Saturday, May 30, 2009

"Chains" and other things

        Hello everyone.  Well, I'm back into my art again. This is the first painting I have done on my new Imac, using Corel Painter 11.   At first I was having trouble getting the effect I wanted, but I went back to basics, and it all came together.  This one really has the dark feel I felt the story deserved.  The story is called "Chains" written by Jade Eckert, and it is for the Darc Karnivale book. I hope you like and please share your thoughts with me and the other readers.
        I have some thoughts I would like to share with you young artist, and it may be good advice for young writers as well.  I spend several hours a day networking. During this time I check out other artist blogs to see what is going on with them.  I ran across one that I really thought was a negative, bad advice one.  I will not mention the artist, but will talk about a few things he said.  He was trying to give advice to other artist on being a professional.  In his advice he said things like "Art Directors are idiots", "that you could never make a living being an artist",and so on.  My first thoughts where that this guy didn't have a clue.  So I checked out his work. It was obvious he was self taught with no formal training.  His work overall really was bad.  About 1 out of 10 pieces was descent, but the rest he should never show in his portfolio, and none of his work had ever been published mainstream. 
      So what I want to say is this, unless your getting advice from the likes of Todd Lockwood (who has a section on his website about how to conduct yourself and building a portfolio, and excellent advice to all artist)  Don't listen to some want to be whose ego far outweighs his talent. 
      The only advice I will offer is a couple of things that have been told to me by Lockwood,  Daniel Horne, Don Maitz, Ken Kelly and most all the major names in the illustration business, is this,  work hard, very hard. Learn all you can, read books, go to school, go to artist retreats.  And no matter how good you think you are, go to a con, take your portfolio, show it to a pro and tell them to be brutal.  That is the only way you will really know where you stand.
      Not all of us can afford to go to the big name art schools.  I couldn't and for a lot of years I was self taught, then I got lucky.  Daniel and Todd took an interest in me, and taught me the things I needed to know.  I am still working on the things they taught me, and slowly I get better and better.  I have been lucky enough to have had a few pieces printed in Mainstream, mainly in Dragon Magazine and Hero's games,  but the assignments keep getting better and better and I know it's just a matter of a couple of years before I can get work from Tor and Baen, plus a lot of gaming companies.
     You can make a living doing what you love, but it takes a lot of work, and no short cuts. Well,  Cheryl said we needed to run to the store.  So, I'll check in soon. Peace and Blessings all.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Getting back to it.

        Its always been hard for me to learn to work in a new environment, and  I am doing it again. lol  I love the new environment and I am set up really cool, its just taking me a bit to adjust.  Its like moving into a new house, it takes a while to make it home.  I do love Living with Cheryl and I love her with all of my heart, and we are making a life together.  But it never fails, whenever your happy, some idiot comes along and tries to cause you problems.  Man, will people never change?
       I'm coming alone with the new illustration really good, but it took me a while to get a feel for it.  I think I got burned out from doing so many illo's in such a short time. I think the last one is a good example of burnout, because in my mind it sucks the big one. Luckily the story got cancelled from the book, so the illo will not be used.  I always want to do my very best, but there are times that I try to hard and the piece will come out flat and boring.  
        You know I really stick my neck out on this blog, and I do it because I want readers to feel like they are my friends instead of someone curious about what I do.  That is the main reason I will talk about some of my personal life. But I do leave things out to protect mine and Cheryl's privacy.   Lately things have just been chaos for us. Between work, art, networking, household things and the time we get to spend with each other, I am doing good to get 6 hours sleep at night.  Many nights it is much less.
       It has gotten to the point I have very little time for phone calls and personal letters, and it seems that a few friends are not happy with me about that.  I'm really sorry, but I don't know what else to do.  Maybe once I don't have to lay carpet anymore I will have more time for those things. I love my friends, all of them, and this has been something that has really been bothering me, but it is what it is. I hope they will understand.
      I will post a new blog Sunday, and it will have the finished new piece  to show you. So it's already an hour past bedtime, and I haven't even ate yet.  Peace and Blessings all.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Some Big Changes

      Hello everyone. I've got some news and thoughts  to share with you.  Sorry that I have no new art to share, but I'm sure you will understand when I tell you why.  First up, Cheryl brought me a new computer, and not just any computer, but a 20" Imac.  Now I know why when Daniel Horne told me "Once you go Mac, you'll never go back."  It is the most awesome computer ever. You can't even compare it to a PC.  It would be like comparing a skateboard to a Rolls Royce.  But there is a problem, I'm having to learn to use the computer all over again, from scratch. So it is taking time. I haven't even tried to use Corel Painter yet.  It looks like I'm gonna have to watch all the videos on using it. You know how us men are, throw away the directions and dive right in.  Any advice anyone has out there would be appreciated.
      You have no ideal  how much I needed a new computer. If you a long time reader of the blog, you will remember that my hard drive froze in storage when I got to Michigan.  And after we (Scott, Kim, me and their kids) got moved into the house, Kim let me use a hard drive that she had a few years earlier that had caught a bad virus and no one could remove it. But I did, and was able to work on it.  But it had a problem of just shutting down right in the middle of working on something, and I would lose a lot of time.  It wasn't long after that I fell in the middle of the night and knocked my plasma screen off the desk onto the floor.  That was it for that, and about a week later my mouse died.
       So, I was in a state of panic just trying to get my assignments done, but I was getting by.  Then Cheryl and the kids met me at the house when I got off from laying carpet, and told me she had a surprise, and what a surprise it was. I've been like a giddy school kid all week.  The next big thing is that I moved in with Cheryl. We were together all the time anyways, so it just seem like the right thing. With us, it was love at first site.  When we kissed for the first time, well, you know how people say you see fireworks?  With us, it was more like a nuke. We have no doubt that we are going to spend the rest of our life's together, so we started our life together and are already working on our future.
      I saw that I have a lot of readers from Saginaw and the surrounding areas.  Some of you are friends of Cheryl's, and some of you just like the art I do, but welcome to all of you.  I am looking forward to meeting Cheryl's friends and the others I will be doing appearances at comic stores, gallery's and museums later this year in the Tri-city area. I hope to meet you then. If you tell me that you  read the blog, I will give you a signed print of your chose.
     Also to any of my friends and readers, if you have something you want to promote, let me know, and I will let you guest blog or I will promote it for you. Well, it's getting late.  It's time to call it a night. Peace and Blessings all, and I hope you all have a safe and happy holiday.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Something Old and Something New...

