Just because giveaway

26 04 2011

Just because I am reallyย  happy. Just because my mom will be here on Sunday. Just because I will be having a baby boy in two weeks! And I want to share the happiness! ๐Ÿ™‚

What am I giving away?

One original small work of art, it is a colored pencil sketch that has remained unsold from an old Sketchfest. You get to choose which one.

How does this work?

You have to leave a comment telling me something that has made you happy recently or is making you happy at the moment! Let’s make it a happy ring and inspire others to be happy too! Do not forget to leave an email or some kind of contact information in the post and your choice of sketch.

If you subscribe to this blog your comment will count as two, giving you two chances to win.

When is the deadline?

Let’s run this for one week. Next Monday the giveaway will be closed and I will randomly select someone (or maybe Sebastian, my cat, as the last time. You cannot get more random than that!)

Eros and Psyche (c) Constanza Ehrenhaus

Eros and Psyche (c) Constanza Ehrenhaus

Vintage Faery (c) Constanza Ehrenhaus

Stained glass faery (c) Constanza Ehrenhaus

Keeping in mind that my crappy scanned likes to murder blues, forgive the lack of accuracy in the digital image. I promise that what you will get looks much better!

I do ship international, so that will not be a problem at all!ย  So, comment away!

Find your voice, say something! Finding your own style in art.

1 04 2011

cover art (c) Luis Royo

I remember the first time I read about “finding your voice” in art, about “saying something” and I thought “what if I have nothing to say? Back then I understood that I had to say something significant, with maybe a political flare or perhaps with a strong message. Later I understood that we all have something to say, even if it will not change the world. I like to do illustrations that are beautiful and fun, there are things I’d never do, such as extreme violence, gore and porn; so I guess there was a lot I wanted to say and a lot I did not.

Also I came to understand that having a “voice” is an equivalent of having your own style. Regardless of if you will become the next Picasso o Monet, it is about a style that represents you, that you can express yourself through and that it is not copied from, let’s say, Disney.

I saw years ago art by this artist in DA, he was good, but his drawing might have as well sprouted from a Disney movie, and while that is very valid, he would deny that he was copying Disney and would sustain that he had a style that was his. Unfortunately years later his skills have not evolved one bit. He is denying reality and bringing himself to stagnation. And while he might get a job as a Disney animator he will never be recognized as himself but as “that guy that draws Disney stuff” (even when his characters are original).

I mentioned something about young artists finding their own style instead of *only* copying one other artist that they admire in my facebook and that ensued a very interesting

Cover art (c) Dan dos Santos

discussion with other artists! It was fascinating to read through the different opinions and ideas! I never hoped for such an enriching interaction when I posted that question but the interesting thing is that mostly we all agree in the following:

If you are doing art because it makes you happy and all you want from it is to draw to be happy, not becoming a professional artist and not artistic growth, by all means do whatever you want. Be it exploring your style, copying Amy Brown or painting with your penis (beware NSFW!). BUT (yes, big “but”) if you are after artistic development, growth and establishing yourself as an artist in your own right, with the possibility of gaining recognition some day, you should not box yourself in the idea of “I want to draw just like so and so”.

Cover art (c) Kinuko Craft

I used to get really angsty about having a style. Do I have a style? Will I ever have a style? How will I get a style? How will I know I have a style? It is hard to tell by yourself if you have a style until that style is there, blatantly biting you in the face, but before that you will start to have people telling you that they could tell a piece was yours before reading who made it. And how do you get that style? well, drawing, painting, exploring the possibilities. It seems like circular logic, but it is the way to do it.

One of the things that we talked about with my friends was on how copying for learning is a great exercise, you should go and copy from Klimt to Leonardo and anybody you can find interesting. This gives you an idea of the process, of the mechanisms that these people used to create art. This will help you grow as an artist because in your explorations you will find what works for you and what doesn’t, what elements you absolutely love and which ones you can live without. And as you explore and copy and learn, your style settles itself.

The problem arises when you are so infatuated with one single artist that all you want is to draw like this person, not talking about inspiration by other artists but just down right copying them. I used to say “I would love to paint like Stephanie Pui Mun Law!” or “Oh, how I’d like to paint like Ciruelo Cabral!” But the truth is that I never wanted to do it like them. I wanted their talent, their skill, their mastery. I wanted to reach that excellence level, which I still need to work so hard to achieve! I would hate to be “that chick that copies Ciruelo”, I want people to think “oh, yes, that is a piece by Constanza (or Coty, or Faerywitch, whatever you fancy).” And I think I am slowly but surely progressing in that direction.

We also talked about niche. If you want to be a cover artist you have to be able to imitate the styles of cover artists, right? In my opinion, wrong. If you want to be a cover artist you have to be beyond good, you have to be excellent (talking about big publishers here). I have seen cover art done by Ciruelo, Royo, dos Santos, Craft, all of them highly recognizable in their unique style. The only thing that groups them together is that they are incredibly skilled and very hard working people. So if you want to appeal to a certain niche, sure, there are certain things you have to do, but you will be better off having your own personal style than just copying another artist as is.

