What's uuuuup? I'm back!. Another year, another birthday. And I don't say that as in: "Oh, man, another birthday, that sucks!". No, not at all, I am happy to be able to write this. If you know me in person, I'm sure you've noticed that when it comes to me, happy doesn't mean that I'm jumping up and down... or even looking slightly excited. But I can honestly tell you that I am indeed happy :)
Exactly one year ago I posted a blog entry regarding my birthday (duh!). It was the big 4-0, time to look back and see what I had done, what I had accomplished. Now, I guess is time for the big 4-1? Nah, not really, but it's still a birthday, and I tend to look back every year, regardless of being a big "0" celebration or not.
So, where am I standing now compared to last year? Have I made any progress? Have I become stagnant? I can't tell you exactly where I am standing (really, who could?), but I can tell you that I definitely not became stagnant, and my progress, even though is never enough, is definitely there. One year ago I started to push my plans of improving my artwork and everything related to it a bit further. And even though it was a matter of following the momentum that started two years ago when I quit my day job, at the same time is more than just "following" that thread, but pushing instead.
The way I see myself when it comes to promoting my work and making it grow, is similar to rolling a wheel down the road. I could roll that wheel at the same speed all the way, and eventually reach my destination. But, where's the merit on that? No, I want to keep rolling that wheel, and once I'm comfortable with the current speed, then push it even harder, going faster until I can barely control it... and once I get comfortable with this new speed, then push it a bit harder again until I can barely control it again... and so on. By the way, this is an analogy, so please kids, don't start rolling wheels down the road, it could be dangerous. :)
The key is to keep yourself out of your comfort zone, to keep yourself hungry, looking for more, always having a thrill from your work. If we go back to the analogy of the rolling wheel, as I mentioned, if I keep pushing the wheel at the same speed, I will reach my goal eventually, I'm sure. But as many of you know: it's not about the destination, it's about the ride. Hell yeah!
So, if you check my work's evolution, not only from this year, but from the past decade, you'll see that I'm always at the point that I just mentioned, trying to push that wheel a bit harder and faster. Yes, sometimes is scary because I get myself into an "illustration mess" where I don't know if I can come out with my head high. Nevertheless, I have to say that most times I can, with a lot of patience and dedication, and that's what give ms the confidence to move forward when it comes to do artwork: keep trying, keep trying and your work will show it.
A great example of what I just mentioned in the last paragraph, are my two most recent pin-ups: Halloween and Day of the Dead. For the Halloween pin-up, the "pushing harder" part consisted not so much on rendering the details of the model, but instead trying to introduce a more elaborated background, even if it was just a little. Since I'm already comfortable rendering bodies and faces when it comes to models, you can say in a way that indeed is my comfort zone. I'm not saying that drawing/painting faces/bodies is just peanuts with no difficulty level. No, not at all, I still struggle to render them, especially the faces. What I'm saying is that I just don't sweat as much as before when it comes to draw them. So, a lot of the energy that I used to focus on rendering faces and bodies, now I can channel on designing/drawing a background that is a bit more detailed han my usual. And, I can truly say that it shows in the final product: the Halloween pin-up for this year turned out pretty good... at least that's what I think. :)
Now, the story of the Day of the Dead image of this year is a bit different from Halloween's. I can tell you this from the beginning: it did make me sweat. Well, in part that was due because this has been a warm Fall, but I sweat nevertheless. Even though I didn't create a very elaborated background, rendering the model herself was out of my comfort zone already, since I wanted to cover her in tattoos of symbols and letters, including her face, on top of also trying to change her skin tone. That was enough to fill my plate... or at least it would have been in previous times. However, this time I also wanted to render a nice background, incorporating elements that went well with the overall design: the sugar skulls, the "papel picado", the bread of the dead, etc. The difference this time regarding elements like those mentioned, is that I wanted them to be in part connected to the model, not just "floating" around her, like I would do with a pin-up that has no background. Needless to say, the task was harder than I expected, since I'm not really a "full illustration" artist, at least not in a regular basis. However, this is not a matter of doing what I always do, but instead trying something different. And so I did. And so I panicked. And so I screwed up again. And so I screwed up one more time. And so I panicked even more. And so... well, you get the idea. But at the end, the fore mentioned patience and dedication helped me find my way, and end up with an image that resonated big time through out my fans, my followers. I am indeed happy with result. Of course, you can be sure that I'll try to do it even better the next time. That's the way my mind thinks: always try to improve myself... and I love it! :)
Well, that's all I can say for now. I better go and celebrate my birthday, probably watching a movie, eating out somewhere, or something like that, something low key. The best gift I can get is the opportunity to stop, relax and look back, especially in a time when many days I feel like I don't get any rest. So, I'll take this day, my birthday, to relax, and enjoy a split-second break, so I can keep working, before taking my regular break of end-of-year in December. Thank you again for your wishes and of course, thank you for your support. I hope I didn't bore you to death with all this rambling... if I did, don't worry, there will be more :) Take care and see you next time!
Pin-up artist by day… and also by night. Well, mostly by night, because night time is my favorite time to paint.