Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Schoolism is worth it!

I'm about to start my 8Th semester teaching The Art of Caricature for Schoolism. I often get emails from people asking if they'll get anything out of the class, if it's worth it. So I wanted to share a little about my class at
Schoolism and what it's all about.

It is a course on caricature, but more than that, it's a course about developing yourself as an artist. Pushing yourself and taking chances. I teach how to see people differently. Caricature is not about picking out one or two features on a person's face and then blowing them out of the water with your "mad" exaggeration skills! It can be so much more than that, and it's more enjoyable when it is. What I'm after and what I teach is to capture personality, character, and the essence of a person.

When I draw people, I'm not trying to be "funny". I don't focused on what I "should" or "could" do to be super funny. If I capture the person's essence, and even if the exaggeration is minimal, it will be funny, because the truth was captured, or enhanced. Hence the title of my blog, "It's Funny Because it's True". Of course I throw humor in there, but it's like cooking, just a little seasoning here and there so that the meal as a "whole" is delicious!

In my course I cover everything from exaggeration while keeping likeness, to structure, form, anatomy, cross hatching and other drawing techniques, values and color techniques, painting and much, much more! Near the end of the course I explain my process for drawing people in any environment or position that an art director could muster up. The students finish a piece that they can use for promotion, a nice piece of art that they can hopefully grab the attention of art directors with.

I've taken on students who could barely draw and by the end of the course they were doing better work than is seen in most publications out there . . . no joke! This is why I continue to teach for
On the other hand there have also been a few students who were pretty good, but had poor work habits and or thought they were too good to listen to my advice (why they signed up, who knows?). And they failed miserably.

If you really want to learn, and if you're willing to work hard and push yourself as an artist, you will finish the course a more confident and equipped artist! I don't play around, I tell you how it is, but mostly I care about you and your art and want to help you reach your goals!

The only thing standing in the way of reaching your goals artistically is you!

Here's a little something written by a previous student of mine,
Torren Thomas.
When I first saw Torren's work on the first assignment, I knew there was talent, but more than that, Torren had the ambition and passion to grow and achieve his goals! Torren worked very hard, and did some great work throughout the course!

"Since i started my blog and website I've had a few people ask me how much i benefited as an artist from taking classes through the online courses. though i always sing the praises of school whenever i am asked, i think its easier to show you than it is to tell you. As i stated in a earlier post I'm currently working on a few paintings that may or may not end up hanging in Antonio's Pizzeria, the new restaurant a friend is involved in. one of the signature sandwiches on their menu is the" Tony Soprano" and since I am a huge fan of that show i thought he was good person to start with. Well how does that fit with Schoolism? I'll tell you. while working on this piece i came across an old painting i did of Tony Soprano in summer 2007. i think you can see the differences between the two. So for anybody that is on the fence about signing up for a schoolism course, DO IT. It is some of the best money you will ever spend."
-Torren Thomas

Tony Soprano before The Art of Caricature at

Tony Soprano after The Art of Caricature at

If interested in, or want more info, visit
to see a sample critique from one of my past semesters.

My next course starts on October 9Th, spaces are filling up, sign up today!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Edgar Allan Poe - watercolor

I painted this on Tuesday and Wednesday of last week. Typical quick turnaround like most jobs I do for The Weekly Standard, but this one was different because it was painted traditionally. It would have been nice to have more time, but for the time given as well as my frame of mind last week, I feel quite good about the final product. I'm also very happy that I was asked to do a watercolor, as watercolor is one of my favorite mediums and I hope to do much more work like this in the future. For me, painting with watercolors is more intimate than other mediums, I feel my emotions of last week were captured in the painting.

My watercolor technique takes a long time, I build and build thin layer upon thin layer, I let the watercolor do what it's supposed to do. Let it drip, let it bleed, let it wander.

I love the texture and the transparency of the medium. There's some nice bits in there.

Here's my lousy sketch.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The World has Lost a great Artist, but I have lost a good friend!

Last night I received the worst news, that my dear friend of 9 years, Ismael Roldan passed away at the young age of 45. This is very difficult for me to accept, I'll try to keep this brief, but I just want to share a little bit about Ismael and what he meant to me.

Years ago, when I was first getting started as a professional artist, I was really struggling to figure out how to get work, how to develop my art professionally in a way that would grab the attention of art directors. I wasn't getting the kind of work that I wanted and I was getting tired of seeing the same artists being published over and over again and not understanding how they got where they were? I had a handful of artists at that time that were my inspiration. I would collect they're work out of magazines and hang them on the wall in my studio. I thought that if I surrounded myself with excellence, I would eventually pick up some of this excellence.

