Wednesday, September 30, 2009

They opened the gates today.

Have you ever had one of those days that you think that they opened the gates to the nut house, and then you've had one of those days you know darn well they did, lmao, well let me tell you, it's been one of those days. I fell like Batman standing outside the busted doors of Arkum Asylum. (I hope I spelled that right) Just craziness going on. Of course, I am use to chaos, but I sure do worry about my friends and loved ones when things like this happen.
But first, let's talk about the art I posted. Above is a new or up-dated version of Mr. Voodoo who quite by accident became my avatar on line a year of so ago. I never intended it for that reason, so I when back and polished it up a good bit over what it was. I know a lot of you want be able to tell the difference, but to the trained eye, there are a good many subtle changes. I also polished up my companies logo. Yes, I said Companies. Not only do I have a art studio, I am also partners with a good friend of mine Dave Byron (an awesome writer and editor in his own right) in a movie and publishing company. Yep, I am making movies and publishing books these days. This year we are working on 4 documentaries about the people who work in the horror industry. From movies to publishing. Next year we are hoping to make our first horror movie. We also are publishing "How to" books and anthology's this year, and next year hope to move into art books and novels. But we're taking this one step at a time. We got a heck of a send off from almost every major media company in the biz as well as tons of company's. Heck, I've even got a few invites to go to Hollywood to take a tour of different studios, and "have Lunch"
If you haven't yet, stop by the site and see what we have going on. It is here Sign up and be a member while your there and take part in things. We are going to have book and movie giveaways at some point, and if your a member of my fan site, (If not you can go here and sign on) The official one (I say official, because there is a second one here that is ran by fans and it is very large but it doesn't have the updates and giveaways, mostly because there are so many people there who speak so many languages, I have no idea on how to communicate with them all) , you will be eligible for winning original art and prints from me as well. I really have a lot going on art wise and I am revamping my whole Internet look as well. It's going to take a while to do all of it, simply because of my health and time, but I will get it all done. I will be starting on rebuilding the site very soon, like this week but a little at a time. I will let you know when I have something done and you might want to check it out. I also have another big name publication interview coming up this week as well. I'll share the details once that is up and done.
The above illustration is for the Darc Karnivale book. You can go here to the Evil Nerd Empire and start seeing all the cool things that they have going on. It looks like I am going to have a very long relationship with The Evil Nerd Empire. With my health issues, they work with me on deadlines, although I am way ahead of deadline on the Darc Karnivale project. But if need be, they care enough about my health and well being and working with Jeremy and Byron is like working with family and friends, and it sure has helped my career in big ways.
Speaking of my career, I am so thrilled with how well fans, publishers and the media have taken to me. I feel like no matter what you want to say about my life, I have done and succeeded at something I dreamed of and beat the odds. I almost feel like Rocky. I'm the guy that no one ever gave a chance because of my training and such, but life did smile on me and give me the things I needed to be successful and God, or whatever you believe in gave me the heart to not give up.
We know that things haven't gone quite the way I planned for them too, especially with me writing my book, but never fear, in each blog, at the very least I will give you tips that I have learned through the years and from my teachers. This is a good but simple one. Remember these simple rules. When drawing and painting men's hand, draw them larger than they truly are. Almost size and a half. This makes them look much more heroic. Do the same with their feet. Another rule is this, when drawing and painting men, it's what you show that counts. With women, it's what you don't show. For instance, a mans face has character because of the lines and scars, a woman's face is beautiful because of a lack of these things. Give them some thought. Trust me, do a portrait of a man, and draw all his wrinkles and such, then draw a woman the same. The man will pay you and be very happy, the woman will want you dead. For real.
Well, I haven't eaten in about 12 hours and I'm pretty tired. I got a lot done today, and I really don't want to talk about crazy people right now, so Good Night my friends. Much Love and Blessings!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Art Tips and The Dark Side....

