Ella December – Dirty Diamonds – Volume 1 (art by Mikey Espinosa)

Ella December x Mikey Espinosa - Dirty Diamonds cover 1Ella December makes her comeback with her new series Dirty Diamonds and yesterday released Dirty Diamonds – Volume 1 : Lone Wolfe < click to read!

“The first installment of the Dirty Diamonds series.
Harley Jade Diamond is a struggling writer living in London, whilst all her friends are making progress.
Harley finds herself in a risky relationship that she can’t get enough of with dangerous consequences for everyone involved.” – Ella December

The theme of the art is sexy, mysterious and sassy and so I decided that the concept for the art of the Dirty Diamond series would be “Bigger strokes.”

It’s always fun to work with Ella December, without the help of her story telling I wouldn’t be able to come up with the art for her work! Below is the art cover during it’s progress, I was getting a feel of her pose and the lighting. The following image is the entire painting.

The Dirty Diamonds logo shows two capital diamond D’s the second towering over the other. The logo shimmers and if you look closely, the diamonds are flawed.

Mikey Espinosa - Dirty Diamonds progressMikey Espinosa - Dirty DiamondsMikey Espinosa for Ella December – Dirty Diamonds – Lone Wolfe

Acrylic paint on A3 paper (22.09.2014)


Mikey Espinosa – The 4 Beauties of China

Mikey Espinosa - Four Beauties of China squareMy re-imagining of the Legendary 4 Beauties of China. Mikey Espinosa - DiaoChan - 4 beauties of China Diao Chan – Said to be so beautiful, the moon would shy away in embarrassment when compared to her (existence uncertain, Three Kingdom period).

Diao Chan brought upon the fall of two allies, tyrant Dong Zhuo and his adopted son Lu Bu. Her adoptive father Minister Wangyun witnessed a brutal beheading at Dong Zhuos palace and was greatly disturbed. Diao Chan had noticed this and offered herself to find a way to eliminate the tyrant. She was presented as a concubine to Dong Zhuo as well as a wife to be to Lu Bu. They both couldn’t agree on how to settle the situation and Diao Chan added fuel to their feud causing great jealous and eventually Lu Bu assassinating Dong Zhuo. Her fate is still unknown, some say she wandered the lands with LuBu, others say she was killed with her father for their manipulation by Dong Zhuos remaining followers. A Brutal ending is also known saying that she was decapitated by the legendary Guan Yu to avoid any further disputes while a contrasting story tells us Guan Yu allowed her to live the rest of her days as a nun.

Mikey Espinosa - Lady Xishi - 4 beauties of China

Xishi – Said to be so beautiful, fish would forget to swim and sink as she passes by (7th century BC).

Celebrated for her natural beauty, she was selected by King of Yue Gou Jian (who was vanquished by the state of Wu) and was trained in royal court etiquette. Gou Jian sent his minister Fan Li to take Xishi as a tribute gift from Yue to the Prince of Wu. Xishi and Fan Li fell in love and secretly confessed their love for each other. The Prince of Wu welcomed Xishi and was enamoured by her appearance, so distracted he forgot his duties. Xishi continued to distract him eventually bringing political chaos allowing Gou Jian to take back his honour. Xishi was said to have disappeared with Fan Li after the death of the Prince of Wu never to be seen again.

Mikey Espinosa - Wang Zhaojun - 4 beauties of China

Wang Zhaojun – Said to be so beautiful, her appearance would entice birds to fall from the sky (Han Dynasty 1st century BC).

Wang Zhaojun became a concubine during the reign of Emperor Yuan. Yuan chose his partners and lovers by looking at their portraits. Due to the many maidens, competition was harsh and this caused a lot of bribes and offerings to the artists to make them as beautiful as possible. When Wang Zhaojuns portrait was seen by the emperor she seemed the ugliest and was sent to become the bride of a barbaric nation to calm relations. However on the day of her leave, the Emperor fell in love with her and brought the death of the artist. It was too late for Yuan to reclaim her.

Mikey Espinosa - Yang Guifei - 4 beauties of ChinaYang Guifei – Said to be so beautiful, her face would put flowers to shame (719 – 756, Tang Dynasty.)

Yang Guifei also known as Yang Yuhuan grew up to be a beauty who caused the downfall of a nation. She rose to become favoured by the Tang Emperor Xuanzong and her family members gained high social ranks. The Emperor began neglecting his duties and giving his complete attention to Yang Guifei soon causing a rebellion against him and the capital. The lovers fled but soldiers soon caught them off guard and demanded her death. Without a choice, she killed herself with the people believing she had brought danger to their country when it was in fact the self indulgent emperor who had let go of his duties causing corruption within the land.

CIAN a world by Mikey Espinosa

A fantasy story of Twin Goddesses Laufeia and Perpetua and how the paths they have chosen will affect the people of CIAN!

If you like story telling, fantasy, art or comics. Please have a read and let me know what you think!

A direct link to my comic ‘CIAN a world by Mikey Espinosa – The Prologue’   http://mikeyespinosa.com/cian-the-prologue-comic-book/

Cian a world by Mikey Espinosa - crowned goddess promo a3 Mikey Espinosa - Launch day art Prologue

Mikey Espinosa – One Winged Man

Mikey Espinosa - One winged manMikey Espinosa – One winged man

Acrylic on canvas (24 x 31 inches)

I’ve been reading The Song of Achilles, it’s such a  beautiful book, capturing the connection and the development of a relationship between the Greek hero Achilles and Patroclus. The book alone inspired me once again to look into mythology and the idea of Tragedy.


