July 17, 2012
5 years ago, in an (un)fortunate accident, I found myself without a job. I was 29, and in an expensive part of Brooklyn, NY. I had to figure it out. These are as much for you as they are for me. Here’s what I’ve learned:
• There is absolutely no magic button, you learn to draw by drawing. Likewise, you learn to garden by gardening. The more pencil nubs you make, the better you’ll be. I think it might take 4 or 5 large coffee cans filled with pencil nubs to be really good.
• The more sketchbooks you fill, the better, the stronger your sketchbooks get. It’s absolutely a question of fulling your 10,000 hours. Mozart packed in his 10,000 hours as well, but unlike most of us, he did it before he was 6 years old.
• I asked my atelier teacher, “How long does it take?” He said about 4-5 years. I asked Jillian Tamaki the same question. She said about 4-5 years. I also asked Yoda: he said, “To understand drawing, 4-5 years it will take.”
• It’s all cumulative, all of it. All your failings and exaltations. Everything you’ve lived through, you can roll into your work.
• Draw *through* your forms. Make everything beautiful from the inside.
• Seek inspiration from everywhere. Aquariums, rusted metal, textiles, letterpress, ugly people, architectural ornament. Seek awe in cement cracks, or the way noodles lay on your plate. Sometimes, I see skulls in the folds of cloth. The wider your inspiration, the more unique your fingerprint will be.
• It just takes a lot of work. Put yourself in a position where you’ll have to do the work, and gain the 4-5 years. The lamest, yuckiest project can turn into a stellar piece. It’s often easier when the client is weak, because the pressure is gone. Do your best, you will be rewarded.
• “It ain’t easy.”-Ollie Johnston
• Surround yourself with peers who have similar goals and motivations. If all your friends are fat, you will be fat too. If all your friends are entrepreneurs and goal seekers, you won’t be fat.
• Confidence is important, not only in drawing but everywhere. If you don’t have it, pretend. Roll play; it’s free. Pretend until it’s real. If you pretend/ believe, you’ll do a good, solid, beautiful job. No one will know you’re pretending. Your brain acts upon what it believes.
• You learn only by doing, be fearless.
• Strong compositions are just black and white and grey puzzle pieces. -Justin Sweet and Marshall Vandruff
• Don’t fill your image with a thousand little details. Combine what is unnecessary, Merge the unessential. Highlight what you really want to say. Good compositions are like the glossy apartment photographs in Architectural Digest. You don’t see the stack of magazines from 3 years ago, or that fugly pot your mother-in-law gave you. Reveal only the essential; leave the rest out.
• Understand value patterns. Don’t wade around in a grey soup. Grab screen stills from powerful black and white movies, like Hitchcock stills. Compare your work in grayscale. Is your work as powerful as a Hitchcock movie still?
• Sometimes, you gotta draw it 6 or 7 times. Or 13 times.
• Do copies. Copy screen stills, master paintings, classic sculptures. Climb into a master’s shoes. Eat their hands. Most of my idols are dead, so they don’t mind. Pretend to be them. Pretend. Never claim copies as your own, those are your secret stash.
• Trace who you love, with tracing paper, the whole bit. Just trace it. Trace characters, trace backgrounds. Concentrate as you trace. Tracing affords you to pretend to be your idol. Put the tracing paper away, and try on your own. You’ll be astounded at how much better you’ll be, like in 5 minutes. You gotta fake it a little bit before you do it. Just don’t claim the tracings as your own; bad form.
• Do what you love, others will love it, too.
• Know who you love, then research who *they* loved. Don’t only be inspired by one person. Make an influence casserole out of 20 people. You’ll find your fingerprint that way. A style is as much what you don’t love or understand than what you do.
• You are the one that makes this work, if you are closed and fearful and timid, your work will be as well.
• Don’t ever draw a ‘nothing’ drawing, have something to say! And say it! Draw verbs, not nouns. I am giving you my attention, make it worth my while.
• “Just do it.” -Nike
I’d like to offer private consultation about your work in person or on the phone.
We can talk about your direction, do draw-overs and figure out how to sharpen
your body of work. Up to an hour 1/2 of private discussion, catered to
your schedule. Click HERE to reserve!
July 2, 2012
Last Fall, Kurt and I were asked to make our second tin for Godiva Chocolatier.
This one will be released in September 2012. Here is the one from a few years ago.
Click to view larger.
May 7, 2012
My dormant Etsy shop is now fully alive! Please come by and take a look!
All of you who wrote me about prints, check it out! I’m also offering a collection
of these 5 cards. I’d love to send them to you! Keep some, share the rest!
April 29, 2012
Yep! Another workshop is on its way. Chock full of tips and tricks and insider
information/inspiration in my Brooklyn Studio. RSVP HERE
WHERE: my studio, 66 Steuben St. Brooklyn, NY
WHEN: Saturday, May 12th, 1pm -5pm
BRING : Sketchbook, portfolio, coffee
HOW MUCH : $75
February 7, 2012
Join me for my next Workshop. Enjoy an intimate glimpse into an artist’s studio. I’d love to reveal
some new techniques I’ve been honing over the past year. Indulge in a 4 hour session where we
create a complete illustration from the beginning. See what a professional studio is all about.
Part demo, part inspiration, part philosophy.
Geared towards students, but professionals are welcome as well. You’ll see our unique drawing
and coloring process step by step. I’ll share insights on creating a piece that looks traditional while
being digital. You’ll leave the workshop full of inspiration and confidence. Don’t be surprised if you
race back to your studio and start creating.
Only 2 spots available. RESERVE NOW!
• When: Saturday, February 25, 2012 1pm to 5pm
• Where: 66 Steuben St. (Across from Pratt) Brooklyn, New York 11205
• What to Bring: Sketchbook, questions, portfolio, coffee
January 25, 2012
I was delighted to host an illustration workshop last week. The event was quite intimate as we
experienced the process of an illustration from beginning to end. The amazing Samantha Levin
captured the day in pictures. A huge ‘Thank You’ to her and everyone that came out. I’d like to
host another one next month. Please let me know if you’re in New York and interested. I’d love
to hear from you! Also, an article about the event.
December 27, 2011
Peek into our Process
Treat yourself for the new year. Enjoy an intimate glimpse into an artist’s studio. I’d love to reveal some new techniques I’ve been honing over the past year. Indulge in a 3 hour workshop where we create a complete illustration from the beginning. See what a professional studio is all about. Part demo, part inspiration, part philosophy.
Geared towards students, but professionals are welcome as well. You’ll see our unique drawing and coloring process step by step. I’ll share insights on creating a piece that looks traditional while being digital. You’ll leave the workshop full of inspiration and confidence. Don’t be surprised if you race back to your studio and start creating.
Only 5 spots available. RESERVE NOW!
When Sunday, January 15, 2012 1pm to 4pm
Where 66 Steuben St. (Across from Pratt) Brooklyn, New York 11205
What to Bring Sketchbook, questions, portfolio, coffee