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.
Hi again! I'm back to post another entry for my blog. Today I was going to write about drawing techniques... then I decided to write about thoughts regarding life in general... then I decided to write about quick recipes... and then I realized I was hungry :) So, now that I'm focused again, I decided to write about how to manage projects, from an artist point of view... or mainly, as a self employed individual, artist or not.
As an artist, especially as a self employed one, the apparent goal is to get as much work as possible. Well, that's the general notion, right? And to be fair, that is partially true. Having the opportunity to paint, draw, create, etc., in a regular basis and get paid for it, sounds like an awesome deal. Of course, I say this assuming that the fore mentioned artwork is right up your alley. If you find yourself creating artwork that you don't really like (let alone love), it won't be long before you dread doing it. So, for the sake of this entry, I'll assume that you really like what you do. This principle extends not only to artwork but to pretty much everything in life.
So, you are an artist getting work from all directions, keeping yourself busy. The more you do it, the better you get at it, which in turn brings you even more work... and so on. That sounds like a great thing... and it is. But for how long? Well, that depends on you. Shockingly, there can be too much of a good thing. I know, right? who would have thought of that? ;)
The hardest part is the beginning, when the work is not flowing, at least in the typical case. Getting your name out there is the first step, then the quality of your work will speak for you. It is normal to have a slow pacing flow of clients at first. Naturally, while in this phase, it's pretty normal to accept any kind of assignments. But eventually, with a lot of dedication, you'll find yourself having more and more people looking for your work. That's when the "bump" is behind, when you see the fruits of your dedication and hard work, with projects, assignments and commissions coming to you on a regular basis.
By this point, you find yourself thinking: "Wow! The work comes to me and all I have to do is draw? Awesome! Bring it on! Right?" Well, yes, that's great, but up to a certain point. First of all, more often than not, the self promoting work never ends. In order to keep the flow or work, you must keep your name out there. You can do this yourself or have somebody to do it for you (be it an agent, a friend, your spouse, a company, etc.). So, quick advice: don't ever stop promoting your work if you want to keep it going. Second, yes, it is awesome to have work coming to you all the time, but the moment will come when you'll have to decline projects. For many, that might sound pretty logical. But, I remember when I just started, being thrilled to accept any work that came my way. While that might work at first, eventually you'll find yourself getting behind on deadlines, and what's worse, getting stuck on projects that don't really align with your vision. Disliking your project/assignment and on top of that being late? Well, that hardly sounds awesome anymore, right?
I realized a long time ago that as a simple human, I won't be able to draw or render everything that I would like. It is just not possible (at least in my humble opinion). But that's not a bad thing, is just life, and it's up to us to decide what we'll get from it. So, keeping that in mind, I am more selective to the work I do. I mean, I would like to take every single pin-up project out there, draw every single model, take every single commission. But instead, I try to select what I think will bring more to myself and to my artwork.
Realizing what I just pointed out, from the get-go, allows me to be more discerning when it comes to projects. That way, I don't find myself grasping for air anymore, trying to juggle many projects at once, or working long hours at night. Naaaah, who am I kidding? I still do all that, and if you know me well, you also know that I love it. I am a creature of the night who works better under last minute pressure. So, it's not about doing things certain way, we all have our own pace of work. The goal is to find a balance, where you feel comfortable with work, and most important: a point where work doesn't interfere with your life significantly. Remember that work will always be there, it never ends, and only you can decide how much you take out from your personal life in order to use it for your work. And that, in my opinion, is the most crucial part when it comes to administrating your time. Even now, writing this words, listening to music, I stop typing here and there, when I stumble to a certain chord that inspires me. As insignificant as that might seem, that's the equivalent of "stopping to smell the flowers", when writing a blog is part of your work: making a pause to appreciate music, to keep being inspired.
Thank you for reading this, I hope I gave you a little more of an intimate view of how I think and work. And I also hope this will add a new perspective to your life, even if you're not an artist. The old cliché is true: live life... or at least give your best shot at it. Thanks again for your support, and please don't hesitate to leave your comment, I love to get feedback. See you next time!
