Style Vs. Versatility in Art. Which to Pursue?

ART – Style Vs. Versatility in Art. Which to Pursue?

Wally WoodWhich is more useful for an artist, acquiring and honing a style or pursuing a more full versatile artistic skill set?

This is question that came up in a discussion I had in Facebook a while back. It was inspired by a comment that J. Scott Campbell gave in an interview regarding diversity as an artist and how it related to Branding yourself.

The interview is posted further down. It’s fantastic and absolutely worth watching.

He said in the an the interview that being diverse may actually hurt you (25:33):

“If you’re fantastic at everything, you’re not known for anything in particular.”

This got me thinking. Below is a video on some thoughts on the subject:

The link to the Frank Frazetta post  I talk about in the video can be seen here: Developing a Unique Drawing Style.

Below are the points I make in the video, in a nutshell.

Style vs. Versatility Pros and Cons


  • What you’re known for.
  • Makes you money
  • The general public gravitates to style


  • What if you’re style goes out of style
  • You’re a one trick pony
  • You don’t grow as an artist


  • Make you a good draftsman
  • You can draw anything in any style. ALL styles are open to you.
  • You’re evergreen


  • You’re not known for any particular expertise
  • Public or employers my not see your versatility as an asset.

The J. Scott Campbell Interview

Here’s the interview in question:

Concerning the Term Style

One clarification.  In case the term style is getting a bit confusing.

The word can mean two things:

  1. Style as: the active design choices an artist uses in a particular way of drawing.
  2. Style as: the telltale unconscious way a person draws, similar to handwriting.

As an animator, I never cultivated a “style” (design choices). We pride ourselves in being able to draw in any style (design) at will.

That said, it’s impossible to escape yourself. What I’ve discovered is that, no matter what you draw, in whatever “style” (design) you draw, you will always draw like you.

On the Simpsons we ALL draw the characters on model, in the style (design) of the show. BUT we can always tell who draws what scenes because everyone draws the characters “in their style” (unconscious handwriting.) Like handwriting, we all learn to write the letters the same way but everyone does it different. We can’t help it.

So rather than pursue a “style,” (design) it’s better to pursue great draftsmanship. “Style” (unconscious handwriting) will just happen on it’s own.

What are your thoughts?

Stay on Target! One Handy Tip to Help You Focus on Your Chosen Task

LIFE HACK – Stay on Target! One Handy Tip to Help You Focus on Your Chosen Task

Stay on Target Stay on Target One Handy Tip to Help You Focus on Your Chosen Task


It’s so difficult to stay on target sometimes.  We’ve been conditioned to have such low attention spans.

That said, there are ways to not only keep focus, but improve your focus.  I made a video talking about one great tip that helps you do just that. It’s my favorite of the many tips suggested in the book 100% Focused: 25 Great Ways To Improve Your Focus And Concentration by John Morgan.

Here’s the link to the post I spoke about in the video:

3 Tips For Practicing Even the Most Monotonous Stuff, and Like It

Here’s the Tip in a nut shell

Get a stopwatch, a timer and a notepad.

  1. Sit down to do your work or practice and give yourself a time limit, like 15, 30, or 45 minutes. That’s how long you will work. Set that on your timer and start it.

  2. As soon as you do, start the stopwatch as well.

  3. Get to work. The moment you lose focus by getting distracted, daydreaming, or stop working/practicing for any reason. Stop the stopwatch.

  4. Get the notepad and write down from your stopwatch, how long you worked before you lost focus.

  5. Reset your stopwatch, start it up again and return to work/practice.

  6. If you lose focus again, stop the stopwatch and make a note of how long you worked this time. Did you do better? Worse?

Try to beat your time. Continue this until your timer goes off.

The point of this exercise is to train your focus. Ideally you should eventually be able to fill the entire time without losing focus. If you do, increase the time on the timer and try to fill that time too.

Pick up this book for more great tips.


Deadpool Sketch Cover and Process

ART/COMICS – Deadpool Sketch Cover and Process

Deadpool cover

I finished my third Sketch Cover. This one featuring the very popular Deadpool.  This is the first time I’ve ever tried drawing him.

He’s always breaking the fourth wall so have him do so in this cover with a gag.  Not sure how successful it is.

The Process

I use the exact same process with this cover as I did with the last two.

