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.
Whazzup? Ok, after a pretty busy weekend, it's time to sit down, relax, and blog a little. As I mentioned, this past weekend was a busy one, both personally and professionally.
This year I got to enjoy a delicious Thanksgiving meal. I want to point out that I didn't grow up in United States or Canada, meaning that I didn't grow up with a Thanksgiving tradition as a kid... but I surely enjoy it now! So many delicious treats to eat (not to mention the family time). As usual, there were a couple of visits to pay and places to go. Needless to say, it was a very enjoyable weekend, good to step out of the routine.
On the other side of the spectrum, this was also a busy weekend due to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the sale days following Thanksgiving celebration in United States. This was truly a year to learn, being this my first year with a stable online store. I'm happy that I got to jump into it, it kept me busy in a fun way, promoting my little sale at my little online store, and taking notes on what to do next year. I look forward to see my business grow and expand it, one step at a time.
What are the plans now? What's next? Well, my most immediate project is render my yearly Xmas image, as it's been a tradition for the last few years. And to say immediate is actually an understatement, since December is just around the corner. Typically, this image marks the end of my projects for the year, due to December being always a blur. Between family celebrations, visits, trips, etc., the time goes away before I know it. I learned to plan ahead during these past few years, when I realized that I wasn't able to finish half or the projects I had scheduled for December. Nowadays, I enjoy this month, and use it to look back and see what I finished and what I didn't.
The rest of the plans are the same: keep promoting my online store, my Patreon page, this blog, and of course, my website. All this mainly trough my social media, like Facebook and Twitter. It surely takes a lot of energy of time, but it's definitely worth it, I feel like I'm working for something that's entirely my creation, with its successes and its mistakes.
So, at the risk of sounding like a broken record (gee, I hope I'm not the only person still using that phrase 😆), I ask you to please join me in my venture by becoming a patron of my work. You get to see more of my art, including work in progress, sketches, with new rewards introduced soon. Pledges start at merely $1, and please don't let the word "pledge" scare you away, since these pledges can be cancelled at anytime, no questions asked. Just visit my profile at patreon.com/popeyewongart to check it out, hopefully you'll like what you'll see. But, regardless, thank you for your support, I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for the help of so many people towards my work.
I will be back soon, to keep blogging about this gig of drawing semi-naked (or even naked!) women for a living. It's a hard work, but somebody has to do it. :)
See ya next!
Yaaaaay!... wait, what? Fron-what? Ok, I'm talking about the sale during this weekend, starting on Black Friday and ending on Cyber Monday. If you are not related to those terms, a brief explanation would be: Black Friday is the shopping day after Thanksgiving Day in United States (which always falls on a Thursday). Cyber Monday is the online counterpart of Black Friday, regarded as a shopping day as well... just through the Internet. Sooooo, with that in mind, I'm running a sale for the whole weekend.
The fore mentioned sale consists in a free bonus print (8"x10") with the purchase of any print through my online store. This, along with a permanent free shipping policy makes for a great opportunity to buy pieces of my artwork. I wanted to blog about this because, aside from the obvious promotion of my online store (greedy me!), I also want to share my experiences managing it. Being this the first year when I count with a store that includes many choices to get it customized (thank you Ecwid!), I wanted to finally jump in and be part of the Black Friday world. Am I expecting a huge crowd of customers? No, not really, due mainly because I'm new. But, as I learned many years ago, I shouldn't wait until I'm fully ready in order to take the next step. Sometimes we just have to jump in, even if haven't completely set up our lifesaver. By the way, this is just an analogy, doooon't jump if you are not wearing your lifesaver :)
So, I mentioned that I have an online store with many many capabilities of being customized. However, there's always that point (or points) that even the most flexible of platforms won't let you achieve. In this particular case, that unreachable point would be my sale offer for this weekend: buy one print get another one free. As far as I could tell, the platform doesn't offer a choice to get a discount of 20%, 30%, 50% or even 100% for the second item. Yes, it has bulk discounts, but those will only work if a customer wants to buy two or more print of the same image. Most likely, any given customer will want the purchased print and the free one to be of two different pin-ups. So, after going around and around, I found a solution that works at an acceptable level (the main reason why I can only offer one free print per transaction). Is this the optimal way? No, but you have to work with what you have and do the best that you can. I'm not blaming Ecwid at all, because I know they are always trying to improve things and hopefully they'll implement that option in the future. I am more than happy with the options their software offer, the rest is up to me.
