Results: My January Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Painting Goals

My January goal has been to produce a several Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (bjj) paintings and drawings, and build a store for them online. Through this goal, I have developed a strong art process for making the artwork, learned many online tools and resources to produce, market, and sell the artwork, and through showing the arwork to my Brazilian jiu jitsu colleagues and friends, I have found out what artwork they like the best, what they want more of, and that they are excited about custom paintings and artwork of themselves doing jiu jitsu!

Develop of a Strategic Art Process to Create Artwork about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

I have done a lot of artwork for martial arts gyms, but I had not made much artwork that was specific to BJJ, and what I had was of inconsistent quality (asthetic). Therefore I set out to create a strategic process to create a significant volume of artwork in a short period of time.

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Four of my brazilian jiu jitsu bjj paintings using the process stated here.

Important tactics that I learned or leveraged to create more high-quality art efficiently included:

  • Researching the positions that I wanted, and choosing whether the positions I use should be specific, named positions, or just aesthetically-pleasing positions that simply occur during transitions.
  • Carefully studying and practicing the distortion of fabric of the gi (jacket and pants) that occurs as during fights.
  • Doing fast gesture drawings of different jiu jitsu positions. Good paintings, in my opinion, start with good drawings, and gesture drawings are high-energy, very fast drawings of figures. This allowed me to create many good foundations for paintings.
  • Working on up to four paintings at a time so that they can be layered up at the same time for consistency. Although my goal was to have some consistency within the developed artwork, I feel like this part of the process made the artwork more rigid than I prefer, and in the future, I may approach the painting with a more “a la prima”, Bob Ross approach to maintain the freshness and vitality of the paintings, as well as contribute more to the exciting color relationships.
  • I was also able to figure out how much time it took to make a painting, and where I was wasting time and paint for this specific type of work. By this, I mean that there are subtle changes in color and tone in the gi and skin tones, which can be better handled with a painterly abstraction, rather than realistic rendering. Layer opacity and transparency, and realistic vs. arbitrary color use are somthing that I’d like to work more on to create really exciting artwork.

Getting Feedback showing the arwork to my Brazilian jiu jitsu colleagues and friends

I brought the artwork to two gyms where I practice brazilian jiu jitsu: The Monkeybar Gym, and Rise Up Martial Arts. I was really happy because all of the feedback was very positive, and I was able to see which artworks really excited people.

BJJ practitioners were most excited by:

  • Dynamic positions of the figures
  • Strong warm/cool color contrasts
  • convincingly painted forms
  • Fast-brush, a la prima techiques
  • abstraction

Knowing this, I will be able to confidently focus on these attributes in the future, and these are the parts of great paintings that I like the most myself, and I know how to approach these challenges and push my limits. I also think that these styles will favor a faster, better painting style, as well as the custom and themed direction I’d like to take with this artwork.

The Next Phases: Custom BJJ Paintings and Jiu Jitsu Samurai Series

This first run was a great learning experience, and I really challenged myself. I am excited to sell the original artwork and prototypes, and move on to the next phases. I will continue to paint the modern brazilian jiu jitsu sport/practice paintings more dramatically, and will add custom work for people who want portrait paintings of themselves engaged in jiu jitsu. This would be practitioners, athletes, and teachers who want to capture this important aspect of themselves in an exciting painting.

After I’ve developed a larger portfolio of jiu jitsu artwork to sustain the business, I would like to explore even more creative options such as traditional, fantastic, modern, and futuristic costumed jiu jitsu imagery. This will include samurai armor, robots, dragons, and a lot of other stuff we cannot even imagine at this point!

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