jueves, 29 de abril de 2010

The Evolution of my Art

Sorry for the typos and obvious mistakes when i write in english, i will correct these errors some other time.

I want to write about some of the tools and materials i use, being Prismacolor Markers and Pencils the best tools i have found and how it all Started with my pursuit of an Art and Illustration Career.

Why so? Well, i love water color, but i alwyas try out different ways to achieve a certain effect, i am not a studied person, meaning that i did not go to College or art schools, i did took a 6 months drawing course for begginners once, but it was not very well managed and did not learn anything i already knew from my own experience. Maybe this Blog will inspire more people to try out even when they do not have the chance to go to college for an Art career.

I was always drawing, ALWAYS, and playing with clay and cutting paper. Mom used to read my brother and me some fantasy stories like Snowhite, cinderella, Pinoccio, Hansel and Gretel, Christian Andersen stories, you know the classics, but i fell in love with these stories and the world that was being presented to me, i simply wanted to dive into it.

My dad used to make cartoons just for fun and he is really good at it, my mom is an artist and me and my brother Richard grew up surounded by books, fantasy movies like Labyrinth, Legend, Willow, conan, Xcalibur, Dragonslayer, Krull, Dark Crystal, Beast Master and many more, and good music like Led Zeppelin, Allan Parson´s Project, Jethro Tull and Moody Blues.
We watched He-Man, Robotech, Voltron, Captain Harlock, Ulyses 31, Thundercats, Mazinger, Transformers, Gobots, G.I-Joe, Mask....and so our brains flew up high in the sky with all of these.

Richard started drawing and simply went mad with it, he is simply amazing and was a huge inspiration for me, i spent a lot of time watching him draw Aliens, Predators, Fredy Kruggers, Jaosn, Spaceships, Mechas....you name it.... everything cool you can imagine, Take a Look!
How would i not be inspired by this!

As a child i used a variety of tools regardless of shape, form, consistency or brand, i just drew and colored the world around me. Crayolas, Pilots ( markers ) Faber Castell were just written stuff on my tools, and i was tols i was good at drawing since kindergarden, i grew up listening to this but always felt shy and uncomfortable with these people repeating it to me every time i sat to drw something, eventually i learned how to deal with it because i was in fact very pleased but in a way, ashamed and unconfortable for the other kids who gave me that stern look of envy or others who perhaps thought i was showing off when in fact i was certainly not.

We used to play many Super Nintendo Videogames like Megaman, Castlevania 4, Super Metroid,
Dragonball, Starfox, Cybernator, and later came Playstation. And so i spent days drawing Morrigan, Chun Li, Felicia and trying my luck with color pencil.

I used to draw all curled up on my paper almost hiding what i was doing with my hair and arms and with my face almost touching the paper and i would not let anybody watch me draw until it was finished....silly me. I realized i could bear and understand everything the teacher ( any teacher ) were babling about at highschool when i kept on drawing, if i had to stare at the teacher and listen to his or her monologue, i would falla asleep ( some attention problems since childhood ) But of course they wont let me and would take my notebooks away, so i kept on drawing on the table or chairs or my own shoes or my hands.....i guess they got tired and finally let me be.
Anyway, i learned to draw with the cheapest and shorter pencils, ball pen, color pencil, anything at hand.

But it wasn´t until 2004 when already being married and with a 2 year-old daughter that i started taking art seriously, i never finished anything or i drew characters floating in endless spaces of white..... When the time came for me to think about getting a job i though...what am i good at? Art.

I never touched paint, just a few watercolors, some ink experiments ( you know, wet paper and let a drop of ink splash on the wet area and watch it spread in curious forms ) and i talked with my husbnad who was very supportive with the idea. I had some pencils, Crayola ( Brand ) and i remember how curious the texture i got if i colored with lots of hand presure ( they ran out quickly ) and i had a few chunks of very old Prismacolor pencils, who knows who gave those to me, perhaps i got them from Animastudio, an animation studio where i attempted to work with my brother....did not last long, but i learned a few tricks.

My mother-in-law has a friend who was writinga story and needed someone to make the illustrations and she called me to ask me to helkp her. I bought some paper and started working on the illustrations:

Hahaha how naive, i love these.

