T-Shirt Tuesday & Other Guitar News.

So today’s an extra-special Tuesday; I’m releasing not one, but two new shirts. And I’ve got previews of the new guitar calendar that I’m currently working on.

First the shirts:

SG_TShirt Tele_TShirt

They can be found in the RedBubble store, here and here .

And here’s the calendar preview:

Tele Deluxe


T-Shirt Tuesday – Narwhal Edition

Sensing a lot of pro-narwhal sentiment lately, I decided to include one in the Ocean Rain show (more on this very soon, trust me). And of course, I figured it should be a shirt, too:

You can find it here in my RedBubble store .

And then it was April.

Here we are, a quarter of the year already done. The first big show of 2013 is over (and a damn successful one it was), and two more are in the works. Longterm strategies are being developed, and new venues and opportunities being explored.

Creatively I feel incredibly positive. The ideas just won’t stop coming, I’m happier with my drawing skills than ever before, and I keep thinking of new variations on my metalflake technique. This in particular is pleasing, given that I’ve finished 102 of these paintings and currently have another 17 in the works (obviously I don’t ever want this to turn into some sort of assembly-line process; frankly I think that having assistants do the bulk of your work for you borders on the fraudulent).

With the Hot Pink show and the Christmas Metalflake series, I played around with the technique, sometimes out of necessity, and other times just out of curiosity. I did several paintings with pulverized Christmas balls worked into the strata for texture and reflectivity. And the other day it occurred to me that I could also use gold leaf in my backgrounds.

This experiment turned out even better than I’d anticipated. And it got me thinking about some other new possibilities.

A few specifics, then, before the conversation takes a turn for the personal. The Ocean Rain show, which you’ve already seen hints of, is progressing nicely. Expect an announcement regarding this very soon – we’re hoping for an early May launch date.

The show after that will most likely use superheroes and science fiction as its launching point.

After that I’d like to do something with an automotive theme, and of course we’ll be doing something Christmassy as well, in the fall (truth be told, we’ve probably got ideas for a dozen shows). Also in the fall, we’ll be releasing a book and/or calendar of T-Rex illustrations. Three of them are done already, and the Agent and I have been brainstorming on lots more.

And by this time next year I want to have my work in galleries.

So, enough business. Let’s talk about what else has been going on. Last year, as documented again and again (and AGAIN ), felt like some sort of trial to me. One trauma after another, month in, month out. By November I was a bit of a mess.

I can’t pinpoint any one specific moment when the game changed (unlike, say, in 2011), but a lot of minor victories added up to help pull me out of my funk.

And this process continued through January and February, to the point where I finally feel like I’ve gotten my groove back (I won’t lie; I was extremely worried about that, and for a long, long time). Friends and family have done their part to help, chance encounters have led to new opportunities… and inspiration? Inspiration is EVERYWHERE . I’m on fire creatively.

I’m back , baby.

Bret Taylor
Vancouver, BC
April, 2013.

T-Shirt Tuesday – Octopus Edition

Hey there. As you may have noticed, weekly t-shirt releases were on hiatus for awhile as we prepped for (and recovered from) Hot Pink .

But now we’re rebooting the t-shirt release program, starting with this octopus from the upcoming Ocean Rain show (more on this at a later date):

You can buy this lovely cephalopod right here in my Redbubble store .


Hot Pink – the Latest.

Pretty caught up in art-show excitement these days. So much so that I almost forgot about the blog.

But many amazing things are happening. Paintings are already selling, buttons have arrived, a new shirt is almost ready, sketches are being posed for, greeting cards are available, and the Hot Pink Peeler Mix playlist is nearly finished. All sorts of craziness, and definitely of the good variety.

This art-show business does actually get easier. For a long time I didn’t think that would ever happen.

Mind you, I’ve got a team behind me now, and their support and enthusiasm are pretty infectious (and it’s not just my show this time around). In fact, we’re meeting on the weekend to talk over some hush-hush, ultra-top-secret business. Just wait till you see the results. Oh, man…

Anyway, people are stepping up to bat and generally being excellent human beings. I could rave about that for hours, or about how beautiful women are keeping me informed as to what shoes and underwear (pink and/or black, obviously) they’ve bought for the show. But instead I’ll just treat you to another slideshow:

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Nine days to the big show. Anybody else as pumped for this as I am?

In keeping with the spirit of the season, here’s a new Santa shirt for you (or y’know, you could always give it to somebody else as a present, too):

And as always, it’s in my .

Unless you’re a newcomer to this site, you probably know that I recently completed a thousand consecutive days of art. Every one of those days, from January 1/2010 – October 1/2012, I drew and/or painted, without fail.

