Monday, September 27, 2010

Thankful and Busy.

      Hello my friends. I am glad to be with you again. The reason I say that is that with all the things that have happened this last year, I count each day as a blessing. So just being able to come here each week and share knowledge with you all is real blessing to me.  Surprisingly it has become something that I really enjoy and  I am working harder and harder on the lessons I share with you. Today's lesson is about simple exercise you should do that will help speed along your skills and knowledge, and we will get to that shortly.
      I must have made up for all the bad and stupid things I did as a young man, because Karma is really being good to me this last year.  Even things that seemed like they where bad things turned into awesome things.  I honestly don't know of anything in my life I would change. I am improving my health and don't expect miracles there.  I have been getting some really wonderful kick butt commissions  here of late, so I am very happy with that, but I am seriously wishing I had more time in the day and had the endurance to work much longer days. I am hoping that the exercise will help with that.
     I am starting to gear up for conventions starting in January.  By then, I hope to have plenty of prints made, greeting cards, T-shirts, postcards and I am thinking about doing some collector cards.  A good friend of mine,  JP,  just had some made, and the price to get them done is very reasonable. My questions to you are would you be interested in buying something like that, and is there something you would like to see me sell besides the things I have mentioned? Your input on this is very important to me, so please take a minute to leave me a comment on your thoughts please.
    I also have to start designing a booth set-up for the cons.  In most cases I will be renting a booth over being in the art show, but that also depends on the con and how large it is.  But I do want to dress up my booth somehow, and make it easy and fast to set up and take down.  Any artist out there that does this, I would really appreciate any input you could give me. It might be a work in progress and take a while for me to  come up with what I want folks to see when they come by to see me, but I want it to be special and something unique. 
     I hope that you all had time to check out the book Creative illustration by Andrew Loomis .  Down the road, I want to really talk about the knowledge learned in that book, and hear your opinions on it.  
      As artist you all know that as you go, your “eye” develops.  For instance, you can look at something you did 2 years ago, and now see all the flaws in it.  This is because you have learned and you can see things now that you couldn’t then. This is very true in drawing anatomy. I can look back at things I drew several years ago, (and at the time, I thought I had done well)  and see how bad my anatomy was off.
       That is the main reason that if you want to be a Professional  Artist you will need to use models. Not only do you have to understand the human body to perfection, you also need to learn how to exaggerate and change features to make them have the appearance you want.  You will also need to learn how to use a model's photo and be able to change the shadows and the value tones, or move the arms or hands in different positions than the photos you have to work from.  You use the model as a base only, your imagination and skills will provide the rest.
      I want to teach you 2 simple things today that will develop your "Artist Eye" much quicker, and they both are simple.  You need to get in the habit of doing this all the time. The first one is to study nature, not just photo's of it.  Go outside and start REALLY looking at things. Like the grass for instance.  See how many colors you see in a blade of grass?  Do you see white in it?  Do you see white in anything in nature?  Even if it looks white, what color is it really.?  Then look at all the grass in front of you as a whole, what do you see?  What colors now?, do I see just grass? What color are those shadows really? Are they really black?
      Do this with everything every time you go outside. Study man made things, and always observe the colors, the textures, and the values in things.  If you do not understand what I am saying here, please ask, the only dumb question is the one you didn’t ask.
      The second exercise is in perspective. Lets say you are uptown.  Face a building on the street your standing on and keep your shoulders square to it.  Look at the building in front of you, and then slowly start turning your head to the left keeping your eyes on the buildings. Pay attention to how, things start getting smaller as your head turns. Once you have turned your head as far as you can,, you will see the horizon point.  This is the point in distance, where all vanishes.  The horizon point is very important in all that you draw or paint.  Always know where it is in everything you do, because it determines the perspective in what your doing.  If it is off, you whole picture will look out of wack. 
     Then repeat the exercise again, this time to your right.   Do this will everything, everywhere. Look at how it works with trees, clouds, highways, ect.  After a while, perspective will come natural to you, and the questions you have right now, you will be able to answer on your own.
     One of the things Lockwood had me do during my training was to take a sketch book and sit downtown drawing buildings. I did this twice a week for a whole summer and it really helped. Perspective is one of the things that comes hard to me, so i work on it  here and there. I am hoping to do a painting in the near future that is about perspective, as well as a cool picture.
     Next week we are going to cover mixing flesh tones and the colors and amounts to use in both oils and acrylics.  This is where I will show you how to use the value scale on your pallet. I worked in acrylics for almost 25 years, so I have a lot of tips to share with you about them as well.
       I have to get busy now. Much love to you and "May the Darkness Comfort You"

