Coming out: Becoming a naturist illustrator of male erotica

The first steps on this journey are all about coming out.

  1. Gay coming out 
  2. Erotica coming out 
  3. Naturist coming out

Gay Coming Out 

The Velvet Rage by Alan Downs

As a gay man, the journey of being true to your own identity is a lifetime struggle. Being born in a Latin-American family wasn’t a great advantage to accept my homosexuality. However, the fact that I grew up in Spain made things easier for me. I had a good bunch of friends who supported me as a gay man and probably I wouldn’t be here without them.

If you’re not true to yourself and your own identity, it’s very difficult to create and produce art freely. It would block you and create a series of hung ups that won’t let you develop as an artist. The Velvet Rage by Alan Downs was the book that helped me to understand this. It’s all about authenticity —simple as it is.

His reflections on gay psychology —subtitled Overcoming the Pain of Growing Up Gay in a Straight Man’s World— helped me to come out as an adult gay man to very important people who I hadn’t dared to talk honestly before. I can finally talk about myself and my boyfriend to my dad and my Ecuadorean extended family. If you’re not a gay man in his late twenties, probably you don’t know the relief that you can feel doing this. 

It may sound silly but to feel authentic towards your own family and your close environment is very important in order to grow as an artist. And it’s the only way to stop procrastinating about your artistic career. All artists need support and we can only get real support if we’re first true to ourselves. 

My boyfriend and I in London Gay Pride 2019. This photo was part of my post to come out to my extended family in my Facebook profile.

Erotica Coming Out

Sometimes it’s difficult to explain people what is an illustrator. Some may understand it telling them that it’s like a graphic designer. Others, that it’s like an author of comics. Or they just won’t understand it at all. 

Now you can imagine how hard it is when you decide to develop a career as an illustrator, let’s not talk about erotic part. Your family may not be the first source of support because they want you to have a secure job with a secure monthly income in a secure workplace. Well, that doesn’t exist there. Specially if what you want to do is to devote your life to create illustrations following your own ideas and style. That gay man wanting to draw naked men having sex is your true self and you have to deal with it and accept it. 

Eventually you accept it and start working on this erotic line. You get inspiration from many artists that have followed the same path into erotica as you and it cheers you up. Sometimes you feel scared that your new boyfriend doesn’t find it a sensible way to continue your career. Sometimes it’s very hard to explain it to people that you’ve just met. Life is tough for everyone. Just keep calm and be honest.

Erotica has its prejudices and sometimes people just won’t like to talk about it. I know, it’s discouraging. But you have to remember that there is a lot of people out there who love erotica and understand it. If you want to be authentic and create great artwork, you’ll only succeed if you focus on the subjects and styles that you truly love. Stop calling it a hobby and everyone will realise that you’re serious. You’re determined to become an illustrator of male erotica. 

Naturist Coming Out

Many people may wonder why I describe myself as a naturist illustrator of male erotica.Well, there are many things that I could say about myself. I could be:

  • An Ecuadorean illustrator of male erotica
  • A Latino illustrator of male erotica
  • A Spanish illustrator of male erotica
  • A London-based illustrator of male erotica
  • A gay illustrator of male erotica
After a swim in Deadman’s Pool, Grasmere, Lake District, June 2019.

But those are just labels that society gives you to make things simple and easier for everyone. Also I don’t think any of those labels are truly important for me. However, the fact I consider myself a naturist, it is important for me. It’s not only a label that describes a part of me. In my opinion, the word naturist describes:

  • A lifestyle 
  • A relationship with nature
  • A connection with the elements
  • Ideas on body diversity
  • Views on nudism or naked body
  • An approach on sex and love
  • A seek for freedom
  • A perception on beauty

I think that the lines above describe more about me than any of the other labels that other people would consider relevant. It isn’t my job to campaign for naturism or nudism here, but I really think that naturism is a relevant part of me to understand my artwork. I will talk about my journey into naturism and nudism later. 


To sum up, making the decision to become an illustrator of male erotica is not a shortcut to be a successful artist. But I’m determined to create a high quality artwork that fans of male erotica, like me, will love. I hope that they will understand what I try to convey visually with my illustrations. It’s not porn, it’s erotica. Also I want to share a bit of my lifestyle as a naturist, and it might help people to understand my artistic approach. 

In later posts, I will write more about the serious aspects of becoming an illustrator, e.g.: studies, paperwork, finances, tax, digital marketing and business plan.

coming out, illustrator, male erotica, naturist, the velvet rage

Comments (2)

  • Hey Marlon,
    Great idea to publish that book!
    I’m living in Paris…can I find your book there? maybe in the gay bookshop “Les Mots à la Bouche”?

    I’m on couchsurfing : patricefromparis

  • Hello, Patrice!
    Thank you for your interest but the book above isn’t a published book. It’s a mockup of the fictional edition of the book. I’d love to have published it but it’s just a dream so far. However, you can find the illustration on my online shop, link below:
    Thanks again for your interest, follow me on Instagram to get updates on my upcoming projects:
    Best regards,
    Marlon Lorenty

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