One thousand days.

As time went on, the numbers actually began to mean less and less to me. Because it was really about the journey, of course. About what I learned, where I went, how I changed.

The past few years have been challenging, to say the least. Apart from the financial hardships of the recession and its aftermath, one thing I’ve been struggling with is the lack of structure in my life (I’m a freelancer, by the way). So the added benefits to this extended art experiment are just that – structure, purpose, direction.

For a long time people were asking me what I planned to do on the final day. I considered several options, because I wanted to do something momentous. But in the end these options fell through, so I decided that the best course of action would be…

… Business as Usual.

After all, I had a show to prepare for. Paintings to finish, logistics to be sorted out, all sorts of promotional work to do. Putting on an art show is no small task.

So when I got up that morning, I did a quick little sketch, just in case:

That way if the sun exploded or we got invaded by zombies, at least I could still say I reached the 1000th day.

(Fortunately they didn’t. But hey, you never know.)

After that it was back to the metalflake dinosaur paintings. Since my T-Rex sketch from back in February was the central image in my upcoming show, I decided that finishing one of those pieces would be my best bet. And that just seemed fitting – it tied in with the show, with my calendar, and any number of other peripheral art ventures. Plus it was inspired in the first place by the person who’s made the biggest mark in my life during the Project – my Agent and former Muse.

So there you have it. One thousand days. I painted and drew a lot, I learned a lot, I sweated and bled, and I’m still standing.

Oh, and one more thing: I’m already working an art book based on the experience. Watch this space for further details.

Okay, now that the Metal Flake Remix show is out of the way, it’s time for…

… more dinosaurs. Spinosaurus :

(Another one I first saw in the Extreme Dinosaurs exhibit.)

Well, kids, the shotglasses are done. Seems like a million years have passed since I kicked the project off on January 1st, all full of piss and vinegar and ready to draw 366 glasses over the course of 2012.

Then again, I had no idea at the time what twists and turns my life would take in January. Guess I can’t fault myself for not being clairvoyant, though – I doubt that anybody else could’ve predicted the things that have happened to me any better.

So here I am almost a month and a half later, and the world as I know it is drastically different from the one I thought I was living in back in December. Some longterm plans hatched in happier times have been shelved, sadly. And the adjustment process hasn’t at all been easy.

On the plus side, here’s the last of the 31 shotglasses:

And I think the new idea of having a different theme every month will add some much-needed variety to the whole drawing-every-day thing. Dinosaurs for February are, as you’ve already seen, well underway. Other potential monthly topics include guitars, shoes, dogs & cats, dragons, and at least one other than I’m blanking on at the moment. I’m certainly open to suggestions from the floor.

Also on the brighter side, the work situation has taken a definite turn for the better, so at least that particular bit of stress and pressure has lessened considerably.

Onward and upward, right?

Bret Taylor
Lost in 2012.

Coming down the home stretch with the shotglass project, how. Two more finished tonight:

… and just two to go. (Don’t worry, Millie. One of ‘em will be your moose shotglass.)

Ink and Photoshop again.

While we’re all here, I’m open to suggestions re: themes for the remaining months of the year. Obviously I’m drawing dinosaurs in February, but after that… ?

So today was a day of big decisions. The biggest one being, there’s no way I could last a whole year drawing shotglasses without losing my mind.

Therefore, the plan is draw a month’s worth of shotglasses and then switch topics. So what’ll I be drawing once the 31 shotglasses are done, you may ask? Well, this latest glass contains a hint:

Ink, Photoshop.

And another:

Go Habs!

Ink, Photoshop.

Playing catchup again, so this post will be a two-fer:

Ink, coloured pencil, gouache.

Pencil, Photoshop.

For tonight’s entertainment, I proudly present with:

Ink, watercolour, coloured pencil.

Happy New Year, folks. Yes, it’s a whole ‘nother year, and so I figured I needed a new art project.

‘Cause all the existing projects just weren’t enough, of course.

The new idea is, I draw a quick sketch of a different shotglass every day. Day in, day out, for the whole 366 days. (Yep, 2012 is a leap year.) Trying not to go into it with too many preconceived notions, so I’m not putting any hard-and-fast rules into place. I might do these in charcoal, ink, coloured pencil, watercolour… whatever floats my boat on that particular day. It’s as much a disciplinary exercise as anything else, although hopefully it’ll help mantain my drawing muscles as well.

So without further ado, may I present you with the inaugural shotglass of the day:

Coloured pencil and charcoal.

Stay tuned for more, every day of 2012.

