Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Inktober 2018

I almost forgot to talk about my Inktober this year.  For those who do not know what Inktober is, it is one of the many art challenges that artists use to improve their skills or just have fun with making art. This year  I decided to do small pieces for my Inktober.  I find that when I draw, even with a pen, I tend to completely fill the page instead of doing line drawings with ink pen.  So I ended up taking more time with my ink drawings because I cannot fight the urge to fill in between the lines.  I am giving in to my artistic urges.  I start by cutting 9x12 sheets of paper into 4x4.5 pieces.  For personal esthetic reasons, I add a circle to the cut paper.  My Inktober drawings then go within this circle and I can fill in all I want.  Each piece still takes me somewhere between 2 to 4 hours to complete.  This year I was able to complete 13 Inktober pieces.  Here is a video of my Inktober drawings.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

The Fantastic Workshop

I recently attended an art business workshop hosted by the podcasters of One Fantastic Week (1FW).  This was the third year I attended this workshop.  I never shared my experiences from past workshops but I wanted to take the time to share that now.  This is totally my own personal opinion and there is no sponsorship for this blog post.

The first year that I attended I was still working a full time job and the idea of being an independent artist was just a thought in my head.  By this time I had only gotten back into art for a couple of years.  I knew absolutely nothing about owning your own business let alone an art business.  I went to 1FW’s very first workshop hoping I would find out more about being an independent artist and make up my mind if I could do this or not.  I walked away from the workshop with an overload of information but ultimately with the decision that I think I can do this.  

I spent the next year wrapping up my old career and resigning from my 20 year civil servant job. Within 2 weeks of that, I started up my LLC. I took everything that I learned from the workshop and implemented them one by one.  I learned all about bookkeeping, taxes and licensing. I researched and found companies to scan and print my artwork  in my area.  I looked for and entered local shows, events, galleries and conventions, although there were not too many galleries in my area.  

I skipped the second year of the 1FW workshop to focus my time on just getting my business together.  I returned a second time for their third year and by this time I had my business running and was selling originals and prints at conventions and exhibiting my art in my local community.  I returned with more questions about how to run a better  business.  By my third year, the workshop’s 4th year, I was comfortable in my business.  I wasn’t raking in the dough as some other artists but I was able to funnel my sales income back into my LLC to pay for materials and convention costs. I was looking to the workshop more to up my game rather than just basic business 101.  My third year at the workshop is  when I finally became comfortable enough to just connect with people and talk about personal  and artistic goals. 

I believe there are two reasons why I finally reached that comfort level. First, I did not have to dedicate my full attention to the art business fundamentals, rather, I could just revisit some of the topics. That allowed me to use the majority of my time to just reconnect with other artists. Secondly, I think I started to overcome some of my own social fears about being inferior to other artists that I respect. I started to feel more a part of the 1 FW family and that I had something to offer that would be accepted. Maybe those things were always there, but I couldn’t grasp them during the first couple of years while trying to absorb all the information, trying to get the business started, and overcoming all the fear that comes with putting yourself out there artistically, and as a business.

Hopefully I just conveyed how I felt about my 3 years attending the workshop.  I felt like it was “college”, in the sense that I started out needing the “foundations”. Then I needed more specific pointers. Then I  solidify those foundations through connections with other artists, and reemphasis of past workshop knowledge through a more mature business mindset.  I felt like I “graduated”.  I don’t think it has to end in the same way college ends. For me, I see myself continuing to attend the workshop, each year or even every other year, to continue solidifying my foundations and make connections.  I also see it as a place for me to continually make my business better by having more focus and candid conversations with the creators and guests of the workshops.

In summary I think 1FW is a place for both for new and veteran artists.  In my opinion, I don’t foresee a diminishing return for veteran artists who plan to attend in the future because there is always something new to learn and people to connect with that can benefit both new and veteran artists. Ultimately, if 1FW continues to foster a community that encourages people like me to make the leap into doing what they love, and connects other people passionate about our profession, then that’s a community I want to be a part of. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Banned Book Cover

During the Banned Books Week, 23 - 29 September 2018, the Friends of the Bowie Library group from my local public library, sponsored an event to "creatively express your freedom to read by designing an original book cover inspired by a banned book.”  I’ve always loved to draw book covers but never really had a chance to do it commercially.  This was a great chance to draw a book cover, if just for fun.  I chose the book “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou.  I remembered reading this book in high school and am now re-reading it.  It’s still a great read.  

