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Monday, October 31, 2011

New Beginnings- The Trilogy

Lesson Learned: If you build it, they will come.

Never saw the movie so I don't know what the hell I'm talking about. But people always ask me, "How do you get clients? I'm an artist and I can't find work". Well, my point from that stolen movie line is that there is always work out there for an artist.
Now don't get me wrong, it's hard work. It takes a combination of a lot of individual factors that need to be executed in synchronicity for any kind of positive result. What are those factors? Glad I asked for you. Here are 5 little pointers:

1) Be good at what you do. Plain and simple. If you have enough skill people are going to want to hire you. Same as being the pretty girl in a're going to get hit on.
1a) If you're not so "pretty" honest with yourself and work at it. Practice, practice, practice.

2) Be sociable. Let's say you're not so pretty..or that you are...either way, you have to work the scene. Advertise yourself where-ever you can so people can see what you have to offer. Be it Penciljack, deviantart, facebook, conventions...get out there and be as approachable, persistent, consistent, and involved as you can be. The more people see you the more suitors you will receive.

3) Build a positive relationship. Ok, you've got all of these pursuers and a few stick out. Make sure you show you have some substance by treating the person right. Call when you're supposed to call; try your darndest to hit deadlines(still working on this one). Be on point, in other words.

4) Put out. No, perv! Not like that...that just means to bring your best stuff to the table at all times. What's the point of you doing all that extensive whining about not getting clients, to turn around and deliver sloppy work? Give 'em the night of their life.

5)And last but not least, learn from each relationship. So guess what, you got an artistic STD from that last job. So what?! Now you know what to do in the next one. Maybe you learnt that the guy with the rolex and the mercedez lives at home with his you know not to go for the flashy client with the promises of a movie deal and Oprah's job, but maybe the quiet one that pays for your convention. You don't always have to jump for the big stuff...don't be afraid to work your way up with smaller clients.
(See my last blog about "protecting" yourself.)

Well, weirded out by this blog? Maybe I'm into Halloween after all. In that case, I'll leave you with a fittingly demonic piece from my latest project: A Crown Of Horns. It's from the illustrated novel written by my newest client John F Cullins, and now that "New Beginnings" is done, I'll be talking about Crown of Horns next blog on Friday.

A Crown of Horns Chap 1 poster. Colors by Renee Clarke

Thanks for reading peeps..I hope my little rants help.

Friday, October 28, 2011

New Beginnings Pt2

Lesson Learned: Let business be business.

In other words, in this industry, you have to make sure you protect yourself. And this was made evident when a project I was a part of came to an end because I didn't handle the business side first. The project was called Surian Seed, and while I won't get into details about what caused the split, I will say this --and I mean this from the bottom of my heart-- I am forever grateful things happened the way they did. It's said "if it doesn't kill you it makes you stronger", and right about now I could chase an intangible mutant through a bunch of walls.
I know life will teach me many more painful lessons, and I look forward to them all.

But guess what, my headaches are your gain, cause I'm all about here are 5 little tidbits Ive learnt that I want to share with you guys:

1) If it's an extensive project, sign a contract first!
2) Never assume the other person is going to have your best interest at heart
3) If you know something is wrong, stand up for yourself
4) Always be prepared for the wost. Even if the person says "don't worry about money, I'll pay for dinner", keep some cash in your sock.
5) Follow your instincts.

These are just a few of the things I learned from working on the departed Surian Seed project. It's done and I'm moving on. A shame too cause I really liked the design work I did on these. You guys be the judge.

Color work by Walter Otslie, Renee Clarke and James Mason

Monday, October 24, 2011

New Beginnings Pt1

Lesson learned: Don’t be greedy!

