A collective is born…

Hello there. It’s been a while since I’ve last posted. Lots of changes in life but now that I have my own studio I’ve been concentrating on the business side of things and trying not too be too much of a drawing hermit. Which brings me to this exciting bit of news..

I’ve joined a collective!

Together with a few good friends/illustrators/partners in crime we have launched a professional collective of like-minded illustrators. To what aim you ask? To take over the illustration world!

Well, not really but you get my drift.

We are pulling together our resources and fostering a creative space to thrive and grow while challenging ourselves to create art, even on the bad days. Especially the bad days (Thanks Neil).

I introduce to you: Team Stardust Illustration!

Chris Koehler

Galine Tumasyan

Michelle McNeil

Kristen Adam

And yours truly.

Our aim is to post new art every month and to do quarterly promotions to key art directors that we are interested in working with and to keep each other busy. This is key. At least for me.

Until next time,

Chica Artista

The Power of No or, Why I don’t work for free.



Yesterday I was offered my first job as an Illustrator as a result of sending out email promos over the summer.

I was so excited. As a student, it’s hard to believe that people will hire you based on your work. I mean, that’s what we hope for but getting a pro job offer feels like its part of a nebulous future that can’t possibly have anything to do with you. However there it was sitting in my inbox, an offer to be on the cover of a mag, and from a publication i admire, no less. The art director introduced herself, laid out the plan, the process of being selected and the terms. Everything sounded legit but the terms sounded a bit off. “Please note, there are no payments for the sketches, but if we all like your sketch after the meeting, we’ll pay you a small amount to officially hire you for the job.”

My nervous excitement turned to caution. I decided to consult the arsenal of professionals most students have on hand: our current and past instructors. All of them warned against the growing trend of publications, hiring illustrators without paying them for sketches. Sketches are work and I decided a long time ago that I never want to work for free. I learned about a “kill fee”, which is standard practice for the time spent in case the job gets scrapped.

Sketches are more than just a doddle. It is part of a process of critical thinking we honed in the hundred hours receiving and giving criticism in class. It’s the sleepless nights we all spent agonizing over the combinations of composition, color and technical skill that could best communicate our ideas. It is our college education, which did not come cheap in money or in effort.

So, I wrote back a very nice professional letter stating my enthusiasm of working with the publication but, in very clear terms, she needed to pay me for all of my work. I pressed send and I knew I might not hear from her again but I realized something. In the future, besides getting job offers, I want a work in an industry that values my work as an artist. I refuse to participate in the trivialization of the arts and devalue my line of work. I realized that I have the power to say no.



Abigail Rocha

September 14th, 2014

Sunny San Diego, comics, and shooting reference.

Visited my Mama earlier this month and it was heaven to be in a place where the sun blazed in the sky and the weather was hot but cooled by an ocean breeze. I even got a tan. My only regret was I missed comic con by a week! I even had friends who were going to sneak me in.
Well, back home now and I’ve been working on finishing up a short comic for a zine I’m helping contribute to. Quite a learning experience in collaborating and busting my butt with a creative project on the fly. I’ll explain more when after the zine goes to the printers.
Here’s a sneak peek of one of the panels:
Right now I’m reworking another panel with a panic scene in where people are fleeing an incoming disaster but I was having a difficult time finding the right reference.
That’s when loved ones come in handy…

A: “Babe it’s time, the sun is perfect!”
G: “Okay. What do you want me to do?”
A: “Run around like a crazy person all along the street! Careful for those cars!”
15 min later…
G:”Is that good enough? The neighbors are starting to look at us like we’re cray.”
A: “Nope. Keep running. Can you freeze mid-run with your left leg up, about 5 paces back, looking down?”

Etc. Etc.

Here’s a bit of that reference shot I compiled in Photoshop.
What did we ever do before magic wand?
Anyways, till later!


Graham. Graham everywhere.

Silvester in Blue.