Hello my friends. I've gotten a little behind on some projects, so I don't have what I wanted to show you today. But by Sunday, I should be caught up again. The Picture at the top is something I did back in '85 while I was painting under the name "Gypsy" It's never been published or used for anything. I would really love to see it in print one day.
The next 3 pieces are rough sketches for my next story in the "Darc Karnivale" series. I wanted to show you how I bring an Illustration together. It always starts with the sketches either on Tracing paper or if I am using painter, then in layers. I have already done that and drew in the background. I am ready to paint now. Next time I will show you more in progress steps. I think you will find it interesting on how I get to the finished illustration.
I don't know if you've noticed or not, but I have been taking steps to promote and network myself and art. Networking is very important. I have a couple of friends that I have been trying to make understand this, but I don't think there getting it. I have some really good ideals and some big plans for the future and networking now will help get those plans off the ground. Once the legal part of my idea's are taking care of, I will share some of the plans with you. Right now I am still excited about doing the Steven King movie poster.
Wow, I just got a letter from Daniel (Master Horne) and he told me that he is proud of me. That sure makes a fellow feel good. Time to get to work. I would love to hear comments or questions, from you. Till next time, Peace and Blessings

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Big News!

Happy Mother's Day everyone. I spent the day with Cheryl and her children, Andrea and Luke. We had a wonderful weekend full of love and happiness. Sorry I didn't post any new art, but I will in the next blog.
I wanted to share some news that is just awesome as far as I am concerned. Tonight while I was working I was asked to do a movie poster for a Steven King short called "Gray Matter" It will be shown at film festivals around the world. I am stoked. It's not everyday that an artist like me gets a shot at doing a movie poster for one of my idols, Mr. King!!!
Todd is sending me the screenplay this coming week to read. He wants me to do something very original for the movie. I can hardly wait. As you can imagine, I am very excited, as so is Cheryl and my friends.
I'm telling you, moving to Michigan was my lucky charm. I am getting awesome art gigs and I meet the woman I've always dreamed of. I just wanted to share this with the people that have followed my career, and I am thankful for each and everyone of you that read my blog. Peace and Blessings all.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

City of the Dead!!!

Hello my friends. Here is the next piece for the "Darc Karnivale book. It is for a story written by "Iron Dave Byron" called "City of the Dead" Another winner.
I know this illustration is very different from anything you have seen from me. But I am trying to be more Versatile. In the future you may see Western type art from me as well. On this piece, the value layout was very challenging for me. But I think I pulled it off.
I had a lot of fun painting the neon lights. The next story up is about a giant spider and a woman determined to destroy it. This one will be fun.
I would love to hear thoughts on the new piece. Do you think I did a good job on the lights, the values. Does the illo make you curious to what the story is about? Well, I hope everyone has a safe holiday weekend. See you soon with a painting in progress. The new Dragon Piece I told you about. Peace and Blessings

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Something Wicked this way Comes...............

Hello Friends. First I would like to say Hello to all the new readers. I'm really glad you stop by and check out the art. I would love to hear any one's comments. Input from the people who like my art helps me improve and do more works that you may want to see.
Above is "Something Wicked this way Comes......" It was inspired by a old metal band called Nuclear Assault. The painting will be the cover of the forthcoming book "Darc Karnivale" published by the Evil Nerd Empire later this summer. To the right you will a link to their site. You may be able to pre-order. The book will have 16 interior paintings by yours truly and the cover above. I am thinking that I will be selling prints of each painting, as well as Portfolio sets to include 4 prints each, and probably other types of things as well, like a calender, t-shirts, ect.
I really see great things for the Evil Nerd Empire. The writers are all awesome, the cream of the crop as the saying goes. I love getting done with an Illustration, just so I can read the next story I am going to do.
On a personal level, I am going through a series of changes in my life again. All good, but sometimes the road can be rough and I have to teach myself patience over and over. At least I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and that keeps me going. By the end of the month I should be moving into my own house, so that is major cool. I am soooooooooo wanting to do some work in oils again, and right now, all my studio stuff is still in storage. All the work I've been doing these last few months has been digital. I use Corel Painter, and I love the program, but there's no feeling in the world to an artist like Painting with oil. Just the smell of the oils alone makes my happy.
Once I do have my studio set back up, I am going to doing some portrait work. I want to paint Cheryl's children, Andriana and Luke for her. I enjoy doing portraits and need to build a portfolio of them to get some local work. I'll probably do a painting of her as well. She doesn't know it yet, but I will probably get her to model for some Illustrations as well. The Kids too.
I know this sounds scary, but I am thinking about doing some "cute" work as well. It would be good for my Fantasy portfolio. You know, stuff like Unicorns and Fairies. I know, I know, I'll probably melt or something trying to do light work. But I could do Dark Cute. Hey that might work. A black unicorn instead of a white one. lol
Well, I got to get. I hope you all have a wonderful week. Peace and Blessings.