Who Else Wants A Strange, Spooky Picture Per Day From This Strange Artist?

I have been gotten back on Instagram…after a long reprieve….and let me tell you….it’s tough being out there….it’s as scary as a haunted house or a dark enchanted forest (you have to fight self-doubt, comparison, and other evil monsters). I returned so I could follow some spooky and inspirational artists (https://www.instagram.com/ghoulnextdoor/ , https://www.instagram.com/beeskneesindustries/ , https://www.instagram.com/spectralgardens/ , https://www.instagram.com/_virginia_mori_/ , https://www.instagram.com/weird_vintage_photos/) and to be able to send galleries and other art communities a social media account when I applied for opportunities (yep, I’m always trying to promote my artwork and get it out there so I can be found by the right audience—-an audience who appreciates and loves my spooky, strange art too).

I’ve been trying to make a lovely feed of strange and spooky art each day. I know that’s what I enjoy seeing in my feed. Who else wants that? If you do, take a chance on this strange artist and follow my strange feed. Below are examples of what you can expect from me…ghosts, bats, magic, moons and a very special cat named, Katarina…..sssshhhhh….don’t tell anyone….but she’s the inspiration for my next 11 art pieces…you might see some work in progress in my Instagram feed…just saying. Will I see you there?

How Well Do You Know This Strange Artist? + 4 More New Items On The Strange Website!

I don’t know if you visit my website very often, but I thought I’d let you know that I’ve added a few new things…actually….I think my website is always like an old Victorian House that I fix on the weekends and when I get some spare time. I add a few things here and there, now and again…and often…I forget to tell anyone about the home….I mean website improvements I’ve made. Below are 5 of my latest improvements:


Who In the Hell Is This Strange Art for? Do You Know? Gothic? Victorian? Or Fairytale?

For the longest time, I’ve tried to figure out who my art audience is. I’ve changed the name of my website many times, calling my work different things in hopes for the right audience, the audience who loves what I create, to find me. It’s been called, “dark fairytale art”, but it wasn’t that dark and it wasn’t very fairty tale like, was it? It’s been called “La La Land” because it seemed similar to Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass. I’ve said it’s “Vintage” and “Victorian”. But sometimes, it’s not either of those.

After much looking and searching, I’ve finally realized….maybe… it’s on the edge of Victorian Gothic Art. I say on the edge because it’s not too macabre and it’s not too Victorian. But I think that’s the closest I’ve ever come to figuring it out. I guess the true test is to see if that is the audience my artwork attracts.

What do you think? Who would love ghosts, moons, magic and night time girls? Weigh in by submitting your opinion in the survey below. And thank you for your opinion, it matters to me. Of course, I’ll write a post on the results in a few weeks.

Melissa Cat Shadow.jpg
The Audience for Art From the Strange Land *
The Audience for Art From the Strange Land
How would you best describe the AUDIENCE for Art From the Strange Land of Beelangeen? Choose how much you agree or disagree with each option.
Victorian Gothic
Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass
Dark Fairytale
If you don't agree with any of the above options or if you have some comments, please let me know in the space below.

Will These Moths Be the End of Me in Finishing This Magazine Cover?

Yes, it was a struggle to get the moths and the boy on this Metaphorosis magazine cover to take flight. I tried some new things and unfortunately sometimes, that is just what happens when you take risks and dare to do something new. One of the new things I tried was a different paper which I thought would work well because it was a high quality art paper that had gotten a lot of good reviews.

For my purposes, it ended up being the bane of my illustrating existence. I didn’t like how it didn’t hold the color very well and the texture was much more rough than I expected or wanted. How was I suppose to make him look glowing and otherworldly when I my colors wouldn’t do what I wanted them to do?

I tried to spray on a new layer of texture to lay on more color to cover the rough texture underneath it. This didn’t have the effect I intended, making everything more strange, murkier and muddier. I added some greenish-yellow to emphasize the moths and that wasn’t quite the right move either. What could I do?

When you hit a dead end, you just have to stop picking at it like a scab because it will bleed and get infected if you don’t stop. Just stop. Put down the drawing and stop. I had to walk away for a few days and forget about it.

When I returned, I had some fresh ideas. I thought I could play with the illustration in Adobe Photoshop and change the contrast and brightness of certain elements to get the effect that I wanted. I’m happy to report that it finally worked. Below is the glowing, strange moths cover that I submitted to my editor. He had no problem with it (or at least any that he told me).


