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Posts tagged as “Artworks”

BLitz Comics 24 Hour Comic Boot Camp @ Kaleid

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blitz comics boot camp september 23 2011 at kaleid gallery in san jose Nathan Vargas and myself are facilitating a 24 Hour Comic Boot Camp at Kaleid Gallery in downtown San Jose tomorrow, September 24 from 7pm to 11pm. For those that don't know, 24 Hour Comics Day is a challenge held each year to create a 24 page comic from scratch in 24 Hours. Nathan and I have tried this five times between the two of us, and we've been discussing techniques to succeed over the last year. Then a drunk guy manning a comics booth at the Sub Zero festival overheard us saying that and said we should put on a tutorial. And since we have a policy of always following the advice of random drunk guys when it sounds like they are serving as a hotline for God, we said OK! The Birth of Blitz Comics Our work has produced a pretty nice 24 Hour Comics Day Survival Kit which is now getting distributed to a lot of 24 Hour Comics venues. And it's free under a Creative Commons license! So you can download it and use it on your own. But we're going one step further and providing a "Boot Camp" where we'll help participants create a 2 page comic, involving discussions of comic theory and 2 hours of drawing exercises. So please show up and enjoy ... or at least check out Blitz Comics and our survival kit if you want to survive 24 Hour Comics Day. -the Centaur

Dakota Frost Reloaded

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revised version of dakotas composited

Dakota Frost in the ink, if not the flesh. Changes include a new face, facial tattoos fixed, left hand enlarged.

-the Centaur
P.S. And have I mentioned I really love my little "imagelink" program that automatically formats HTML inserts for images just the way I like them? Latest tweak is to copy it to ~/bin/ so I can run it anywhere I'm working at the command prompt.

Not being very nice …

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... even to myself:

tell me about your blog

But sometimes it is necessary.
-the Centaur

Dakota Frost

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That's Dakota Frost, in the flesh, penciled and inked by me, based on my own sketches, internet references for the Mohawk and tattoos, and the body of my lovely wife, who was kind enough to model for me.

I had to do some promotional flyers for Frost Moon, have talked to the publisher about a frontispiece; this may be it.

-the Centaur

Recreating Artistic Accidents

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Often when creating graphic designs I pounce on creative accidents. I start with an idea in mind of what I want to create, but as I do so I naturally play around with ideas and variations, creating accidental combinations that often look much better than my original intentions.

The Library of Dresan logo is an example of this: as I recall, I played around with larger logos in varying degrees of transparency and shading but didn't like them. I then made a smaller, shrunken copy of the logo, intending to delete the original once I had the little one positioned. However, I found I liked the small logo superimposed on the larger one so much it became the basis of the logo design you see above. The left-to-right fade is another happy accident I capitalized on - I was trying for a flat fade and hit the wrong setting.

When I was satisfied with this logo and look I then made specialized logos for various areas of the site - most of which you never see because they're off in obscure corners like Research. To make the name of each area stand out, I swapped my name onto the top and the area description to the bottom, requiring the change in the font size you see below in the Research logo. In some respects I liked this logo even better than the original Library logo, but didn't use it on my main site because I thought it made my name too prominent.

But recently as I was redesigning the site I was playing around with a prototype that was in the Research space, and looking at the logo I decided to take the recommendations of all those people who have suggested putting your name prominently on your own site (I know, duh, I shouldn't have needed Jacob Nielsen and Ayn Rand to tell me that, but at least now I've come around). But I had a problem: I no longer had the original source file from which I generated these logos.

Actually, that's not quite true. At first all I thought I had were the finished image files, which had glows which made them hard to edit in Painter or Photoshop. But eventually I dug around and found the original Xara files. But that was a problem: Xara doesn't work on the Mac, unless you're willing to compile it yourself.

