Sketchbook #40: More exploring with gouache and inking

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Behind every painting is about ten smaller paintings, most start out as sketches then grow into larger works. This sketchbook (which is my 40th book) is a collection of all gouache work with a  movie theme. It took about a month to complete, two of the illustrations started a few months ago for other projects but once I made the decision to fill a book with gouache paintings it took about a month to finish. For me each of my notebooks/sketchbooks serves as a challenge and must have a specific purpose otherwise what’s the point if not to learn something new.The cover was carved out with an exacto blade and repainted. Try and guess the movies used as reference.

jsmalls-cover  jsmalls-goauche-work2 jsmalls-goauche-work3 jsmalls-goauche-work4 jsmalls-goauche-work5 jsmalls-goauche-work6  jsmalls-goauche-work8 jsmalls-goauche-work9 jsmalls-goauche-work10jsmalls-goauche-work7jsmalls-goauche-work1 jsmalls-goauche-work11 jsmalls-goauche-work12

Who is John Smalls

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This is the first of several in a video series explaining a little bit about my history and my path as an artist. Often people think that my most recent project is my first project. However each project or painting is just another step closer to that masterpiece. So if you ever had question about why I paint the way I do or why I choose to work with certain color palettes or even the subject matter I choose, watch this video and the others to follow and it will provide some insight about my art process.

Mural Art Session

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I was commissioned to do a mural with a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu theme. This video shows some of the painting process behind the piece. Special thanks to @cortesnyc and @carladepuertorico for coming through and helping out.

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Available for hire

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For those who follow my work you may or may not know what I do and for those new to my work here’s a breakdown of what I do. First and foremost I’m an illustrator. Regardless of the medium or subject matter everything I create and design starts with an illustration. When I work with acrylics or working on a mural, it all starts with an illustration or sketch. The mediums\ may change but the technique I use are the same. For more than a decade I have also worked in the field of graphic arts and design, more specifically apparel design. I didn’t study fashion or graduate with a degree fashion, I kind of grew into this field by being creative and living in New York City. Graphics arts has allowed me to use my skills in more ways than illustration was able to. With apparel graphics I can connect with more people across the globe. This has allowed me to build and grow and an artist and designer. On occasion I work on web design but that’s very rare due to time constraints, usually about one project a year.

Here is a breakdown list of my services:


Editorial Illustration

Fine Arts

Mural Art

Graphic Arts

Apparel design

Logo and Branding

Print Design for Marketing

Feel free to contact me regarding your next project.



Illustration for Performance Enhancing Drugs

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