Thursday, April 26, 2007

Odds are...

... if you've been around the internet much for the last month or so, and have any interest in art, you've heard about Todd Goldman and how he's apparently been making oodles of money by ripping off art from online sources and selling it as "his creations" both on merchandise and as "original" paintings. If you don't know what I'm talking about, you can read about it here and here for starters, or just do a Google search.

One of the things mentioned much later in the SA Forum post is from ruth323. She said:

"Apparently it's not uncommon for commerical artists to trace photographs. I think it's a bit strange (don't artists go to art school to learn how to draw?) but I can imagine that when there's a tight deadline it would be necessary. Also, there are some artists who really have great ideas and wonderful execution, but they just can't get that leg to look right, so they trace it. Oh well. Okay. ..."

That reminded me of an instructor that I had somewhat late in my "art education", when I was attending Pikes Peak Community College. I can't remember his name, even though I had him for a couple of classes during my time there. He used to work at Hallmark, and had done illustrations for the Hallmark Movies posters as well as some other poster work and some greeting card work. All very impressive, to be sure. Far more than I've been able to accomplish. Apparently that all came to an end, I'm betting due to bad judgement of some sort. He would talk about the glory days at the drop of a hat. So there he was teaching at a community college, and there I was to learn. This was ’94 or ’95.

I've probably posted about this guy some time in the past. I have vague recollections of doing so. Still, it applies now even more than then.

We had been given an assignment to take a black & white photo of a woman that he provided to us, blow it up to three times its size and add color to it. We weren't allowed to use a photocopier, and there was only one wall projector, so rather than wait in line I gridded and drew the image by hand and eye. During the critique phase I was asked why I drew it instead of copying it. Compared to the others that had been traced on the wall, it was pretty obvious that I didn't trace it, grid or no grid. I answered, "Because I can." knowing that, for whatever reason, most of my fellow students hadn't taken a drawing class and weren't planning on it.

That was the wrong answer.

I was informed that in the professional world you HAVE to copy to succeed. It takes too long to draw. In fact – according to him – nine out of ten people working as professional illustrators don't even know how to draw. They have large photo morgues to pull from and they know all kinds of tricks to make it work. He didn't know how to draw, and look at what he accomplished!

I said, "I guess I'll be the one in ten." As it turns out I'm not a paid illustrator at all. Instead I'm immeshed in advertising graphic design.

By the end of the semester I had virtually no respect for the guy and a 'C'.

As I see it, Todd Goldman is one hell of a businessman and a perfect example of what my instructor was talking about, but until I actually see him draw something from his mind freehand I refuse to call him an artist. I'll bet that'll lose him all kinds of sleep.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

It's a zombie kinda Tuesday

The last zombie sketch had a few problems. It turns out the tentacles were supposed to be more 'octopus' like and they were supposed to emerge exclusively from the head of the zombie: "sides and crown." Also, the extra head looked far too happy ("HI MOM!" he's saying while waving his wee fingers), which I knew but had no time to change. I wanted to get it sent off so I could gauge if I was close or not. It was practice sketching if nothing else. This next sketch was done in about a third the time, but is much closer to what the author wants:

On seeing it he said, "That is freaking awesome! Keep up the good work!"

I have a few more versions of heads in mind that I need to sketch out later when I have time, then I will set about refining them into full bodies and then finished pieces. I'm still not sure what style I'm going to do them in. Possibly a mix between graphic and line.

Have a great week all. I'll try to have an illustration done for this weeks IF word "polar" either tomorrow or at the last minute on Thursday.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Well aren't I the hoity-toity elitist snob?

I've been trying to figure out why I'm getting so many visitors lately. I don't think anything I've said or done is terribly newsworthy, and I'm not getting more comments than usual. I'm betting it's a fluke. A ghost in the machine playing with me. However, during my time spent seeking where this influx of traffic is from, I came across my "Kinja card", something I didn't even know existed. It has some interesting breakdowns, including the news that I have one star of popularity and I'm not in the top 100,000 blogs. Whew! I was getting worried.

Another thing I saw was under "language tools"... 'Analyze readability.' I decided to give it a go. It turns out my readability is a bit above The Wall Street Journal's:

And yet the Bible is as easy to read as the TV Guide. And easier than Reader's Digest. If you think about that with a cynical, jaded mind it explains a LOT.

