Lorin Michki is a talented artist, printmaker, and illustrator who’s been making a name for himself over the past few years as the unofficial-official “court artist” of the tactical community. I specifically use that moniker because the majority of his works chronicle many of today’s influential firearms trends, like double-stack 1911/2011 pistols, the Beretta 1301 shotgun, or AR-15s with modern accouterments. Likewise, he’s created many works that feature fictional characters in cult-classic films typically enjoyed by most “gun-guys.”

Michki also does an excellent job honoring the classics, as many of his compositions consist of classic firearms like the original 1911 pistol, the P.08 Luger, or classic Smith & Wesson/Colt revolvers. Other works have a more humorous nature and are rooted in Internet meme culture, while some can be more serious. As a classically trained artist, Michki is skilled in portraiture and has experience working with other mediums like oil paints. He accepts commissions for both firearms art and art beyond firearms.

The Rise Of DrawnFire Art

Michki’s background in art stems from his high school days, where he spent time in his father’s tattoo shop, improving his drawing skills. After graduating from high school, he enrolled in college, where he earned an art degree. Much of his time during his college years was also spent teaching art and drawing to other students as an adjunct instructor.

Around this time frame, Michki bought his first handgun, a .357 Magnum Ruger Blackhawk revolver, at the age of 21. Slowly, he grew more into his newfound hobby and interest. Like many of us, this also meant spending his free time watching firearms videos on YouTube and posting about them in assorted Facebook groups.

It wasn’t long before he began drawing and sketching gun-related artwork and sharing it for fun online.

Lorin Michki’s Debuting Works

Through chance, after posting two drawings in a group, another member of that group messaged him and offered Michki cash to purchase them. This first transaction would turn out to be the catalyst that set things in motion for Michki and his company, DrawnFire. The first patron turned into a second, then a third, and so on, until Michki began creating his works of art in his spare time away from his day jobs.

During the early days, he was able to turn his talents into a side hustle. Through his excellent work, the amount of patrons requesting commissions kept growing. These days, he works full time as an artist and makes his living through his commission work and the sale of his prints online.

The name DrawnFire is a combination of his original name, “Draw and Fire, which references his artistic ability to draw and his love of shooting. This name was eventually shortened to DrawnFire. It still carries its original meaning but is also a play on the act of drawing and shooting [a handgun from a holster].

Artistic Tools And Style

Michki is talented with several artistic mediums, including ink and pen, colored pencils, watercolor, and even oil paints. He favors the Japanese Sakura Micron black ink pen and Prismacolor colored pencils.

For much of his works, his go-to is the high-end BFK Rives paper of French origin. The best way to describe BFK Rives paper to a gun-centric audience is by likening it to a rifle powder like Varget. The way Varget is the powder of choice across the board for rifle cartridge reloaders, the same holds true of BFK Rives paper for artists and printmakers.

The majority of the work he sells is made mostly with colored pencils or pen and ink. As mentioned previously, Michki’s subject matter includes firearms, the characters depicted in classic “gun-guy” movies, historical figures, mythical figures, grim figures, and even memetic figures. There are even some thematically appropriate surrealist pieces amongst his work.

In addition, much of his works depict American military and law enforcement personnel. These works, especially, are reminiscent of the artwork of the late Dick Kramer. During a phone call with Michki, I asked him if Kramer was a direct influence, as it wouldn’t be an unreasonable assumption to make. It turns out that while Kramer’s work wasn’t a direct influence on Michki’s work, they became friends until Kramer’s passing in 2022.

Below are a few selected works created by Michki that highlight a range of drawing styles with his preferred mediums like pen and ink, colored pencil, and watercolor. Frankly, the selected works below are only a few and cannot showcase the entire spectrum of his talent. They’re here primarily to exemplify the diversity of his work, maybe not thematically but certainly from a technical perspective.

From top to bottom:

  • G-Men: A testament to Michki’s skills with a pen. To show the entire spectrum of light and shadow in this noir-themed composition, he uses an important pen and ink technique called stippling. The shadows on the rounds of the slide and frame of that Colt Model Of 1911 are exquisite.
  • Hamer Of Justice: In this portrait of legendary lawman Frank Hamer, Michki similarly demonstrates mastery of another pen-and-ink technique called hatching [and cross-hatching]. Whereas stippling makes for a “smoother” image, hatching comes off as grainier and gritty, which perfectly captures the look and feel of Hamer on horseback as an old-school Texas Ranger.
  • 100 Years: In colored pencil, 100 Years depicts the original Colt 1911 pistol—the first model to enter military service—next to the USMC Colt M45A1—the last 1911 version to serve in the US Military.
  • Roland Special Variation 2: Another monochrome work that predominantly uses pen and ink stippling to illustrate the Roland Special Glock 19—a modified 9mm Glock 19 with an aftermarket KKM Precision barrel and compensator and a Trijicon RMR reflex sight. The Roland Special was a forerunner in the category of compensated tactical pistols with slide-mounted optics.
  • Jack: Lorin Michki painted this watercolor portrait of Jack Clemons upon learning of his passing. The proceeds from the sale of these portraits are earmarked directly for Jack’s family.
  • Enduring Toward Morning: This Lorin Michki original was inspired by End Of The Trail, a sculpture of a weary Native American man and his tired horse. Instead of the threadbare blanket and spear, the Native American man in Michki’s version holds a scoped Barrett MK22 MRAD rifle.

The Takeaway 

Lorin Michki is an American artist whose work is important to the world of American firearms. Much of his work depicts historically significant and classic firearms or historical events alike. This strikes a chord with me as a writer because being aware of and respecting the history of our gun culture is important. It not only helps us understand how and where we came from, but where we’re going in the future.

Similarly, Michki’s work captures many enigmatic aspects of today’s contemporary gun culture. You can find it in his works of modern Glocks and 2011 pistols adorned with modern tactical lights and slide-mounted reflex optics. Ditto for any of his features with modern AR-15 carbines and bolt-action rifles with the latest in riflescopes and bipods.

In a sense, Lorin Michki reminds me of noted Western artist Frederic Remington. Remington was born in 1861 and is best known for his work that captures the American West with depictions of cattle, horses, cowboys, bandits and Native Americans. Remington was alive during this raucous period of American history and was able to capture it in his work as it happened.

This is exactly how I feel about Michki’s work with those contemporary firearms themes as well. One day, time will pass us, too, and take everything. Only our art, photography, videos, and writings will remain. Tempus Fugit.

Support the Arts

Michki plys his craft as an artist to make a living from the sales of his prints, and the works his patrons commission him to carry out. He normally stays in contact with his fans and patrons through his social media channels, on Facebook and Instagram. His Etsy shop is probably the best place to view his artwork and purchase it, of course.

The best way to reach him to commission a work of art is via his email (drawnfireart@gmail.com).  

P.E. Fitch
I am a shooter first, and a writer second. IG & Twitter: @pfitch45