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 TechRadar.com 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.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Dia de los Muertos Art in Prismacolors

Dia de los Muertos

It's funny how saying a thing can actually cause the exact opposite to happen. "I promise, I won't get hurt" is usually the last thing you say before falling flat on your face. "I'm going to sleep in tomorrow" will sometimes cause your internal alarm clock to go off earlier than normal. At the end of 2016 I told my patient and supportive wife that I wouldn't be taking any commissions in 2017 so that I could get some home improvement projects knocked out. Instead, I completed more commissions in 2017 than in any other year, ever. This was not a deliberate reversal of my endeavor, it just falls in line with saying one thing only to see the inverse take place.

Photo from my Instagram feed

After the thirty black and white commissions I started in July 2017 there were a couple of commissions that came in from long-time collectors that needed to be completed before Christmas. This Dia de los Muertos piece was one of them. I was really excited when the collector pitched the theme, but the deadline was short. I was already working on another commission and had a couple of pieces I wanted to finish before Jekyll Comic Con and Holiday Matsuri. So, I ended up taking my materials to Holiday Matsuri to work on this Day of the Dead illustration, which is something I never do.

I don't usually like drawing or painting at shows because I want to focus on you. I want to meet new people, share my art, see other artists' work, catch up with collectors I've met over the years, and enjoy the rewards of the day to day process of making the art in a lonely studio. This time, however, was a great experience because it taught me two things:

1) If you want to do more, you have to do more. I know it sounds silly, but some of the best lessons are the simplest ones. You see, I am always wondering what the next step should be in my career as an artist. You can plan and email and discuss and Tweet but until you push the limit and create more and better work, you're running in place. So, I got up early each day before the convention and worked on this piece in my hotel, then after the exhibitor hall closed, I left the party behind and went back to my room to work on it again.

2) Having a mission builds clarity. This may not be directly connected to working on a commission while at a convention, but this is something I though about while coloring on it. Working from home can be a windswept rodeo of wrangling one task after another, only to feel exhausted at the end of the day without having much to show for it. Knowing I had a deadline gave me drive, drive gave me focus, and focus gave me clarity; The clarity to see that creativity without purpose is like sitting behind a drum set and just whacking away randomly. It feels good but those in ear shot may not appreciate it as much as you do. Start playing a good groove and people will start dancing.

Photo from my Instagram feed

At the end of it all the Christmas commissions were all delivered on time, I accomplished more than I ever thought I could in a short period of time, and I learned once again that autopilot is never an option. You have to take charge, adapt, and really truly push forward to make any gains.

Hopefully this inspires you to push in your own endeavors. What drives you? What slows you down? What are you doing to keep on doing?

Prints and originals at www.useeverycolor.com or www.bryancollins.etsy.com

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Mulan Drawing, July Challenge 28


When it comes to art and design, I've always been inspired by Asian culture. I love the thought that goes into balancing nature and progress. On this July 2017 Challenge piece I was given two options by the person commissioning the piece. She said she wanted Belle or Mulan and I was leaning toward Mulan right away. Since this was a black and white challenge, I also felt that I would need color to properly represent Belle, so I locked down my decision and created this piece in 5"x7" size on Strathmore Mixed Media Paper with Pigma Micron Pens and Windsor and Newton Watercolor. Email bryancollinsart@gmail.com for prints.

Thank you for your continued support.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Who Else Is A Mess?

Studio Collins
Cutting prints in Studio Collins

It's been just over a year since my father and I converted the screened in patio on my house into an enclosed art studio. Shamefully I haven't really posted any photos of the space in all this time. I've only shared my drawings and paintings and have kept everything else behind closed doors. I am coming to realize more and more that I have built walls, both metaphorically and literally, around my life. I won't go into my assumed reasons here but I'm certain if you've ever done the same, then you probably have done so for many of the exact same reasons. If you read my email newsletter yesterday (if not you can read it HERE) then you know that one of the things I aim to do this year and beyond is to at least put a few windows in those walls, still metaphorically speaking.

