Monday, December 11, 2017

TIME TRAVEL

This week’s portrait, Mrs. Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan)!

While working on the Pee Wee portrait, I was looking at all things from the 1950s so I thought I’d check out that Amazon show that keeps coming up, “The Marvelous Mrs Maisel." I almost turned it off, but within 10 minutes one of my favorite comedians made an appearance, Gilbert Gottfried. Seeing him for 5 minutes made me keep my finger off the remote, hoping to see more of him. As a result, I gave the the show a chance and 20 minutes in, I was hooked. There wasn’t more Gilbert, but the show itself is really good. I found myself binge watching the entire season.

I related to the character whose life suddenly changes and is trying to figure out how to go forward, and in doing so, takes a chance on a skill that she had but never explored before.

(I am trying not to give away the plot, but trust me, it’s worth watching and discovering for yourself.)

The visuals for this show are amazing, and the main character looks like the stereotypical1950’s housewife with a personality that belongs in the 2010s. For this art piece, I limited the colors to reds and pinks so that the blue eyes would pull you in. And I also used graphic elements from the show’s credits to tie it together.

The last few weeks I’ve become so focused on my art that there have been evenings I forgot to have dinner. I know, not healthy, but I am so excited about putting my time into something I really enjoy that time passes too quickly.

Almost forgot to mention, Vicki Chase was incredible as an art model this past weekend. As Naughty Santa, she looked liked a Alberto Vargas or Gil Elvgren 1950s pinup model. I did some really interesting drawings.

It’s interesting how everything this past week tied into the 1950s. Pee Wee took me back in time and now I have to get back to the future!

I wonder if this was how Doc Brown felt as he was building his time machine. You know you’re onto something amazing.  
 
You just have to stay inside, lock the door, create, and when you’re ready, show people some serious shit!
 

Monday, December 4, 2017

TODAY'S SECRET WORD IS, "QUICKSAND!"

This week’s portrait is Pee Wee Herman!

I recently rewatched the Pee Wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special. This show is ageless, I think it’s still as funny today as it was during the release in 1988. My dad was still with the family then, and often he’d sit and watch Pee Wee’s Playhouse with my brother and me. We weren’t young kids, but that didn’t matter when it came to Pee Wee. The humor transcended age. I would record the show on VHS tapes and try to leave out the commercials- which always ended up with recording too soon and getting the tail end of some product endorsement or recording too late and missing those great seconds back from commercials. Now for $26.49, I can have the entire series minus commercials. All those VHS tapes and editing time spent with the tv remote, wasted!

I loved the show's 1950s retro look. It was very much a part of the show’s appeal including the characters themselves, and in doing this portrait of Pee Wee, I wanted to capture that feeling. The pouting mouth was a bit of a challenge; I didn’t think it would be at first. But I am happy with the end result. All those crazy little circles.

Someday, a time may come when some scientists will look at my art and realize the secret to the meaning of the universe is in the designs. Yes, the universe has been secretly whispering the meaning of everything to me, and unknowingly, I’ve been translating it into a language using circles.

Or maybe it’s some sort of self discovery. By drawing all these circles, I am being drawn or pulled towards some new level of awareness. Or maybe, it’s all meaningless, just some artistic visual fetish that seems to have caught my attention and won’t let me go, kind of like "quicksand!"

That topic is not about to go away anytime soon!

(You know what I'm talking about :) )

Monday, November 27, 2017

I CAN SEE THE HOLIDAYS!

This week's portrait, Sonia!

 
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. It's so weird that with all the changes going on in my life right now that this is the first time in 6 years I actually feel like enjoying this holiday season. I started listening to Christmas music weeks ago. 

I’ve been working hard on several art projects. I am trying to finish enough new art works to put up on my long overdue, updated “Totally Graphic” website. As a result, the weekly portrait project has fallen from the back seat right into the trunk. It almost stayed there for the rest of the year if it wasn’t for a profile that came up on my Instagram.

