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Meet the Evolve Artist: Michael B.


Meet the evolve artist: michael B.

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A Block 6 speed painting by Michael B. 

Learning to become an artist looks different for each individual. Every Evolve artist path is unique and can offer up guidance and encouragement for fellow students.

One artist who has a very inspiring path, is that of Michael, one of the very first Evolve artist students. Throughout his education and work with Evolve, Michael has been an inspiration for how to get work done and get it done well. 

With a full-time job, a family, and many responsibilities, he has figured out a way to dedicate time to his art in order to grow as an artist. Currently, Michael is working in Block 8, creating beautiful paintings using all of the techniques he has developed throughout the program. 

In this interview, we hope you’ll find some inspiration to take your wish to create quality art and turn it into reality. 

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​Block 7 puddled painting by by Michael B. 

Can you explain your art journey?

I had done art in school, taking every art class I could in in high school, nothing really to write home about but [also] audited a couple drawing classes in college, and took some community college drawing courses...There were a few years where I took some time off to learn the technical side of my job. And then recently in the past three years...I had got into an online program that was a pretty strong drawing program. 

[Art] has always been something I come back to. But the thing about that was that I would pick it up, and I only had so much talent, so I was never really super serious about it. And I wanted to go to college for art,  but just couldn't get somebody to push me. I didn't know what to do myself.

I didn't want to go to a four year university where I had to do a bunch of other courses...And I wanted to do nothing but art. I didn't see why I had to study other subjects.

So I kind of fell by the wayside. But it's pretty much always been a part of my life, you know, teenage years with comic books and trying to emulate what was in the comic books. That was always been a main influence in my art, and I guess I always come back around to that.

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In block 8, by Michael B. is able to explore using the foundations he has learned with Evolve to create stunning pieces of art. 

How did you find Evolve Artist?

It was just a creative urge, really. Some of it is probably because of [nostalgia], but a lot of it was just needing to do this and for whatever reason I just feel the urge to pick up a pencil and start drawing. So early 2016, I picked one up and I drew a portrait of my daughter...and I haven't put down a pencil or paintbrush since then.

So I started drawing portraits from photographs and then I searched through online programs...and then Evolve Artist fell into my lap and I thought, “I gotta take this chance or else I'm going to be stuck where I am”, and I felt like it was my last chance to really become an artist. 

[When I saw Evolve, I was already in a program that taught me the importance of making time to practice every day], but it took me like a month to get feedback to get to finalize one portion of that program. 

[With Evolve}, I was on the fence for a while, but I thought, I'll give it a shot. Partly maybe because I wanted to test Kevin and see if he was for real, almost a dare to see if I could prove him wrong. 

But when I did go into [Evolve] I made the commitment to myself that if this was real,  I'm going to commit to it, and not worry about any other any other outside projects...And it's been grand ever since. It's been a great journey. So at the end, I shudder to think of what [would have happened] if I didn't try it. 

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A block 5 vacant shadows painting by Michael B. 

How do you manage a busy life and your art? 

[I was already] getting up really early to get like an hour or two in of drawing time, and somebody told me once, you make it a habit, just like flossing. Nobody wants to really take the time to do it,  but it doesn't take that much time and once you make it a habit, it's a habit for life.

 So if you only have 15 minutes to draw, do that and then that 15 minutes becomes...30 minutes, and [then] I can cut this out and I don't have to run down to the coffee shop this morning I can make my own coffee, and save that 20 minutes and draw. 

I can take a sketchbook with me in the car while the wife is shopping and I could Doodle, you know, in the car or on a bench in the mall.

But just  finding time and I think people will be amazed how they can cut out some of the static to be able to find the time to really commit.

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Block 6 speed painting by Michael B. 

Where do you hope to go with your art?

Well short term, I just want to finish the painting I'm working on. That's what I'm trying to get through, to finish this painting and then finish the next one. 

But long term, I’d like to do  a comic book cover...I usually play things like that pretty close to the vest and not talk about them a lot, but that would be an ultimate [achievement] for me. But, I'm keeping my mind open, so I'm not going to say, you know, it has to be this one thing. 

Tips for artists

This brings to mind a quote by Steven Pressfield: 

“The amateur believes he must first overcome his fear; then he can do his work. The professional knows that fear can never be overcome. He knows there is no such thing as a fearless warrior or a dread-free artist” (The War of Art).

My tip would be to just be the one working. You try to stay focused, you stay present, and not let your mind wander. 

