Wednesday, August 5, 2015


I will start this entry by stating an undisputed fact: “time travels fast, especially when you are busy”. I cannot believe that my last entry was written at the beginning of the year. I would like to write more often but drawing and moving forward in my career is a priority. Since this is a blog about making it in the world of art (comics to be more precise), I think I have made the right choice on prioritizing my work.

Although I have been feeling anxious about my place in the industry so far, I have never been more focused on my goals. It has been harder than I thought but the good news is that my will to achieve my dream is still strong.  Somehow I’m living the dream everyday so no complaints there, I just need to keep at it until I get my big break.

I have seven months worth of art to show, and I couldn’t possibly show every piece here. I’ll be brief on this entry and show you a couple of examples of each segment. For those who can’t get enough of my art (Come on!, there must be some out there!) you can visit my new and improved website which has all my artwork arranged in an orderly fashion. I try to keep the site updated every other week.

Let me begin by saying that I already have 5,255 hours on my main challenge of achieving 10,000 hours to become a master in art. I'm halfway there, and although it seems that it has been a long time ago since I started counting my hours invested in the craft, I can’t help to think that everything is downhill from now. My first post stating the rules of the challenge was on September 1st, 2010. It has been almost 5 years for 5000 hours, so I can only estimate 5 years more down the road!

Now let’s get serious. If you follow me or read this blog, chances are you either enjoy art or make art. I’ll try to deliver on both accounts.

Let’s start off with what I’m doing now to grab the attention of publishers and art directors. I hope you remember my previous yearly challenge on drawing a DC Comic book character everyday for 2014 called DC Daily (I sure do!). I haven’t really tried to contact DC Comics to show off my work, mainly because it is so hard to reach them and also I haven’t the slightest idea on who to approach. I did print a book with all 365 illustrations and I think it looks great. This is for show of course since I haven’t  gotten permission by DC Comics to sell them. I guess I like more to make art rather than sell it. Some people tell me to sell it anyways as "fan art" since it falls under the category of 'Fair Use'. I'm not sure about that so I wouldn't risk it. By the way, what is Fair Use? It is a limitation and exception to the exclusive right granted by copyright law to the author of a creative work. In United States copyright law, fair use is a doctrine that permits limited use of copyrighted material without acquiring permission from the rights holders". The following book is NOT FOR SALE, just for showing to art directors and publishers at conventions. Also, the fact that it exists physically makes me less anxious on having spent a year of my life on that and haven't done anything with it yet. Although I do sell individual prints at con as fan art :) 

For 2015 I decided to do something lighter but also challenging. I’m drawing a Marvel Comics character (or team) cover every week for 2015 called Marvel 52. These are done in comic book cover format and the series will contain 52 pieces. Although this is not as gargantuan of a challenge as the DC Daily project, I'm still investing a lot of my time in these illustrations. I spend between two to three days on average to complete each cover. I draw everything by hand but all digitally as well by using a Cintiq (Wacom) with my favorite software Manga Studio. Some of them I had the opportunity to sell as commissions. In these cases I like to draw with traditional pencils so I can give them the original art as well as you can see in the Beast piece. Prices on commissions are listed on my webpage on My Store.

I hope I finish my Marvel 52 challenge on 2015, but if not, bear with me. Remember I’m not getting paid for these covers and when paid work comes across I have to do it. I’m halfway there so there may be a possibility of meeting the deadline. If not, I will probably finish on January 2016. Following some Marvel 52 examples and a time-lapse video process of making the Vision.

I’ve been really busy this year but I did find the time to go to C2E2 (Chicago’s best comic convention by ReedPop) and be at the artist alley. It is a big deal because you have to be accepted in order to participate as an artist. It was a really great experience but very tiring. I don’t know if I’m cut out to do that very often though. My beautiful wife was with me at the table helping me to sell some prints. She was a great help and business was good. We had a lot of fun. Of course my expenses tend to be much higher than Americans because I have to travel from Ecuador so it wasn’t as lucrative as I would have liked. Still, it was a great way for getting my work out there. I even met a lovely couple that was getting married on July (they must be married by now) and commissioned me an illustration cover based on the famous Amazing Spider-Man annual # 21. I had fun with this project and I even have a video showing the process. Last but not least, I had the opportunity to give Mark Waid (a famous comic and Flash writer) my Flash fan comic I made that I had dedicated to him, and he was very kind as always. He even asked for my signature, how cool is that?

My Artist Alley table at C2E2
Me and the Wife
Me with a fan :)
Me with Mark Waid

What about comics? I‘ve been doing some comic pages for a new series that we want to launch. It is called Heartthrob but we are still in the stage of finding a publisher that is interested in the project. This is Nikolai Barkats’ story, a young but great writer that has not only fun and solid ideas but also knows how to write amazing scripts. I will only show you the cover for this one since I don’t want to spoil anything out to you. The interior pages, which I cannot show, are colored by a friend of mine and great artist from Ecuador, David Méndez.

Cover for Heartthrob
I also met a fan, which now happens to be a friend and also a great writer. He is Marcelo Cury from Sao Paulo, Brazil. He was very supportive when I was drawing my DC Daily challenge and commented on almost every post. We happened to meet on New York and then he told me he had the good habit of writing scripts. I didn’t think much of it until he sent me a page or two. I was hooked with the way he writes and needless to say we are cooking something special. It is still top secret and hopefully we will launch it next year. Sorry, no peeking!

Me, Marcelo, and Dr. Hurt

Ok, now let’s get technical and talk about color. I have always considered myself more of a drawer rather than painter. From the beginning of time in art there has been the distinction, line versus color, or to be more precise line versus values. Some people think either one of them is an ability that you are born with, just like music talent. Although musicians have that special talent, they also have to learn techniques and how to play instruments. The same happens here and I’m confident you can learn both abilities. For me drawing comes easier and more natural than painting. I love lines and to flirt with the idea of the type of lines I can make to denote weight or texture is fulfilling. Values are just as important since it can show volume just by shading or highlighting the planes of the subject. They can be done in grayscale. To understand values you have to understand how light works. This Andrew Loomis’ drawing is self-explanatory but hard to grasp at first. Memorize it! It will get easier with practice, practice, and more practice. 

Color is another beast and it is challenging as hell. For this I recommend the book “Color and Light” by James Gurney. You can find it on Amazon here. It has everything you need to learn about color.

Finally, my beautiful daughter turned 1 year old this July 27th. I, of course, decided to give her a present from the heart (along with toys of course). I drew a portrait of her and also edited a time-lapse video of the process. I hope you enjoy it.

Portrait of my daughter Juliana for her birthday

Besides my current Marvel 52 challenge, and my upcoming comic work by Marcelo and me, I have two other announcements. In order to keep the blog more active, I will create an online course on essentials on drawing. I will try and get the lessons done for summer 2016. They will be video time-lapses, examples, and even homework. There will be free content but also exclusive content for paid memberships.

My other announcement is that I’m planning to live feed my 24-hour challenge comic, which consists on creating an entire comic of 24 pages in 24 hours. This is a demanding but also a rewarding task. I will hope to do this on October 3, 2015. Of course, I will make official announcements via Instagram (@journeystudios), Twitter (@Jostudios), and Facebook (Journey Studios). This is a project based on the famous Scott McCloud challenge that has inspired hundreds of artists to make this challenge. The rules are in the following link. What normally takes you one day to do (a penciled page) you now have to do it in one hour (inked and probably with some color too). If this is not a challenge I don’t know what is. I love challenges, haven’t you noticed?

Talk to you soon.