Thursday, December 31, 2009

End of the Year, End of the Decade.

Well, here we are - another chronological milestone. I have to admit, I was so caught up in my own day-to-day crap that the end-of-the-decade aspect didn't even register with me until a few days ago. Ergo, I haven't really been sitting around feeling nostalgic or retrospective.

But I will say this: this past decade was the one where I finally got serious about art. In the 80s and 90s I took a few extended breaks from art, and each time I came back I had to take a few steps back to reassess. In the 2000s things were a little different; I didn't really plunge back in till late 2001, but once I did, I never let up. Since then the depth and breadth of my ongoing school-of-hard-knocks art education have been pretty substantial. Each year it feels like I'm learning more than I did in all the previous ones combined. Which only makes sense, I guess - each year I'm starting with a much bigger knowledge base.

So, time being of the essence, I'll wrap this up with a list of people who challenged, inspired, taught, or otherwise helped me with my art over the last decade. And again, this is all off the top of my head, so if I accidentally left you out, it's really nothing personal.

Thanks to: my family, Robt. Williams and Juxtapoz, Bill Sienkiewicz, Glenn Barr, Jimi Hendrix, David Mack, Dave McKean, Jim Mahfood, Chris Bachalo, Patrick Blaine, Kevin Meyers, Jaye Frisina, Anthony Smith, Howard Cowdrick, Rheni Tauchid, Anthony Dunphy, Eliza Ollin, William Wray, Jeff Hotchkiss, Tim Kupin, Ray Rivard, Benoit Leblanc, Mark Crater, John Watson, Paul Whitt, Chris Nowlin, Pól Rua, Kristen Northrup, Laura Whaley, Rob Cooper, Kurt Mitchell, Jonah Weiland, Morna Tudor, Gary Bolt, Joshua Burt, Brian Cronin, Lori Kittelberg, George Smeltzer, Matt Anderson, Jewel Staite, Joss Whedon, Scott Robertson, Frank Quitely, Adam Hughes, Danijel Zezelj, Milo Manara, Eduardo Risso, Sebastian Krüger, Mordechai Luchins, Jason Light, Jason Williams, the Beastie Boys, Lyndsay Malchuk, Kelley Averill, Rick Diehl, Lisa and Paul from Mojave, Jessi Sensabaugh, Gus Lindgren, Robert Genn, Matty O, and the incomparable, irrepressible fly on the wall.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Some Unsolicited Hype.

My good buddy Ray just did a nice write-up of my book on his blog:
It's always satisfying to see someone make strides creatively, both in short bursts and over the long haul, and to share in the process in a public way no matter what the potential criticism or negative feedback. It's why I've struggled with creative impulses for years and years. Like others, I crave warm and fuzzy validation, but I also want to be taken seriously, and that requires ripping apart old work, acknowledging writing tendencies and consciously navigating a way around them, and, perhaps most importantly, finding a unique "voice," one that reflects who I am, rather than just mimicking others. Most of us don't want to walk that tightrope, and one fall without a net is usually enough to deter efforts for awhile, if not indefinitely.
You can read the rest here. And while you're there, check out the other entries. Ray's got a lot to say on a number of topics, and always says it well. (Also, pay attention to the labels on his posts, because they're freakin' hilarious.)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Plans for 2010?

Well, here we are again - another year almost over. For me it was an intensely shitty one, in almost every regard except art. So once again, art kept me sane and more-or-less focused.

Fortunately, the general work situation seems to be on the upswing, and between my online store for prints and my new book, I've taken some major steps towards making my art work for me.

So. 2010. I'd like to get some art into local restaurants, sell a lot more prints, dramatically up the traffic on this blog, and finally get my long-awaited (by me, at least) website up. No real goals in mind when it comes to technique or media at the moment. I'm already working on another book, though - a hardcover book of cars, most likely with 50 illustrations.

How 'bout you folks?

Friday, December 18, 2009


Well, this is it - the goal I've been working towards all year. Publication. Today I got the very first copy of my new book via FedEx. I have to admit I've been pretty anxious about this; before I opened the package today I nearly barfed.

But now, of course, everything's cool. I haven't given it a really thorough once-over yet, but I have looked at every page. And lemme tell ya, friends and neighbours, I am very happy with this book. Very. Very. Happy.

Now you're probably asking yourself, "where can I find out more about this book?" So the least I could do is give you the answer instead of keeping you in suspense. You can preview (and buy, if you're so inclined) Hey, Ladies! right here. I should point out, of course, that this is only a partial preview. Plenty of the book's pages can only be seen by buying it.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Bret Taylor
Vancouver, BC
December 18, 2009

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Four New Paintings.

Well, this is a big day. The Christmas paintings are all done - at least, all the ones that have to be mailed to the East Coast. And of course, I uploaded the files for the book to Blurb the other night, so now I'm just waiting for the first copy to be printed and shipped to me.

Kind of a weird feeling - every project from the last few months is finished. Not really sure where to go from here, just yet. A couple days' downtime might be helpful, though.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Texture, Texture, Texture.

Just a quick hit-and-run post today - all hell is breaking loose, so I've barely got time to show you folks these macros from two of the most recent paintings. Lots of fun with acrylic mediums*: fiber paste, ceramic stucco texture gel, glass bead gel, crackle medium, extra coarse nepheline gel, matte medium, clear tar gel, extra heavy gel, and pouring medium.


*Yes, I have it on good authority that in this particular case, "mediums" is the correct plural form.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Party.

