Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Important Commission Guidelines - Please Read

Commissions. They are an exciting way for you to have a unique creation made specifically for you in the style that you have come to know me for. They are a chance for you and I to bond over an idea. It is understandable then, that I receive many requests for commissions. In fact, I receive more than I could ever accept. In order to give you my best and keep the waiting list a little shorter for you, I am making this major change to how I accept commissions.

I think it is only fair that I prioritize those of you who have been integral in this art journey and have so graciously been supporting me as collectors. This means that the first filtration for potential commissions is that I will only review proposals from existing collectors of my original works. If you own one of my original pieces (not a print of an original idea but an actual drawing, painting, or sculpture) then this is you. I'm doing this for the reason mentioned above in regards to fairness and shortening the list, and also to make sure that when I am being approached about a commission, I know that the client is truly familiar with the style they can expect when I create for them.

Just a quick story: I once accepted a commission from someone who had seen my work online but did not own any of my pieces. I completed their request and mailed it out, only to get a barrage of emails about how the work wasn't what they had envisioned. It turned out that this person had also been looking at many other artists' work online and thought that since my art showed up in search results with these other artists, that my commissioned work would look like the other artists they had researched (but never heard back from).

I want to make sure that you, as my beloved collector, are happy. The first step is making sure you know what you will be getting. Finding me on a search engine isn't enough. Ordering prints is not enough. No matter how hard I work to make prints that represent the original, there is no substitute for that actual thing. Now you may say, "I saw your originals at a show, so I am ready to get a commission." I get it, but think of it like restaurant reservations. If you own an original you have a reservation. Any empty table will still be held for the reservation, even if you are present and ready to order. Once you become a collector, I am sure you will appreciate this policy.

Deadlines. More than once I have accepted commissions where I was told the client had no deadline, only to be emailed later saying "can this be done by such-and-such date for birthday, anniversary, graduation, etc.?" If you have a deadline I MUST know before accepting the job. Please do not spring a timeline on me after we have an agreement. This creates stress for both of us and I can't promise you my best work when hit with surprises. Commissions always end up taking longer than expected so let's figure out dates up front.

Your idea is what commissions are all about. I understand this completely. Sometimes this can be a snake in the grass. If you have a very clear idea of what you want the artwork to be in the end, that may not be such a good thing since no artist is a mind reader. Despite your best explanations, I will still see a different image in my mind. In fact, what I see in my mind usually isn't what comes out anyway. I need you to be flexible, share your idea, and allow me to create. You will get a much better piece of art with creation as opposed to dictation. I also ask that you understand the evolution of art. My website showcases art that I've created spanning back to 2006. That's more than a decade of theme changes, style tweaking, media experimentation, and so on. I am sometimes asked to create in a style or medium that I no longer work in, so please don't take offense if I turn down an idea. If what I feel you are seeking is something that I cannot confidently produce, I will have to say no. It's not you, honey, it's me.

I'm just going to be as straight forward has I can with this one; originals aren't cheap. As a former tattoo artist I know the going rate to be tattooed is about $100-$200 per hour and you can never sell your tattoo. It doesn't go up in value. It is worth nothing after you pay for it, other than the emotional or conversational value you get from it. Art on the other hand (pun intended) can rise in value, be sold to other collectors, be passed down to future generations, be loaned or rented out to various institutions, and therefore has immediate value. I won't go into my philosophy of why artists should be well compensated for their craft (I will save that for another post) or how sometimes people commission work knowing that they plan to sell it, but I will say that I am restructuring my commission prices based on my experiences with them. To begin, I am now establishing a commission minimum of $100. Most will be well above this range, but I just can't sustain the pricing model I have used in the past. So much goes into a commission before a pencil even glides on paper so the new structure includes consultation, material acquisition, invoicing, and general loss of sleep. Once all consultation is complete and an invoice is sent, it has always been my policy to require complete payment before beginning the work. Installments can be made, but I do not begin making your art until the total project is paid in full. Due to the personal nature and prerequisites mentioned above, commissions are non refundable. Once you have made any payment toward the invoice, you have entered into a contract. If you are making payments and need to back out before the final payment is made, I will refund you minus any fees or material acquisitions. Once you have paid in full the ship will not change course.

Finally, please understand the creative process. Like most other creatives, I go through spells of massive motivation as well as droughts. Sometimes it takes a while to get started, sometimes I need to step away for a few days, and sometimes deadline projects come up that I have to accept, which bumps you back further. On top of that, I have an extremely busy show schedule and travel a lot to bring my art and prints out to the people. I can almost guarantee that I will not get your piece finished by the time I estimate, so I really appreciate your patience.