Not long ago I blogged about doing conventions, how we are destined to screw up, especially at the beginning. I also pointed out that we shouldn't stop trying, that the important thing is getting started. Well, the same principle applies to sales, at least in my humble opinion. I don't have a dedicated team of experts optimizing my sales, studying the market, promoting my store. It's just me and only me (well, at least for now), but that's is why I love where I am, and the same reason why I can take risks. I am dictator when it comes to ruling my own life :)
So, after you read this, I hope you can visit my store at store.popeyewong.com and look around for a print you would like to own. Or maybe you don't want to purchase anything, but still want to support my work; if that's the case, visit my Patreon page at patreon.com/popeyewongart and consider becoming a patron of my art.
That's all for now. I'll be back soon to blog more about my life, the mess I always bring unto myself and how I get out of it. See ya soon!
What's uuuuuuuuuuuuuup? Here I am again, posting about the ups and downs in my life as an artist. Well, mostly about the "ups", because what's the point of sharing the "down aspects" of life. We all have enough of that, right? That's why I try to focus on the good things. After all, it's all about how we see those things. I am pretty happy and excited about life in general because, honestly, seeing life in a different way would suck. :)
Anyway, just looking at the calendar and contemplating the days I have ahead, I realized that the year is pretty much gone. This is the time when things go down (in a good way) faster than I can process them. December is around the corner and in my particular case, my time will be divided between short and long trips to visit family and trying to finish everything I didn't finish during the year. It is an imposible task, but all I can do is try... and learn to do it better next year.
I personally think that when it comes to art, as it is to pretty much everything else in life, is important to try to keep a balance. Sure, we as artists can work and create constantly. I'm not afraid of the "blank canvas", the monster that a lot of artists fear, when inspiration doesn't come. No, I find inspiration everywhere, all the time. In fact, time is my worst enemy, preventing me from creating and rendering as much as I wished. But due to the same reason, a balance is of utmost importance. It is so easy for me to immerse myself in my dreams, my fantasies, my visions, while trying to render them, capture them in paper, canvas, print, etc. It would be equally easy to forget about the real life that surrounds me, especially family. It would be most certainly great for my art, for my craft, but at what price? I learned to think this way not so long ago, and I haven't looked back. It is not so much about reaching a goal, but rather enjoy the journey... without forgetting about family, friends, and all those persons that have helped us be where we are. We all have important people in our lives, even if we don't want to admit it sometimes.
And that's why I'm seeing the end of the year straight in the eye and saying: bring it on! Anybody who knows me can testify that my days don't have enough hours, that I'm all over the place, trying to juggle between artwork and projects. But all this is part of the show, and honestly, I like it! So let's not be depressed for those things that we couldn't do, but instead feel excited about all the things that are still in our plans. :)
I want to thank again all the people that make this dream possible, always supporting my work, sharing my posts, reading my blog, buying my stuff, etc. Each person is different, and as so, the support comes in different ways. But each one of you is an important piece in this adventure that is my life. So, let's keep rockin' on, the year is almost over!
As always, I invite you to support my artwork through patronage, at Patreon. Visit my profile at www.patreon.com/popeyewongart and consider the possibility of becoming a patron of my work. There isn't such a thing as a "too small of a contribution", each pledge is a huuuuge help to my art. Check it out and share it with anybody who might be interested. See you next... pretty soon!
Hey there! Time for another entry to my blog. Things have been pretty busy around here, which is good. I'm looking forward to a great closing of 2016.
Anyway, I'm sure you already read the title of this blog entry, and I hope I didn't mislead you with it... or at least not much. Thinking of doing conventions? With the term "conventions" I'm also referring to trade shows, which are pretty similar. An event where many vendors (be it artists, models, salesmen, businessmen, etc., depending on the actual convention), gather together to reach to the public or other vendors. Sometimes these conventions are not open to the public, but the interaction is the same. You go there to pitch your idea, your product. It is a very, very exciting and rewarding experience.
I personally do like attending conventions as a visitor, but even more to attend as a vendor. There is nothing that compares to meet in person with new and old customers. The level of feedback, in my humble opinion, is something that you cannot find anywhere else, at least not at that level. As if this weren't enough, you always get to learn something from fellow vendors. In my personal case, as an artist, I get to learn mostly from other artists. Not only I would learn new ideas or techniques related to painting, but also related to other conventions as well. This information can be very very useful: how to display your stuff, how to transport it, how to do it quicker, cheaper, better. It is an ever-evolving process, and it's good when you count with help along the way. In my personal experience, I owe a whole lot to the fellow vendors with whom I interacted at previous conventions.