Hello my friends. The top two illustrations are a work in progress, for a story called "The Obsidian Stone", written by J.T. Carney for the book "Dark Karnivale" to be published by The Evil Nerd Empire in late November. I want to share some art tips with you today. The 3rd illustration is one I did during my Masters training, and I will share more with you on that here shortly when we are talking about art techniques.
I just want you to know that I do enjoy doing this blog, but sometimes I get very pressed for time and can't do all I want to do, or just can't blog as often as I feel that I should, and with me deciding to write a "How to" book, and finding out that it is not easy writing (my hat off to all of my writer friends) Things are really picking up in my life and my career, so I am finding that I don't have all the time I would like to have. With my recent illness, as we have discussed in past blogs, I have come to relised just how important and short my life on this earth truly is. I mean we all work hard to better our lives for our loved ones, but in reality we could have only a day left with them. To me it has become more important to make that day as wonderful as possible and that has and will stay my main focus for the rest of my life. I finally found Cheryl after all these years of looking, and I do want to enjoy every moment I have with her, the kids, and my very dear friends.
My art is my love too, and it will remain a huge part of my life and I will continue to paint as much as my health permits. My health will be getting better in time and will not be an issue forever, but for now it is. But for the next year, I have some really exciting assignments coming up, and a lot of promotion from some wonderful people. I'm not sure what changed from this time last year, but something truly has and folks really want to talk about my art now. I am planning several of these interviews to coincide with the release of "Darc Karnivale"
Okay, let's talk a little art. The 3 illo's I posted above. The bottom one of the flowers first. When I was training under Master Daniel Horne, one of the exercises he had me do was to learn about "Texture" and seeing Values as well. Kind of a mixed assignment that I still do even know when I do interior illustrations. Most of the time Interior Illustrations are printed in black and white, but i will paint them in color just to see how well I handled the values in the painting. When you convert it from color to b/w, you really can see how well you did. But I want to talk about Texture for this time, and we will talk values in much greater depth at a later time.
Daniel had me do several of these little b/w paintings in oil's using a color photo as reference or the real thing from nature. He wanted me to learn 2 things. One being that lines and detail do not make the image look like it does to the eye, or in a painting, but it is the texture and the shape that make it look the way it does. This also makes a painting have life, depth, and did I say life? For instance, if you focus your eye on a field of flowers and grass, where your eyes are focused, you do notice some details but the further your eye sees away from where it is focused, the more you only see just the textures of the flowers, instead of the details. An the future you eye goes, the more texture you see. When drawing and painting, always remember this rule. There is also this thing called "creating air" around your subjects. If you look at the tombstones above, you can see that I am already doing that, but I am not finished. You can see in the second or middle one that the back tombstones are starting to blur into the "air" around it. This is done by using the texture, and soften the edges (creating air) You need to learn to do this in pencil as well.
If you really want to learn and grow as an artist, you should do this exercise. Pick different things such as flowers, stones, trees, any thing that has a different texture, fine a color picture, or the real thing, and do a black and white painting of it. Do this, and keep doing this, until you "get it" and then do it some more. By "getting it" your skills as an artist will improve 10 fold. Your artist eye will improve in leaps and bounds. If your serious about improving your skills, then get serious my friends.
In January, I am going to be doing a large fantasy, pencil project that involves 10 drawings, so we can cover a lot about doing pencil work at that time. I am really looking forward to that because I really love doing pencil work. I want to promote a new friend of mine before I go to watch Ghost Hunters. This is a website/blog that really has awesome interviews, reviews, and just everything cool about the people you love the most in this fantastic industry of imagination. Go here and bookmark it because you will want to visit a few times a week while drinking your coffee. Tell Sarah hello, and become a follower.
Peace and Blessings my friends. May your dreams be dark and wonderful!

Sorry, I almost forgot. The flower piece above is by me, back when I was using my christian birth name, William Johns. During my training, I choose to use it, then when back to Nick Rose afterwards. I had went by the name of Nick Rose for 30 years, and I want to stay with it. It is my artist identity and it always will be. Sorry if I confused anyone.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Dealing with Fools and Idiots

