Jan 30, 2014

Going, going...

This is just a little reminder that the sale of my original art at ridiculously low prices ends at the close of tomorrow, the 31st of January. That gives you just a little over a day to snatch up any of the remaining pieces while you can.
After tomorrow, the prices go up, and may never come down again! So do yourself a favour, won't you?

Jan 25, 2014

Bliary Entry #2: Artease!

Today was a fun day. As I mentioned in the previous post, today was the day I was going to do some life drawing for the first time in about 16 years, by my reckoning.
It didn't disappoint.

I was invited to this thing, called Artease, by Facebook friend and fellow Galway Pub Scrawler, Anita McGarry. The initial premise of the event was that it was life drawing and alternative performance dance mixed together. And that was exactly what it was. The first performer/model, Chloe, did a burlesque performance straight off the bat, before posing for us. We started off with ten quick one minute poses before moving on to longer ones.
As I said, it's been a while since I've done life drawing, so those early poses were tough. Very tough. But as I loosened up, I got more confident.

Chloe
I did a couple of decent pieces of Chloe in recline, I gave them to her afterwards as a thanks for posing for us. Shoulda taken pictures first, shoulda taken pictures first...

Next we had a gentleman by the name of Willyam take the stage. He had a great figure for drawing, lots of big muscles and oiled skin.

Willyam
Then we had a really interesting performance piece by a woman by the name of Hataitip, I think it was a traditional Japanese dance. Very emotional and graceful. And to think that just a few days earlier, she was lying on a bed in the Galway Hospital! Pretty remarkable stuff, that.
Lastly, a cool woman named Francesca appeared, dressed slightly Gothic, slightly Steampunk, and did some great fifteen minute poses for us.

Francesca
I was really getting into it by the end. I'd brought materials for all eventualities I could think of, but I mostly just used a soft pencil. The traditional tool for life drawing is charcoal, but I don't much like that stuff. I find it messy, cumbersome and difficult to wield.
I want to try out some watercolours next time. I was thinking that maybe I could pre-mix a wash colour and do something with that. We'll see.

Anyway, I had great fun and really cannot wait to do the next event.
Back soon, no doubt.

Jan 21, 2014

Bliary Entry #1: Markers and forgetfulness

In case you didn't know, a 'bliary' is a mash up of the words 'blog' and 'diary.' I thought it up independently a few days ago, then found out that I hadn't, in fact, been the first to come up with it. Far from it, actually. But I like the word and what it entails. And I want this blog to be more of a diary, a sort of chronicle of my artistic pursuits. So there will be a lot more posts like this to come. Fair warning!

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, my old drawing called 'The Wizard's Granddaughter' is currently on my drawing board. I haven't had a lot of time to work on it in the time since mentioning it, I'm currently in the middle of what we call at the bookshop, a long haul. I am on day 12 of a 3-1-5-1-5, the 1's being the days off, the others being days working. So I'm just a pinch exhausted.
I initially wanted to do this piece in watercolour, but as I was working up the background, I really wasn't getting the results I wanted. So I pulled out some acrylics and watered them down instead. The difference it made was pretty instantaneous. I could spend hours working up layers of watercolours, the colours getting muddier all of the time. But with acrylics, with the right amount of dilution, the colours stay fresh and bright. So, yeah, this has turned into an acrylic piece now. I'm really excited about it, actually. I was discussing it with a couple of fellow artists at Galway Pub Scrawl last night. I often find that with a piece that is time-consuming, my enjoyment levels can drop pretty quickly. But with this piece, I can visualise it all and I'm eager to work up the details and use colours in new and interesting ways for me. I have the upcoming weekend off (may it come very soon) and I'm hoping to find a good chunk of time to commit to this piece. I'll post pics of it when I can.

Also this weekend, I'll be attending a life drawing class... but with a difference. From what I can gather, it's a mixture of life drawing and burlesque dancing. I don't quite know what that entails or how it will work. But I'll be turning up with my sketchbook and materials and we'll see what comes of it. I haven't taken a life drawing class in something like 15 years. I used to do them all the time, and there really is no better exercise for honing skill than attending regular life drawing classes. So that should be fun.