Mikey Espinosa – Rebirth (custom)

The first sweater I released and the final customised piece!

Like the Endure sweater, the characters featured in the illustration will also be featured in the comic I’m working on “Cian a world by Mikey Espinosa.” This piece definitely took the longest to do and I will show you why!
Mikey Espinosa - Rebirth custom Roses (front)When doing the illustration I focused a lot on Spring time as Spring is the season known for new life, animals are coming out of hibernation, flowers are beginning to bloom and the grass becomes greener! For me Spring is such a Romantic time, Valentines day has just finished, it rains a lot (kisses in the rain haha) and it’s a time to get cosey just like winter. so I decided to create Roses.
Mikey Espinosa - Rebirth SleeveI actually started by cutting an upside down triangle at the back, I find the back to be quite a sexy part of the body and I wanted to reveal the spine and shoulder blades.
Mikey Espinosa - Rebirth backWith the back cut out, I wanted to bring attention to it but make it elegant and romantic. With the path of the roses, I originally wanted it to start from the lowest point of the triangle then spread out to a slightly off shoulder position. I felt that this would create a very heavy and dragged look which I didn’t want. Mikey Espinosa - Rebirth custom close up on roseThe roses themselves are individually hand stitched. I used a tie dyed blood red and burgundy fabric with printed black lace and gold fabric that shimmered (sorry I’m not so clued up on materials, I just touched and felt what I felt was best). I had an issue with the gold because it frayed easily but realised that this added charm to the perfect red roses. They were created by cutting random long triangular shapes and stitching the thinnest point of the fabric then gradually stitching sections of the loose pieces onto the sweater, to put it simply think of stitching down a spiral.

And that concludes the customised pieces! Hope you have fun customising whatever it is you have. Before you throw away clothes, recycle and reuse  :)

Mikey Espinosa – Soul Mirror (custom)

Second of three customised pieces.

When drawing the design for this T-shirt, I was heavily inspired by mirrors and frames from the 1800s Art Nouveau era. Exaggerated swirls, grand, fantasy and hellenistic sculpture were in my thoughts when it came to collecting ideas for the content of the drawing.
Mikey Espinosa - Mirror front customWhen customising, I wanted to bring the eye to the fine details such as the jewels and the women which probably didn’t stand out as much in the original black and white design. DSC_0262 I did accentuated the drawing by using golds, yellow ochre and white paint to create depth on the details. Mikey Espinosa - bead close up top Beading was also used to bring out the jewels and the frames. I used gold and transparent beads for the outline.Mikey Espinosa - Mirror close up beadingWhen painting onto fabric, it requires a lot of patience because there are so many fibres you need to paint and dabbing the clothing with a fine paintbrush allows you to reach those white empty spots. It is best to pin the clothing down so that the garment doesn’t move along with the pressure of the brush.
Mikey Espinosa - Mirror CustomThis is the final outcome. I remember when I was in Philippines Boracay, there were people painting onto fabric and this brought on the idea of doing so. The only problem is that the paint slightly stiffens the painted areas but the colour is vibrant compared to using clothing dye which would be best for a softer look.


Mikey Espinosa – Endure sweater (custom)

One of three customised pieces.

I gave the black sweater a dark and sexy illustration (which also reveals characters from my comic :)) and so I wanted to soften it by doing some beadwork. I chose icy colours like violet blue and clear faceted beads that have a silvery effect.

Mikey Espinosa - Endure front customFrom the front, not much difference can be seen other than the beading of the cuffs of the sweater.Mikey Espinosa - Endure custom sleeves

I had in mind several things when beading the cuffs such as The Milky Way and the Aurora Borealis. When stitching this, you may want to plan out the path of the beads by stitching a few of them on whilst keeping the beads close to each other so that the thread behind the fabric won’t get caught on fingers or jewellery as your hands brush against the cuffs. You then start to build around the path of the beads to thicken it and stitch the occasional bead off the path so that you can have that scattered effect.

Mikey Espinosa - Endure custom (back)

Behind the sweater I cut out the fabric to create fringes and whilst trying it on, I liked the swaying movement and thought it would be nice to accentuate the movement by adding beads to dangle alongside the fringes. The movement of the fabric would play with the light that hits the beads allowing it to sparkle.Mikey Espinosa - Endure custom close up backThe beads are threaded and held into place by fastening the thread on the last bead I wanted to space before the next. I kept in mind the look of rain or a water fall and so, to create a dripping effect I usually kept to this pattern

1 clear (space) 1 clear, 2 blue (space) 1 blue (space)  2 blue , 1 clear (space) 2 clear etc.

The blue beads are used to add a weighted look to the droplets. You can use that pattern as a basic layout but don’t be afraid to play around with the numbers you use. Towards the end of each thread I reduced the spaces between the beads to add weight to the thread and this helps add movement and reduce tangling.

Hope this all made sense! If you want to try this and need any help don’t be afraid to comment or message me for advice!

Happy customising!