She is not a celebrity as far as I can tell and definitely not someone I know, but her profile picture stood out to me, She looked like Christmas! Yeah, I know it sounds crazy. But looking at her I felt like I was seeing the holiday as if it had taken human form. I felt instantly inspired and decided to take a break from my other undertakings to revisit the portrait project.

I tried to put on paper what I felt I was seeing when I looked at Sonia's photos, but of course, my scanner just can’t seem to reproduce the bright colors and gold tones that are in the final art. The hair has the effect of Christmas lights: you can almost feel them going on and off. And the background has the look of gift wrapping paper, the idea being, here’s Christmas and everything that’s great about it being presented to you, the viewer.

This is the second time in my life that I saw someone who looked like the holiday and inspired me to created them on paper as such. I think we all have the holiday to some degree coming through us at this time of the year, but some people just seem to strip away the commercialism and make you see and feel happy.

Seeing Sonia made me feel happy!

I think I’ll try to get one or two more portraits in now before the year is over; though I have so much to do, art work, class homework and prepare for a Convention.

January 25 to the 28, I will be hosting Cosplay Life Drawing again at Anime Los Angeles at the Ontario Convention Center in Ontario!

Back in January of this past year, I did 2 events at this convention which were incredibly FUN! I had two awesome costumed models, and both days brought in large crowds of artists. I expect this coming year to be even bigger. If you’re free that weekend get in your car and come down, this is one of those great conventions that has found its perfect size, not too big, not too small, with enough activities going on straight into the night that you’ll never have time to be bored. Plus of course, there will be drawing events.

A perfect way to enjoy Anime and start the New Year!!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

NUFF' SAID

This Week's Portrait is, Stan Lee!
If you are any kind of a fan when it comes to comics, then the first name that comes to mind is Stan Lee. Second name, Jack Kirby. Honestly any other names, you should turn in your nerd membership card!

Comic books have always been a part of my life. I still have a couple of comics from my youth on which I wrote my name so my brother wouldn't take them. Most of the books are held together with that yellowing nasty cellophane tape.

Because I loved to draw, I'd copy the images and in some cases, cut out the characters and make my own comics from the comics. Years later, I thought I was good enough and sent samples of my work to Marvel only to have them returned with a nice rejection letter, which wasn't from Stan!

Now as an adult, I see his name included in things and I just know whatever it is, it will be cool just by association.

And that is what I hope I accomplished with this portrait of him.

Along with the portrait I wanted to mimic the Marvel movies opening credit with images of some main characters. The background characters would be rendered like their vintage 60s comic book look, but of course done with circles. With the amount of colors in the background, keeping Stan Lee’s colors simple was key to making it stand out.

By the way, this weekend, October 27-29, is the Los Angeles Comic Con, aka, Comikaze, aka, Stan Lee’s Comic Con. 

Here’s some “Bottom Line America” advice, “Pay Stan whatever it takes to license his name and just call it Stan Lee’s Comic Con, it's classy and it's worth it!”

I'll be at the convention helping a friend with her table. How cool would it be if I could get a picture with Stan Lee holding the portrait?!

Nuff’ Said!

Monday, September 18, 2017

BETTER THE SECOND TIME AROUND!

This week's portrait is, Fuu!
After the Major in “Ghost In The Shell”, Fuu from “Samurai Champloo” is my second favorite female anime character. She reminds me of a couple of women friends. 

This is an image which I decided to revisited. I did the original about a year ago at which time I was still experimenting with how I was going to proceed with this portrait project. I wasn't quite sure of the background at the time other than I wanted to use a meme theme. With over a couple of years doing these portraits now, my approach has changed a lot. Lots of line weight experimenting as well as mixing colors.

I post both images for comparison.
Big news on the drawing front! The Themed Costume Life Drawing event that I host once a month at Nelson Creative Spaces in North Hollywood, will feature a celebrity performer from the adult world. Kendra Sunderland will be modeling as a couple of female superheroes. I personally am excited to have her model, she is tall and beautiful. I think some wonderful pieces of art will come out of this three hour event. The date is Saturday September 30th, 6:30 to 9:30. COME DRAW!

What a great time to be an artist!