Last night's Galway Pub Scrawl was a good time, though I wasn't there for very long. Like an eejit, I'd brought my bag and A4 drawing board, all ready to get some sketching done, but I somehow managed to leave all of my art supplies and paper at home. Yep, eejit.
So I borrowed a pencil (thanks Mary!) and pulled out a notebook from my bag and went to town.


I was sitting next to Brian Cunningham, from Drink & Draw Sligo, who had some wonderful pens and pencils he let me play around with. I liked some of them so much, I'm going to try and find them for myself. In particular, these two badboys:


The Copic Ciao. Nice.
The Faber Castell Pitt Oil Base Medium. Pretty.
I'm really frustrated that I didn't bring my gear though, I was going to finish off a marker sketch I'd been doodling with recently. It has subsequently been finished off. Here it is anyway.

Fear the Whip Master!
I originally wanted to work up a nice pencil drawing for this, but then I thought it worthy of some ink, then I thought that maybe this would be a good one for some marker work. So I just kept going on it. It turned out pretty good, I think. Kinda like a concept design piece for a weird game.

And that just about does it for me. Don't forget that my January Original Art Sale ends on the 31st, so you have a mere 10 days to go to get them at these prices. Hurry! Rush! Scurry! Bye.

Jan 13, 2014

The Jay Penn Original Art January Sale!

Step right up folks, don't be shy. But no cutting in line or pushing and shoving.
For your consideration today we have a large selection of original art of mine going at bargain basement prices! You heard it right, I've slashed the prices across the board. So don't miss this once in a lifetime opportunity to snatch up these pieces at super-doper ca-ray-zee prices.

Let's have a look at what is up for sale, shall we?
Here we go...

The prices have now been removed from these pieces.
Halflings
Pen & Ink, A4
Assassin
Pen & ink, A4
Robe of Eyes
Pen & ink, A4
Spooky Book
Pen & ink, A4
SOLD
Rich folks
Pen & ink, A4
SOLD
Boots of Striding
Pen & ink, A4
Catoblepas
Pen & ink, A5ish
Badger & Gnome
Pen & ink, A5
SOLD
Gorbel
Pen & ink, A5
Knocker
Ink & wash, A5
Ogre
Ink & wash, A4
SOLD
Satyr
Pen & ink, A5
Troll Hobo
Pen & ink, A5

Dispell
Pen & ink, A4
SOLD
Ranger
Pen & ink, A4
Loviatar #11 cover
Pen & ink, A4
Loviatar #12 cover
Ink & wash, A4
Cthulhu Minions
Pen & ink, A4

Stonerider
Watercolours, A4

Hansel & Gretel
Watercolour, A4
SOLD
Labyrinth
Watercolour, A4
SOLD
Cooking with Cthulhu
Pen & ink, A4
Loviatar #10 cover
Pen & ink, A4
Troll Witch
Watercolours, A4

Now for the fine print.
Postage & Packaging for each item is an extra three bucks.
I only accept PayPal. Deal with it.
These pieces will only stay at these prices for the month of January, then they'll be taken off the shelves, so get them at these prices while you can!
These are one of a kind items, so once a piece is gone, it's really gone.
Returns or refunds will only be accepted if the item is damaged in transit (it does happen).
As usual, it first in, best dressed. To make it fair, I will only accept purchase requests through my email address- jaypennart@yahoo.com. That way, there'll be no confusion as to who got in first via different sources.

Finally, you may be asking yourself, 'why is this fella doing this?' Well, as you all know, I'm the sharing and caring kind of artist. I've been hanging onto this artwork for long enough and I really would rather it was out there in the world, making new friends. A few extra coins in my pocket would be nice, sure, but it's mostly about getting the stuff out there, where it can be enjoyed, rather than sitting in a folder here doing nobody any good.

So there you have it, folks. Feel free to purchase more than one piece... heck, buy a stack of them if you are so inclined. If this sale goes well, there'll be more to follow, fear not.
Enjoy.

