I'm baaaaaaaaaaack again!... as usual... like every week. OK, don't judge me. The point is that I'm back to write a bit more about my life and my artwork. Today is Valentine's Day, a date equally cherished as hated. I myself have arguments for both sides of the discussion, but I'd rather talk about art, oh yeah!
I do have a new pin-up with Valentine's theme, part of my yearly lineup of holiday pin-ups. These pin-ups, ordered by date are: Mexican Independence Day, Halloween, Day of the Dead, Xmas, New Year's Day and Valentine's Day. So, for the next seven months I'll be focusing on regular pin-ups, before getting into the string of holiday pin-ups again. I'm excited for the whole year in general.
And since I delved into the topic of my holiday pin-ups, I would like to share a bit more background on how these are done. I feel they're a quintessential part of my work, and that's why it's so important for me to keep doing them. For years, I've done pin-ups with these themes in mind. These images allow me to work again and again with the same topic and basically the same elements (pumpkins for Halloween, "sombreros" for Mexican Independence Day, etc.). However, working with the same theme doesn't mean that these images look the same year after year. That's the beauty of doing this: I get to re-visit the same idea with a different perspective and narrative.
But OK, let's talk about this year's image for Valentine's, and how I ended up with this particular rendition. Let's start with my choice of model: the beautiful Kendra Lust, one of the current reigning queens of porn (and what a queen!). Besides her beauty, the main reason why I chose Kendra for this image is simple: I have drawn her in the past. Not long ago, I decided to use "repeat" models for my holiday images. Why? After a few years of trial and error, I have realized that whenever I do a holiday pin-up, the focus of attention won't be the model herself, but the holiday indeed. In my opinion, it would be unfair for a model that I'm drawing for the first time to feature her in these kind of images. When I do the first image of any given model, I want it all to be about her, nothing else. Once we're past the first image, then we can play with themes and approaches.
Let's move on to the technique and style. As you may have noticed, last year I changed my style of images. It all started with my Mexican Independence pin-up, so I decided to keep it similar for the whole string of the fore mentioned images. A more realistic rendering (without being a portrait), with a more surreal and painterly background was the recipe for this new look and style. I followed the same formula for all the holiday pin-ups, and Valentine's was not the exception. The surreal background always contains the colors and sometimes elements of the holiday in question. Hearts for Valentine's seemed like the logical choice.
However, for this image, I wanted to include one more element, with more detail on the background. A heart rendered with detail. It's the same thing that I did for some foreground elements on a few of the previous pin-ups (like the sugar skull for Day of the Dead). You can say that this heart is technically not a background, because it's so close to the foreground. Foreground or background? it doesn't really matter, I wanted a big heart featured in the image :) In fact, I wanted a candy coated heart, similar to a candy apple. It was all an experiment, and soon the candy coating was put in the back burner for another occasion. Instead, the candy coating evolved into a thicker and more opaque effect, something akin to chocolate or even blood. Regardless, the reception for this heart image was very well received, due to the details, the colors and the effects. It looks good, however, I am glad that I didn't put more detail on the heart, because then it would detract from the main point of the pin-up: the model.
As I mentioned, the heart rendering evolved from one idea to another. Similar to the original, but different indeed. This happens a lot, especially when I am trying to render ideas from my head for the first time. But, I learned that I can be flexible, that if I don't achieve what I had in my mind the first time, I will do so the second time. Or third, fourth, however times it takes. At the end, we have to learn from what we do. Literally. At least when it comes to my personal case, I like to learn from every single image I render, and try to apply that knowledge into the following image. And on top of that, I also try to learn more and more from my reference material. That's how I keep pushing the envelope when it comes to my artwork, trying to improve and evolve. It feels good to be comfortable with your own work... but I don't like to be too comfortable for too long. I always feel the need to switch, experiment and evolve.
Last, what was the over all feeling and concept that I intended for this image? I wanted to evoke a very hot but also "celestial" image, therefore the clouds and the bright blue sky. Not that I've been there myself, or even believe that that's how it looks up there. But, I did what I do with most of my images: work with a generalized concept... even if this is not necessarily true. If the idea gets transmitted easily, then my mission is accomplished :)
That's all for now. Thank you for going through my rambles, it feels good to share the why's and the how's. As always, I encourage you to leave your comment below. I always like to read feedback... good or bad, so don't be shy and sing from your heart. I'll be back pretty soon to share a bit more of how things work inside my head. 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.