Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Art on the go: Choosing Art Supplies To Travel With

Ever since my family of five packed up everything we owned and moved from Colorado back to my home state of Florida, we have longed for the day that we could make a return visit to the beautiful and arid Rocky Mountain region. The time has finally come. It has been about seven and a half years since we've been out west and my excitement is coupled with anxiety. Not only am I getting ready to drive 30 hours to the Grand Canyon, our first stop on the journey, but I am getting ready for Tampa Bay Comic Con which will happen just three days after we return. Also, the Zora Bora Gallery in downtown Saint Augustine, FL has been seeing great success with my prints so I am creating a stack of inventory for them to keep stocked up while I am gone. Preparing for three things at once like this is challenging, but I prefer being challenged than being bored.

Leaving my home always presents me with the same conundrum: What art supplies will I take? Whether it's an overnight stay two hours away at my parents' home or a week long trip to camp up in Georgia, I struggle with deciding what to bring for making art. As you may know, my preferred medium is colored pencils but carrying a set of 150 of them is difficult. It's not the transportation that's an issue, but where to set them up to actually use them. I need more space than what is usually available. They're not really convenient to take to a local coffee shop or set up on someone's dinner table when I'm there as a guest. The table in our camper trailer is only about 6-8 square feet so I would monopolize the whole thing. Because of this I usually take my Pigma Micron pens and some Strathmore bristol and I'm good. However, I've been feeling color lately and I'm just not inspired to make black and white work at the moment.

A few month ago I picked up a small watercolor set made my Sakura which is the company who makes the Pigma Micron pens. The set measures about 6"x4"x1" when closed and comes with 24 color cakes. I've only done minimal watercolor work but I feel this is the perfect opportunity to explore it more. The Koi Water Colors, as the set is called, is a small and convenient way to bring an array of colors on this 5000+ mile road trip. I'll be bringing my Strathmore mixed media papers, as well as some watercolor paper to paint on. The work will obviously be a little different than what I normally produce but I expect to learn new things and have fun with it. If you want to see what I come up with I'll be posting on Instagram here. Thank you for following along.


Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Intracoastal Observer 1 and 2 by Bryan Collins

Art should always involve some element of challenge. There should always be some sort of push, not always to be "better" but in the least, to stay fresh. When a collector requested that I make a pair of commissions in a style that I hadn't worked in for years I was uncertain if I could pull off what he was asking for. He sent me images that I had made in the past where I drew with ink over watercolor and said he wanted two larger pieces made this way. Up to this point I had only attempted this technique in 5x7 inch size. We were looking at 11x17 here and I felt like I was being asked to build a skyscraper. I consider myself somewhat of a micro artist, usually working pretty small, but the challenge seemed exciting. It's good to see art as an adventure. Each piece is a trip where you should expect to discover something new. With that viewpoint I accepted the job and came up with these two pieces based on his list of wildlife and suggested juxtaposition.

Prints of both pieces are available in my Etsy shop HERE.
In-progress pics of these pieces can be seen in Instagram @UseEveryColor

What challenges are you facing today? Comment below to share them.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Drawing a Jellyfish with Prismacolor Pencils and Watercolor

FINALLY a new video is up on my YouTube channel. In this short speed drawing episode I share some tips for colored pencil and watercolor mixed media, treating wax bloom, and the balance of color theory. I hope you will enjoy it.

Time is one of the major reasons I don't post more videos but equipment is another. I've been using a flimsy tripod, a ten-year-old video camera, and adapters to make a stage mic work with my computer. Somehow, despite the substandard equipment, my channel is approaching 10,000 subscribers so I thank you with all my heart for the ongoing support. You inspire me to make more videos and I have a renewed interest in making this channel the best it can be. For starters, I just ordered a new microphone. My first dozen or so videos have music playing over them and requests were coming in for narration. So many of the same questions were being asked in the comments section that I knew I should address them in the narration. Now, with the fancy new mic, I can do this.

I also created an overhead boom for the video camera I've been using, to give you the best perspective possible of the art as it is being made. I will attempt to shoot the next video on my iPhone because honestly, it probably records with better quality than my video camera does so make sure to subscribe to the channel so you'll know when new content is posted.

Prints of this jelly are available at

Thank you and God bless,

Monday, March 4, 2019

Self Worth and How We Measure It

It seems like the quickest way to get rich is to write a book about self worth and how to achieve confidence. Self affirmations are a form of religion at the temple of me and we believe that saying something over and over again to ourselves will make it true. "You are incredible. You are strong. You are beautiful. You are capable of anything." While I don't find anything deeply wrong with this, I do find that it doesn't work for me. I end up questioning all of the affirmations. Perhaps you do this as well. "What makes me incredible, if I am at all? What good is strength if it disappears when I need it most? Who really thinks I'm beautiful and what purpose does that serve? There is no way that I am capable of anything. I know better. I've tried too many things that failed."

