VIBE in January

I was fortunate enough to have someone at VIBE Magazine contact me to do an illustration for the January issue. I had less than 48 hrs from assignment to delivery, and he wanted a painted look, so it was a crunch, but I got it done. I'll share it here when it's on newsstands, in December.


San Diego

I just realized that I've spent roughly 5-6 weeks in California, this calendar year. I hope all my friends out there were not bitten by fire. Stay safe, and give me a call or email.


I never thought...

I never thought that in my lifetime I'd have be honored by having a person tattoo my artwork on their body, without me knowing about it before-hand and designing a tattoo specifically for the final application... but crazier stuff has happened.

I had a friend hint at such a crazy event as someone getting a "neat tattoo" that would surprise me, so I looked around and found a suspicious photo.

A friend of mine actually got a tattoo on his arm, from an image on my blog, that was drawn inside my book, for a pre-order. I don't even think it's in HIS BOOK!

Some people are crazy... but I love ya, Nolan!


Live Caricatures

Here are some of the sketches completed in San Francisco at a wonderful little wedding reception. I had been invited to draw live caricatures in the west coast city after the groom-to-be got a hold of my first book. I was specifically asked to take a little more time on the drawings and to "not hold back" on the exaggeration. Needless to say, I made a couple subjects angry, but most guests had a great time and loved the art. I had a great time.

These are lightly sketched in pencil, inked with a Copic Brush Pen marker, then toned with PRISMACOLOR markers (30% gray, 60% gray).



San Fran to New York

Well, I never thought I'd be that guy doing an assignment in the bookstore, in a different city, in the hotel room at night, or on the plane on the way home (on the day of delivery!), but sure enough I am now among those rushed, over-eager illustrators who takes on a tight schedule even when booked. Danielle (my girlfriend) says I need to set a more comfortable (padded) schedule, but sometimes things falls through for an art director and they need 17 illustrations in 5 days (no kidding)... someone has to come through for them:

(click image for a larger view)

This is for a local city paper in Santa Barbara, California. I was stuck in Borders Bookstore for about 4 hours while my friends traveled San Francisco and had fun. I sat there, buying and re-buying coffees (out of guilt, for occupying the space for so long) while I rapidly sketched from my laptop.

I ended up condensing my schedule so much last night, that I missed my red-eye flight back and had to get up at 5:00 am today to catch the first flight out.

San Francisco was great (from what I saw of it) and I had some good times with friends.

I'll post photos of drawings from the event I attended, tomorrow. I had fun and tried some grayscale shading with PRISMACOLOR markers. It was fun!


Working on the Road

Well, not really... I hope...

I'm drawing like crazy today, trying to get a few commissions finished for a West Coast city paper. This is a job I've done for two years now, and it's one of my favorites. I get to (yeah, get jealous...) draw caricatures in pencil, down to the collar, of people I've never seen. What a gig! Here's a little preview of one of the drawings:

Speaking of West Coast, I'll be visiting San Francisco for the first time. I leave tomorrow morning (Friday) and come back early Monday morning. I have an event to draw at, but it's a great chance to see a new city. I have some friends and old college classmates that live there, so it will be nice to see "their" city.

This is my last travel trip for the year (I think...), and it will be nice to spend more time in the studio.

Check back in for more paintings, illustrations, both of people and ANIMALS. I'm really inspired by some of my favorite artists and have been focusing more on animal art, animal caricatures, cartooning, design, and other aspects of mammals. I love the idea of "creature" art based on real designs from nature.


Frank Caliendo Stuff-o

Here is a peek at one of the latest commissions for FrankCaliendo.com - keep an eye out for his new show on TBS, FRANK TV. It premiers on November 20th, so save the date.



I will show more pictures of my and others' work at the NCN convention soon, but I've just uploaded this cartoon caricature process at my DIGITAL painting video blog. You can go see the entire painting, or find it on YouTube.


NCN Convention and Digital Media

I'm sitting in the NUGGET hotel in Sparks, NV (near Reno) a day after the final awards banquet for the National Caricaturist Network Convention and Annual Competition. What an event! There is nothing that compares to this convention, and a week full of drawing, painting and sculpting is never enough! I highly suggest you take a peek at caricature.org and join the NCN, as well as plan on attending the next convention for the best time of your life as an artist, if you appreciate the art of caricature at all.

I was also lucky enough to pick up a caricature sculpture of myself, completed by artist/sculptor/illustrator David O'Keefe. What a magnificent piece of art... and a bit creepy!

Lastly, I've received an email from artist JC Reyes, asking a few questions about digital painting for his thesis report. Here are his questions and by brief answers. I realize that I am not a great writer and have fairly simple views on this topic, but if it helps anyone, it's worth sharing:


Q: "What do you think are the advantages of using digital illustration softwares like Adobe Photoshop in making caricatures?"

A: There are several advantages in using digital software to create paintings and illustrations. I feel the biggest advantage has to do with time and cost. When being commissioned to do an illustration, a project can be turned around in far less time than doing traditional media, because one does not have the burden of materials, prep and cleanup. Many different effects, textures and approaches can be achieved with the same program (ie: Photoshop, Painter, Sketchbook Pro, etc), rather than purchasing costly materials for each project, style or medium.

It is also easy to make large and substantial changes to an image when working digitally, and many different versions of a piece can be created quickly, without redoing a piece multiple times. This, again, is an advantage for an illustrator when a client or art director feels the need to see different color themes or elements in a piece. It is easy to experiment and find what "works" in each piece of art, when you have the option to "undo" changes, as well as work with layers.

Q: "What are the difference of using traditional media from digital?"

A: The differences are very simple. Using traditional media is very important in keeping up an artist's skills, as well as calligraphy. Putting lines or brush strokes on a board, paper or canvas will keep your muscle memory and ability to work in a speedy and comfortable manner. This is mostly lost when working digitally. The invention of tablets such as the Wacom Cintiq are blurring these lines, however you still may not experience the texture and drag that traditional media can offer. For example, using acrylic paint on a canvas has a distinct and unique "feel." This feel is not experienced when working on a digital tablet surface. There is also the problem of not having a true "original" piece of art. A digital file is nothing more than 1s and 0s in a particular order. While the image is created, the artist does not have a one-of-a-kind physical object to hold afterwards.

Recently, the ease of reproducing original art on board, paper and canvas has caused an increase of marketing in the "print" world, and artists and dealers can sell many copies of one original piece of art. This can be done with digital paintings, so the validity of selling work is now becoming more clear and interesting.

Q: "Does it have great affect on your work?"

A: The biggest effect digital painting has on my work is by hurting it. With how easy and fast it is to create a digital painting, it becomes tempting to create most work in the computer. In doing this, I lose my feel for raw materials from time to time, and I'd rather be more loose and ready to paint or draw at any time. There is an advantage, however, and it has to do with versatility and speed, as mentioned above.

Q: "What are your other views on this topic?"

A: I feel digital painting is a great thing. The current state of art has led many jobs to rely on speed and versatility, and without this knowledge, I feel many artists are behind in the 'game.' Working in digital media is as important as learning to type (for artists) and is part of the current state of illustration and concept art/design. Without this knowledge and practice in an artist's portfolio, they are clearly behind in the technology, and it may hurt them. I also feel that any artist that works exclusively in digital media is limiting their exposure and possibilities. There is much more to talk about in this topic, and it is all very debatable. I feel the digital transition has much to do with technology and the digital wave of our time, and keeping up is possibly the most important choice in an artist's career.