Category: Misc

Spam In a Can and Other Random Thoughts

Would it be too cheesy to start this post off with “Arrr Mateys”?  Well, I wanted to give a shout out to all my subscribers. Up to 544 officially. I always get one the moment I finish the artwork. Welcome all. I hope you like what you see here. Please feel free to comment or contact me if you have blog suggestions, questions, etc. I love hearing from you guys. 

For the sake of convenience I had the site set to comments post with email address. Sadly, spammers had to screw it up. I was being inundated with crap about cheap insurance, viagra and trash hauling to the tune of a few hundred comments a day that I would have to dig through to find anything relavant posted by readers. Sorry if this is inconvenient to anyone but now you must be registered and logged in to leave a comment. Please don’t lose your log in info. 

Ok, now for the real topic – an art dump and discussion about what I’ve been up to and where I am going. 

I signed up for a watercolor painting course – a real one with actual real people at an actual real place. I did so because I feel like I need to get out an socialize more now that my kids are in school all day. Also my anxiety is much reduced since I stopped having to take anxiety meds. Figure that one out. Lastly, but probably most important, it helps my Dutch language skills greatly when I have to get out and actually speak the language.

So now I have to draw things to take to class to paint. So I am starting to draw more often. I have been superiorly slacking off lately. Sometimes only drawing once a week. Totally unacceptable in my book. I have worked to hard and come too far to let things slip that far. For the last 3 days I have managed to draw every day and will continue to do so. Ok, maybe a few misses here and there but seriously – goals. Here is my rough pencil design for an illustration I want to do about Game of Thrones. I see some mistakes and have a few fixes I want to make, but I think I will paint this is class today and get a feel for what the real finished product will look like inked and colored. 

Here are three pages from my sketchbook of the Draw 100 challenge I posted. I actually drew about 50 before I got a little barmy over drawing eyes. Note to self- come up with multiple subjects when doing a draw 100 so as not to get bored.  Overall I liked the outcome and I feel like my eye drawing improved. Since I did them all in ink my inking skills also improved. 

This is an ink portrait I did for fun of Jon Crosby of VAST. I would post my reference photo but I would have to ask his permission. I don’t really want to because I sent him a copy of this and got zilch for feedback. He’s given enthusiastic feedback in the past. Maybe he wasn’t impressed with this one? Oh well I thought it turned out rather well. If you have no idea who I am talking about a Google search will pull up some photos. Great band. I recommend giving them a listen. 

Here are some more sketchbook doodles I did in art class. It has occurred to me I should work towards making more finished pieces and not have everything be a sketch. I’ve been digging through stuff I have posted in my gallery. Hmmm, well progress I guess? I thought all that stuff looked great 6 months ago and now I’m like “What are you thinking?”.  Time to update in a big way. I am going to start working on more portfolio pieces. Further, I have suspended working on my comic for now. Not that I don’t have an interest in working on it more in the future, but I have come to the conclusion I need to put a lot more mileage into finding my drawing/ inking style before I continue. It doesn’t look very good and I don’t want to put readers off the story because of bad art. I can forgive a terrible story if it has cool art, but not the other way around. Not sure how you guys feel. 

Lastly, I leave you with a  page of skulls. I kinda got half way through the page on this one so not all are finished. As you all know when i get stumped on subjects I revert to skull drawing. So yeah, it had been some days since I had been drawing and I was trying to get over the blank page stare. I did all of the inking in this post with a gel pen, except the hyena which I did with a brush. I can’t really decide which I like more. i think I tend to do more shading with the pen. I have some plans to try mixing the two and see how that works out. I will keep you posted. Anywho, time for me to get to my painting class. Until next time, happy arting. 

Online Art Schools : Review

Hello all! I wanted to thank you guys for the awesome comments. It really makes me feel good knowing you guys enjoy the topics I write about. I’ve been getting a lot of positive feedback lately and it really encourages me to want to make more content and continue with this blog. 

Today I wanted to write a post for you about my experiences with online art schools. Of course, these are my personal experiences. Some of you might find your experience to be different. But I thought it would be interesting to share my thoughts about them in case some readers have been trying to decide if trying any of them out was worth it or not.  If you have an interest in checking any of them out just click the images to go to their website. 

Schoolism

Schoolism actually feels like art school. The instructors are top notch industry giants in animation, illustration and fine art, etc. You get assignments to do. They are seriously challenging. You will learn something if you listen to the instruction and do the work. Don’t pass on watching the critiques. You will learn a lot from those. 