Cover art (c) Stephanie Pui Mun Law

The discussion in Facebook was wonderful, I would love to know more about what other people think. Please, leave a comment if you have something to say because this topic is fascinating!

Is networking really worth it?

1 02 2011

I have been thinking for a while what to write about, there are a lot of things in my head but mostly I cannot write about them here. Some of them include ups and downs of my pregnancy, but I really rather to keep this blog non-personal, professional oriented. On the other hand I am working on a bunch of projects but I cannot show them until I get them finished and get the approval of the clients, so expect a shower of new images soon to come! ๐Ÿ™‚

What brings me to write today is a question that I have asked myself several times, a question that I have asked to other artists and that has been asked to me too: “Blogging and networking, are they worth it?” From a ‘getting jobs’ point of view that is. My answer to that is “yes, very much”.

I started my online life as an artist about 5 years ago (I can’t believe it’s been so long!) but back then I was sooo green and not a good artist at all. I had a lot of potential and drive, which was good, and I started networking with other artists in sites as Epilogue and a year later Deviantart, as well as some other today dead forums. While DA was a nice place to showcase, Epilogue was the place that gave me a big push to get into studying art on my own and improving greatly. Once I started to feel more confident I started to dream of that time in which I would be an independent artist and do freelance work. It was scary as heck to put myself out there, to expose myself, but after all that is what you need to do, expose yourself to the good and bad, to the possibility of being rejected and of having your art scrutinized.

At the moment I was an international grad student and the terms of my visa and my acceptance into school forbade me of making any money besides the meager stipend I was getting, so I decided to hold back until I was out of grad school and take that time to get better. Once I graduated (and my incredible husband gave me a tablet as a graduation present!) I started to search for small jobs at different art communities. And though the initial jobs were for little pay they allowed me to get a feeling for the field and start amassing a small ‘commissions’ portfolio to show. It was about that time that I started to blog, by late 2008 and somehow, slowly but surely, I started to get hits.

I spent a lot of time going through forums, searching for ‘wanted’ ads. Really, I was putting way more time in searching than in arting, and most of my emails and PMs were never answered, of those that were answered only a few ended up in something good. But one of them would lead to this beautiful tattoo, which brought a lot of attention. Through that tattoo in this blog I got 2 or 3 commissions, one of them would bring a wonderful returning client with a larger commission. Other tattoos in this blog also brought in some clients. I found this year, after May/June, I was actually not spending any time in job forums and all my art time was being put into art itself!

I also got commissions though Facebook because someone that was commissioning a friend of mine saw my art and wanted some custom art for himself. Also, earlier this week I got some inquire from someone that saw my art in EMG‘s Sketchfest. something I hoped for but never really thought it would happen, Sketchfest harboring artists of great caliber.


Sketches for Sketchfest#9 (c) Constanza Ehrenhaus 2011.

So, is it worth it? Absolutely! It won’t come easy, it won’t come fast, it does take time and constancy, but put yourself out there enough and people will see you.

Have a great week!


10 01 2011

For some time you might have read from me or other artists that we are sketchfesting, we are going to go to sketchfest, sketchfest was awesome…. But, what is sketchfest?

Sketchfest is a 24 hours monthly event, one of many ideas of super entrepreneurial woman Ellen Million. The idea is to get a bunch of artists together to sketch in one hour or less whatever they find inspiring among the many prompts given by people that would like to see their ideas interpreted. One or more artists may claim a prompt and then the sketches are uploaded to the site. It is a lot of fun and a nice way to share some community time with the other artists and prompters. Ellen has been developing the site month by month and I have to say that I am tremendously impressed with what a great job she is doing at making the site more functional and adding nice features to it.

Oh! A nice thing is that artists have the opportunity to sell the sketches, also we can choose to donate the gains to the site to help build it up. I have my sketches up for sale (minus the sexy witch, she is sold!) and you can see other works in this link.

Sketchfest images (c) Constanza Ehrenhaus 2011

Help support the arts! These sketches sell for a fraction of the price that sketches would normally sell.

These are my sketches for this month, please consider that the scanner has been less than kind to my colors (My main reason not to do traditional art!) and a lot of the colors have been lost, for example the butterfly’s wings have red, orange and violet. If you are interested in any of these sketches, please let me know, I can also upgrade some of them if you would like (as in refining coloring or adding more background) The prompts were: Vintage faery, a witchy woman in her favourite stockings, on stained glass wings and goddess pin-up.

2010 in review

3 01 2011

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meterโ„ข reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

The average container ship can carry about 4,500 containers. This blog was viewed about 20,000 times in 2010. If each view were a shipping container, your blog would have filled about 4 fully loaded ships.