Not consumed by fear of the past or hope for the future,  just try and stay in the now. Keep your head down and work. I think that that has been...the running theme...work!

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A block 8 painting by Michael B. 


Thanks to Michael for sharing his journey with and I encourage all of you to take his advice and be the one working!

If you would like to watch Michael’s full interview with Mitch on the Pencil Kings podcast, you can view it here! 

Read more Evolve Artist interviews here!

Learn The 4 Part Framework to Develop Pro Art Skills in 12 Months

Scared to Start a Painting? 7 Ways to Beat a Blank Canvas


Scared to Start a Painting? 7 Ways to Beat a Blank Canvas

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Starting on a blank canvas can be scary! But with a plan, you can beat that blank canvas! (Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash)

We’ve all been there. 

Staring at a blank canvas or an empty still-life box with absolutely no idea how to start a painting or what to paint once you get started. 

So what do you do when inspiration doesn’t hit? And when it does, what do you do when you don’t know how to begin with the next big idea?

Not knowing what to paint or how to start it holds us back as artists. Even if you have been studying and learning, the empty canvas can be daunting. However, there are a few steps you can take when it feels like the first step of your painting is impossible. Keep reading to find out how!

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In order to get started, you need to start to generate ideas and make a plan. (Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash)

Generating an Idea

That overwhelming feeling of staring at a blank canvas, unable to start a painting has happened to most artists. There is a certain pressure that comes with being creative, and ideas don’t always flow naturally. 

However, you can develop creativity as an artist. It is a matter of looking for new experiences, experimenting with new techniques, or exploring other artists’ work. 

Having a curriculum and an instructor to guide you can also be very helpful for those who are struggling to generate an idea and get started on their painting. When what you’ll paint is predetermined, that can help you start to break the cycle of not painting. This can build confidence for those moments when you have to compose a still life. 

By developing creativity and having a knowledgeable guide or program to help you determine what you should paint will get you one step closer to actually starting the painting!

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Once your idea is concrete, you'll need to start your painting, which can be the hardest part!

How to Start

So once you have this idea, how do you actually start a painting? Well, in order to do anything, you have to have a system for doing that thing. 

This simply means that if you don’t know how to paint, starting a painting is going to be very difficult. But when you have a system for every single painting as a beginner, you can break down those ideas you have into manageable pieces and create a painting without fear. You’ll know where you’re going because you have a map. 

At Evolve, our students start every painting for the first three blocks by sketching out their composition and then finding and painting in the shadows. They then move into the lights, and then to gradients, reflections, and highlights. Because they have a clear system from start to finish, there is no guesswork of where to begin and when to be done. 

Once you have a process and system for making your art, you can feel confident to start a painting without fear of getting lost or starting in the wrong place.

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Spending time sketching and experimenting can help you get started with more confidence.

Tips on Getting Started

Here are some ways to start your paintings without fear or struggle!

Make a plan

Having a plan of where you want the painting to go, where you will start, and what you will do to get to the finished state will help you to feel confident from the beginning to end of the painting. Make a clear plan, but be willing to adjust it slightly if you make a mistake. Avoid jumping around in the painting, and stick to your plan as best you can. 

Ask for help

If you are struggling to get started, reach out to a trusted teacher or peer, who can help to encourage and hold you accountable. Sometimes bouncing ideas off of someone can help you to feel more confident in your idea and get started on your work. 

Get inspired

Take a trip to a museum, see new work, and get inspired to try some new things. Creativity needs to be cultivated, so in order to get new ideas flowing, feed your creativity!

Make mistakes

Though no one likes to mess up, making mistakes can help us to learn as artists. Of course, we try our best to do our work to the highest quality we can, but there is a lot to learn from making mistakes. If you are so focused on perfection, chances are you’ll be too afraid to ever start your painting. Embrace mistakes as opportunities to learn, study where you went wrong, and try to avoid making the same mistakes repeatedly. 

 Start sketching

Before you begin to paint, make some sketches. As a rule of thumb, your first sketch is never your best idea. Do at least four, small sketches of your subject, all of different angles and compositions. This will help unlock new ideas and get you painting sooner!


