Showing posts from 2014

Clearing Out the Mind Clutter

Introspection seems to be a reoccurring process for me this time of year, as it is with most people I'd suppose. 2014 hasn't been a difficult year, but it hasn't been a walk-in-the-park either.

I've learned many lessons about myself; work habits, work personality, that a passing interest doesn't always become a new passion. I've admitted to myself that writing is more the core of my being than illustration. I've discovered quite plainly that I hate working on cars. I've embraced minimalism as a lifestyle (which I'm transitioning into slowly... hard to clean house when it's 15 degrees Fahrenheit outside. I've become active again. I've given up Facebook and it's changed me for the better. And, I don't always half to have a project going on (which I still do have many).

The biggest thing, quite possibly related to minimalism, is that sometimes you just need to let go of the people who were a big part of your life... whether it be f…

Kindred spirits everywhere!

Toronto Comic Arts Festival: Pencil it In from Toronto Comic Arts Festival on Vimeo.
When it comes right down to it, there's nothing like the feel of the pencil dragging across slightly toothed drawing paper. Or the satisfaction of seeing an inked piece pop from the page. There are no substitutes, and these fine artists exemplify that.
I am continuing to work out my next big project, though the delivery might change. I am considering going with a webcomic again... another shot so to speak. Still in the initial planning stages, but the work moves on.

Inking, drawing, inking some more...

Buzzfeed posted an article called It's Totally Mesmerizing To Watch Artist Draw Comics.  This is my life right now- learning to ink better. This goes hand in hand with cleaner, more detailed drawings. All this comes from studying and observing.

Actually, that's pretty much all I have been doing lately is trying to soak up techniques like some of what the artists have posted here. It's easy to get caught up in other ways to create art- like digital painting- but I remind myself that will come back as a need in time. Right now I need to get better at inking.

So far, I think I've been doing alright. I just need to keep it up!

Why I left Facebook

So, I gave up Facebook. Why? Well, for starters I was finding that I was unfollowing more and more of my friends- I got tired of the drama, pictures of dinners, selfies, and pictures of injuries (I hate those the most), invites to games and events. I have a few friends that I keep in touch through messaging- but they’re close enough to have my phone number and email address. And if someone truly wants to get a hold of me, they can always contact me through here.

I was finding that it was a huge time-suck. I’d browse through the newsfeed and get caught up in articles that people would post, which didn’t really reflect my interests. I’ve read that Facebook is detrimental to your health- an unhealthy addiction that robs you of your motivation and mental endurance. I don’t think that’s founded, but it sounds very likely in my own experience. And then, there’s the ads! So many promoted items on the newsfeed, it was becoming cluttered. I understand the ads are what makes Facebook free, bu…

No Plan B's.

One of the greatest quotes I’ve ever heard- one that hit me right between the eyes- is one that I heard recently. Will Smith said, “There’s no reason to have a Plan B because it detracts from Plan A.” It’s so true. I’ve always had “lots of irons in the fire” but I could never figure out why I wasn’t making any headway into anything. I mean, I was busy, I had a lot going for me… but success just seemed to elude me.

Fear is a big part of it. I was screwed over by people I trusted, and instead of getting up and dusting off, I used excuses and blaming others for not moving forward… when really, it was because I was fearful of being taken advantage again.

For what? Fear may have kept me safe, but it’s also kept me hidden.

I’ve recently tried concurring my fear for many situations. I am finding confidence in my art and writing. Conversely, I am discovering people don’t always want to know how you feel. The price of facing your fears is high, but the benefits are far-reaching… John Steinbec…

The Space Opera sings!

I've been putting as much of my best art on my new Instagram account @lostskies7. I deleted my old account a few months ago (no clue why...) but instantly regretted it. SO- since I couldn't use my old handle, I've opted to stick a 7 at the end of it since it is my lucky number.

So, remember all those previous posts over the years where I kept eluding to my "space opera epic"? Well, it's finally happening. I have shoved everything under the bed and out of sight so I can focus and do this thing! I'm still not ready to announce the title, much less any details about the book, but I will give some insight into it:

It takes place in the far future- against a galaxy spanning, Earth controlled empire. There will be giant robots in it. Certainly lots of action- from space battles to martial arts to gunfights and chases. There is a large subplot of unrequited love, and the major part that plays within the context of the story. The art style is my house style- an …

