It’s funny how some blog posts are born. This one was originally conceived after a night of sampling 3 different types of whiskey, killing galactic invaders with my bros and then watching some piss-your-pants funny stand up comedy. So as I came stumbling through the door in the wee hours of the morning of course I thought it was a brilliant idea to jot down what was in my head at the time. I know what you’re thinking. It would make SO much sense to write about alcohol, LAN games or funny ass comedians right? Certainly not! Ian’s brain doesn’t work like that. My mind is like an episode of Family Guy wrapped in Seinfeld with an Adventure Time sugary coating on top and a nuggety center of South Park. I never know where my writing will take me. Sometimes it stays on track. Sometimes I drive it right off the fucking cliff. Anyway as I sat there doing my best Nick Nolte impression and scarfing down homemade pizza bombs I began to write. About what you ask?
Yes ladies and gentlemen of the jury. I said tattoos.
Saw that one coming a mile away, eh?
In all honesty I’ve been wanting to write something about tattoos for a very long time. Just never got around to fleshing it out. That all changed when my spastic flatulent brain decided to explode a bunch of words on my computer. After sipping some Breakfast Blend Starbucks coffee and rocking out to (ironically) Shame in You by Alice in Chains I managed to sort through the dyslexia and salvage an actual post.
A big topic of discussion in our household tends to circle around ink. A lot of people automatically assume that because I have such an eccentric personality and have the ability to draw some freaky shit that I have tattoos or at the very least have entertained the possibility of getting some. No. I do not have any tattoos. I have scars. That’s pretty much all the body art I’m rocking. I’ve thought about designing something wicked to slap on my skin but it’s never really gone much further than that. I’m more interested in the design rather than having that design on me. Regardless if I ever do end up getting something I’m the “go big or go home” type of person. It’ll be one of those awe-inspiring pieces of artwork that people will be like “woah” when they see it. Until the vision hits me though, it’ll remain just a fleeting thought in the back of my head.
I’ve done a lot of pieces for people over the years. Like I said, I’m a freaky fantasy graphic artist so naturally people come to me with tattoo ideas. I dig drawing tattoos. They always want something unique and that’s my trademark. Course my services come with the disclaimer that my dictionary doesn’t contain the word simple. You ask me to draw something to put on your body you’d damn well better be ready to feel some pain. Prime example, a little something I did for my buddy Nik.
Several months ago my wife got a lip ring. Stop it you dirty freaks, not that kind of lip ring. Her mouth. She’s no stranger to piercings. Her ears look like they were shot up with a micro Tommy Gun. She has more earrings than I can count. She also has a nose piercing as well so when I heard she got a lip ring it really wasn’t that much of a shock. I asked her what was her motivation was and she said something along the lines of “I just wanted to do it”.
Now she wants to get a tattoo.
For the record, I really don’t care what another person does with their body. Anyone who tries to contest a person’s right to do whatever they want to their body is simply a douche. I can’t stand people who criticize or judge someone based on their body art. It’s what they want, it’s their body so piss off and mind your own business. Despite all the material possessions one may claim to have in life, the truth is your body is the only thing that is absolutely your own. You have the right to do whatever the hell you want to it.
So what’s my beef with tattoos?
I think my perceived dislike is a gross misconception. I don’t hate tattoos. I just dislike them on women. That’s just my personal preference. I don’t think any less of ladies with body art. I just find chicks more attractive without them. That’s all. Nothing more, nothing less. I am in awe of the female body. It’s a work of art. It’s something that’s as close to perfection as you can get. It doesn’t matter if you’re short or tall, plump or skinny, shredded or curvy – the female form is simply remarkable. It always slays me when ladies bitch and moan about their bodies. You have no idea how good ya’ll got it going on. You were built to look good. Dudes? We’re just the Jeeps of the human race. Pure functionality and no form. I see tattoos on women as defiling a work of art. I wouldn’t go up to The Burial of St. Lucy draw a butterfly on it.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not criticizing anyone who gets tattoos. I think tattoo art is probably the most captivating form of artwork out there. The amount of skill and detail tattoo artists employ is mindboggling. I envy their talent. I also absolutely understand that getting inked (for most people) isn’t a spontaneous thing. There is thought, planning and sentimental value to each piece. If you feel so deeply about something that you’ll put it on your body that’s deep. How can a person not respect that on so many levels?
What can I say?
I like women.
I like women’s bodies.
I don’t think there’s anything a lady can do to her body to improve upon it. Sure you can work out, put makeup, get all dolled up and what not but in my mind’s eye I dig chicks for the hands they were dealt. Like it or not. An opinion is just that.
So here I am yet again, sitting at my computer locked in an eternal battle between utter exhaustion and overactive brain activity. My body is telling me to go to sleep but the 8am-sky-at-3am is telling my mind we have to be up for some odd reason. So what does one do when they can’t put two thoughts together for more than five minutes?
Start blogging of course.
