Thursday, June 2, 2011


So I finished my first year at the School Of Visual Arts majoring in Cartooning. My thoughts??? It was a blast. I’ve never been so exposed to art and I’m not just happy but completely satisfied of what I’ve learned. Seriously, this school ROCKS! Of course there are moments of stress, which I tend to accentuate, because worrying too much is part of my personality. Maybe I should lighten up a little bit ☺. Still, I’m enjoying the ride and the scenery and knowing the fact that I’m doing everything in my power to make this dream happen. I got my grades back and of course I’m going to show them to you! Right this second…


Ok, so I didn’t have to include my grades from last semester since I’ve already posted them in a previous entry, but I guess it is OK to brag a little, is it not? I worked too damn hard for it! This geeky report card would’ve made students kick my ass back in High School and make me look completely uncool in college, but as you may already know I’m a dreamer lost in time and I’m studying my second career at my 33 years of age.

So what’s my reward? Well, I gave myself a pat on the back, a ticket back home, and a summer in Florence, Italy. Going back home is always a very good experience. I really love my family and the chance to spend time with them is priceless. The only drawback is that I don’t have a drawing table over there and because of that I don’t draw enough! Well, that may not be the main reason; I actually get immersed in my old life, where I have to go to the office and help out my mother in her businesses. To be completely honest, I didn’t do much of that either! But hey! I was on vacation so I spent my time in Guayaquil, Ecuador as I saw fit. I saw my friends and ate at my favorite restaurants. I enjoyed my family and sleep a little bit more than usual. I drank at parties and got horrifying hangovers. The sad part is when I have to say goodbye to everybody. I guess I’m too old for these college goodbyes. This time I’ll be out of my home country for 7 months and I think this will be the longest period of time away from home. I miss my nephews already and saying goodbye to them is always heartbreaking! I hope to see them soon because I love them too darn much! So, it was a great vacation with just a few surprises, but hey, you wouldn’t want me to get too personal, would you? I did manage to find the time to draw some stuff though.

What I did draw was a study in anatomy from the mind. I’m pretty comfortable in drawing from observation. Sometimes you don’t get it exactly the way it actually is (way too many factors for that to happen) but most of the time I get the proportions accurately and I think it is time for me to move to the next step. I’m pretty sure I will learn all of this in my drawing class next fall, and with tons of practice I’ll get substantially better, but I want to master this skill so there’s nothing wrong with getting ahead! I’m following a 10 DVD course with maybe 100 hours of tutorials on how to draw anatomy (and figure poses) from my imagination. This is essential for a cartoonist, especially if I want to draw very realistically. If you’re interested in this course you can go to Riven Phoenix website at His method consists mainly on a conceptual understanding of the human body. I’ve watched 39 tutorials already and I’m still at the skeleton. He is thorough and very methodical. Also he gives you tons of formulas, but don’t get scared or unmotivated by this approach because he tends to simplify them as you move along. At the end you’re so into it that you draw the proportions perfectly because it is imprinted in your brain. This is by far the ultimate figure drawing course. I can’t wait to start drawing muscles. My plan is to finish this huge course by August 26, which is the date when I return to New York. So I guess I’ll be drawing a lot in Florence.

I decided to go to Florence for the summer because I had to take two art history requirement classes, and what better place to study them than Florence, the home of the Renaissance. Also, I want to finally learn Italian. This is not the first time I go to Florence. I actually went for a couple of months back in 2000 as a reward for getting my degree in business administration. I was planning to stay for at least a year, but at my tender age of 22 I got some cultural shock. I think I’m more mature to confront it now. Not only that, but in that summer previous my trip to Florence, I got a new girlfriend and I missed her so much that I just couldn’t wait to see her. Finally, I was too damn tired of studying! I’ve just finished my four year degree in business at the University of Miami, and I just couldn’t wait to start working and earning some money. In conclusion, the love story didn’t end that good (because it did end after a while), and after 10 years I decided to study ART! AGAIN!!! And this time more committed than ever! Funny how life is, but well, what can I say; you just have to connect the dots! I have always regretted the fact that I finished early, or quit if you will, so that’s why I’m going back. It’s like they say: “When you fall off from a horse, you have to get back on it”. It is a question of commitment and I have to prove to myself that I can get through this. The odd thing is that I really loved that city and can’t wait to live there once again.

Since I have not drawn a finished piece but instead multiple studies of anatomy for artists, I will show you perhaps one of my earliest drawings of my father when I was a kid. I really can’t be sure what my age was back then (maybe 7 years old) but what I’m sure is that I loved to draw even back then. Also, I found another picture from my family album and it is hilarious to see myself as a kid doing what I love, even now!



Always follow your dreams, and trust in your gut! I think you always know what is best for you; you just decide to forget for a while to concentrate on banal priorities. Nothing is more fulfilling than doing what you love, EVERY. SINGLE. DAY!

I’ll write more in Florence and I’m sure I’ll be able to post some drawings. Sorry for not having any now!


Jose Luis

Pd.- I have to confess that I wrote this on Saturday before travelling. I have sooo many anecdotes to tell you, but I’ve been on Florence since Monday ☺