Monday, August 28, 2017

DRAGON CON

This week’s portrait, Misty Noble!

This weekend is Dragon Con! The BEST COMIC / COSPLAY CONVENTION ever!

Four official days of nonstop partying, but anyone who’s a regular knows the actual convention begins on Thursday, and if by Sunday you haven’t partially lost your voice or have a hangover that you’re fighting through and made several new friends, then you’ve missed out on what this convention is all about.

I found out about Dragon Con a few years ago through some people who later became friends. That first year of attending redefined conventions for me in so many ways. From the round the clock convention parties to the Saturday morning cosplay parade. My personal favorite memories to date, Jello Wrestling, Stargate parties and Cosplay Life Drawing. Yes, Cosplay Life Drawing! 2 years in a row the amazing people running Dragon Con allowed me to do the Cosplay Life Drawing event and each time it was fantastic, with attendance well over 100 people!

I tell people if they are a true fan of comics, sci-fi, cosplay and everything that’s part of that universe, then this is the only convention you should attend especially if you’re on a budget and had to pick one.

In the 30 years since this convention has been going on they seem have managed to keep the spirit of this convention intact by not allowing the entertainment world to get a foothold in it with television or movie studios, so what you’re left with is a safe haven for people who aren’t there just to sell and promote crap but actually enjoy being there and want to have fun.

And as I mentioned earlier, you actually will make new friends that for the most part you will see every year like a family barbecue reunion.

That was my experience in my first year of attending back in 2007, I met a bunch of amazing people, the majority of which were Stargate fans (greatest TV show ever!), who I’ve looked forward to seeing every year since around this time and among them is Misty Noble.

Misty and her sister, Sandy won me over in that first year and we’ve been friends ever since.

I choose Misty for this portrait because she is the first person that usually comes to my mind when I think about Dragon Con. Each year I’ve attended DC, the majority of my time is spent with her and her family. She’s such a wonderful person.

Misty is a Stargate fan as well so I thought I’d incorporate that into this portrait. The blue hair was meant to represent the blue puddle or wormhole effect that occurs when the gate is dialed. I felt leaving out the outline on the head allowed the hair and head to blend into the gate.

This year unfortunately I won’t be able to attend Dragon Con. This is the second year in a row that I will be missing out on seeing Misty and all the great people I’ve been keeping in touch with through social media.

Hopefully if life doesn’t throw me any more curves, I’ll see you Misty, family and friends next year.  I miss our Mexican dinners at that place downstairs and waiting for a table at the diner. Hope you guys have fun and post lots of pictures!

I feel like some Stargate binge watching is in order now!

Monday, August 14, 2017

LONG BEACH COMIC CON

This week portrait, Iron Man!

So this portrait was meant to be posted a couple of weeks ago, after San Diego Comic Con, but I had to suddenly leave for New York for family business and while I was there a surprise visit to Marvel happened. I won't go into details, especially concerning family matters but as for Marvel, maybe there's a trailer in 2018? I think it was kind of funny though that I was planning to post this Iron Man image and suddenly I find myself invited to the home of Iron Man.

These images actually have history. All eight of them were done exactly a year ago during the week of the 2016 San Diego Comic Con. They were an experimental idea I had, I wanted to draw and animated the different Iron Man costumes with the circles of course. I knew there were a lot (about 36 costumes over the years), I settled on the 8 main ones or at least the ones I thought were important (and I could find reference on!)

Am not too happy with missing over two weeks of posting, but I have been creating other art works, so my time has been productive. I will be showing many of the new pieces at the Long Beach Comic Con, Labor Day weekend. I also will be hosting the Cosplay Lifedrawing event again, which is always a lot of fun.

For those of you planning to attend the Long Beach event, this year’s theme is, “The Heroes of Mystic and Magic” The models will be the amazing Jennifer Fabos Paton as Zatanna and the Gal Gadot look a like, Shadia Ghantous, as Wonder Woman. Personally, I think Shadia is even more attractive than Gadot, if that's even possible, look her up on Facebook and see for yourself.