At the time i was re-reading Dragonlance Chronicles by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, some of my most cherished fantasy books, and i was trying to come up with some Goldmoon Illustrations and i was trying with cheap watercolors and color pencils:

In late 2004 i got into Linsner.com, because of some curious comics my husband showed me, called DAWN. In there i met many great people, one of the, another artist, Phillip, who told me about this place called Elftown, i made an account and started participating in different contests, it was fun and I even won a bunch:

After this i knew i need more tools, and REAL paper and watercolors, real markers, real pencils. I guess that the fact of me not being a studied person, made me learn to make art with what i had at hand, so never really understood how watercolor or other things worked by themselves, i truly never mastered any of them, perhaps just color pencils which will be always my favorite for emotional reasons. But still, i could not afford new tools, and used what was left.

My brother told me to create a few pieces of fan art, for a Starwars thing, can´t remember well what it was about and i did work on three with the tools i had, cheap tools and chinese ink.

The date in this image is wrong. I made a
mistake when i started uploading bunches of art
to Deviant Art.

Soon after roaming about in Elftwon for enough time and winning lots of contests, in 2005 i discovered Deviant Art and it was a success. I met many artists and Stock galleries in there, one i love is http://delightfulstock.deviantart.com/, and i picked one photo i really liked from her gallery, asked permission and started making something i knew was going to be important for me. I was also reading a book by Scott Cunningham, and was highly touched by magic and was and still am taking it very seriously and i was so inspired by what i was reading and the little plants and rocks and quartz i always kept in my working space, that i decided to make something special, using all these little things as inspiration and my own garden and flowers.

This is what i came up with after one week:

I was so proud of this one! I used all i had, watercolors, markers, pencils, some prismacolors ( the chunks ) and black ink, even white acrylic paint. Around that time, my husband got me a huge box o Prismacolor pencils and i was blown out. I inmediately started retouching the image with purple, whites, gold....and i was even happier now with this 12x18 illustration.

A friend at Linsner.com ( Scott Lamky ) sent me a few materials, and inked illustrations from other artists that he collects for me to color them, he has to be my most loyal fan since i remember, he has helped me so many times with his friendship and interest in my art, he keeps on sending me things to work with from time to time, even send me tools and things to work with, he is a blessing. Alright, i kept on submitting more simple art on every forum i got in to, and made good relations, some drawings that helped me out like this rendition of Dawn that i made in 2004:

That one up there is a great Goddess character originally created by Joe Linsner, and so this friend, Scott, sent me stuff to work on, my first commissions! He sent me a box of Prismacolor Markers, the ones used by Joe Linsner who was an inspiration for me in those days, and these i used with my new pencils and ink and watercolors.

This is what happened:

After this one i had an idea to try anothert water color illustration, i was afraid to use just one medium, but i had to try and so, my fear led me to take a small two-month watercolor workshop at Casa Cultural Amon, in San José. I worked on this one slowly:

I uploaded more and more art plus sketches and pencil work i was making at the time to Deviant Art, and i got much attention and i decided to try out a new illustration to upload it and the latest images i made.

These two were next:

And later on i was inspired to create a new piece as a prize for someone at Elftown:

Suddenly i was inspired to try out with Oils, so i bought a 11x14 canvas and asked my mom for some basi colors and came oout with this:

After trying more and more i was tired and worked on Photomanipulations, it started a long time ago, when i had Photoshop 5.0. I used to restore old family photos and i learned slowly to manipulate them to create interesting pieces for clients at my father-in-law´s photo Studio Rembrandt:

And i concentrated even more in teh world of Deviant Art and Photo manipulation and kept on for a couple of months creating these thingies:

After a while i felt the need to start drawing again and as i later discovered, when i stop drawing for a while i get better at it when i make a new piece, strange but it´s true.

We are talking about 2006 now:

And thanks to this one i think, i made a commission, for a friend, Sebastian, who i met playing Unreal online. He saw my art and wanted a piece for his fiancée, and so this is my first watercolor on good paper, entirely made with Watercolors and ink:

This one lead to another commission for Ida Larsen who i met at Deviant Art, aslo for her stock:

Another work, more simple:

And these new works and photo manipulations were used as portfolio later. My husban went to the States to visit his mom and learn some basics about running a Photo Studio, he took the chance to go to DragonCon in 2006 and showed the Portfolio to Margaret Weis´s Art Director, Renae Chambers and Artist Larry Elmore who was an inspiration for me since i first read Dragonlance Chronicles. After a few months i contacted Renae and she commissioned me for two illustrations for a new RPG game called Castlemourn, here is one:

In 2007 i was able to show my art here in Costa Rica for the first time at a Café called Kaffa, the idea was to expose the art and have a chat about what i do, so my husband and i prepared the paintings and had a good time with this opportunity.

