Ok so maybe the mermaid doesn't walk. But they each have a vodka tonic and exchange advice on world domination.
This is a special trio of women that I created for a giveaway on Instagram, the likes of which you should not miss! I worked very long hours to bring out the best of each. I'll be doing these regularly until I'm satisfied that my work has circulated! If you want to be in on the next giveaway, subscribe here. Chances are I will draw my next winner from my email list. But more on that later...
In this post I'm gonna show you some progress pictures of these works. I'll tell you what I used and creative problems I had along the way. I call this a "Process Lab" and you can find more posts like this, some with video, here. Let's get started with my first giveaway prize, Mermaid!
Watch me draw, paint, and ink this colorful blue alien female portrait in my sketchbook! Blue is my favorite color that's why you may see me use it a lot. FOR EVERYTHING! Seriously thinking I'll have myself a Blue Period like Picasso. I mean why not?!
Also, I don't always draw girls with short hair, but when I do, they have mohawks! Haha! Very inspired by Storm from X-Men's punk era.
Anyway I have plenty of ideas to hash out for my cosmonaut series of illustrations, and I have yet to do an official cool-skinned alien! So that may be coming up on the horizon. I have yet another studio move to make in a few months. Thankfully its a short distance to another apartment in my complex! In the meantime I have started my urban sketches of Mexico project, and I stay working in the sketchbook on the next big thing. So here's a piece of that book of ideas, enjoy!
Mexico was amazing! The beauty of the city was breathtaking! There's so much color and history to explore, I didn't even get to see it all. I took about a million pictures, a few of which I'll share below. I'll be going over my reference photos to inspire some beautiful paintings of urban life and landscapes.
I picked up a word or two on my trip, and became a little better at following Spanish in conversation. I learned how different my perspective and reality were of the country in general. I got to see a real Dia de Muertos celebration in the cemetery. It's not the painted faces, and parades we often see here. There were countless rows of beautiful white tombstones covered in flowers and statues, with the mountains as a backdrop. I saw gorgeous altars all over the city, colorful murals, artsy cafes, and so much great architecture! Here are just a few of the photos I took...
Have you been waiting for another long form video of art making? The process can be mysterious for many, and for creators, it can go by quickly. Thirty minutes later something is there that wasn't there before. Mistakes and all! Sketchbooking with Johnny takes you on one such journey. There is no plan when sketching, just choices made along the way. I find it interesting to be able to look back on those choices and see where alternate routes could've taken, or see how unknowingly the product can come together despite seemingly random paths. It can be meditative at times. If you're looking to see how my process looks while I'm in the throws of creativity, then check this video out! Its about 25 minutes and features some of my Garage Band music mixing.
It happened just as I stood up and looked longingly at my favorite chair. NOOO!! *Expletive* My decorative paper, my tools, my large protective paper were covered in a puddle of ink.
Accidents happen in the studio, in the kitchen, in the office. Often times you may have to start over, especially if its technology related. But not always. Save often, so says the motto. Artists don't always have that option however. I'd been working on my Inktober drawing for the night. It was late, and I was tired. I was having a hard enough time thinking of my line work, and just wanting to get through this slump of ideas. I didn't know what it was I needed until it happened.
A familiar voice calls out your name, you go to your son/daughter/boyfriend/girlfriend in the other room and ask what they wanted. They look at you crazy and say, they haven't said a word. Sometimes they say they've only thought it. Dun DUN DUN!
Is it the work of ghosts? Transmitting thoughts and sounds over the astral plane? This has happened to me more times than I can count, and I often just attribute it to a sound that my brain interpreted as my name. Surely science can back that up right? Right?!
I mean people have deja-vu constantly and science has proven that it is misfired synapses in the brain that cause the person to think they have visited or experienced something before when they really haven't. What a cruel joke your brain playing! I personally not sure I believe that explanation anyway. Its not much better believing I actually have experienced a situation before, because that raises a million spooky questions, but at least I know I'm not crazy and my brain is not against me, am I right?
Ok, so I know the picture says No. 7, and thats because I'm playing catch up on my daily drawings and I lost count! Artists make mistakes! And its ok, they will happen, and you have to roll with it. I did. Watch me turn that bad ass 7 into an 8.