Hope I see some of you at Long Beach!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

HOLY DOUBLE IMAGE!

This week’s portrait, Adam West aka Batman!

Nelson Riddle, The Markettes, The Ventures, R.E.M., The Kinks, The Who, what do they all have in common, they all recorded versions of the 1960s Batman theme song.

I think we can all agree, Adam West’s Batman hands down was the greatest TV character since Kirk and Spock from Star Trek. I grew up watching the series in syndication. I remembered planning my day around the time when I knew it was going to be on. Adam West was a cool character, he always had this look of trying to be serious but there was that constant smirking smile letting you feel like you were in on a joke, and of course, who couldn't wait to hear Robin’s, “Holy (fill in the blank) cry for that week.

If you’ve ever watched the show (If you haven’t, lower your head in shame) then you must have tried doing the Batusi at least once. I think it was introduced in the very first episode. Everything about that show was cool and hip. Adam West was the perfect actor for the role, I can't imagine anyone else doing it. But then again knowing the lack of creativity in TV, am sure there are a couple of executive TV clowns some where trying to reboot it, thinking they can do better. 

I started this portrait a few weeks back when I heard about Adam’s death. Wasn’t sure if this was going to be a portrait of Adam West or of him as Batman. Somewhere in my mind the idea came of doing both but I didn’t want to do 2 drawings. After a day of thinking, the idea of combining the two came to mind. I was prepared to re do this one, since I felt it might not work out the way I envisioned it on the first try. But I did it, I made it work. The final art does a great job of bouncing the eye back and forth between the two images, if I say so myself, am really happy with the outcome of this piece.

In time people will likely forget about most of the current dramatic Batman movies that have come out in the last 30 years but they will always remember and very likely still be watching Adam West’s Batman!

Too bad there wasn't a way for someone to put a clause in place to block any future re make of the series. The Batman series is a classic, and there is no replacement for Adam West, he is Batman!

“DC Comics and TV execs, show some self controls, leave a great show alone!”*



*That’s a recliner moment!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

GO SPEED RACER

This week’s portrait, Peter Fernandez.
I can’t believe it’s been 7 years since he past away. He isn’t the first person I’ve known and care about to have died. My dad was a person who had a huge influence in my life. My close high school friend, Gregory Baker. My next door neigbor Ms Cleary. Mr Ferguson, Ms Klyde, Mr Nagel, 3 teachers from high school, who without their guidance, I wouldn’t be the artist I am today. Grade school teacher, Sister Raphel, who allowed me to work on art projects with her class of 8 graders when I was in the 6 grade.

I was late with posting this week because of something that happened on Monday. Through conversation with someone it was bought to my attention that they had no idea who Earth, Wind and Fire were, never heard the name before. The timing of course being Monday made me introspect even more on the subject of this piece, the meaning of who we are, and how quickly what we think of as important is forgot very quickly as time moves forward. And time did move forward and here I am posting at the end of the week.

Am sure a lot of you have never heard of Peter before, I didn't know of him until I met him back in 2008 at the New York Amine Award Show where he was given the American Anime Award for Outstanding Achievement. I was also shooting a video at the convention which he was kind enough to be a part of. It’s on YouTube, called “Pierre Bernard at the NY Anime Festival”. Very funny, if I say so myself, I wrote it all. (who says am not a writer!)

Here’s the link
https://youtu.be/WUpGLIoI9NI

If the above link doesn't work, just go to YouTube and type in: “Pierre Bernard at the NY Anime Festival”.

On this portrait, I used the colors that were prominent in the anime serie. The checkered background to represent racing flags. I felt the grey showed a more matured, respectful person.
Overall, calming no saturated colors to reflect the kind person he was.

I guess in the end like Earth, Wind and Fire, and many other people and things I am aware of, they will be forgotten in time by the world around us and be replaced by that moment’s topic.

This all brings to mind another instance where 3 years ago I was talking to an intern who didn’t know who Conan was, name or person. I kid you not, imagine working somewhere and not caring enough to knowing who your boss was.