Generating a new idea can be difficult. Staring at a blank canvas with a big idea and no clue how to make it happen can also be difficult. But being willing to mix things up, ask for help, and give yourself the space to make mistakes

Learn The 4 Part Framework to Develop Pro Art Skills in 12 Months

5 reasons Why You Need Community as an Artist


5 Reasons Why You Need Community as an Artist

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Art can be a solo venture...here' s a few reason why you may want to consider a community of artists for yourself. (Photo by Daniel Chekalov on Unsplash) 

Most artists have experienced the common feeling of solitariness that comes with being in the art field. Perhaps you live in an area where access to a community of artists isn’t available. Or maybe you feel unsure or uneasy about becoming involved with artists in your community because you’re just beginning or have differing styles. 

Regardless of what seems to hold you back, a community of similarly minded individuals can help improve your painting practice. Profound conversations, revelations, and improvements can happen when an artist shares their thoughts and work with other artists. A receptive listener can turn into a supportive community where ideas and work can thrive. 

So if you’ve been considering diving deeper into conversations and community with other artists, here are a few reasons why you definitely should. 

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Working with other artists can inspire you to try new things. (Photo by Rachael Gorjestani on Unsplash)

Motivation and Inspiration

Meeting with a community of artists, whether it be two or twenty, can help to motivate you in your work. Whether it motivates you to push yourself a little harder with quality because your work will actually be seen, or if you’re motivated to finally finish a piece, this community can help you to accomplish those goals. 

Gathering with other artists, whether online or in person, can help to boost your motivation and set intentional goals. Not only will a community of artists give you encouragement to get things done, but they can inspire you to try new things. 

Some of the greatest ideas are built by experiencing other art and in conversations with other artists. Someone may have a way of saying or expressing something that opens your eyes in a new way. The more often you can have conversations about your and other’s art and the more often you can get in front of both contemporary and historical art, the higher your chances of sparking a new idea. 

A community can inspire you to try new things and motivate you to actually do those new things.

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Sharing your work and experiences with other artists can help you to make connections (Photo by Raychan on Unsplash)


A community of artists will help you to realize that the more people you know, the better. Now don’t think that this means you have to get to know only powerful, influential people. Rather, the more people in general that you meet and have honest, real conversations with, the more doors will start to open for you. 

Many artists who may be farther down the road from you can help to give you wise advice, share tips and experiences, and even share your work. Artists often view other artists as their competition. However, this limiting thought process fails to account for the massive amount of non-artists who want to buy art. Someone else’s success does not limit yours, and a wise artist realizes this and shares their knowledge with others. So align yourself with some established artists who are willing to share experiences with you. 

In return, there will always be artists who are just beginning that you can also share your experience with. Teaching and sharing your journey are both fantastic ways to solidify what you know and grow more confident in your skills. Be willing to share what you’ve learned and willing to learn what others are sharing. 

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Accountability and Feedback

If you are working from home at your art, chances are you’ve had moments where you lose motivation. When other artists aren’t seeing your work regularly, it’s easy to let things slide, work a little less intensely, or take shortcuts. A community of artists can help you to avoid this. 

When you are surrounded by other artists, it’s less tempting to fall into bad habits. The accountability that comes from expectations in your community can help you to develop healthy habits and time management. 

Feedback from this community of artists can also help you to grow and learn. While you should be careful to weigh technical advice you receive against what you are already learning, there are some great lessons to be learned from your peers. Often times, we can become blind to mistakes in our work, and a soft correction from a peer can be the eye-opener we need to continue growing. 

Both accountability and feedback can be found in an artist community, and developing these relationships will ultimately help you to grow as an artist. 

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Evolve offers an online community for you to flourish and grow. 

Where Can I Find This Community?

If you’ve felt isolated in your work for a long while, finding a community of artists can feel impossible. But here are a few places to look:

Community Art Groups

Check at your local library or community center for community groups for artists. A class can also be a good way to meet other artists in your area. 

Art Fairs or Shows

Local art fairs and shows can introduce you to local artists. Attending an opening in your community and fostering conversations with other artists is a great start. 

Online communities

Facebook groups or other social media communities can be a great way to meet local artists and artists from around the world. They allow you to interact with highly established artists and peers. Of course with this access comes some drawbacks. Someone may seem well qualified, but really have very little to offer you. So be thoughtful about their impact on you and your art. 

Evolve’s community was designed to solve this problem for isolated artists. Our live classes, homework groups, and facebook groups are designed to foster conversation, build community, and help artists to grow. 

Community is essential for artists. Without it, you will miss opportunities to grow, change, and improve as an artist. Challenge yourself to discover new ways to build your artist community today!

Learn The 4 Part Framework to Develop Pro Art Skills in 12 Months