I mentioned before that I have some new things planned for this year.
The first new thing is a plan to create coloring pages of the original released art!
The original line drawings will be converted to ink line drawings. The scenery and creatures / monsters will be simplified to make them more appropriate for coloring pages. The pages will be made available for digital download by purchase through my store here on my site!
Next is new watercolor art of all of the released art!
It starts with the ink drawings from the coloring pages! Using watercolors, the images will be brought to life!
Follow that with stickers!
The creature / monster watercolor art will be converted to stickers! This means the scenery will be removed giving the creatures / monsters a chance to really shine. There will be two sizes to choose from! Sets of three will be available for purchase through my store, as well!
How do you feel about stuffed toys?
Grotesque Moi!’s released creatures / monsters are on their way to become a bigger part (ok, a little bigger part) of our world! I’m working on the basic form designs to turn the released creatures / monsters into really great stuffed toys! You will be able to carry your favorite creatures anywhere with you! There will be one size for most of my creations available for purchase in my store, too!
The Grotesque Moi! illustrations will continue!
More Grotesque Moi! illustrations are on the way! The first one is close to being finished! there is also two more ready to start!
The show season is well underway! We have applications out to some of the bigger ones and waiting to see if we get in to them! Meanwhile, we are lining up events, markets and shows! Keep an eye out for where we’ll be next!
I’m starting a new topic blog that I will add to from time to time, more likely as the subjects come up. This will be where I share lessons I’ve learned along the way, techniques I’ve picked up or improvised with or circumstance that affect the creative process. You are welcome to comment and share any relevant posts either here or on social media. My wish is that this becomes interactive and informative! The first installment is below.
1st Topic: How Is Your Support System?
This subject comes up often in groups. Today it was more direct. Before I elaborate I want to get these questions out to you for your perspective. How is your support system? Are you getting the moral support that you need to help you pick up that banner and fight on? If so, please describe how you found it and tell what you do to reinforce that relationship. If not, please share how you recharge the will to push through the obstacles so you can move forward. Are there other forms of support that you have in your creative process? If so, can you describe what it is and how it impacts your creativity? In most cases it will be obvious but for the uninitiated this could be the creative lifeline they need to get to the next level.
I often run in to the situation where my vision and long term goals don’t mesh with others around me. Many people expect to see immediate results. If there’s no apparent progression they want to abandon the goal for something more secure. “This is a commodity and needs to show profit!” Actually, this is a long term investment that matures over a period of time. “When will that happen?!” It really all depends on when like minded people find the work and you interesting enough to want to be a part of it. It may take a short time or it can take years. To be honest, it can take more than a life time or not at all.
The question at this point needs to be,”Why are you doing this?”. If you’re chasing fame and notoriety you may find it but more often you won’t ever get the chance to see it. It’s a pipe dream. So, why do it? If you create then you know the feeling of being compelled to to bring things to life, into the world. For some, it’s a drive that can’t be ignored. Pouring ones being into something that speaks strongly to them is a very powerful experience that not everyone gets to be a part of. The higher version of this is when you raise a child up to become the person they are to be. This also happens when you mentor someone to bring them up to a new level. It’s very similar.
Why would anyone put themselves through this if there’s no guarantee that there’s any form of reward for all of the hard work? “Why not just create the things that are easy sales like impressionistic paintings, still life, animals or portraits? People will buy those?” There’s absolutely nothing wrong with creating any of theses, if that’s what you are compelled to do. I’ve actually even tried it for the sake of sales, because it’s what was selling. Except that mine didn’t sell….. at all…. It was because I didn’t have passion for that type of work. My vision is in Fantasy Art. I love the whole illustration process and making new creatures.
I feel there is so much storytelling and so little time to tell it. It will be done through images, illustrations of the world I’m building along with the creatures. I feel that they need to be presented to the world so that everyone will know their stories. The point to this is that it requires conviction to the work you want to create. Sticking to it all the way to the end for the sake of the story and the creations is the reward. Everything else can come after.
What’s your experience? Has your path brought you to this same point? Or, have you arrived at a different place?
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 finally have some updates on this project to share with you!
I’ve got screenshots of my progress! It’s been good having this tablet. The freedom to take my work anywhere and some really great tools. I’m still learning it’s limits but it’s been very helpful!
I’m debating on putting snow in the mountains. I’ll put them on a separate layer so I can change them if it doesn’t work out. The details are coming out very nice! There’s still a lot to do but the scene is setting up pretty good! I’ll post more proper progression photos next time.
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!
As promised here are the details in photos of my creations for the 20th Wedding Anniversary gifts to my wife and the ones we got for our daughter. The basic idea for the paper is from when I would make my own stationary to write to my wife, before we were married. It was made the same way aa this project but in smaller scale.
First was the creation of the wrapping paper. I used a roll of 36″ poster paper, acrylic paints, a 2″ brush, water and saw horses with planks for a large makeshift table.
I worked in sections basically making a color wash stain of various colors with the acrylic paints and water.
Once I had what I felt was enough paper painted to wrap with and it was fully dry, I moved inside to start decorating it. First thing was to cut the roll so that the painted part was more manageable. Then I started painting some hearts and balloons on part of the paper.
For the next part I had to get decorative stickers and of course the gifts. The stickers were some elements that I couldn’t make. Also, there’s no sense recreating the wheel. I like the way they fit each person. The focus for my wife is the hearts and flowers. For our daughter the focus was butterflies and balloons.
I made custom name cards for each gift. Most were in the form of riddles.
Next were the personalized hand crafted cards. They’re created with Canson paper, scrapbook pages, a color printer, hot glue and more of the stickers.
Both cards were butterfly fold with personalized printed transparent inserts and envelopes. This is how the finished cards turned out.
Everything turned out great and the back story made for some great points to reminisce and share with our daughter.
Well, after experimenting a little with my new Ipad, it turns out that the Ipad is really helpful for doing school work. In particular IB Art classes. So it has been quite useful for my daughter. I got to play around with Garage Band before the second wave hit. It’s OK though I still have old school illo journals to work in!
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.