Seeing life through the lens of a pin-up artist
Welcome to my blog. Let me share with you the how and the why I like to draw sexy images for a living.
What's uuuuuuuuuup? I'm finally back. I haven't written a blog entry for the last three weeks, so it feels good to be typing again. Of course, the fact that I haven't written for that long doesn't mean that I've been absent, since I've posted my regular weekly sketches. I think that having some kind of variety in any given routine is what keeps things fresh: stepping out of my blogging routine keeps things fresh as well.
And since I'm in the topic of variety, I want to write about a tool that is somehow new to me, when it comes to my artwork: YouTube. Just a couple of days ago, I posted a video on my YouTube channel... yes, I do have a channel, a pretty rough and scarce one, but a channel indeed :) Anyway, I uploaded a video, featuring a quick sketch that I did based on Ariella Ferrera. This video also featured a song performed by The Animals (Don't let me be misunderstood). I did the edition myself, and even though it was a very simple one, I was proud enough of my little video to uploaded it to YouTube, as I've done in the past.
The publishing of the video went smoothly as usual... until I was told that this wasn't visible, at least not to everybody. It turns out that the fore mentioned song had viewing restrictions by the copyright holder: it was viewable everywhere except United States. First strike.
I decided to edit the video again, and quickly remove the song "Don't let me be misunderstood", replacing it with "Paint it black" by The Rolling Stones. According to my research, that song was viewable worldwide, with no restrictions. Well, apparently it does indeed have a restriction, not based on the countries where is played, but rather based on the devices that can play it. I say "apparently", because even at this moment I'm not sure what exactly the restriction is. All I know is that not everybody was able to view the second video (some people were unable to see neither video). Second strike.
Finally, I decided to upload a third version, this time featuring no music (or audio at all), just to make sure that the issue was the music and nothing else. Sure enough, this time everybody was able to open the third upload. Doing a little more research, I learned more about restrictions due to copyright regarding songs. I used to think that YouTube would allow the use of any copyrighted song as long as credit was given. Wrooooooong!, but hey, the important thing is to learn from experience.
Now I'm a bit more informed, and even though I still have a lot to learn, I feel good because everything has a beginning. I am having mine, as I'm in the process of trying to build my YouTube channel, where I'll probably do my blogs, or at least my sketches in a regular basis. That's why this experience was a good one, it allowed me to learn about tools and aides when it comes to YouTube. Again, this is a new territory to me... and, if you know me, you know that I love to get out of my comfort zone and try new things, explore new territories. By the way, if you want to visit my YouTube channel, click here. I cannot get a custom URL because I don't have 100 followers yet... aaah, see? I told you I am learning about how YouTube works! :)
I am posting the three versions of the fore mentioned video along this blog entry, I hope you like them... and hope you can open them as well. Please let me know of any issues you might find, or any tips you might have. I look forward to get more of my artwork on YouTube. I've been asked many many times about my work process, and this is a great platform to show exactly that.
Thanks again for reading this entry, and also for your support. June is almost over and I am truly excited to start the second half of the year, where I'll be delivering more and more artwork. If you like my work and would like to support it, please visit my Patreon profile, where you can become a patron and support my artwork directly. Interested? Just click here. See you next time!
What's uuuuuup? I'm back, much later than usual, but back indeed. The topic of this entry seems to be "being late". Not only I'm late posting this blog update (usually I post by Monday-Tuesday), but also late posting the video featured here. This footage is part of a video recording that my brother made one year ago (yes, one year ago, I told you I was late), when I had the opportunity to showcase my artwork for the first time in Mexico... at my hometown (Ciudad Obregon) to be more precise. Well, a lot of (good) things happened this past year, which kept me busy, preventing me from getting this video ready for sharing... until now.
I am happy to share this video with everybody following my work. By the way, this is not a professional video or anything of the sort (not even close!). However, I wanted to deliver something that would be easy to watch, easy to listen and easy to understand. A video displaying my method of work, even if it's a quick version of it. Hopefully this short clip will be entertaining, and maybe even inspiring to anybody who's thinking about getting into airbrushing... or artwork in general.
So, what's the story behind this painting? Who? Where? Why? How? As I mentioned, this painting was done while showcasing my artwork in my hometown, at the local yearly fair. It was the first time that I had the opportunity to display my work in Mexico. For that same reason, I didn't want to leave without displaying my airbrush work, so I decided to do a live demo, basically at the last minute.