What's uuuuup? I'm back! I feel like I haven't written an entry in a long time... although it's been only one week. And while a week it's not really a long period, at the same time it's longer than my usual time. Regularly, each week I post two entries for this blog; however, last week I decided I would scale it down to just one written entry (per week). The key word here is "written": I'm still posting two times weekly... the difference is that from now on one of those two posts will be a drawing. A sketch to be more precise.
Why am I doing this? I wanted to switch things around (what a surprise, that's what I always do). I enjoy writing, you might have noticed, but I also love drawing (well, that's pretty obvious, right?). However, unlike my writing, I don't deliver artwork at a weekly rate, at least not all the time. Substituting one of the written entries by a sketch every week, will allow me to keep writing what's inside my head while at the same time sharing what's behind my artwork. What I like about rough sketches or sketches in general, is how much they can tell about the artist who did them. Every artist has their own personal style, and a rough sketch is a great example of that, a very raw expression of your feelings and ideas.
Now, wouldn't be better to keep writing two entries per week and also do one or two weekly sketches? Oh, yes, that would be great, but I won't lie: my available time, between projects and side projects (not to mention personal life) is not really much to spare. But hey, all we can do is try to take advantage of time as much as possible. Oh, Father Time, my eternal nemesis! :)
So, how does it work? Am I going to post a sketch with a description about it? Nope, I'm going to keep it simple and just post a sketch, nothing else. The goal here is to be a little more productive, so I'm going to make use of the time that otherwise would be spent writing... by sketching. Hopefully this will keep these weekly posts even more dynamic. Of course, you can bet that I'll keep spicing and shuffling things around my blog in the future, as I do with my artwork. When the time is right, I actually want to start doing vlogs (video blogs) about my work. I like the idea... however, I don't want to stop writing. Ah, lot of projects, not enough time... Father Time strikes again!
As I mentioned, my intention is to keep things simple. So, it will go down like this: at the beginning of every week I'll be posting a written entry (like this one); then, as the weekend gets closer, I'll post a sketch based on a model with whom I've done or I'll be doing a collaboration artwork as well. The model for the first sketch is the beautiful Kendra Lust, who has been featured in my artwork many times (thank you Kendra!). By the way, the weekly sketch won't have any description whatsoever (other than the title), but you are more than welcome to leave your comments.
Last but not least, on a side note regarding sketches, I want to mention my Patreon again. If you'd like to see more of this kind of work, my patrons on the $2 tier are able to check out sketches on which I based my final artwork. Just visit my Patreon profile by clicking here for more details. For now, stay tuned, this week's sketch will be posted this weekend. Thank you again for your support, my artwork and I appreciate it! See you next time!
Whazzzup everybody? Guess who's back? Yep, it's me! It's time for another blog entry, sharing what's inside this messy head. This time I'll write briefly about my online store. I actually wrote about it last year, when I just signed up to Ecwid, and I must say I'm still extremely satisfied with it. For those that don't know the URL for my store, it's pretty easy, just visit: store.popeyewong.com.
I am touching base regarding my online store, to promote it again. I have been fortunate to gather more followers during the last several months, so I want to make sure that no one is left behind when it comes to this topic.
What can you find on my online store? At this moment pretty much just prints (I have a couple of mugs and shot glasses available, but that's an expanding area right now). This is the place where you can find prints featuring most of my artwork. These are printed on photo paper of great quality, along with vibrant colors. The reason why I decided to print my work on photo paper, is the fact that it makes it much more affordable to consumers. My everyday goal for a long time now has been to offer quality artwork at a very affordable price, and this kind of prints allow me to do that.
In order to make purchases even easier and even more affordable, I also offer free shipping in my online store. If you reside inside the continental United States, there's no minimum order to get this offer. If you live anywhere else, there's a minimum order of $35 in order to receive free shipping. I wish I could offer this service on every order around the world, but the reality is that shipping is quite expensive!