Derek's site is much more readable than mine. He's between the Bible and the Reader's Digest.

I'm afraid I have to blame my dad for this. "Build your vocabulary! Nobody will respect you and you won't be successful unless you have a large vocabulary!" This was reinforced though weekly quizzes when I was a teenager. Thanks dad. Now I'm difficult to read. Also, that 'respect' and 'success' you mentioned... when is that supposed to kick in?

Still, to all of you visitors that keep coming by for whatever reason, thanks!


This week's Illustration Friday topic is "Polar" as suggested by Jared von Hindman of Head Injury Theater. So I give you "Polar Bear and Eskimo in a Blizzard":


My real submission will be some time next week. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Finally added something "new"...

... to my Visual Breakdown site.

That is all.

EDIT: Okay, I lie. That's not all. Anyone dropping by to see if I did an Illustration Friday drawing today will need to scroll down to Tuesday's post since I was all kinds of 'on the ball' this week.

Also here's a zombie sketch, 'cause you look like you could use one:

Click to make bigger. You know you wanna.

I'll explain what the latest zombie stuff is all about at some point. Although the quick-and-dirty explanation is I'm trying to assemble something to submit to a book publisher at the suggestion of one of that publisher's authors and the zombies are based on the type found in his upcoming book. Not so much this one though. It was a first draft that needs major revisions.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

It's Wennnnsday!

I forgot to mention it last week, and possibly the week before, but here it is Wednesday again. Although it wasn't the 'being Wednesday' that I forgot to mention, so much as the reminder that a new episode of Derek's and my podcast is up for the listening.

As Derek says: Clicky to listen!

Justin Interviews the Game Jew

It's also quickly coming time for me to get my act together. Literally. Freak Train is on the 30th and I'm expected to "do" something. What? I have no idea. I have at best 30 seconds of something I could do, and that's if I talk slowly.

Derek feels I should assemble an act around that Weenie spam that I mentioned awhile ago, but I don't think it would work so well. You may not realize it but I blush pretty easily. And deeply. A fact that used to be somewhat hidden by my mass of facial hair. I can write about Weenie spam with no problem, but talking about it is something else. And the blush just gets worse when I know it's there.

Then again, that could be quite an act. Get up there and totally embarrass the hell out of myself to the point where my face is purple with shame and yet still be funny enough that people laugh – I hope – and they feel bad doing it because, damn! Look at me! How can you sit there and laugh at me?! My face is freakin' purple!

Okay, while typing this I developed some "ideas". Not about blushing. I'm still going to avoid that as much as possible. I think the act is going to revolve around pet names that people give to each other and their various "parts". Okay. There may be some blushing. But it still might be good. I'll work on it.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

IF: "Fortune" - early for once.

A really quick sketch/illustration for this week's Illustration Friday word, "Fortune":

Illustration Friday: "Fortune"

Like I said, really quick. I don't quite like it, but I also don't think I'll have enough time to do anything better. Drawn in Alias Sketchbook Pro.

The initial, uncolored sketch:

Illustration Friday: "Fortune"-sketch

I have a project involving drawing zombies that I hope to get to sometime this weekend. Ish. I'll post more about that later.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Monday. Again. Sigh.

A little over a week ago I had just finished reading Orson Scott Card's novel "Ender's Game"

It was a great book.

At around the same time Randall Munroe put up this comic at xkcd:

It's a great comic. But only if you've read the book. Otherwise it's "wtf?"

Still. Fun coincidence.


On an unrelated note, I shaved off all of my facial hair on Friday. After I'd finished, I wiped away the lingering foam, took a good look in the mirror and thought, "Now I remember why I grew a beard in the first place." Luckily Heather still loves me, although both of my children screamed when they saw me. Seriously. No joke. Derek says I look less scary. Less threatening. Where's the fun in that? Especially since I have a teenager to keep in line. Grow little hairs, grow!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Illustration Friday: "Green"

I decided last week that missing four Illustration Fridays in a row was enough. I would do something for the next topic no matter what. So, naturally, the next topic was a color. Oh sure, my favorite color, but nonetheless. A color. (insert "Collin sigh")

The first idea I had was a leprechaun with his back to the viewer and the headline "It's not easy peeing green", but I just didn't have the time.