The one drawback I can name is, in the last few months they have doubled their monthly costs to $30.  They did do away with the annoying $1 charge to switch classes, so now you can switch between the classes freely. But I think the price hike was a bit steep because they didn’t add any new classes or content. Even though the class count may be limited compared to other schools, the quality is far superior. I really loved all of the courses I took. If I could give them one suggestion it would be to add more traditional media courses. Most of them are geared towards digital media, though I worked my assignments with pencils and paint. There is also an option, you can take a full on course with the instructor giving you weekly critiques of your work. It does not come cheap – $998 per course. 

Art Tutor

Art Tutor has a variety of courses geared towards the traditional media artist. I signed up with them specifically to take the courses on ink drawing. They did not disappoint. I stuck around for several months do several other courses and having fun learning different mediums. This site’s courses also have the feeling of a real art school. Many of the classes have assignments to do. The courses are of excellent quality and I learned many tips and tricks. At €17  per month I felt the value was excellent. Again, if you follow the instruction and do the work, you will learn and improve whatever medium you are studying. 

Artistsnetwork

I’m actually looking back through their classes and debating a resub. I think they may have even added a few new ones that look pretty cool. 

This group is affiliated with North Light. You may have visited their website or seen some of their books on Amazon.  They publish art and craft books on a massive range of topics. Anywho, they also have a channel with more than 700 classes on all sorts of media. My biggest interest was drawing, ink drawing and watercolor. The courses were pretty good. Claudia Nice does some watercolor and ink courses. I LOVE her work and have a few of her books, so this was huge for me to get to watch her process.

The classes are mostly follow along style. A little YouTubish, but overall informative. The price is $19.99 a month for total access. Maybe a little high in terms of quality but it makes up for it in quantity. Seriously, you could be on here forever and never run out of videos to watch. 

The Virtual Art Instructor

This is a cool site run by instructor Matt Fussel. His courses are really top quality and worth checking out if you are a traditional media artist. It really helped me up my ink drawing game. He has a week trial for $1 and then $19 a month after. Sometimes he runs special offers and you can sub even cheaper. Some of his videos are completely free and you can view them on YouTube .  As a full member you can download the videos and ebooks from the site and watch them as many times as you like. I really enjoyed his courses. Sadly, there just wasn’t enough to keep me around for long. 

Society of Visual Storytelling

SVS is the brainchild of illustrators Will Terry, Lee White and Jake Parker. You might remember Jake Parker as the guy who started Inktober. 

SVS is mainly geared around children’s book illustration. There were some classes on ink drawing and comic creation, which is why I subbed. THE absolute coolest thing about this school is the courses on the industry side. Yes, they discuss how to get a contract, what contracts  are bad and which ones are good, legal pitfalls,  what should you be getting paid, ethical practices in the industry and other awesome topics no one ever talks about. 

Skillshare

According to the reviews I read some people feel they can’t live their lives without Skillshare. I hated this site with the burning passion of 1000 suns. You can get 2 months trial sub for 99 cents. After that it is $11 a month. If you search around you can find discount codes. I think I got one for $8 for a month. Even after I tried it and hated it I went back and paid for a month because I wanted to take Yuko Shamizu’s ink drawing class. As much as I love her work her class was disappointing. Most of the classes on there I found disappointing. There were a few gems – Jen Dixon’s ink drawing/ watercolor classes were informative. Rob Marzullo’s comic creation courses were good. However, he also does them for free on YouTube, so why pay for it? Truthfully that is exactly Skillshare reminds me of- YouTube you pay for. The classes are mostly low quality. They are not vetted for quality by the company. Anyone can make a class and post it. Many of the videos are only a few minutes long and teach you nothing. Lots of the “instructors” can’t even make themselves understood. Seriously, save your money and go elsewhere unless you have a buck burning a hole in your pocket and nothing better to do.

Lynda.com / LinkedIn

Lydia.com has been bought out by LinkedIn and is now LinkedIn Learning. You can still sign up through the Lydia.com site- which I am posting a link to here because it is slightly easier to navigate. You can sign up with the Lydia.com site with your LinkedIn account information. 

This site boasts a huge library of classes (according to their website anyway) which are nearly impossible to find. You can do a search for topics and get a short list of about 6 recommended topics. If you click on those topics you get other recommendations based on what you are looking for. In short,  this site severely pisses me off. The saving grace is you can get an entire month free to attempt navigating through this nightmare if you have a credit card or a Paypal account. They also invite you to cancel ahead of time if you hate it and they won’t bill you further. 

