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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

An Invitation to Microvisions at the Society of Illustrators and a Confession

I'm honored to have been asked to submit to this year's Microvisions show at the Society of Illustrators. MicroVisions is a charity auction for the Society's student scholarship fund that is put on by Dan Dos Santos and Irene Gallo. It goes up April 3rd and will be on display for a month before the pieces are set up for auction on ebay.

This year there are some amazing artists that will be contributing. Among them is Gregory Manchess, whom I must credit with the bulk of my painting eduction.

When I was in college I stole a Step by Step Graphics guide that featured an amazingly helpful demonstration by Manchess. I picked it off the shelf, leafed through it, and immediately, I recognized its immense, earth-shattering value. Then, without breathing, without altering a single a muscle, I looked left and then right, like a crocodile, invisible at the water's surface. The magazine snapped into my jacket and I fled out of the library, ducked past the hostess and ran off into the night, clutching this prize to my chest. 
I know that I am a terrible person. I know that I have stolen from future generations so that I could possess this treasure as my own, so that I could hide its dark secrets away inside my brain, swirling through tiny solar systems and packed into cabinets full of old memories. It is a tragedy, I know.

But now, thanks to this Microvisions show, I feel like I can make amends for my past wrongdoing. I feel like I finally can make penance for this terrible act of barbarism against education. Yes, that's right, I am hoping that by contributing to a charity auction that furthers young artist's eductions I will be able to amend this wickedness from my youth.

However, (and this may baffle theologians) if I had it all to do again I have no doubt in my mind that I would immediately steal this Step by Step guide on Manchess again. (moreover, I would also take that other one on Peter DeSeve that Cory got away with.) 

I know it's wrong, but this magazine is a reliquary. It's mine! It is precious to me. Yes, precious... It's mine, it came to me!

Anyway, all that to say I am terrified to be up on display next to such amazing illustrators. (See the final terrifying list here) I wouldn't miss it for the world. My plan is to paint three of these 5 x 7 pieces before April. I am painting three, first as a safeguard against turning in something lousy, and second as a chance to experiment and learn more about oils. So in the coming weeks I will be posting a few of these and hopefully sharing some findings with everyone.

Until then, I want to send my sincerest apologies to every student out there whom I have wronged by stealing that Step by Step guide on Gregory Manchess back in college. To the innocent youth whose chances at a future I have dashed in my greed.  Although I refuse to give it back, (and will take it with me to the grave) I believe I can offer you something just as good and that no serious student of illustration should be without:
It is a link to the demo that Gregory Manchess did with Massive Black. It details in real-time most of what was in that Step by Step guide and it is every bit as valuable. This video is worth its weight in gold. 

Greg Manchess is an illustration ninja. He has uncanny powers.


  1. Bad illustrator! Bad Bad Illustrator! But, now that you've confessed, were was the Manchess step-by-step published and where can I get a copy? Oh, and how about the Peter deSeve one???

  2. ah-ha! That's so funny! I tried stealing an article on Salinger when I was in High School but I got caught!

  3. So...we've found you. I've been clandestinely working with the Secret Society of Librarians for years, trying to track down the one stolen copy of that SxS. Sad thing that you've taken the education right out of the hands of sincere art students, genuinely wanting to learn their craft, by your senseless greed.

    Clearly, you have made Picasso's words into reality: "Good artists copy. Great artists steal." The Librarians' black ops aren't kidding around when they want their books returned. Think of the overdue fines, man! They'll be arriving soon....

    LOL! I was thrilled to read your post, Justin. You see, I've wondered for years if anyone really made use of the process of painting I spoke about so long ago. Your confession has allowed me to realize that the old saw, "if I can change the life of just ONE PERSON for the better..." is actually true in this case. Now I can rest.

    And mostly because I've become a fan of YOUR work! It is deliciously lit and thoroughly delightful to look over. You have a wonderful personal style that will be fun to watch develop even further in the coming years.

    And if you got some of that from me? I now kick myself for letting out any secrets in that article! But ultimately, they were worth it, as I get to enjoy your dreams as well.

    Welcome to the Ninja Illustrators.

    All best, and.....keep going!


  4. That's right! I did it! And I'd take that de Sève article all over again!

    But I'm pretty sure I meticulously photo-copied you a copy of the article. I remember seeing badly reproduced images.

  5. I watched Mr. Manchess work his magic while attending the 2008 IMC in Amherst and will attend again this year. Amazing teacher. I must say though that I was thrilled to see your name, Justin on the list of artists providing work for Micro Visions. My piggy bank's reserve is low, but I will bid.
    As to your criminal act...shame on you. I spent 5 years as a LBO (Greg's Library Black Ops) and I would have found you....("IT wants to be found").
    BTW: Is there a place where artists can procure these S-by-S graphics, legally??

  6. Wow....
    I am tremendously honored! I don't know what to say!
    Other than that means a great deal to me coming from Greg Manchess!
    (And also that I had thought I was being followed all these years, and now my paranoia has been confirmed! I should have known it'd be the Librarians...)

    I literally kept this article open through all my oil painting classes. It was as close as I could get at the time to taking courses from you. It's a tremendous honor to hear what you say.
    Thank you for commenting! It makes my year to hear that!
    And thanks for putting that video together! I think there are going to be a lot more people in the world that you are going to help for the better with that.

  7. As far as finding the Step by Step Graphics back issues in question:
    Unless someone else here can provide some info on that, I think they might be just about impossible to find (well, legally anyway...). My understanding is that the company that made them got bought out or folded at some point and finding the back issues (especially these really good back issues) is tremendously difficult. (Making my crime all the worse.) They do pop up on ebay every now and again, but I have never seen this particular one. (I have tried to find the one on deSeve as well, as another elusive one on Sergio Martinez, which I remember as being a treasure, but to no avail.)

  8. Sorry Justin, but your doomed.
    Your only chance of salvation is if you scan that article and put it online for us that were left behind.

  9. Thank you Justin for sharing the link to awesomeness (and for being honest and repenting of your past deed!).
    Mr. Manchess, I love your work, and thanks for the great advice on the YouTube clip.
    Both you two gentlemen have amazing talent, and it's a privilege to learn from you.

  10. That Step-By-Step Graphics was a great magazine. I have a few issues here that I BOUGHT. The Peter deSeve one and the Drew Struzan one come to mind. Somehow I missed ever seeing the one with Greg's work. Where did you say you keep that one, Justin?

  11. You are a very naughty boy.
    OK, if it's confession time. In my school library, I 'happened across' Peake's Gormenghast trilogy in the cupboard of books yet to be put on the shelves. The badness in me took over and now, perhaps thirty five years later, the yellowing pages of the paperbacks still look at me accusingly, having been robbed of the caress of the eyes of others.
    I blame the voices.

  12. Perhaps scan it in for all art students to enjoy! Or hell, if the artists could re-publish them, that'd be great too!

  13. Sorry to dig up an ol thread, but I've found the Sergio Martinez issue if you're still looking for it :D