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Smartsheet: Photon

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UPDATE: You can read more about Smartsheet’s Photon release on their blog.

This is another commission that I completed for Smartsheet’s “Photon” release similar to the Endeavour piece I worked on a few months ago. For this month’s theme, I decided to go a bit more abstract. When I was in engineering school, one of the physics courses went over light. One of the cool things about light is the phenomenon known as the wave-particle duality. The quick and dirty version is that light is made up of particles that can also act like waves. You can observe the particle behavior by looking at a shirt that’s been lying out in the sun too long. What’s interesting is that light can be reflected and refracted like a wave. For this piece, I wanted to incorporate both the idea of a photon as a ball of light and wave shapes to imply the duality. Man, this is sounding all so heady!

I actually knew what I wanted to paint even before I made the thumbnails, but I still did them just in case something more interesting came around. The thumbnail below is the concept that I had in mind.

After I had the thumbnail approved, I started created a bunch of geometric shapes in Illustrator. When I used shape layers in Photoshop for the Endeavour commission, it ended up increasing my file size and causing my computer to lag. made it a lot easier to edit the individual shapes instead of doing them all in Photoshop.

Below is a WIP screenshot of the piece as I’m importing the layers. I know it looks ugly, but it’s actually helpful from an organizational standpoint since I can easily tell the objects from each other as I’m moving things around. After I’m finished with placing them in the piece, I use Photoshop to blend and paint to make the piece feel more organic. Usually when working in digital, the piece tends to look sterile because the colors and shapes can be so precise and perfect. So much of the work is spent trying to “roughen” up the piece to make it look more appealing and interesting.

Finally, after many adjustment layers, masks, and smart layers, I finally arrive at the final piece. This piece was a lot of fun to work on since it’s more of an abstract subject that’s different from the usual characters and pandas. Thanks again to Smartsheet for the opportunity to work on this.

I have a special coupon for my shop that’s good until 12/24. Use the code “bfpandas17” to get 30% off your order. Happy holidays, everyone!

Rose City Comic Con! More Pre-commission slots!

Yesterday, I posted my appearance for Fan Expo Canada in Toronto during Labor Day weekend for my Canadian audience. Today is for my fellow ‘MURICANS. I will be tabling at the Rose City Comic Con down in my hometown of Portland at Table D-10! In addition, I am opening up pre-commission slots for those of you attending RCCC. If you are interested in an ink commission, the starting prices for a single character with minimal background are as follows:

  • 5×7 – $30 USD
  • 8×10 – $45 USD
  • 11×17 – $100 USD

Please email your name, your commission request, and the day you want to pick up the piece to punchingpandas on gmail. After your request has been approved, I will send you my Paypal info and will start on the commission when I receive payment. I’m going to start with 10 commission slots for now, and if I have time for anymore, I’ll open more slots. Looking forward to seeing you all there!

Fan Expo Canada Pre-Commissions Open!

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Hey Toronto, it’s time for Fan Expo Canada! I’ll be at Table A389 in the Artist Alley September 1-4 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

I’m also opening up pre-commission slots today! I’ll open 10 for now, and if there’s more availability I might open more. Prices for a single character ink drawing and minimal background start at the following prices (in Canadian Dollars):

  • 5×7 – $35 CAD
  • 8×10 – $60 CAD
  • 11×17 – $120 CAD


Below are some samples of commissions from last year’s Fan Expo Canada.

To sign up for a commission slot, please email me at punchingpandasart on Gmail. Please send me your name, your commission request, and the day that you’re planning on picking up your piece. Once your request has been approved, I’ll send you my PayPal info and will start work once I receive payment. For more details, visit my commissions page. Look forward to seeing you all!

RCCC Commission

I forgot to post this a while back, but here’s a commission that I did a while back for my friend Drake for Rose City Comic Con. He requested that he and his girlfriend be drawn as pandas. She was supposed to be Boba Fett, and he wanted to be Vader except that he would be sporting his usual studded hat and goatee instead of the Dark Lord’s helmet. Also, their dog would be an Ewok.  This is why I like commissions, I would have never come up with these ideas! :)

A Week in Toronto

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I’m back from my week in Toronto for Fan Expo Canada 2015. What a week!