So in summary, to secure a commission...

1) Be a current collector
2) Divulge your deadline
3) Share your idea
4) If step 3 is accepted, receive a price and invoice
5) Enjoy the virtue of patience

If you are not a current collector or would like to add to your collection, see available originals HERE.

If you are a current collector and would like to propose an idea, please email me at

Thank you for everything. I have so much more art that I am excited to share with you and I truly appreciate your continued support.


Thursday, May 24, 2018

Weathered Sailor Archival Prints

The Weathered Sailor is an ink drawing that was created as part of the Shore Lore Apparel project on Kickstarter. One hundred shirts and hoodies were made with this artwork on them, and a portion of each sale was donated to the Sea Turtle Hospital at Whitney Lab here in Florida. They completely sold out and now the art is available on beautifully textured, 100% cotton, archival prints. These are gorgeous reproductions with so much detail they are nearly indistinguishable from the original. I am hand signing each print before they ship to ensure that you are getting my highest quality print. Since I am creating these in-studio with my new wide format professional printer, I can keep the cost insanely low and offer these to you for just $35 plus shipping. You won't find a better print at a better price.

The Weathered Sailor - Print
11"x17" archival ink on textured cotton paper

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Surfer Mickey

Surfer Mickey

It has been many years since I first moved to Florida. Since then I have moved away and come back about a half-dozen times. Wherever I go, when people hear I am from Florida, they ask about Disney. It seems that Mickey Mouse is the unofficial mascot for our state. It's no wonder then that I get asked all the time why I haven't drawn Mickey. The number one glaring reason it that Mickey IS such an iconic character that to begin, you are putting a target on yourself for copyright action. I'll be honest here; I do get approached from time to time by copyright lawyers regarding some of the art I create. So far it has never amounted to more than requests not to use certain keywords, search terms, or to not offer the image on print-on-demand royalty sites. I always comply.

The second reason is that the simpler the design, the greater room for error. Nailing a character like Mickey is tough. Every line and shape has to be exactly where it needs to be, or you should just do a figurative interpretation to avoid scrutiny. I decided to go for a version of Mickey that has the look and feel of his origins. The early black and white Mickey cartoons took the mouse through a few developmental changes, particularly in the length of his nose. Since Mickey spends all of his time in Florida and California, I just thought it was appropriate for him to take a little time to catch some waves when he can.

I used Strathmore mixed media paper here and started out with a pencil sketch that was changed many times. After landing something I liked, I used Pigma Micron pens to take car of the outline and a Pigma Micron marker to fill in the large black areas. The final step was to paint the watercolor with Winsor and Newton paints.

Please email me at for original or print purchase inquiries.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

National Tattoo Convention in Orlando Florida

National Tattoo Convention

This weekend I will have the pleasure of showing art with people who are covered in it. The National Tattoo Association is having it's 39th annual convention in Orlando, FL. If you're in the area and want to have a great time seeing people get tattooed or even get a tattoo yourself, come check it out. I will be in the vendor area on Saturday and Sunday only. See you there!


Thursday, March 8, 2018

Collective Con 2018

Jacksonville is getting ready for its premier comic book, video game, anime, pop culture convention with Collective Con 2018. I've had the pleasure of being part of this show since the very beginning and it's been amazing watching this show grow. Like every large and complicated event, Collective Con has gone over a few speed bumps but this resilient group of organizers, promoters, and volunteers have shown the ability to adapt and overcome. 2018 looks like it will be the biggest year yet with record pre-show ticket sales causing a late venue change from the Morocco Shrine (2017 location) back to the Jacksonville Fairgrounds indoor exhibition hall (2015-2016 location) just a couple of weeks before the show.

Collective Con 2017

Collective Con 2016

Collective Con 2016

Collective Con 2015

Collective Con 2015

The guest list for this year includes names like Brandon Routh, Johnny Yong Bosch, Kyle Hebert, Esme Bianco, Clifton Collins Jr, Chester Rushing, Cherami Leigh, and many more. Oh, and I'll be there too. You can find me all three days at booth 45 in the exhibit room just one row over from the media guests. I'm bringing a LOT of new originals, prints, and apparel that I didn't have last year so find me early before anything is sold out. See you there!