Studio Pre Build
The patio before the build

Admittedly I do not have many close friends so don't take my lack of sharing personally. This isolation is by my own conscious choice and I know that it's wrong. The problem is that when I do make a close friend I spill so much of myself and my thoughts that I feel vulnerable. I feel that my worst is now on display and that I no longer have control over how that person perceives me. Well, I'll just go ahead and lay it out for you now so that if you decide to stick around you can't say I didn't warn you. I AM A MESS! Who isn't, right? I'm opinionated, stubborn, critical, cynical, anxious, self serving, and biased. I'm also honest. Are you?

As social media grows we are being given more and more control over how we present ourselves. We can create a fictitious persona and build a doppelganger that is fun, adventurous, good looking, and happy. We can have cat ears, Margaret Keane eyes, and fireworks coming out of our heads. Best of all, we can hide the truth that we are sad, scared... or terrified, brittle, hurting, and constantly trying to sew ourselves together like Sally after falling from Dr. Finkelstein's tower. This is nothing new. People have been broken since the very beginning because we misuse our lives. We have been given a freedom that we are not naturally equipped to operate, because we use too much of that freedom for ourselves. Free will is indeed a gift but when we keep trying to rewrite the manual with rules more suited to making things "easy" for ourselves, things only get harder. It's true irony and I am absolutely guilty of it.

Well this is how it's going to go. I am starting to take down these walls one brick at a time and at least adding windows to the walls that aren't ready to come down. If you are brave enough to stand with me, I will lock arms with you and do my best to be as REAL as I can. My art is my spirit and I will feel fake if I keep sharing one and not the other. It's colorful on some days and black-and-white on others. It's melancholy one week and pop-culture-candy the next. I hope that's okay. It is what it is, but what I don't want it to be is a mirage. This is life. This is real. This is me.

As always, I am thankful and grateful for your support.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

July Challenge 27

Ariel in Ink

Was there ever a time in your life that you pretended you could marry a cartoon character? For me that fantasy included becoming a merman and living under the sea with Ariel. As part of Disney Week in my 2017 July Art Challenge, I was asked to draw Ariel in the same black and white theme I had going that month. This piece is a 5"x7" Pigma Micron ink and Windsor and Newton watercolor on Strathmore mixed media paper.

Prints are available through the Buy Now button above, or just email bryancollinsart@gmail.com

What's your childhood cartoon crush?


Tuesday, January 30, 2018

July Challenge 26

Gus the Hitchhiking Ghost
Click the pic to visit my online shop

This weekend I am going to Disney World with my family. Two of my three kids have never been, and one ride I'll be sure to take them on is the Haunted Mansion. I remember going there as a teenager and thinking that if given the opportunity, I could live in that mansion full time. I imagined making my house look like a cross between the Disney Haunted Mansion and the mansion from Edward Scissorhands. The problem with this currently is that we live in Florida and painting a house black or dark gray is asking for an $800 electric bill each month to keep it cool. Not to mention my retired neighbors are all suspicious of why I don't "leave" for work during the week already. If I worked from home in a black house with strange landscaping and creepy music drifting out of the open windows in the fall I think we would be bombarded on Halloween and avoided like the plague the rest of the year. Of course, it might drive property taxes down...

This piece was created as part of my 2017 July Art Challenge. The original work is Pigma Micron Pens and Windsor and Newton watercolor on Strathmore 400 Series Mixed Media Paper.

As always, thank you for your support.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

July Art Challenge 24

Davy Jones

Davy Jones was a very memorable character from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. The CGI was so incredible that I just couldn't take my eyes off of him as the tentacles squirmed all over his face. This 5"x7" ink and watercolor illustration was created as part of Disney Week in my 2017 July Art Challenge. The original is sold but signed 5"x7" archival cotton prints are available for just $9 plus shipping (USA only). If you're a Davy Jones fan I'd love to send you one of these extremely high quality textured prints. Just click the Buy Now button above for secure PayPal checkout.

Thanks for your support,