Overall Fan Expo Canada was a lot of fun, and I plan on signing up again. The parts I enjoyed the most was catching up with old friends, making new ones, and the conversations that I got to have friend friends and fans alike.

This was my first time at Fan Expo, and it was by far the biggest one that I’ve tabled at. Overall, things weren’t as stressful as I thought they’d be, and I actually felt pretty relaxed while I was there, much more so than the commute. After this weekend, I feel pretty good moving forward and applying to other large cons.

I got a good share of commissions, a couple of them were pretty wacky, but I had fun.  Seemed like the theme for Fan Expo was pandas and girls, but I enjoyed making each and every one of them. I mean, I get to draw a Hellboy and a Furiosa panda, how cool is that?



I also got to meet a lot of talented artists and see some of their work. Sorry if I missed anyone, there’s just so much talent out there! Thomas AuMaruti Bitamin, Kyle James Smith, Gabe Sapienza, Genevieve FT, Nneka Myers, Melvin Yuen, Amanda J. Martin, Lee Ann Dufour, Chris Uminga, Matthew Fletcher, Mike Brodie, Kalvin Kulz, Derek Ho, Kenny Whaa, Glen Specter, Nathan Alcee, Ian Herring, Brian Hoang, and Gillian Newland.


Now that I’m back in Seattle, I’m getting a little moment to breathe, but not for long! Rose City Comic Con is coming up fast, see you soon, Portland!



Super Panda Commissions

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Just finished up a batch of commissions for my good friend Kevin.  He’s a big fan of the Super Pandas, so I hope you enjoy these as much as I enjoyed making them. Cheers!

Thoughts from ECCC and Fan Expo Van

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Hey everyone, sorry it’s taken me a while to post this, but I finally recovered from the adrenaline drain from the last two comic cons. I’ve gotten back in rhythm, so it’s business as usual.

So where do I begin with ECCC and Fan Expo? First of all, I loved it.  I loved the energy of both events. I loved the people I met. I loved seeing the crazy cosplayers. I loved the all the activity happening around the table. Overall, I enjoyed every minute of my first con experience, and I’m hooked! Now let’s get into the details.Read More »Thoughts from ECCC and Fan Expo Van

Preorder Commissions still open and Fan Expo Vancouver Table Number!

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ECCC Location

Hey everyone, I still have room for preorder commissions for Emerald City Comicon and Fan Expo Vancouver.  I probably won’t be able to finish that many by ECCC, but you can still sign up anyways since I’ll be doing commissions at the con.  If you’re visiting ECCC this weekend, please check me out at Table JJ-03 on the 6th floor.  Check the map above for my table position.

Fan Expo is almost a week away for all you Canadiens!  I just received my table placement.  I will be at Table A35, check below for the map.  come by and say hi!

Fan Expo Vancouver Location

In the meantime, here are a few preorder commissions I got to complete for ECCC.  Can’t believe the weekend is almost here!

ECCC + VanFanExpo! 2015 Pre-order commissions slots open!

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[UPDATE: Digital preorders are no longer open for ECCC and Fan Expo Vancouver.  I do accept digital commissions, but those will be completed and shipped after Easter weekend (4/3-4/5).]

Howdy! I have a big announcement to make! I will have a table in the artist’s alley at Emerald City Comicon this year!  My table will be JJ-03 on the 6th floor under “Punching Pandas.” It was a last minute addition that I wasn’t expecting to open up, but now that I’m on the list it’s time to get bizzay! I will also be featuring at the FanExpo Vancouver [UPDATE: at table A35] the following weekend April 3-5.  I’m busy trying to get things together and am really excited to show my work in these cons.

I will be opening up pre-order commission slots for digital prints and BW ink originals to pick up at both conventions. I will be doing commissions at the conventions, but these pre-orders will allow me to spend a little more time on your piece without being interrupted with the needs of the booth as well as relieve you from having to stand in another line. Slots are limited for now, but if I feel like I have the bandwidth to do more, I’ll take on more commissions. I’m open to doing commissions outside of the conventions, but pre-orders for the conventions will have first priority.