Next week, you’ll get to read the story that this strange moth illustration is about as well as all the other powerful stories I read for the May 2019 issue of Metaphorosis magazine. Let me know what you think it. I’d enjoy getting your perspective of the story and how my illustration fits with it (or not). Plus learning your opinion and point of view makes me feel less alone and less disconnected in this strange world.

Is It Easy or a Struggle to Get These Moths to Take Flight on the Magazine Cover?

After the thumbnail sketch was approved, I had to make a final drawing of the magazine cover to be approved before I could move on to fleshing it out with color, shadow and light. Below is the final drawing I sent to the Metaphorosis editor. Did he have any changes? Was I able to capture the feel of the strange story with my strange illustration?

Beating of a Wing-Moths-Final-Drawing.jpg

The editor approved it, only saying that I needed to keep in mind the dimensions of the cover which were a little more narrower than my above drawing. That was easy to fix by cropping off the sides, since nothing of importance was at the edges. All of the essential visual information resided in the middle of my illustration.

So far, it has been easy to do this cover. Admittedly, I wasn’t sure how to portray the boy before I drew him in detail. Did I want to show him as a misfit? Did I want to show that he was angry with his mom? Could I visually bring out the brainy kid that his mother didn’t understand? In the end, I think I showed the curious and fearless kid that I could relate to in the story.

What’s next after the drawing is the color, shading and light. They will be the tougher challenge and may be an actual struggle. If you stay tuned, you may get to see me fall flat on my face in my execution. That is always my fear. It’s like I draw myself into a corner and then I have to color my way out of it. If we have any luck, I’ll be able to pull this out of me like a butterfly from a caterpillar (yes, that was a nod at the task I have ahead).

Which Thumbnail Sketch Will Become the Magazine Cover for Metaphorosis?

Before I even start the wheels turing and scribbling down some sketchy ideas for magazine covers, I get stories to read, so I can decide which one pricks my imagination the most to illustrate. This time for Metaphorosis, all 4 of the stories I read had powerful visuals for me. They were all equally compelling, none standing out from the other. What was I to do? I couldn’t choose one.

I made a thumbnail sketch for each story (as you can see above) and asked a friend which one he liked the most. He picked a couple, but I still wasn’t sure what to do. I decided to send all the sketches to the editor and see which ones he found the most compelling. Strangely, he also chose the same two that my friend chose as his favorites from the 4 sketches.

That gave me confirmation to choose one of the two sketches to make into the May 2019 Metaphorosis cover. They are the bottom two sketches of the spaceship and a boy surrounded by moths. Which one did I decide to create into the cover? Which one would you have chosen? I finally picked the boy with the moths.

Stay tuned during the next few weeks if you want to see the evolution of this cover. I’ll share my work in progress, so you can see if I was able to make this sketch into something worthy of awe and attention. It’s always unknown to me if it will be easy or a struggle.

What A Surprise to Be Accepted into This Juried Art Show: 2019 Portland Open Studios

About a month ago, I applied to get into the annual art studio event, Portland Open Studios, where art lovers and collectors can go on a self-guided, free tour of over 100 artists’ studios and see them work in their spaces and see how they create art. The jury was prestigious this year, including Stephanie Chefas of the Portland gallery, “Stephanie Chefas Projects” and Lisa Congdon, nationally known illustrator and author, so I wasn’t sure what chance an unknown artist like myself would have—-Wait-—-Do you even know me? Who did you think I am?——I was definitely riddled with doubt, but wanted to take the chance and see how I fared. Just having these 2 high-powered women check out my art seemed worth the risk of shame or dying alone and unknown——yes, I have a flare for the overdramatic.


I was on pins and needles for weeks. I’d talk about it all the time. Would I get in? Did I have what it took? Did I represent what they thought was worthy of attention and recognition? Should I pretend I would get in and just start working on the things I needed to do to get done (creating new art, planning demos, making products to sell, etc.) for an open studio visit for art lovers and collectors?


A few days ago, I got the fateful email that I had been waiting for. Did I get in? Yes. It was full of good news. I made the cut and I would be able to show people my art in the space where I created it. I’d get to do a demo for them and have them interact with me. I’d get to show them all the art I’ve been creating——it’s a lot—-that hasn’t been seen or exhibited.

With this wonderful surprise, I’m now cooking up new art and fun things for this event in October. If you want an excuse to come visit Portland, Oregon in 2019, this is the best reason to come. It will be the 2nd and 3rd weekends of October, on both Saturdays and Sundays. As an introvert, I will love the break from isolation, but I also know I’ll be exhausted after so much interaction with people. I love chatting with them, so why does it drain me of energy? Can you relate? Do you know what I mean? In any case, I’m super excited and I hope to see some of you there who love mysterious and beautiful artwork.