The beautiful woman whose portrait I rendered is Maria Felix, "La Doña", one of the biggest stars of the golden era of the Mexican cinema. I chose her as a subject, not only because of her beauty, but also because she was born in my home state as well, Sonora. A pretty nice match, since the theme of my showcase was indeed state pride. The reference photo shown in the video was great for the purpose of this quick portrait (which is the reason why I chose it). The first factor was the absence of color, a photo from the b&w era. That allowed me to render the image fairly quick, since there were no colors to render. The second factor was the quality of the photo itself. Even though the reference I had was a low resolution copy, the quality of the lighting from the photo itself allowed me to work without any problems. A good reference photo means a better and faster finished artwork.
Watching this video made me remember many things from last year, mainly the feeling of accomplishment that derived from being there. Being at this local fair wouldn't seem like a big deal... but it was. It was my opportunity to return to the place where I grew up and show what I learned during all the years that I've been gone. Not in a way of bragging or showing off, but really just sharing. Sharing the passion I feel for my work, while listening to the opinions and thoughts from the local visitors, was indeed what I wanted to achieve. And that's exactly what I got. By the way, if you would like to read more about the fore mentioned trip from a year ago, click here to go to the blog entry where I talk about it.
Last but not least, I want to point out a seemingly unimportant piece of the footage, something that wouldn't seem relevant, since it's not artwork related. Assuming you already watched the video, the part to which I'm referring is on 0:46, where I stop to drink a soda. Well, this part made the final cut because, contrary to what you might think, it is important. I wanted to show how rendering artwork is supposed to be fun ... at least in my opinion. If you like what you do, it will seep through your artwork, through your lines, and that's the quality I like in my work (and apparently my fans like that as well). So, the "soda" part of the video is not an accident, or a filling of any kind. All the contrary, is an important reminder of how art shouldn't be stressful... again, at least in my opinion. Happy cheers, with soda and all! :)
I hope you liked this blog entry, and as always, I invite you to leave your comments and feedback. I will be back soon to deliver the weekly sketch. In the meantime, if you would like to support the work that I do, digital and non-digital, please consider becoming a patron of my work, at Patreon. Just visit patreon.com/popeyewongart to read more about it. My patrons allow me to keep working as an independent artist... so don't be shy and join the fun ($1 a month will do the trick, no commitments). Thanks again for your support, and see you next time!
Quoi de neuf?... or in English: what's up? No, I don't speak French... yet, I just looked up for the translation of what's up? After my visit to France and Belgium, I'm really interested in learning the language, even if it's just enough to pass by.
So, again, what's up? what's new? Not much at this moment, still getting back in track in some of the aspects of my art. I've been taking advantage of the break I took during my vacation, to reorganize my work of space, which includes (but it's not limited to) my studio. In case you didn't know, my studio is at my house, and well, working from home has many, many, many advantages, but also comes with some setbacks. I'm not complaining, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages... I'm just putting it out there. One of the main disadvantages of having my place of work at my place of living, is the distraction factor. And, for a procrastinator like myself, that can be a pretty big deal sometimes.
Working from home gives me the opportunity to get more work done, because first of all, it saves me a lot of time in commuting; and second, I work at my own rhythm and pace, which allows me to work for as long as I want. On the other hand, this also puts me in charge of the activities of the day, and if I don't have a plan, the hours in the day just fly by. Additionally, as I mentioned, there are many distractions around that interfere with any job, but they seem to amplify when I'm at home. But, let me detail a bit more on each of the factors that I just mentioned:
OK, let's start with the two advantages:
1) Saving time from commute: there's no contest or doubt about this one. It doesn't matter how close a job site to my house is, nothing beats walking a few steps to the room next door, where my studio is. I myself am not very fond of driving, and I really dread being stuck in traffic jams. I don't hate driving, I just don't particularly like it, and doing it everyday for a long time, on the same route, it just does a number on me.
