Recent Products

Recent Blog Posts

Posted on Leave a comment

Are we having fun or what?!

Opium Tales dragon riders

When was the last time you had genuine fun doing your art? When was the last time you looked at your art and started just laughing hysterically? I mean, not at it of course but with it?

This last piece, I couldn’t stop laughing. You have three distinct girls. The serious down to business one, the one who’s aloof, and the one who’s late to work and putting on her makeup while in a vehicle. Well, on a dragon.

I showed it to some friends and they laughed as well. Unfortunately, some girls do that and drive at the same time. A big no no. They could end up killing someone.

But on the back of a dragon? That’s totally OK.

We’re definitely going to work with Sophia again. She’s exactly what we look for in a pinup model. She has the personality, the attitude, and the body for it. She’s great to be around and she drinks whiskey, which in my book is a huge bonus. I may offend some folks here, but in my book, whiskey > everything else. Combined.

The other two girls? Allie and Allie. Allie in real life is a blonde. Since I see her at least once a week, I use her both for blondes and redheads. I’ve used Jin as a redhead before too.

I simply don’t have a true redhead model and honestly, red is my favorite hair color. Always has been and always will be. I even married a redhead.


I’ve also talked about beauty for beauty’s sake and how I don’t like cynicism. We live in very cynical times. You look around you and everyone looks like they’re either going to cry or blow their brains out.

So many zombies walking about. It’s just sad.

We’re all going to die. Yeah, I try to be healthy. Sure, I drink too much but everything else? I’m very healthy. Work out at the gym. Eat right.

That’s why fun is one of my artistic goals. My paintings are fun. They’re not so serious.

My music? Serious. Very serious.

Well, lyrically I’m having fun. But the music itself is very serious. Trying to do a modern version of Romantic era Classical music.

Need to live before we die

The meme has a woman assisting a dying man and desperately yelling to a professional looking man with a briefcase – “are you a doctor?”

The man in the briefcase says “yes. I have a PhD in Philosophy.”

The woman says “please help! This man is dying!”

The Philosophy guy says “but did he really live?”

Yes. It’s a silly meme. But how true is it really? Have you truly lived?

I can honestly say yes.

That doesn’t mean by any means I’m ready to die now. I still have decades more of living to go.

But I can honestly say that I’ve truly lived and you can see it in my art.

Serious exercise – you’re an artist or you’re training to be one. Or you wouldn’t be reading this article.

Have you really lived? If you can’t positively answer that with a straight face, then what do you need to do to change that?

I strongly believe that artists need to live. Truly live to create good art.

My favorites – Alphonse Mucha, the Pre-Raphaelites, Frank Frazetta, they all truly lived. And you can see it in their art.

Posted on Leave a comment

You can teach yourself how to draw

Contrary to a lot of people’s opinions, you don’t need to take classes to learn how to do things. I’ve taught myself how to orchestrate an orchestra. Larry Flynt, yes, the Hustler guy, taught himself Calculus and helped recover John Glenn’s space capsule.

The same with drawing.

Most people say to themselves “oh, I can’t draw.” Bullshit!

When I was 42 years old, I still drew like a child. You know those kids’ drawings that their proud parents will put up on the fridge? That’s what my drawings looked like.

I said to myself I wanted to learn to draw and scoured the internet for help. I came upon this one lady artist who said that if you can’t draw, draw lines and circles an hour every morning until they look good.

It took me months. Every day. First thing in the morning. Well, actually third thing in the morning. Coffee first, then guitar, then lines and circles. Over and over again, lines and circles.

This is key. If you can’t draw lines and circles that look good, you need to continually draw lines and circles until they look good.

Yes, that sounds boring as hell. I didn’t say it will be easy. I didn’t say it will be fun either.

If you’re serious about learning how to draw, then don’t be a whiner. Just do your lines and circles over and over again until they look good.

Step two

OK, you’ve had your coffee and spent the past month drawing lines and circles. And now they look good. Now what?

Excellent! You can move on to step two.

Buy yourself a notebook and some pencils that fit your hand comfortably. I used to used American made #2 pencils. I’d also buy those erasers that you put on top of pencils.

Then, I just drew everything and anything. That tree looks nice. That mountain is pretty cool. Hey. I like that cloud.

Then a friend will come over and I’ll ask her to smile and I’d draw her for a bit.

This year, I switched over to mechanical pencils. Whatever. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that you draw. Constantly.

Practice will give you technique

I draw exactly what I see. And constant practice gave me all the technique I need.

My wife retired this year. So in celebration, I took her on a Caribbean cruise.

I wake up before she does so before she woke up, I’d do my walk around the ship, then find a quiet place to draw. Every single day, I drew, even on vacation.

All you need is a sketchbook, pencils and an eraser. If you’re old school and using regular pencils, you’ll need more than one as the tip will always break off at the worst possible time.

I’m an extrovert and I love going to bars and talking to random people. Great place to bring your sketchbook.

I’m married, but if I were single, I’d bring my watercolor journal to a bar. Just start drawing in it.

People are curious. They’d want to see your work. You’d have completed watercolor doodles as well as the incomplete penciling you’re working in now. Would be a great way to meet chicks.

Opium Tales - Sophia, Allie, and Allie work in progress
Sophia, Allie, and Allie work in progress

How good do you want to get?

Now, shading is a different story. You can easily learn how to shade via a YouTube video or a $20 book. I personally love Dover Publications because they’re cool people and have lots of art instruction books that are good.

However, I don’t shade when I draw. I do all my shading via watercolors. Plus, I never know where I’m going to put my light source until I start the painting.

Perspective? Once again, you can learn Classical perspective from a Dover book. They have books that go into intricate details.

I’ve even met hyperrealism artists who taught themselves how to draw. If you don’t know what hyperrealism is, the art literally looks like a photograph. You have to do a double take to realize it’s not.

Working with live models

If you got the money, I strongly suggest you hire live models and paint them. You can teach yourself anatomy.

I have an advantage over most artists. I used to both fight and do massage.

Fighting will teach you the body like nothing else will. I did both Muay Thai and wrestling, so I know how to really hurt someone.

No, I’m not a tough guy any more. I’m old and slow. But the knowledge is still there. I can tell you every major muscle group and I know anatomy quite well.

I also learned how to heal. So I literally know the body hands on. If you don’t want to go to a live dissection, I strongly suggest massage class as an alternative. You get to know every muscle group, how they move, how they feel, what looks healthy, and what needs hands on love.

This translates very well to art. By the time I started using live models, I already knew the body quite well.

When I had the falling out with my previous model, Allie actually offered to model for me. Then Roxy did. So I have two very close friends modeling for me. Plus, I occasionally use other models.

I’ll see Sophia again next week. That’s her in the front of what will be a dragon. Three girls on a dragon? Why not?

Are you having fun or what?

I strongly think that once you get past that boring ass lines and circles stage, you should be having fun. I never drew the banana, apples, and grapes in a bowl. Boring as hell.

I feel like once I got past the lines and circles stage, I earned the right to enjoy drawing. Not make it an exercise.

So of course I choose live models. And fantasy art because I love fantasy.

You and I are not the same people. Find what you love to draw. And draw it.

You should never get tired of drawing if you’re drawing what you love. And I guarantee that if you keep drawing what you love, you’ll eventually get really good at it. Talent only means you have to put in 10% less hours than the rest of us. That’s all it means.

So don’t ever use lack of talent as an excuse. I don’t buy it.