Creative Joural. Here you'll see a list of the updates and changes that have been made.


Something to be thankful for. 

This is the month that we all give thanks for what he have in our lives. I'm thankful for a great many things, such as the people that I have in my life and my recent promotion at work, but I'm also thankful for the things that I see. A few months back after I finished the portrait of my uncle I had a small amount of time left before the West Alexander Fair and I wanted to get one more piece made to display and since I just finished a portrait I was still in the same mindset so I started looking around for someone to do the portrait of and I came across a few pictures of this very sweet little girl named Aspen. Aspen is the daughter of a childhood friend of mine and just like everyone she's had her share of problems, but Aspen had so many in her first few years of life and no matter what was going on her spirit always manages to shine through the night. 

So how do you capture that spirit? Once I decided on doing a portrait of her I spent a lot of time looking through all the pictures of her to find one that I thought captured her spirit just right and here's what I came up with:

After I had finished the portrait I started thinking I should have done a close up of her smile instead, but if I did that I wouldn't be able to show that energy that she always brings out. I displayed it at the West Alexander Fair hoping that Aspen and her family would be in for a happy surprise, but they weren't able to make it up unfortunately. There were other members of her family who were there and happily surprised as were a few of their family friends, so once the fair was over I shipped it off to their home and a few weeks later I was very happy when I was sent this:

Needless to say, that brought a smile to my face as I'm thankful to be able to bring a smile to hers and her family. Blessings upon you Aspen, your smile and your cheerful spirit touch so many and your pains are felt by all, for you are one of the lights in life that can bring people together in a special way.




This month I'm posting another throwback just like last month, but this one is the prequel to last months posting of Ni Dragons. Chaoseater is a sword that was carried by War, one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse in the game Darksiders. I'm still a very big fan of the game and when I was preparing to convert Ni Dragons over to color I realized that I need to do a little practice first and I wanted to test out a new medium so here's what I came up with:

Originally it started as just a sketch of the sword itself, but then I added the skull and just ended up going all in with a full scene design. This is a mix of copic inks for the sword and acrylic paints for the background and foreground. Chaoseater kind of fits this point right now as I started a new position and things feel a little Chaotic with the change in schedules of going from working shifts to straight daylight and trying to get used to it all, but after almost three weeks I'm starting to cut through the chaos to turn it all to my advantage. Revisiting this piece to get it posted though has made me eager to go back and visit the Darksiders universe, I've been thinking of doing a tribute piece to Wars older brother Death from Darksiders 2, but we'll see what happens in the future.

No preivew of the next pieces this time, have a few that are in the works and nearing completion and one that I'm eager to share shortly that is one of my best works. I'm also working on a couple more fan arts and a couple originals and another portrait on the horizon.

Happy Halloween!



A month of Reflection

This past month I saw a lot of changes in my life and it made me spend a good bit of time reflecting back on my life as changes began. The biggest change this month was that I got promoted to higher position which also means that I'll be working straight daylight monday through friday. Sounds great, but it also means I have to alter some of my habits that when I do my art which was basically when I spent time working on it so it essentially means changing up the routine I've been used to for the last few years, but its just another challenge.

Anyways back to reflecting on things as one of the biggest reflections came during the week of Labor Day where I spent my time at the West Alexander Fair as a superintendent. I'm in charge of the Arts & Handcrafts department, something that's been a part of me for a long time as I always entered my artwork ever since I the time I could walk so I've always been a legacy participant until about seven years ago when I was asked if I would be interested in taking it over. I accepted without hesitation, but took a cautious approach to it. In my first year nothing really changed as I wanted to see how it all flowed together but after that first year I started changing it up little by little and the last two years things have flowed together so well. I don't judge the entires myself, instead I bring in judges who are  artists themselves or have great knowledge and appreciation of the fields the entries are in, but I do display my work for others to see which is a great feeeling, as art should never be a contest, but seeing your work displayed in a professional manner in a place for a large audience to see it always gives someone a sense of pride which I've seen happen numerous times for participants as it's a nice feeling to win, but you feel a greater feeling of pride when its displayed with other artists. Since I took over I've been able to do something that I've wanted to do ever since I was a child as I was able to meet a lot of other artists and introduce them to one another as there were many different artists from different generations and perspectives.

There were four artists this year that I was able to introduce to another, two are experienced artists from an older generation and the other two were still in their teens and I was in between both generations and just being able to introduce them to one another and having discussions about each others craft, experience and perspective was a great inspiration for all of us, it was litterally like seeing the light brighten in the eyes of the younger generation and a swelling of pride that inspired the older generations. That's something I always wanted to do when I was a kid was to meet and talk to other artists to gain insight that could help me become a better artist myself and others as well and now I can which is a rewarding experience and feeling, one that I hope I can continue.

The piece I'm posting for this month of reflection isn't a recent one, in fact this piece was finished nearly a year ago and its a perfect example of reflecting how far I've come. This piece was a commission for my Senei's at The Traditional Martial Arts Society. They didn't have a logo design that was tailored to represent them so after a few discussions I created some rough concepts and for a few months after each class we would sit and talk where the concept was refined a little more each time until I had found a design that had worked and came up with this:

This piece meant a lot to them, but even more to me. Unknown to everyone but myself at the time was that I was pretty much burnt out on art before they asked me for this commission, which is evident if you look back and see the long gap in my jpurnal of when I posted artwork. The initial concept was a little rough but with each meeting with my sensei and talking with them about it I kept getting more and more excited about working on it and it was the spark I needed to reignite the passion I had for art which ended up going so much further. After I had the initial design done I knew in my heart that I wanted to create a colored version and before that I was very much just a sketch artist which was pretty much simply just shades of gray with the exception of a few ink sketches of cars and other illustrations, so to create the colored finished piece I got back into using stain and acrylic paints and just started experimenting with them to get a feel for the flow of color again with a medium that was out of my comfort zone and the results of the experiment were great which I'll post next month, but applied to this piece it became better than I hoped for. Both of my sensei were grateful and I feel pride every time I step into the dojo seeing it hanging on the wall soon as you walk through the door.