2) Working my own hours: I love that! As I mentioned, I can work at my own pace and for as long as I want. This is really useful when it comes to my artwork, since it's not uncommon for me to work all night long, stopping when the sun is coming up. Sometimes I'm really focused into an artwork piece, I'm "in the zone", and if had to stop to go home, well, that would interrupt my creativity. Note: choosing my own works can also be a disadvantage, because it's really easy to get sucked up into work and forget about everything else. It's also easy to over do it, neglecting sleep and/or health. Fortunately, for every time I work long hours, I also get enough rest. It's just a matter of staying anchored to reality. :)
Now, what about those disadvantages?
1) Time flies by when there's no plan: I learned the hard way that if I get up everyday with the attitude of "let me think what I'll be doing today", that won't take me far. I'm the one in charge of my activities, nobody else. Nobody will draw up a schedule for me, or a list of activities, or tell me when to take a break, etc. Nope, just me. That's super-cool, but also time consuming. Nothing comes for free in this world: remember I mentioned how much time I save in commuting... well, a lot of that time gets spent into planning, something I wouldn't have to do with a regular job.
2) Distractions, distractions, distractions: by talking to other artists (or anybody who works from home), I have concluded that this is the most common of the disadvantages of having a studio at home. It is so easy to get sidetracked. There are so many distractions coming in: be it the availability of taking a break at any time of the day (see? nothing comes for free), or somebody knocking at your door (the house door and/or the studio door); or maybe just a bug that looks more interesting that the artwork piece on which I can be working :) The point is that, when one allows it, anything can be distracting. On top of that, working in front of a computer (which is what I do for the most part) can be even more tempting, with the Internet at my finger tips: "What was the name of that song?", "When is that movie coming out?", "Oh, look at that video, that's so cool!", etc., etc.
Of course, there are plenty more of advantages/disadvantages examples when it comes to working from home, and they change with every specific person. But, this gives you an idea of my particular situation. And, as you can conclude from what I wrote, I really like having my studio at home. I'll take it with all the distractions and extra work. At the end, it is about being comfortable and content (to say the least). Most of the people I know like going to work, and then coming home to rest and forget about work until the next day. I don't have that choice: since my job site is at my house, work is always there. But at the same time, my work is my art, and my art is my life. That's why it doesn't feel like a job at all (if I may call it a job).
As always, thanks to anybody reading this post. I hope you liked it, as it gives a bit more of a perspective of who I am, as a person and as an artist. Also, if you would like to help me keep working from home (hint, hint), please consider becoming a patron of my work. $1 will do the trick and you will be helping me a huuuuuge deal. Just visit patreon.com/popeyewongart to sign up. Don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions, I'll be glad to help. Thanks again and see you next time!
What's up... again. Did you miss me? No? I would say I'm heartbroken that you didn't miss me, but I can't really blame you. :) OK, I'm here to write the second part of my recent trip to Europe (France and Belgium). If you have no idea of what I'm talking about, or if you want to refresh your memory, feel free to visit and read my previous blog entry, by clicking here.
After going back to Marseilles, France, from Brussels, Belgium, I got to see my sister and family for a few hours, before embarking into another journey. This time, heading to the west of France itself, to the city of Bordeaux. The reason for this trip was to meet in person with the legendary Ijsselina, a model who has been part of my artwork for many years. Ijss has also been featured in the portfolio of many famous pin-up artists.
For this trip, I decided to take my chances and get there by bus. I say take my chances because I personally didn't know what to expect from buses in France (or Europe in general). In Mexico, buses are a very common way of transportation, so I can honestly say that many companies there have really upped their game, making transportation very comfortable. But, again, I had no experience traveling by bus in France, so there was a little bit of an uncertainty about it. I'm happy to say that the buses in which I traveled (back and forth), were awesome: extremely clean and very comfortable. :)
The traveling time was long.. in a regular person's standards (9 hours). But for somebody like me, who used to travel almost 30 hours straight by bus back in the day, or still travels by car for more than 15 hours in a semi-regular basis... well, 9 hours is pretty much nothing, especially traveling during the night.
So, I finally reached Bordeaux and was received by Ijsselina and her husband, David. It was truly a great moment to finally meet with Ijss, after so many years. As I mentioned in previous blogs, this is not the first time I get to meet a model in person after years of virtual collaboration, but the experience of one encounter doesn't take away any magic from the next one. And meeting Ijss proved the truth about that. It is pretty surreal to meet with somebody who has inspired many pieces of my work, especially when that encounter takes several years to happen. Even more, in the case of Ijss, some pieces that I have created years ago based on her, are still very, very popular among my clients.
