A new direction – charcoal

Katie unfinished
Katie (half finished)

The artist must consistently be pushing himself. And learning new things.


I won’t ever be satisfied. It’s not in my DNA.

Some of y’all have heard me joke about how I’m a tits man when I’m with a girl with a nice ass and I’m an ass man when I’m with a girl with nice tits. Because I’m never satisfied.

But as hard as I am on other people, I’m 10x harder on myself.

My ultimate goal of course is to have the talents of a Pre-Raphaelite artist. They’re my absolute favorite. And John William Waterhouse is my favorite of the genre.

So how to get there? Good question.

I started off as a cartoonist in the early 2000s. By chance, I found out that one of my pals had a side gig with Hollywood. He wrote screenplays for television programs.

And he didn’t make shit.

He lived in Los Angeles and had to have a day job in order to make ends meet. So the producers make the most money. Actors next. Everyone else is kinda fucked.

Whereas I don’t have much empathy for the current strikers, as their products are garbage, I had a lot of empathy for the 2000s writers’ strike. They actually produced good material. And they weren’t woketards.


My cartoon never got made. But I still have the scripts and someday, I’ll get it made. I just need about $3 million. You got $3 million laying around by chance? I’ll pay you back.

2017, my last band dies. I’m frustrated as music was my life from 1988-1994 and from 2007-2017.

I visit a friend at work and there’s this young, gorgeous blonde sitting there. We make eye contact and no way I’m not saying “hi.”

So I do. We just start talking.

And I see her again. And again.

2018, Allie finds out I did cartooning and asks me to draw her. I didn’t know she wanted me to draw her as a cartoon so I drew her realistically.

She liked it so much that she bugged me to take art seriously.

So I did.

It ‘s 2023 now and we’re so close that our families go on vacation together.


So now, in my pursuit of excellence, I got really good at graphite. But graphite has one serious flaw. It’s gray.

Charcoal, is black.

Master charcoal and we can do more realistic looking portraits. Much easier to draw with a combination of black and gray than just gray.

So when I say charcoal sketch, I really mean a graphite/charcoal hybrid.

I have #2,4B,6B, and 8B graphite pencils, a normal eraser, a kneaded eraser, a pair of paintbrushes, 2B,4B, and 6B charcoal pencils, and paper towels. That’s my complete list of tools for that unfinished drawing you see of Katie in the featured image. If you got this message by the mailing list, you’ll actually have to click the link to see it.

It’s gorgeous. Worth taking a minute of your time.

The charcoal adds a lot of depth. Graphite alone looks flushed.

So yeah, in my path to Pre-Raphaelite painting, first master graphite. Then charcoal. Then I’ll make a pit stop with oil pastels before moving onto oil painting. And yes, I’ll be taking painting lessons from a professional. I’m not going to learn oil painting on my own. I want to be able to paint like the masters.

By the way, this pose of Katie is one of the poses featured at https://roman-riva-art-academy.teachable.com/p/how-to-draw-beautiful-nudes. If you haven’t checked it out, I highly recommend that you do. It’s based off those Chilton manuals, the manuals laymen use to fix their cars with only a set of wrenches and a screwdriver. The Chilton manuals teach you step-by-step without leaving a single step out so you can get your car running, even if you’ve never spent a single day in Mechanic school.

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