I started digitally, using the scanned version of the Batman ’66 cover as my template. Below is my first rough:

Deadpool Cover rough 01

I then drew a second pass over that and refined the drawing:

Deadpool Cover rough 02

Once I’d done that, I printed out the drawing and cut up sheet of paper so I could tape it on the actual sketch cover:

Deadpool cover rough cutout front

I then took a pencil and darkened up the back to make it like carbon paper, so I could transfer the image over to the actual cover:

Deadpool cover rough cutout back

Unfortunately, I was in such a rush to get done that I forgot to take a picture of what the transferred drawing looked like.

Once I had transferred the drawing, I used some micron pens and a Pentel Pocket brush pen to ink the drawing.  Which is the drawing featured above.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Betty and Veronica Bikini Archie Comic Sketch Cover And Process.

ART/COMIC BOOKS – Betty and Veronica Bikini Archie Comic Sketch Cover And Process

Archie 1 Cover Betty and Veronica Bikinis

Who doesn’t like Betty and Veronica at the beach? Hopefully, nobody.  This week, I decided to try my hand at drawing an Archie comic sketch cover. I also added how I drew the cover.

I created this cover specifically to be sold, so I picked a subject that I hope people would like.

Like I said, I hope people do.

The Process

Like I did with the Yvonne Craig, Batgirl Batman ’66 cover, I started this one digitally. I used the scanned Batman ’66 cover as a template:

Archie cover rough

I drew the backside of the cover, only to find out that the Archie comic didn’t have a backside to draw on.

Once I was happy with the drawing, I printed it out and cut down the paper to only the parts I needed:

Process Archie Cover 01

Then I turned it over and rubbed graphite all over the back of the area were the drawing was, so I could make it like carbon paper:

Process Archie Cover 02

I then took some removable tape, lined up the paper to the cover and taped it down:

Process Archie Cover 03

Using a mechanical paper, I drew over my rough blue lines, pressing down so that the drawing would be transferred onto the cover.

This is the result:

Process Archie Cover 04

Once I had that down, it was just a matter of inking over the pencil lines using a Micron pen and a Pentel pocket brush pen.

The result is the drawing up top.

What do you think?

OH! And by the way, this Archie #1 comic is a great read.



Yvonne Craig Batgirl Homage Comic Sketch Cover and Process.

ART/COMIC BOOKS – Yvonne Craig Batgirl Homage Variant Comic Book Sketch Cover

I was drawing Yvonne Craig as Batgirl a few weeks ago when suddenly the news of her passing occurred.  It was very odd and very sad.

Batman 66 FINAL cover

My drawing was partially done when I found out. I’m currently drawing some variant sketch comic book covers on the side.  I’m planning to sell them at shows.

The first cover I decided to tackle was for Batman 66.  I wanted to draw a pretty girl on the cover and Yvonne’s Batgirl was the perfect candidate.

R.I.P. Yvonne Craig.

The Process

In order to draw this cover, I wanted a bit of control. I didn’t want to simply start drawing on the cover I wanted to have a clean worked out piece of art.

To do this, I started digitally. I roughed out the cover on my computer first:

Batman 66 cover w

Once I got everything working the way I wanted, I then printed out the cover on paper:

Batman 66 cover process 01

After doing that I took a pencil and darkened the back of the printed version:

Batman 66 cover process 02

Then it was just a matter of using it as carbon paper, by putting the printed version over the sketch cover and tracing over my drawing, creating a pencil version on the cover itself, which I then inked.

6 Reasons Artist Should Table at Shows and/or Conventions.

ART – 6 Reasons Artist Should Table at Shows and/or Conventions.

Luis Escobar

Photo taken by Javier Hernandez:

If you want to make a living as an artist, your work has to be valuable to people. Some group or community of people that are looking for what you provide has to support you monetarily in some way.

The internet is one way to reach those people, but it’s not the only way.

As an artist you may want to get out of your office or studio and go out into the world with you work. That way you can show it off personally.

Some of the best places to do this is at show or conventions.  By “shows” I would include not only local craft fairs but also, farmers markets, and things like that.

If you think that’s not you, I made a video giving you 6 reasons why you’re missing out if you don’t do this sort of thing.

Here’s the list of reasons I give in the video:

  1. You open yourself to new opportunities
  2. You’re a person not a website. You make a physical human connection with your audience.
  3. You can make friends and connections, with fans and artists.
  4. You can discover what people want from you and what draws them to your art.
  5. You can learn from other artists.
  6. You can make money.

Can you think of any other benefits?  Feel free to add to the list in the comments.

If you like what you read, please support me on Patreon. There’s plenty of benefits you can get there, including secret videos from me.

