took two classes for the months of November and December: Perspective and Art History. I have to say, obviously, Perspective was my favorite of the two because it was more hands on and refreshed fundamentals that I hadn’t visited in years. Art History? Well! That’s another story.

Art History was rough. With a presentation due every week based on the readings of so many pages every small number of days – I almost struggled to keep up! But I’m glad it was one of the first classes I was given, because I had to quickly establish better study habits that would work with my full time job while I was still in the military. I’m happy to say that these are my last two weeks in this class haha.

Anyways, I’m including some of the homework I did for my perspective class, and also some of the artwork I was able to get done in my spare time. Drawing is always fun for me – even when it is work, which it oftentimes is. I’m excited for my next set of classes in January…wish me luck!!






Potential Talent: The Art of Building Momentum

I really like to write messages of encouragement to anyone out there that is listening because I get a lot of emails asking how to get better at art when the skill level just isn’t there. Which makes me chuckle! Because I am still working towards improving myself and I look up to artists a million times more skillful than me like Fabien MenseLoish, andPete Mohrbacher, wondering when I’m going to get to that skill level. When am I going to get to that point in art where the ideas in my head translate more easily onto canvas or paper or digital medium with less struggle with anatomy and lighting and more focus on technique?

Sometimes I do get frustrated with how difficult it is for me to draw hands (We have all been there! haha) and I think to myself ‘Kyana, you draw hands all the damn time. You should have this by now!’ and I tell you…that kind of things gets me down.

But you know what? I have draw hands over and over again and when I acknowledge that, while it may not be a breeze for me now, gone are the days when I used to cover them up by hiding all my characters’ hand behind their backs. I’ve got a basic understanding of hand anatomy down from painstaking and frustrating practice and, thankfully, I am growing more comfortable drawing those pesky palms and fingers because I pushed through the frustration each time I drew a character. I looked up tutorials in between illustrations, took pictures of my own hands, studied references…

I say this all the time, but practice and study can only move you forward into understanding the parts of your craft that you want to get better at.

This week I was listening to a vlog by Will Terry titled “10 Reasons You Will NOT Starve as an Artist!” and a point that he brought up stuck with me instantly: Reason 3 – “You don’t judge your value as an artist by your current work

And that got me thinking – potential talent is a real thing. Now, I am certainly not saying you should sit on your butt or draw the same subjects every day without stretching your horizons and understanding of technique and say “Well! I have potential! So it should catch up with me eventually!”

No! Potential is defined as ‘capable of being or becoming’. There is a possibility – anopportunity – for anyone to become an accomplished artist, but you can only build on your potential by improving on your last creation, studying what did and didn’t work, comparing notes with other artists, defining what you like and don’t like and just continuing to work. In the long run success comes to those that put in practice.

I would also like to mention that just because you don’t like your work today you are not “worth-less” as an artist. What can you do today? What can you do the next time you make the time to draw? What don’t you like about your art today that you want to improve on and be great at someday?

Think about failures as valuable lessons. So maybe drawing dynamic poses is hard for you and someone pointed out the stiff, unchanging poses of your characters. Try drawing them running. Look up photographic references of dancers or sports players. Watch an action movie! And draw while you do it. Strive to understand how the body moves and then bring that knowledge into the next character you draw. No “failure” should end where it is. Use current shortcomings as a bookmark – or a point to improve upon or get past.

I like to look at regular drawing practice as building momentum. The art of building momentum in practice means to do it regularly until you are just on a roll. Even if you stop for a few days, you can still build momentum. Unless someone is holding a gun to your hand telling you not to draw, there is no one stopping you from doing what you can.This does not have to be a contest between anyone but you and yesterday’s work.

Do your best!

Practice with a goal in mind!

Remember that you are full of potential. Your art journey does not have to stop here.

And finally, as always, thanks for reading!


Where did the Art Community Go?

Maybe I’m a straggler on the edge of the art community, but is it just me or have sites like Deviantart gone into community-wide hibernation?

I recall the days I could go on Deviantart and talk with handfuls of people for hours like – every day. Even when Weasyl first came out, the community was booming and going strong under the excitement of having a new place to share their work.

But now? Deviantart is a ghost town, guys. Every time I check out the forums the latest posts were made over an hour ago. That might not sound like a long time to some people, but to me? In an age where instant communication online is the norm and hour is practically AGES. The person that posted is no longer there in my eyes. They’ve moved on to some other interesting corner of the internet.

I guess it only concerns me because I miss sharing things with a LARGE amount of people; posting illustrations with a pretty much guarantee that I was going to reply to somebody new. Maybe I’ve been out of the game for too long. Maybe there’s some invisible line that I’m standing outside of because I just..can’t…seem to get back into online communities like Deviantart and Weasyl (as much as I would love to!)

Where did everybody go?

Perhaps facebook is starting to come back around again community-wise. Facebook groups are a great way for artists to connect online. I mean, look at Zombie Studio! We’re a small and tight-knit community, but people are sharing what they’re working on almost every day AND we can talk to each other fairly quickly. That’s awesome!

I recently joined a couple daily sketch groups and am following the One Fantastic Week guys on facebook to get my fix.

To be far it hasn’t been too bad. I thoroughly enjoy the people I’ve been meeting and talking to through facebook artist groups. I just miss the good old days of gallery-connected art communities. Who knows. Maybe they’ll make a comeback. Maybe they won’t be saturated with fanart porn (although I do love porn – I’d like to see more variety) and the like.

Maybe I am completely overreacting haha.

Only time will tell.





Whew! I am finally at the end of my previous journey and beginning a new one. Starting in January, I begin classes at the Art Institute – and I am SO HAPPY!