One of my most favorite artists at the time was Ismael Roldan. His work was inspiring to look at. Great exaggeration and likeness, great structure, humor, draftsmanship, perspective, you name it, he was what I wanted to be like.

So one day I gathered up the courage to write him an email, I basically told him that I was a big fan of his work and that I would love to work for publications as well, I thanked him for the inspiration and I attached a piece I had just finished that I was really proud of (to show him what I could do).

Well, I wasn't sure if he would ever write back, but to my astonishment, he wrote back that very same day. I remember being so excited and nervous to read the email. The email was straight up IN YOUR FACE truth about how horrible my work was! A very harsh and blunt critique. He told me my hands sucked, that I lacked knowledge in structure and form, and he actually went on and on. Even though the critique was harsh, he was able to somehow be very kind, he said one good thing, he said I could render like non other, but that won't help any if I can't fix the rest of my problems.

I was crushed, but at the same time, I was motivated to prove myself to Ismael. I didn't want this artist that I looked up to so much to think I was horrible. So I began to work on the things that he pointed out flawed in my work. I drew hand after hand after hand. I worked on skulls, and bone structure, I studied cross hatching and form. I sent him email after email, everything I did, I would send to him. And every time, he'd slam me harder than the time before.

I kept coming back for more, time and time again. Eventually, we became close friends, and slowly, we also became "peers" and we began to exchange work with each other seeking perspective and ideas from one another. I still remember the first time he sent me one of his paintings and wanted me to be honest and tell him what I thought about it. As time went on, we began more and more to talk about our kids and how important they were and how blessed we felt to have kids. Occasionally we'd talk about art, but mostly about life and what we were up to that week.

This is me with Ismael last year at the ISCA's 17Th Annual caricature convention where I won the Gold Nosey as well as many other awards, including a Guest of Honor Awarded by Ismael. That award meant more to me than any of them, and receiving that award from Ismael felt like coming full circle as an artist. I remember seeing him in the crowd as I received my awards, he looked like a proud older brother. Ismael told me that the first email he sent to me was so harsh, because he wanted me to know the truth so I would improve, but mostly he didn't think I'd ever bother him again. It was to his astonishment that I wrote back again and again. He tried to get rid of me, but instead fused a friendship that I hold very dear.

I will never forget the kindness and time Ismael shared with me. He took me under his wing and I wouldn't be where I am today as an artist if it wasn't for his talent and kindness. I feel as if I have lost a friend, a mentor, an inspiration, but mostly, a brother.

Throughout the years, Ismael and I exchanged caricatures of each other. This is the most recent one that he did of me, and the most recent one that I did of him. We also exchanged originals, I own several originals of his. He also sent me books throughout the years of artists that he thought would inspire me. The man was generous.

Ismael, you will truly be missed!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Blue Shark Sketch

Hey artists out there, have you sketched today? Why not? Sketch each day, even if only for a little bit!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Business Bear - sketch

Do business Bears where business socks? Enquiring minds want to know!

Bear sketch, just for fun, sketched with Sketchbook Pro.

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Big Sam Sketch # 2

Well, I couldn't resist! I had a hard time deciding which pic to sketch from because both pics were great! One was funny (my first sketch), and the other had a "I'm hip and super fly" look to it. So this morning I did another quick sketch, this one taking me about an hour. I've never met Sam, so I'm not sure what he "really" looks like, and like I said, both pictures were great to sketch from, but they almost looked like two different people. Anyways, Thanks Sam for the fun "Sketch Time".

A reminder that my next course on Caricature starts on October 9th! For any questions or information, check out

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Big Sam Sketch

Quick sketch of artist Big Sam.

5 MIN. Pig Sketch

Going home for the day . . . but decided to do a quick sketch of a pig before leaving the studio! Sketching for an artist is exercise . . . I do this as much as I can to strengthen my eye to hand coordination and drawing ability. A quick little sketches like this on a daily basis is a great work out!

Pig in the snow . . . 5 minute sketch, using sketchbook pro!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Quick Acrylic sketch!

This is an acrylic sketch from my sketchbook. I'm experimenting with different palettes and trying new ways to create under-paintngs.

Sketchbook Pro Rules!