All orders are shipped through regular mail, in order to keep costs down (again, trying to keep things affordable to consumers). The only problem with using this service, is when the order is shipped internationally. Some countries are not very reliable when it comes to regular postal service. My home country, Mexico, is actually a great example of that indeed: it is very common for packages to be misplaced or plainly get lost. The solution is to use private packaging services, like DHL or FedEx, but the costs of shipping internationally through these channels make it almost prohibitive.
In the particular case of Mexico, I'll be able to ship prints from within the country, which will allow me to use a private shipping service at an affordable price. I'll achieve this by having a distribution place for my work, which will ship my work. However, I won't be able to have such distribution place for anywhere else in the world. If anybody reading this has an idea of how to circumvent this shipping dilemma, in order to keep costs down with a more reliable shipping service, don't hesitate to contact me.
My online store offers the standard PayPal option to check out, but also a credit card option. This is a very important feature that most merchants offer, although not everybody. I consider it important, because even though I myself try to use PayPal to pay for goods every chance I get, I also acknowledge that not everybody uses or even has PayPal, which is why I wanted a credit card option.
Last but not least, I sign my prints at no extra cost, if requested by the client. I mention this because that's always a nice extra feature. People that follow my work know that I'll always try to take care of my clients and supporters. Any signature or custom message goes included at no extra cost. :)
So, if you like my work, please take a look at my online store. More images and more merchandise items are being added right now. Get yourself a nice signed print (or maybe as a special gift) and take advantage of the everyday free shipping. My artwork, and of course, myself, will be very grateful for your support.
Thank you again for reading though my ramblings, your support means a lot to me. I'll be back later on this week, to share more about what's inside my crazy head. See you next time!
What's up? I'm back! I wanted to wish everybody a Merry Xmas. I know, that sounds crazy, uh? No, I'm not hallucinating, I'm just kidding around. That is my way to say: where did the time go? When I was a kid, back in Mexico, my Grandma used to joke around about how the year was practically over, when it was barely February (or even January). She used to talk about how the rain season was around the corner, then Lent, then the Summer, then another rain season, then the celebrations around Independence Day, then Day of the Dead, and finally Xmas. And just like that, the year was over... even before it started.
Why am I talking about that? Because more often than not, that's the way I feel, like the year doesn't have enough days in it. But I'm not saying that in a bad way, it's just an observation of how fast time runs and why is important to take advantage of every available minute. That doesn't mean that I work like a robot, not even close. Anybody who knows me, can testify that I like to make use of my available time, not only to do work, but also to complement my life. How do I do this? sprinkling a bit of life onto life itself. I learned a long time ago that it is very easy to rut yourself day after day. Therefore, breaking away from the shell of routine life is a must.
I am an artist, art is my life. However, I also know that my art is a reflection of my inner persona. If that persona is tired, or empty, or burned out, my art will come out the same way. I am happy to render my artwork, to portray how I see the world. Even now, at this very moment, I can tell you that I am content with what I see in my foreseeable future (sounds redundant, but it's the truth). I have many things going on at this moment, regarding my artwork, and that's what keeps me excited, motivated. The more I feel this way, the better my images will come out... and that in turn will bring more activity related to my work. A great cycle, I must say :)
So, again, why am I bringing up my Grandma and her jokes about the year ending right after it started? Because, as I mentioned, that's how I feel, like the year is going by so quickly. I mean, it's already March... where did January and February go? This is nothing new, though, I do feel like that all the time. However, let me say this again: I don't feel this as a bad thing, but all the opposite. I feel like time is running fast, because there are so, so many things that I want to do. So, it does feel good to stop for a break, and see that time has passed rather quickly. I don't feel frustrated for the things that I haven't done, but rather happy for the things that I have done indeed. On top of that, I acknowledge that I won't be able to do every single plan inside my head. I realized that many years ago, and that's why I started to be more selective on the projects that I would take.
But, let me go back to the "sprinkling a bit of life onto life itself" part: I spend a fair amount of time away from work, from art, be it with family or in pure distraction and sometimes bliss. However, I don't consider doing this as detracting from my work, because, as I mentioned before, all those distractions, experiences, ideas, etc., will be brought into my artwork. They are indeed a reflection of my life, of my persona. I try to apply this principle in every aspect of my life, because, at the end, all these aspects are connected, and complement each other. My art improves my inner quality of life, which in turn improves my personal vision of life, which in turn improves my family life, and so on.
