Museum of the weird

Oh. You’re one of “those” kinds of people.

Whether I’m creating some new piece of art, or taking a photo, even writing a story (wait, “he writes?”, you say), I have always loved creating things. I especially love to create things that have, shall we say, an unusual feel to them. I love the fantastic, the supernatural, and all of the strange things that people don’t like to admit exist.

As a creator, it’s inevitable that I’m going to meet people who are interested in what I do. Now, as I’ve been doing this for many years, I have learned to read people.… Read the rest

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What is it that you really want?

The last couple of years, with the violent ups and downs as they’ve been, haven’t been the easiest. Long term unemployment, financial issues, near total lack of art sales (and no originals sold at all, let’s not forget that). When a creator goes through times like these, contemplation on the future is sure to happen.

Do I continue trying to get graphic design jobs, when a hundred resumes garnered no interest? Do I keep trying to create and sell original art, when no one even slightly considers buying one? Do I keep trying to get my art published, when I can’t get the time of day from publishers (save for those important, valued few)?… Read the rest

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A solemn moment and a quiet gift

I get asked a few times a month for my current commission rates, for folks interested in having me do cover work, or maybe an ink or acrylic piece. Sometimes they hire, sometimes they don’t, that’s just business.

But there’s an underlying element often of folks who don’t want to pay anything. Ever. They just want free art, because they feel they are entitled.

Originally published by Apex Book Company, August 2012

Folks, “entitled” is what we in the business call a “bullshit word”.

There is no such thing as entitlement.… Read the rest

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Distractions can lead to the truth

Last week, I was doing a free-flowing session of ideas, whatever popped into my head. I started sketching an idea of someone running across a high bridge, with the zombies in heavy pursuit.

Now, the thing about being an artist, especially an illustrator, is that you have to come up with lots of interesting ideas for things that simply never happen. All of the things that are considered fantastic, like monsters, dragons, even zombies, simply don’t exist. You have to pull the right images in the right ways out of your head, and hope that the ideas work.… Read the rest

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One more line and we’re ruined for sure

A little while back, just before the big rush of my convention art show, I created a new small ink to try and sell. It was an ink version of the famous Creature From The Black Lagoon, which you can see down below on the right.

It turned out pretty well (or so I’m told by others), and it was fun to go back to a monster I had tried to ink before. The previous version didn’t fail, it was more like I changed my mind partway into it and created something different.… Read the rest

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The huge events in an otherwise boring life

Most of time, life is pretty boring. We go through our lives, through our day to day procedures, and very little changes. Sure, each day and each week have their little ups and downs. After all, I did just eat a Snickers bar and stub my toe, at nearly the same time. But for the most part, life normally lies on a somewhat predictable path.

Creating art works the same way. As an artist, I have procedures to work on the book covers I do for publishers, or the ink art pieces I like to do, and even with my larger paintings.… Read the rest

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Looking back to look forward

I’ve heard the phrase plenty of times that you should always look forward, never back. Which, like any other totalitarian idea, is more of a sledgehammer than a finessed thought.

I mean, I understand where they are coming from. You don’t want to be so beholden to the past that you can’t move forward. That there are new ideas and new experiences to explore, and the past can hold you back.

But the problem with that is that if you never look back, you never remember those lessons you’ve already learned.… Read the rest

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Sometimes I think they WANT a stupid character

The other night, I was watching the new television series Alcatraz, and something started to bother me about it. Now, it’s not a bad show, “decent but flawed” might be a good way to put it. But it suffers from lazy writing sometimes, and the episode the other night made that quite clear.

Twice in the same episode, the main character, a police officer, had a clear chance to shoot the violent assailant and end a string of bombings. Both times, it was clear that the bomber was happy to kill anyone in his path, in fact the first time it came up he threw a mine at the cop.… Read the rest

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Creature From The Black Lagoon

Misogyny and schadenfreude: 500 years of treating female artists badly

I plan on using two big words today, and that’s two more than I’d use on a normal day. Of course, on a normal day most of my words just have the four letters in them, so it may not be that big of a stretch.

Here it goes anyway. The two words we’ll be talking about today are “Misogyny” and “schadenfreude”. See, I told you they were big words. They are also indicative of some serious issues in the world, some that have been around for centuries.

Now, just so that this old article of mine doesn’t go on forever (even though it will seem like it does), we’re going to really be talking about those two words as if they are combined.… Read the rest

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This Week’s Art: Beksiński

I’ve been a big fan of the works of Zdzisław Beksiński for a long time. They are like dreams and, often, nightmares, come to life. Beksiński himself even said as much about his own work, and from what I’ve read about him he was a fascinating person. Especially in the many ways that I feel the same way about art as he did.

One of his great quotes about his own work fits perfectly with how I think of mine: “I cannot conceive of a sensible statement on painting.” I’ve never been able to come up with an, “artist’s statement”, because I don’t think mine would make any sense.… Read the rest

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Giovanni Boldini, Newspaperman in Paris

This Week’s Art: Boldini’s Newspaperman in Paris

Some of my favorite art pieces are those that show emotion, that have an energy to them. True, most beloved pieces have an energy all their own, even if it’s subtle. But there are some pieces where that energy is something more evocative.

I’ve seen many of Giovanni Boldini’s paintings over the years, often of the women that he painted. He seemed to work in portraiture quite often, and I came across a painting of his that seemed different than his others.

Here’s Boldini’s Newspaperman in Paris (a.k.a., The Newspaper; 1878, oil on panel, 18.5 in.… Read the rest

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Rime of the Ancient Mariner

This Week’s Art: Dore’s Death, Life-In-Death, and the Ancient Mariner

I read a lot of poems, and one of my very favorite poems is The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. It’s a dream made for an illustrator, filled with such great visions, and it’s probably one of the reasons that it’s been a popular poem for so long. I have a Dover edition of the poem featuring Gustave Dore’s engravings, 42 of them, which I love to look at.

Of all of the great images in the book, my favorite is the scene where Death and Life-In-Death are playing a game of dice for the souls of those on board.… Read the rest

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This Week’s Art: Matania’s Paulina in the Temple of Isis

When I post my “This week’s art” articles, I like to have as much information about a piece as I can get. Sometimes, like yesterday’s article, the piece is quite popular, and there’s lots of information about it. Other times, it seems like only one site has the beautiful art, but won’t put any information with it.

Today’s piece was like that, hardly any information. But it’s a gorgeous piece that I first saw on James Gurney’s blog (which you REALLY should be following), and I wanted to feature it here.… Read the rest

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Photography: Toying with lightning

In my path to learning more about photography, I’m keeping my art sense in mind when I shoot things. The big idea behind much of my art is to simply try new things, to experiment with new methods. Along those lines, I decided to try shooting some lightning.

Conveniently, there was an angry storm outside, so my idea was timed pretty well.

I set up the tripod just inside the back door, with my Canon T3i mounted on top. Having (unsuccessfully) tried to shoot the moon, I figured similar settings would be a good idea (failure is how I decide on good ideas).… Read the rest

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Let’s talk about art and rights

I’ve been a published artist for 15 years this week, for both cover art and interior art. I don’t say that to brag, I just want to set the stage for a discussion about the rights that go along with using my artwork.

Now, to get the obvious out of the way, I own the full copyrights to every piece of art I’ve ever created. Copyright law will give you a serious migraine if you attempt to study it fully, but it is clear in the statement that a work is immediately copyrighted by the creator on its creation.… Read the rest

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