What I Paint

front page banner 2

I paint dark and “heavy” scenes, usually (always) revolving around the fantasy world in my writings. I have little interest in painting anything else. As for subject, I enjoy the human figure most of all (particularly male), and I usually want my paintings to tell a story or convey a scene. You’ll see a lot of elves—especially one particular, named Wikshen, who has blue hair. He is officially my favorite subject to paint. Though, I will paint other things as the need arises.

As you look around the “Art Gallery” section you’ll see, generally, the kind of art I produce. I have an interest in “old style” nude art, like you’d see in paintings from the Renaissance. I’ll leave it up you to decide if the images are “safe for work.”

My Influences

I’m influenced by the old masters, especially from the late Medieval and Dutch Baroque periods. You’ll see this easily in my paintings. My favorite painters are especially: Hieronymus Bosch, Jan Van Eyck, Jan Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Peter Paul Rubens.

Like how the paintings of old often depicted scenes both mythological and domestic, I aim to do the same in service of my own stories.

History / Training

I’ve been interested in art from a very young age when I would look at old paintings in books and think to myself, “Oil paint is the way to make something look real.” I’ve always wanted to make fictional images look real and haven’t strayed off that course. I’ve honed my skill as best as I could and continue to learn new tricks today.

I was home schooled from the age of 13. By that time, it was clear that art was probably going to be my “thing.” So my mom made sure that my study regimen included watching art documentaries, checking art books out at the library, trips to the museums, and I had an artist-neighbor who got me started with acrylic painting. Getting my feet wet with acrylic eliminated any fear or hesitation to go out and buy oil paints just to try them out. Oil was the one that stuck. To this day I love the very smell of it.

I entered college without any real plan for what I wanted to do as a career. All I knew was that I wanted to be a better artist. So I took all the art classes available. I took Drawing 3 (figure drawing) three times, just for the practice! My teacher let me use paint on the third go-around. After four years of dense art classes (and some other stuff too), I left college to pursue my dream of creating fantasy novels. By then I was equipped with the tools I needed to make the products this website is devoted to: books.

Favorite Media

Besides oil paint, my other favorite medium is woodblock printing. This consists of carving a relief image into a block of wood, rolling printing ink onto the image, and then pressing it to paper—like a stamp. They used this technique in Medieval Europe, Japan, and many other places. I like the imperfect, cartoon-like quality of old European prints and aim to emulate that look in my prints.

(5/27/2019) I recently made the decision to carve my books’ illustrations out of linoleum. I would’ve loved to use wood blocks, but alas, wood is difficult and slow to carve. To preserve my aging hands and also complete each piece in better time, I’ve switched my plan to using linocuts in the books. But that’s not to say you won’t find additional woodblock prints available in my Etsy store for the fun of it!

Other than that, I’m always open to trying new media and seeing what sticks. I also enjoy collecting Asian ball-jointed dolls, which are highly customizable, and these days I’m dabbling in hand-drawn animation and graphic design.

My Art Process

My process is neither cheap nor quick. In one aspect there are two kinds of artists: those who do quick impromptu art, and those who plan it out and do a lot of prep work. I’m the second type. I never have to deal with the “blank canvas dilemma” in which an artist is staring at the canvas and doesn’t know what to paint. I always know what I’m going to paint ahead of time and then it takes lots of money and muscle to get to the painting part. My ideas come from whims and inspiration, usually triggered by music or by writing. I once wrote a scene in a book that I liked so much, I thought, “I have to paint this!” The painting that followed is my current favorite, titled Wikshen’s Deathly Sleep.

When I get an idea for a painting (and I’m blessed to have a healthy flow of them), I get online and start looking for references. Most of the time I buy nude poses from a modeling website. I’ll also find photos of landscapes and stone textures etc. to help with details in the painting. Sometimes I take photos of myself posing for reference. I load all my reference photos onto my tablet (an invaluable tool for my art process!) and start drawing thumbnails for composition purposes. I don’t do very highly detailed pre-drawings. Next I stretch my own canvas. Making my own canvas gives me the most freedom to choose the perfect dimension, and I don’t have to settle for what the art store has. Making my own also allows me to use high-quality materials, because the prestretched ones are usually junk. After stretching, I apply 2-3 coats of oil based ground to the canvas. After taking a whole week to let the canvas dry, it’s time to start painting. I follow my plan and the painting is usually finished in about 40 hours. That’s how I paint.

If you’re interested in watching me in action, please subscribe to my Youtube channel. Click here to go to my Youtube channel!