We all share an inherent need to express and to understand. These are all common traits we struggle with independently. Often times I am amazed at how life and art mirror each other, and how difficult to understand they both can be. Within this concept exists a philosophy: that life is art…and we are the artists.

“The Artist”

Some say it is better to understand one’s self, in order to better understand others. The truth of this rests in our ability to accomplish such a feat. Art is similar in this regard, existing as expression of self that not everyone comes to grasp. True comprehension and appreciation may however be obtained through the many trials and tribulations of life, where we find our capability and capacity for understanding. Perhaps only after overcoming these obstacles as only life can introduce, can we truly begin to acknowledge who we are as people; or as artists.

If someone were to ask of your true personality, a wise reply might be; “Well that is for you to experience, and not for me to describe.” Again, art is similar. Having said this also brings another correlation: that while it may be easy to interact with others in attempts to “know” them; understanding who they are remains complex. Thus, life’s experiences add hesitation and weariness in our ability to fully understand others…or their art.

At times the doubts we hold on to can be a hindrance to our remaining open-mindedness, as well as our innate ability to share. At times this may be considered a worthy protective mechanism. Once making it past any defenses, the discovery of your inner true self will be trustworthy and pure in expression. For example, striving to help others when possible or simply doing what is right when no reward is sought; is a true insight to character.

When you pursue your goals with the greatest enthusiasm while holding on to the feeling that anything is attainable, people may think you are crazy. Yet you can disagree in a respectful manner and justify your reasoning later with positive and creative action. Meanwhile we hold closely in great confidence those who appeal to our devotions in life and to our art. It is true that many times the paths we have chosen lead us to walk alone; yet we must pursue that trail because it leads us to what we desire most. Solitude can be lonely in physical sense, yet liberating and expansive for creative expression, heart and mind.

Following the paths we have chosen speaks clearly to who we are and what we do. We are the unchanged, yet ever changing; alone, yet not lonesome. Creators of new worlds and destroyers of old, versatile in our abilities to recreate ourselves endlessly. To fulfill our ultimate desires we create wonder and enchantment through that which we love. The imaginative innovators and focused idealists, seeking realization of our dreams in efforts to adapt and learn; on this great journey of self-discovery. Our lives are art, and we are all artists.



Tattoo Concepts

Here is a short video sample uploaded to the RJR Design You Tube channel that illustrates digitally drawing concepts for tattoo art. The roughing out of the concept was done in Photoshop using simple overlay layers, masks, and of course my Wacom Tablet.

The video is very short but made more enjoyable by the great music of Kevin MacLeod over at Incompetech. Enjoy!

Ajin. What’s that?

Slightly skeptical of how good a ‘Netflix Original’ anime could be, I was pretty hyped after watching some trailers. So I headed over to Netflix, and well, I must say that this is very well done. Without throwing out any spoilers, (I may do a review in a few days anyway); I will just suggest you go and check this out for yourself. If you’re searching for a new anime with a good story and interesting art style…Ajin should not disappoint you.

I’ll just acknowledge the fact that I have not read the manga this originated from, so I can’t yet provide any comparatives. In my future review there will be ample time for returning to that topic anyway. So lets just kick back and enjoy this new morsel of Anime goodnesss. But be warned, it does carry a TVMA rating!


PaintsChainer: Testrun Two

After my initial experience with PaintsChainer, ( Autocolor Your Manga? ); I was compelled to run some more trials. This time I tried two versions of my image: the initial sketch and then a conversion to dark lines similar to inked appearance. This will be a fast moving article wasting no time displaying the results. So let’s get on with it.

I started with a pencil sketch upload to PaintsChainer.


Immediately after upload, the colorizing process began before I even clicked the button. Perhaps elements of color are assigned according to gradients of the scan. Not quite sure.


After adding my color sample overlay, some bright colors were bleeding from the image…


I also quickly converted my sketch to line art to see the results on darker lines.fightsketch_lineart_rjrdesigne

Applying new color samples over the darker lined image, the resulting autocoloring was noticeably smoother. The color picks also stayed within their chosen zones better as well.