Bret Taylor
Vancouver, BC
January 1st, 2012

EDIT: After a month I’m realizing that I just don’t have 366 shotglasses in me. So, it’ll be shotglasses in January, dinosaurs in February, etc. etc.

I had what we call a “bizness meeting” with my friend Karina Halle today. Which generally means Jack Daniels, food, some talk about art, music, and of course her Experiment in Terror series of horror novels. The third book ( Dead Sky Morning )came out recently, and that was the start of my involvement in the project – I drew the map that appears in the opening pages.

Just for fun I whipped up a full-colour version, too:

If you’re not familiar with D’Arcy Island (and I wasn’t), it was the site of a leper colony for Chinese-Canadians from 1891-1924. A pretty grim real-life story, but worth looking up. The book uses the site and its sordid history as its setting. I’m still reading it, but so far it’s really creeped me out several times. Which is a pretty rare quality in a horror novel these days, my friends.

Anyhow, Karina has 5 more books projected in the series, and has enlisted my creative abilities to help with the process. In addition to the map, I’ve designed a logo:

(Part of the premise of the books is that the two lead characters make a web-TV show about their paranormal exploits, so the logo for the book series doubles as the one for the fictitious show.)

The next project was more involved: a definitive portrait of these characters. It started with this basic sketch:

We made a ton of changes to this, but the basics still made it all the way through the design process. Once we nailed down the basic looks of Perry and Dex in the pencil stage, it was time to do inkwash renderings of them:

I also had a slew of ideas for background treatments for this picture. In the end we used three separate concepts, including one where I made a collage of pages ripped out of the first book, Darkhouse (kind of a weird and surreal experience to take a friend’s book and literally tear it to pieces).

Without further ado, here are the three different versions of the illustration, which Karina will be using to promote the books:

So that, is essence, is the beginning – for me at least. We’ve got a ton of ideas for future illustrations (I’d like to incorporate some photography and sculpture to accompany the more traditional illustration), and I’ll be helping out in any way I can when the trailer for Dead Sky Morning is being shot. We’re even trying to arrange a trip to D’Arcy Island, which hopefully isn’t anywhere near as haunted as it is in the book.

Cheers, then. A toast to creativity, collaboration and chills down your spine.

Kind of a catchall entry this time around – no specific theme, just a few updates and tidbits.

First off, two more of the car pieces are finished. A 1929 Ford Model A Tudor Coupe:

And a hodgepodge vintage racer that I just refer to as “Lucky Seven”:

It occurred to me recently that matching art styles with vintage cars would be an interesting exercise. It immediately got me thinking about drawing some drag racers from the late-60s psychedelic era in their full mind-blowing day-glo glory. Hell, that could almost be a book in itself. So far I’m leaning towards some type of Mopar funnycar at night, foot-long flames shooting out of the zoomies. Or maybe a lace-painted Corvette with a rocket engine.

Next on the blog agenda is this 54 Chevy:

I’m seeing this one in my head as being inked with a brush, and then coloured with watercolour paint splashed all over the place. As I’ve indicated before, inking is a real chore for me, so obviously I need to do a lot more of it.

In other news, I just shipped a commissioned piece that I’ve been cleverly referring to as Top Secret Painting. Once the lucky recipient gets it and I know everything’s cool, I’ll show the whole piece. In the meantime, here’re a couple of macro detail shots:

The skulls are just a minor background accent; unless the light hits them just right, they’re practically invisible. But I think they really make the piece.

This glossy green bit is a more significant part of the painting. I used a faux- encaustic technique to add depth, and as is often the case, it resulted in something I couldn’t begin to capture with a camera.

This last shot is of a green pearl paint I mixed for this piece – a mix of Tri-Art Liquid Mirror and phthalo green, with a subtle touch of interference green.

Finally, I wanted to mention that I may be participating in a group art blog with some artist friends of mine. Things are still very much up in the air right now, but I think it’s an idea with some promise. More info to come once things get finalized.

And now I think we’re up to date. What are the rest of you people up to these days?

Lots of automotive art coming from me these days. I’m havin’ so much fun it’s ridiculous – I keep flashing back to the cars I used to draw in junior highschool (except now I’ve got 30 more years’ experience under my belt, of course). And I’ve got many, many ideas to choose from, but you can never have too many.

Anything you folks would like to see?

Well, I think the next book’s off to a fine start. The last few days have been extremely productive:

All I did today was be creative. It’s a pretty good feeling. (All of these are just the preliminary stages, of course. Stay tuned to see where I go with them from here.)

You heard it here first, folks. The last picture in my book is officially underway:

Still have to ink the linework and tweak some details, but this one’s progressing pretty rapidly.