The fore mentioned pieces of artwork, where I featured Ijss, same pieces that are still popular up to this day, are one of the main reasons why she has remained as a current muse to my work. Ijss and I have never been in constant contact, due to life itself (both her life and mine). Everybody knows how life can be a roller coaster and how some people seem to go away. But, in several occasions, those persons are not gone, they're just... well, away. In the case of Ijss, we may have not been in touch all the time during this past decade, but in my particular case, she's always been part of my life, through my artwork. She never stopped being relevant. People, my clients, wouldn't let me forget about her (not that I wanted or tried to do so). Her pieces always sold, and for that, I included her in every new merchandise items. That's one of the reasons why she stayed relevant, current, alive within my art, even without communication. And, as you know, art is my life... therefore, she remained as part of my life.
Due to what I just mentioned, meeting with her in person was truly a long due moment, where I got to thank her for all her help towards my work, even if she didn't know she had done so. Ijss as a person is no less of extraordinary than who she is as a model.
Ijss and David took me to their home, a beautiful place in the outskirts, outside the city, in a very peaceful area. I was touched by their hospitality, and even chuckled at Ijss' slight stress about trying to be a good hostess (of course she was!). All I need to say is that I had a great time. I have to mention that meeting David was awesome as well. He is an extremely nice person, and I was very happy to see them together. Their attention as hosts is something that will always make me feel grateful. On a side note, David is an extremely talented photographer... and being married to an extremely cool model as Ijss, well, I can see a lot of great work in the near future.
Since my stay there would be extremely short, a little less than 24 hours, we decided to stay put at their house, and leave the tour through Bordeaux for next time. We spent the day talking and catching up, after all, as I mentioned, it was long due. I learned a long time ago that it's better to enjoy the present moment, than trying to do everything at once. We also ate a delicious dinner, sided with spicy chips. Well, the package said spicy, but they really weren't... and that's when I discovered that Ijss apparently cannot handle any spicy foods at all. :)
Another important moment of that day was, when Ijss and I exchanged prints. I've been in that situation before, exchanging prints with models. But same as I mentioned earlier, each experience doesn't take away from subsequent experiences (each personal encounter has their own magic). It was great to receive signed prints from Ijss and also to be able to give her prints of my work where she is the star. A moment truly filled with art, after all, she inspired it.
But, as everything in life, the visit had to come to an end... and so it did. The next morning, David gave me a ride. He was supposed to drop me off at the bus stop. But, after he drove through the center of Bordeaux to show me a bit of the city on our way there, I decided to stay at Bordeaux downtown and take a taxi to the bus stop instead. I still had little time to kill before my bus arrived, and wanted to take a couple of photos of the magnificent (for a lack of a better word) of Bordeaux's architecture... oh la la!
And that's it for my visit with the legendary Ijsselina, I hope you liked reading through it. My huge thanks to both her and David, for treating me so nice. It was a short visit, but it really served to make our friendship stronger, and more real. I hope that someday they get to visit Las Vegas (and if they do, they'll always have a place to stay here at my house if they choose to do so). One more "thank you" to Ijsselina for being who she is, a sensible person inside and outside the art realms, the main reason why she is one of the true muses of my life. :) See you next time, my dear friend!
I'm baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack! Oh, yeah, I'm back, after being away for a couple of weeks. I didn't give much details about my whereabouts on my last blog entry, due to personal reasons, but now that I'm here againI can detail a bit more.
