Yes... I'm baaaaaaaaaaaaaack! Wow, it feels like I haven't written a blog entry in ages. Well, to be honest, it feels like I haven't done anything at all in ages. I'm just stepping out of my hibernation phase, and by that I mean my yearly December break, when I take time to step away from work and spend time with family. It is a great time, no doubt about it, but I would be lying if I told you that switching back to work mode from hibernation mode is a quick process (I can't believe it's already the middle of January!). And it's not because I don't feel like working, but pretty much the opposite: there are so many things to do, so many projects to tackle, that I don't know where to start. I want to do everything at once!
OK, as you might already know (if you're following my work), I don't write as much blog entries as I did in the past. Last year I replaced my weekly writing with quickly sketches and some videos... and the occasional writing. However, since I'm basically starting this year (at least work wise), I wanted to kick off with a new blog entry. So, here I am!
Therefore, since we're starting 2018, let me talk about what I did in 2017. It was an awesome year for my artwork. I pushed the envelope a bit more than usual, and not only in the technical aspect (my style, my technique, etc.), but also on networking. My main goal was (and still is), to broaden my horizon regarding what I can do with my artwork and that's exactly what I did.
The direction I took in my networking was definitely aimed to the adult industry, which is where I feel my artwork fits in a more natural way (not to mention that it is where I feel most comfortable). I got to meet and/or connect with a lot of great people that in one way or another are part of the adult business. Furthermore, I didn't only make contacts within the adult industry in United States, but in Mexico as well. I am proud to see how this industry has grown in Mexico, and I'll try to do my little part to support it.
2017 is the year when I started doing weekly quick sketches, featuring a different model on each one. This allowed me to cover a larger number of models in a shorter period of time. Plus, in more than one occasion, these quick sketches worked as a form of study, before doing a full rendered pin-up of the model that I previously sketched. It's all about fun, it's all about the artwork. :)
2017 is also the year when I started to upload videos to my YouTube page in a more regular basis. My series of "Tribute to a muse" aim to share a bit of my color rendering process; similarly, my "Sketching a muse" series show my actual process of doing the quick sketches that I mentioned previously. If you haven't visited my YouTube page, please check it out: youtube.popeyewong.com
2017 was also the year when I saw my number of patrons at Patreon grow. I'm still at a very modest number, but I am truly grateful for what I receive from each of one them. One of my top priorities for this year is to make this number grow considerably, and I already have a few plans aimed in that direction. By the way, if you are not my patron yet, please consider becoming one. Check out how it works at patreon.com/popeyewongart
As I mentioned before, 2017 is the year where I pushed the envelope regarding my artwork, more than I usually do. This is more evident in my traditional yearly illustrations: Mexican Independence Day (two images in 2017), Halloween, Day of the Dead, Xmas and New Year's (Valentine's for this year is coming soon). I am very proud of how these images turned out, it gives me the confidence to keep trying new styles, new ideas. Sometimes it is a bit hard to work in a new way, stepping out of my comfort zone, but that's what makes all this process so fun.
Last and absolutely not least, 2017 also allowed me to become an uncle for the first time, it brought my dear niece to my life. And, even though that note is not related to my artwork, I mention it because: 1) I wanted to brag about my new niece :) and 2) it turns out this note is indeed related to my artwork. See, my niece was born in France, which gave me the ideal reason to travel to Europe for the first time (I obviously had to go see her). Once in Europe, I was presented with the opportunity to meet with not one, but two models and dear friends of mine, who have been a huge part of my artwork for the last ten years. Needless to say, that trip to Europe made 2017 a very special year.
So... what's next? I can't say exactly, but I know something for sure: 2018 has to top 2017. And seeing what I did in 2017, it really won't be an easy task, it will require a lot of work and dedication. But, as I said before: isn't that the fun part of all this? :) Thanks again for all your support, and cheers for a great 2018. See you next time!
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.