Some Pen and Ink Inspiration

I’m always on the look out for contemporary pen and ink artists, whether widely known or relatively obscure. I discovered the following two pen and ink artist on Instagram just recently and they have come to be my current source of inspiration in getting better at pointillism/stippling as well as just pen and ink art overall.

Xavier Casalta is a French artist who uses stippling to create a variety of amazing drawings, from botanical art, portraits to signs and lettering. You can view more of his work on his website at:

Philip Harris is a freelance illustrator in the UK who creates editorial, packaging and book illustrations using dip pens and technical pens. He tackles a variety of subject matter from landscapes and animals to portraits and flora. You can view more of his work on his website at:


Is Photorealism Art?

Kate Brinkworth

Or is it highly skilled copying?  

I’ve been wondering about this lately as I see a growing trend towards photo/hyper realistic art. The skill to draw or paint at such a level is phenomenal and inspiring but if you’re just recreating a photograph on canvas what is it that makes it artistic? Is it one’s skill in being able to reproduce realistic images in ones chosen medium or is there more to it? 

Chuck Close

Daryl Gortner

Phil Schirmer

Gottfried Helnwein

Art, A Glimpse Into My Soul

The Apotheosis Of The Slavs

“You use a glass mirror to see your face; you use works of art to see your soul.” ~ George Bernard Shaw

If there is any work of art that is a glimpse into my soul, I would have to say it is The Slav Epic by Alphonse Mucha.

Although Mucha is more notably remembered for his poster illustrations of lovely women with flowery decor and fanciful graphic lettering, as well as being one of the well known artists of the Art Nouveau movement. For me, even though I greatly admire his illustrations, which are often a source of inspiration, it is The Slav Epic that has always captivated me the most. There’s  something deeply emotive about the work. And the many years it took to for Mucha create such exquisitely impressive paintings, which he considered to be his life’s masterpiece, is something to be in awe about. I hope that one day I can create something as amazing from my own cultural history.

The Slav Epic is a series of 20 huge paintings depicting the history of the Czech and the Slavic people as a celebration of Slavic history. Unfortunately with the rise of fascism during the 1930s, Mucha work was denounced and he became a target during the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia. He died in the summer of 1939…but thankfully his beautiful works live on. 

You can see more Alphonse Mucha’s art at the Mucha Foundation website,

The Slavonic Liturgy In Great Morvia

The Celebration Of Svantovit

The Slavs In Their Original Homeland

Early Influences: Aubrey Beardsley

The Climax

Aubrey Beardsley

I don’t remember exactly when or how I came across Aubrey Beardsley. Bits and pieces of a high school library on a sunny afternoon seem to be the only clues that my memory can conjure up. But I do remember very vividly sitting in my bedroom and feeling proud of the personal copy of “The Climax” that I had just completed. So I can say with certainty that it was sometime during my senior year in high school that I became acquainted with the fella.

If you have been following my posts over the last year then you know I have a love for the simplicity of line drawings and Beardsley is one of those artists who captures that quite well in many of his ink illustrations. Now anyone who has ever been brave enough to have studied his work is aware that it can be a bit bizarre and risque, especially for the times in which he created. I admit, that was part of what I liked about it back then but now a days, nothing is all that risque. Besides his use of ink and lines, Beardsley was most all my gateway artist into ┬áthe art movement of Art Nouveau. This was a style and movement that even ’til this day still influences my work and ideas about art.


The Dancer’s Reward

Venus Between Terminal Gods

By The Cover

John Jude Palencar

They say don’t judge a book by its cover. I can’t say I’m one to hold to such philosophy because in all honesty, it’s the cover that often catches my attention, that is, when it comes to actual books.

Book cover art and illustration has a lot to do with my childhood interests in art and has stayed with me even ’til now. While daydreams of seeing my work in galleries, on the walls of collectors and in magazines are delightful and inspiring, I’ve always wanted to walk into a bookstore and see my work on the covers of books, particularly of the scifi, fantasy and speculative fiction genre but I’m open to any genre if my work fits.

 Yesterday I made a visit to my local Barnes & Noble and took pleasure in indulging in one of my old past times; cruising the shelves just looking at cover art. 

I’m a big scifi & fantasy fan so that’s where I headed. I used to be into novels such as the works of Ursula Le Guin, Storm Constantine, Octavia Butler, Tanith Lee and Charles De Lint. But over the years I’ve become short on time and find myself less able to commit to a full novel. Now I just opt for short stories for reading or watch a movie. It’s not often that I buy, let alone sit down and read a novel nowadays. Hopefully that will change in the future. 

When it comes to cover art though, I feel that scifi & fantasy has some of the best work particularly in the area of traditional art. I pay attention to cover art so much that I’m now at the point where I can look at a book cover and immediately know who the artist is. Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be a wide range of varying styles and I’m seeing more of the same artist’s work on various books. This makes me wonder, are there fewer traditional artists being employed by publishing companies? A lot of cover art now appears to be a mix of design and digital artistry. Not that anything is wrong with that. I myself have a background in digital art, which has its own beauty, uniqueness and skill. But as someone who likes traditional art more, I am drawn to art and illustration that has more of a look and feel of being created through traditional mediums and it saddens me to think traditional arts are being eclipsed by the convenience and speed of digital art that in some ways lack the distinctiveness of the traditional.

Below are a few snapshots along with examples of a few artists whose art caught my eye while visiting B&N. You can see more work by each artist at the links provided.

Magdalena Korzeniewska is an illustrator from Poland whose gel pen drawings are inspired by the world of literature, legends and fairy tales.

Travis Louie is a New York based artist who creates paintings of portraits of mythical beings and human oddities based in Victorian and Edwardian times.


Sam Wolfe Connelly is a New York based artist whose works are ethereal, emotive, haunting and quietly evil.

Tommy Arnold is an illustrator whose art has the feel of atmosphere and action. You can find his work gracing the publications of Tor, Orbit and Wizards of the Coast books.