So I'm starting to look at logistics for my book-launch party in January. Today I figured out where the bar will be set up, how to keep people from hiding in the corner and not looking at the art, the music situation (a 5- or 6-hour iTunes playlist of cherry-picked old-school funk, punk rock, hip hop, 70s hard rock, and so on). My plan is to take the 10 best pics from the book and blow them up to poster size. Plus there'll be copies of the book itself for purchase, though I don't yet know how many copies to have on hand. Still lots to consider.

Would it be tacky to charge for drinks?

Friday, November 20, 2009

It's Done.

The final illustration is done. On Sunday night I'll be getting my "about the artist" photo taken, and then all the book content will be finished. A few more days for proofing, and then it's off to the printer.

It's a pretty good feeling. Nice to see something positive come out of a recession year like this past one.

Time for whiskey, I think.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Beginning of the End.

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.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Details, Details.

So now that my book is nearly done, I need to start looking at the specific details for when I get it printed. For instance, there are two different paper stocks I can use: the 80-lb. matte-finish "traditional" paper, or the 100-lb. silk-finish premium stuff.

Personally, I'm leaning towards the premium, because it'll look and feel better, and it only adds about three bucks to the price of a single book. It is 35% heavier, though, so I'm assuming shipping costs will be higher.

Thoughts and opinions?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

My New Video.

Hey, I think I'm starting to get the hang of this:

Sunday, November 8, 2009

More on the Book.

Here's the second-last spread for my book:

Now there's only one illustration left to be done.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Buy This Book.

Seriously. If you're into acrylics, this one will floor you. It's hardcore.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Key to It All.

Hey kids, I'm been playing with video again. Here's another layer-by-layer video, this time with music I threw together in Garageband:

Evidently I still need to learn some things about format, but bear with me. Soon you'll think I'm an award-winning movie director and shower me with riches.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Hot Rods and Bulletholes.

Okay, this is something new for me - I'm no Luddite, but when it comes to video I'm waaay behind the curve. Anyhow, with a little advice from my friend Das, I figured out how to record video as I activated the various layers in a Photoshop file.

I wanted to give readers a sense of how some of my illustrations are put together, so this shows the layers being added, one by one from the bottom up:

Note that the video just features a small section of the piece. Here's the whole thing, for reference:

And yes, this one will be in my book, too.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

An Update on the Book.

Hey folks, just a quick update - as of yesterday I've got 28 of the projected 30 illustrations done for the pin-up book. This has been a much more lengthy process than originally intended, but the final product oughta be worth the wait. And it's definitely been a good experience for me - not exactly a huge sacrifice to spend a year drawing women, after all.

Anyhow, I've got the final two pictures planned out (the last one will be a tattoo design), so hopefully I can get this thing off the ground before Christmas, and then everybody can buy a copy and I can retire to the French Riviera and drink champagne and eat caviar all day.

Oh, and here's the one I finished yesterday:


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Mopar Madness.

Hey, folks. Been tweaking and updating a lot of my older art the past few days. Here's a couple I dug out of the archives from 2001 and 2002. In both cases the colour scheme in the top part of the image was the original, and the one in the bottom part is something new.

Anybody got a preference?

I suspect I'll spin off more variations as well. I'd really like to see flames on that Dart.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

howyadoin graphics

Well, the big day has finally arrived: I found a place online to sell prints of my art.

I've only got a few pieces up yet, but needless to say, there'll soon be lots more. Check it out here, if you're so inclined.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Crow's Funeral.

A little something I whipped up for the CD release party for my good friends in Mojave:

Crow's Funeral, of course, is the name of their new album. It's based on a phenomena documented here. The band put out a call for art and photography based on the title, and the result is the closest thing I've done to sequential art in years.

Anyhow, I thought I'd show a couple of process shots with this one - I had a lot of fun dribbling and spattering paint all over it for weeks. The first image shows the underpainting, and the second has three macro shots taken while the drops of paint were still wet:

And finally, here's a closeup of the middle panel:

It's always a pleasure to work on something so loose and organic - all that broken colour is a blast.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Girls, Girls, Girls.

Well. It's been a long time.

I've been sadly neglecting this poor blog over the past few months. But fear not - there's still been a lot of art happening. In a development that I didn't see coming at all, I've fallen in love with illustration again.

I just wanted to get back to doing more drawing, because after two years of focusing on acrylics, it felt like my drawing skills were getting a little rusty. For every painting that I'd spend hours and hours on, there would generally only be 15-20 minutes of drawing at the beginning, if that.

So, armed with my trusty pencils and a sketchpad, I started off by redesigning Supergirl:

I wanted to make her more down-to-earth, and I wanted to bypass all the near-kiddie-porn aspects of her current comics, so a more normal physique, hair and glasses were the key.

After that I realized how much I'd missed combining analog and digital illustration, so I plunged right into another one:

A little marker illustration, a little photography, a little bourbon and a lot of Photoshop. Good times, good times.

At this point I started poking through my reference material and my unfinished-projects files. This girl in the parka was an idea for a painting that I had last summer, but apparently it got shelved in favour of some other project:

Around this point I got the idea of putting a bunch of these together in a book. There're lots of print-on-demand options these days, so my plan now is to do 20-30 of these pieces for publication. I'm aiming for late spring/early summer. Hopefully I haven't bitten off more than I can chew.

A couple more recent pieces that I want to put in the book:

The Viking woman is a reworking of an old illustration from 3 years ago. Initially I planned to just tweak a few details, but I ended up re-inking the whole thing, keeping the basic face and helmet, changing the hair, adding the fur and the chain and the sword, rotating the composition, ditching all the colour fills, and adding the red and orange colour holds. That may sound like a lot of work, but the whole thing didn't take more than an hour or so.

So there we have it. Lots more drawing for me to do if I'm gonna pull this off.

Wish me luck.