Sketchy Situations


This is one of my favorite illustrations its called “Feel My Pain.” In it a guy has his new air force ones scuffed on his first day wearing them out side. A tragedy without a doubt. You’ve seen this piece before but now for the first time I’m sharing with you a piece of planning of this artwork. I super imposed the original sketch on top of the actual artwork (somewhat) to show how it all began. This is a peak into my sketchbook. Even if its a pinhole peak.

Over the course of my life studying art I’ve accumulated and completed about 15 sketch books of various sizes. 8×6 all the way up to 11×15. This doesn’t include the 4 journals I’ve written and drawn in but does take into account the 3 years I took off from 1999-2002 where I did nothing but work shit jobs, watch movies, play video games and discover what AOL had to offer. Chat rooms how do I miss thee.

Since my return I’ve learned that in order to become a better illustrator you have to do the one thing that defines you. That’s illustrate. Early and often. Now, if you see me out, travelling around the city there’s a 90% chance that I’ll have my sketch book on me. I draw/design/illustrate at least every day at some point in some fashion.

Last week, I attended an event at the Wix Lounge, in NYC, entitled “Promote Your Art.” A really informative talk discussing the different techniques an artist can use to promote the work they love to do. After the panel there was a networking session where I met a woman who represents illustrators and she was surprised that I had one of my journal/sketch books on me. “Most artists I meet don’t carry books with them any more” she said. Which shocked me because most illustrators I know do carry them. (S/O to Phil Mamuyac)

I wrote all this to say to all my fellow illustrators, painters and artists: Carry a damn sketch book. It doesn’t have to be a Strathmore 400 or a Canson Classic. It can be a generic, lined, spiral notebook that’s big enough to fit in your back pocket. When inspiration strikes you have should have a way to document it. Although you might feel you’ll remember the moment, there’s a chance you won’t. That’s a risk I choose not to take.




Popephoenix is the moniker of William Pope. After learning my name is synonymous with art & design and many other illustrators have the same name. I came to the decision; in order to stand out in a crowd of artistic men named William Pope I had to assume a pen name. Popephoenix was born… or resurrected. Which ever is cooler in your head.

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