How the Quirky Dog of Hell Became the Ferocious Killer: My Post-It for the Giant Robot 2017 Art Show

This is has been the 6th year I've been invited to be in the Post-It Art show at Los Angeles's Giant Robot.  To be honest, I'm not counting.  Maybe, it's been more years than that.  I know it's not less.  This 2017 year, I decided to draw something that everyone liked when I did my Inktober drawings (you can see them on my Instagram account here).


It was a kind of cute and quirky dog from hell that had that gothic and charming Edward Gorey quality to it.  I liked the funny, little, front paws as it was running along.  Who is he kidding?  He's not scaring anyone.  If he caught up to you, you'd just giggle at him.  

Run Drawing Inktober 2017-MKojima.png

I decided to up the ante with my post-it art.  I beefed him up and gave him a truly terrifying pose.  Now, you'd be pissing yourself if he was running behind you.  If you looked over your shoulder, you would see him lunge at you and you'd run, run, run for your life. 

Ferocious Dog From Hell-MKojima.jpg

This is the only post-It, I drew for the 2017 show.  I hope just the right freak will find this ferocious killer and they'll live happily ever after.


I forgot that I sent my portfolio to a sci-fi/fantasy magazine called, "Metaphorosis" at the beginning of this year (2017).  The editor had liked my work and said they'd let me know when they could use my style. I thought that was nice, but really didn't think I'd hear back from them.  So it came as a surprise when he contacted me a couple months ago and asked me to create the cover for their December 2017 issue.

The first scribbly sketch to the editor of "Metaphorosis" magazine.

The first scribbly sketch to the editor of "Metaphorosis" magazine.

Of course, I'd like the opportunity to have my art on the cover of this fiction magazine.  They sent me 2 fairytale-like stories and asked me to sketch a scene from one of them that I wanted to create for the cover.  I read both of them and they were very romantic and very melancholy.  The main characters in both of the stories felt lonely, sad and wished for love.

The final sketch for the December 2017 cover of "Metaphorois" magazine.

The final sketch for the December 2017 cover of "Metaphorois" magazine.

I decided whatever I chose to create, it had to make you feel that loneliness and that longing for love.  I chose a scene where the young lovers must part and may not ever see each other again.  I thought making it dark and muted with only little parts glowing would make it feel magical and mysterious.

Work in progress photos of the cover painting.

Work in progress photos of the cover painting.

Honestly, I was scared I couldn't make it what it needed to be. I wasn't sure if I was good enough of an artist. I confided in a friend who has known me for a long time. After listening, he reminded me that I am always like this before I start a painting. I doubt myself. I think it's going badly and it's not going to turn out.  I laughed when he told me that.  It was true. I had forgotten that.  

Almost done work in progress photo of the painting.

Almost done work in progress photo of the painting.

He also reminded me that even if it seemed like my painting wasn't working out and he didn't understand what I was trying to create, it always turned out beautifully.  He had faith in me.  That gave me the courage to continue and to finish it.

The final painting for the cover of "Metaphorosis" magazine December 2017 issue.

The final painting for the cover of "Metaphorosis" magazine December 2017 issue.

As you can see, it turned out quite lovely. I surprised myself. The editor said he liked it a lot and so did my friends and fellow artists. That made me feel good.  I was so happy I came through, not just for the magazine, but also, for myself. 


A few months ago, an art magazine called, "Octopus" contacted me and asked if they could use my chalk drawing in their magazine. I was quite flattered and happy to oblige them. They were happy to be able to feature my work because they felt like I was getting out there and doing something different with my art.  I was so excited about this opportunity that I decided to surprise them with a chalk drawing of an octopus.

"Topiary Octopus" chalk drawing for "Octopus" magazine by Melissa Kojima.

"Topiary Octopus" chalk drawing for "Octopus" magazine by Melissa Kojima.

They interviewed me, had me give them the background story on my topiary chalk drawings and they paid me for my work.  I kept asking them when it would be published, so I could share it with everyone. It was suppose to be out and ready to purchase by the end of October.  

A couple days ago, they contacted me and told me that the magazine has been put on hold indefinitely.  They just haven't been able to pin down certain things that they needed like advertisers, a good graphic design, and a good deal on publishing and distribution. I guess that's just the name of the game when it comes to publishing.

I said I understood because I know they wanted to do it right, not just half-assed to get it out the door.  I admire that commitment to quality and to creating something special. It reminds me of what great artists do.  

Still, I'm sad that my "Topiary Octopus" chalk drawing may never get in the pages of "Octopus" magazine.  In any case, here it is now for you to enjoy.

