I felt an update has been long overdue. I’ll start with this. It’s been a few weeks since my mom passed. Earlier that week I found out that my dad has cancer in his lungs and lymph nodes. Smoking cigars is what brought this on. He started his first of 3 rounds of chemo and radiation last week.They had been divorced for more years than they were married. My dad had remarried. My mom didn’t.
I credit Edgar Rice Burroughs for instigating my desire to create fantasy art. Long before this my dad introduced me to his hero’s. The stories about Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon, Hop Along Cassidy, Lash LaRue and the Lone Ranger are his favorites. We would watch the reruns on tv. We would catch Star Trek, Superman, Batman, the Green Hornet, the 6 Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman. Favorite Saturday morning cartoons were Hercules, the Roadrunner, Speed Racer and Astro Boy. My brothers and I learned to love these great stories.
I get creativity from both sides of my family but the stories of the fantastic come from my dad. His side also gives me musical abilities which my daughter gets to explore in college and maybe even a career. We get more than our last name from my dad. As I mentioned it an early post, he made us the first generation in our line to pell out name as Thaxton. Another interesting thing is how much he wanted me to go into the sign business. Funny thing is that illustrating is somewhat like designing signs. You help others visualize a concept in both.
Thanks, Pops, opening this fantastic world for me,
I’ve had a lot going on, lately. With work and my art, its been tough to squeeze out time to create. My daughter and I began our yearly adventure at Dragon Con.
Friday night after I got off work we went to pick up our badges with a close friend of hers. After getting the badges we decided for them to checkout a K-Pop event. My phone has been giving me problems lately. The map wouldn’t function and I was getting calls that either wouldn’t open, wouldn’t connect, drop calls or failed messages.
When I got a better signal my wife was able to get a message through. Someone was knocking at our door at home but it was late and she didn’t want to answer while she was by herself. Shortly after another couple of messages came through.
The last one was telling me that my Mom had died. We left immediately.It was so hard to keep it together all the way back home. I waited to tell my wife and daughter until we were home together.
It was very difficult to keep everything together. We were able to get to her house and see her before they took her. Her health hasn’t been good but this was a shock for us all.
The thing is we were going to visit on Monday to talk to her about my father recently developing lung cancer. This has been the hardest week of my life.
This is one of Ma’s proudest moments. In 1983, when I graduated high school, Ma also graduated with her GED.
I thought I would update you guys on my current status on my projects. Before that I wanted to ask a question of you:
When you don’t have your materials redily available, what do you do about creating?
My position on this will be explained within this post.
Here I am working on a very long term project, “Relative Perspective”. (I plan to share the whole journey once it is finally finished.) I’m having breakthrough after breakthrough and making good progress, for this project. I find myself delayed, again. It’s not from any issues with the work.
As I have mentioned before, having a portable art tool has been a liberating benefit. My daughter is enjoying the benefits with her school work. Because she has assignments due, the tablet is spending time with her this weekend, again.
Luckily I have traditional work to continue. I was able to get some sketching done last night. I plan to bring that journal with me out today so that I’m making progress. As much as I hate multitasking and it’s horrible side effect, symptoms of procrastination, at least one of the projects waiting in the cue gets attention, today.
I’ll have to remember my mindset when I can resume “Relative Perspective”. I hope my daughter does great! I’ll keep plugging away on the other work.
So, to update on the IPad Pro tablet with Procreate. I’m enjoying the freedom to take my work anywhere and be able to work immediately on a project. It’s a very useful tool, especially that I can create right on the screen!
It’s so beneficial that my daughter is finding great uses for it! She had not fully adopted it, yet. I’m glad that we got it and it is helpful to her, too. I’ll get to working on my project when I can. Until then my daughter is working away with it!
I thought I would ask you what’s happening in your world. Aside from the recent holidays, what events are influencing you? Is there great positive things going on? Maybe it’s not so positive. It’s ok, you’re welcome to share that, too.
Many of my friends are gearing up for this year’s convention circuit. Either submitting work, getting notifications of their submissions or preparing for an upcoming convention.
Some of my friends are dealing with tough life events. Physical or emotional pain has entered their lives. Stress in dealing with these situations, trying to erode their peace of mind.
For myself, it’s a mixed bag. For the negative side, problems from a old injury have come back on me. Sometimes there’s pain for days, even weeks. My real world paying job is affected because of this. I’m stressing over where my future is going. What about my family? How will I continue to be able to support them? Will I return to having constant pain? How much this is triggering my blood pressure and depression. A lot of heavy things.