3 Tips For Practicing Even the Most Monotonous Stuff, and Like It

ART – 3 Tips For Practicing Even the Most Monotonous Stuff, and Like It

Never his mind on where he was Hmm What he was doing

“A Jedi must have the deepest commitment, the most serious mind. This one a long time have I watched. All his life has he looked away… to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was. Hmm? What he was doing.”

If you’re like me, there’s always something you want to get good at or become better at. In my case it’s drawing and painting. In your case it may be playing an instrument, dancing, a martial art, etc.

Often, the thing we want to improve requires practice. Lots of practice.

The problem is, practice can be boring, tedious, monotonous and not fun. You simply don’t want to do it. But if you don’t, you don’t get any better. Is there a way to be able to practice and have it be fun and enjoyable?

Turns out, there is.

I just recently read a book called The Practicing Mind: Developing Focus and Discipline in Your Life by Thomas M. Sterner.  It breaks down the thought process behind practicing in such a way, that it makes you able to enjoy even the most monotonous of tasks.

Below are my four helpful takeaways from the book, which will help you get the most out of practicing.

Whenever you see a quote below, I’m quoting directly from the book.

Focus and Discipline

“The problem with patience and discipline is that it requires both of them to develop each of them.” ― Thomas M. Sterner

The book practically starts with this quote.  Focus and discipline are key to good practice.  Ironically, you’ll  have to practice both to get better at practicing other things.

As with anything worth getting good at, it’s all in the mindset you develop.

Here are the four tips for developing focus and discipline:

1. Stay in the present Moment

The key to focus is staying in the present moment.  The here and now.  Don’t allow your thoughts to wander to the future of the past.

Don’t go down the rabbit hole of day dreaming about anything. Stay present. Keep your mind and body focused on the task at hand.

“Frustration and boredom comes from not being in the moment.”

Frustration comes because you’re thinking about other things, like the future ideal outcome of where you want your skills to be at.  Comparing that outcome with what you’re doing now causes frustration and boredom.

You can never reach your ideal because the moment you think you’ve done so, you’ll realized that you’re ideal has moved further away.

Boredom sets in, because your mind is going through all the things you’d rather be doing, than the task on hand.

It’s best to focus on what you’re doing now than any moment in the future or any task you’d rather be doing.

“If you fall out of the moment, be aware of it and recognize it. Remind yourself that it’s happened, and feel good that you can recognize it.”

Once you do this, go back to the task on hand. Practice this during your everyday living.  When you do so, it will be easier to be focused, when you practice.

2. Keep yourself process oriented, Make the process the goal

“The goal is to learn not to master.”

Don’t focus on the idealized goal when you practice and study. Focus on the practice itself. THAT is your reward. Use the overall goal as a guide to steer your efforts. The rest of the time, simply keep it out of mind.

By doing so, you will get better whether you want to or not.

“However, when you focus on the goal instead, you are pushing it away since you’re not concentrating on the matter at hand, which is, practice.”

Also, checking your progress is not your friend either:

“Never focus on or at your progress. Progress is the natural result of staying focused on the process of doing anything. When you stay focused on the present moment, the goal comes toward you.”

3. Be deliberate.

During every practice session:

“Have an intention about what you want to accomplish and remain aware of that intention.”

Here’ how:

  1. Small – Breakdown your goal into small sections or segments. Bite size pieces.
  2. Short- Give yourself a short time frame to practice. 15 to 45 minutes.
  3. Slow – Work at a pace that allows you to pay attention to what you’re doing. Tai Chi style.

Once you sit down to practice, here’s the recommended actions to take in a practice session:

  • Do – Take action on what you want to get good at.
  • Observe – Observe your results. Be completely objective. No judgment or emotions. Simply analyze your results. Are you heading toward your goal for this session? Did it turn out the way you wanted? Yes/No. What did you do wrong, how can you fix it? Take note. Even go so far as to write it down.
  • Correct – Based on your analysis, if needed, do it again. This time, being more aware to work on what needed correcting the last time.
  • Repeat – Continue this process, until you can do it correctly every time.


Learning to be focused and disciplined takes just as much practice as what you want to get good at.

The book talks a lot about staying in the present moment because it makes time stop and practice more helpful.  The writer never uses the words “Flow” or “Flow state” but that’s exactly what he’s talking about. By staying in the present moment, and focusing on the task on hand, you’re essentially hitting flow every time you practice.

That is the ideal situation to be in.

I like the advice in the book.  If you want to get more in depth with the subject, I recommend reading it.

I myself, will practice the advice, but I’m also going to seek out more info on methods of focus.  Seems like that’s so key to the practicing process.

The more I know about the subject, the better.

