Introductory remarks regarding cats and the internet and Instagram
Today I told someone that I dabble in pet portraiture. Here’s our conversation:
“I dabble in pet portraiture.”
“Have you ever seen those cat videos on the internet?”
“Uh you mean, like, generally?” I asked, nonplussed.
“Yeah!” she said, excitedly.
“Yep, I have seen some.”
And that was where the conversation ended.
When I tell people I paint pet portraits, the reactions tend to range mostly in terms of their enthusiasm:
“Oh that’s kind of cool.” -My stylist.
“OH MY GOD LET ME SHOW YOU 18 PHOTOS OF MY DOG BATMAN AND WILL YOU PAINT HIM WEARING A TUXEDO?” -Visitor who came to my booth but who could serve as a representative segment for my target demographic except for the Batman part.
(Not sure why they’d want me to paint Batman as Bruce Wayne but it’s whateverz.)
Again, the range is mostly in terms of enthusiasm rather than relevance. Perhaps one day I’ll have enough wildly irrelevant reactions to report an entirely new spectrum.
Ok so Christmas. The orders thereof are starting to drizzle in, so I want to remind the two or three people who read this blog that they should go ahead and place their Bruce Wayne-themed orders before I drape all of my online things with “No More Christmas Orders! (I’m backed up like The Penguin after eating an entire cheese plate.)”
I’d also like to remind all two or three of you that you can now order at a range of price points. You can get a photo edit (the HEB of my products), a drawing (the Randall’s of my products), or a totally custom portrait (the Whole Foods of my products). Below explains things in perhaps a better way than using a random grocery store metaphor.
The “photo edit” option is the cheapest, starting at only $30. For that option, I take your photo:
…isolate the face:
…and incorporate it onto the costume you choose:
…and optionally you can get it framed thusly:
The drawbacks here are as follows:
- If the lighting is different from the costume you choose, the composition will be inconsistent.
- If the photo is blurry or grainy, it won’t look as good as a drawing.
- If the photo is taken from a perspective that differs from the drawing, it won’t come out as well – it will look photo-edited.
- Because most people use their phones to take photos, I have to cap the size to 11″x14″. So basically with this option, you cannot get a print larger than 11″x14″.
However, there are plusses:
- Cheaper, starting at $30
- Faster turnaround
- If you upload a good photo, then it often looks better than the drawing. My drawings of clothes are relatively realistic, so a good photo works pretty well
If you choose the Photo Edit option, you might consider reading my Wall of Fame and Shame to get a sense of the types of photos that work best.
The “drawing” option is more expensive, starting at $96. For that option, I actually draw your pet’s face onto the clothes you select.
For instance, if you upload this:
..starting at $96, you get this:
Just joking; you’ll get this:
Please note, however, that the above was drawn at the 20×24″ size. If you order an 8×10″, it won’t be as detailed.
Similarly, the Drawing option has its positives and negatives:
Plusses follow thusly:
- It looks like it was drawn by the same hand. After all, it was. This is rarely the case with the photo edit option
- I can draw it up to 20″x24″.
Minuses follow accordingly:
- More expensive: starting at $96.
- Slower turnaround. It takes me longer to draw it.
Totally Custom Portrait
The final option is the totally custom option, which you’ll have to email me about (firstname.lastname@example.org). Don’t worry I’m more pleasant via email than via blog.
Preparation is the Key to the
Castle One Bedroom Apartment of Stress Management
To further prepare for when the Christmas drizzle of loveliness becomes a Christmas deluge of death and horror, I have been working on revamping some of my portraits so they look their Friday best for Christmas day. Most recently, I updated The Civil War General (see above).
It’s notable that although I’m mostly devolving as a human being, I’m generally evolving as a digital painter. So the products I was offering last year are what I affectionately call “shit” nowadays. You can see from the image below that I had no fucking idea how to draw animal faces this time last year:
And it’s probably safe to assume that by this time next year, I will rather affectionately call the above “good” face of 2015 “horrid shit” – and I hope that I will, since it will mean that I have gotten much better.
I predict that 2016 and beyond will bring about some excellent progress in perhaps the following vein:
Obviously I’m planning to lose my shit completely and draw from my guts rather than from my brain. Then and only then can I use hashtags like #detail and #realism.
Ultimately I’m happy to report that I have most of my old shitty drawings updated and prepped for the Christmas onslaught.
Victorian + Surreal = The Treacherous Future of Coat & Tails
I have also been working on a possible development in my style. Like a good member of the South Dallas community (AKA the Arboretum), I was hanging out at Barnes and Noble, and I came across a book about Mark Ryden.
The intro was about the rebirth of kitsch, which was consoling, since what I do is pretty kitschy, although it’s not as bad as the “bad kitsch” I see by some people who are in my line of work.
I liked Ryden’s style and felt inspired by it and I wondered if I could perhaps add a touch of the kitsch-surreal to my portraits, as I am sometimes wont to do with my personal work, which includes random fish floating by:
or lamps paired with Elizabethan collars:
Thuswise, I started to thumb through the internet for inspiration. Once I got past all those cat videos on which the internet was founded, I came across several inspiring Victorian photographs and attempted to add the aforementioned surreal component:
This is not done but hopefully you see the direction: the giant fat keys, the pipes that I made up (intentionally to resemble kazoos). The key difference is that I used to achieve realism whereas now I try to achieve realism mixed with invention. Which is difficult, since there is no reference.
Ultimately what I’m saying is that it’s kind of a challenge to balance both a touch of the absurdly ornate style of all things Victorian:
….with the often simple nature of surrealism:
(via Mark Ryden at www.markryden.com)
For the visual learner (or the learner who finds the above unintelligible), here’s a diagram of the Venn variety:
So after I microwave a frozen chicken breast and wash it down with approximately five Lone Stars, I will likely attempt to pursue finishing Organ Lady in all her properness.
Although now, after having written that sentence, I am inclined to hit the town to pursue a lady who is (1) not a cat and (2) lacks properness.
“kuh shh,” said my beer as I opened another one.