I don't know what time you're reading this, but as I write this blog it’s now 6:20AM on Monday morning and I'm crammed in a Greyhound bus seat as the bus sits idling at a rest stop somewhere in a mythical land called “Harrisburg”. My senses are being assaulted from every direction- my nose is tingling from the invasion of a sickly cocktail mix of body funk and bathroom activities; my ears are jolted every 10 seconds by the sound of the guy behind me snoring/snorting; and even though it’s cold outside the air on the bus is set to a nice liquid nitrogen temperature. Combine that with the fact that I’m on my way home from a convention(Wizard Mid-Ohio Con), on top of having done the beast that is the New York Comic Con just last week, plus another con the week before THAT, and you get yourself one really tired, cranky Shawn. And there’s no-one to blame but myself, cause I was being greedy. 

But it was from doing this convention marathon that I gained even more knowledge to add to my art of war tactics, as well as gained new friends and solidified old bonds. Shout-outs to Eric Cooper, Blair Smith, Raphael Moran, Greg LaRocque, Mike and Daxiong, Sam Carlin and Brian Carroll, Sanjit and Maz, John Still, and all other peeps and fans from Garden State Con. Shout out to con neighbors and peeps new and old from New York Con/Anime Con- Symeon, Steve Chung, Arenia, Abede, Rock, Tre, Kia, Sha-Nee,Will, JC, AlCayne, Chris, HD, John Headly, Keith, Q, Dave White, Chris, and tons more. From Mid-Ohio: Sterling, Daniel Leister, Ryan Bodenheim, McLain, Sara Richard, Eroll, Cory Smith, Alan, Dee and Denise for all of their help and Terry  Huddleston for the bags, and yes, all others.

And because of all the talent out there, all the advice, all the support, it's because of all of those things that I feel more rejuvenated than ever. There’s nothing like seeing artist with work so much better than yours who are putting everything they have on the page to make you want to reach their bar (or use it to hang yourself) and say fuck the simple ass artists who just want to make a quick buck. There’s nothing like having Jason Howard(of The Astonishing Wolf-Man and Super Dinosaur fame) come over to your table at Mid-Ohio and give you a compliment. To then come back the next day and see him pouring over your portfolio again, this time pointing out things he likes to a young up and coming artist by the name of Ryan “I Fucking Draw Invincible” Ottley!!! Who also had nothing but kind words to say. Ok, that’s double Wow status, right?
What about having comic legend in the making Kyle Hotz come over, give a compliment, and say he’s going to bite some of your stuff? I know I still have a ways to go, and these guys could be as talented a trickster as they are artists, but it's a start.

Get ready for the masterplan. MMWHA-HAHAHAHAHA!!!

BTW, if you didn't see your name it's just because I didn't think of it at the time. lol


Friday, October 7, 2011


I will be at the NY ANIME Festival next week, Oct13th-16th.

I will be debuting the new project I'm working on called ACrown of Horns.

It's a novel where I'm illustrating the chapter art and the wrap-around cover.

The book is due to drop on 11/11/11

Here's the first chapter with inks by my Artmada compatriot Will "Afromation" Jamaison.

Here're the pencils.

That's it.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

I Used To Love H.E.R

"I met this girl, when I was 10 years old/ And what I loved most, she had so much soul" - Common

Is there anything more perplexing yet at the same time as intoxicating as the mysterious being known as  "Woman"? I think not. Combine that with the just as illusive notion of what is "Hip-hop", and you have a potent mix.

Ever since I dropped my TRUTH piece I've been getting a lot of mixed reactions...and I love it. As I said on another site, the job of an artist is to invoke some kind of emotion, whether good or bad, and I feel I've accomplished that. Because of the piece(which was originally done to be a part of a hip-hop art show with the theme "What does hip-hop look like to you"), I've received a lot of inquires as to what the image really means, and what hidden gems are to be found. Here's the breakdown.

1.) What does the gun which typically represents violence mean?
2.) What exactly is the "Truth" that She's spitting from Her mouth and bullets?
3.) What does H.E.R stand for in this instance?
4.) Is it necessary for Her to be naked for people to see/hear Her Truth?
5.) Do you believe one can fight overly sexualized imagery with more sexualized imagery?
6.) What's the significance of the nipple hardware?
7.) Why the beetle/insect(?) and the tentacles?
8.) Anything else I should be paying attention to?