Just for fun I applied the original darkened line art as an overlay to the autocolored image. Once again we can see how the PaintsChainer tool provides interesting and useful results.


If you still haven’t tried out PaintsChainer then what are you waiting for?

Auto Color your Manga?

Jumping right into things; the other day I heard about the release of an interesting piece of art software called PaintsChainer. Released from manga software developer Taizan. The program was created to automatically color line art drawings by utilizing color choices set by the user. I had to try it.

First off I headed to The interface was simple. Click the ‘Choose File’ icon, locate your line art image from your computer, and upload. Initially there was an error created stating an image size limit was exceeded. This was because I chose a high DPI scan of my drawing, so I formatted a smaller resolution image and re-uploaded without error. The image below shows a screenshot of my image uploaded onto the PaintsChainer site.


Next I used the application’s simple tools to paint color selections over my drawing. There are pencil/ brush tools that allow you to select the size of the brushes, also an eraser and a undo button. The colors are selected from a simple color picker pop up box. As you can see in the image below I quickly applied color samples to various areas of my image using my pen tablet. I was obviously aiming for speed whilst doing this stage. 😉


The next step is the most intriguing one, it’s what happens when you press the colorize button. Your image is wondrously transformed to a fully colorized output image, as you can see below. While color has been applied, it appears to have done so in a strange manner. Some of the color information has been disregarded,  or completely blended out. This is especially noticeable in the background of the image, where some patterning seems to have been applied. There also appears to be a random coloring element in the characters right eye.

Again, the color sampling step for this test was carries out extremely fast; so we cannot denounce the capability of PaintsChainer. We must acknowledge multiple positive qualities which have presented themselves here. Such as how the shading of my drawing has carried over quite nicely into the colorized result. Also notice how the hair has been colored rather well, providing areas of lights and darks which give the feel of a natural light. The overall image is softly colored and pastel in nature. Its apparent there are most likely much greater results attainable when more time is put into the color sampling phase.


Make sure to head over to PaintsChainer and try this out for yourself. Have fun and take care until next time.


I’ve long been a fan of Michelangelo’s works, his tremendous attention to detail, passionate motivation, ingenuity and adaptation. It is these traits by which Michelangelo Buonarroti’s art lives on today. So in honor, let’s take a brief look back on this master, and some of his great creations brought to life so long ago.

“Battle of the Centaurs”
“Madonna of the Stairs”

At an early age Michelangelo’s love of sculpture produced such reliefs as “Madonna of the Stairs” and “Battle of the Centaurs”. Only in his teens at the time of these reliefs, this was only a hint of the talent he possessed and what masterpieces he would later create. It became obvious that young Michelangelo was gifted as a sculptor, but more than capable of producing great painted and architectural engineering feats as well.

The David
“The David”

Of Michelangelo’s sculptures there were numerous successes.  The greatest of which many are quite familiar with today. The “David” for example, in Florence. A 14 foot work of Renaissance and Romanesque, the solid white marble sculpture portrays the David in full detail. Showing no vulnerability and standing fully nude; his physique as strong as his gaze. Michelangelo intended on creating this “giant” to convey a feeling of power and intention, and in 1504 he accomplished that.

David stands depicting not the aftermath of the defeat of Goliath, but directly before. Displaying a look of determination and a hint of stress, he casts his gaze towards the foe. The eyes have supremely deep expression alone, while subtle lines of the face define a surmounting tension. Truly a master work, Michelangelo left nothing but perfection to its detail.

Marble had been chiseled, chipped, scraped and sanded away for three years. Michelangelo’s David burst free with new form from the marble block and came to life. Having utilized the space provided to work his mastery, Michelangelo had thus utilized all techniques of his art. Shape, line, curve, depth, texture, and balance; these were only a few of the tools that had been mastered with David. Every muscle, tendon, wrinkle, and lock of hair was shaped with the greatest of perfection.

