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It's So Hard to Say Goodbye...And Hello Again!

After more than a year of using my website's native blog feature, I regret that it just doesn't work for me.  :-(  There are many ...

May 29, 2018

Epic Watercolor Paint Haul

I decided to film an unboxing video of my recent purchase from Daniel Smith Watercolors.  I've been using them since my college painting classes.  My friend Andre Williams (@artofandre) and I have been obsessed with them ever since.   We pulled our resources and created this massive paint haul, and now I'm sharing my selections with you!

This was a fun video to do, and share, and in future videos I'll be doing some swatching of the colors, so look out for that!

Thanks to Andre for sponsoring this video! :-D  He's a dear friend and you should go follow him on social media!

January 27, 2018

On Inner Demons...

"You cannot defeat  darkness by running from it, nor can you conquer  your inner demons by hiding them from the world.  In order to defeat the darkness, you must bring it into the light." 

-Seth Adam Smith

December 31, 2017

...On to the Next

Winter Demon - Watercolor, Ink, Digital - ©Johnny Perez 2017

It may be the biggest understatement to say that I am ready for this year to be over.   Maybe it's not the worst, but it is a close contender.   Looking back I see struggle after struggle, and yet I know that's not all it was.  

I hesitate to write any more than that.  

The real challenge here is to find the lesson, find the silver lining in all of 2017.  Good things happened.  I know that.  Bad things happen too, and usually get all the focus.

Staying positive is the right move.  But I'm here to convince you of that.   I began writing because its the end of the year, and if I need to accomplish something, it has to start here, with my thoughts, my actions, my work.   It has to start with getting back to what's important still.   I may not feel like it, and it's been hard to focus, but when all is said and done, I cannot let the problems of 2017 take me down another notch before its over.

This is my art blog where I let you in on my process, my inspiration, and in essence my mind.   It's chaotic in here guys, but please bear with me.   This psychobabble has some purpose I think.   For those that haven't a clue what I'm getting at, here it is.    The events of 2017 have spurred a need to get more personal.   These events began with recovering from a broken finger,  consequently trying to stay afloat financially, sinking into a quiet depression,  and ultimately the end of my relationship of 3 years.

Detail of Demon sketchbook study - ©Johnny Perez 2017

Finding pieces of myself that I've lost over the course of all this, has shown me that I don't have time to play around.   There ARE bigger problems than these.  That doesn't make it hurt less, but it at least helps put things in perspective.  With that in mind,  I recall the work I began with my last heartbreak.  Years ago, my goal was to work through the pain with my art.   I got pretty far in that endeavor, and honestly can't believe I'd lost most of that progress to find myself here again attempting to pick up where I left off.

It all began with the simplest of narratives,  Good vs. Evil.  Classic.  Easy.  I spent my nights photographing myself for reference.  The Hero looked like me, as did the Villain.  I had intended to make this short story comic book documenting my struggle with the Dark Side.   As I began to sketch out the photos, it seemed like too much.  As I tried to write a script,  I realized I'm not that kind of writer.   This was going to take time.  Life happened,  I recovered, and the project was benched.  It floated in the back of my mind for years now.

Reference photo - Self Portrait - ©Johnny Perez 2017

Now in the present, I am back to finish it.  Not just the project though, but the work I put into myself.   This latest setback was a shining reminder of what I'd left undone both on and off the page.   Things I thought I'd left in the past, reared their horned heads.   The hero is back on his journey with fresh Hell to pay.   This might get ugly.  I hope this explains a bit the direction I'm going, though.

Animated Winter Demon gif created by Werble app - ©Johnny Perez

November 11, 2017

October 31, 2017


Witches Brew - Ink, Paper - ©JohnnyPerez 2017

Every year I am inspired to create during the month of October because that is when Inktober happens!  Artists from around the world hashtag their work to practice, engage, and inspire using ink as the main medium.

This year I chose witches as my theme.  All sorts of witches.  I'm listing my creations this month in my Etsy shop.  In celebration of Halloween, I am offering 40% for email subscribers!  I hope you enjoy, and have a safe candy eating, horror movie watching, costume dressing day!

September 19, 2017

Fantasy Faces: Labyrinth!