I remember my first year of shows. The first one I did was a local convention here in Las Vegas, and the second one in Los Angeles. Both shows are now defunct, but I will always remember them, mostly because of the excitement... and also because of how awkward it was for me at the same time. I can honestly say that for my first show, Xanadu, I was not ready at all. I didn't even bring change for ongoing sales. None. That might seem like a no brainer, but that's the thing: I didn't have any experience whatsoever. Fortunately, my neighbors at the show was Theresa Mather, an extremely talented artist and also extremely helpful. Along with her was her husband, Barry Short, who is as helpful as Theresa. Both of them were absolutely nice. At the end of the convention I left filled with tips and ideas for the next one. By the way, if you like Fantasy artwork, please visit Theresa's website by clicking here, you'll be amazed.
Later that year, I had my second show: Erotica LA, in Los Angeles (kind of obvious, right?). Even though I was a bit more prepared, some things went on an awful direction. After all, it was my second big show, so there were many many things I still had to learn. In this particular show, my main problem was planning ahead. I ended up printing more merchandise than I needed, renting a much bigger vehicle than I needed, and paying for more services than I needed. As you can imagine, my expenses went up the roof. But at the end, I managed. It's all part of the experience. Now I can look back and chuckle or even laugh about all the mistakes that I did. By the way, those mistakes never end, they just change their shape: I'm still screwing up at almost every show :)
So, with this in mind, you can imagine why I say: "Thinking of doing conventions? Think it twice". However, with this I don't mean for you to forget about the idea. Not at all. In fact, I will always encourage new artists in the field to try it. So, when I say to "think it twice", what I mean is that there is a lot of research before doing a first show. Or any show, for that matter. From how much the front fee is, additional fees, parking lot, to the area total of your booth/table, setting up time, tearing down time, etc. All this research will help you to avoid as many mistakes as possible. Note how I say "as many", because trust me: you'll always screw up on something, no matter what. But, don't let that stop you. Try to do your best research and then go for it. I also want to mention that you can spend all your life doing research, but it won't be until you actually do your best show that you'll understand how everything works. So, do your research, but don't expect to be prepared at 100%. Build up your confidence and just do it! :)
So, if you are thinking of doing a convention, I hope this will help you a bit. I am not an expert, but I am more than glad to share what I've learned. Don't hesitate to contact me if you have further questions. On that note, I want to thank everybody for their support. You can be sure that I will keep going forward... and hopefully you'll ride along. See you next!
Oh, yeah, I'm back and I am bringing good new: I decided to offer free shipping on all products at my online store... well, at least to the continental United States. International clients will get free shipping with a purchase of $35 or more. Want to check it out right away? Just click here.
If you are like me, a person who gets turned off by paying too much in shipping (or paying anything at all), then this new option will come in very handy. Even if you aren't living inside the continental US, getting free shipping for an order of $35 of more can save you a big chunk of money, especially when shipping internationally. I was going to make this a deal just for the upcoming holidays, but I realized that it is something that should always be part of my online store. Now it's simple: if you live in the continental US, what you see is what you pay. And, if you live anywhere else in the world, as soon as your subtotal hits $35, what you see is what you pay as well.
I have talked in the past of how this is a learning process. From learning how to draw sexy pin-ups to try to commercialize them over the Internet and retail stores, it is all an ongoing adventure. And, as I mentioned before: I love it! It is certainly uncertain (a little irony, someone?). So, playing while I learn things regarding my online store is completely worth it, and I hope you like the changes that will be taking place.
I really wish I could offer free shipping to anywhere in the world, but the truth is that I can't. Not with my current prices of merchandise. After shopping around regarding prices for international mailing services, I realized that no matter how small a package is, the minimum charge is prohibitive when it comes to the idea of paying for the shipping myself. I honestly hope that the threshold of $35 will be useful to anybody outside United States who would like to buy some of my artwork and/or merchandise.
This new setup comes in time for the upcoming holiday shopping, at least here in United States, but rest assured that there will be more. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, my online store is here to stay. So, please pay a visit to it and browse around. Hopefully, you'll find something that you or somebody you know would like. And if you don't, please let me know what you would like to see. After all, none of this would possibly without your help and support. :)
And speaking of support, please consider becoming a patron of my artwork, through Patreon, a platform designed for artists and the people who want to support them. To find out more, visit my profile at patreon.com/popeyewongart. Thank you again for reading this, and see you next!
What's up? Yep, I'm back... as I do twice a week. This time, I will be talking about an old friend of mine, a dear companion from the early days, the sidekick in that continuous adventure of mine called artwork. I will be talking about: my pencil (that's right!).