By the way, Go check out Speed Racer, the anime series from the 60s. Also, in case you are wondering, Earth, Wind and Fire is a music group.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

MUSICAL ARSONISTS

This week’s portrait, Dave Grohl!


Everlong, Monkey Wrench, My Hero and the list goes on. Often I’d hear certain songs on the radio but for some reason never made a real effort to find out who the performers were. In 2011 I discovered the name of one of those performers. The guest band on Conan came to perform a song and after the taping continued to play, giving the audience and staff basically a mini concert. What made that moment special for me was the fact that I had heard a number of the songs before and loved them and now in front of me playing them live was their creator, The Foo Fighters.


I’ve been wanting to do Dave’s portrait for a while now, but I wasn’t sure of the direction to take, then I remembered that there was this special on HBO about the Foo Fighters album, Sonic Highways, I watched it for some inspiration and got a whole lot more. It’s an amazing 8 episode series covering each song on that album with each one being recorded in a different city, and the musical history of that city.

I think in the very first episode, Dave was talking about the song, “Something from Nothing” and the phrase, “musical arsonist” came up and I thought that it, that’s why I love their music. It’s a lot like a fire that gets lit and then starts to burn hot and fast. The Foo Fighters are arsonist using music as the medium to start the inferno.


I wanted the feel of fire in this portrait so I decided on setting Dave on fire… his hair of course. As for the background colors, red and black I picked up from their logo. Though now looking at the finish art there’s an X-Men feel to the background which wasn’t my intent.


Unlike my regular illustrations, aside from working out the likeness in pencil, there isn’t a lot of preliminary art created especially with the colors. I’ve been trying to feel my way through each one, with a theme in mind and picking colors as I go. 

That’s the fun and the challenge for me every time, I have nothing but my imagination on how I think each one will turn out.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

COME ON GET HAPPY

This week's portrait is, Keith Partridge - David Cassidy!

I started this portrait at the same time I was working on Lena Dunham. A strange side note, the Partridge Family came up in a random conversation during the week and I almost let it out that this was my next portrait, strange huh?

I am a big Partridge Family fan. I loved the TV show, the comics, the lunch box with the breakable thermos (had one, it broke), trading cards (still have a few around) and of course the music. I think I owned a 45 once but it no longer exist in my music collection but I do have the current CD with the best of.

I would have liked to have done a portrait of every member, or Susan Dey, who I had a MAJOR CRUSH on but decided on Keith. That decision was made back in February of this year after hearing that he was no longer going to perform live due to his health. It's sad to hear someone having to give up their passion because of health. Also I decided to do the David Cassidy I grew up on, Keith Partridge.

It hard to say which Partridge Family song is my favorite, there are so many great ones, though, “Together We’re Better” stands out because it was part of an episode which is my favorite from the television show called, “Princess and the Partridge”, it’s where Keith had to escort this visiting Princess around, only she wanted to see the “real” America, kind of like Audrey Hepburn in “Roman Holiday”, but in this case she had Keith kidnap her. Of course I fell hard for the Princess, played by Season Hubley, she was beautiful then and I am sure she’s even more beautiful now!

On this piece of art I felt like I was having a hard time with deciding what colors to use other than the bus’ primary colors. On the next one I really have to make it a point to experiment more. Take more chances and leave reality.

Monday, June 19, 2017

WORK OF ART

This week's portrait, Lena Dunham!

So fidget spinners are now a dying fad already? I got wind of them by accident on Amazon. The price was cheap and they seemed fun. Now that I have a collection of about 30, I can say I was right about the price and the fact that they are addictively fun.

What does that have to do with Lena, actually nothing, I just read an article about spinners while writing this and of course playing with a spinner in my left hand. It's that modern day multi tasking thing.

I became aware of Lena as a result of watching “Girls”. Watched all 5 seasons. The first episode introduce us to the last black male and any minority in Brooklyn, New York and after those first 3-4 episodes, Brooklyn looked liked the New York of “Seinfeld” and “Friends.” But to my surprise this quantum reality was fun to watch. I decided to do the portrait after watching an episode in season 4 where Lena went to a photographer to get some nudes photos taken of her. The scene reminded me of a classical, beautiful Mucha model painting. I created a nude of her based on that, but had second thoughts about posting it and instead decided to include her in this portrait series.