Jan 10, 2014

Warming up with Willow

Old drawing buddy of mine, Gord Mackay, and I have been catching up online a lot lately to discuss art and keep each other inspired as we work away on our respective projects. Gord is producing some great stuff and increasing his skill levels at a rapid rate at the moment. Go check out his blog!

Personally, I've been struggling a little lately with commitment levels and quality. When you work in retail, the Christmas period is pretty crazy and I feel as though there is a fog in my head that still won't fully lift.
One piece of very useful advice Gord gave me was to not start anything new until the slate of old work is clear. That makes total sense to me and I'm in the process of doing just that. Some of you may recall me starting this piece months ago-


Well, it's back on the drawing board and coming along nicely. I just applied some loose washes to it yesterday and will hopefully get time in the coming week to finish it off, once and for all.

Also yesterday, I did a few warm up sketches of my old friend, Willow.


Regular readers will know that I've been trying to get the right look for him down for a long time now. I feel like I'm getting close, it's a battle of getting the proportions of each facial feature just right.

On an unrelated note, as I was opening up this blog to write this post, I noticed that I have acquired a new follower! As a blogger with a very small following, seeing this really makes me happy. So I welcome you, Bionomi, to my little slice of the internet.

I'll be back soon with more art to show, but the next post will feature a bunch of old artwork I want to find new homes for. That's right folks, it's the Jay Penn Art January Sale!
See you then.

Jan 5, 2014

A new year, a new banner

It's day 5 of 2014 and I'm very excited about what the year may bring. There's big possibilities out there and I want to grab as many of them as I can. So, with that in mind, it's time to reveal my new logo/banner!


Before Christmas, I downloaded a trial version of the newest Adobe Illustrator. It's one of those 30 day trial things, so I quickly set about putting it to good use. This logo went through many iterations, adaptations, alterations and generations. I started off by just sketching a variety of ideas and styles.


This is just a sampling of the sketches I did, most of them weren't what I was going for at all. I had more of an idea of what I didn't want the logo to look like than what I did want, it was just a matter of trying things out and seeing what worked. The coloured symbols where yet another idea I had for the logo that didn't work out. It's all about trial and error, and by exploring many possible avenues, you hopefully begin to hone in on what you want.


This is the final sketch done on paper. I left out some letters from the 'Faerie' part because I knew I could just copy and paste the same letter from the 'Realms' word. Gotta love technology.
I scanned this image and opened it up in Illustrator and started creating the shapes.


There was a lot of tweaking of lines at this point, getting the placement of each letter how I wanted it and trying to add my own style in as much as possible.
Then it was a process of adding elements like different coloured outlines, textures in the body of the letters and getting a nice blend of the colours. Here's the final piece again-


There's six layers in that final design, here they are individually-


I know that drop-shadows are considered, within the design world, a bit of a no-no. But I don't care about that sort of thing. I wanted to make a logo that felt right, and the drop-shadow feels right, darn it!

So the new logo will be used for a lot of things. I'm thinking of making up some bookmarks, maybe even a sticker or two. It will feature on future prints and whatever else I can think of.

I'll be back soon with some new artwork and I'm toying with doing an art sale too.
Catcha soon!

Jan 1, 2014

A resolution to resolve

I'm not usually one for New Year resolutions and the likes, as I think the novelty of doing such a thing at a time like this can tend to overshadow the objective somewhat. That, or I just suck at maintaining set resolutions. It's about 20/80, really.

But I do like to look back at the year that has passed and see where I went astray and what can be improved upon. It's easy enough to bask in the glory of previous success. But as an artist, who is always in a state of pursuit for growth and progression, past glory is nothing compared to future dreams.

So though I had some success in the past year, I find it far more productive to look at where I went wrong, to analyse these mistakes and to grow with that knowledge. So, lets have a look at the many ways in which I failed in 2013, shall we?

1. I wasn't as productive as I would have liked.
Sure, I produced lots of artwork, including the 100 Heads in 100 Days. But I wanted to finish off more major pieces than I did. There are many factors for this inadequacy, but really it's just a combination of laziness and fear. That's a battle most artists are forced to fight, and I am no exception. To be fair, though, I find myself less lazy and afraid at the end of every year as opposed to the previous one. So, that's something, isn't it?