Monday, September 20, 2010

Good Karma and Good Health

       Hello my friends.  I have to tell you I feel better now than I have in years. The Insulin really made all the difference in the world on how I feel, and the timing couldn't be better because I have several commissions to get out. FINALLY, my oil painting hand is coming back, but I have to admit I had gotten a little rusty from the almost 3 years that I painted digitally.  So, I am making really good progress on the oil painting I am doing of Suzi now. I also have a steampunk painting to do as well as a really good horror piece to do of "Reapers" set in the old west. And the clients are as "bigtime" as it gets.  This has been one awesome week. I will give you the details when the publications come out.
     I also finished the interview for the Halloween Issue of a Main Stream publication that I will also release the information once it is out. This is what the publisher said about it in a press release
"the interview with Nick Rose in the October issue of MSM is friggin awesome!"  

        I've got to tell you, that made this fellow feel pretty good, especially considering the hell my body went through for the last 3 months.  I also talk about things I haven't talked about before, including where my catch phrase "May the Darkness Comfort You"  comes from. The more of these interviews I do, the better I get at it. One of them is up for and award. The one about the abuse I was put through as a child.
      I am giving thanks everyday to the powers that be for each day that is given to me and for feeling good again, well at least good enough to work in the studio. It's been a while since I have installed carpet, but I still dream that I am doing it.  Madison tells me that my arms and legs are moving when I sleep, like I am working.  Would someone please tell me how to exorcise this out of me!  When I dream about installing carpet, I also dream about my EX step father, and I wake up madder than heck. It takes me a hour or two to get that crap and him out of my mind when I have those dreams.
      Ok, enough of that, let's talk art. First let me promote the new print "The Dark Lord" It is 11" x 14" on very high quality paper, numbered and signed to only 250.

     You can go here and order one for only 10$. Please remember this money pays for the cameras needed to be able to instruct the art students want to learn. Also 1$ from every print goes to the "Shriners Burn Hospital for Children" Please go here to order.

      Last week we left off talking about values, and there is where I would like to start this week. Oh by the way, look for the Blog on Monday evenings now.  Sunday is to nice of a work day for painting, so I am moving the blogging to Mondays from now on.
      Let's go back to the value scale again for a moment.

    If you will notice that on the scale the numbers go from 0 to 10,  what you need to learn to do is only use the values 2 through 8 in most of your paintings.  You only use 10 when your doing the gleam in someones eye, or the highlight from a bead of sweat. An you only use 0 in the finest of detail on the main figure. If you can learn to only use 2-8 your paintings will pop and have more life. It might take you a couple of paintings to get the hang of it, but I promise, once you get it, you will get it.
   Think about it, if you use 10 to lighten the color, it starts to wash it out.  So what you want to do is mix a mixture of white mix with a small amount of orange.  If you have it right, it will be about the color of orange sherbet. Just a touch lighter to value 8.  By using this mixture, you will be able to create your values better, and it will also make your skin tones look more alive. In next weeks Blog, I am going to teach you how the masters mix flesh tones and how to use them. This is where a video camera would come in handy, so please buy a print or 2 so we can get one.
     On your dark color, value 8, do not use black unless you are doing a black and white study. Other than that, mix your own. I normally mix mine with Payne's gray and Burnt Umber.  At times depending on the painting, I may add other colors to it. For instance, if I am painting something cold, I will either add sap green or a nice blue to it.  But anyways, after you mix it, take 3/4 of it and set it away on the pallet. Then you want the make the 3/4 match value 8 on the scale. In most of cases, you just need add a touch of orange to bring it down to value 8.  Do not use the sherbet mix,  just the orange.  This is where in comes in handy to have clove oil, and add some to your value 8. Dark colors dry much quicker on your pallet, and if know your going to be using that color for more than 2 or 3 days, use the clove oil. I would be almost impossible to remix the color and get it exactly the same as it was.
Da Vinci's students to Riley who taught it to Howard Pyle. I keep stressing this to you, because I want you to be proud. This is history being handed down to you, and I am pretty sure, you can only learn this from a handful of artist.
     Ok my friends, I have much work to do this week and I will be sharing it with you in the next blog.  Now that I am feeling much better, I can say that with confidence. Much love my friends and "May the Darkness Comfort You"