March 23-25, 2018

Jacksonville Fairgrounds Expo Center
510 Fairground Place
Jacksonville, FL 32202

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Monster with Cat Drawing in Prismacolor Pencils

Cat Monster

Every once in a while, someone contacts me with an idea that possesses an appropriate level of weirdness. If you are in a line of work which requires you to create based on a client's requests, then you know that many ideas are...let's say "different", than what you would create on your own. This is the main reason that I put down my tattoo machines a few years ago and made the complete transition to drawing and painting. Let's face it: there are a lot of bad ideas out there. I'm not saying that all of mine are great. In fact, I beat my ideas up all the time. Just ask my wife. Many of them either end up in the trash or in a folder that I go back to when I need a fresh perspective, but you learn to take the bad with the good.

Now before I go any further, if you have ever pitched a commission to me and I accepted it, then I am not talking about you. If I did the commission, then I liked the idea. Furthermore, if I did not do the commission it doesn't mean I didn't like your idea. Most if the time I say "no" it's because I really just don't have the time or I'm in a funk and know that you wouldn't get my best work.

This Cat and Monster piece was pitched to me by a collector who already had a couple of originals from me. She was familiar with my style and her sister is a fan of my monsters. I was asked to create a monster based on another one I had done in the past, and she asked if there was any way I could add a cat. This was all the direction she gave so I was free to play around with it. The image above is what I came up with for her. It's a 9"x12" piece made with Prismacolor pencils on illustration board.

If you feel so inclined, follow along on Instagram for in-progress pics and giveaways.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

How to Draw Umbreon Pokemon with Prismacolor Pencils

As I have been really, really searching my soul lately and asking God to iron out the many kinks and wrinkles in my life, I've been tested with a few challenges. This is not uncommon when asking for character improvement. Creating this video was one of these challenges. Some of my YouTube subscribers have been asking if I could shoot from an overhead position which I was not equipped to do. I fooled around with a few different setups, all of which involved putting my camera (and sometimes my head) in unsafe situations. I finally rigged something up involving a plastic multi-drawer shelf, a tripod, and a five pound workout weight. Once I was moderately certain it wouldn't all come crashing down, I shot about 7 hours of video during the coloring process of this Umbreon drawing.

Now so far, none of this was an out-of-the-ordinary struggle. My patience was tested when I moved on to the editing stage. I have been using Corel VideoStudio Pro X4 for a few years now and learned it pretty well. Unfortunately I had a fatal crash with my last computer just before Thanksgiving and had to replace it. The new computer operates on Windows 10 and being very limited in my understanding and abilities when it comes to computers (I've just never really cared much for tech) I couldn't transfer the editing software to the new computer. I contacted Corel who told me not only was Pro X4 obsolete, but even if they did have a link to download it, the software wouldn't work on Windows 10. Instead, they said I should purchase VideoStudio Pro 2018 for $79.99. I don't generate any income from my YouTube channel so that was not really an option. As a full time artist, I have to allocate funds where I can make them back. A quick Google search for "best free video editing software" sent me to where I read about LightWorks. I downloaded the free version and got to work stumbling my way through trial and lots of error, as well as searching YouTube for tutorials on this alien program.

After a 5-6 hours day of learning the software enough to get this video edited, I exported the first draft only to have my still images and audio playable. It took another hour to figure out how to get the video to export with the other tracks. While watching the second exported draft I had audio issues. Somehow a minute of white noise had been added between the three different songs I had in the same audio track. My blood pressure was getting too high for the day so I called it quits and tried again in the morning. After some tedious manual clipping of each song to get the audio tracks to play seamlessly, I finally got a third draft that was ready to publish, but then found out that I can only export in 720p with the free version of LightWorks. If I want to export in high quality HD I need to pay $24.99 per month, $179.99 per year, or $437.99 outright. This after thinking $79.99 was out of budget! 

Character does not improve without testing the spirit. Smooth seas don't make skilled sailors. I don't regret this experience. I finished the video, not because I wanted to, but because over 9,200 of you have subscribed to my YouTube channel and have been asking for more content. I truly am doing this for you. If you are one of the people who have been enjoying my video posts over the years, thank you! I would love to purchase the $79.99 version of Corel VideoStudio 2018 (the software I've been using the longest) so that I can give you the highest quality content with the most creative editing in the shortest amount of time. If you want this, please consider chipping in by clicking the PayPal Donate button below. You don't even need a PayPal account. Whatever you want to give is appreciated. All donations will go toward the purchase of Corel VideoStudio 2018. Any funds received over $79.99 will be held for future upgrade downloads or used for art studio materials.

Thank you again for your support.