How do you practice? Do you have a method? I’d like to hear it.

Comment below.

The Best Three New 52 Superman Story Arcs

COMIC BOOKS – The Best Three New 52 Superman Story Arcs

The Best Three New 52 Superman Story ArcsThere are some really good New 52 Superman stories worth reading.  Even if you think you don’t like New 52 Superman.

If you want to read some good New 52 Superman stories, below are three story arcs I suggest you check out.

Watch the video to know why:


Grant Morrison’s Run on Action Comics

I forgot to say this in the video but, the this run of Superman actually ties in all the versions of Superman that have gone before.  Grant Morrison somehow manages to make all of Superman’s history tie in to this version in a very subtle way.

Superman: Action Comics, Vol. 1: Superman and the Men of Steel (The New 52)


Superman – Action Comics Vol. 2: Bulletproof (The New 52)


Superman – Action Comics Vol. 3: At The End Of Days (The New 52)

Superman Unchained by Scott Snyder and Jim Lee

Superman Unchained (The New 52)

Superman: The Men of Tomorrow by Geoff Johns and John Romita Jr.

Superman: The Men of Tomorrow

What’s you’re favorite New 52 Superman run? Sound off on the comments below.

If you like this post and want more, consider supporting me on Patreon:

3 Reasons to Watch Justice League Gods and Monsters

ANIMATION/SUPERHEROES – 3 Reasons to Watch Justice League Gods and Monsters

As you may already know, I love watching superhero animated movies. Especially DC ones.  I must admit though, when I heard that Bruce Timm was doing a much “darker,” Justice League animated movie for Warner Brothers called Justice League: Gods and Monsters I wasn’t thrilled.

I really didn’t see the point of making the Justice League grittier.  When I read the interviews with Bruce Timm around the internet, I still didn’t know if I liked what I heard.  I think, deep down, what I was hearing from these interviews was the whole notion that was done to death in the 90s of “EXTREME!” superheroes.

“These aren’t your ordinary, wimpy heroes, they kill the bad guys because they’re EXTREME!”

Then the Machinima website helped produced some shorts that gave you a taste of what this very different Justice League was like.  If you haven’t seen them, here they are below:

Okay so I was intrigued after watching the shorts, but they are exactly what I thought they would be, it’s Justice League EXTREME.

That said, it still made me want to watch the movie, not because these characters crossed moral lines but simply because they were so very different from what I was used to.

Having watched Justice League: Gods and Monsters, I can say that I was blown away. I’m so very glad I bought it.  It’s a fantastic movie.

Yes, it’s very much in that EXTREME superhero genre, but it’s actually really well done in spite of that.  Here’s three reasons why you should give this movie a go:

The Story

3 Reasons to Watch Justice League Gods and MonstersThe promotional material I saw for this movie mainly focused on the how the world and the characters where different.  Going in, I really didn’t have any idea what this movie was going to be about.

This was great because when I finally watched it, I was intrigued all the way through.  There’s so many fun revelations and twists through out the movie.

The best part, is how it all comes together in the end.  I was very impressed.  The fact that the characters where so different from what you’re familiar with really created a great tension through out the movie.

I was really satisfied.  It was very well written.

It’s Unexpected

You simply don’t know what’s going to happen next or how these Justice League characters will react.  The fact that they’re blank slates and you’re getting to know them means you don’t know what to expect.

You’re also constantly discovering what this world’s version of other traditional characters are like.  This makes watching the movie really fun.  Full of unexpected cameos and surprising revelations.

The Characters

Which brings me to the characters themselves.  I honestly didn’t think I’d like them as much as I did.

As Bruce Timm says in an interview, the fact that these characters are not Clark Kent, Bruce Wayne and Diana Prince, makes it easier to accept the actions the characters take. He was right.

In spite of the killing, they came across as very relatable.  They are flawed but they’re trying to do good. And because they weren’t the tradition characters, I was more willing to let them have their flaws.

Once the movie was over, I couldn’t help but want to read or watch more stories with them.

Final Thoughts

If you’re on the fence about Justice League: Gods and Monsters, don’t be.  It’s absolutely worth watching. It’s also absolutely not for kids.

It’s a fun movie. You’ll have a really good time watching it.  Now that I’ve written so much about it, I think I’ll watch it again tonight.

Have  you seen the movie? What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below.

(Some of the links in above are affiliate links, thanks for your support.)

If You Liked This, You Will Also Like

Top Ten Animated Superhero Animated Movies

Top Ten Animated Superhero TV Shows

DC Animated Superhero Movies You Should Watch or Avoid.