No. 8 is a beautiful succubus contemplating her life choices. Or maybe she's deeply pondering the next evil deed. I'll let you decide! Hey I'm just the messenger, not the interpreter. I'm just the riverbed by which the creative river flows.
I've been watching a lot of Inktober videos by some of my favorite illustration artists, Jacqueline DeLeon, Aurdra Auclair, and Bao Pahm, on YouTube. I spend a lot of time there watching funny videos, and art videos. The learning never stops! Nor does the admiration for that matter. Anyway, I wanted to create an inktober video for you to see my process in motion.
I walked outside and was brushed with cool wind and cloudy skies overhead. I love autumn. When I was a kid, Halloween was my most favorite time of year! I grew up being scared most of the time, and to this day I can't sleep without a night light, but it was fun! At least thinking back on it now it seems so. I can confess some spooky tales of childhood trauma and my creative older sister if you hang with me a moment.
Firstly, Inktober is a fun time in October where artists of every level and location, post a work each day of month. Thirty-one drawings for Halloween usually. Last year I participated it was quite fun to see all the participants using the #inktober hashtag. Its a fun way to discover other artists' work and practice your skills. Its also a great way to get new fans of your work, since a lot more people follow the hashtag and look at it everyday to see the new stuff!
If you're an artist, you like drawing, or you're just curious then you should definitely take a look at this collective building event! You don't have to do scary, most people just do what they like, and even paint or add their own flourish. I use it as a time to practice drawing in brush ink, quill, pen, and marker. You can check out my last year's work in the "Related Articles" at the end of the post. Here is what I have so far, take a look and then I'll take you back to my haunted house in 1992.
When my friends first asked if I wanted to play D&D I looked at them crazy and said, "Do I look like THAT much of a nerd?" I mean sure I liked video games, and fantasy stories, and I was very familiar with how the game worked, but when I thought of the level of geekdom it took to play this game, I was sure it wasn't for me. How wrong I was. Later on I discovered just how connected I was. More about that in a bit. I chose to play the Druid, because the story was something like this: Its a cool day in the forest, and the sounds of rustling wind seem to act as the voice of the trees. After wandering for hours in the deep wood a green witch, also known as a druid, stops for rest on a fallen tree. She is nature's advocate, and radiates with earth energy. The animals sense her nature and often are attracted to her aura's light. Some are her friends that she's spent personal time getting to know. Druids can also shape-shift and often run with the pack of wolves to howl at the moon, or soar the skies with eagles. They are solitary but by no means lonely. They may prefer the company of animals and plants to that of humans (a sentiment I definitely relate to).
I sent out my newsletter recently offering an opportunity to meet with me and get some free art in the process! The Grand Opening of a new Sprint store at: 2736 W. 7th Street, Fort Worth, TX 76107 will have me as a guest offering customers caricature art as a promotional gift. This all goes down on Saturday September 3rd! I'll be there from 11am until 4pm.
She's a modern woman on the go! This is an afro-futurist painting featuring a beautiful woman of the future with striking purple hair and reflective jumpsuit complete with gold accents. She wears the latest retro eye wear and headphones in gold. She plays her favorite, the "Time Travel Mixtape" while she jumps through swirling portals of color. Its just another Tuesday. Its just another day space hopping.
I'm so excited about this piece, it came out better than I expected! Its very special to me because it reminds of when I was younger and saw Elektra for the first time in comics. I'll tell you about it in a moment. I did make a preview video to show what little I recorded of the process! You can view it at the end of the post. This one went fast, and couldn't wait to finish and see how it turned out myself! I struggled with the name for a while, trying to figure it out and finally settled on Time Travel Mixtape, because it so accurately described what I imagine traveling in the future to be like, a casual walk through space while listening to your favorite jams! Much like modern couriers, future couriers need to keep the energy up, and the soundtrack interesting.
Here's one of my latest works in progress! This will be a new addition to my cosmonaut series, and a curvaceous cosmonaut jumping through a time traveling portal! I think I'll call it "Cruising Through the Space/Time Continuum" That may be kind of long, but until then its a working title! Enjoy this short video and progress pics below!
