December 26, 2013

Happy Holidays

Seventeen of these present bearers have already accomplished their task and are enjoying the holidays in their new homes or are about to arrive there. This one though was stubbornly set on doing it XXI century cyber style, so there :)

Wishing you all merry Christmas and a wonderful 2014.


November 16, 2013

All In The Leaves e-book cover



Meet Anna!

She's the main character of Pat Elliott's novel All In The Leaves, and I've had the opportunity to design the e-book cover for her.

It's been a long way baby, and as exciting as it is to see how all the work is wrapping up and finally out in the open I have to admit I'm gonna miss all the laughs we've had during the process, even through the pert-boob incident (ooops! Shhhh....).

I'm happy to say that it's finally out for sale on Apple's iTunes and Amazon, and it'll soon appear on Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Sony, Waterstones.


Check it out!




A tea-leaf reading.

A prediction of a fabulous life to come.

Can your future really be told in a cup?



Anna is feeling down in the dumps. She's nearly thirty, painfully shy 
and has no boyfriend. She's still living at home and has a boring job. 
Can this really be all there is?

A chance bout of tears leads to a tea leaf reading which predicts a 
wonderful future for her.
A future which promises a new career, a new home and a husband. All by 
the following Christmas.

Join Anna as opportunities arise, calamity strikes and the battle for 
happiness begins.


October 11, 2013

Back To Basics

Summer has come and gone and I didn't even notice, how did that happen!?!?

It's been full of ups and downs, but I think I'm going to let the downs wash away and just cherish the sunny days, beautiful cucumbers, photo shooting outdoors, action movies, and new geckos visiting the terrace during the evenings.

Don't know about you but I didn't get to use my watercolors during most of the summer. Got to do sketches and studies though, and got ready to start a new series of paintings, and now finally my brushes are getting wet again, yeah!

And I'm taking the opportunity to go back to basics and use some pigments I haven't used for years. I can't even remember why they got replaced with something different in the palette, but hey, I'm having a blast rediscovering, experimenting, and finding how to integrate them in my current painting processes.

April 8, 2013

Traditional vs. Digital - Take 2


Not long ago I was musing about digital and traditional art, about them being two sides of the same coin, two tools serving the same goal.

This weekend I've been making a back-up of some image files from last year and came by a good example of using traditional mediums to do what's usually a digital task.

See this portrait? Last summer I was lucky enough to work for a man who wanted to take an old and damaged photo of his mother when she was a baby, reprint it and use it as a gift.

Anyone would have asked for a clean up in Photoshop or similar.

Instead, this man chose to commission the revamp of the photo as a watercolour painting. How amazing is that?!

Each time I fall in the digital/traditional debate I end up thinking the same, the tools are not important, just make meaningful art.




March 1, 2013

Work Expands So As To Fill The Time Available For Its Completion


That is Parkinson's Law.

Ok, not exactly, there's a whole essay that I have not read. Honestly I didn't know the full name of Mr. Parkinson nor how he got to such conclusion or why, but I always pictured it like a fellow sitting on the grass, elbows on his knees, chin on his hands, chewing on a straw while thinking "nah, I don't think that's gonna get finished today".

Yes, my mind likes it simple. And now it's wondering how on earth do you stop work from expanding?! How do you optimize the work to finish the task on time?!


I've been doing portraiture warm-ups in 15 minutes, daily. After switching from monochrome to a limited palette of 4 somehow the task does not just fill the time frame anymore, it overflows it entirely.

Is there a secret to speed up the painting process? Inquiring minds need to know! These have improved after I forgot about my usual layering way of painting and just attacked full on with darks first, in and out, but I still can't get half of a portrait finished in 15 minutes.


If they don't lack the nose they lack one eye, if they have a mouth they don't have a head, some of them manage to have hair and a mouth and a nose but not eyes.

The only other idea I've had, to try and finish one completely, is repeating in my mind "faster faster do it faster fasteeeeeer!" during those 15 minutes, but so far that doesn't seem to work :)


I refuse to put anything better than a "hmmmm...." by their side until they look at least half finished so, any suggestions to speed up the painting process? I promise even if they sound weird I'm willing to try, which are your secrets when you want to paint fast and accurately and finish the task in a short period of time? Please share them with me.

February 20, 2013

Perturbadito


This is a little thing I've been working in small slots of time, on the side of other works.

It feels good to paint something without other purpose than relaxing and enjoy the flow of paint on the paper.

Since this little fellow has been guarding my conte pencils for quite some time now, I decided he deserved an homage.

I got rid of his stray eyes. Not sure why. They give him this disturbed look that oddly enough, grows on you after a while. Might do a second version just to include them!

February 13, 2013

Back to the Drawing Table

This is the last figure drawing I did a couple of weeks ago. I loved focusing on the neck and face for once.


I'm SO ready to resume my daily warm-ups. Today IS the day!

February 7, 2013

Digital vs. Traditional?


I’ve been ill for over a week guys.  

