Friday, March 31, 2006

"My Blog" low-tech blog site.

I'm tired of being charged for my premium shop yet I don't want to close it, so hopefully something will start selling. Perhaps this:



For the blogger who has everything except electricity!

Write stuff down, take it to the streets, show it off to strangers, make them leave comments!

The only time your site will go down is if you put it down!

Spyware free! No pop-up ads! No viruses!

You can finally punch trolls in the face!

No experience with HTML or CSS needed!

160MB server space
(1 MB = 1 page)


Spell checker plugin available here!

You want it? Buy it here:
Low-tech blog site.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

New product for all you artists and writers out there.



I've added a "How The Horny Monster Got A Little Pussy" journal to my CafePress store. Here's the direct link: Monster Journal.

And here's the product info:

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Scribble important stuff - lyrics, recipes, addresses, and more. Our Wire-O bound, 160 page journal is unlined and measures 5" x 8", a handy on-the-go size to fit in your backpack. Go creative and let the muse flow.

- Back cover made of thin black flexible textured plastic, measures 16/1000" thick
- Front cover made of 12pt glossy paper, coated for scratch resistance
- Filled with 60lb bookweight (24 lb bond) blank paper - NO LINES
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So that means you would have 160 pages in which to tell the story your own way, or to do anything else you want. There's also a space on the cover for your name. Sweet, huh?

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

IF: "Monster"

Illustration Friday

I had fun with this one. I didn't originally plan it the way it ended up though. I was just going to make the drawing of the monster holding a cat and leave it at that, but halfway through finishing it the title sprang into my head and I went with it. I've included links to seven steps that I passed through while creating the final image. So... do you think I have a future in illustrating children's books? Comments would be awesome.



(click here for the update if you arrived by the direct link)

2006.03.24 "Monster" - Step 1

This is the initial sketch completed in about 30 minutes or so. I never time myself. It felt like 30 minutes.

2006.03.24 "Monster" - Step 2

I opened the sketch in Photoshop after scanning it, dropped it into my standard "Illustration Friday" shell and then used the Pen tool (P) to draw a shape layer around it.

2006.03.24 "Monster" - Step 3

Then I switched the Pen tool from "add" to "subtract" and began removing the mass that isn't needed for the lines. As you can see the face is done at this point.

2006.03.24 "Monster" - Step 4

Now it's all lines. Vector lines, I should add, that can be scaled to any size and still remain crisp. Thank Heaven for vector shapes.

2006.03.24 "Monster" - Step 5

Now I've added base colors for the monster. I still wasn't sure what color I was going to make the cat at this point.

2006.03.24 "Monster" - Step 6

I added another layer above the color layer, set the layer property to "multiply" and started drawing the lines with the Brush tool (B).

2006.03.24 "Monster" - Step 7

About halfway before this point I had an idea that amused me – and led to the final version – which required abandoning my somewhat regular format. I tossed out the border, changed the canvas size and did more Photoshop hoodookookery to arrive at the final version. I didn't document how I did the rest. Perhaps another time.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

"Brainchild" review.

I was asked by Scott Lambridis at Omibucket to review their zombie anthology/art book "Brainchild" that I purchased from them a few months ago. Well, I've finally finished it. It wasn't that it took me a long time to read through, it just took a long time to get around to. Once I picked it up today I didn't put it down until I was finished. It's an excellent, although a bit short, book and work of art.

First, let me talk about the books physical structure.

It's 55 pages long (not counting covers, cover page, two contributor pages and two pages of ads that no doubt helped to defray the cost of publication) and is a mixture of short stories and artwork. Like nearly everything, it's not entirely perfect. The book has a nice feel to it and the only structural complaints I have with it are its soft cover and the binding. It really deserves to have a stronger cover, and after one read-through I've noticed the binding beginning to split between the contributor pages in the back. I handle all of my books with care and never press them out flat while reading, however between those pages it looks as though I have. Perhaps my copy is a fluke. However, these two things do not detract much from my enjoyment of the book.

Next, since I'm more of an artist than I am a writer, I'll talk about the art contained within the book starting with page 1. I absolutely love that image. It was what sold me on pre-ordering the book before I'd read much else about it. It was an excellent choice for the cover and a great visual to sell the book around. The artist is David Senecal, and although I'm not familiar with him I really enjoy his style. He has several illustrations throughout the book and they were all done well. I also would have liked to have seen more by artist Daniel Williams whose sole contribution to the book appears on page 3. It was spiffy and disturbing at the same time. The page treatments used throughout were done well and add wonderfully to the whole feel. The illustrations were well placed between and throughout the stories so that they complimented, rather than conflicted with, the stories.

