Saturday, November 30, 2013

Tree nymph free form sketch

Normally, I'm quite a structure nut when it comes to my designs. I use circles, squircles and other shapes to build my designs from the inside out. This sketch has absolutely zero structure in it and was designed based on pure intuition/experience. The technique is called "free form sketch" and I learned it from my mentor, Charles Zembillas, from The Animation Academy. Charles is the original designer for well-known game characters such as Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the dragon and Jack and Daxter to name a few. Free form sketch is drawing from the gut in a permanent medium, such as pen or marker. It really helps to build confidence and it's a lot of fun too once you get into it. I strongly suggest anyone out there give it a try! See the design in your mind and draw with confidence : ) By the way, if anyone's curious about The Animation Academy, please follow this link to learn great skills from great artists:

To see work from Charles himself, follow this link to his blog:

Friday, November 29, 2013

Ask "Stretch"- November

Happy harvest everyone! I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and for those that don't celebrate it, I hope you had a great day all the same! It's always great to see family, share in delicious food and have fun times together. The year is winding up fast and soon 2014 will be I swear that time keeps going by faster the older I get. Let's move on to this month's Ask "Stretch".

1. I really want to be a painter but don't really know where to begin.....Where do I start?

Answer: Good question! Contrary to popular belief, traditional fine artists can make a living in this economy. I'm defining "fine artists" as those that paint, use markers, pens, pastels or any other form of art medium that isn't digital. A good starting point is to get your fundamental skills in order. Take some classes or learn from youtube how to use various forms of mediums from painting to drawing and other forms of artistic media. The knowledge and skills from one medium often blend into other mediums. For example, learning to paint and becoming familiar with color palettes really helps in digital painting. Learn perspective drawing and get really proficient in life drawing. Draw/design something EVERYDAY; practice makes perfect.

The next thing to consider is to learn all about marketing yourself. Having a website or a blog is a great way to share your work. Make social media work for you with Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Deviantart and so on. Having an account on a few of these sites helps spread the word about you and your work. Get onto a professional site for networking such as  Connect with other artists and those that enjoy the arts. Making connections means everything in today's world! Also, making connections helps attract fans that will enjoy what you do for a long time to come. They'll keep coming back to your work and tell others to check out what you do. Word of mouth often leads to sales!

Think about selling your work through e-commerce sites such as or through a Paypal storefront or maybe E-Bay. Keep your prices "real." In other words, charge what it really cost to make that piece of art with consideration to materials cost and labor/time. To this day, it remains important that if you wish to be making a living as a traditional artist that you have showings of your work in art shows and museums. Look around and see where you can display your work and attend shows to promote yourself and check out your competition. Have cards made to hand out or flyers. Consider making an "ashcan" book of some of your best current works. An ashcan is a small book at least 10 pages long that you should sell for about $10 or so. (the idea for the ashcan is self-promotion rather than making a profit) The more eyes that see your work, the better.

Being an artist has never been an easy existence.  There will be times of no steady paycheck or eating on the cheap. This is something that you must accept in order to have any fun on this journey. If you do good work, fans will come and they will support you!

And that wraps up this months Ask "Stretch". Got a question about being an artist, the industry or the creative process in general? Send me a note in that convenient field on the right side of the page that says "contact or hire me". Until next time everyone! Have a great day : )

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Apple girl painting; step 2

Step 2 for this commission is to insert the head design I made for the family member that my client wants to feature. Enter the ever-useful post-it note! These notes are so handy for small fixes and I use them all of the time for storyboards primarily but they're also great for character designs too. The rest of the sketch has been cleaned up too and is ready for transfer to a canvas that will be painted for step 3.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Apple girl painting; step 1

This is a rough sketch using a recent girl character that was carrying a bucket of apples. My client wanted to place her in a scene and replace the head with a member of her family's head. After I insert the person's head, then I'll transfer the image onto a canvas and paint it. This is simply step one of the process: sketch the scene.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Random sketch

Half of the time, I don't have any particular concept in mind. All I know is "I want to draw something."Sketches like this one are random and good to do for warm-up or letting the mind work out any sort of issue. Drawing helps me think and provides a new update for my portfolio/blog. This sketch doesn't really have a name as I don't really know what or who this character is.

Monday, November 18, 2013

This year's holiday card for my family

Every year, my mom likes to send out cards to friends and family wishing them a wonderful holiday season. This is my second year designing our family card. We're a happy snow family!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Warning! Spoiled princess!

This is another birthday commission I painted for a client's family member. The recipient happens to have a yorkshire terrier that she dotes on and spoils rotten. It seemed only right to paint this very loved pet in a princess outfit : ) As always, any personal information has been blurred out in respect for the client's privacy.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Apple girl

I love the fall season : ) Being an artist is great too as I'm never bored so long as I have something to draw with and something to draw on. While waiting for my car's timing belt to be changed, I sat and drew this little girl with a bushel of apples.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Am I in trouble?

A kitten playing with yarn; one of the epitomes of unbridled cuteness. This little guy got in the yarn and made a bit of a mess.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Another birthday commission : )

More requests have been pouring in to create one-of-a-kind birthday/occasion paintings. This one is a gift of the recipient's mastiff. The dog's name is Sara and she's a one of many dogs spoiled rotten by her owner, complete with a necklace, tiara and tennis bracelets from Tiffany, a well known jeweler. As always, the message and any names mentioned are distorted for privacy reasons.