Friday, March 7, 2014

Video and Sunday Morning Streams



Hello everyone!

Here is a video of me painting "Nyla" from November.  I'm not sure why it took me forever to post this.  Recently I have been using the default soft round brush and it's been working really really well for me. 

Also this is an example of the things you will see during my weekly Sunday morning livestreams.  I do them every Sunday at 10:00 AM MST.  Please feel free to join me and chat for a little while.  I think this weekend I will be streaming some fanart.

My Livestream Channel

Hope everyone is doing well.  See you next time.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Ten Years

Flowing Water - Dec 2003
Flowing Water - Feb 2014






It’s been a little over ten years since I first started to dabble in digital art and I decided to redraw a piece to celebrate.  My journey over this past decade has been grueling with a lack of resources, economic hardship, family issues, and frequent and intense periods of depression.  Yet art is the most rewarding way to spend my time than anything else in the realm of my world.  Below I can only give you a glimpse of my odyssey through the world of art.


The Beginning

I drew off and on as a pre-teen but didn’t really decide to learn properly until ten and a half years ago.  Up until then I thought drawing was an innate talent that you either had or did not have, which is probably the most embarrassing thing that I will admit in this blog post.  I was an eighteen year old college student that was studying nursing because it seemed like the most obvious choice for a career.  My mother and grandmother were nurses and I thought it would be most logical for me to continue the tradition.  However, the more time I spent drawing in my free time, the more I noticed that drawing time was seeping into my other leisure time, and soon, my study time.  At first I stopped playing video games (which was a great obsession of mine at that age) to squeeze in more art time.  Then I found myself putting off homework and spending all day in my room drawing picture after picture.  It was at that point that I felt like I finally found something that I wanted to do for the rest of my life as a career and I am still chasing that dream today.
I soon joined art forums and sites to connect with other people that had a similar passion.  As I spent more time online, I saw all of these wonderful art pieces done in Photoshop; a program I never heard of.  In fact, I had never heard of digital art in general.  I was immediately smitten and wanted to learn the ins and outs of Photoshop to improve my art.  I spent my last paycheck from my summer job on the program.  In retrospect, it would have been much more beneficial to improve my basic skills before I invested in such an expensive program.  Fortunately despite its steep learning curve, I stuck with using Photoshop and learned more about the program.   

The first image shown above was drawn in December 2003 and was one of my first attempts.  Originally I had to draw something on paper first, scan it in, and color it in PS since I was not good enough with the program to complete a drawing completely in the digital program.  I didn’t know how to blend colors (or choose them), I didn’t know how to color over my lines properly, I didn’t know how to shade in the program, and used the most laughed at tools in the realm of digital art; the burn and dodge tools.  Also as I mentioned above, my basic art skills were lacking completely.  The drawing itself suffers from bad proportions, strange anatomy, poor line quality, and a weak composition.  Yet since I was just starting out at the time, I felt like I had really achieved something and was eager to create an even more “impressive” piece of art the next time.  So I continued and eventually made hundreds more pictures in Photoshop.

Reflection

It does not escape my mind that ten years is a long time to become even the least bit “good” at something.  Recently, I saw a post by another artist on deviantART showing his improvement over thirteen years.  The common response was that that was a long time and thus his improvement was not very impressive.  However, learning more about art, while fun, can be at times a frustrating and grueling undertaking and adhering to the practice for thirteen years, in itself, is very impressive.  A lot of people quit after some period of time because of how much work and stress accompanies the practice.  Most don’t understand the amount of study and actual work it takes to be a good artist and the learning never, ever stops.  To be dedicated to your craft, whatever it may be enough to persistently learn and improve your skills over many years is something that one should be very proud of.  If you are reading this and you’ve been making art for years, have some pride in the fact that you’ve stuck with something as difficult as learning how to draw, sculpt, paint, dance, or whatever else you may study.

The years of my time drawing is not summed up by these two images.  Yes, I am better at lighting, mood, composition, and basically everything else compared to before (but still far from proficient), but in also in those ten years, I learned how to paint with watercolors and oils.  I learned more about the value of line quality and thus my line drawings improved dramatically.  I learned more about art as a whole.  There are things that I became interested in that I never knew existed and I have done things that I did not think were possible.

In Closing

After these ten years, the most valuable lessons I learned were how to go about improving my practice and how to overcome the stress that comes with the difficulty of drawing.   There is always more to learn which is what drew me to art in the first place; the fact that there is no ceiling to your own improvement.  I am much more efficient, relaxed, and practical when it comes to the development of my abilities than I was ten years ago.  That’s not to say that it is easier for me now but there are factors that I eliminated that made my progress less unnecessarily stressful.  I let go of the belief that a bad drawing was a failure on my part and the failure was a reflection of myself as a complete person.  I no longer hunch myself over my drawing table at all hours of the day, every day out of some misguided belief that my skills will deteriorate continuously the more time I spend not drawing.  I no longer compare myself to others because everyone’s path is very different.  I no longer insult myself under the guise of “critiquing myself.”    I don’t waste time trying to be proficient in drawing everything under the sun without reference and I no longer feel the unneeded shame in using reference material.  (Besides, how will you learn to draw if you do not observe?)  I no longer have the odd belief that each and every drawing or painting must be better than the last.  Most of all, I came to realize the damage I was doing to my self-esteem by trying to make myself fit into a certain mold of what an artist is supposed to be.  Thanks to the many art movements and disciplines over the years, we now live in a world very abundant with different visual styles, so much so that there is an audience for anything.  To have an understanding that my work is my own and that there are people out there with similar interests that would appreciate my work instead of believing that I had to be a part of a particular artist sub-culture to be respected is probably the most driving factor in keeping my spirits up enough to continue drawing.