As with past portraits I've tried to work with colors that I feel match the subject. Though I am happy with this piece, I would love to show the nude piece of her someday.



Monday, June 12, 2017

I KNOW HIM!

This week’s portrait, Pierre Bernard Jr.!

I’ve been wanting to do a portrait of Pierre for a while now but couldn’t find the time and he wasn’t exactly making this easy for me either.

I’ve known him for a while and I can say first hand he isn’t an easy person to get to know. He’s extremely private to a fault. And when you think you’ve got him figured out he might change up on you, which can be annoying. I know he’s reading this and saying it’s not true but am sorry friend, it is. But he is a good guy, a decent artist, and he collects way too many toys (Not trying to get on your bad side but you really do have too many “toys”).

This portrait was fun to work on. It was almost like looking in a mirror in some ways and seeing myself. Originally I was going to render him with his usual blank expression but thought I’d bring some life to his face by making him look happy and surprised. I also wanted to use his favorite colors, green and turquoise blue. The red I picked up on from seeing a icon drawing of him on social media.

Pierre, I hope you like your portrait!



Tuesday, May 30, 2017

MY ONLINE ART MUSE

This week’s portrait, Eugenia Diordiychuk!
2006, Chicago, that was the year Late Night with Conan O’Brien went there for a week of shows at the Chicago Theater. And while I was there during my off hours was the time I first saw pictures of a model named Katie Fey and later come to know her as Eugenia Diordiychuk (won’t go into details, save them for another time).

She's a model mostly known for her pictures on the web. To say she is beautiful is an understatement in my mind. It's strange how seeing someone you've never met can give you feelings of familiarity and closeness. Hey, in case you're thinking it, I am not stalking her... or anyone for that matter, too much energy and time needed and I don't have enough of either to spare.

I've created art works of her numerous times, and in each one finding something different and interesting about her looks that's worth exploring.

I found out recently that she is an artist as well, she went to art school in the Ukraine. Her art work is pretty good.

With this art piece I wanted to capture what I perceived as her soft side, using pastel colors all over except for her lips in which I used a magenta red color to draw attention to her lips.

She’s definitely someone I hope I'll have a chance encounter with someday, who knows, maybe she'll come and draw at one of my Cosplay events. That would be so freakin' cool!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

LOST OF FRIENDS

This week's portrait, Sherilyn Stetz! 


I had some morphine last week, kidney stones. Felt great for an hour or two, the pain was gone for but then it came back, not as intense but enough to make my day shitty. Over the weekend I had another attack, but this time I stayed curled up in bed and just endured the pain till it subsided and I passed out.

Lately life has been causing me a lot of pain and it's at these moments I tend to start buying more crap than usual. In this case, those Pops character figures from Funko, suppliers of my bobblehead addiction.

The life pain is from the fact that in a 2 month period, three friends past away. Sara Porter, Sherilyn Stetz and Doreen Austria. And my mother and aunt almost added themselves to this list.

My mom is doing better but my aunt is a day to day. I love these 2 people a lot, but then again, I lucked out, I have a great family. Nothing but great memories and hopefully many more new ones.

Sara I worked with back in New York. We were friends enough back then that she allowed me to use her as a model for some of my artwork. The one piece I did of her ended up being art for a Christmas card.

Doreen, was a true geek girl. Didn't get to hang out as much as I would have liked but the few times we did, it was pure nerd bliss.

Sherilyn was a friend but I did have a lot of contact with her. She was someone who always had great things to say and always had a smile. When I heard she was sick, I drew a get well card for her. And word got to me she was doing better. Then next thing I am hearing is that she's gone.

I decided I wanted to do this portrait of her for myself. I wanted to draw what I remembered of her. Sara, I have my art of her, Doreen, I have pictures of us together, but I had nothing tangible on Sherilyn. Now that's changed.

I miss these friends.