I feel like I have been putting up a lot of serious stuff lately, so for my Saturday post I want to share a fun drawing I did.
This one started out just sketching an eyeball. When the orb of the eye started filling out it morphed into a beholder.
Like I mentioned in the first Dungeons and Dragons picture I posted, I could not just draw a beholder the same as they have been portrayed by everyone else. So I gave it more pronounced pincers and some tentacles to give it a floaty feel.
One of my friends pointed out that it looked like my beholder was a mutation with another DnD monster called the Eye of the Deep, which is completely fair.
Either way, this drawing is a pen and ink with watercolor brush pens for color on bristol.
Some of my most emotional paintings and drawings have very little and sometimes nothing to do with me. They are expressions of empathy.
Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I am an “empath” or some kind of weird woo woo shit. But I do believe that there is a bit of a collective energy in whatever space you are in.
During the pandemic, I think we all got caught up in a bit of an emotional feedback loop. And it was not overwhelmingly positive.
For me the key to dealing with it was expression. I found ways of burrowing into my mind and channeling whatever I found onto paper. Then end result of that was that I have been as creative in the last year as I have ever been in my life.
The mid range result of that is I created a lot of dark images.
Which brings us to todays work. I saw a lot of people pushed to the breaking point over the last year and that too found its way onto paper…
This piece is done with sharpies, brush pens, and of course a white gel pen.
I have the original and it is for sale for $150.
You can also get a print of “Shattered” in 5×7 or 8×10 at my etsy store.
It was done right around when my father was dying, another relationship that I valued very deeply was falling apart, and another (that persevered) was greatly challenged by all of that suffering.
Like with most of the things I create, I let the feelings come out through my hand.
Artistically this one is different because I don’t do a lot of still life, nor do I do a lot of flowers. I don’t have any negative opinions about either type of painting. I just don’t like doing still life in general, and well I seldom feel like a flower is done justice in my artwork.
I do intend to challenge myself with flowers in the near term, in my personal journey I have learned to see them differently, and I am curious how that will translate through my hand.
That said, todays image is …
This 18×24 oil on canvas board currently hangs in my office. While it could be sold, I would have to be enticed to part with it.
Currently it reminds me how good things are, by reminding me of the darker places I have been.
If you wanted to acquire a print of it, they are available in my Etsy Shop, “Art by TSOTA” in both 5×7 and 8×10.
The next piece I am going to talk about is the one that caused me to rethink selling my artwork.
For years I have had people telling me I should sell some prints, and I have had multiple requests to buy paintings. Since the images I create are primarily about me processing mental hardship or exorcising images from my brain, the idea never really resonated with me.
I want to draw just to draw. Besides, like most creatives I am self critical and don’t think my work is “worthy” of sale. Which is nonsense for all of us. The worst piece of art has more value than any symbol of financial wealth. Self expression may be the only thing humans do that is worthwhile.
Anyway, a while back I decided it was good enough to make some t-shirt designs….if nothing else so I could have tee shirts with stuff I wanted on them. So I made my tee public store Madman Designs.
That experience was enough to get me over the basic hump…and playing with it for a while convinced me I could do this without turning it into a job. Which is still true, so far.
Then I was talking to one of my working artist friends about a large project I want to do, and talking about the ‘how to’ of taking it on. He gave me a lot of good advice during that conversation, and part of that advice was that with my drawing style, gouache may be a good medium for me. This was especially true since gouache has unique finish that is well suited to that project.
I had never even heard of gouache, but valuing his judgement I looked into it and became interested in trying it.
So I decided to do a painting in the style of the larger project with gouache.
That painting is…
Imperturbable is my attempt to mimic the style of Ukiyo-E wood block prints.
This one in particular is of a Buddhist monk, holding the jewel of enlightenment in meditation and being unfazed by the storms of life, represented by a red dragon swirling around him. Important symbolism in this image is the fact that the dragon is looking past him, as for all the chaos he creates, the dragon has no ill intent towards the monk, the two simply exist in the same space.
All thoughts worthy of spending time thinking about, in my opinion.
I intend to do many more pieces in this style, and I hope that all of them capture my vision as well as this one did.
The original of this is an 18×24 gouache painting on 300 g watercolor paper, and is for sale for $350 plus shipping for whatever method we settle on.
If you would like a print of “Imperturbable”, it is available through my etsy page, in both 5×7 and 8×10. You can also contact me directly for an 13×19 version, that I haven’t worked out how I want to ship it yet.
It is very fitting that this was the first print I have ever sold as this work is personally representative of a new beginning for me in more than ‘just’ art.
The drawing I am posting about today is a true pen and ink, done as a full on black and white.
This is a style that I struggle with, but have always wanted to improve at (more than I was willing to work at it or I would have haha).
It also harkens back to my love of comic strips and especially the drawings of R Crumb whom I was trying really hard to channel while drawing this.
This drawing also dives head first into my exploration of old religions (a constant theme in my art), paganism, and everyone’s favorite, Pan.
It doesn’t matter if you call him Pan, Cernunnos, the Green Man, the Horned God, or Lord of the Wilds; he was of great importance to European culture before the Rise of Rome and then Christianity which of course destroyed and rooted out that culture like it has every other one it has encountered.