Instead you get this:

Illustration Friday: "Green"

And the sketch:

Illustration Friday: "Green" sketch

I'm pretty sure I've used these "characters" for an Illustration Friday in the past, but I can't remember what the topic was. I'm betting it was color related.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Mobile library.

I'm betting everyone who stops by here are sick of seeing penis patch spam lingering at the top of the site like a bloated snitch carcass whose cement shoes slipped off, so I figured I should post something. Lacking anything funny or artistic, I guess I'll have to do something else.

So. Here it is Thursday again and for the third week in a row I don't have anything for Illustration Friday. Sorry about that. I've just been too busy to draw. Not too busy to read though.

My brother has been wanting my old Apple G4 Cube for many years now, but I held off because even though they stopped making them ONE FREAKIN' MONTH after I bought mine, I really liked it. It was small, quiet and a decent computer for the time. For the last year and a half I haven't needed it though since I bought a G5 tower. It's just been hanging out in Justin's room acting as a jukebox.

On Monday Trevor really started pushing for me to trade it to him. The first offer he presented to me was his 80 GB video iPod, an old G3 tower and a tablet (non-WACOM) that Jordyn could use in exchange for the Cube and the 3rd Generation iPod that he sold me a couple years ago. The thing is, I almost never use my iPod for listening to music and the thought of watching a movie on a tiny screen doesn't appeal to me either. So I said no thanks. Then he asked me what I wanted. I thought about it and then jokingly said, "how about your Sony Reader for just the Cube?" figuring he would never go for that. Turns out he did. He still wants my iPod – sentimental reasons: it was his first – but that wasn't part of the deal.

Am I happy with the trade? Damned straight. So you know what I'm talking about you can find out more information on the Sony Portable Reader here: SPR.

I've wanted once since last November, but I just couldn't swing it. It cost too much and it was too close to Christmas.

Now that I've had it for a few days, here's what I don't like about it:

There is, at this time, no way to connect directly to the Reader using the Apple OS so that you can do things like manage collections or purchase books from the Connect store. They say they're looking into it, but this is Sony. They've been known to lie. *ahem* 'rootkit!'

There was one program released by someone apart from Sony that looked promising, and does actually recognize the reader when you connect it to the Mac. However you can only add ebooks to the built in memory as far as I can figure out, and you can't manage any ebooks that are already there. Also the interface of that program is non-intuitive and it crashed on me twice. In time this may be fixed, Sony may offer a solution, or Apple might release their own reader. The iReader. That would be great. iPhone? iDon't-give-a-crap! Give me an iReader!
This is the first generation, so it's expensive. Not exactly my problem since I traded for it, however now that I've had time to try it out I want to buy one for Heather. Here's hoping the price drops later this year. $350 would buy quite a few paper books.
From what I've read elsewhere, the navigation is silly for listening to music. I personally don't care because I will never use it to listen to music, mostly because of the additional battery drain but also because if I really want to listen to music I'll use an MP3 player, like my iPod. Just because you're Sony doesn't mean everything you make has to play music. I have to wonder how much lower the price could have been if they had left out the ability to play MP3s.
It isn't backlit and the natural grey of the screen makes reading it in lower light levels somewhat difficult. But I also like the fact that it isn't backlit because it's more like reading a page than looking at a screen and the battery lasts a lot longer. Up to 7,500 page turns in fact, but I'll write about that in a bit.
The page turning buttons along the left side of the screen should also be on the right side so that when it's in its case you can hold it like a book and change pages naturally with your right thumb rather than having to reach across the screen or shift your left hand to the middle. Get rid of the MP3 capability, get rid of the volume buttons and add page buttons on both sides.
It has the ability to store and view pictures as well, but I haven't tried it. What's the point? It's black & white. If they develop a color version I can see using that feature, but not until then.