Have you ever been ill but feeling well enough to get to the painting table just to discover the little nuisances of it all? It can be so frustrating!

That pencil stroke running in the wrong direction thanks to a coughing fit. Or the paint from your brush splattered all over the paper because of a sudden sneeze. How about the brush falling from your hand and rolling over your paper? Believe me, NOT FUN.

At some point I decided to redirect all my creative efforts towards digital, which I seldom do.

The result has been a bunch of new icons, some textures to tweak future images (couldn’t let those splatters go to waste, now could I?) and a couple of little pics for the web.

Like this little ID card, it’s so much fun grabbing scanned images, some stock, a bunch of fonts and unused sketches, throw them all together, stir while it boils and see what comes out of it!

I guess I just need to fangirl for a little bit over the chance of having one art medium that’s not messy when you need it, one that allows as much flexibility as any other traditional medium, one that lets you UNDO the unwanted stray stroke that you make when you cough.

Or maybe the point of this post is simply to acknowledge that digital and traditional are two sides of the same coin, that it doesn’t need to be one OR the other, but both complementing each other. Whatever works, right?

January 30, 2013

Every Time I Paint a Portrait I Lose a Friend


Wasn’t it Sargent who said that? Well why nobody asked Mr. Sargent what happens when it’s a self portrait? I’ve found out, it’s horrible to give yourself the silent treatment, but you do!

It’s quite interesting how easy it is making a self portrait just for yourself and how difficult it is to do it to show it to others, the reason is quite simple, you just want to look GOOD – yes I’m hearing Darren Hayes singing Ego inside my head, shut up Darren! – After some failed attempts it turns out that only I can look like me... and that’s a good thing! Ha! go figure.

It is what it is and I think this one is truly me, not just physically, and that’s the goal, rocking my American Retro T-shirt, comfy socks, my beloved Escoda in hand and a big smile plastered on my face, and hopefully sending those vibes to you, C’mon you know what I’m talking about.

And yes, it doesn’t hurt that the “engaging” and “dynamic” angle hides any fat that might or might not be down there ha-ha! after all I want to start talking to myself again as soon as possible!

Have you painted a selfportrait? I want to see them! Point me in the right direction and please tell me you’ve gone through the same narcissistic mini crisis.

January 23, 2013

Always Practice




Long time without posting any figure drawing. Feels good to keep doing them daily and it’s kind of funny to remember how that clock used to freak me out, I don’t even think about the time anymore.







I’ve been doing drawing exercises daily for a while, but all this time I've been wondering how could I incorporate the same kind of quick exercise in watercolor, to maybe round one hour of warm-up everyday.

In late September I decided that trying portraits in the warmup would be a good complement to the figure drawings, so I added a 15 minute portrait in watercolor to the daily routine.


Being completely honest I got mess after mess, they truly sucked, got discouraged and stopped for a while, then got back to it this time taking one step at a time, first in monochrome, trying to get right proportions, then trying to get some resemblance to the model, then trying to speed up the process (yep, that clock is freaking me out again, it happens if you're a turtle when painting)

I still get messes 90% of the time, tons of “aaaargh!” and “ewwww!” and “L” written next to them right after the 15 mins are over, those will never see the light of day, but from time to time I manage to get something that looks like an actual perfectly fine person.

Every time I incorporate one more change it feels like the dreaded step back but I guess it’s needed to get to the couple of steps forward, so I think I’ll keep at it since I want to see that percentage change to at least 90% of successes.


Lesson learned: if it’s too big of a piece to swallow, break it down into smaller bits and chew chew chew.

January 16, 2013

Last Minute Panic


Are you familiar with Bill Watterson’s Calvin&Hobbes?

Do you remember that strip where Hobbes asks Calvin whether he already has come up with an idea for something he should be doing, and Calvin’s retort is that you have to be in the right mood? When Hobbes asks what mood is that Calvin goes “last minute panic”.

Well I’ve been in last minute panic mode for over a week. Painting like a possessed woman.

Painting and ripping and restarting and layering paint like there were no tomorrow.

Disregarding hours of work in 15 minutes by hitting full blast what once were mild dark areas with a brush loaded with thick dark paint, mercilessly.

Removing masking tape (which BTW managed to take with it some of my hair - yes, the gum in the hair nightmare come true way after grade school) just to realize I wanted more darks hence laying down some more masking tape.


After taking this photo yesterday those darks have expanded up the neck to the jaw and under the chin.

Last minute panic. What a ride. And loved each second of it.

Now onto the next one J

November 26, 2012

Embrace Fear


Want to know a secret? Fear has been one of my closest companions my whole life.

Here’s a fact, Fear is a strong source of motivation, sometimes the strongest. Here’s another fact, that motivation can get you to better places, the problem is that more often than not it seems to motivate you to turn and run in the opposite direction, or just freeze sporting the dumbest face you’re capable of.