At any rate historical geopolitics and religious wars aside, Pan makes an interesting subject, especially when drawing in a woodland bacchanalia with a bunch of naked nymphs dancing around him.
The original of this piece belongs to a dear friend of mine and is no for sale.
Its theme is pretty simple. It is all about feeling like everything about you is being exposed to scrutiny. It doesn’t matter if you are innocent of what is being looked for or not. That invasiveness feels like a spot light.
Or at least it does to me.
The good side of that feeling is it generated an oil painting that I still like and am proud of.
Exposed to the light is an oil on a 20×24 canvas board. I still have the original and would sell it.
Today I am going to talk about a more recent piece I did called Momentum Parvum. (Latin for a small moment)
This drawing is in the Stoic tradition of a Memento Mori which is a reminder that you will die. The purpose of this reminder is to inspire you to not waste a single moment, and to live your life to the fullest.
This image was done using a variety of markers and watercolor brush pens on an 18×24 canvas board.
The original is hanging in my sons room (and introducing this philosophy to him through his attraction to morbid art pleases me immensely) and I don’t believe it is for sale… although it is his, so who knows.
Either way, I have made prints of this painting available at my etsy store in either 8×10 or 5×7.
If you would like to purchase a print, or check out other prints for sale, the shop is named ArtByTSOTA at Etsy.
One of the many attributes you will notice my work bears is that a lot of times it is very cartoony. The reason for that is simple. I love comic strips.
I love the way they look.
I love their social commentary.
I love the personality of the artists that comes through in them.
And I wish it wasn’t a dying art form. (thanks memes, way to kill your parents)
That said, the Sunday funny pages…and the weeklies, along with MAD magazine and Cracked, and comics like Groo the Wanderer; were my first muse and the first things I learned to draw. Everything I do is rooted in simple rounded shapes just like the artists in those sources.
Which brings me to the drawing I am gonna put up today.
“Socializing?” is a pen and ink piece I did after sitting in a bar and noticing that no one looked up from their phones…and this was back in 2009.
You will notice how dated it is by the fact that very few people have full screen phones. Most of them look like blackberries or the old text style phones.
At any rate, this is some of the kinds of stuff that will appear here.
If you have looked around this blog, and you don’t already know me; you have probably wondered what TSOTA means. Well it is an acronym for The Sickest of them ALL.
Like most nicknames it wasn’t chosen by me, but I didn’t shy from it either.
As for the origin, while I generally know the sources, I don’t know the specifics…because they never told me. I do know that it had something to do with the fact that I find a lot of things that other people are grossed out or offended by to be humorous…and because I am a paranoid freak I assume that it wasn’t entirely a compliment. It is not a problem, because I do know myself and frankly I am very comfortable in my weirdo skin. It is when I am in my “stupid human suit” (Still love Donnie Darko, watch it if you haven’t) that I am least comfortable…but I can wear it to make the interactions necessary to live a productive life.
That said, if I keep doing this and you continue to explore my art, you will absolutely find that I live up to the name.
The example of that I am sharing today is entitled “Still would”.
Still would is water based brush pens on bristol. It is not for sale because unfortunately it is on the back of another piece (don’t ask how I managed that), that is very important to its owner. Of course if there is demand, I can arrange to have prints made and I may do that just to get this one out there.
For those of you looking at this and asking “why?”, because its funny.
So like every other nerd who likes to draw, enjoys fantasy writing, and has been known to roll a 20 sided die to see how well I performed a common action…
I will occasionally draw a Dungeons and Dragons monster or scene.
Because I do not have the talent that a real artist friend of mine refers to as “being a human xerox machine”, I do not typically even try to copy images from the Monster Manual or whatever cool compendium the kids are using these days. No, I take ideas from those, with a pinch of what I have come across in fiction, and a dash of the crazy shit that bounces around my brain and make them my own.
The image in that space that I am sharing today is a great example of that.
A great example of this is the drider. For the uninitiated, Driders are Drow elves who serve the Goddess Lolth (Demon queen of spiders). These Drow failed a test of faith to her and were transformed into half spider/half drow elves as punishment.
They are feared and hated by the drow and live solitary lives and are magical menaces that your dungeon master may torment you with anytime you spend a lengthy period in caves or dark forests.
At any rate, what makes them a good example of my bastardization of DnD monster drawings, is that they are almost always drawn as all black with white hair, with armor, and elven facial features.
I had to ditch the all black for two reasons. First, I suck at monochromatic shading. So I avoid it whenever I can. Working on improvement in the background, but I catch myself adding color to things all the time to avoid ruining an image I like. Second, spiders always have some color to them, and the cooler ones are usually super colorful. So I kept it dark, but it needed some color.
I ditched the armor because it wouldn’t fit right and frankly I think it is funny to sexualize gross and scary things. Exposing the tits on an evil and magical spider elf is totally on brand for me.
As for the facial features, elves and drow both are usually portrayed as elegant and beautiful creatures. I figure if Lolth is going to punish a drow with this level of disfigurement, she would go whole hog and give them a spider face. So I went with that.
This was done with water based brush pens, a white gel pen and it is on 9×12 bristol. I have entertained printing this for sale, but it is not going to be in the ARTbyTSOTA etsy shops grand opening. The original, like all things is for sale.