An Artist’s Journey 

 

Part 3

Because it’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.

XT Logo 07062013

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.

New Logo Small Image 02052017

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.

An Artist’s Journey

Part 2

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”

 

 

An Artist’s Journey

I’m trying a different direction with the posts I will be putting here. This and the following posts under this title will share parts of my world. What helped to create the artist in me? Why am I driven to create? What has influenced and inspired me to do these things? What do I like to create?

As an artist, it’s important that my work find you guys and others like you. I want to share the things I imagine with everyone. There are so many people, places and things to show you.

But before that I should do a better job of introducing myself and sharing why this is such an important thing. My name is Richard Thaxton. In my Bio I explain about the reason why I chose the name XT Illos. The oldest being that an “X” was the way most people who couldn’t read or write would mark their signature.

Due to differing processes in training kids to read early on in school, many of my classmates and myself did not learn how to read properly. The new pilot program was not continued when we were transferred back to our original group the next year. This is where my choice to express myself visually took roots and grew. Even though I took an advance placement test in middle school and scored 11th to College level, I struggled with reading a lot all the way through high school. In the first quarter of college I taught myself to read.

I’ve been drawing for a long time. As a kid, I would try to reproduce small images of art that came in catalogs into larger pencil and colored pencil drawings. I got pretty good at catching the details. My favorites were the old tall sailing ships, pirate ships and different animals.

I was and still am a avid cartoon junkie which of course includes anime! Those and the live action dramas would keep me glued to the TV on Saturday mornings or the theater, when we could go. Many films about great works really mesmerized me. Some of my early favorites were Kimba the White Lion, Ultraman, Speed Racer, King Kong, Godzilla, Star Trek, Tarzan, the Seven Voyages of Sinbad, the Land That Time Forgot, Dracula, Frankenstein, the Mummy and the Wolfman.

There was lots of influences all around. there was lots of primers for the creativity to start flowing in my imagination. One day in high school a friend shared a book with me that really set things into motion. It was by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the John Carter series A Princess of Mars. This story and the artworks by Boris Vallejo and Frank Frazetta was the final push. I was enchanted and felt driven to learn how to tell stories with my art.

It’s been a long road from then until I could properly relate what I was seeing in my imagination. Lots of frustrating attempts in the beginning. As I would practice and study the things I was attempting to create I began to pick up more details. I took art in middle and high school. I also took classes in college for art both fine and commercial. One day I decided to give story illustration a try but that’s a story next time.

I don’t have any examples of my old work because of them being lost in a storage fire. I will drop in older pencil sketches, design processes and finished art that has not been seen since most of them were published.

“Wack” 16in x 20in Oil on Illo Board 1995

 

Relative Perspective WIP Update 5

For Update #5 it looks like it’s back to the drawing board, again. I’ve sought advice from some fellow Illustrators on my work. The response was clear and definite. Great advice and constructive critiques that I plan to implement or at least work on developing. So this means revamping the project, again. If you would like to comment on my work please do. I am on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/xt.illos / Instagram at http://www.instagram.com/xtillos/ or you can email me at Richard.Thaxton@xtillos.com. Here is the last view of this version. The next time we see this project it will be with the new techniques.

Relative Perspective WIP Mountain Range 05172017.jpg

Relative Perspective WIP Update 4

Below is the current update on this project. I’ve reworked these mountains 4 different times since first creating them. It’s finally starting to come together. The funny thing is, with all the work going into this part, it will be quite small and part of the background. Still, since the project is to develop my technique and work on details, it will be worth it in the end.

Relative Perspective WIP Mountain Range 04082017.jpg

Illo Journal Project Update #7

Ba’anta is divided basically into these regions:

The Tuac Mountains are to the northwest. Betkur is the river running from north to south through this region. The D’tir River crosses from east to west in the northern section. Lake Nor sits atop Mount Kar and flows down the mountain to the southwest. Lake Kir branches off the Betkur River to the north of the lake and returns south of the lake. The Moru River runs from the Betkur southwest to the Odi Ocean bordering the southern end of the Tuac Range.

Detral is a low valley region east of the Tuac Mountains. There is the small Mek Range in the northwest corner. East of this range is the Bol Forrest that reaches to the Umbur Ocean. The River Trel runs from north to south and divides the continent. To the east is the Great Sudr Lake, which flows west as the Tomal River, south as the Bez River and east as the Vor River.

The Sul’r Island are off the west coast of Ba’anta. Mount Tel sits in the southwest corner of the continent. It’s bordered by the Moru River to the north and the Betkur River to the east. the Tem Plains are to the east of the Betkur and is bordered by the southern River Trel. The Nir Forrest reaches from the River Trel to the Bez River. It is bordered by the Kauld Sea to the south. The Fra Plateau is in the southeast corner of the continent. Lake Eir flows from the top of the plateau southeast as the Ul River and Falls to the Umbur Ocean.

More details to come as we delve into each region.

20160704_165734 a.jpg