I welcome the quick pace of time (still my nemesis), I like trying to keep up with it. I hope you find your own pace too. Thanks again for reading this and for supporting my artwork, you bring yet another aspect that improves my life as an artist... and as a person. Oh, and Merry Xmas, by the way! :) See you next time!
Wazzzzzup? I'm back again, rambling for a bit about my artwork and some other things in my life. Well, not really, just about artwork, otherwise, I would never finish.
Sooooo, last time I wrote about taggers, tubes and how they have helped my artwork throughout the years. If you don't know what taggers and/or tubes are, check my latest blog post, by clicking here. I decided to write some sort of a second part to that post, in order to shed some light on how my tubes are being distributed now, by my patrons through Patreon.
Before I go any further, I want to reaffirm something I've been saying for years: my artwork is still free to use. Anybody can use it, tube it, tag it, etc., without having to pay a penny. Having said that, I'll go ahead and explain why my newest tubes are on Patreon, and also why you should become a patron too. :) By the way, I'm assuming that by now, you know what Patreon is, and how I benefit from it. If you don't know what it is, please don't hesitate to contact me to ask questions, or visit my Patreon profile by clicking here.
OK, let's talk about those tubes. Am I a "free to use" artist? Yes, I've always been and I'll always be. That means that taggers are free to use my artwork in their tags, simple as that. Now, most free artists give permissions but don't provide tubes. Their work can be tubed by the jpegs found online (usually from their websites), and then used in tags. I myself, went a bit further years ago, and created a folder on my website, where I uploaded a bunch of tubes that I did of my artwork (that old folder can still be found at popeyewong.com/tubes). For years and years, I updated that folder whenever I had a new tube of a new image.
However, over a year ago, I decided that any new tubes would be uploaded only to my Patreon profile, as a little reward to my patrons (among other things). This reward had in mind my patrons who are also taggers. I decided they would be the first ones to receive my tubes, and I would only share these tubes with them directly. They, in turn, would be free to share them with anybody, and I mean, anybody: a tagger, a non-tagger, a group, a website, etc. I've always allowed this, and that hasn't changed. (Note: the sharing of the tubes is completely optional, no patron is obliged to do so).
So, there is no charge to use my tubes. The tricky part is that only my patrons (whose contribution starts at $1) receive this tubes directly from me. If you are not a patron, you can get the tubes from a patron that shares them, or from another person who got them already (from a patron, or another person, and so on). Or, you can tube the images yourself, if you'd rather do that, since I've always given permissions for that as well. All my images are online, without watermarks, in order to make that easier.
After reading all this, you might ask yourself: "Why do I need to become a patron then? I mean, all the material is free and available". The answer is simple: to support my work. Every single contribution, every single pledge, every single penny helps me as an artist. I would be lying if I said that I've never been tempted to charge for my tubes... hey, we're always trying to make an extra buck. However, a long time ago, when I made my decision to keep my tubes free, I wanted to give taggers a choice, especially to those that didn't have enough money to buy their own. And after so many years, I am more convinced than ever that I chose the right route.
I wanted to write this post to highlight the why I do what I do, to give people a better idea of where I'm standing. My artwork will always be free to taggers, but again, any contribution is always appreciated and more than cherished. You can ask any taggers that happens to be my patrons: my gratitude towards them is more than evident. The fact that people will share their hard earned money to support my artwork truly blows my mind... especially when they don't need to do so. Being that said, I do understand that not everybody is in the position to support my work financially, but if you are, please consider becoming my patron, you'll be helping me directly; plus, you'll have first dibs on my tubes :) And if you can't afford to support my art that way, please support it by sharing this blog, sharing my website, sharing my online store, sharing my social media, spreading the word to anybody who might be interested in becoming my patron or buying anything from me (or anything that you think might help me). I do believe in word of mouth, especially to promote a small artist like myself. By the way, my links are:
Official website: www.popeyewong.com
Online store: store.popeyewong.com
Facebook page: @popeyewongart
Facebook profile: @popswongart
So, get out there and promote my artwork like there is no tomorrow! :) Now, in all seriousness, thank you for your support through all these years, any kind of support. You know who you are and what you have done for my work. You are part of what made me who I am... if that's not a good thing, it's too late now! :) Thanks again and see you next time!
