Art Goals: Looking Back and Looking Forward

Another year is coming to a close. Much of 2015 has been amazing. I started the year off being accepted into a juried art exhibit at the University of North Georgia. A month later I ran my first Kickstarter campaign; which ended in success and the printing of my first sketchbook. April arrived and brought with it my first JordanCon Art Show. I walked away from the small convention in disbelief after receiving Judge's Choice from Todd Lockwood. Even typing out that sentence stirs up feelings of shock. That really happened. Really. There are moments when I still can't wrap my head around it, but it did happen.

Since then life in the studio has been a little chaotic. I took on my first freelance assignment, which was exciting and turned into a great learning experience. I also tackled a large private commission. Then I decided I needed to focus on painting for me. I wanted to tackle a personal vision that had been brewing since I painted Renascentia. I closed all commissions and launched a Patreon campaign. However, with my new found "free" time I quickly became distracted by Inktober (which was amazing!!), Month of Fear and an ArtOrder Challenge. And soon after I plunged into a depression that lasted all of November. I had one of the worse flare up's with my TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) in over a decade. I was miserable. Depression is an old friend. I've suffereed with and manic high's for many years, but I've gotten better at controlling it, rolling with it, and using it. 

The darkness finally began to lift during the first week of December. I finished my painting for the art challenge (not going to talk about it) and I even entered the Infected by Art Vol 4 challenge (with little concern whether I make the cut). My lack of caring is not part of my dark mood, rather it's coming to the realization that I need to realign myself with my vision. I need to walk to the beat of my own drum. I closed all commissions so I could do this and then promptly lost my way. Not going to happen again! 

My Goals for 2016

1.  Stay true to my Vision

I've already re-vamped my Patreon campaign to reflect a more focused approach toward my personal project, Earth Rituals. I'll be sharing more about it with the public next month. Staying focused on my vision means no more misc. diversions. No more creating art to fit someone else's vision. I need to see my voice realized and then I'll be able to apply that voice to commissions in the future.

2. Make a ton of Art

I have a long list of painting ideas and inspiration. It's going to be an incredible year!

3. Continue to Draw/Sketch Daily

Whether it's practice to improve my figure drawing skills or sketching ugly thumbnails for my personal project, I'm going to sketch and draw more.

4. Publish a Small Book about a White Crow

That's right. My White Crow from Inktober is going to become a book, available as a softcover book and Kindle ebook.

5. Apply to the DragonCon Art Show

DragonCon is a juried Art Show. I was accepted into the show in 2014, but not 2015. I'm hoping with a new portfolio of work luck will be in my favor for 2016.

6. Continue to enter Shows and Annuals

I entered five shows/annuals this year. Thus far, I've made it into one show. Two were a no go and two are still up in the air. It sucks getting a rejection, but it's all part of the process. The thing to remember, even with rejections your art is being seen. The more it's seen, the more likely you'll be remembered. So I'm going to continue applying to exhibits, art shows, and annuals.

7. Stream my Painting Sessions

I need to make some upgrades in the studio before this can happen, but I'm hoping it will become a reality in 2016. I'd like to put my Youtube Channel to good use!

That's it. It's not a huge list, but it's one that will keep me busy. I have a personal project I want to focus on first and then we'll see what happens. I will have a lot of new art in 2016. Here's to an incredible 2016!


Drawing: Practice and Perseverance

Last week I dug through some boxes in my closet to find an old self-portrait I'd drawn during my first figure drawing class in college for Kelley McMorris' new Tumblr - Anyone Can Improve at Drawing. It's nice to see my skills have improved over the years, but it also made me think about those early years in college. Growing up, I avoided drawing people. The human face and body seemed like an impossible feat. When I registered for my first figure drawing course I was terrified.

My professor was a quiet man. I can't say he was a good teacher or a bad one. He really didn't teach much at all. Instead, he forced us to draw. In class, we had a model each day. He would make sure we were setup and then leave the classroom. Outside of class, we had ourselves. Each Friday we were required to present a self-portrait. It was torture. Looking back now, it was the best thing for me. It forced me to tackle my fear.

Once I tackled that fear and began really looking at faces, I was hooked. I continued to draw portraits for practice after the semester was over. I still practice from self-portraits today. Practice. Perseverance. That's how you improve. It's ironic--the thing I dreaded the most is now what I'm drawn to create the most.

Do I always get it right? Of course not! But I don't let that stop me. I keep drawing. I keep practicing. I keep learning. I keep growing. 

Thinking back now, my first drawing professor was a good teacher. 

Nude Reference for Artists

Having high quality nude reference images is essential. Seriously. It's essential for understanding the human form and accurately representing that form with or without clothes, armor, etc. If you live in the country like I do, finding a live model isn't so easy. Up until recently I had a bookmark folder of my favorite online nude model resources. I accidentally deleted them! Thankfully, all hope was not lost. I asked some of my artist friends for their favorite sites and in process rediscovered all of my favorites too. Below are a handful that I use the most.

For Reference:

This site isn't free, but it's only $5.99 per pose and each pose consists of around 24 high resolution images of the pose from every angle.


DeviantART can be an amazing resource for reference images. But you must check the users rules for using their stock. Some are more strict than others. As for nude stock, there's just about everything.... And I mean everything. Some things you might wish you'd never seen. But mjranum-stock is my go to if I've not found what I'm looking for on

For Practice:

The two sites below are excellent for timed sketching. Practice is something every artist should continue to do, no matter their level of skill. It's how we keep growing!

Figure & Gesture Drawing

Croquis Cafe

Hope you find these useful!