With my friend Irene at Kaffa Café.

Then i got the chance to make an exhibition at CasaCultural Amón, where i took a two month watercolor workshop. I got help from the teacher and it was my first Exhibition per se.

I will add a photo soon, i forgot where i have those...

Before that exhibition, i was introduced to a couple of bands, Faun and Omnia, by a friend, Tillian. I met him when i got into Elftown. Hi used to live in Belgium and i have always been a huge fan of Alan Lee and Bryan Froud because of their collaborative work on the Book Faeries. And Faun and Omnia inspired me greatly until today.

I was looking for opportunities to participate more in the Fantasy World and checking out the Tour Dates of Faun i read: Trolls et Legendes Festival, Belgium..... i said, WOW! this looks like Fun! and the Special guest that year was ALAN LEE!!

I inmediately wrote to Tillian and asked him if i could stay at his place if i managed to participate at the festival.

I contacted the producers and explained how difficult it was for fantasy artists here in Costa Rica. I wanted to give it a try and that i would get as many letters i could find from customers and recomendations. I got perhaps more than a hundred which strucked me, because i did not expect to get such great reviews of my current works. I was overwhelmed. I was invited to Trolls et Legendes, but i did not get any sponsor here in my country, I tried everything, but at the end my sponsosr where my dad, my husband and my grandma, Bless them! and a couple of close friends. I went to stay for two weeks to Tillian`s house, my friend went with me to the Festival and we had such a nice time!

Some photos:

Tillian and Jean Luc, hanging up my paintings.
And some people taking a look at them the next day.

Me very busy ^^

Kaat Geevers and Oliver Pade, from teh Band Faun, i met Kaat at the Faun´s Forum,
she saw my art and comissioned me to make a portrait of her with Oliver, as a surprise for their
anniversary. This is the one:

Kaat gave me all Faun Albums as payment and i was absolutley trilled by it, so happy.

I also took some photos of Kaat since i thought she is stunningly pretty, like a faery, and worked it a bit on photoshop:

I had the chance to talk with Alan Lee, for long 20 minutes, showed him my portfolio and he
looked at it carefully, each page, slowly, all the details... I was so nervous, he is such a gentleman, so refined and humble at the same time. I also showed him my brother´s art and he told me to never stop drawing, both of us, to keep on trying and work hard, that we would get very far. And so God has spoken.... Mister Lee has spoken and i will always draw and work hard.

Later on, i realized i never got a photo with him. I was too excited to think about such vain thing.
Now i regret it, but i managed to take some photos of him throughout the festival.

In the next photo, he is taking photos of his niece Jenny, member of the band Omnia, i got a

journalist pass and stumbled upon mister Lee there and we stood there taking photos together,

after a while i sat in front of the stage and was able to take a photo of him and Jean Luc who helped us since we got there.

I think i had the best time of my life, i sold so many prints, i made lots of money there, met such fine and kind people, i was given a hotel room for free, car rides, i was so happy.

After this festival i wanted to try once more. So i searched for other important Festivals in Europe, and managed to get accepted at Castlefest, again i met Omnia and Faun and myfriend Kaat Geevers, this time i slept in a Squat in Belgium because i could not stay at Tillian`s once again, , quite and experience, , and i experienced the best and the worst situations i ever had. Airfrance lost my luggage, i spent more than 50 euros calling from a public phone to find out where my luggage was , one of the kids that lived there at the Squat was very depressed, he has serious personal issues, we had the chance to talk, he looked for me to talk to somebody, i noticed he was way too depresed, we talk for hours and he cried a lot, this kid was really in pain emotionally, i wish i could have done more but i had to leave to the festival next day, that was the last time i saw him... My cousin who was in Paris came to meet me and help me with my things and enjoy the festival aswell. We traveled with some of the paintings i exhibited at Trolls et Legendes, those re pretty heavy and uncomfortable to carry and pack, it was real hell, but we also had a great time, a friend i made on Messenger, Nicklas, came all the way from Denmark by Bus! to meet me and hang out at the festival. My cousin and i had to sleep in a Hotel nearby where Omnia was spending the nights, they gave us a ride to the hotel in the Omnia Van hehe, thanks Steve and Jenny! a guy named Fero at the reception was too curious about us and the festival, and knowing we could not afford staying at the hotel for the next four days he offered help.