6 Reasons Why Watching Justice League Animated is a Great Way to Learn About the DC Universe.

8 Reasons Why AVENGERS: EARTH’S MIGHTIEST HEROES Animated Cartoon is the Funnest, Easiest Way to Learn About the Marvel Universe.

My Thoughts on Young Justice Animated.

Thoughts on the Legion of Superheroes Animated Cartoon.

5 Tips to Help You Get Up Early to Do Your Art…and Like It

ART/LIFE HACK – 5 Steps to Help You Get Up Early to Do Your Art…and Like It

If you’re anything like I was, you have a heck of a time waking up in the morning.

I’d hit the snooze button a few times after my alarm went off and ended up rushing to work because I was late.

The thing is, mornings are a really good time to get things done that we usually spend sleeping.

I LOVE sleeping, but I’d much rather be able to get work I love done than sleep it all away.  Especially because I have much more energy in the mornings than I do in the evenings. The one thing we have precious little of in life is time.

Ideally for me, the weekends are the perfect time to get art done in the morning.  During the week, I have other things I need to do in the mornings that aren’t art related before work (like exercise).

But how the blazes do I wake up to do what I want to do…and like it?! That was the question that had been bugging me for a while.

Turns out there’s a really good and easy way to do it. The answer came from reading a book called The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM). (Affiliate link, thanks for your support.)

What is “The Miracle Morning?”

The Miracle Morning is a book that systematizes waking up early so it can be made easy AND habitual.

It’s also unapologetically, a marketing book for the author who is constantly leading you to subscribe to his website.  But that’s okay, because the info is so good, you don’t mind too much. Besides, it’s not like I don’t do it myself.

The system it proposes is worth trying.  I started doing it and I found that it works VERY well.

So now I’m going to share with you the waking up part of the system in the book.  This alone is worth reading the book for but there’s a few other things in it that builds on these steps, worth reading.

I’m going to share these steps here.  You can try them out so you can get some art done in the morning and feel really good about yourself.

5 Steps to Waking Up Quick Without Hassle

1. Mentally prepare the night before

The first thing you should do is mentally prepare yourself to wake up when your alarm clock rings.

Simply make a mental affirmation to yourself.  Tell yourself something to the effect of,

“It’s ___ o’clock, tomorrow I’m going to wake up at __am.  I’ll have plenty of sleep and I’ll be energized. As soon as my alarm goes off, I’ll wake straight up and start my day, live life and get things done.”

You can download the “official” version which is much longer HERE.  Anyway, the point is, that the last thing you think to yourself before sleeping is the first thing you will think when you wake up.  So think positive about waking up.

DO NOT say to yourself,

“Uh, I’m sooo tired, I’m going to be sooo tired in the morning,” you’re sabotaging yourself if you do that.

2. Put your alarm clock far away

Put your alarm clock somewhere in the room that you have to physically get up out of bed to turn it off. That will absolutely get your butt up quick.

That alarm clock is so annoying.

Once you’re up DON’T go back your bed.  YOU ARE UP.  Take advantage and immediately do step 3.

3. Drink a glass of water

You’ve been sleeping and have become somewhat dehydrated.  It’s one of the reasons you’re tired.  Drink a glass of water.  Make sure you put it near the alarm clock the morning before.

That way, you’re up and you just drink.  The act of drinking will also help wake you up and you’ll start becoming hydrated.

Once you drink the water all up, you do step 4.

4. Brush your teeth

This is very odd but it actually really helps.  Especially since most toothpastes are minty and burn your mouth.

You can also splash a bit of water on yourself while your at it.

Once that’s done, you move to the next step.

5. Get dressed

It’s official, your up and out of your sleeping clothes. You can take a shower first if you’re not changing into exercise clothes.

Once you change, it should mark the beginning of your work time.  You’re up and ready to get to work.


I’ve been doing this for a while.  Actually, I’ve been doing this and following the rest of the routine, and I found I enjoy it.

The getting up to turn off my alarm clock is a HUGE help and it doesn’t allow me to think about whether I should stay in bed or not. I don’t get the option.

That, and the fact that I tell myself before I go to bed that I’m going to wake up when it goes off.  That last thought thing actually helps.

If you do this for about 30 days, you may find that you don’t know how you lived without it.

There’s a little more to it than I’m presenting here to think about.  So if you really want to get into the whole routine, you should read the Miracle Morning.

It has a little bit of advice about habit building as well, which is very handy to know.

Anyway, give it a try and let me know what you think.

Do you have a morning routine that works for you? Let me know. Share it below.