2. I didn't use enough colour.
This has been one of my goals in recent years. I want to not only use more colour than I have in the past, but I want to learn more about it, how it works in both harmony and contrast, and how to develop my own palette, or style. I simply haven't done this yet. I did learn things about colour application and experimented a little with my landscape paintings from early in the year. But the simple truth is, I should know more and be able to produce better results than my current level shows.

3. I didn't doodle enough.
As a person with a full-time, busy job that keeps me away from the house for nearly 12 hours a day, 5 days a week, I find myself, inevitably, in front of the TV a lot when I am home. I may not have the energy levels to work on big pieces, but the least I could do is some sketching and doodles. I'm a firm believer in the idea that any drawing, no matter how small, rough, crap or whatever, adds to the progression of one's skill and style. We'll put this one on the lazy pile too.

4. I didn't write enough.
This goes for blog posts as well as the Faerie Tales and other fiction. I wrote more in the past year than any previous ones, but I still wanted to do more. I had planned on having the first draft of my novel completed long ago, but that is still a long way off. I'm more realistic about the writing objectives now though. The artwork will always come first, but I have got to do more writing in 2014.

5. I didn't network enough.
I read books on the subject of building your own platform (which is odd for me, I usually despise the self-help stuff), but I didn't implement what I learned well enough. I'm in the business of self-promotion, and there are many other very talented artists out there competing for the same readers and viewers. I have to be smarter about this side of what I do.

6. I spread myself too thin.
With the Realms of Faerie stuff, commissions and jobs, topped off by writing, self-set challenges, sculpture and all of the rest, I think I fuzzed up what I need to be doing. I get a lot of ideas for what I think would be cool to do. Sometimes, these are at the expense of what I should be doing. They are distractions from the real tasks. I need to learn to stop and think about the things I am doing, and if they are unnecessary and take me away from my core aims, then maybe they shouldn't be done.

7. I didn't win the lottery.
This will be remedied any day now, no doubt.

The natural thing to do next is to look at what I did get right, but I'm going to skip that step and go straight on to what I'm going to do about all of those errors.

1. I'm going to draw and write more.
The wife and I finally, thankfully, moved out of the god-awful mobile home and are now in a very nice place that has afforded me my own room (which I refer to as my 'retreat'). I have a desk set up for drawing and writing and all of my favourite books are within easy reach. There's a lovely view of fields and hedges right in front of me and I have absolutely no excuse for not being more productive now.

2. I'm going to maintain more of an online presence.
This will include putting myself out there more and generally being more accessible. I'll be on Facebook more, Twitter, as well as right here. I want to make more connections and get higher paying jobs coming my way.

3. Coloured paint will be my god in 2014.
Watercolour, acrylic, gouache and oils. As it is, about three quarters of what I produce now is in black & white, with brush, pen and ink. The other quarter is in colour. In 2014, I want to flip that ratio around, so that the majority of what I do is in colour. Colour is good. Paint is good. Spelling 'colour' without the 'u' is not good.

4. I will not create distractions for myself.
There will be no more things like the 100 Heads challenge for me for the foreseeable future. I essentially lost 3 months of Realms of Faerie work because of that thing. Instead, I will be producing more polished work that I can truly be proud of and will fill my portfolio with higher quality work.

5. I will set realistic goals.
I have a lot that I want to achieve in 2014. But I'm committed to producing the best work I can. If that takes longer than intended, so be it. The field of art that I am in allows for more time to be spent on each thing. I feel sorry for those comics guys, who have to churn out a page a day. I have the space to be a little more deliberate than that. But I won't be complacent, it's more about being the tortoise, not the hare, and maintaining a steady pace that is neither too slow, nor too fast.

6. I will enjoy the work immensely.
Not every job is a total barrel of laughs. None of them have been bad in any way, but some have been more fun than others. I plan to have fun doing the thing I love even more this year.

And there we have it. A quick glance back and a long stare forward.
Onward, I say!