Pencil Kings | Inspiring Artist Interviews with Today's Best Artists (arts)









February 2020
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Full Show Notes at:

“Just let go of any intention towards making a cool drawing, and somehow that cool drawing comes of itself.” ~ Ian Ingram.

Art and mindfulness are closely linked,, but what really happens in your brain when you put pencil to paper and lose yourself completely in your art?

In this interview, hyperrealist artist, Ian Ingram, explains why he swapped the craziness of US city life for the more relaxed surroundings of a seaside town in Mexico…

...and why not being bombarded with advertising and the demands of 21st century culture has helped him find a new inner calm where he’s free to let his imagination roam.

Interview Chapters


Introduction and Overview

Your host. Mitch Bowler, introduces today’s guest, Ian Ingram, an American hyperrealist artist now based in Mexico.

Having worked primarily in charcoal for the last 15 years, he’s recently started creating highly detailed self-portraits in oils which explore the human condition in deep and incredibly powerful detail.  


Why Did Ian Move to Mexico?

A few years ago, Ian and his family made the bold decision to swap the hustle and bustle of urban American life for the more serene surroundings of a small coastal town in Mexico.

In this chapter, he explains why he did this, and how escaping the noise of the city has helped him find a new inner calm.


How Did Moving to Mexico Change Ian’s Life as an Artist?

Since moving, Ian has found it’s not only his lifestyle that’s changed - his new surroundings have also had a positive effect on his creative process as an artist.

In this chapter, he explains how this happened, and reveals why leaving city life behind has helped him discover who he really is as a person.


What Stage was Ian’s Career at When he Moved?

Do you need to establish yourself as an artist before moving somewhere new?

In this chapter, Ian talks about his career so far, and why big changes regarding his agent and galleries led to him starting afresh in a new town and seeking new inspiration from his surroundings.


Was Moving to Mexico Easy?

In this chapter, Ian reveals the struggles he faced in adjusting to life in a new country and continuing to develop as an artist.

On one hand, he wasn’t feeling overwhelmed by modern life any more...but, on the other, it took many months of hard work and intense concentration to produce many of his more recent paintings.


What’s the Reality of Working as an Artist in a new Country?

Many of us have a fantasy about a new life in a different country, but how does this differ from reality?

In this chapter, Ian explains how his vision of life compared to the practical realities of working as an artist in Mexico, and how these changes eventually filtered into the art he started making.  


Art and Mindfulness. Why Creativity is the Perfect Tool for Meditation.

Ian believes art and mindfulness are strongly linked, and that the creative process is the perfect tool for meditation.

In this chapter, he explains how intense concentration on drawing an object can help unlock parts of the subconscious mind, and why so many people can benefit from this in their daily lives.


How has Mindfulness Influenced Ian’s Teaching Methods and his art?

In this chapter, Ian explains his teaching methods and philosophy on art in great detail.

You’ll hear why he believes the eye is superior to the brain in how we perceive and interpret things, and why certain works of art resonate with us on a deeper level than others.

If you’re looking for a fascinating insight into the mind of a fine artist, you’ll find plenty of food for thought in this section.


Conclusion and Where to Find Ian Online

In this final chapter, you’ll hear Ian’s final thoughts on the creative process as he shares some of the biggest insights and advice from his career as an artist so far. You’ll also find out where to see more of his work online.

Direct download: PK_Episode_151_Ian_Ingram.mp3
Category:arts -- posted at: 3:30am EST

Full show notes at:

Want to know how to ask for feedback from an artist and take the next steps in your creative career?

This episode will show you how to ask for feedback the right way, so the artist feedback you receive will be as on point as possible.

It doesn't matter if you want to work in a studio or you want to work as a freelancer...

Because, when you follow these key points, the feedback you receive will always be the most helpful it can be:

  1. Have a visual quality target example
  2. Who are you designing your portfolio for?
  3. Have at least 4 pieces that show what you are going for
  4. Educate yourself about the market you want to enter

BONUS: How much time per day are you spending on your art?

Interview Chapters


Introduction and Overview

Your host, Mitch Bowler, talks about the subject of today’s short podcast episode, and reveals what inspired him to put together this handy resource of actionable tips and advice to help you take the next steps in your art career.

So, whether you want to work as a freelance illustrator or in a studio environment, be sure to check out the key takeaways from this podcast. Because the next 20 minutes might just give you all the light bulb moments you’ve been looking for.


