Special Delivery


smallowl lowres

Special Delivery is an image i created at my first Illustration Masters Class.  My oil painting became a mess, and wanting to leave with a complete image I came up with this pen an ink drawing.  I hope you like it.


Pump up the Volume – Jacob Walker

Art, Blog, Business

I want to use this forum for a Friday Focus Post in order to spotlight some really cool artists that are making a name for themselves and share this with my friends.

A couple of years ago, I was introduced to this artist by my friend, Tony Steele. We ran into each other again last November at the One Fantastic Weekend art workshop where we spent four days talking about creating art, discussing the business of art, and focusing on our own art projects. His name is Jacob Walker. He’s been forging a career for himself through graphic design and his art work. If you are a fan of H.P. Lovecraft you should check out his website at http://www.jacobwalkerart.com.


He has just finished a very successful Kickstarter campaign for his pen and ink drawings inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft. His art book, has also become a coloring book and I’ve been watching it develop over the past couple of months. It’s been exciting to see this develop and watch his success.

His artwork speaks volumes by itself. I strongly encourage you to check it out and if you happen to see him at a convention, go introduce yourself. His work is spectacular.



So Many Art Classes

Art, Blog

Since 2012, I started to get back into my art.  Now the best advice I have is to keep working on your art every day.  EVERY DAY.   Do I follow my own advice?  No.  But I give great advice.  I should follow my own advice but that is another post.

I’ve taken and spent a lot of money over the past few years taking art classes.  I’ve gone to weekend classes, week long classes, taken online classes and watched an untold number of youtube videos.  There are a lot of options out there to learn art.  Some free, some cheaper than others.

One of the best thing about taking an art class or seminar is getting a chance to meet other artists.  I’ve met people from across the country.  Some really amazing people.  Some who are established artists making an incredible amount of money.  Some are changing their careers trying to break into a new field of art, and some like myself are starting to build a new art career.  This has been my favorite part of the art classes.

This summer I will be going to the Illustration Master Class in June.  This is the most expensive class I have paid for.  It is also an opportunity to spend an entire week working on art, each day and every day.  I will have the opportunity to focus entirely on oil painting.  I also have the benefit of having some of the greatest illustrators in fantasy art teaching me.  It’s something I’ve been looking forward to for most of the past year! This class is almost $3000 dollars and has been a big investment.

You don’t have to spend that much for an art class or a seminar.  There are MANY good programs and seminars to investigate.  Online programs, and videos can teach you a lot.  If you have an interest in watercolor painting, oils, drawing or sculpture there are some great teachers who are posting videos online about these topics.  Check them out and see if they are of interest to you.

There have been several great art podcasts or critique shows that I have become devoted to.  The first was the weekly art crit group but I’ve been following One Fantastic Week each week.  This weekly show has introduced me to a lot of new artists that I’ve never heard of but found to be great artists.

Weapon, Month of Love

Art, Uncategorized

weapon72dpi_kirktaskilaThis week’s challenge was titled “Weapon”.  Love is war, choose your weapon.  I hear many stories of domestic abuse in my job as a social worker.  The words are strong as are the stories.  Eventually you fight back or die.  When a romance fails and turns sour, I repeatedly hear the same line.  So I title this one.  “But he loves me.”

This is a 9″x12″ done with pencil/ink/watercolors with final colors adjusted on computer.

Self Taught Artists


When I see this statement, I have to admit that it bothers me.  It bothers me a lot.  What the heck is a Self Taught Artist?    Are there self taught writers?  Self Taught dancers?  Self taught actors?

When I look back on my history as an artist, I have had a lot of great teachers, mentors and instructors.  I have taken formal art classes, I have read numerous art books, watched instructional videos and blogs to soak up their information.  I have attended workshops, and build a group of artist friends that I have turned to for advice, critique and instruction.  I can not possibly say that I am a self taught artist.

What I can state is that my teachings are now self directed.  I am no longer enrolled in a formal art school but I continue to seek out workshops and professional artists where I can advance my skills.   At the end of this month I will be participating in a 12 week conceptual art summer camp.  Then in November, I will be participating in the One Fantastic Weekend hosted by 6 professional artists.

I appreciate all the instructors and mentors who have contributed to my education.  This is why it drives me crazy when people say they are self taught.

Larry Elmore teaching perspective

Larry Elmore teaching perspective


Art, Blog

I’ve heard Larry Elmore give his passionate speech on his love for Liquitex gesso.  liquitex gessoHe’s given this speech multiple times and he has given his  warnings about using cheap gesso.  Apparently there has been a change in the formulas for gesso.  For those who don’t know what gesso is, it is the base, primer coat that artists use for their canvas or boards.  The purpose of priming your boards are to seal your base to prevent your oil paints from soaking into the boards or canvas underneath, to give you solid undercoat and to give it some tooth if you want it.  I prefer to sand down my boards and have a uniformly smooth texture.

Over the past two day’s I’ve been working with two types of gesso.  A cheaper brand I bought from Michael’s craft store, and after hearing Larry’s speech, I went out and bought the more expensive gesso.  I can attest to the differences between the two gessos.

I used the cheaper gesso for my first two coatings.  Tonight I went over those with the Liquitex.  I can definately tell the difference.  The Liquitex is whiter and is brighter.  It is thicker as well.  I used both undiluted straight from the bottle.