Commission Guidelines

Commissions will be single full-body characters with a minimal background depending on the commission.  I might make an exception if I feel like the additional characters are simple enough to add in (e.g. a parrot on a pirate’s shoulder).  Some general guidelines for the subjects:

What I won’t draw:

  • Sexual activity or lewd content. There’s kids who look at my stuff, man!
  • Explicit nudity and gore. I’m not averse to either, but only if it’s done in a tasteful and humorous way.
  • Crazy complex designs or compositions like a pile of nails or intricate mech designs. If you want a picture of a pile of nails, take a photo.
  • Caricatures, realistic likenesses, or hyper-realism.
  • The price of the commissions are subject to change depending on the complexity of the character.
  • Commission requests will be on a first-come, first-serve basis.
  • I reserve the right to refuse a commission if I am not comfortable with the subject or if I find it too complicated.

What I will draw:

  • Animals, people, some celebrities
  • Fan art, original art, video game art, all kinds of art! :D
  • Overall, I want to have a good time drawing something so that you will enjoy seeing on your wall. I’m just here to have a good time and try my best!

Submission Guidelines

To add your name to the list, please email me at nolen.lee [AAATTT] gmail duh-duh-dot com. Please include:

  • ECCC Commission” or “VanFanExpo Commission” in your subject header so I know which convention I need to bring the pieces to.
  • Indicate which days you plan on attending each convention so I know when to have them ready and when to bring them.
  • Clear reference photos of the character (send pictures, not links). I see you spammers… -_-
  • Specific notes for the piece including the personality, attitude, and anything you might find relevant to the character. The better you can explain your concept, the easier and quicker I can get the piece completed.
  • Indicate if you would like to have a digital print (see below for deadline), BW painting, or pencil sketch. [UPDATE: Digital preorder commission slots no longer offered for either comicon, but I do receive commissions outside of the comicons. Please email me at the address above if you are interested in a commission.]

Once I receive your email, I will confirm within 24 hours with your position on the list.  If I accept your commission request, I’ll send you my PayPal information; I’ll begin work once I’ve received payment.


  • [UPDATE: Digital print commission slots no longer offered for Emerald City.  Fan Expo requests are still open] 11×17 Digital color print – starting at $80 USD, additional characters – starting at $20 USD
    • Printed with archival inks
    • Lexjet Premium Matte paper
  • [UPDATED] 9×12 BW ink original with wash – starting at $40 USD, additional characters – starting at $15 USD
    •  Watercolor paper, 300 g/m², cold-pressed
    • Will add minimal color upon request
  • [UPDATED] 5×8 BW ink original with wash – starting at $25, additional characters – starting at $10
    • [UPDATED] Watercolor paper, 300 g/m², cold-pressed
    • Will add minimal color upon request
    • Include matting for $5


Due to my limited time leading up to both shows, I will stop receiving pre-order requests for digital prints to give myself ample time to complete the artwork and send them to the printer.  For ECCC, please submit your commission request no later than March 9, 2015.  For Fan Expo Vancouver, please submit your commission request no later than March 16, 2015. I will try to get to as many of these commissions as I possibly can, if I’m unable to complete your commission in time, I will ship the image to your location.

[UPDATE: I won’t be receiving anymore digital preorder commissions for VanExpo but I will be doing ink drawing commissions leading up to Fan Expo as well as commissions during the cons. If you’re interested in commissions outside of the cons, please contact me at the email address listed above.]

Looking forward to seeing you all at these year’s cons! It’s gonna be a blast!



Birthday Drawing

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In August, I was commissioned to do a birthday drawing of my friend Ann. The conversation went something like this:

Clara: hey

Me: yo

Clara: you think you could draw a cartoon of Ann for her cake

Me: I’ll try my best

So I did my best. And by “best,” I mean procrastinating until two days before the party and working until late at night. Anyways, it turned out alright I guess. I wasn’t able to go to the party, but someone sent me these photos from the party. Happy birthday, Ann!

Ann & drawing