What’s Your Target and Where are you Trying to get to in Your Work?

If you’re wondering how to get feedback from an artist, one of the first things you’ll want to do is make sure you have a specific target in mind.

Why? Because, if the person reviewing your portfolio has an idea of where you’re trying to get to, it’ll make it a whole lot easier for them to offer you their advice.

For example, if you want to become a comic book artist, then it makes total sense to show someone an example of your work that fits this style, along with something by another artist you admire to compare it to.


Think About who you are Designing or Making art for

Making art is one thing, but it’s going to be difficult to sell this to anybody without a target audience in mind. Therefore, it’s always worth thinking about the kind of people who might like your work.

For example, if pet portraits are your thing, then your target audience is likely to be people who love animals.

After all, you wouldn’t try and sell a stack of smoked ribs to vegetarians, so why take the risk with your own art? Find out where your audience hangs out and reach out them!

And, if you want to work in a studio, you’ll also find all the advice you need to get your work seen by the right people in this chapter.     


Have at Least 4 Pieces of Work to Show People

Once you’ve established your target audience and have a clear idea of where you want to get to, put the 4 pieces of work which best demonstrate this into your portfolio.

This will help the artist reviewing your work get a better picture of your style and highlight any areas that need a little more work.


Educate Yourself About the Market You’re Trying to get Into

Having established your target market or audience, it’s also a great idea to do some research on them.

For example, if you want to become a video game concept artist, you’ll want to find out what goes on behind the scenes on a daily basis.

To do this, read books, articles and interviews on the subject, follow artists who work in this field on social media, and generally gather as much information as you can about the industry. If you already know someone who works in your chosen field, ask them what a typical day looks like.

The more knowledge you have, the easier it will be to tailor your portfolio accordingly.


How Much Time per day are you Spending on Your art?

As with anything else in life, you’ll need to put the time in if you want to pursue a career as an artist. But just how much time should you be spending on your art each day?

In this chapter, you’ll learn how to make the most of your time and make real progress with your art.

It won’t always be easy, and it won’t happen overnight...but if you’re wondering how to get feedback on your art and take the next steps with your career, it’s important for the artist reviewing your work to know you’re serious about it.


Recap on how to ask for Feedback From an Artist

In the final chapter of this short podcast, Mitch recaps the key points from each section and tells you how to start moving towards your goals as an artist.

You’ll also hear some exciting news about our partnership with Shane Madden’s Illustration Lighthouse, and how artists all over the world are already benefiting from the advice in this course.

Direct download: PK_Episode_149_Mitch_Bowler.mp3
Category:arts -- posted at: 3:30am EST

Full show notes at:


Are you looking for a way to learn figure drawing...

but have been put off in the past by scary math formulas and endless anatomy diagrams?

Or perhaps you're just looking for a way to put the fun back into drawing and create sketches full of life and action?

As a teacher with more than 20 years' experience, Mike Mattesi has seen the struggles aspiring artists go through and the hurdles they face.

And that's why he developed Drawing With Force - his own unique method of drawing figures which captures all the dynamism of the human body...without getting all bogged down in the science and technical stuff.

So, if you've been looking for a way to capture movement and form using just the power and beauty of line, we think you'll find this week's interview super interesting...

And the best part? You won't need anything more than the cheapest art materials you can find to get started!

Interview Chapters


Introduction and Career Overview

Your host, Mitch Bowler, introduces today's guest, Mike Mattesi, who gives you an overview of his career as an artist, tutor and senior art director at Zynga games. You'll also find out what Mike decided to develop his Drawing Force method to help other artists.


How did Mike Mattesi Develop his Drawing Force method and get it Published?

Mike Mattesi launched his Drawing Force method 10 years ago, but how did he develop this unique way of drawing and make it accessible to artists of all abilities? In this chapter, you'll learn about how his book came to be published...and the impact it's had upon the lives of artists and art education ever since.


How is Drawing With Force Different to Other Figure Drawing Methods?

Drawing with force is very different to many other figure drawing methods you may have seen. In this chapter, Mike explains what excites him about drawing figures this way...and why using these techniques can really help you understand how the human body works.


Why Mike Believes Making Art Should Always be Fun

One of the key elements of the Drawing Force technique is having fun. In his many years of teaching, Mike observed that students learn best when they feel truly engaged in a subject, so that's exactly what he decided to incorporate in his own techniques.


How Can Drawing With Force Help Animation or Concept Artists?