I didn’t want to write anything earlier. I was perfectly content with penning my late night business correspondences but that became incredibly tedious. Like a true professional I got distracted and somehow I found myself organizing some directories on one of my work drives. Since getting my rig back into working shape I hadn’t really organized any of my files and folders so of course it was prudent to start doing this at 2 in the morning. I didn’t have any specific goal in mind but I sifted through the clutter anyway. I was taken aback at how old some of the files on this computer were. It was at that point I unearthed a treasure trove of old artwork I had completely forgotten about. I sat there for a half hour reminiscing and revelling in how good (and bad) some of it was.
Since starting my whole crusade to get back to drawing I thought it would be fun to treat my faithful to a humorous and eye-opening trip back into my artistic past…
We travel back first to 1998. This was probably my most active time ever as an artist. It was a banner year for me because not only was it did I meet my beloved wife, but it was my first love affair with Adobe Photoshop. A good friend of mine introduced me to Photoshop 3. He was impressed with what I was doing with just pencil and ink and assured me that this program would revolutionize my entire concept of artwork.
No words have ever been truer.
I had zero knowledge about how to use the program nor did I even have a graphics tablet. That didn’t stop me from grabbing the mouse as soon as it was installed and drawing this little guy. You can see my utterly stylistic use of that rather funky bubble filter. I really don’t know what was on my mind at the time. Okay that’s not true. Obviously I had eggheads, christmas and cigarettes on the brain. I had some sick fascination with those bug-eyed aliens for some reason. It’s a good thing I don’t obsess about stuff like that anymore…
I’ve always loved this picture though. It’s significance is monumental to me. It’ll always remind me of the first time I played around with the program I now use practically every single day for the past decade.
Prior to my transition over to digital artwork, I used to work exclusively with markers, pencil and ink. One of the last things I did, fully inked on paper, was this little work titled Misguided Youth. I made a digital re-imagining of this (that I’ll show another time) a few years ago but it never really captured the feel of this picture.
It fascinates me that I drew this. I’m not trying to toot my own horn or anything (because believe me if I could do that I wouldn’t leave the house ever) but I just really admire the amount of time and effort I used to put into my artwork. I probably spent days working on this one. Sure it has its obvious technical flaws but it just boggles my mind how dedicated I was to the craft.
I think of how I work now and everything is rushed. I draw knowing it’ll go into Photoshop at some point and I can “touch it up”. Back then I didn’t know about digital illustration. I had to bang it out in one shot and try to make as few mistakes as possible. I wish I had that patience still. I guess I’ve just grown complacent and lazy thanks to the power of Ctrl+Z.
One day I’ll regain that level of commitment… but it’s gonna take a pretty big power outage for that to happen.
Go back a little further to 1997 and I was still toiling away with pencils and ink. I was never quite an art pencil type of guy. I had shelled out $125 (which was a lot at the time) for a Rapidograph graphic pen set that had 8 precision sizes and wasn’t about to waste anymore more money on pencils. I figured if I couldn’t sketch with a good ole’ No.2 then I shouldn’t be drawing at all.
Anyway I came across this piece and it shocked me. I studied it for a while and was in awe of how detailed it was. I can even dare say it’s far better than anything I do now. Some disagree but it motivates me nonetheless to get back on point.
I had totally forgotten about this character. Her name was Celeste and she was my vision of a lost Jedi knight. She wasn’t for a game or anything. I just liked Star Wars and was pissed that there weren’t any hot female Jedis so I made one. Although Leia had minor force powers she was in no way a Jedi. I wanted to see a kick ass, lightsaber wielding broad so thanks to having an incredible amount of time on my hands and a vivid imagination I created her.
I loved drawing women. What dude wouldn’t? You ladies out there really don’t realize what remarkable pieces of art you are. No matter what shape or complexion the female form inspired me to draw literally hundreds of pieces of artwork.
Unfortunately for me I have no idea where the paper sketch of it is. The scanned copy is all that I have to remember how good I used to be without technology.
The greatest treasure though came in the form of this little sketch that dates all the way back to 1982. I had no idea I was drawing at that young age. A pretty toxic romp through the teenage years robbed me of a lot of childhood memories so this gem is priceless.
Apparently I was only 7 when I decided to bust out the drawing skills. If I remember anything I know I was all about GI Joe. I had dozens of the toys and would be latched to the television when the cartoon came on. My favorite character was always Stormshadow. If you don’t know your GI Joe, let me tell you that he put the cool in being a ninja. He wore white when every other ninja wore black and his whup ass switch was stuck in the ON position. He was awesome before I ever ascended to those heights so obviously I had to represent by making a rendition of him.
I’m impressed with his arsenal. My Stormshadow is packing tons of weapons on him. I’m not quite certain how effective some of them are. That arm knife looks kinda like a syringe but who cares? It can still take an eye out. He’s even got child-sized nunchucks in case he has to beat down some kids. Most of all you can’t beat the scowl on his face. He’s downright menacing. If you saw that coming you’d be frozen in fear.
I honestly thought I didn’t really start getting into drawing until I was about 10. Finding this has shed some light on a childhood I struggle to remember constantly.
I hope you enjoyed my little trek through Memory Lane. Not many artists are willing to show off their humble beginnings. I’m a firm believer in remembering what got you to where you are today. These, and so many other pictures, help me recall the days when I had absolute passion for the craft.
One day I hope to get that fire back.