I have found a few comics creation courses and drawing courses. So far the quality of them seems to be pretty good. Most of the topics they offer, at least in the topics list you can find on Lydia (if you dig deep enough you can find a somewhat tragically ordered list of keywords) seem to be geared towards business classes and learning software programs. I’m going to watch the comics creation videos and be done with it. Hey, free is free. 

YouTube

Site Changes

I just wanted to throw out a quick post to let everyone know the site move is now complete. If you have noticed any oddity in the last few days it is because the name servers were trying to catch up to my domain pointing to the new webhost. I know the site has been down a lot recently. I am sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused. I have been really happy with the response my blog has gotten over the last few months. I am sorry I lost all of the wonderful comments on the old site, but I hope to continue to grow. I will try to contact everyone who made posts on the last site to inform of the move. I’ve already had a few registrations in the last few days since the move. I appreciate all of your interest and I hope you continue to visit. I have more content planned for the future- art prompts, art and writing articles and comics that I hope you will enjoy.

My Favorite Image Websites Free For Commercial Use

Sometimes the hardest part about finding a good image, reference or texture is finding one that is not copyright protected. Here is a list of my favorite free sites and you can even use the images for your commercial work.

  • morguefile.com  –  Creative commons site where images are donated “for creatives by creatives”.  They boast over 350,000 images in their library.
  • pixabay.com – All images and videos on Pixabay are released free of copyrights under Creative Commons CC0. You may download, modify, distribute, and use them royalty free for anything you like, even in commercial applications. Attribution is not required. They have a whopping 1M+ images in their library!
  • unsplash.com“Beautiful free photos gifted by the world’s most generous community of photographers.” Creative commons zero license.
  • freeforcommercialuse.netThis site is new to me. License is for images in the public domain.
  • pexels.comSimply, all images on pexels are under the Creative Commons Zero License. You can use them for any legal purpose.
  • textures.comFormerly cgtextures.com. This site is a little different than the rest. For one it has a premium members part of the site that you can get bigger more high res images on, but you get 15 free small and medium sized images every day. They have many many images of all sorts that are great for use in making textured backgrounds and surfaces or even custom digital paint brushes. I’ve had a free account here for years and never been disappointed. Check out their easy to follow terms of use.

Art Prompt #1 – July 2017

I have been on the (nearly) daily drawing path since last October. I moved a couple of months ago and took a few weeks off drawing to get packed/moved/unpacked. When I sat down to draw again I had a killer artist block. I really had to push hard to get past it. One of the things I was having the most trouble with was I couldn’t think of anything to draw. I finally got on Pinterest and started looking for writing and drawing prompts to inspire me. Thankfully there were one or two that I liked and it got me going. Sadly, I noticed there were a severe lack of what I call “good ones”. I mostly like ones Halloween or horror themed. Most of them repeatedly listed “draw your favorite animal”, “draw your favorite food”. Well ok that’s something, but when you have a lot of years ahead to draw something every day and every prompt is the same as the next, it’s going to get uninspiring fast. Long story short, I saw a need for art prompts in the world, so I decided to make some. I have made up a full year’s worth in advance of this post. So I have a bit of material to keep me going until I come up with some more.  Without further ado, here is my first ever art prompt for the 31 days of July:

Cross Genre, Multimedia Grab Bag

1) Comic book character (already existing or one you’ve designed)

2) TV show villain

3) Steampunk

4) Noir film still

5) Movie character

6) Book villain

7) Cyberpunk

8) Video game character

9) Movie prop

10) Environment – Aquatic

11) Post apocalyptic

12) Revolver

13) Old car/ truck

14) Comic book villain

15) TV show character

16) Punk

17) Silent film still

18) Environment- Subterranean

19) Video game prop

20) Hot air balloon

21) Diesel punk

22) Post apocalyptic weapon

23)  Environment – Interior (any)

24) Book character

25) Movie villain

26) Futuristic car/ truck

27) Ray gun

28) Video game villain

29) Environment- Urban landscape

30) TV show prop

31) Victorian

The rules: There are no rules! This list is meant to be an idea starter. If you don’t like one then substitute it with another, come up with your own idea. You don’t have to do them in order. Style listings (Victorian, Steampunk etc) can be anything- clothing, architecture, a prop, an environment. Props can be anything, an example would be a priest’s bible from The Exorcist or Doctor Who’s phonebox. Environments don’t need to be detailed- draw a hallway. The idea is to get you thinking about perspective/ spacial awareness.  Use a reference. Draw from imagination. Have fun. Use any medium. Experiment. Draw as many days as you can, but strive for all 31. Good luck!