I don't really know when the first time I saw Labyrinth was. It released in 1986 and I was 4 years old at the time, but it must've been some years later when our family could afford a VCR that I was able to watch it.  For some reason I remember thinking these movies had always existed and that my mom must've grown up on them, because she spoke as if she knew what was happening.  I can only assume she pre-screened the movies before showing them to me and MAYBE she saw them in the theater.

All I really know is that since I did see it, it's stayed with me, along with many fantasy movies at the time.  They are part of what made me want to be an artist, why I was reluctant but excited to play D&D in college, and why for many years I was in my own bubble of magic and glitter.  There are few movies that are cut from this cloth, and I can't imagine them not being burned into my psyche.

Ludo (detail) ©Johnny Perez

September 2, 2017

Fantasy Faces Painted in Watercolor...cont'd

Studio Ghibli fantasy faces set by Johnny Perez

Thanks for sticking around and checking out my progress on this project!  In case you missed it I have a video playlist you can watch of all the faces I've painted so far.  I'll keep adding to this playlist as they're done till I get 31 total!

In the last post I gave you some of the work in progress photos from face #s 12-18 I think.  So here are some photos up to #23.  This includes the last Studio Ghibli face: Yubaba, and The Dark Crystal faces of Skeksis, Podling, Aughra, and Kira!

Yubaba from Spirited Away in watercolor by Johnny Perez

I asked in the previous post to vote on the last set of 4 faces, or give me something better! I'm leaning toward Lord of the Rings, but Game of Thrones would be a hot topic.  So I'll still be taking your suggestions in the comments, so let me know!

Now on to some art photos from the studio!

August 24, 2017

Fantasy Faces in Watercolor Process Photos

Watercolor portraits by Johnny Perez, Dark Crystal by Jim Henson characters
The Dark Crystal group set by Johnny Perez
I've been making some headway into my 31 Days of Watercolor featuring fantasy faces from mythology to movies.  If you're a sucker for seeing the art process, check out this playlist of videos that I've compiled.  I initially started this project with a contest in mind, but then I thought the contest had been deleted, I couldn't find it for a while, and then before I knew it, I was behind, and the contest winners were announced.  :-/   I mean I got some entries in in the beginning but still, it was disappointing.  But I don't want to dwell on that, instead I'm just gonna finish the challenge.  SO 31 tiny portraits of fantasy characters are still in the works, I think I'm at 23 now?

Howl of Howl's Moving Castle anime by Hayao Miyazaki drawn by Johnny Perez in ink
WIP drawing of "Howl" by Johnny Perez

So I wanted to get ahead for a moment so I thought I'd just do well-known characters instead of making them up like when I started.  That way I didn't have to spend so much time thinking of something.  It helped and it hurt. LOL! These characters are some of my favorites so I wanted to do them justice, so while I was just playing and experimenting more with my own characters, I was now spending this "extra" time with details and trying to get a good likeness done.  All in all I'd have to say I love doing them though, because I love having this type of fanart added to my repertoire (fancy), and I like knowing that I'm working (even for myself) on a franchise I love!

Harry Potter characters painted in watercolor by Johnny Perez
WIP Harry Potter group set by Johnny Perez
And hey who knows if I get lucky and someone from these franchises sees my work and asks me to work on them for real?! *Mindblown*  SO far I've done:

July 17, 2017

The Trials, Hardships, and Cons of Being an Artist

Detail of "Fool" - Watercolor, Ink - by Johnny Perez, 2010
Detail of "Fool" - Watercolor, Ink - by Johnny Perez, 2007

We hear it all our lives as young artists...

Don't be an artist!  You'll starve!  You'll be poor!  You'll never make it, it's too competitive!
 I mean its not entirely wrong, but starting out is hard for most people, and giving up too early is a common thing.  I was lucky to have an encouraging family, and the fact that I grew up poor most of my life somehow made it ok or rather doable to live with no money.  So if I wanted to pursue a career with no money but I was happy, then I was confident I could still live, even if it was on nothing.   It really comes down to a matter of perspective for me.

I want to be real for a moment to say that I'm not some crazy successful artist, but neither do I consider myself less of an artist because I'm not "known."  I don't pretend to be more than I am, but I do choose to look at the bright side.   I do choose to think of myself as capable.  And I choose to define success as a never ending goal to better myself.  In that regard it is hard to lose.  I am faced with the same challenges as most in the world,  there is always someone out there better than you, and there is always someone out there more successful than you.  So what?  Am I just supposed to quit?