Frequently Asked Questions
1. What materials do you use?
If you could see my studio, it’s littered with almost any pencil you can imagine, but my go-to materials are a Tombow Mono100 6B, Mitsubishi Hi Uni 10B, graphite powder, and kneaded erasers. I also use pencil extenders to get the full life of a pencil.
The paper I really love right now is Stillman & Birn Zeta Series. I also use Fabriano Hot Press watercolor paper, Stonehenge, Strathmore Medium weight drawing paper and Arches Hot Press watercolor paper.
Kum Longpoint pencil sharpeners are the hand sharpeners I carry with me all the time. I also use Steadler rotary sharpeners and the Dahle rotary sharpeners which I modify to make the point even sharper. The link to a post explaining how to modify your own sharpener is here.
I always spray fix my pencils once they are complete and sometimes I also coat them with a transparent acrylic matte or clear medium.
For acrylics I use Acryla gouache. Unlike other gouache, Acryla is waterproof once it’s dry. If I am completing a piece in acrylic I usually use Arches watercolor paper of Strathmore Series 500 illustration board. I also have used acrylics as an under painting for oil painting.
For oil painting I use Liqutex and Old Holland oil paints but use them very thinly in washes, except when I want thickness and texture in a piece. I use a combination of Liquin, thickened linseed oil and thinner to thin the paints.
2. How long have you been a professional artist?
I have been working in this field full time since 1988, but I really didn’t feel like I started in earnest until after my son was born in 2002. Before kids I thought I never had time to do the things or the art I wanted to do, but then once I had a child I couldn’t really figure out what I had been doing all that time. Time is precious and I really learned how to focus after my son was born and again after our daughter was born.
3. Can I use your artwork on my website/project?
All my work is copyrighted and if you wish to use my artwork in any way you need to submit a written request to firstname.lastname@example.org. Not all requests are granted.
4. Can you draw something for me? Do you take commissions?
I am available for contract work, concept work and commissions as my schedule permits. Please email email@example.com with your project or proposal.
5. Can you review my work and give me advice?
I would love to have the time to do this but unfortunately my schedule doesn’t permit me to. If you are going to be at a show I am attending and want me to look at your portfolio contact Victoria at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will try to set up a time. Please remember that my time is often limited at these shows.
6. How long does it take you to finish a piece?
A pencil (graphite) piece can take 3 days to 3 weeks depending on the size and complexity of the piece. The process for a painting is more complex and can take 1 to 4 weeks depending on size and complexity.
7. How can I become a better artist?
The answer is the same you would give a pianist. Practice, practice, practice. I love to draw and am always drawing. Continue that and you will become better. No one ever got worse from practice and always, always, always look at artists who are better than you. They may not render like you, but they may have more gesture in their work. Their use of color may be more sophisticated than yours or more subtle. Look at how their work is different than yours. It is also very important to look at your inspirations until you can see their flaws as well, not for criticism, but for understanding.
8. What artists have influenced you?
I started by looking at comic books and drawing from those when I was young. In school my influences became and still are John William Waterhouse, Williams-Adolphe Bouguereau, Jean-Leon Gerome, Jules Bastien-Lepage, Maxfield Parrish, Frederic Leighton, and Alphonse Mucha. I then found the Dutch painters Jheronimus Bosch and Ter Borch and the others whose paintings were tiny in size but intricate in detail. I love the works of Hans Bellmer, John Jude Palencar, Frank Frazetta, H.R. Giger, Zdzislaw Beksinski and Andrej Dugin and Olga Dugina. There are also sculptors that I love to study; the Shifflet Brothers, SpiderLee and Tanoo Choorat to name a few.
I am leaving people out, but my library is extensive and I am always looking at contemporary painters and sculptors. I believe you must look at your contemporaries to understand the current visual language and how it is being applied and then decide what to adopt and what to deviate from. Remember to stay true to yourself and make your work your own in everything you do6