As trite as it sounds, staying true to and believing in myself led to the second image above.  I still have a very long way to go (my whole life) but I approach the challenge with optimism and joy.  To be a professional illustrator is my dream but it will not be my final achievement.  In fact, there will be no final achievement at all.  Art is a lifetime companion and I am so glad that I discovered this for myself.


To see more of my art throughout the past ten years, good and bad, visit my deviantART archive.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Hello Again Friends!

"Verna" - 2013 - Digital
Hello everyone!  It's been such a long long time since I have posted anything!  I'm terribly sorry for my absence.  As I mentioned in the last post, I was very sick last year and was actually ill well before I decided to take a hiatus from blogging and my art.  I spent most of my days curled in a fetal position or traveling to numerous doctors appointments.  Hopefully everything is resolved and now I am working on regaining my strength and general feeling of wellness.

Above is something I managed to finish in 2013 to put in my portfolio.

As far as art goes, I feel rather directionless.  I had a taste of being part of the local art scene and I really enjoyed it but at the same time it's very clear to me that it would be difficult to make a viable living doing art shows.  It is very expensive for me to produce prints for display/sale and I have since decided that instead of making limited edition runs of prints, that it would be in my best interest to open a store.  I could draw and paint in a traditional manner which would be slightly less costly for me, but I would not enjoy the act of creating art as much.  I will have to think about that career path some more.

I am more inclined to continue pursuing a career in illustration. I have been experimenting with new techniques and methods for creating art.  For a long while, I wasn't using digital tools to their full potential out of some misguided feeling that I wasn't making art "the right way."  I didn't make brushes anymore or use textures and stuff like that and thinking back on it, it's really really stupid.  If I want to paint a picture like I would on canvas I should just paint it on canvas.  Digital art is a whole different thing and I was stunting my growth by trying to make my process as close to traditional painting as possible. 

With lots of practice and some new pieces, I hope to send out revised portfolios to publishers and companies by this spring.

Besides art, nothing has changed with me.  My entire life was put on hold because of my illness but I am hoping things will start moving along for me again.  I got some new video games that I'm dying to play and a guitar that I try to practice with as much as I can.

Thanks a lot for reading!





Thursday, July 18, 2013

Hiatus

So I haven't updated in months.

I have been having some health problems and dealing with some nasty effects from medications that I take for said health problems.  I have numerous appointments with specialists and I am a caretaker to my nephew who has autism, which is a fun but a demanding responsibility.  I also have regular things to do around the house and well...something has to be cut out.  Unfortunately, it has to be art at this time.

I really wanted to continue creating art at a high volume because I was so happy with the little momentum I had going as far as getting my name out there.  I met people who were really interested in both my digital and traditional work and it was really fun to meet more local artists and go to events.  I didn't want to face facts and just accept that I would have to stop for a while.

This doesn't mean I haven't been drawing.  I still sketch and do small experiments.  I just don't have time to produce any finished work.

From time to time, I may upload some things that seem worthy of posting but unfortunately, I have to put my professional hopes to the side.

I mostly post junk up on my twitter account if you still want any small updates from me.  Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Juried Exhibition

I am honored to be able to participate in Artlink’s 15th Annual Juried Exhibition.  Stop by this Friday to say hello and see some great art or you can visit the gallery throughout the month of May.



Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Wendigo

Last portfolio update for now, this was one of the most challenging things I have drawn in recent times.  A print will be on display and on sale at the Revival Art Collective gallery in Phoenix, AZ through the month of March. 



The Wendigo - Digital

I made the initial sketch towards the middle of 2012.  The year was not good to me, so I didn't finish it until January.  There were two reasons I drew this.  One was to try a winter landscape and work on my environmental and compositional skills.  The other was because I was always a fan of the Wendigo legend.

Wendigos are cannibalistic spirits that can possess humans or physical monsters that could turn humans into monsters as well.  Those humans who already engaged in cannibalism were at great risk.  The legend is thought to have been used to discourage the taboo act of cannibalism even when used in desperation to save one's life from starvation.  The Wendigo is mostly associated with the winter; a time when food is scarce.

I sort of went with a possessed human look rather than something completely monstrous.  Personally I think the thought of possession is a lot more frightening because in some respect, you are still human.  I only wish that I would have given it's face more distinguishing features.  I'm quite happy with the color scheme.  Sometimes white can be problematic and I run into issues with making things too grey.  I think the colors here are crisp and not too muted.

Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Gothic Redux

Here is another new portfolio update.  This is another older drawing that I always wanted to redo for myself but never got around to until recently.  It is currently on display at the Revival Art Collective gallery in Phoenix, Arizona through the month of March.  If you would like to purchase this piece, please contact the gallery owners.  The price of this drawing is $200.

If you are available March 9 from 6-9pm, please stop by the gallery for the formal opening.  You can see this and many other pieces by myself and the resident artist and owner Siege.

"Gothic" - Graphite on Paper with Digital Enhancements- 14x18"



Detail



Raw Scan



Initially this was a simple artist trading card that I made while part of a group on deviantART.  The group had monthly challenges and the challenge for that month was "Gothic" hence the subject matter and the title.

Gothic circa 2010 - Ink on Watercolor Paper - 2.5x3.5"


The trading card gave forth such a strong sense of anxiety and, while planning the redraw, I wanted to push that as a concept.  The finished product feels very tense to me and the stare of the blank crow eyes reminds me of how I feel when I step outside each day; as if everyone is staring and judging me.