I've had sketchbook pro on my PC Tablet which I use to teach my Schoolism classes, but I've just recently bought a copy for my MAC/Cintiq . . . it's SO MUCH FUN! It's an absolute blast sketching and drawing with Sketchbook Pro, I highly recommend it to anyone that just loves drawing and sketching!!

I did these three shark sketches just for fun, messing around with the program . . . each sketch took about ten minutes!

Monday, September 07, 2009

Original drawing for sale!

Original Johnny Cash drawing for sale. Drawn for my new book, "SEILER 2008-2009".
Pencil on RIVES BFK 11" X 14"

Click here to buy this original drawing.

There are also two Johnny Cash prints for sale as well as one Ron Perlman print.

I just wanted to remind everyone that my next course on the Art of Caricature with Jason Seiler starts on October 9th. There are only 15 available slots per semester and they're filling up! Vist the Schoolism site for more info.

I am also putting together a painting course for Schoolism which I was hoping to have ready by the fall. Unfortunately the summer has gone by so fast that I haven't been able to finish putting the class together. I'm working on it every week and it's really looking great. I'll be sure to post as soon as I know when the class will be available for registration!

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Saturday, September 05, 2009

Taschen's Illustration Now/98lb Obama


Taschen's Illustration Now has just been released. Congratulations to Kako, Robin Eley, Kyung Soon Park, Brian Hubble, Jason Seiler and Koren Shadmi of Levy Creative Management for being featured in the book. Check it out here.

This is another quick turnaound for The Weekly Standard. My 31rst painting for them. Started Thursday and was due Friday afternoon. I decided to have fun and try something a bit different style-wise.

Everytime I draw Obama I try to do something different, it's fun to see the different ways he can be drawn. And under such short deadlines, there's not much time to plan or develop, you just have to get the work done and do the best possible job that you can in the time given.

I enjoy working with The Weekly Standard because the jobs are always challenging. My deadlines are fairly insane. It's typical for me to get a phone call Thursday night, and the final art is due the next day, Friday afternoon. The jobs first start with me finding references for expression and so forth, then I take photo references and set up lighting for additional reference. I do a few sketches, wait for approval, when I have that, I begin painting. With this piece I wanted to try something different from my usual style and look. I liked the idea of an outline encasing the painted forms, the contrast with the background has a nice effect.

Detail of head.

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Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Passion for Life-Stephen Silver!

I highly recommend "Passion for Life", Stephen Silver's latest book. Silver's new book gives insight into his philosophies in life drawing and life itself. With over 200 figure drawings in many different styles and techniques, Passion for Life will inspire and give you a look into the art of life drawing with a whole new perspective never seen before. Passion for life, and all it contains is an insightful book, not just for the drawings, but the message it sends. The quotes, and inspirational thoughts, are not just for artists, but for anyone who aspires to be happy, content and productive.
It is available on Silver's website at
12" x 9" 200 pg Full Color Hardcover Book
$40.00 – Signed w/original sketch

Click here to order Stephen's book!

Also, another great book to pick up for inspiration is Bobby Chiu and Kei Acedera's latest book,Lifedrawing.

Well, I'm just now getting back into my studio . . . . I've been traveling around quite a bit this summer and now it's time to get back into the swing of things. There's a lot of drawings and paintings in the mix!

I just got back from Fan Expo in Toronto and had a blast hanging out with my Imaginism friends as well as many others from all over the globe, it was like a family reunion! My good friend Marco Bucci invited Nathan and I to stay at his house for the week! It was great hanging out. Marco and I managed to get out early one morning for a quick plein aire sketch.

This was my take on our scene . . . about a 45 min oil sketch. I haven't done a plein aire in about a year, so I felt a bit rusty to say the least. It was a great time, ducks and geese all around us and to top it off, I broke in my new shoes by stepping in a few piles of duck poo . . . ahhhhhh, the things that come along with painting outdoors! Thanks for painting with me Marco!

I had a great time hanging out with artist David Colman at Fan Expo. David's work is amazing and he's an awesome guy too, turns out we have a lot in common too!

David and I thought we'd sell more books at the con if we took our shirts off! Well, it sort of worked . . . lets just say we ended up acquiring a lot of dollar bills and Canadian Loonies!

On our way home my pal Nathan and I stopped off at Niagara Falls! All in all, a great trip . . . now it's time to get back to the grind!
All artwork © JasonSeiler 2006 unless otherwise stated. All characters are copyright to their respective owners