Ni Dragons, meaning Two Dragons, was the spark that helped ignite my passion and ever since then I've been working on more and more art always trying new mediums or combinations of them to break away from my comfortzone and give me a better perspective in my approach to each new piece. Since then I've done several commissions, portraits, illustrative work and I've even made a new friend named Jeff Crosbie who's a very talented author who enlisted my help as a concept artist on his project which I'm eager to share when the project is over.

It's the last day of the month and I reflected on how much I've changed over the years, my body has gone through a transformation over the last two years with the help of my family, friends and the guidance of my Sensei and it's really helped to advance my mind and my passion as well. Tomorrow I'm running a 5K with one of my best friends, something that I never would have imagined I would do a few years back, and today I was at a three hour seminar at my dojo which also provided reflection from how far I've come, but Sensei David White's closing remarks at the end really struck a chord with me. What he spoke of, which I'm paraphrasing, was of intention and application. I've spent the last few years redefining myself as a person, physically and mentally as that was my intention and everything that I learned in the dojo, in my art and in the real world has helped me achieve my goals and to pursue my new ones. Many of the things I've learned through hours in the dojo has helped me become a better artist because I was able to apply many of the things I learned to the canvas and the sketchbook. A brush, a pen and a katana, these three things have something beautiful and yet so simple that connects them to one another that makes them all virtually the same. Each of them is an extension of you and the way you use any one of them can greatly help you understand another one as you can not take back the stroke of a sword anymore than you could the stroke of a brush, just as no one can force you to draw your weapon or apply paint to the brush if you have no intent to use them.

Perhaps in another few years I'll reflect back on that previous statement and see how much of it still holds true or if I have learned there's more to it.

A very special thank you to Sensei David White and Sensei Joseph Urich for all that you have taught me and all that I continue to learn, I'm both grateful and honored, thank you for all that you have done and continue to do.



Settling down

What do you do plan to do when you retire? I hit my mid thirties about a month ago and this is a question that I've had on my mind for a few years as it's one that's been going around my place of work quite frequently recently as there are a number of people at or nearing retirement age and one of them was my uncle, a man I always held in high respect ever since I was a child. We both worked for the same organization but in different fields and he had been working for the organization since before I was even born so it was hard to picture him ever retiring, but it turned out be true.

A few months before he retired his oldest son contacted me asking if I would be interested in doing his portrait for him as a retirement gift. I was honored and I knew that I wanted to do something special for him so I took the next step and ventured into doing a portrait that was done completely in color and here's the results.

This was the first time I did something in complete colored pencils and it was a rather large learning curve, and one that I think paid off pretty well. I went back and forth with myself a few times as to how I was going to sketch him out and the first one that came to mind was to sketch him walking out the door, but the more I thought of it I realized that did signify anything, but something coming to an end and I'd rather it be something that can be nostalgic. To achieve that I went and talked with him one day while I was on lunch asking about his retirement plans and during our converstaing he happened to take a pose for a few minutes that I knew would work out best as he became "the great thinker". I also admit now that this drawing did cause me to curse out loud a few times, mostly about his pants. The old standard work blue pants, but depending upon how the light hits them they may appear purple, so trying to capture that did make curse a few times, but again it was a great learning experience. 


As you can see it was well recieved, he really enjoyed it as did his family and friends and working on his portrait has helped me to gain a lot of experience and perspective with colored pencils, which I haven't stopped using for the last few months and I'm eager to show the results of those in the coming months as well.



Bringing back the past. 

Know anyone out there who isn't familiar with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? Kind of hard to find someone who isn't, I grew up in the 80's so I was there for the emergence into maintstream and I admit I was big fan and I still find time to watch the latest incarnation to see how they've evolved with each new generation.

I've seen a lot of artists come up with their own designs for the TMNT and it was actually back in 2012 that I came with my own redesign, but the problem I had at that time was trying to add color to it and at that time frame I was still very much a straight up sketch artist and color was still somewhat foreign to me so I tried a lot of things which I didn't like, so the sketches sat in a folder behind my desk until earlier this year when I stumbled upon them and after taking another approach it here's what I came up with.

This is a medium that I experimented with a bit and then decided to just go for it and see how it would go. I decided to keep the design mostly monochromatic except for Leonardos signature blue color for highlights, the background idea was something that I came up with after I had already finished with Leo, but I think it really helped add a little depth to the design and fit with the redesign.

And I'm sure the question already entered a few peoples minds wondering about the other turtles, well the answer is yes, I did redesign for the other turtles as well and I'm in the process of finishing up the last one. Leo was the first one I did (mostly because he was my favorite), but with each one I went on to the next with a better idea of how to work on the next so each one looks a little bit better than the other and I'll be posting them in the order that I finished them, so the next one that I post will be of Raphael.

No other previews to post, mostly because the other pieces I worked on are surprises for their recipients so until they recieve them I can't post them.

Oh yeah, Sunday I turned 35 so Happy Birthday to me. Thanks to all my friends and family for their great birthday wishes and a special thanks to my bro Joe.