What's up? Yep, I'm back, so stop being sad :) This blog entry has a special niche of fans of my artwork in mind: taggers. No, I'm not talking about urban taggers or wall taggers (a big shout out to them, by the way, amazing work!). The taggers I'm talking about are of the "signature tag" kind. You know who you are, don't be shy and stand up so everybody can see you.
OK, first of all, let me take you through "Tagging 101". I can tell you that taggers are people that like to create a graphic design. In particular, a graphic design using a central image that goes along (or tag) a name. Most of them do this as a hobby, not as a profession, but let me tell you: the designs from many many taggers out there are just amazing.
So, what does this have to do with my artwork? Well, taggers usually need images as a central part of their designs. That's where I come in: I've been giving permissions to taggers for over a decade now, allowing them to use my work in their signature tags. What have I received in exchange? A lot of free promotion to my artwork all over the virtual realms of the Internet; but most importantly, a large following of fans of my work, fans that have supported what I do for many years now. Again, thank you! :)
As I mentioned, the daily bread for taggers are the artwork images from many artists out there, including myself. But in most cases, they only need a subject (a girl, a car, a table, etc.), not the whole image itself. In other words, they only need the main subject, not the background, that way they can place that girl, car, table, etc. wherever they want in their design and create a background themselves. Imagine taking a page from a magazine with a pretty model in it, then cutting out just the model and pasting it on top of another page, which is actually a collage made of other images as well. The cutout of the model sits on top of everything, along with another cutout of a name, any given person's name. That, roughly illustrates how a tag is done. A collage for a background + a main subject + a name.
Now behold, the cornerstone of a tag, which is the cutout of the main image, the center of the design. Introducing: the tube. What is a tube?... you might ask. And I'll tell you: a tube is a digital file, an image indeed, with a transparent background (or basically, no background). In other words, the digital counter part to a paper cutout. Once the background is removed from the main image, a tube is born and can be used in any tag.
The reason why I say that tubes are the cornerstone, is because they are very valued among the tagging community. Sometimes taggers take on the task of making these tubes themselves (these taggers are known as tubers), or sometimes the artist will provide them (free or with a cost). Either way, a tube is a very important part of the tagging process, which is why a tagger can never have enough tubes :)
I myself have provided taggers with tubes for over a decade now. Since I "tube" most of my work anyway, in order to use my images for merchandise, I might as well share a low resolution version of these tubes with the tagging community. Furthermore, more or less recently, I started to make my new tubes directly only to patrons of my work, through Patreon. If you don't know what Patreon is or if you haven't visited my Patreon profile, you need to do it now. Stop reading and to go to patreon.com/popeyewongart. Become part of the art of Popeye Wong, become a patron! :)
Before I go, there's something I need to clarify: my tubes and the usage of my artwork are free to taggers. They've always been and they'll always be. The fact that I only give my tubes directly to my patrons doesn't mean that these cannot be shared. In fact, I encourage it. I pledged not to charge for my work to taggers, ever, and I'm keeping that promise. However, in order to give a treat to my patrons, I decided to share my tubes directly with them only, so they in turn can share them themselves. They get first dibs, but everybody gets to play. :)
On my next blog entry, I'll give you a peek of how is to get tubes from me when you become a patron in Patreon. Hopefully, this information will be useful to you, even if you're not a tagger yourself. All I can say for now is thank you for your support, thank you for helping me get to where I am right now. I am enjoying the ride, and I am happy that you are a part of it. See you next time!
Pin-up artist by day… and also by night. Well, mostly by night, because that's when I love to draw the best.