Answer time:
1) Yes, a gun traditionally represents a weapon of destruction, but I chose to examine the basic mechanics of what a gun is, which is a tool used to rapidly propel something that will cause a major impact. The gun in this case is just a device to rapidly propel the bullets of cause a major impact of awareness. Kill you with the truth metaphorically speaking.
2) The Truth She's spitting and projecting is "Realness", "Honesty of self", etc. Example: Eminem spitting about his life in a trailer park as opposed to pretending he grew up in some kind of drive by gang.
3) It stands for Hearing Every Rhyme's Truth
4) This has biblical connections. Adam and Eve only covered themselves when they developed the sensations of "shame" and "guilt". Before that they were "pure" and saw nothing wrong with their bodies.The nakedness here symbolizes Her comfort with self and lack of shame to expose Her natural beauty.(She's not completely naked due my personal sensibilities and the fact I wanted her clothes to represent a hip-hop aesthetic.)
5) My statement isn't about overly sexualized imagery, so I'm not fighting that. If I were fighting that, I DO see the difference as comparing sex to making love. Both very similar but it's the message and intent that separates the two.
6) As stated above, the nipple coverage is due to my personal censorship, I don't draw a lot of cheese-cake art, and I don't think nakedness for the sake of nakedness serves any purpose. At first I had Her nipples covered with pieces of tape-- but simple tape didn't do the piece justice-- so I designed some Egyptian themed brass covers to elevate the flair, and connect her ethnicity to Hip-hop, which has African(-American) roots.
7) Lol, not a beetle, that's a heart tattoo with ventricles/speaker cables. The message being wear your heart on your (sleeve)chest, and spit the Truth/Music from your heart. I didn't want to do a cartoony Valentine's day type of heart as once again I felt that wouldn't do the piece justice, so I went with an actual heart shape.
8) A few things to pay attention to-
a) The speaker wires going into her mouth, connecting her heart to her voice which is the other instrument needed to deliver the message.
b) The arrows in her hoody and jewelery which is a connection to graffiti, one of the 5 elements of hip-hop.
c) The Adinkra symbol for "energy" on her belt buckle, which in this case is another term for "power", which is strategically placed near Her "womanhood".
d) The mic being used as a silencer which ironically is an amplification device.

If anyone were to see something I missed let me know.

So there you have it..I hope you guys feel where I'm coming from and continue to follow me on my journey as an artist.

P.S Shirts are available.

"But I'ma take her back hoping that the shit stop/ Cause who I'm talking bout y'all is hip-hop."- Common

Monday, October 3, 2011

Hot Tees

The Locks Conference was this past weekend and it was an amazing experience. This was my first time vending there and I didn't know what to expect, so that made things a little more nerve racking than usual. The vibe was more of a health and fashion expo, with people selling jewelery, hair care products, and such, and there I was with a comic book, and worse, no locks. lol
Things started off a little rocky, and I definitely had to sell myself a little more than usual, but it was completely worth it in the end. I'm already making plans next year on what new ways I can integrate my comic art style niche into the market. Besides that, I left feeling even more connected than ever to my African and Caribbean roots.
One of the new things I added to my convention was a raffle where you could win a framed piece of art.(A big congrats to all the winners). The other freshness I had at the show was my new set of Pyroglyphics shirts.They came out great and went over well, and now they're available for EVERYONE! As part of a special promotion, I'm offering the shirts at just $15, which INCLUDES S&H(!!) PLUS, you're automatically placed in a drawing to win one of those framed piece of original art I mentioned!! Supplies are limited so order yours today! Just contact me at
"Warrior" Sizes: Med, Lg, Xlg

"Truth" Sizes: Lg, Xlg  

Look for more styles, colors and sizes coming soon.
And thank you for your continued support means alot to this starving artist.
BTW, don't forget, starting today new blog updates every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Catch you later. Peace.