Recently found myself on a train rolling back and forth across the country, so of course I had to document it the best way I know how. Did a digital sketchbook as it’s easier to carry a stylus and iPad than an entire paints set (also, I’ve ruined more physical sketchbooks traveling than I care to remember), so here’s the results. I can’t even begin to describe how difficult it is to sketch while being steadily jostled on a train for hours on end, so while I wish I’d done more sketches during my time spent back east, the protracted concentration needed to create these pieces on the journey demanded I give it a rest - until I was on the return trip with lots of time on my hands. (click the image below to view.)
No, but really. Where. I feel personally affronted in the ways in which time is always reminding me how long certain projects take to come together. This one - that I’m intending to turn into a second book with dozens if not a couple hundred illustrations - is coming up on three years now. Granted, the idea didn’t solidify until last fall, but still. So here is a new illustration to add to the Dark Mysteries collective, and I’m hoping to focus more on it from here on out so I can get the story finished and the artwork to go along with it realized as well. Cheers to the best laid plans!
While you’re busy letting thoughts for new work fully form, you mess around with digital. Or, at least that’s what I do. I have two paintings in my head that aren’t ready for canvas so here’s an illustration I did based off one of my favorite photos of Gene Kelly. Because, Gene Kelly.
I was telling someone today how weird it is to be the creator of such overtly erotic art when that’s never what I set out to do. Way back when I began creating these pieces I was really mostly interested in spacial arrangement and the challenge of conveying an idea with only pieces of information. It didn’t take long, though, until I embraced what it is these entangled limbs represent, and I really like putting these little sexy people puzzles together. They’re a challenge both for me to create and for you to decode and visualize what’s missing / the mechanics of how it works.
These two started out as one idea from a spontaneous sketch, but as I worked into the wee hours of the morning wrestling with foreshortening, angles, overall positioning (I did these with zero references) one became two. Maybe if I’m feeling really ambitious I’ll create a series of illustrations bridging the divide between these two positions so it can be a flip book/gif/mini animation. We’ll see.
Nothing in my work flow ever seems to go to plan. Got set up last night to figure out the final elements of a painting I’m working on when flipping through my inspiration folder brought up a photo of a face. I started mindlessly sketching to get in the flow and then this illustration happened. Didn’t get anything done for the painting. Oh well. That’s how it goes sometimes. You need to listen to the muse and not fight it, I’m not upset about it. I rarely have the interest to draw people - couldn’t tell you why. Perhaps an over saturation of faces in art leaves me wanting to focus on other things, but once in a while I’ll see a face that makes me want to create.
It’s been raining in San Diego for weeks.
For once! I’m prepping and ready for inktober this year. If you’ve never heard of inktober, click here. Essentially it’s an exercise artists can participate in to challenge and push their skills in inking and design. I absolutely love it as I work in a fully black and white format and it informs my choices and spurs growth in my style very quickly. It’s also insanely exhausting. Last year I burned out (and my marker quit) after about eight days. One reason for this is that I work within the tight bounds of a very specific theme. It’s a darkly magical, Faustian, mysterious theme. It’s a flip side of my personality and interests, and one I can only fully delve into in such intensity for so long. The month long format of inktober is a perfect frame of time, but still not one I’ve ever successfully completed. This year I’m working not only to complete the 31 days but to push the complexity of my narrative, line work and composition, something I’m able to do thanks to the outrageously amazing app Procreate. Working digitally this year will allow me to experiment more freely without losing years of my life by - quite literally - going back to the drawing board when working out compositions. As a sneak peek teaser here are the first two pieces I’ve completed ahead of the start of the inktober challenge, and if you’d like to see more of this narrative you can click here to go to my Dark Mysteries gallery. If you want to follow along, each day of October I’ll be posting one of these to my Instagram & Steller pages. There I’ll also be posting time lapse videos of these pieces so you can see how they came together, which I think is a pretty awesome aspect of working digitally, as well as background details about pieces that unlock more of the symbolism. There’s more than meets the eye in a lot of these. Hope to see you there!
I don’t often draw people. Couldn’t tell you why, I find people insanely fascinating on so many levels, but it just takes a lot for a face to catch my eye and compel me to draw it. I’m working on changing that by getting some digital drawings together of faces I find intriguing - that all seem to be coming from the vintage fashion loving crowd. (Perhaps this has something to do with my love of Mucha’s ornately attired women.) This is burlesque performer Dandy Dillinger.
I couldn't tell you if it's the weather or just a new pace my life is taking, but I'm embracing the slowdown as I let ideas simmer. In the meantime, here's another digital piece inspired by Mughal carpet designs, the scent of flowers on a warm wind, and one of my favorite colors - persimmon.
Some new digital work happening now that I was able to get Procreate back into my process. What a relief, it's such an amazing asset to have for working on the fly, for figuring out new ideas, or just practicing techniques. It's so important to my work flow that I'm really going to be able to kick it into overdrive now, and I could not be happier.