Today I have been thinking a lot about how we measure self worth. When I make art I sometimes listen to music but over the past few months I've been digging deeply into some podcasts. One of my favorites is The Accidental Creative, hosted by Todd Henry. Todd mentioned something in a recent episode about how our time IS our life and what we choose to do with that time is what we naturally end up doing with our life (paraphrased). It must have been a message I really needed to hear, because another podcast I like called Ask Pastor John dealt with the same issue and I heard both within the same hour. John Piper addressed the issue of entertainment addiction (particularly video games) and how easily we can give away so many hours of our lives each day.

These thoughts from both podcasters were simple, yet hit me in a profound way. They caused me not to question how I am spending my time, but what I want to experience each day. I imagined a life-size person built out of Legos, each piece representing a day and color coded based on how fulfilling that day was. The brightest colors were the most incredible days loaded with great moments and nourishing experiences, and the darkest colors representing days dealing with self pity, lack of energy, or just plain complacency. There were also clear or invisible blocks representing days with too much time spent playing video games, watching TV, or the worst of all...flicking through social media. We get to choose each piece for each day. Sometimes we choose immediately when we wake up, sometimes we reflect at the end of the day, and sometimes we give it no thought at all. Many of us are walking blindly through life with no aim, no goal, no self analysis.

I believe in the afterlife. I believe that there is a purpose to life but it is so easy to stop looking towards that purpose and just fill our time with entertainment and substandard experiences. We want to be distracted from ourselves (at least I do) so that we don't have to deal with racing thoughts, problems we cannot control, fear of mortality, or the never-ending race to get ahead. My most fulfilling days, the ones that get the brightest lime green and hot pink Legos, are the ones I spend camping with my wife and kids or on the beach watching my sons learn to surf. Riding motorcycles with friends and having deep philosophical or theological conversations over coffee make for some pretty colorful days as well.

Measuring self worth by the amount of meaningful experiences you have rather than the amount of things you have or the number of social media followers and likes you get, will certainly cause you to examine how you spend your time. Your time is your life. That's it. They are not separate. How you spend your time is how you live your life. Are you happy with how you've spent your free time today? What will you do tomorrow? How will these questions help you reevaluate your self worth? I think this theme will be an ongoing one as I work toward more regular blogging. Yes, blogging on topics of mental and spiritual health is one way I'd like to spend my time. Especially if you get some good out of it. I make art for the exact same reason. I get something out of the process and hope you get something from the outcome.

Please share your thoughts on this. I really want to know what you think.

God bless,

Bowser Just Added on Etsy

Keeping with my current enormous task of getting more prints to you through my Etsy shop, today I have added Bowser. These 100% cotton prints look so much like the original, they could get confused side by side. The original work was made with ink and watercolor on mixed media paper so these textured prints made with archival ink are some of the highest quality reproductions I've ever made. If you like him, head over to to grab one for yourself.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Davy Jones Prints Now Available

It's been a while since I created this pen and ink drawing of the Pirates of the Caribbean character, Davy Jones. This was a commission during the 2017 July Art Challenge where I attempted to create a commission once per day for the entire month. I ended up doing 33 pieces in 31 days. Until now, this print was only available at shows from me in person. Now they are available in my Etsy shop at so you can have one shipped right to your door. These are my highest quality prints made on 100% cotton, acid free, archival textured museum paper with equally archival ink. Grab one HERE.

~Bryan Collins

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Funky Fish House Art

If you've been following on Instagram the past couple of months then you've seen the progress images of these two Funky Fish paintings as they have rolled out. Being that they are the largest pieces I've made in quite some time, painting them was like trying to catch a giant greased beach ball after playing catch with a golf ball for a few years. I had many moments of feeling overwhelmed. Just when I would see some progress, my eyes would fixate on the vast portions yet to be completed. I questioned many of my choices in color and design, particularly since they were commissions. In a create-on-demand situation I want to be able to read the client's mind, but the best I can do is take my guesses and hope for a winner. In the end both the client and myself were pleased with the outcome.

Both fish have been made with acrylic paint on wood and the finished surface has multiple coats of semi-gloss varnish. The sides of the wood cradle are painted black.

Some of you have already been asking about prints. This is one of those very rare situations where I will not be making prints. There are some Funky Fish prints available in my Etsy shop at and more Funky Fish originals will be posted there as they are created.

If you have any questions, please feel free to post them in the comments. I will reply as soon as I can. I'll just need to put my coffee down and get the paint off my hands. Thanks again for your continued support.