I've been steady creating diversity in the world of space because I don't see enough of it. I've been inspired by the Afrofuturism movement to portray more people of color in the sci-fi realm as well as the fantasy one. This is going to be a colorful work that blends the aformentioned movement with elements of anime. You could say its a blend of Steven Universe's Garnet, and Afro Samurai! I'm a slight anime geek. And I'll never give up watching amazing cartoons! Animation has been a big inspiration for me, but especially anime because it doesn't talk down to its audience, and so many stories are made of adults. I believe some of it truly uses animation to advance itself as an art form. But enough of that! Check out the progress pics below and the preview video I posted at the end to promote the piece on YouTube.
"You can't help it. An artist's duty, as far as I'm concerned, is to reflect the times."
I'm not a political artist. I'm just an artist. I consider myself proficient in the ability to create using many different mediums. I don't do politics because its messy, and opinionated and sometimes rude. I make things that I find beautiful. I make fantasy worlds, people, and things. Things that reflect the beauty I see in the world. Maybe you are the same. In politics there are one too many arguments and it all ends up as noise, and nothing changes. Might as well not even bother. What do fairies, mermaids, and unicorns have to to do with modern politics anyway? I ask myself this many times when I'm confronted with conflict of the real world. Maybe I can just make something pretty that will distract from the cruel world, and offer an escape. Escape would be nice. But that is harder and harder to find in these times.
Mystikal lyrics are NSFW!
It's been a while since I've tackled a comic project of this size, and even longer since I've done a fully realized page! I usually do the pin-ups and character profiles.
I was a fan of Mystikal's song, Shake It Fast (Clean Version), and I loved his unique gritty way of rapping. Years have passed since I even remember seeing a music video or picture of the rapper, so I did some research on his pictures and facial expressions.
Of course this piece is for a much bigger fan than me. So I had to make sure his essence was captured, and that I did justice to the spirit of the lyrics. I had an outline prepared for me by the commissioner of this project, a good friend of mine. We laughed together about the roughness of the sketches, but they were more than enough for what I needed. The placement was there, the angles and desired images all set. All I had to do was fill in my work, which saved a lot of time. See it below!
I'm excited to bring the news that my store is coming along and will be opening soon on my website. From this portal, customers will be able to view what I have available, see detail images much like in the portfolio, read about artwork descriptions, and most importantly, get the price and buy! The payment system uses PayPal to make transactions which is awesome considering PayPal's great reliability and security. I've tried out a test order at it is very seamless and easy if you're used to online ordering. I'm a one-man show around here most days, so I'm working out kinks, details, and the like before making it live, but I'm confident it will be ready before the end of the week.
In my most current painting, "Awakening" I explore the concept of spring as an awakened entity. As many of you know, I love nature, as evidenced by much of my work lately! I love fantasy and mythology, in particular the study of deities. Naturally the idea of a spring spirit resonates with me as a sort of Gaia.
I imagine the spirit just wakening in a lush area of the forest to a sweet fragrant breeze. Today she appears as the center of a large flower (also seen here), her favorite of many disguises. It opens to reveal her face, like a Venetian mask, alluding to her secret identity. This also shows the idea that deities appear as close to what a human might perceive as a fully realized form. Even so, they have secrets and elements that just cannot be translated.
This painting took about 4 hours, it is on 140lb Cold Press watercolor paper and measures 9 inches x 12 inches. I used my trusty travel paint palette (pictured above), and two of my travel Pentel Aquabrushes in large and small tips. Check out my progress pictures below!
I was recently commissioned to do a thumbnail (preliminary work) for a Prince painting! I love Prince so this was a no-brainer! Purple Rain is my absolute favorite, then maybe Darling Nikki, or When Doves Cry. And of course no playlist should be without Kiss, Lets Go Crazy, and I Would Die 4 U.
That's just my opinion!
His artistry is an inspiration to me and the only man I'd ever refer to as a Diva with the utmost respect. Check out the progress below, reference from Prince's 2nd studio album and the one that began his legend!
In folklore, an enchanted forest would easily prey on wanderers through its dark midst. There would be no reason other than malicious intent. Neighbors to the dark trees would warn travelers, but some wouldn't listen. Such a traveler would end up lost and soon abandon hope when the path only led in a circle and the sky was nothing but branches. The growing darkness causes despair and fear to creep in.
Suddenly a light gives way to hope. Is it divine intervention, or a malicious trick the fairies play? Either way, the lights are comforting and hypnotize the wanderer into drifting further. It is the will-o'-the-wisp, and it cares not to help.