Ok, I know that doesn't sound very exciting. But, what you don't know is that my pencil is magic, it is not like any other pencil. Ok, ok, I'm over doing, my pencil is not magic and is exactly like any other pencil that you would buy at any store. But, reality is that I am not talking about a pencil in particular (believe me I've had my good share of them throughout the years). Rather, I am talking about graphite tools being an essential part of my artwork, be it regular wooden pencils, mechanical pencils, lead holders, etc. That is what I call "my pencil", a tool that has always been there for me.
Pencil drawings were indeed my first love. And you know how stories about first love go, they always have a special place. I'm not joking when I say this. I remember back in my college days, while taking a speech class, I ended up talking about my mechanical pencil as the topic of one of my assignments (trust me, I wasn't a very good student, but that's another story). Up to this day, I enjoy using my mechanical pencil to do sketches that will become full paintings; or using my wooden pencil for finished drawings. Due to my current assignments and commissions, I don't get to do finished drawings as often as I would like, but the love will always be there.
Just yesterday, for #tbt I posted an old drawing of mine, from six years ago, featuring amazing model Veronika Kotlajic, a fellow artist friend that I admire and respect. That drawing is very special to me, in big part (among other things) because is the biggest one I've done (30 inches high, compared to my usual, 10 or 12 inches high). Not the biggest painting, but the biggest drawing, pencil drawing indeed. See, drawing is a very relaxing process, at least to me personally. I get to "lose myself inside myself" because of this. So, working on a piece much larger than my regular size, gave me the opportunity to immerse myself in that relaxation for a much longer time. It was truly a trip... fortunately, getting "pencil high" is completely legal.
There isn't much of a mystery of why I love drawing with graphite pencils: the control level, the possibilities of working with so much detail, the melancholic sense that can be evoked, the elegant look that comes with it, and so much more. I've tried working with color pencils in the past, and even though I liked them, I completely love drawing with graphite. By the way: nothing wrong with color pencils, we just have to find the tool that makes us feel comfortable the most. That is how I ended up working mainly with graphite pencils, airbrushes and digital tablets.
What you read about are completely my personal preferences and experiences. However, an advice that I always give to anybody who approaches me, looking to get into pin-ups, is this: "sketch, sketch, sketch... and then sketch again". Quick sketching is like the daily workout for a body builder. It keeps you in shape and it also gets you to where you want to get. I do my sketches with the help of my buddy, but anything is valid, as long as you keep sketching: charcoal, a crayon, a brush, a chalk... even a rock (hey! if you can make it work, anything is valid). Those sketches will prepare you to do finished drawings or paintings: the more you do it, the more you learn. I know this because I'm still learning every time I take a trip with my buddy, my pencil. :)
What's up? It is time for me to post another entry in my blog. I decided to set aside for now the artwork topic... well, sort of. Today is my birthday. I can hear many people saying: so what? :) Well, I am not very fond of birthdays... correction, I am not very fond of my own birthday, I am very low key about it. But, today I'm turning 40, which is, want it or not, a good opportunity to look back and see how I've done. And that's exactly what I'm doing: I am trying to evaluate how much I have improved my art skills (see? I told you I wasn't really done talking about my artwork).
As in most things in life, we can be overly rigid when we evaluate ourselves... or just the opposite, overly soft. I personally think that it all depends on what we want to achieve in life. We ourselves can see our lives as a complete failure or a great success. Often times, the how we feel has nothing to do with our real achievements or shortcomings, it is more a question of how content we are with what we've done. I mention this because, I am looking at my life as an artist at this moment, and I see a lot of things that I did wrong... or at least not in the optimal way. Many things that I could have done different, that most likely would have put me in a better path regarding my artwork. Oh, how different things would have been... but, as strange as it sounds, I wouldn't trade my life experiences for anybody else's. I wouldn't change the decisions that I made in the past, even knowing that they might not be the best ones. I learned a long time ago that my mistakes have as much weight on who I am as an artist, as my successes do. Yes, my path would have been different, probably better if I had known better from the beginning... but at the end, I am who I am, due mainly to every single one of my actions.
Then, I am content with who I am, with what I've done. Does that mean that there isn't any room for improvement? Does it mean that I am content and therefore I don't need to change styles, switch directions, take risks? Of course not! It just means that I am ok with the path that I've taken through my life. I am content with the artist that I am today and the potential that I have for tomorrow. If you are an artist, be it a newbie or a seasoned one, this is my sincere advice: do what you like, do it because you like it. It will make things a lot less harder.
Now that I am officially 40 years old, I can take a minute to sit down and look back. I can see the artist that I was when I was a little kid; the artist I became when I was a teenager; the artist into whom I evolved when I became an adult. Each one of those different artists, along with the countless gradations in between, are what constitutes me an artist as a whole. Artists paint, sculpt, compose, etc., from their inner persona, from their life experiences and feelings. I am not exception, and I am proud to do so. I am also proud to be able to share what I create, with anybody who will appreciate it.