So, where was I? Well, I traveled to Europe, more specifically to France. And even more specifically, to Marseilles. But, what was I doing there? Visiting my sister and my brother in law, who live there. However, this wasn't an ordinary visit. And I'm not saying that just because it was my first visit to their place, or my first visit to France, or in fact my first visit to Europe, or even more, my first trip out of the American Continent. No, the reason why this visit was so special, is because I wanted to be there when my first niece arrived to this world. Yep, my sister was pregnant and I wanted to be in town for the birth of the little princess (although, we actually didn't know the gender of the baby until she was born, so technically, we were waiting for the little princess/prince). Best of all, my niece is healthy and well, which is why I am finally sharing the reason of my trip. It was truly worth it :)
That's all I'll be sharing regarding my niece (come on!, let the poor girl have some privacy, it's bad enough that she has a lunatic uncle). After all, this blog is about pin-ups anyway. Plus, there is plenty of material to share about this past trip: since I was traveling to Europe, I decided to take advantage of the opportunity and pay a quick visit to two models that have been a huge, huge ground base for my work. Two muses of my art indeed. Both of them live relatively close to Marseilles, which presented an opportunity that I couldn't pass, a decision encouraged by my sister, who wanted me to take full advantage of this opportunity. I mention this so nobody gives me any crap that I didn't really go to France to visit my sister. :)
Just a couple of days after I arrived to France, I flew to Belgium, to its capital, Brussels. There, I met with Seffana, a model that has supported my artwork as a reference model, for many, many years (going back to 2005). If you know about my artwork, then you know about Seff :) She and her boyfriend MoMo not only picked me up from the airport, but also let me stay at their lovely house. There, I had a great time talking to both of them, catching up (Seff doesn't speak fluent English yet, but she's learning very fast!). I must mention that this is not the first time I meet with Seff. Two years ago, she and MoMo came to Las Vegas, for the "Viva Las Vegas" weekend... but that's another story. After two years, I got to see both of them again, and this time in Europe, how awesome is that?
I want to mention again how important Seff has been for my artwork. Back in the days when I was developing my own style, when I didn't have a portfolio to show, she allowed me to use her beauty as an inspiration and reference. It has been an honor to work with her since then, even if it is from remote locations. Being that said, you can imagine how great it was for me to meet her for the first time in person two years ago. The friendship became more solid, more real. And that's why it was so great to see her in person once again on this trip. Well, it was great seeing not only her, but also MoMo, who became my friend as well in their visit to Las Vegas. I have nothing but good things to say about both of them, they truly rock!
My trip to Brussels was indeed a short one (just one full day), so there wasn't time to do much. However, we still managed to go the historical part of the city, on a quick visit. I learned many things about the culture of Belgium in general. We spent a good portion of the day at the Belgian Comic Strip Center, which is a museum dedicated to the cartoon culture of Belgium. That's where I learned that Belgium had (and still has) a huuuuge impact in cartoons all over the world. There I saw many samples of famous cartoon/comics, like the Smurfs, Tin Tin and Gaston (and of course, sexy Natacha).
We continued our quick journey through the center of Brussels, walking through streets, admiring the beautiful architecture of the city. Our final destination was one of the most famous attractions in Brussels: the Manneken Pis, which is the statue of a little boy peeing. Yes, a little boy peeing :) You might have seen this kind of statues somewhere else, bigger (the one in Brussels was pretty small), but it was certainly great to see this particular statue, a legendary one, and of course, take a picture right next to it.
On our way to see the Manneken Pis, we stopped at what it is probably the most important tourist destination in Brussels: the Grand Place. The architecture, the buildings there were unbelievable. Of course, I didn't have the chance to look around the buildings (or go inside them) due to lack of time, but I can't complain. Just being there was a great experience, and to have Seff and MoMo showing me all these places was just awesome.
We finally went back to their place, to rest for the night, before going to the airport the next day. It was then that Seff and I exchanged prints. I gave her a couple of prints of my artwork where I feature her, and she gave me tons of prints of artwork and photos where she is the main subject. Again: a true muse. Last, but not least, that night I drew a sketch based on Seff, on a sketch book that she owns, where a lot of great artists have done sketches and drawings of her. I am honored to be part of that sketch book now. :)
And that's it for my visit to Brussels. Many many thanks to you, Seff, and of course, to MoMo as well, for being such great friends, such great hosts, such great muse... not you MoMo, just Seff, he, he :) I look forward to see you both again when the time comes. In the meanwhile, there'll be more artwork, more art, more modeling... and more life. :)
Thank you again to everybody reading this post. This week I won't be posting my weekly sketch, but rather, will write the second part of this trip. I will write about my meeting with another model, a muse that has been a part of my artwork for over a decade. Meeting her in person for the first time after so many years, was an experience that I truly can't put into words. But I'll try :) In fact, I'm excited to write about it, so please read my blog entry later on this week. For now, I am leaving, ready to get back in track. Vacation is over, so let's get those pencils, brushes and paints in action... let's do some art! See you next time!