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

 

Possible Project BuildingĀ 

I’ve been taking some sessions on crowd funding. I have a project that I’ve wanted to do for a while. It involves gargoyles, sort of. I’ve been working on a few sketches. This is the latest one. It’s a modified turkey vulture skull that I drew.

It will go along with these two sketches  I posted previously.

The other sketch I’m still working on. I’ll add it here once it’s done. I hope everyone’s day has been fantastic! 

W. I. P. – Illustrating Studies #1

I’ve been building a set of studies for a new illustration project. I felt it was be good to share my results here with you. It all started with the self portrait/fantasy portrait sketches I posted recently. I’ll post them again here:

First Contact No Text.jpg

The end goal is the upcoming project that they will be appearing in.

Its all part of the study I’ve been working on to better refine my illustrating techniques.

Here is an example of a marble study that I’m researching:

Marble Study 1.jpg

(Marble sample is from Pinterest and saved there by forevermarble.com)

I’ll add more examples as I’m developing each part of the project. Now it’s time to get back to work creating!

Dragon Con 2017

Dragon Con was as huge and great as ever this year! My daughter and I have been attending for about six years now. We were able to go late on Friday and caught a panel after getting our badges. Then to a photo shoot.

On Saturday we missed the entire parade, this time. Well except for the last ambulance. This was due to getting a late start and arriving after the streets were blocked off for the parade. Usually we get there an hour to an hour and a half before so that we can get into our favorite parking lot and get breakfast.

We did keep things simpler this time. We did the one panel, a couple of photo shoots, visiting and supporting artists at the Art Show, Artist Alley and the Vendor Halls. On Sunday we had breakfast at Metro Cafe Diner our go to place every year.

Over all things seemed easier to find and access for the most part. The only major setback was the traffic into and throughout the vendor halls. This was due to the expansion of vendors into the same footprint as last year and the increase of attendees over last year. The volunteers did a good job reacting to the traffic outside the vendor halls coming into the building.

Fantasy Self Portrait Study

To continue my study in bringing more realism into my work, I’ve created a fantasy self portrait. Since there is a deviation in the color and shading from the Manga Studio image and the finished image, the actual shading appears darker and the contrasting colors of blue in the shading and orange in the highlights (especially in image 6) does not show up.

Fantasy Self Portrait Progression Study 07242017.jpg

  1. Photo reference of myself.
  2. Tracing from the photo reference.
  3. 1st creature design. This creature came out looking too sympathetic so start over.
  4. Basic line drawing for new creature.
  5. Rough shading and design changes.
  6. Final creature design.

Relative Perspective WIP Update 6

I’ve finally got a chance to restart this project. there are a couple of elements that appear to be working, in general. With a little alteration they will stay.

  1. The sky will remain…but…Relative Perspective Color Work  a 07032017.jpg
  2. There will be changes to the tint, saturation and intensity,Relative Perspective Color Work b 07032017.jpg
  3. The basic mountains seemed to work prior to adding the snow…. but….Relative Perspective Color Work c 07032017.jpg
  4. There will also be changes to the tint, saturation and intensity.Relative Perspective Color Work d 07032017.jpg

The snow is going to need some work, update next time.

Illo Journal Project Update #8.1

So I’ve found that the image is not saving the same as it was created due to screen height, angle and filtering. I am reintroducing the geographical map of Ba’anta. this is much closer to the original tonal values. Constructive critiques and comments are stil very welcome!

Revised Brightness

Geographical Map of Ba'anta 06252017 aa.jpg

Previous Brightness

Geographical Map of Ba'anta 06252017.jpg