When my artwork, along with others, were displayed at the library, each of us was asked to explain our choice of illustration.  I chose this book because it is one of the books I remembered reading in school and it touched me personally.  To me the book is about a struggle of a young girl trying to find her own identity and herself in the midst of all the things that happened to her along the way.  She felt trapped but she won’t let herself be trapped.  She sings loudly to be heard and find her escape.  It sounds so cliche to write about it here, but I think this could be a struggle for any young girl in any generation, even in today’s world.  I think this book transcends time.

I’ve included the artwork of the other 2 artists who participated in the challenge. 

“I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou. My book cover with title and author added digitally.

My original drawing. “My tears were … for the helplessness of mortals who live on the sufferance of Life” -“I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou

Book: “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury.  Artist: Kenneth McLeod.

Book: “Slaughterhouse-Five” by Kurt Vonnegut.  Artist: Kenneth McLeod.

Book: “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle.  Artist: Margarita Alvarez-Kuinlam.

Book: “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle.  Artist: Margarita Alvarez-Kuinlam

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Daniel Stuart’s Poetry Book - Published

I’m very excited to announce the poetry book is finally published.  Here is a video of a brief look through of the book on my YouTube channel

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Daniel Stuart’s Poetry Book

I had a chance to illustrate a book of poems written by Daniel Stuart.  There were 27 poems spread over 45 pages.  We met and discuss the format of the illustrations, but beyond that, he allowed me to create each piece in my own style.  From this project, I was able to further develop a graphite method in creating each piece that I enjoy tremendously.  I was able to push past the arbitrary boundaries I set for myself in the past and get beyond my comfort zone.  With each piece, the method gets easier and the pencil feels more like an extension of my imagination.  It was a tremendously enjoyable experience.  I was able to finish 4 full page pieces created specifically for certain poems, 1 full page piece as a unified border that can go with any other poems, and 3 extra small artworks intended to go with partial border for other specific poems.  I hope to improve on this method with a series after this.  

The following images are created for a poem called Flow:

For the poem called Moon Gazers:

For the poem Let's Build A Palace:

For the poem called The Climb:

Here's the Border that can go with any poem:

And a few extra smaller images:

Watch my YouTube channel for process videos of each of these pieces in the coming months.  

Thank you for stopping by and reading my blog.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

"The Old Man and His Dog"

This one started out with a few “trees”, and then an old man appears.  And then he’s walking with his dog … and maybe a few other creatures … 

Click the YouTube link to watch the creation of this stippling artwork.  Thank you for visiting

Monday, May 21, 2018


Here is the next piece in the ink pen stippling over ink wash series.  I am liking this direction so far and I hope I can continue and be able to create even more interesting images.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Into The Forest

In continuation with my new ink pen stippling over a layer of ink wash, here is the second image I created. 

You can watch the video at

Thursday, May 10, 2018

"New Beginning"

Last October I talked about a new direction in my art.  Here was the first piece that came out of that new direction last fall. It is called, appropriately, New Beginning.  An artist whose work I highly regard bought this piece after standing and staring at it for some time.  I am so happy she liked the piece. 

Thursday, April 5, 2018

The Challenge Ahead

It’s the beginning of the fourth month of the new year and my last post was the last month of last year.  Lots of thoughts went through my head in the past 3 months but nothing worth noting.  Just a lot of self reflection and trying to turn self doubt into self confidence.  I want this blog to be about a journey of a single artist trying to make it in the art world, but I think it is much more than that.

This past weekend I showcased in the artist alley at AwesomeCon, a comic and pop culture convention in Washington D.C.  I had a great show and sold 4 originals, 3 of which I did not think would sell. Most of the art that sold, including many prints, were all the ones I created with emotional thoughts in mind.  The whirlwind of birds, clouds and waves, are all the thoughts and emotion that go through me each day.  In creating these works of art, I find my center, my balance.  I hope my images bring the same for the viewer. Each time I talk to a convention goer about the piece, it ended up in a sale of that piece, to include a second framed Limited Edition print.  

I realized that my art has a purpose.  It already has a purpose for me, but I realize the potential purpose it could have for others. The purpose is to share this emotion I feel with each piece with my viewers and fans.  My art is not mostly about storytelling.  It is more about a single thought, a single feeling, a single moment in time that you want to hold on to forever.  I hope to create art where the viewer wants to keep staring and returning to that single moment, like I feel when I create the piece, or in other artists’ artwork I’ve collected.  Is this too ambitious?  This is my Challenge Ahead.  What’s your challenge ahead?