Now on to the stories. There wasn't a single bad one that comes to mind. Personally I was quite pleased with the two stories by Rebecca Brock since I had really enjoyed her previous story "Ground Floor" from the 'Cold Flesh' anthology and I was also immensely happy with David Wellington's appearance in this book. I'm a big fan of his online "Monster" trilogy. With the exception of those two authors' stories the rest were at most two pages and more often a single page long. They were like tiny glimpses into a terrible event, as I'm sure was the intention. The only exception to this is also my only complaint about the written portion of this book. The story "My Zombie Girlfriend: On the Female Undead in Film and Literature" by Mia Epstein, while interesting, well written, and four pages long, felt entirely out of place in this collection. Perhaps it was simply the decision to place it near the middle of the book that caused me to feel this way. It may have been better as a front or end piece. When I hit it, it felt like a forced intermission or a commercial. The rest of the stories felt like short tales of survivors – or near survivors in most cases – of a zombie outbreak. "My Zombie Girlfriend" is essentially an essay that takes a serious look at gender roles in zombie entertainment. A very odd choice to include.

In the end, if the book had just been stories or just been art I might not have felt as though my money was well spent. As it is I'm quite satisfied and don't hesitate to recommend it to other fans of the zombie sub-genre.

You can find a link to the book here: http://www.omnibucket.com/ (browse through "Releases")

Monday, March 20, 2006

Illustration Friday 03.17.2006 - "Feet"

I wasn't going to do this one. I really wasn't. Ask Heather. For whatever reason "feet" just didn't inspire me. I guess I'm just not a foot guy. Then I thought, rather than let the week pass with nothing, I would go through some of my old, old, ollllddddd sketches and pull a few. These were mostly drawn around 1995. Here they are (click for full view):



The Fisher-Price dog and the pull toy dog didn't exactly fit on the scanner which is why they look odd on one side.

On my search I came across an old comic that I drew way back when I thought I wanted to be a cartoonist. It was horrible. I saved the art from it and dropped it into a new shell. It's still horrible, but what can you do? Here it is:



And, finally, after all that looking I decided to sketch out a quick little something that was new:



Don't ask what inspired me. I started with one spiked boot and it just went weird from there. Part of it might have been inspired by the red cap characters from the old 'Mage' comic series.

Okay, I said that was the last of it, but my daughter also drew something for "feet". Here it is:



That's me on the treadmill (that's me in the spotlight, losing my spare tire). She's on the trampoline. The brown thing is a weight bench.

And that's it. I hope everyone has a wonderful week.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Illustration Friday 03.10.2006 - "Tattoo"

Tattoos and I go way back. Not that I have any. My skin is surprisingly ink free. I just never really like anything I've drawn well enough to want it on my skin forever.

I have, however, drawn a few for people over the years. The first one was for my former co-worker Pat from my theater days. It was done before I had any art training beyond High School and it pains me to think of it still out there, somewhere. The second was for my mom. There may have been one or two other that I'm forgetting about that I would have drawn around that time.

More recently I did a tattoo for my brother that I documented extensively in an earlier post. I also drew a few requests, but I have no idea if they were ever actually inked or not.

That said, I had a fairly large pool of old art to choose from for this week's word, but I decided to draw something new. Isn't that special? I also saved three steps of it this time as well. The amazement never stops, does it? Oh yeah! At the end of that I'm also including the few art files that I still have for my other tattoo drawings. It's a tattoo extravaganza! Woot! So, here we go. All images are clickable to be viewed larger and comments are cherished like wondrous children that I don't have to feed.



Here's my submission for this week's IF.



Step 1: Sketch it out.



Step 2: Do the lines.



Step 3: Add the colors, change the border.

Step 4 (the final): Tweak it a bit until I hat it less than I did at step 3.

Yay.

Now the old stuff:



My brother's tattoo.



A design that I made for Justin Kuhn to his specifications.



This is a design that I made for Kif.



And finally, this is something I made for someone whose name I completely forget.

Now that should be plenty of tattoo stuff for you. Have a great week everyone!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Take a time out Mister!

I've given this a lot of thought and I've decided that it's time to take a time out. Or time off. Whatever. From blogging. I'll still participate each week in Illustration Friday, but that will be pretty much the extent of my wordly domain for awhile. I'm not sure how long.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention that I heard back this weekend from both the art director and the publisher at Dark Recesses. They liked my illustration and they made their choice. It wasn't the one I liked the best, but they did have a good point about it being better suited to the story. Rather than post it here I'll toss up a link to the next issue when it has "printed". It's a free PDF download, so you won't have to make a monetary commitment and you'll get the story along with the picture. They also said they would be happy to make use of my illustration skills again*. So, yay!

Until I've completed the next IF word, everyone have a fantastic week(end)!

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* And yes, I know I posted that list that included working for "exposure", which is what I'm doing with Dark Recesses. But I'm rationalizing it this way: They are a start up publication and as long as I do a good job for them I'm getting in at the "ground floor". They are on their 3rd issue. And who knows, it could lead to something. Also, it's excellent practice. I don't know. What I really need is a good agent.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

IF 2006.03.03 - "Insect"

I worked on two versions of the word this week. Two because I didn't much like the first one. They both wound up feeling rather graphic and still weren't what I originally had in mind. Also, since I was making it up as I went along with no clear goal beyond "buggish" in mind, I didn't take any screenshots of the process. Here they both are (clickable):





And my daughter's take on this week's word (click to see full picture):



Comments are always appreciated even if they aren't always replied to.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

So many things to talk about.