Monday, September 13, 2010

Learning values in life and art.

         Hello my friends. I am sorry that I am a day late again, but I did find everything I needed off my master disk that I needed to work with you and work on my 'How to" books. I found as many of the notes that I could that I made when I was training, and this is so good stuff. One thing I want you all to understand is that in a lot of cases, you don't have to do things the same way I do them or someone else. As long as you understand the lesson, how you travel the road is totally up to you. Every one does things different, and what I want you to do is learn what I am telling you, but learn to do it the way you are comfortable with. We will get to the lesson in a little bit, but first some news. 
       When I last blogged, I was feeling good, but the day after I went downhill again, and wound back in the ER. They FINALLY put me on Insulin, and I am feeling much better now, and feel alive.  It takes a little getting use to, but giving myself a shot 3 times a day isn't as bad as you may think. The needles are so small these days, you can hardly feel them. The prick you do to your finger for the blood sugar test hurts more than the shot does.  As a matter of fact, you don't even feel the needle, and I feel much better these last 2 days. My sugar levels are finally starting to level off to a good range around 100.
       They took me off the steroids altogether, which in one way is great, but I am still have a Colitis Flare up, so I hope it clears itself up, because they don't want me back on the prednisone any more, and I have no ideal on how they are going to stop the bleeding without the steroids. Do any of you have Colitis and know some things I can do to stop the bleeding? I do apologize because I realise this is not a pleasant subject. I just wish they could me straighten me out without causing another problem to fix another one. My determination and strength of mind are really being tested, and to be honest, I am getting tired of it. For three months straight my body has been put through hell, and the year altogether has been a nightmare as far as trying to keep healthy. I could really use some loving energy from all of my friends.
     On the art end, a lot of things are happening that are a total surprise to me. I am superstitious about some things, and I am starting to think that talking about a projects before the contracts are signed is bad luck. But let me just say that one of my biggest dreams is happening, and I didn't even go after it, it came to me. I should be able to tell you about it in a few weeks. In a way it's really funny, because you know not even a month ago I made this announcement that I unless it was something I REALLY wanted to do, I wouldn't even think about it.  Just 10 minutes ago I turned down a job from a Movie company that really likes my work, but the company makes non-fiction movies, and I just couldn't see myself doing something like that. I watched the Trailer and it looks like a first rate movie, but I know I would be miserable doing it.
     It took me two full days, but I got the main stream interview done.  Tilly asked me some really juicy questions, and I got to talk about my "dark" side a lot. This is a fresh interview, and it's going to be in print everywhere.  I love it when interviewers take the time to read all the interviews done with me in the past, and in case you didn't know, most of them are posted on my website under the media section.  Talking about the website, I will be posting the lessons that I have shared on here on the website as well.
    I want to talk business for a minute, and I need you to take this to heart if you are coming here to learn.  I said a few weeks back that I was going to raise the price of the prints to 20 dollars at the first of Oct.  20 dollars is the standard price that most artist charge for their normal prints, and I was being put under pressure from my fellow artist (just a handful) to raise my price.  They felt that I was trying to undercut them and that by selling them for 10 dollars I was selling myself short. An then there where some that where just plain angry about it. So I announced that I was going to take my prices up to the standard.
    After running this around in my head for a while, I decided to keep them at 10 dollars, except when I am at convention. When I am at a convention, my cost are a lot. I have to make at least 800 bucks just to break even, so I have to charge 20 bucks at the conventions. But when you buy them from my website 10 dollars is plenty, and the whole reason I want to charge 10 bucks, is because I spent 35 years being a blue collar working man. I know how tough the economy is right now, and 10 dollars is a lot to spend compared to when Clinton was in office.  I feel like most of my fans are hardworking folks, and if they honor me enough to buy a print from the studio, I want to keep the cost as low as I can for them.