Do you want to know another secret?  Fear probably just wants to help you to reach that better place but the wacko has not the best sense of direction so you need add your two cents too, it’s just trying to give you some advice, you can take it, ignore it, or bend it, letting Fear lead probably won’t end pretty well but once you turn it into a team work chances are that you weren’t condemned to doom after all.

This conversation happened last Wednesday regarding this illustration:

- Not your best, is it?

-...o_O…well it’s not that bad…

-She seems calculating, you should fix it

-…. yeah ….. a pity there’s no time, it’s going in the mail tomorrow morning, and it’s such a tiny area that is going to be difficult to lift it completely, and probably will look weirder after that, there’s no time to redo the whole thing if I ruin it, it really needs to be in the mail tomorrow blah blah blah…

-Change · it

-O_O

Rest assured I was the one getting the blows. It’s unsettling to get that kind of straight feedback -not to mention nailed critique- right the night before I want to mail the thing. And all the blabber? That’s a lot of stupid excuses pouring out of my mouth as fast as Fear whispers them in my ear.

I’m always telling fellow painter friends to just go for a change they are pondering, that it won’t be ruined, that once you’ve done something you can do it again if bad comes to worse, and every time I’ve firmly believed every bit of it.

When you have something that you know is not working, and the chances are either leaving it as is (just to avoid ruining something that you know isn’t good enough), or changing it and maybe fixing it... it’s a no brainer, isn’t it? You go for it and make it better.

Now insert Fear and my own work: bye-bye no-brainer, hello brain shutdown, let’s hold hands and run up the hills.

And then is when being friends with Fear might be an advantage. Maybe - just maybe – I’ll give it a knowing look and say “hey why not trying to lift it? Imagine if I screw up, that’s gonna be the kind of panic attack that you’re going to love fueling, look forward to it while I rework this, will you?”

Yes, in the end it took more time arguing through that conversation and defending the case in my brain than it took to just get to the task and repaint that face.


It’s a fact that Fear is going to be there right by your side sometimes, so you might as well befriend it, enjoy your time together and make the best out of it!

September 20, 2012

Sketching sketching sketching

Today warm up session has been devoted to self portraits, whaaaaat?!

Want a self portrait for the web so I'm just playing with some ideas lately, this is one of them.

Ok, so it doesn't seem to be going anywhere as it is right now BUT it's been fun, and a needed milestone, maybe it evolves into something that worth further development or maybe not, but either way it needed to be out and done to jump to the next one.

That's the brilliancy of quick sketches, you can try tons and discard tons and let the milestones guide you in the right way.

I used to get engrossed for weeks into drawings that might or might not work. These warm ups have burnt something in my brain, brainstorming works, rough and quick works.

I'm finally allowing myself to embrace the "just do it" "doesn't need to be pretty" motto and encourage you all to do it too.

Go draw something!

September 17, 2012

Figure drawing - More daily sketches


These are some of the daily warm-ups from May and June. I decided to take a *not completely desired* break from these during July and August but I’m ready and happy to resume them now, we’ll see if I’ve gotten rusty in these couple of months.


I’ve noticed some changes in the way I’ve been approaching the warm up sessions, now I stop, think before laying a line, even in the 30 seconds exercises, I know I know, I said that I liked these 30 secs because they made you stop thinking and start landing lines.

I’m the most shocked one at the realization that it doesn’t necessarily lead to spacing out for 30 secs, you can actually stop and think and still deliver a figure instead -ok, half a figure but still-.



So far the results I’m getting are either more accurate and clean figures or a total mess, but when it works it feels great! So next goal is inclining that balance towards the good looking ones, goes without saying, right?

Something that I didn’t expect is that I seem to be getting more unfinished figures than before, no matter the time frame, wonder why that is happening? Somehow it doesn’t feel like stopping to think is the problem, anyway  the unfinished look is starting to grow on me so I’m not too worried about it, just curious.


The way I’m approaching these warm ups seems to be evolving towards something, not sure what yet though, but I guess I’ll find soon enough, meanwhile I’m keeping the same goals and at the same time I’m enjoying experimenting with the process.

April 12, 2012

Figure drawing - daily sketches

Last sunday’s been a month since I began practicing gesture figure drawing daily, while I can’t afford going to live figure drawing sessions I’m relying on the next best thing, The Drawing Script and the Figure & Gesture Drawing Tool. To celebrate I’m sharing some of the results from this month.



The time for each pose goes from 30 seconds to 11 minutes and man, those 30 second limit really make you stop thinking and start landing lines, I never thought you could even put pencil to paper in such short period of time and I certainly can’t get a whole figure in 30 seconds yet but at least you can tell it’s a human being (most of the times).


I’ve always looked in awe at artists posting their figure drawings, such confident lines, accurate, dynamic, perfect! I want to draw like that too, confident, accurate, bold strokes, want to draw faster and get a better comprehension of how the body works, render it in as few lines as possible.





Have you heard of “fail, fail again, fail better”? “practice makes perfect”? Go figure, it actually works!