I have been waiting for this day since before I graduated High School. I never thought I would make it or be able to afford it and I never thought I would be where I am now, in my own place, creating illustrations for hire and living out my childhood dream.

I can’t say I know where I’ll be going in life, but here, in this moment, I am a young artist that is so EAGER to get started and to hit the ground running, as they say.

To kick off the week I “warmed up” with a sketch that is turning into an illustration for my head story “Chronicles of Arlithion” . I won’t say much about it now, except that it’s got dragons and flying elves and crazy looking monsters (which, of course, I love to draw)

Aline, Defending the Three Kings’ Towers of Twa’ali

I’ve never really been one for inking things digitally, so I might just print this image off and do some traditional lines with my long-forgotten fountain pens. We’ll see!

Here’s a larger preview of the main character of this image, Aline.

‘Defenders of Three Kings’ Towers – Aline closeup

Other than that?

Well, I’m glad you asked, dear reader. ;)

Tomorrow, Zombie Studio will be kicking off December with a month long challenge! I’m so excited because already we’ve got people ready and revving to go! The theme is‘Design 30 characters based on inanimate objects’ and I can’t wait to see what they come up with!

Wanna join in? Perfect! Create a daily sketch based on the theme every day and tag it with#zombiestudioz to share with the rest of the art community!

We are also on Skype and Facebook, so don’t be shy!

That’s it for today folks, I’m off to finish some homework. Thanks for reading!

Signing off,


Free Work for Friends

When people find out you can draw it seems like the world around you begins asking for free work. From tattoo designs for friends to your great aunt’s logo its as if, overnight, you’ve become an art-making machine in the eyes of the people that know you. Much of the time it can be flattering! I mean, who doesn’t want to hear the people they know and love tell you how much they appreciate your work? And who doesn’t want to make beautiful things for their friends and family when you know it would make them happy?

But when you’re trying to go in a specific direction with your work, the requests start to become tiresome or even daunting. Nowadays I downplay my love for art around some of my friends at work because I don’t want to be tasked with another favor to draw another wolf tattoo or backdrop for a shop event or – surprisingly – be volunteered to design a birthday cake for a co-worker’s kid’s birthday party because, apparently, if you can draw at all, you must have experience designing cakes.

While it is nice to know that people are enthusiastic to the point where they would want something that I drew to be permanently inked on their body or put on a shirt they can wear around, it kindof sucks to find that they expect me to put in those hours for free. The twelve-year-old me would be ecstatic. The current me? ….Not so much.

I do my best to make things for the people closest to me when I have the time. I would never expect my parents or close family to pay a cent for a doodle I would have fun sketching and putting care into anyways. But when the demand or the circle of people asking for free art ‘as a friend’ grows I find myself looking at my portfolio and then at the time I have. Do I really have time to work on other people’s projects when what I truly want to do is prepare myself for a future in animation and fantasy illustration?

  I’ve recently learned that sometimes it’s okay to tell people that I don’t have the time to draw them something. I am no machine and I’m definitely not a jerk for declining a workload that I won’t have the time for or that doesn’t teach me anything.

It’s okay to recognize your worth as an artist; to put the time and sweat you’ve spent honing your craft in front of you and say, hey, my time is priceless, and it is worth more than taking every single ‘favor’ job for free just because I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.

Sometimes you just gotta say no to certain favors and move on. Especially when they do not align with your personal goals. Be respectful! But also respect your own time and effort.

That’s how I see it anyway!


Painting at the Buttcrack of Dawn

To be honest, it is currently 3:31AM.

I have been awake for an hour already andI’m beginning to truly believe I might actually have sleeping problems. But on mornings like these I am overcome with the need to paint or draw or SOMETHING, so it’s not so hard for me to get out of bed at all hours of the night just to get this urge OUT!

And yesterday I feel like I had a small awakening – it was a rather (extremely) boring day at work. Sitting at the smokepit on a lazy gray Monday, it seemed that all I had to say was ‘I can’t wait to Friday.’

I can’t wait ’till Friday!

  How sad is that? That every Monday, the beginning of every new week for the majority of my young adult life the only thing I can think of is when the week is going to end. I wonder how much time we spend coasting through five out of seven days, waiting for the two and a half days we can do whatever we want? How much time is that wasted, really?

So I sat there and, of course, had to post a status update about it on Facebook. Thing is, I don’t want to always be waiting for Friday. Maybe my job isn’t the most exciting thing in the world, but I at least want to make the most out of my day when I can. I at least want to come home and get things done and do something more than acknowledge how tired I am, watch Netflix, doodle a bit, and then go to sleep.

I’m always telling myself how I want to start making “more serious” pieces of artwork – things I have to work hard on, that don’t come easy, and that will take me days to finish, but I know will be worth it when I finally do.


My status was something along the lines of ‘I need to as myself what I can do to make my days worthwhile. I’m tired of waiting for the weekend to be somewhat happy. I’m going to paint with the door open tonight.’

It sounds silly, but that action alone, “voicing” my intent for everyone to see on Facebook, made me feel like I was more accountable to actually get it done.

At first it was hard. My thoughts were battered with the usual ‘ohh I don’t now what to drawww’ and ‘ohhh, oil paints are too much of a bother to get them all out and set everything up’

But then I was like… no bump that! I want to paint and I KNOW it’s going to make me feel good when I do, so dammit I’m going to paint!


   Starting is always the hard part. But, boy…once I did I was on cloud 9. And now I find myself so excited to wake up this morning that I’m here still typing at 3:43AM, knowing that once I’m done, my painting is waiting for me, calling for me, to get some work done.