Hello my friends. I do apologize for the delay of posting. Unfortunately my health has been causing me problems. No worries though, it is all the process of making myself healthy. lol. In the war of fighting the problems my body has, occasionally I lose a battle, but in the big picture I am winning. In several months I should be healthy, but until then it is touch and go. The recent bout is about adjusting my meds to the right combinations and amounts. To lay it out straight to you, I slept for about 8 days straight because of sugar levels and my heartbeat being way to fast and my blood pressure way to low. Well, it looks like we have that straight now, but I did have to get back on prednisone to make my body strong again.
The piece above is for one of my publishers, Withersin Magazine and is for a story called Sculpting. This will be the 3rd issue where my work has appeared in their fine magazine, but the first time as Nick Rose. The first 2 times was as William Johns, my alter ego, or is Nick Rose my alter ego? Or are they both one in the same? Is that possible? Now that is something to wrap my noodle around for a while.
If you noticed I named this entry "Dealing with Fools and Idiots" for a good reason. It seems that when a man (me) is down with health problems all the fools and idiots come out of the woodwork trying to mess with me. That is fine, I can deal with that, but remember now there going to have to deal with a healthy man, and your gonna find out that they bite off more than they can chew. Each day I am getting stronger than I have been in many years. I have cleaned up my act, but I am paying the price for all the abuse I did to my body for many years, but I am healing.
I do my best to be a peaceful man these days. There was a time when I was filled with fire and anger, and I wouldn't thing twice about getting in someones face and going after them. I have changed that part of me these past few years, but a few folks are really pushing it. I've had to deal with an artist that got in touch with me, convinced me that he had very serious illnesses and was dying, but fighting for his life. I felt horrible for him, and did my best to be a friend to him, just to find out he was playing me for a fool? Why in the world would a human being do something like this? Why? Now I have to assume that everthing that this person told me was a lie, and his friends that I talked to and almost helped, only to find out that they where also helping him with his lie. And what do you think is going to happen now when someone contacts with me a sob story. I want believe it, as a matter of fact I probably want even write back, and this could be the one time that some one really does need help and deserves it. I can only hope that Karma will deal with these people and the darkness behind them that I know very well.
This is just one example of many, but the rest are nothing and just amuse the heck out of me to be honest. The main thing now is to get back to where I left off before I got knocked on my butt with the health issues, so Monday I will be back to writing again and start posting those lessons as I get them done. The portfolio one is almost done, and I should post it Monday evening. Tomorrow I have to read a couple of new storys for assignments and get started on them by Tuesday.
I do have some pretty big news. As of tonight 9/19 there is a feature on me on This is a pretty big deal and should really help get my art out there. Horrorbound is one of the bigger Horror publications in the business, so I am very honored by this.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Caution! Construction Ahead!

Hello my friends! Thank you for stopping by. I've got a lot to talk to you about this blog, so let's start with the painting above. I named the painting "Klowny" based on the character from the short story "The Ten Klown-mandents" written by Mark McLaughlin and Michael McCarty for the book "Darc Karnivale" published by "The Evil Nerd Empire" This is a little off the usual path for me, but then again, what is the usual path for me? I love doing anything that takes imagination. I did spend a little more time working on this one though. This is what I call a thinking painting. To me that means I have a lot on my mind and I'll really bog myself down in it to think about things. An ever since my visit at the VA Hilton I have had a lot on my mind.
I mentioned before that while I was in the hospital, I stood face to face with death once again. It was the major wake up call that I needed in a lot of different ways, and that is what this blog post is about, in detail.
If you stopped right now and made a list of the 10 most important things in your life and then found yourself in the hospital on the verge of death and made the list again, I think you would find that the 2nd list would be very different from the first one, and my friends that is what happened to me.
No, I am not going to talk to you about what is important to me. Most of that is very personal. But I am going to talk to you about what is important to me as far as my art is concerned and what my ambitions are. An that might surprise you.
First and foremost, the doctors told me that I could not be working long and grueling days anymore. That I could not be pushing myself, over dosing on coffee or any of the bad habits that has got me through the years of working 14 to 16 hour days, every day. For me to have a life to look forward too, I must address my health issues which include high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease to name a few. The time has come that I must take care of myself, or I would die.
Well, I've worked a lot of years to get to where I am now, and to be honest life is just now getting really good, and I want to hang around for awhile. So I am doing everything the doctor is telling me to do, and we're seeing improvements everyday in my health. I am getting the sugar readings in control which I didn't think was going to happen for a while there. But even with that, I still will never be able to drink booze or eat sugar and that is just fine with me.
So what is going through my mind right now is that if I am going through all of this to just live then I want to make sure the things that I do in the time I have left to me are the things that I can look back and say, "Finally, I got something right!" With that being said, the only art I am going to do is the art that makes me happy and I have fun doing it.
Every Monday is going to be writing day for me. Right now, that means I am going to work on the book I have been talking about every Monday until it is done. And then I will write something else. Perhaps a novel of my own, or a screenplay. I don't know, but i will keep writing until the day I die, and hopefully I will be able to help others by doing that. This is really important to me and I know I am not getting it done as quick as some of you might like to see. But until I have that going, I will be sharing tips and tricks that will help you along your way. Also, if you want me to answer a question for you, just e-mail me here and unless I am out of town, I will respond within 24 hours.
The second thing to me art wise is giving my work "Life" and a "Voice" I started this entry last night close to bed time, and had to take it back up this morning, and during that time the darnest thing happened. Go here and read all the comments about the "Klowny" painting that was posted last night. According to what these kind folks are saying, I am getting there. As an artist, there is no greater feeling than that. No award can match it, no amount of money can make you feel that good. It is what every artist strives to do with their patrons, create an emotional response. After all these years of learning and working, I am finally reaching a life long goal.
It is late afternoon now. Cheryl is home and taking a nap on the couch. I tell you couch will suck you in. lol. If you lay down on it, you will go to sleep. It got me earlier, but i am coming down off of prednisone and I need naps. But my body is getting much better, which brings me back to where I left off earlier. Monday's I am going to spend on writing and Sundays will be Website day. I took the website down for now, and I am going to re-vamp it again, and I'm going to take my time about it and do everything just the way I want it to be. I am going to have video "How To" classes on there and podcast. I am also going to do something similar to what "Ralan" does on his website and make a market list for artist.
So that leaves me Tuesday through Saturday to do my art. Even if I don't feel good that week, I should be able to do at least a painting a week, depending on how much detail I decide to put in it. I enjoy doing commercial assignments, so as long as I don't have a "I need it tomorrow" deadline, I will be able to do it, and hopefully if I keep taking care of myself, my health will keep getting better. We shall see.
The whole point of this blog today is to let you know that I am gong through a growing stage, and if you hang around you will be part of it and see it happen. So I hope you do. Like I said before my priority's have changed and what comes next will be as much as a surprise to me as to you I am sure. lol
So for now I am signing off but I will be back in a couple of days with a new painting. Peace and Blessings all.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Switching Gears 2