And here's what I like about it:

If I'm reading something and I want to change books I push a few buttons. If I'm nowhere near home I can have over a thousand books with me. There are around 140 on it now and it's only using about 50 MB of the 1 GB worth of space. Now I'm scouring the net for anything free (for now) that I can add to it.
The only time power is used is when the screen refreshes. You can leave it on the same page for an hour and it doesn't drain the battery. I've been reading every chance I get since Tuesday, I've already finished one book and I'm about a third of the way through another, and the battery bar hasn't dropped at all.
There are places like this: and this: Project Gutenberg where you can download classics and creative commons licensed books for free. Just because a book is old, doesn't mean it's not worth reading.
And there's this place: :where you can find out damned near anything about the Reader if you have the time to look.

There doesn't seem to be enough of what I like compared to what I don't like about the Reader. But really, I'm enjoying the heck out of being able to take a large library with me wherever I go. I hope there's a price drop in the near future, and I hope that other companies invest in developing their own readers. I would like to see ebooks become more common. Perhaps some day we'll have ebook files that expire after a month available for download from libraries around the world. You wouldn't have to drive to get them and you wouldn't have to return them. I know that the Reader won't eliminate my desire or need for paper books. For one thing there are still many books that can't be found in an electronic format and for another if my Reader breaks I've lost my library. So for me, paper books are here to stay. However that doesn't mean I can't supplement them with electronic versions when possible.

What do you guys think? Would you like to use a portable ebook reader, or are paper books good enough for you?

Monday, April 02, 2007

Monday mail blechs.

This post is rated 'M' for Mature. And 'MSA' for Mom Stay Away. It's all kinds of rated.

Sorry to do this, but if I have to suffer, you have to suffer.

The first email I opened this morning was this:

Thanks for the early morning porn-mail you penis patch pushing anonymous fucknut. Still, I think I can use this...

Random thoughts to follow.
I think it's meant to tell a story, almost like a comic strip.

Panel 1: "Gee honey, I would love to pull down your pants and blow you senseless, but really... what's the point?"

Panel 2: All the information you need to know to fix the situation, with a special guest appearance by the head of H.R. Giger's Alien because that's how we roll.

Panel 3: (Later...) "Wow! Where have you been all my life, oh tool of Satan?!"
One thing I wonder about this – apart from why they would picture a skinned weenie guaranteed to make any guy back away with his hands over his crotch and tears in his eyes – is do they think by adding the "Rx" to their product's name the potential customer might think it has some medicinal value and legitimacy? All I can say is adding Mc to nuggets doesn't make me think they're Scottish.
A patch. Why a patch? The only other chemical patch I can think of offhand is the smoking patch, and that's used to give up smoking. Shouldn't a penis patch make you give up penis? Just in case, whatever you do, don't let your lady wear one. To be safe don't even let her look at one.
"... will expand the erectile tissue longer and wider without any extra effort..." From flaccid, sure. A slight breeze can manage that. You don't even have to TRY. Slapping something on your best friend Bobby is bound to generate some activity. The question that isn't answered is, "Will this patch make Bobby grow bigger and wider than he's ever been before?" Since these people are in the business of lying and taking advantage of the insecure, I feel confident the answer they would give is, "Yes. Oh yes. Big as your freakin' arm. This check's good, right?"
For the record I don't name my 'bits', but Bobby seems like a good one. It conjures imagery that's hard to forget. Bobby. Think about it. Then, once you get it, try NOT thinking about it.
It would be awesome if you had to lick it to stick it. "Honey! Could you help me with this? I need you to lick me here, here and here. And here. Here again. Now over here. Stop complaining! I'm doing this for you!" But it's probably adhesive strips.
Picture this... taking it off after jogging.
How big is this patch? It can't be too big, because remember who it's for. Provided you have the real estate, can you apply more than one? What happens if you do? I can picture college kids sticking six of them on a friend who passed out drunk at the party. He wakes in the morning and his pants are shredded. He has to gather it up in his arms just to walk. "I can never play soccer again!"
That's probably way more than enough of that.

Have a great week everyone.

EDIT: By the way, I didn't mention this earlier but the black bar area that reads "Yoinks!" in the third panel... I added that. It was sent to me in all the naked ridged glory it could muster, which you can tell by her expression is quite a lot. I added the red "Why?" as well. So. Yeah.
"Boring a hole in the patient’s head creates a door through which the demons can escape, and - viola! - out goes the crazy."