I want to share a couple of toons from my oldest batch, back when I started to draw pin-ups in cartoon form (late 2004). The style is completely different, as well as the technique. Some of you might remember these images from the early days. Seeing images like these can give you a better perspective of how much I have learned in the past and therefore how much I can still give. Not that there is something wrong with these images, they worked very well back when I was at that stage. But, same as I pushed myself back then, I still do it today.
So, cheers for these past years of my life, a big chunk of which taught me to be the artist that I am today. Being an artist is my life, not a hobby, not a job. It is who I am. And I look forward to keep feeling like this for at least another 40 years. After that, when I'm 80, I might become a airplane pilot, a stripper, a superhero... who knows? it's too early to tell. :)
Thank you for the birthday wishes, I've been getting them since yesterday and still are coming. Thank you for all your support to my artwork. With that kind of support I have no other choice but keep creating. As I said before, let's keep going for another 40 years at least. See you next!
It's Friiiiiiiiiday! Not only it's time to switch engines into "weekend mode" (read: start being double the slacker than I am on weekdays), but definitely also time to post a new blog entry, (something I should have done yesterday).
Same as I did on my previous entry, I will talk a bit about my latest artwork piece, a pin-up called "Mañana de noche" (Morning at night). This new piece of artwork's theme is the Day of the Dead (Día de Muertos in Spanish), the Mexican celebration where death and spirits are the center of piece. This is a theme that I'd been wanting to render for a long time now, but for miscellaneous reasons, I hadn't been able to. However, this year was the year when it finally happened, and I'm very happy with the result.
But, let's start from the beginning. The theme for the pin-up was already chosen from the very beginning, Day of the Dead, so, the next step would choosing a model for reference. My first and ultimately final choice was Lisa Del Toro, a model and tattoo artist with whom I have collaborated in many many occasions during the last few years. She is in fact my un-official model for my yearly pin-up of Mexican Independence Day. Well, this year she became the first model I feature in a Day of the Dead pin-up. I knew right away that Lisa would be a perfect fit for what I had in mind. After seeing the final result, I am glad to see that I wasn't wrong.
So, what did inspire me to do this image? We've all seen the artwork commemorating Day of the Dead, with beautiful women wearing skull make up, and I definitely wanted to make that part of my pin-up. However, I didn't want to cover Lisa's face entirely, I wanted her to be recognizable, even with the make up. That is why I added the make up to her face without the white base, that way her features wouldn't get lost. I also wanted to add little details, like the rosary beads hanging from her arms and a skull pattern on her lace, all this alluring to the Mexican culture and background.
Once Lisa's rendering was finished, it was time to do the sugar skull and the background. This phase goes by much quicker, because the level of detail is not the same as Lisa's. I do this so the definite main focus is her, nothing else. I decided to do a sugar skull only by name, because what I rendered relates more to a ceramic skull. Since this was my first attempt, I wanted to play with forms, with patterns and get more of a feel of the current trends of sugar skull styles. I also wanted something in the dark or even muddy colors (somehow it reminded me of chocolate), so it would go with the feel of the image. Not even the teeth are completely white... which gave me the idea of the gold teeth.
Working on the background was a lot simpler. I wanted something completely out of focus, something a bit of a sketch, even abstract. Also, from the very beginning I knew I wanted to display "papel picado" as part of the background, which is the perforated or "peckered" paper always present in the celebration of Day of the Dead (and other Mexican celebrations). So, I just combined both: a display of papel picado in a semi-sketch form, absent of details. The colors were of the background were dictated by the traditional celebration as well, where bright pinks, greens and other colors are abundant.
And there you have it, that is how I approached my first image of Day of the Dead. Again, I am very happy with the result, and I am already excited for the upcoming years, because there are so many aspects of this celebration that were not included in this illustration. However, if I learned something from my Mexican Independence Day images, where I try to highlight my Mexican roots, is not to try to put every single aspect of the holiday in just one illustration. There are so many beautiful details about Day of the Dead, and I'll just try to cover more and more of them in my artwork, little by little, year after year. And yes, I am excited to do that. :)
Thank you for reading this, and thank you for your support. Please consider becoming a patron of my artwork if you like my work. It's easy and every single contribution helps me enormously. No pledge is too small, even if it's only made once. So please don't feel like you have to give "the big bucks" in order to be a patron. To read more about it, just visit patreon.com/popeyewongart.
Time to go. Don't forget to visit my website popeyewong.com, where you can find everything about me, my social media, my online store, this blog, my newsletter, etc. Have a great weekend and 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.