In 2010, there were 49 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 102 posts. There were 110 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 53mb. That’s about 2 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was May 15th with 193 views. The most popular post that day was Interview to Stephanie Pui Mun Law.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, deviantart.com, twitter.com, wickedeye.wordpress.com, and stumbleupon.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for succubus, wolf tattoo, triskel, triskele, and internet map.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


Interview to Stephanie Pui Mun Law May 2010


Tatoos July 2009


New wolf tattoo. March 2010


Gallery April 2009

How do I get started!!!?

27 09 2010

Some weeks ago I got a message from a dear artist friend that is just getting started, she has loads of talent and a lot of creativity and great skill. But that is not enough, you cannot sit in your living room waiting to be ‘discovered’ like in a cheese Hollywood movie. She knows very well that one of the important things is to get out there, get seen, make a name for yourself… And that was the question: “What name do I give my Etsy store”?

While I am not an authority at names, or at anything for the case!, I gave her the best advice I could, and then I thought I could share that with the rest of the world, since probably, other people might be in the same situation.

Stock provided by kerokero13.deviantart.com

This is my answer:

“That is a really difficult question because a name is sooo personal!
I think that it has to be something you feel comfortable with not only today but also in a few years… so if you feel that ‘zexygurl’ sounds silly today, you probably will feel it is downright stupid in two years. I would avoid intentional misspellings, by the way. Also, do not use fanart names; except you will do only Sailor Moon based art, you do not need to be “SailorWarriorStore”, you need to be something unique and not a copy of someone else’s idea.

I would also avoid something that is so witty that only you and your friends can understand, you do not want to make people have to think too much to get your name, or to have to put a lot of effort in remembering it, you want them coming back!
Other thing I would avoid is numbers… would not go for 3l12ab3th or Mary8765 either. Those are aggravating and hard to remember later.

I know I probably did not tell you anything you already didn’t know! Sorry! But those are the things I try to keep in mind. Also, try to google the names you have thought of to see if they are widely taken! When I took “faerywitch” I was the only one, but I was too busy with gradschool as to claim territories (websites) with it and now there are too many faerywitch/fairywitch!! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ but I don’t want to get rid of it because people already knows me by it!
So another thing you would want to do is go over all stores and art places and create an account with your chosen name. They are free, so there is no cost.

Also, what are you planning to sell? Ceramics only? ceramics and other crafts? That can help you too to define the name of your store.

I am afraid I have not been of much help! ๐Ÿ™‚ but if there is anything else I can do for you let me know!”

I hope this is for some help to those of you that find yourselves in this situation. Also, if you have any extra advice that I did not cover here, it would be awesome to hear of it!

Artistic influences

31 08 2010

Coty's Influence map

There is this awesome meme in DA (probably the only meme I’ve ever wanted to do) about what has influenced your artistic development. I have completed it and wanted to share it with you:

1-Disney. I grew up on those things, and while today Disney is highly criticized for whathaveyou, I think the concept art is amazing, the animation is amazing, and it is probably because of Disney that I wanted to draw and draw and draw! I would love to suck on the neurons of Disney’s concept artists.

2-Anime, particularly Sailor Moon, but a lot of earlier ones as Heidi, Candy Candy, Mazinger, etc. I loved the aesthetics of it! Later on I got tired of the fandom.

3-Religious imagery and art. Putting aside the fact that I do consider myself very religious, there is something to judeo-christian tradition and art that is highly inspiring. The constant search of expression of a higher being with human tools have pushed artists to excel for centuries!

4-The beauty of the human body. I cannot deny that this is what inspires me the most all the time. When I find myself through an artist block I just dig out photos of nude models and start sketching. The body never ceases to amaze me!

5-World mythology and cultures of the world. When I was a child I devoured mythology books, this made me have an appreciation for the art related to those cultures! This definitely influenced my art!

6-My family. Without the constant support from my family I would have never got myself where I am now. They have given me as present the coolest and fanciest art tools I have ๐Ÿ™‚ Also conversations with my husband often end up in paper ๐Ÿ™‚

7-Renaissance artists. Nothing else to add.

8-Nature. Nature is a constant source of inspiration, and I keep hoping one day to be good enough as to represent it as I see it.

9-Music! Oh, how could I leave music out! Not only music keeps me accompanied while drawing, but also it is a constant source of inspiration!

10-Argentinean comics, like Nippur of Lagash, Wendolyn, Pepe Sanchez, Danske. They have a more European style, not so much super heroes and impossible muscles, and I read them like crazy during childhood.

11-Alphonse Mucha. You can tell.

12-European comics, particularly Belgium ones, as Tin-Tin, Asterix, Smurfs. Awesome stuff if you are not familiar with them.

13-Stephanie Pui Mun Law. The one person that made me realize that you can make a living out of art and that watercolors can be beautiful and vibrant. Thanks to her I decided to put hours into painting to become *hopefully* as good as her. Then I met many more awesome artists that fit the description, but she was the first one.

The original can be found here http://fox-orian.deviantart.com/gallery/#/d2vx881

What has influenced your artistic development?