Melissa Kojima Chalk Drawing-Oct 2017-2.jpg

***NOTE: I’ll be showing with artist Dave Benz in South East Portland, so our open studio will be jumping with many amazing sights and things to do. More details to come as we get closer to the date——but we do have some collaborative artwork to share with our visitors that we’ve never shared before. I hope you’re as excited as I am.

2 Bits of Good Art News for Art From the Strange Land of Beelaungeen

Do you get into the rut of accentuating the negative instead of the positive? I do too. I think about what I lack. I think about what I want. I think that if only I had———you name it——-and it would make my life easier, happier, better in some way. You do that too? Well, today, I’m doing the opposite and letting you in on 2 bits of good news for Art From the Strange Land of Beelaungeen—-what I mean is good news about my art——and what I mean by art is the art I create for you who likes my strange artwork.

  1. MY “MOONS, MAGIC AND NIGHT TIME GIRLS CARD SET” WILL BE SELLING AT RIVERSEA GALLERY: This Astoria, Oregon Coast gallery will soon sell my 5 cards at their gallery. They will be sold individually for $5.00 each. I showed the gallery owner the set and she said she’d love to sell them. This is the first time I’ll have any art or products in this gallery and the first time I’ll be sell my cards at a brick and mortar business, so it is exciting.

  2. I’LL BE ILLUSTRATING THE MAY ISSUE OF METAPHOROSIS, SPECULATIVE FICTION MAGAZINE: I’ve illustrated the cover 3 times before, but it’s always fun and always good news to be doing a cover for this magazine with sci-fi and fantasy short stories. I’ve been sent a few of the stories to be in the May issue, so I can decide what to create for the cover. I think it will be hard to decide because the stories are so strange and interesting, full of fantastical imagery. I’ll be sharing the process and my progress in the weeks to come.

Do you have any bits of good news to break through the negative? Do tell. I could use some good news from you.

Here's to Strong, Strange, Amazing Women Who Refuse to Fit It In and Defiantly Be Themselves!

It’s International Women’s Day so I had to just say hooray for all the strange, strong and awesome ladies in my life. This seems an appropriate time to name a few of them.

There’s my Canadian graffiti artist friend who has always been a champion for my art even when it sucked when I was starting out! There’s my 80 year old gal pal who still swims on a regular basis and tells me to never give up even when the going has been very tough. There’s my Hungarian friend who is just the sweetest, kindest animal loving gal I know. There’s my Dodger loving babe who creates amazing crochet jewelry like a lotus bracelet for me.

My drawing of strange, mysterious women, titled, “Night Time Magic Girls in Masks”.  Detail of it is available as a $5.00 card here.

My drawing of strange, mysterious women, titled, “Night Time Magic Girls in Masks”. Detail of it is available as a $5.00 card here.

There are sooooo many more. Thank you, awesome ladies for being in my life! Hooray for you and hooray for all women everywhere. May you feel strong enough to be who you are in all your realness, in all your glory. I wish the same for myself.

My Victorian Freak Show Paper Puppets at Jill McVarish Gallery

Since Jill McVarish Gallery in Astoria, Oregon invited me to the “Doll” group show in their “Secret Gallery”, I thought my Victorian inspired, freak show monster paper puppets would be perfect there. I’m not sure who knows what a paper puppet is, so in case you don’t know, they are paper dolls with heads, arms, legs and torsos that move on a paper brad hinge. You can move their parts to play with them or to make a stop motion animation. I love strange things and maybe, these are part of that. What do you think?

Each original paper puppet was created with colored pencil and has it’s own 9” x 11” homemade shadow box in which to live, move and play.

Each original paper puppet was created with colored pencil and has it’s own 9” x 11” homemade shadow box in which to live, move and play.

The “Doll” group show starts March 8, 2019 and runs through the first week in April. Who knows what wondrous things will be there besides my freak show paper puppets. If you’re interested in purchasing the original artwork, please inquire at the Jill McVarish Gallery.

Gentleman Skull Freak Show Paper Puppet.

Gentleman Skull Freak Show Paper Puppet.

Lady Bat Freak Show Paper Puppet.

Lady Bat Freak Show Paper Puppet.

Lady Medusa Freak Show Paper Puppet.

Lady Medusa Freak Show Paper Puppet.