    If you folks want to meet me in person and see my original paintings, that takes money, and that money comes from the sale of prints.  When you spend 10 dollars on one of my prints, 7 dollars go to the convention fund, 2 dollars to the Shriners burn hospital for children, and the last dollar covers the cost of the print.  If you are a member of the fan club  you can get better deals like 3 prints for 20 dollars, and I also throw in one of the old Dark Angel Prints as well. When you order, just let me know your part of the fan club.
    The money also allows me the time to work up these lesson and blogs for the students out there. So please, help me make these things happen and do it for free.  The money has to come from somewhere, so please buy a print when you can spare the 10 dollars.  Ok, enough said about that.
     I think I told you we had a photo shoot this last week, and it went wonderful. Madeline and Darius are awesome to work with and you will be seeing them in my work for years to come, here is a few of the shot's I took of them...
    Madison had a great time too. This was her first photo shot, and she had a blast. She was grinning like a little kid. Over to the right, you can find links to Madeline's  model site and also here spiritual accessory store in the mall. There is also a link to Darius's site as well. I was impressed to learn that Darius just retired from the armed forces, and he was the personal body guard to a General in the Middle East. That is impressive, like he is. You will probably get to meet Madeline and Darius at some conventions with me this coming year.
      Ok, on to this lesson. We're going to talk about learning values and a few tips. These tips of for oil paint only. If you have worked with oils before, you know that dark colors dry much quicker than light ones.  So if you have mixed up a dark color, that is going to be a main color on your palette for a particular painting, and the painting is going to take more than 3 days to complete, mix one or two drops of clove oil into the dark color and mix it in. This will keep the color soft and buttery for weeks.  But you only need a drop or two. Clove oil is not cheap, and I found it at a herb/health food store. It comes in very small bottles and a bottle is about 12 bucks.  But if you compare that to having to try to mix a dark color a few times and it being exactly the same as the first time, the clove oil is cheap, and like I said, it keeps the paint nice and buttery.
     Another tip that you will find most helpful if you are and Illustrator and you are up against deadlines.  Buy a Product called Liquin, and before you start painting the area you are going to tackle next, put a medium coat of it over the area you are going to paint that day. In most cases, that area will be dry by the next day. Don't use it as your medium though, if it gets into the paints on your pallet, the paint it got into will be dry the next day as well. Use your linseed oil or turpentine as always as your medium.  I use it because I like to be able to rest my hand on the painting instead of a wooden bridge.
     In the last blog, I showed you how to make a perfect pallet that will help train your eye in values. Now it is time to use that pallet. One of the first things the Master had me do was take a color photo and paint it in black and white. (We talked about this last time) So this is what you should do if you are serious about your art.  Use lamp black and titanium white and mix the value scale beside the one on your pallet. Once you have done that, and you have the values correct choose a subject to paint that has texture and strong values, and once again, it must be a color photograph, and then you paint.  I did about 15 of these so far, and I will do about 2 or 3 a year just to keep at the top of my game. These are small, around 9 x 11, and I only allowed myself to spend a total of 5 hours per piece. Here are 2 of mine.
These where also the first oil paintings I had ever done. Daniel sent me the tubes of paint to use for these.  So, if you think you are ready to paint, lets see you do a series of these for a couple of months.  In the next lesson, we are going to step back and learn about drawing. In each blog, we will alternate from drawing to painting.  If you would like my opinion on how your work is coming along, post it somewhere and send me a link to it, and I will give you a positive overview on how you are doing, what needs work, where you are really strong and so on.
       Until next time, much love to all of you, and "May the Darkness Comfort you"

Monday, September 6, 2010

Making a palette and Happy Birthday!