Ferocious Topiary Gorilla Secret Chalk Drawing

"What does the door mean?"  I was asked about my ferocious topiary gorilla chalk drawing.  "What lies beyond the door?"  Honestly, I didn't have a good answer.  I didn't exactly know.  It was a mystery to me too.   


My intention was to show that sometimes you have to be brave to go deeper than what's on the surface.  Will you dare to open that door that obviously is protected with ferocity?  Who will knock?  Are there treasures to be discover? 

I certainly hope there is an adventure when that door is opened.  When you get brave enough to approach it, let me know what you find.  I'm sure it's worth it.

Ferocious Topiary Bear Secret Chalk Drawing

I had a man ask me if this ferocious topiary bear chalk drawing was about surgery or a medical condition.  "Surgery?"  I asked.  I didn't understand.  "Oh, you know?" he replied, "because of the window in the chest and a rose growing there."  I paused and thought about it.  Yeah, I could see what he was talking about.  Something being cut out and then something new growing there.


I love it when people come up to me and share their own stories inspired by my secret chalk drawings.  I think my intention for this drawing was to show that we protect our vulnerable parts with ferocity when maybe we don't need to.  The window in the chest is that soft and open part that we are defending it with tooth and claw.  What stories of yours do you see here?

6 Ferocious Sketches That Inspired My Halloween Chalk Drawing

I do a lot of sketches with the intention to do nothing with them.  It's really for my own pleasure.  You dancing alone in your bedroom where you don't worry if anyone is watching or if you have some bad dance moves. Some of my sketches are horrible.  Some of them are alright.  And others seem to want to become something more. 


Over the past few months, I had been doing these little sketches of girl in ferocious animal masks.  I loved how angry and scary they looked.  I shared them with a friend and we had a fun time talking about them.  I thought there was something to them.  He did too.


When I got the chance to do a Halloween themed chalk drawing last week at the East Creative Collective (thank you), I thought it was time to take out these angry girls in their ferocious animals masks.  You can see that not all of them made an appearance in the final chalk drawing.  But there's always next year.  Maybe, they'll be popping up next spring or summer somewhere in Portland, Oregon or beyond.


The Last Sidewalk Chalk Drawing for 2017

Yep, there is still a bit of dry weather this year before all the rain comes and makes it impossible to do more sidewalk chalk drawing. It's sad that it's coming to an end.  I've had so much fun doing it.  Fortunately, I'm ending it on a high note with a big event.  I'll be doing my last one for 2017 this coming Friday, October 6th at the East Creative Collective here in Portland, Oregon.  Details are in the photo below.  I hope you can make it and watch as my scribbles on the ground become something strange and beautiful.

Chalk Draw Friday Oct 6-MKojima-2-2.jpg


This is actually a very secret chalk drawing.  Come closer and I'll tell you the secret location.  It's actually in the Goose Hollow area of Portland.  If you go down SW Jefferson, all the way past the BMW dealership and keep walking up the path like you're going to Washington Park, you'll discover my "Topiary Flower Giver".  

This one has lasted quite a while.  It's a place with really good concrete to draw upon and no power washing.  I'm so glad I found this place.  Now, I can make a secret chalk drawing gallery there with several more drawings along the path.  I'll come up with more strange topiary characters.  Just you wait!

Secret Chalk Drawings Around Downtown Portland: Part 4

If I continue to draw in Downtown Portland, Oregon, I have to accept that my secret chalk drawings could only last a short time and be power-washed away.  That kind of makes me sad. since they usually take me 2 1/2 - 3 hours to draw and they could last for weeks.  I know people enjoy them because they tell me.  

Topiary Magic Chalk Drawing.jpg

I drew this one, Little Topiary Giant, at my niece's and nephew's place, so they have  been taking care of it and it is only slowly fading away like the good summer weather.   If anyone would like to have a personal chalk drawing at their place that they will take care of, let me know.  I may want to visit you and draw.

Secret Chalk Drawings Around Downtown Portland: Part 3

I've been getting sick of having my sidewalk drawings power-washed away the next day when they could last for weeks.  They could be little secret chalk drawing treasures for everyone to discover.

This time, I asked a restaurant if I could draw on the sidewalk near their place.  They seemed happy to let me use their sidewalk.  But the next morning, it too was gone.  I guess I should have asked about the power washing.  

Bunny Entrance Chalk Drawing.jpg

I called this one, "Bunny Topiary Magical Entrance".  It felt like that moment when magic and mystery beckons to you, but you hesitate before deciding whether or not to go on an adventure.  

I'll keep seeking more chalk drawing adventures despite others wanting me to stop it.  Stay tuned for my next one.