Journaling Your Life

The above video’s first few words, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that somehow the dots will connect in your future…”How do you do that clearly? Read on.
People are often amazed at how I remember things that had happened far back into the past. It’s because I have kept a journal ever since I was 11 years old, which I refer back to my old journals probably every couple of months. Does that make me self-absorbed? I guess so, but it’s my life, and I want to be cognizant of every part of it because in the end, that’s all we are—our memories and actions. Also, it’s a way towards extending my memory past my lifetime… perhaps my grandchildren’s grandchildren will know who I am and where they came from.
JOURNALING YOUR LIFE Some events have happened lately that, frankly, surprised even me. You’ll forgive the vagueness, but it’s a highly personal situation with problematic consequences. That said, I asked myself “…

Lifestyle changes

So, I have been writing quite a bit. I was writing a bit of flash fiction every night (which I'll share in my next few upcoming posts), but I've bought a couple of manual typewriters to stay off the computer and focus more. It certainly takes more awareness of the process- the only spell checker is a handy dictionary to my left.

Here's what they look like:

The black one is actually brand new- it's a Royal Epoch Manual I bought off Amazon for $153, it has a meaty feel to the keys and is fairly robust. The characters jump a little bit, but it doesn't have any other real issues other than the tab coming undone after five or six uses.  It didn't do that before, but I now have about 200 pages worth of use out of this thing.

The off-white one is an older Royal Safari III. The key action is very light and delicate. I had to replace the ribbon and I think the scroll bar is off a hair, because the lines of type skew upwards a millimeter as I write a line of text. I foun…

The Direction of My Heart

Anyone who claims they've never any failures is lying, delusional, or has never truly tried. Hard work and successes are built on layers of misfires, rejections, and failed aspirations. I've had the opportunity to do much soul searching in the last six months, and with it has come the realization that the one common denominator from all my crazy schemes, all my projects, all my attempts at getting some sort of production going, is that they all stem from my writing.

I have always written, but have never taken it seriously enough to see it as its own vehicle. To me, for the longest time, writing was an afterthought to the next Great Big Project—which rarely made it out alive in the execution phase. Case in point: all the filmmaking projects- plenty of scripts, plenty of research, failure to lens. From my filmmaking days I had written two feature length screenplays with three in development, a dozen short film scripts, a couple of tv pilot treatments, and had plenty of ideas on…


You may have noticed that the Lost Skies webcomic kind of went kaput. I can't explain it, other than I lost enthusiasm for it. While trying to create a world of a realistic future, I had to omit elements that I normally put into my stories- some sort of fantasy/magical element... and without being able to do that from the constraints of the story, I lost interest. It was turning into a film noir in space, and frankly, I didn't want it to go there. C'est la vie.

So, I'm quite literally back to the drawing board.

I am taking this hiatus in personal projects to really go through and separate all the crazy ideas I have in all my notebooks and put them into their own special binders. This is really helping me organize my thoughts- which are in dyer need of organization!!

I have a bunch of fragments that I'm assembling into a jigsaw puzzle- a new storyworld. It's going to be some time before I do anything with it. Aside from conjuring up the story, I need to go thro…

"Tales from the Lost Skies" webcomic

On my end-of-the-year post I had done, I realized that I had lost sight of what I wanted to do specifically with Lost Skies as a brand. Then I realized, I will put it to good use- as the title for the webcomic series I had been planning for years.

"Tales from the Lost Skies" is a space opera adventure comic strip that takes place 200 years from now in our solar system. An inciting incident sets a path for some intrepid spacers, who through an epic adventure uncover the cause of the cataclysm that nearly wiped out humanity.

The webcomic will post twice a week- Mondays and Fridays. The scripts are written, many of the designs have been done, and onto actually scratchbuild modeling some of the spaceships for some accurate shots! I know I could have used a 3d modeling software, but where's the fun in that?

So there has been quite a bit of movement around the Lost Skies sites lately. I've began building a wordpress blog at so it can host the comic series. Th…

Throwback Thursday... plus a day.

I meant to do this yesterday but I got hung up on a project.

Since I was paying for the space on anyways, I decided to upload an older version of my site. I realized I'm missing a couple of images and the Twitter feed isn't working, but other than that, it's certainly the direction I want to move forward with Lost Skies. It's just a reflection of where I want to focus on. Expect an update in a month or so.

Gallery Recap

Well, since is down for a bit, here's a link to my current portfolio- right here on this blog!

2014 seems to be shaping up with new opportunities, and I'm open to them. Aside from a personal project that I've been wanting to work on for some time - a webcomic.

In the meantime, you can view my gallery on this site- The Art of Juan Maestas.

SO, here's an old familiar illustration- my Steampunk Sky Pirate that I painted a couple of years ago. I particularly love how the painted sunset clouds worked out.  Enjoy!