He was insanely kind and this was the deal: He worked at night at the hotel, so he would pick us up from the festival at 10pm, and we woudl drive him to the hotel and take the car and drive to his appartment ( some 40 minutes drive? and sleep there, at 6 pm we would drive back, he would take us to the festival and he would drive home to sleep during the day. AMAZING! we owe him half our lives.

I met more crazy and fabulous people who are still in touched by email, facbook or messenger. Hanged out with Faun members once again and they invited me to go meet them in Germany for Burgfolk Festival a few days ahead and show my art there once again. But before going to Germany we decided to go to Amsterdam and stood there for two weeks at Bob´s Youth Hostel, i sat on cafés and parks to make quick portraits and helped ourselves stay longer. This kid i talked to at the squat commited suicide while I was in Amsterdam, i made a portrait of him a few days before i went to Castlefest, i got this email from Tillian asking me to call him right away, I was so so sad, this was terrible, and it seems i was one of the last persons he talked to and i felt bad i could not do more, i tried to convince him there was more to life than what he believed, that all this pain, if he could hold on longer it would eventually pass, that there were many things in life more important and with so much more meaning than a girl who did not love him. He used to drink too much, this kid was ill, emotionally ill, so young, only 17! In complete denial he was about life, i as so worried when i left, the look in his eyes was something i will never forget, completely blanl, lost, but also so desperate... When i went back to Leuven i went to his funeral with the rest of the kids, the family put the drawing i made of him on the top of his coffin, i cried and hugged people i never met before, his siter came to talk to me and ask me what was the last things he said to me. she hugged me, his mom, his dad, i did not know this people, but we cried bitterly...i was torn to pieces.

My cousin said goodbye the next day i think. I traveled by myself to Germany, and helped Faun at their merch stall, it was great talking with each one of them, and help sell T-shirts, stickers and albums and show my art. I met Melly there: i made a portrait of her:

I met her first through Myspace. And later that night i walked with Faun members back to their hotel and Oliver kept on apologizing for not reserving a room for me at their hotel, so so sweet! In a way i´m glad he didn´t it´s a secret. But Bianca ( another friend ) another guy from Faun Forums and Niel from Faun and myself spent the night drinking beer at the hotel lobby, talking about music, Nine Inch Nails and we had this amazing energetic conversation with each other until it was 5 am when i walked back to my hotel absolutely drunk and laughin histerically.

This is Niel:

I went back to Belgium, packed my things after one Month in Europe and returned home with this crazy idea of moving to Europe ( Fail ). It has taken a while to get used to live here after all the things i experienced and saw there, i love my country but i have this feeling always of returning everytime i see possible. I felt at home. I found my clan. I feel out of place here.

This led me to want to make my own music and my own clans right here, so i started experimenting with music here at home, i used to play the recorder and so i kept on working on it. Got good at it after a few months.

I´m also taking singing lessons and my project is called Istalindar. We had some small concerts but as things in life, it dissolved for personal reasons. Still hopefull i will be able to keep with it and release my own music one day.

And well, i managed to get into a few small local festivals over here but never was able to make as much money as i made in Europe, the investment is too high for me to recover it at these events. People over here really enjoy my art, i´m grateful for it, but unfortunately, i´m trying to live from this, because this takes time and patience and working materials and research, i wish i could just give away my art but not in this life. I´m looking for opportunities to illustrate books, make cards, or covers, or anything really, because i do love doing this, i get commissions regularly so i´m open to new projects and ideas, even collaborative work, if you need anything, just ask and i will give you more info about how i work.

Art is developing well, and i´m learning new techiniques and will keep on adding more samples here as the time goes by. I have a few goals for this year, i will tell you later.

I have new manips ( not so new at Deviant Art ):