Sorry for the delay, it’s been very busy around here getting thesis proposals together, home improvements,  planning my trip to San Diego and working on a collaborative comic book zine. Who says summer vacation is relaxing? Not when you fill your days with so much fun! Almost forgot to post this week. So here is a painting of mine done in oil a while back of a favorite cat of mine, Sylvester. He’s a scamp and a conniving one at that but entirely lovable. When I moved out of the communal house in Piedmont, I wished he could of come with us. I think he felt the same, he jumped in the car when we started packing the car. Anyway, enjoy!

Oil on wood, 13"x11".

Sylvester in Blue. Oil on wood, 13″x11″.

Ex-Libris Illustrations.

I love books. I used to be that meek bookish girl in the glasses with three different books in her backpack that would use archaic words like “hither” and “methinks” in regular conversation because fantasy books were chock-full of the stuff. Well, perhaps I’m still that girl just with a bit more on the social skills category, n’est-ce pas? Anyway, I got my books mainly from thrift stores and I remember getting excited whenever I spied a book with beautiful Ex-Libris bookplates. I would sit on the dirty floor tracing the lines with my grubby fingers.
A few months ago, when an assignment came around to make our own, I was thrilled. Here are my Ex-Libris bookplates, one of cat because, I’m a cat lover and the other, because my middle name is piña, or pineapple in Spanish.

abby_rocha_pina_exlibrisW abby_rocha_cat_exlibrisW


Inspirational Book Finds!

Artists are always on the lookout for inspirational illustrated books. Today at an estate sale near my house I found some amazing books. I took some home and after some research I realized I had found a gold mine of beauty!
First up is a 1953, German, first edition of Die kleine Seejungfrau (or, as we know it, “The Little Mermaid”) by Hans, illustrated by Sulamith Wulfing.
The illustrations are simply gorgeous! Here’s some pictures of the book. BookSulamith

BookSulamith_detail BookSulamith_plate

Second book find; “Posters by Maurice Sendak” (1986). He illustrated “Where The Wild Things Are”. Here is a picture of one of the pages:
Third book find; “Painters of Fantasy: from Hieronymus to Dali” (1974). Here’s a page from Gustave Dore:
The fourth book made me squeal like a fan girl! It’s not worth very much but it’s a book of drawings by a master of ink, Heinrich Kley.
Here is a page from “The Drawings of Heinrich Kley” (1961)


Thanks for looking! Next week I’ll post my Ex-Librium illustrations.

Printmaking work

When I first started CCA, I was a transfer student so I had very limited amount of electives I could take since I has so many credits fulfilled. I could of taken anything but I chose printmaking classes. Intaglio and wood cuts were my favorite methods. Intaglio is copper or zinc plates, scratched and then etched deeper in with an acid solution and those marks become part of the image. Woodcut is relief printing and the carved lines are the negative image. I loved Intaglio for the ability to make fine detail lines, it feels very much like drawing and woodcut for it’s lack of fine control and it’s rough results. Here are some prints I’ve created. I seem to like to create more conceptual work this way. Let me know what you think.
abby_rocha_whats_for_sale_sabby_rocha_medusa_sabby_rocha_queen_bee_s abby_rocha_child_soldier_s

Quick and Dirty, Mission Pie Sketch.

So I’ve started a new ritual, every Monday, I get together with a bunch of inspiring artists in a little coffee shop in SF. Mission Pie Mondays is a small informal group of CCA students, alumni, and staff started by a beast of a artist and professor, Mr. Chris Koehler. Mission Pie in SF has the BEST banana cream pie ever but the best bit is they let us take up half the place with us “Artists” types and doodle. If any of you guys want to hang out and sketch drop me a line, eh?
Here’s a quick sketch I started today. Not the best anatomy but it was fun mixing up Gauche, Acrylic, Pencil, and ballpoint pen a-la Baron Storey(ish).  It’s really satisfing just going crazy and letting loose in experimental ways. Anyway, thanks for viewing, I’ll be posting up more sketches/finished art soon.


Ocean at the End of the Lane, book cover mock up exercise

Hello again.

One of my favorite type of assignments for class is Book Cover illustration. Just recently I finished a book cover mockup for Neil Gaiman’s “The Ocean at the End of the Lane” (which i picked because I’m a bit of a fan) and I really enjoyed the process from start to finish..


Ocean (more…)