These "fire-lights" are some of my favorite to illustrate and see in media. They are mysterious, yet dreamlike. Haunting, while comforting in the piercing darkness. A flickering lamp that is said to recede if approached, drawing travelers from the safe paths.
Hopefully you caught the inspired HBO Special Presentation by Beyoncé entitled Lemonade last night. I wasn't sure what to expect, as the project was kept under lock and key for some time. Even as a Bey fan I was unaware until just before the program started that it was about to air.
I wasn't prepared.
My mouth was open for the first 15 minutes. I paused the program briefly because there was a mess of T being spilled, and I had to pick up my jaw from the floor. My friends were already watching, and my text message alerts were ringing at regular intervals. What was happening? Beyoncé was ripping her own heart out all over my TV screen. It wasn't until after getting over my initial shock over the revelations she was offering, that I even realized we were looking at another album, set out to outdo the last surprise release. I was inspired to say the least. And not just because the visuals were amazing and provocative, but because once again, I found myself UNPREPARED. In my OWN artistic life! Let me explain...
Maybe you've seen me posting about my new project or maybe you've missed it, but I just wanted to give you guys a little info about what I'm offering my subscribers. Its a Coloring Book! Its 12 pages! It took lots of time and love to produce, and its all for you! Its a .pdf file which is made for Adobe Acrobat and is about 7MB. Some of the work I drew in ink and then digitized for crisp images to download. Some of the work I made completely digital. And some is a hybrid of both. It makes for a good mix of lines and textures I think. A few of the pieces are digital copies of works I've actually painted also! So you can color them differently. I love the collaboration aspect of this project. I've had so many friends ask me to draw them things so that they could color them. Its always fascinating for me to see what they come up with! So if you like what I do and don't mind a few emails from me, then you should get my book for yourself! This is 12 free artworks, I mean really! I will post some of the works here for preview, but the rest are a surprise! Tell your friends, send them my way, like, comment, and share, and help me get me and my work out there. I plan on doing even more in the future, so if you subscribe you'll get it all! Check these out!
This idea began after purchasing my long awaited copy of Faeries illustrated by Brian Froud. Ever since I was a child I have regarded his work as true fantasy masterpieces. Sugar Plump Fairy is a small tribute to his influence and inspiration.
I didn't shy away from making my fairy in a less common image. She's round, and plump, yet sexy and mysterious! Froud was a fan of diverse forms, and so I decided to stray from my usual thin fairy. I love the results! She is a colorful girl with supernatural beauty to spare. This work measures 9 inches x 12 inches, and is done on Cold Press 140lb paper. You can see some progress pictures below, and the final work at the bottom!
Recently I was commissioned to do opening animation for the one and only, Veronica Rodriguez de la Luz del Topo, also known as "La Elvira." She is a comedy/horror/critic/commentator on YouTube that rose to fame with a video satirizing the "hardcore" or elitist goth culture. Her image is an inspired mix of Vampira, Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, and Amy Winehouse. She promotes freedom of expression in the subculture and acceptance of every person's right to be and identify as they please. If you are goth, with pink hair and dark skin, then you are goth. Easy and simple. She has many other characters poking fun at other subcultures and celebrities. Her audience is mainly based in Mexico, where she is from. Because of her, and the viral video she made in her bedroom, the term "Darks" to describe a goth person with attitude has been recognized across Mexico and even other Spanish-speaking countries like Spain, Brazil, and more. Her image and moniker "Tu no eres Darks," can be seen on advertising by major brands within the nation, and she's been interviewed by Time Out Mexico. Naturally, I'm excited to work with her, but it's not the first time, and it won't be the last!
Have you been putting off your creativity? Have you always wanted to draw or paint, but thought that you're not "a real artist" so why bother? Do you want to learn a tip or two and express the ideas you've been longing to get out of you? This should be fun. Art is for everyone. Even small children know that they don't need a degree to color their world and express themselves. Now you can find "adults only" classes where you can have fun while having a few drinks and making art! I want to empower you to draw and paint like you've always wanted. For fun as a hobbyist, or if you're looking to sharpen some skills that have been long neglected, I think this series will help get the ball rolling. I have simple demonstrations, and will later add more detailed tutorials if you happen to like it, and want to see more! Welcome to the Quick & Dirty Artist Series! Video demos on the basics: eyes, lips, hands, and whatever else you might need, all in a quick format that encourages messiness. In my opinion, getting messy encourages quick decisions that lead to happy accidents, expressiveness, and inventiveness. This is your invitation to make art with me and be free. So lets get to it.