       Hello my friends.This last week was a little rough on me to start with, but I am doing wonderful now.  If you remember a few months ago, I had a problem with my blood pressure, and it put me in the hospital overnight until we got it under control.  Well now I am having problems with my sugar levels, and it starting to look like I am going to have to start taking insulin soon. I spent Friday in the ER because it had gotten so high, and insulin is the only thing that is bringing into good levels. But I have no problem with this, considering that when I get a shot of it, I feel awesome. Almost like being a young man again. I am watching my diet very well, and keep all my meals within acceptable limits of my intakes allowed.  But for the last 2 days I have felt like a million bucks!.
     Yesterday was my Birthday, and it was a wonderfully emotional day for me. I've never had a Birthday that was as wonderful as this one.  The Picture above is from yesterday,  I am wearing my new shirt Madison got me for me. You can't see it to good, but it is full of skulls and is really cool. She also got me a really nice tri-pod for my model shoots, which we have one coming up this week, and I will share some pics in the next blog if the models don't mind. One of them, Madeline, is going to be a regular Model for me.  So you will be seeing her in a good bit in my work, like Suzi and Jane. I will be introducing you to her this coming week.
      While I had the camera out, I took a few pictures to  show you kind of how I have things set up, and  I will be taking many more pictures  in the near future. I still need some more shelves and some of those artificial trees.  But I will get them soon.  The biggest problem I have now is how to get a hook to stay on a concrete wall without falling off when I hang a painting on it. I tried to liquid nail the hooks to the wall, but that doesn't hold good enough to hang a painting on. I know, I hung one, and in the middle of the night it came crashing down, destroying a 100 dollar frame. Luckily the painting didn't get hurt at all.
      You always hear me bragging about my dvd collection, Here is a pic of about a 1/3rd of it...  As the studio gets "nicer" as far as pictures on the walls and plants and other cool things, I will take more pic's.  Now here are 2 pics of my where I am set up to paint.
     If you want, click on the pics and that will make them larger if your curious to the types of things I use. To the left of this pic is my drawing area, which I didn't photograph yet, but it has a similar setup, except I work on a drawing table when I draw instead of an easel.
     This next pic is where my computer is set up, which is about 10 foot to the right of these pictures.
    That's a 23 inch? IMac. It's big, if you blow the pic up you can see the wacum tablet I use just under the right edge of the screen.   The company bought it for me a couple of months ago, and up until then I worked on one of those 6 inch ones for 2 years.  This one is 12 inches and rides like a Cadillac! lol  Like I said in the last blog, the company is buying me a really nice camera and video camera for Christmas, which will add a whole new dimension to the blog and website.  I wanted to share these things with you, because after yesterday, I feel much closer to all my friends and readers.  I got over 400 Happy Birthday wishes on FB, and that just blew my mind. The reason I am a day late on the blog is because I spent 9 hours yesterday and 4 this morning sending out Thank you to all the wonderful people that took a minute out of their lives to wish me a Happy Birthday.  To me, that is very special. For people who have never meet me to keep me in their thoughts enough to do touched me very deeply.
    When you set here every week and write a blog, you never really know if people are reading it or not. I mean you can put a tracker on it to let you know who is reading it and from where and the amount of times they check it out and all, but after hearing from all of you, you really inspired me to keep doing what I am doing and take it even more seriously. On the same note, just on Facebook alone, we hit 1000 followers this week. Another milestone. Now there are more than that actually, but that's just from Facebook.
    As I keep telling my friends, your not wasting time being on Facebook.  Because of it, I know when I start the convention trail in January, that at every town I go, I will have Facebook friends there to hang out with and to meet in person.  I also conduct a lot of business on FB, meet new clients, and sell prints via Facebook through my website.  But the main thing is the friends I have made. Each day, my friends on Fb encourage me, show me love and friendship.  They make me so happy that I got back the will to live, and they all had a lot to do with that. Evil people had been slowly tearing away my heart and soul for several years, but now I am reclaiming what belongs to me, and I am looking forward to the future no matter where it takes me, because now I know people do love me and care. They look forward to my next piece of art, and they spend their money on it, when right now, most people can't even afford to eat.
    It all started with Madison and the kids.  For a very long time, I had no one that was real.  All I had was snakes surrounding me, tearing me down. Telling me I was an As*hole, and that people hated me and my art.  And after you hear something for so long, and no one tells you different, you start to believe it.  Madison changed all that. She helped me to open my eyes and see things for what they where.  She helped me deal with all the pain I had been dealing with, and she started helping me get rid of the anger that was inside me, and encouraged me to see the Therapist at the VA.  An over this last year, together we have built Wicked Kitty Studio LLC.  Madison is the owner of the company, and  WKS owns the rights to all the work I do.  She handles most of all the business, or I have to run it by her first before a decision is made. This protects me, my art from all the thieves and crooks out there, and I don't have to worry about any of the paperwork, ect. I just do what I love to do, the company provides me with everything I could possibly need to do my art the way I want.
    I felt like I needed to tell all of you about these things. I consider 99% of you friends and family, and now that I know that you are really reading this and giving a hoot about us, I feel like you deserve to know these things. I would also recommend to each of you once your work is getting notice, protect yourself.  There are just some flat out evil people out there that will try to trick you into signing your rights and art away.  Just last week, some fellow I don't know much about wanted me to let him have the rights to use the painting I just did for Horrorbound.  At first he acted like he had some money to work with, and then it went to he didn't know how he was going to pay his rent this week, and he was begging people for money on FB.  But he wrote to me, after I told him I had to run it by Madison, and said to me " We don't have to bring her into this" after I told him  that she was the boss.  So, I sent him a polite letter that said, "No Deal"  He had the nerve to write me back, and demand that I explain to him why I would not let him have the rights to my art. Of course, I just blew him off for the joke he is, but the point is, you will be dealing with people like this throughout your career as well, so always have someone to talk over important decisions with, because (at least in my case) we can get excited and want to do something, but in reality, your gonna get scr*wed, and the con artist is just setting you up.
      Now on to what i want to share this week.  Because I felt so bad earlier in the week, I still haven't found the disk I need to do alot of the things we will be covering, but since I decided to go back to my roots myself, and get back to basics, I made a Masters training Palette.  Here is a picture of the palette and the Value scale that I used for it. I will explain it all better after the pics.

