Preserving Something

Strongman Champion and actor Hafthor Bjornnson

If you or anyone you know is in great shape or at their peak strength (or at least has some quality reference photos of when you/they were), and would like to have a free illustration of yourself in an art style similar to the pics in this post, let’s talk. It can be you actually doing a lift, or running, or biking or whatever. It can be a pic of you posing too. You did all the work of getting there, now let’s preserve that with a little art!

CrossFit Champion Heather Bergeron

For some backstory, I used to love to draw comic book characters in a comic book style. It’s still fun but it just isn’t as enriching as it used to be. Using photo reference to draw actual people has become something I am thoroughly enjoying though. One thing that could be a hybrid of this is drawing people who look like they could be superheroes but live and breath. People who are in the fitness industry, or just really into being fit seems like the way to go. Plus, spending so much time in and out of gyms over the last 20 years has given me such a respect for people who can put in the work, and exercise the discipline it takes achieve the kinds of goals that are just too daunting for most people to maintain (like myself). I would love to try to capture or preserve that in what I draw.

I’ve begun doing a bunch of small pieces like the ones in this post. I think I would like to build up a bit of a fitness specific portfolio before I pursue charging people and turning it into a business. So you’d be helping me out too.

So if this sounds like something that might be of interest to you, send me a message.


Desert Mystery Woman by Michael Hay based off a sketch by Timothy Keller

The late Tim Keller and I wanted to make a place where we, and some artists we liked could post our art. That was Illustrators Social Club. Now that it is over, I still wanted a place to occasionally post whatever I was working on somewhere besides social media. I wanted something connected to my portfolio site. Hence the new blog. I had a couple posts in line about some artists I wanted to chat about. But then I found a drawing in one of Tim’s sketchbooks that put me in a trance.

Tim’s original sketch

For almost 30 years Tim and I made sandboxes, meaning that as a sort of fictional universe. We had futuristic-noir detectives alongside genetically augmented soldiers caught up in corporate conspiracies. A splintered family at the heart of a world-wide shadow government set during the first Crusades. People rebuilding society after a failed alien invasion left part of the population with superpowers. A western that explored the genre’s tropes. The story of a failing P.I. who lost his family to substance abuse. On and on. They were just fun, creative exercises for us to keep our creativity nimble, and to better understand the process of storytelling.

Tim’s desert woman sketch stuck with me. A woman with a gas mask and sophisticated body armor wearing a desert pith helmet with goggles? What is the story there? Who is she? What has she done and seen? Maybe it was going to be the start of another sandbox? I couldn’t stop trying to recreate, in my own way, one of Tim’s final sketches. One of his final possible sandbox ideas. I knew I couldn’t post about anything else for the first post here.

Is that some weird catharsis? A way to feel as though he’s still with us in some manner? Am I just nostalgic for the times when we would hang out and just draw for hours? After hours of recreating that sketch and then making a final color piece, it did become a catharsis, a way to feel he was still with us, albeit briefly. And yes, I am very nostalgic for the times when Tim and I would just hang out and draw for hours.