Hello my friends. I hope that all of you are having a wonderful and safe holiday! I am still in the process of switching gears as I call it, and more on that shortly. But first, let's talk about Klowny. I really expected to be done with this by now, but a lot has been going on in my life, including starting a new business. More on that in a month or so, but it goes hand in hand with all the things we have been talking about the last few months.
As with any Illustration, you start with an idea and good reference material. Sometimes getting just the right reference material can be a challenge to say the least. Normally you start with sketches of what you want the finished piece to look like, and then you set up a model shoot for your figures in the painting. In this one, I found a clown photo of a girl I liked, and have been changing it to suit the purpose of what I need. There is no model for Klowny. He is freehand. I did find a picture of the trailer park to use as a basis, and I mostly free handed the elephant.
Now you see the pic as it is so far, but by the end of today, I will have the Trailer park looking more like a "Klowny Park" and have most of Kitty-Boo painted. So let me stress this one more time. According to Irene Gallo, Todd Lockwood, Daniel Horne, Brom, and on and on, reference material is key to doing a great illustration. An Illustrator is paid to produce a believable image of the fantastic, and you can not do that without using photo references for the things you paint. The only Illustrator that says he doesn't use reference is Frazetta. I believe that to a point, but Frazetta is one of a kind. To drive the point home one more time, if you ever took a live drawing class, either still or model, you had a model to work from, did you not?
After I have all my material together and have done thumbnails on what the finished product will look like, I start doing sketches of each of the elements. The great thing about working digitally is that I like the sketches, i can polish them and use them in the finished painting, which saves a lot of time as well. Drawing the Trailers was a major pain and took a couple of days. But this is where the training Todd gave me came in by having me go downtown and draw sketches of buildings all day. Another great thing about working with Painter is that I have Perspective grids to work with, which help me keep all of this in perspective. ( No pun intended. lol)
But as soon as we find our dream house and get moved, I will start doing some more 'Traditional" pieces to show you step by step. I enjoy working both ways, and I want to share with you the joy of doing the same. Now this next step works for both traditional and digital. In Traditional, you do all your sketches on Tracing paper, then you overlay them over a "Lightbox" if you have one and can move them around to get get finished looks for the final layout. Norman Rockwell was one of the first to use this technique. In digital, you do the same, except in "Layers" mode. So, with Klowny, I have a couple more elements I want to add. For instance I want to give the trailers a more circus like look, and add a few more props. So, in the next blog I will show you that.
If you haven't noticed, I have pulled down the Wicked Kitty site for now. I am putting it through some major changes and I want it reflect the lessons I am working on for all the artist readers, promoting my clients, doing podcast, and video cast. As I have said, I am doing some major upgrades to the Wicked Kitty World. One of them is really going to surprise you, and in a couple of months I will announce it and what it will mean to all my friends and fans out there.
I am still working on the Portfolio part of my book, so until i can start sharing that with you, I am going to share some "secret" little tips to help you in your work. Today's is a simple, but effective one. When ever you are drawing a hero, no matter the Genre, draw the hero's hands and feet size and half from what they really are. This gives both male and female figures the look of being powerful and heroic. It also works for the villains as well. This is one of the very first things Daniel taught me.
Well, I hope you all have a wonderful holiday and please be safe. Peace and Blessings!