Mike's Drawing Force methods may seem like they come from a strictly fine art background, but these techniques actually work really well for artists working in all kinds of industries. In this chapter, Mike explains why teaching his students these techniques has helped them go on to have rewarding careers as concept artists, animators, and many more roles.


What do you Need to get Started Using the Drawing Force Method?

Unlike some art programs, you don't need expensive materials to get started with the Drawing Force method. In fact, all you need is a soft, stubby pencil and cheap newsprint paper! In this chapter, Mike explains why he feels the cost of materials is a real issue for many beginner artists, and why he's committed to making art accessible to all.


Why Mike Mattesi Still Loves Figure Drawing More Than Anything Else

Despite having taught for more than 20 years and worked at some of the biggest art and gaming studios, Mike still loves drawing figures more than anything else. So what is it about life drawing that really gets him excited? And how can you take the first steps towards getting that same sense of excitement from making art? Also in this chapter, you'll hear how to take advantage of Mike's exclusive discount for listeners to the Pencil Kings podcast!


Where to Find Mike Online and Learn More About Drawing Force

Mitch wraps up today's interview by letting you know where to find Mike online and learn more about his Drawing Force program. You'll also hear about Evolve - an exciting new art program which you can sign up to and get early access!


Direct download: PK_Episode_142_Michael_Mattesi.mp3
Category:arts -- posted at: 3:30am EST

Shownotes at

To many aspiring artists, Stan Prokopenko, aka Proko, needs no introduction. Already an established artist inn his own right, Proko has built up a huge following on YouTube for his fun and incredibly useful tutorial videos which show people how to draw figures and anatomy.

In this inspiring interview, we discuss the reasons WHY you make art and do our best to tackle any hurdles that might be holding you back. You'll hear about Proko's background as an artist and teacher, and why even an experienced artist like him never ever stops learning.

You'll also hear his thoughts on the future of online education, and how technology could present all kinds of exciting opportunities for artists in the very near future.

And, as if that wasn't enough, there's a coupon code at the end of this podcast that gets you 20% off everything on Proko's site!

Interview Chapters:

Introduction (00:00-02:27)

Mitch introduces today's guest, Stan Prokopenko, who gives a quick overview of his art career and what inspires him.

How Does Proko Help Artists Who Get Stuck? (02:27-08:41)

Proko has attracted a huge following on YouTube thanks to his fun yet detailed art tutorials which help people learn the skills necessary to progress as an artist. But what are the main sticking points he comes across time and time again?

And how can aspiring artists get past these and start getting the results they're really looking for? In this chapter, Proko reveals why cross-training is the key to developing your creative skills...and why even he finds himself struggling with what direction to take his art in next.

What is Proko's Reason Why? (10:24-12:22)

It's always fascinating to hear an established artist talk about their own creativity. And, in this chapter, Proko reveals the soul-searching he's had to do as a creative to get the best results from his own art.

What Would Proko's Advice to his Younger Self be? (16:05-18:20)

Proko has been making and studying art since he was a kid, but what would he do differently if he could go back in time? In this chapter, he looks at his own art journey and reveals some fascinating insights into the areas of art he wishes he'd devoted more time to.

What was Proko's own art Education like? (18:33-19:47)

These days, Proko is a highly respected art teacher and educator, but what was his own experience of art school like? In this chapter, Proko looks back on his school days and reveals how his interest in several different areas helped him develop his own unique style as an artist and inform his teaching methods.

Did Proko Learn Art Purely by Observation? (20:39-25:08)

Some artists learn by drawing from observation, while other draw from their imagination. So how did Proko learn his art skills? And what advice does he have for people just starting out as artists?

What Can People Learn on Proko's New Caricature Drawing Course? (27:51-37:29)

Proko's latest course, a collaboration with artist Court Jones, aims to help aspiring caricature artists achieve a true likeness of their subjects while exaggerating their features as much as possible. Find out more about the exciting teaching methods used in this course in this chapter.

What Will Art Education Look Like in 5 Years' Time? (38:36-44:25)

What does the future look like for online art education? In this chapter, Proko talks about recent developments in technology and how innovations such as virtual reality could transform the way we learn art and other subjects.

Conclusion (45:18-46:48)

Where can you find Proko online and take advantage of his special Pencil Kings promo code to get 20% off all his products? You'll find out in this final chapter.....

Direct download: PK_Episode_134_Stan_Prokopenko.mp3
Category:arts -- posted at: 3:30am EST