Erykah Badu, for anyone that really knows me, is one of my favorite performers/artists. I first encountered her on the Today Show I think, or similar morning talk show. I was on summer vacation in 1997, and TV was first priority of course.
My background as a music lover up to this point was eclectic in my opinion, but my first love was Hip-Hop and R&B. I hadn't heard much from the Soul genre, but I knew of it, but was not yet hooked completely, until this one morning. Living in the country in small town Texas, I was not privy to music outside of pop and country, much to my chagrin. So I had to discover music on TV, MTV, BET, and later online. I soon joined a music club, where I could get 11 CDs for a one penny! I jumped at the chance and Erykah's Baduizm was mine. I listened to it over and over devouring what seemed to be new knowledge, a new artform, a new language. She opened the door to a new world for me.
WHO IS BUNNY?
Bunny & The Alligators is inspired by Bunny Meyer also known as @grav3yardgirl on YouTube. She's been a great person to watch on the popular video site, and has made me laugh and wonder many times. Because of this, I wanted to send a thank you to her and show my appreciation for what she does. People don't realize how much work goes into becoming popular on YouTube and giving so much of yourself to an audience that can be unforgiving. Her fans have proclaimed her the Swamp Queen, and becoming part of her clan will promise an alligator its wings!
Bunny has always been inclusive on her channel and has always spoken up for those of us that are different. She promotes being yourself and being proud. However her most prominent feature is her personality and is what initially brought me and friends to her channel. She is an unabashed goofball, and won't hesitate to find someway to put a smile on your face. Speaking crazy fast, and gesturing wildly she makes quite a fun spectacle of herself that I couldn't appreciate more. Not to mention, her video series "Does This Thing Really Work?!" is crazy helpful in product testing. From appliances, to beauty, to toys, she tries it all!
nce upon a time I happened on an event going on in my area called Dallas Comic Con. I've always been a geek aficionado of sorts. Sometimes I think it has more to do with growing up in the 90s than it does with being an actual geek. Nonetheless I could talk for hours about X-Men, Lord of the Rings, and my new favorite comic book/anime/etc.
Before I ever really considered myself an artist, I occupied myself with illustration. I always made scenes from made up stories, or developed looks for characters. Growing up in the country, I had plenty of time to draw, and that's pretty much all I did.
elow is a video from my YouTube channel. I have captured my process in painting Cosmonaut I on an Artist Trading Card made of Bristol paper. This card is a part of a series I have available on HotPressed - my Etsy site. Artist Trading Cards (ATC), also known as Art Card Editions & Originals (ACEOs) are small baseball card-size original works of art, that can be traded, exchanged, or sold by the creator/owner. These aren't your average trading cards! These are one-of-a-kind small works of art that you can collect as you would any other type of art, but also can be traded as a fun way of discovering new work. But I'll leave the collecting and trading up to you! Check out the video below for a speed video of this work coming to life.
nktober is an annual challenge an artist takes on every October to draw in ink at least once a day. It has grown into a worldwide endeavor with thousands of artists taking on the challenge every year, in order to improve inking skills and develop positive drawing habits. Typically it's easier said than done, but the last couple of years I've managed to create some cool work out of it. This year I've incorporated some new tools with Le Pen in various colors and Gelly Roll gel pens. I'll post some for you here, and hopefully you can become inspired to take on the challenge yourself!
If you love making art, as much as I do, then you know what a struggle it can be. It is revealing, and frightening. Sitting in your
studio you may wonder why fight or flight is kicking in when there's nothing but a blank sheet of paper in front of you! Maybe you feel your art isn't good enough? Maybe you think
you're not good enough? And what is good anyway?
Even though I've sold works and exhibited in galleries, I get page fright. How does this happen?! In this series of posts I'll call "Process Lab" I'll
show you how I get started and step by step my process for you. It is my hope that you will see what I go through each step of the way and see that starting is the hardest part. Then
actually continuing is the next hardest. Your talent is not a big factor, and it certainly isn't what makes you "worthy" to create art. Look at what I've outlined for you here, and
then I'll tell you what I've learned about worthiness.
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