     On this Value scale, you will want to click on it to enlarge it, then copy it to your files to print out.
  This is what the finished palette looks like.  I went to Lowe's and bought 2 plates of 11 x 14 glass.  The reason I bought 2 is because the glass was not as thick as I wanted, but I think the 2 panels cost about 6 dollars. I also cut a piece of cardboard to the same size, and then painted it a medium gray color. This helps you see the colors better and mix them as well, since the whole point of the palette is to teach you how to paint in different values and mix them as well.
    While I was waiting for the paint to dry, I super glued the 2 pieces of glass together, mostly around the edges, where I know the duct tape will cover it.   After the paint was dry, i used a glue stick to fasten the value scale to one side of the palette, and then I took super glue again and glued the glass to the card board where you could see the value scale through the glass as in the picture above. I put about 10 books on top of this until the next morning (Probably and hour would have been fine, but it was getting late)  The next morning I took Duct tape and when around all 4 edges, and applied it as in the picture. This is to keep you from cutting yourself  on the edges of the glass.  Now you have a great palette. It is large, so you can have several mixtures at once, and the glass makes for easy cleaning with a razor scrapper and a little turpentine.
    To make this you will need:
2 sheets of glass the same size and to suit your needs.  You can go smaller or larger. Your preference.
I piece of cardboard cut to the size of the glass
Gray paint
3 tubes of super glue
1 value scale
Duct Tape.
    This palette will help train your eye in mixing the different values of color. Now  in a lot of commercial art or comic art, you see only 3 values of a color.  This is save time, ect. But if you want to be a "Real" artist, you will want to work hard on learning the different values in a color and how to mix them. Having the scale under the glass of your palette will help you to do this.  This is something we will be covering much more as I teach you the "Riley Method"  Take pride in this and hold it dear to your heart. You are being taught history handed down from one generation to another, that started with Leonardo Da Vinci.  Take great pride in that. Only a handful of living people know this method, and I will teach you all of it as I finish learning it.
     I hope all or you have a awesome week, and I really appreciate from the bottom of my heart all the Birthday wishes. Bless you all. "May the Darkness Comfort  You"