This week I’ve finally finished everything for a project that I’ve been working on. It’s my first print-on-demand magazine style collection of some of my art. My Painted Lady and Swirl World pieces. Except I can’t seem to finish the written introduction. The digital books that I recently made were a mixture of art and writing but this one is all art. That made me think I need some sort of writing at the beginning to explain things. Makes sense. Most art books have introductions. Much as I’ve tried I couldn’t seem to get it started though. I don’t know why. I often seem to have problems stating a writing project. I have no problems writing my weekly post for here though. That is such an ingrained habit that it doesn’t need any special effort. Just regular effort. It’s not always easy but at least it’s familiar. So I decided to combine the two tasks and see if I could come up with an intro here. After all I often write about my art here. So here we go with the intro.

Artists have habits. Ways of doing things. From the way a pencil is held to how to stand, or sit, while working. Artist also have themes. Subjects they like to work with. Visuals that appeal to them so they come back to them over and over. Landscapes, monsters, the human figure, architecture, faces, t-shirts, and comic book covers are some of the subjects that I come back to again and again.

I get caught up in a them. If making one faux comic book cover is fun than making six of them is even more fun. It turns a piece into a series. That puts the original piece in a new context. There is also fun in looking at them all together when they’re done. Mind you it’s not a lot of fun to do six times the work in order to make a series but that’s what it takes. Exploring variations on a theme always takes more work that a one off image.

I make plenty of single images too because coming up with new imagery is one of the things I like to do but one working with a imagery theme imagery can be habit forming. Each new picture puts the others in a new light. Number one becomes a different thing when there is also a number two and number three and by the time a number ten rolls around there is a whole new context to the series. I like changing contexts.

Another of the things I like to do is to draw on bodies. As I am a fan of drawing weird faces it all started out there. I’d draw faces with exaggerated features but I’d reach the limits of exaggeration. Still I would want to make the faces even stranger. would often do such things as draw one of the eyes to look “realistic” eye but with the second eye I’d draw a series of flat circles and lines done in a “design-y” fashion to suggest an eye. From there it was natural that I began to expand that “design-y-ness” to the rest of the face. Faces got black bars, circles, and triangles on them. I was decorating them.

The next logical step was to move those markings from the face to the rest of the body. When I first starting drawing what I now call my “Marked Women” it took a long time to complete one. I would work with layers of paper. First I would draw the basic figure on one piece of paper and after that I would draw the black markings on another piece of paper. Then I even added two more steps. I would draw where the darks and highlights of color would go on yet a third piece of paper. I would then put them all together digitally and color the whole piece on the computer. It was a overly long process and frustrated me quite a bit. I completed a number of prints with this method but then it lay fallow for quite a while. It wasn’t until a few years later that I picked up the technique again.

Another of my techniques is to make women’s breasts into swirls. I’m not sure where or why I picked this up but I don’t think it’s terribly uncommon. I would add swirls into a general drawing of a female figure every now and again but it was a while before I made a drawing about the swirls. As a matter of fact I first made paintings about the swirls. It was about ten years ago that I made a series of a half a dozen eight by ten inch acrylic on canvas paintings that involved many of the same drawings as my “Swirl World” images you see here. I thought the paintings were okay but they didn’t thrill me. I stopped the series. Yet, a few months ago, I remembered the drawings and wanted to see if I could bring them in a different direction.

By this time I had been making my “Covers to Comic Books that Don’t Exist” series for years. Those are faux comic book covers where I make up a series name, logo, and trade dress and then draw and ink a comic book cover. I came up with the “Painted Lady” series and had drawn a few covers by then but had since left it alone. I picked up the idea a few years ago and by that time all my experience with drawing on female figures made the process a lot faster and I no longer needed all the layers of paper. For the “Painted Lady” series I drew out the figure by itself and then drew on all the markings. I did the same with the “Swirl World” figures except I left the color darks and highlights to be done totally on the computer. By this time I knew what to put in and leave out. That is totally what was missing at the beginning of my Marked Women drawings. Now I have it down better.

So there you have a little look into the origins and processes of this series of drawings that I have to present. A little glimpse inside my head as I made these. I hope you have some fun looking at them.

And here is the link to the book on Blurb”