December 16, 2009


As artists we must always be willing to face challenges in exploring our medium and our styles. As illustrators we must have a library of visual vocabulary, to be able to create any recognizable symbol at whim.

Analyzing our art is always a great hardship that we must continuously think about, else we fall to traps of false safety. Currently, I'm working on an illustration for the Fix'it Bros. series, where I'm exploring elements of nature in my style. I haven't done much with plants, water, weather, and so I want to experiment and learn what I can from doing this illustration.

After I came up with my thumb, I started wondering about mood and environment. What weaknesses can I work on while I do this piece? how can I experiment within my style while still having everything work? My friend once remarked about how experimenting was for school, while being professional, experimentation should stop so that your style is set as a product. I argued that this was like trying to stop growing at adolescence. (atleast that's the cool analogy i thought up later)

True mastery of style means that you must know how to do everything in that style, that you can see and think in that style. And though my recent pieces have all been in this style, I still think I'm learning and growing.

Just got Ragnar's Big City. Its huge, and the art inside is beautiful. I've found him a bit late, but his work is inspiring none the less. I want to bring different styles to fantasy art, and this guy is doing it big time. RAGNAR!!

My piece shipped back from the spectrum show in NY. It was the first time I've ever shipped a framed piece to a gallery. Here's the diagram that Chuck emailed me to make a cheap 'art safe' for the piece.

it was pretty fun making the box, I learned a lot about how to compromise with over-estimated measurements!

What an honor to share the walls with the legends...
Thank you to Cathy Fenner, Arnie Fenner, Irene Gallo, Gregory Manchess, and Arkady Roytman.

also! congrats to Ed and Monico! they got into the latest spectrum! have them sign your copy!


Mónico Chávez said...

Thanks for the call out. Haha. =)

I think talking about style is an interesting subject. Ben Jelter and I were talking about this the other day when he was working on a project that he wanted to have a more flat/patterned look. Even though he was consciously thinking about that when painting the piece, his natural inclination to add dimension to the majority of his work really came through. The piece was muddled as a result, and had to be reworked some. But the piece really required that flatter look to have the impact it needed. Getting set in one style, mastery of a style to an extreme, limits your expression, I think. That experimentation is really important and useful.

I think the style that you master shouldn't be one that you consciously think about at all really, but the one that comes naturally after actively trying things that don't come easily, that aren't the way you naturally draw. I don't need to know how to draw a futuristic bicycle in my style because however I draw it without thinking too much is how it's drawn, and you can focus on the other things that are important.

I don't know. I'm just writing things. I always like talking to ya about style. haha.

BLG!!! Hahaha.

Frank said...

you can make links in the comments section?! holy cow!

True, style should come naturally. There is the sense of 'I can do no wrong, because if i do it, it must be in my style', but you gotta do it first till it makes sense in your mind before you can catalog it as 'this is how i do this'. There still needs to be thinking in how i handle this element, does it truely fit in, and is it to my liking/taste. haha, from drawing things that are difficult requires a massive amount of thinking!!! I guess you mean the thinking is all done there at that point, rather than later.

Its funny that floundering through my first years of art school led me back to a style that I used to do as a kid. Cutting out clean shapes in construction paper and making paper figures ( i don't want to say dolls, plus i never "played" with them). Maybe I'll post those up when i get the chance. gotta dig to find those....

I think that you only reach mastery when you can no longer truly experiment and continue your thinking in that style. But by then, and i think it's hard to reach that point, perhaps it's time to move on to a new style. I've always loved the idea that you can always combine styles in new and amazing ways to create another brand new style. I think the point to my post is that your mind has to keep moving.

Mark Simmons said...

I'm a little out of my depth where this topic is concerned; compared to you guys, I have more of a "no-style" style, and I don't really spend a lot of time thinking about it when I'm working. If I have a particular style or artist in mind at the time, perhaps it'll nudge me slightly in that direction, but perhaps that leads to the kind of "muddling" that Monico mentions.

It's interesting, though, that so many artists (like you, Frank!) use one style for their finished works and another, completely different style for their sketches. My dream Frank Lin project would be an illustrated novel with both full-page color illos and black-and-white spot art, so people can admire your exquisite doodling technique.

But mostly, I just wanted to say it's nice to hear what you've been up to lately. Congrats and good luck!