And so little time. First off, my daughter forgot to bring home her tea drawing so she drew a new one yesterday. Here it is:



Next, I had said that I would be getting a list of the bands that were in the Virgin Digital wall paper that I posted yesterday. It turns out that it's not a simple list like I expected. It's actually the image with the band names written over the spots where they appear. It really takes away the fun of finding them yourself, so I'll hold off on posting a link to it until some time next week.

Third, if any of you are long time readers of my site – and I know at least two of you are – you'll remember when I went on my "magnetic" ribbon making kick in order to fill out my CafePress store. At the time I was totally fed up with seeing magnetic ribbons on cars.

You'll also possibly recall when I was talking about Matthew Baldwin over at Defective Yeti and his "Care Less" wrist bands that he made out of rubber bands with his own slogans written on them. He went on about how pointless the real bands were and how they were really just fashion statements. I'm paraphrasing there.

What do those two things have in common? Well, apparently some genius of Reese's caliber has decided that these two things simply HAD to go together. This morning on the way in to work I pulled up behind a Chrysler Pacifica* that had what appeared to be a sticker or a magnet of the "One Ring to rule them all". I thought, "Oh. A Lord of the Rings fan." Then I got closer and was able to make out the writing on the "ring".

"LIVESTRONG"

That's right. Someone made a rubber band for your wrist into a magnet for your car. And at least one person bought it.

Fourth, on the same trip in, I pulled up behind a black pickup truck that had seen better days. It had one, lone bumper sticker that read, "If evolution is outlawed, then only outlaws will evolve." Great sentiment and all, but when the light turned green the driver just sat there and vigorously scratched his ass. When I honked after the count of three he jerked, stopped the scratching and drove off. I get the feeling that he's a few years away from evolving.

And last, I still haven't heard anything back from the art director at Dark Recesses about the illustration I submitted. That is making me think that my negative thoughts might be correct; they've decided to go with something else. If I hear otherwise I'll post it. If I don't hear anything at all then after issue #3 is released I'll post the whole image. In the meantime, here's a detail of my favorite version:



And that's all I have for you today. In case I don't post anything tomorrow, have a wonderful weekend.


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* At first glance I thought it was called "Pacifier". Pacifica. Stupid name.

"What should we name our latest SUV? Make it watery."

"Um... Okay. Perhaps something that calls to mind the ocean. How about... 'Pacific'... uh...?"

"Superb idea! 'Pacifica' it is! Build those babies!"

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Oh yeah!

Jared has finished his Art Crash and is now making all of the paintings available for sale. There's some fantastic stuff here: Art Crash 214 300 I've already selected three and might go for two more.

Religion is the sh*t!

I think my family is of a Catholic nature, but I really don't know for certain. How sad is that? I suppose I could ask someone but any discussion of religion with my family and me involved has the potential to go horribly wrong.

From my time as a young child I remember nuns and rather detailed paintings of Christ on the cross and a selection of people with big circles around their heads. I'm pretty sure that I was told they were "saints" and I had thought at the time that there were rather a lot of them. I pretty sure that at some point I had been stashed away at a daycare that was nun run. I also remember really bad food and my first introduction to boiled spinach. I didn't like it.

So I may be a Catholic, if only in name. As Derek pointed out, some sort of Catholic triathlon started yesterday. Pancakes yesterday, ashes today then a month of not doing something you like. Sounds like a hoot and I'm sorry to miss it.

I feel, however that I would be letting my ancestors down if I didn't at least do SOMETHING, so I'll pass along a link to an inspirational short film. Ready? Here you go: Jesus: the Musical.

Were you moved? I know I was.

And, for those of you who are fans of both Mary and music: Virgin Digital. Rumor has it there are 64 bands represented in that painting. Another rumor is that there are 72. I've found... some. I'll be getting a list of the supposed answers later and I will post it some time tomorrow. Here are a few to get you started: Guns & Roses - White Zombie - Scissor Sisters - Talking Heads - Cars - Hole - Great White - and, of course, Madonna.

Hmmm... I'm thinking. You know how Derek has started doing "themes" at his site? Sports Monday, no post Tuesday, something else Wednesday, Audio Thursday... or is it Audio Wednesday and Illustration Thursday? Phrikin' Photo Phriday. I believe that for awhile I'm going to toss religion into the random brain babble stew that is F&P. At least once a week, as the spirit moves me. It shouldn't be too hard, looking back over some of the extremely sacrilegious posts I've made in the past. And today. Offhand, with what I have kicking around in my head right now, I should be good to go for the next couple weeks at least. It should be fun.
"Boring a hole in the patient’s head creates a door through which the demons can escape, and - viola! - out goes the crazy."