Tomorrow when the top coat dries I’ll begin by sanding the boards down to a smooth finish and then begin to transfer a drawing onto the board.  If you are new to working with acrylic or oils, I would also recommend that you spend the extra money for the Liquitex.  I think you’ll find the results better than using your cheaper brands.  My guess is that they are watering them down and you will end up needing more coats to get the same coverage with the Liquitex gesso.

Research your community

Art, Blog

Call me SpongeBob.  Over the past several months I’ve been sucking up information on resources and techniques from other artist friends who have been doing what I hope to be doing soon.  Making and selling their art.

I’ve never wanted to have others dictate what I am supposed to draw.  Drawing has always been a very personal thing for me.  I didn’t want to be paid for art on demand.  After 11 years in the graphic design field I didn’t want to be under those same types of demands for my artwork.  Instead I only did my art when I was “inspired”.  As a result, I ended up doing little to no art for many years.  Anyway, I digress.

Since getting back into my art groove, I’ve been listening to the resources where my fellow artists are getting things done.  Where they have been getting art supplies, and hearing about their local print shops and how they have taken advantage of their local resources.

I’ve taken advantage of a couple of resources here in the Lansing, Michigan area.  Since taking my oil painting course with Larry Elmore this fall, I found some of the advantages of working on Masonite board instead of stretched canvas.  First off, it’s so much cheaper than stretched canvas.  Second, you don’t need to play with that spring a stretched canvas has when you are painting onto it.  This brings me to my first local resource.  LOWES.  Yup, Lowes hardware.  This is where I bought my masonite.  A sheet of 4′ x 8′ was only $8.97.  An employee assisted me and cut two sheets of it into 18 x 24″ panels.  I have about twenty cut and ready to be primed.  Pretty sweet deal, or at least I think so.  I think I have enough 18×24 boards for the rest of the year.

The second local resource took a bit of research.  I have a scanner/printer at home.  I thought I might be limited to a maximum size of 9″x12″ to scan in my artwork as this is the largest size for it’s screen.  I know there had to be resources out there for artists to scan in their work and get it on a digital file for reproduction.  I just didn’t know where.  I first called a business I used to do work with when I worked for Kinko’s many years ago.  They specialized in prints for museums, air photos, ect.  They were still in business and the guy I used to work with was running the business.  He couldn’t help me but gave me two other print shops to call.  I went online and checked the first one, their maximum scanner size was the same as mine.  So I checked with this third company.  Score!  It was Commercial Blueprint.  They had moved their office, but they said they could work with my drawings, inks, or paintings.  I asked about the masonite board, and they said they could do that as well.  Relatively cheaply too.  $15 per scan and if I provide my flash drive $5 additional.  If I want it on a CD then it’s a $10.

So this brings me to my point.  Know your local resources in your community.  It may be a while before I can afford an oversize printer.  Knowing who can make the things I want for a decent price is important.  Now it doesn’t matter where you live.  Keep your eyes and ears open.  Make some calls and search the internet for your community resources.  If you know other artists, ask them.  Listen their advice.  There are enough lessons in life and techniques to master.  Take advantage of the wisdom and resources that others have already tried.

And a special shout out to Larry Elmore, Aradani Studios (Mike and Paul), and Tony Smith.  You are all awesome!  Check out their work, and if you get a chance to chat em up at a convention you won’t be disappointed.

Larry Elmore teaching perspective

Larry Elmore teaching perspective


Art, Blog

A new year should always start with new goals and new endeavors.  Many people set new resolutions and this is the first of mine to be tried. My Blog will now be my art blog.  I will primarily be using this blog to promote my art and to share my thoughts as I  practice my art.

I have not yet decided on the name of my blog yet and I plan to cross-post it on my facebook page.  I hope this is something that people find interesting as you will find my art published here.

Happy 2013 to us all.  May it be filled with new challenges, new opportunities and opportunities for growth.

God Bless!

Drawing on Experiences of a Lifetime.

Art, Uncategorized

I am also incredibly grateful that I attended this class.  For those of you who do not know who Larry Elmore is, he is a famous fantasy artist that did a lot of the Dungeons and Dragons artwork.  I grew up with his art and it was an honor to study with him.  I also met a lot of other artists and learning from their works was also very impressive.

I am motivated with a list of ideas for drawings and plans to develop my skills as an illustrator and pen/ink work.  It’s been a long time since I did any regular artwork, but I really want to do a lot more.

I have a long list of artists and books to look up and review.  I took a lot of notes over this class, and kept a book close to write things down when people would discuss artists they admire or knew.  It was incredibly inspiring.

At the end of the class, I was also very sad to have it end but eager to get home and build my studio so I can get to work.

If you get a chance to study with Larry or any other professional artist.  I would suggest you find your mentor and embrace the relationship

Something Old is new again

Art, Blog

I found an old drawing that I did.  Actually, I made it twenty years ago.  Drawn in 1992, I made this for a vampire zine.  The product was so poorly reproduced, I haven’t shared it before.  However in less than two weeks, I’ll be in Kentucky studying art with someone I’ve admired since I was 12 years old.  Hope to make a lot more art, and improve along the way.  Enjoy.

Vampire Bat

Originally drawn 4-4-92.