On the positive side I’ve celebrated 20 years of happily married life with my wife! Both her and our daughter are my whole world! I’ll be turning 54 soon. I’m reworking a piece of fantasy art that was started as a pencil sketch in ’96. I’ve posted progress photos of it before here, “Relative Perspective”. I’ll post updates of it later.
Here are some photos from before:
I hope all is well with you and your world is great! If it’s not, I hope you find a way to get peace and balance. May the right side always win.
Happy New Year to everyone! I hope you’re enjoying your holidays! Hopefully you have plans for something great this year!
I’ve got a new project that will need your help! More about how that will work in the upcoming posts! I hope to roll parts of it out in stages this year. I’ve been sneaking out images of the plan, recently. It’s focused around the fantasy self-portraits I posted before and some creature drawings. Like this Lupine-Naga:
For now, here’s to many great things for you in this New Year!
Hi all! I’ve not been posting as often as I would like. I feel that I need to share with you whats going on. I’ve purposefully kept personal things out of my work. While they affect the outcome, I was always told to keep things professional. I’ve realized it is not really possible to separate these things. all of it goes into creating. It’s part of the emotional influences. We create from our heart more than anything.
I’ve had problems with my health for a while. for the most part nothing so life threatening. Just things to make some days more difficult. lately there has been more of the difficult days. This has caused problem with my day job because of having to be out so much lately. Being able to pay the bills is important to me. My family is my highest priority.
To depend on my greatest skill for support is my ultimate goal. I love creating images for stories. To show people the things I see is a great ability. I look forward to doing this forever or at least as long as I can. I guess to be able to do this and survive, I need to find an audience that will buy my work.
What I guess I would ask of you is to please share my work. If you would like to purchase my work, prints or commission something please contact me to discuss arrangements at firstname.lastname@example.org.
May we have many more fantastic adventures in the future.
Becauseit’s been a part of my art for most of my life it seem like a good time to explain my signature and current web name.
XT comes from my family name, Thaxton. My father’s name was Thackston until he went into the Air Force. His original documents were burned in a courthouse fire. So when he got new documents he changed the “cks” to “x”. So my brothers and I were the first generation of Thaxton in our family.
When I was a kid, learning about art history, I found out about signet rings that was used to stamp the wax sealed communications. I was very intrigued by the double signet. I played with different forms until I figured out a modified cursive lowercase “xt”. When it is flipped over the “Rt” is there.
Long before created anything, I started incorporating this signature in my work. Many times it would be hidden in the work. I’ve used this with almost everything that I’ve created. If you happen to have one of my older pieces let me know if you found the hidden signature.
I got a chance to play with jewelry making while I was in Merchant Marine training. Because I was able to test out of math class, I got to take a couple of electives. In the jewelry class I got the chance to finally create my signet ring. This has been used to put my maker’s mark on 3D that I’ve made.
XT Illos is my current web name for the illustration work that I’m creating. Fantasy Art is my favorite genre. I also create logos and tattoo designs under XT Illos.
Continuing on my experiences as an artist. I found it difficult to figure out where I fit as an artist after school. I took odd jobs like sign painting, portrait drawing, cake decorating and upholstery repair. I even tried making leather clothing and lingerie. Because I could make almost anything, I tried everything I could think of to get work.
School didn’t really help me develop my direction or focus. It was sort of left up to us to decide. But to be fair I didn’t complete the course at either school. I had to leave SCAD because of finances. Between schools I had a life ending event that I was lucky enough to survive but not unscathed. I was about two quarters away from finishing at AIA. Then the place I worked shut down so finances again. I did pick up some good fundamentals from both. I still use parts of them today.
I was going through Scavenger’s News letter and found the SPWAO. I was able to stay busy working with various small press publishers for about four years. At times the deadlines were really close. Mainly because I had built a good professional relationship with the publishers. They could trust that I could deliver my projects and last minute assignments where other artists fell through. I even placed “Honorable Mention” in the L. Ron Hubbard’s Illustrators of the Future Contest. Finances became my down fall again. This time because the small press didn’t really. I burned through my savings in about five years and was forced to go back to the only paying work which had nothing to do with art at all.
In the next installment I will describe the small press experiences.
This is the pencil sketches, digital design and final digital version of “Hel’s Winter Harvest”