Sistine Chapel Ceiling
“Sistine Chapel Ceiling”

A second work of great importance and familiarity is the giant fresco painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. From 1508-1512 Michelangelo labored intensely on the fresco, atop scaffolding he himself had designed specifically for the task. Long hours and poor lighting affected him to the extent of severe physical exhaustion, sickness, and tremendous pain. All had begun with the premonition that he would fail this task, yet he once again surpassed expectations.


A detailed portrayal of biblical scenes, over 400 characters would grace the vaulted ceiling of the Vatican City chapel. After the long process of applying the plaster, then paint; the figures had come to reality. Each scene displays great realism by expert use of depth, color, proportion, and perspective. Even viewed from below the high ceiling, the forms of the biblical characters can clearly be seen. Little did Michelangelo know, one day he would return to also paint the “The Last Judgment”.

The Last Judgement
“The Last Judgement”

It is interesting to note how much Michelangelo used the principles of sculpture even when painting. His ability to use perspective was supreme; with this he was able to create views within his work that built enormous depth. Not only that, but he had the ability to composite elements according to how the work would be viewed. For example the David had a larger head and hands to ensure the main traits would not be lost at even a distance.

Between 1519 and 1534, Michelangelo would commence on the commissioned project of the Medici tombs. Composed of two giant walls of sculptural design, they were to convey Michelangelo’s message of humanity to the viewer. One wall meant for Lorenzo de Medici, the other for Giuliano de Medici; this was the plan. He wanted to depict something much different than any other religious sculpture would depict at the time.

The two main sculptures of course depicted Lorenzo and Giuliano. He named the four supportive sculptures Dawn, Dusk, Day and Night. The walls themselves where they sat were architectural beauty as well. Michelangelo used Renaissance elements and influence from Roman architecture to create his own unique vision. The sculptures denote Michelangelo’s will to display human emotion and suffering, and the statues are indeed moving. He even wrote this verse:

“It is my pleasure to sleep and even more to be stone:

As long as shame and dishonor may last,

My sole desire is to see and to feel no more.

Speak softly; I beg you, do not awaken me.”

The Medici tombs sit in Florence as a representation of Michelangelo’s ability to show beauty, emotion and movement even in stillness. Always utilizing size, shape, perspective and lines of force to draw the viewers eye where needed. The emphasis is always where it should be, the focus is on the most important elements. Supportive sculpture creates strong visual backup for solidifying a thought.

Michelangelo had many other works of course. Many of which were sculpture, some beautiful fresco, and others of architectural ingenuity. To disregard and not receive enjoyment from viewing any of Michelangelo’s works would be unexpected to say the least. By this prodigal artist, the world has forever been left with true artifacts of artistic expression and vision.

Fresco of Michealangelo Buonarroti


  1. Bonner, Neil. “Michelangelo Buonarroti.” The Medici Tombs. Web. 15 Aug. 2010. <;.
  2. Adams, Laurie. The Making and Meaning of Art. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2006. Print.
  3. Faithful photographic reproductions of two-dimensional, public domain works of art. A work of art itself is in the public domain when its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author’s life plus 100 years or less. Images of Michelangelo’s works were used under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license, original works under public domain. Attributions:  *  Madonna of the Stairs * The Battle of the Centaurs * The David * Sistine Chapel Ceiling * The Last Judgement * Fresco of Michelangelo

“Circulite” Project Update

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Upon completion of my recent papercut lightbox diorama project I entitled “Circulite”, there was so much positive feedback.I thank you all for that. There were great comments and questions regarding the piece; which I always enjoy responding to in as timely a fashion as possible.

With the project all finished and in the hands of the Green Bay Art Garage Gallery, I wanted to upload some higher resolution images here for everyone to examine. I put them in a sequential slideshow format. You will be able to see some shots of the project in natural light, as well as dark shots where the project is illuminated by its built in lighting. So keep all the great comments and questions coming, enjoy the gallery, and take care till next time!