So I tried Xara on my Windows Vista partition, and then found I didn't have the fonts I needed - in particular, Caeldera and Papyrus. Oddly, these fonts which I use so much were not embedded in my huge font library I've built up over the years - apparently they were put on some earlier system as part of a program which I didn't install on my Boot Camp Vista partition.

I struggled with the Xara files on Windows Vista for a while, then eventually decided to recreate the logo on the Mac in Corel Painter XI, a program I love but which is no more a vector graphics program than Xara is a natural media program. My results were mixed, as you can see below:

The Mac version of Papyrus had different sized capital letters, making the logo come out the wrong size. Worse, Painter had fewer options for playing with transparencies and glows, making it harder to experiment with the glow around the letters to get it right - causing the background to be too saturated and the black text to come out too blocky. Even worse still, I did this logo on my laptop, only to find out later its color balance was off.

But at home, my wife's computer has Windows Vista with the right version of Papyrus, and I was able to find a free version of Caeldera to fill in for the one in the huge font library I've built up on my primary laptop. Corel Painter is wonderful, I love Photoshop, and Adobe Illustrator is great, but for speed there's nothing like Xara. In less than thirty minutes I had essentially recreated the Research logo and saved it in a happy vector form that I can easily modify in the future. It isn't perfectly what I want, but it is easily modifiable; and so in mere minutes I modified it to serve as a new logo for the site, which you can see below:

The moral of the story? Taking advantage of happy accidents is great ... but make sure you write down the steps that got you there and capture all your dependencies, or recreating your accident later may make you rather sad.

-the Centaur

A Fail Full of Win

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So I just spent the last 24 hours, give or take, doing a 24 Hour Comics Day, an attempt to do a 24 page comic from blank to finished page in 24 hours. I, my buddy Nate, and his buddy Jon started work at 10 on Saturday and worked towards 10 on Sunday (well, actually, Jon started at 6 and worked towards 6 because he keeps different hours). Fueled entirely by pizza, diet cola, and a variety of healthy and unhealthy snacks in a continuing rotation, each of us attempted to produce our own brand new comic book, with no prior effort spent on plot, script or drawings other than thinking.

Our results: FAIL. But it was a good failure. As far as final product went, we didn't have much to show: each of us produced around two finished pages. I was just shy of finishing my second page when I quit at 9:30am, Jon finished 2 when he quit at 5, and Nathan had finished two pages and two half pages when he quit around 8:30. But the byproducts were far more impressive.

I produced a complete story, 26 complete pages of storyboards, and two pages of script for the trickiest dialogue sequences. Jon also produced a complete story, 24 pages of storyboards, and about 5 pages of script. Nathan had a complete story, but during the completion of the pages he became increasingly ruthless about his story and became convinced that he could restructure it better to tell a better story - so he perhaps learned more about his process than any of us.

What I learned about my process is that I'm getting better about taking story ideas, extracting a theme, structuring the plot around the theme, and condensing them to the right size; but I'm still inspired to tell stories much larger than my target lengths. And beyond that, I need to practice drawing: practice faces, practice bodies, practice hands, practice animals, practice everything. I was constantly looking online and in my extensive library for reference models to help me draw things that I should have learned and internalized by now. Admittedly, for the past two years I've been focused on writing, not drawing, but art is made by those who make it, not those who make excuses.

Since we're not done, we've agreed to finish the comics over the next 24 days and then have a party to share the finished comics with our friends. Technically these won't then be 24 hour comics; they're more "Comics inspired by the 24 hour comic day experience." But they will be OUR comics, they'll be finished, and we'll all have one more creative work under our belts.

Ad tractus!
-the Centaur

Fanu Fiku is Back Up

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I mentioned earlier that Fanu Fiku and Dresan.Net were down and that I was recreating them. Well, Fanu Fiku is back up, though posting new comics won't resume on it until February. Dresan.Net will take a little longer to recreate ... please stay tuned.

Fanu Fiku and Dresan.Net…

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...are in the process of being recreated. Unfortunately, TopHostingSolutions has been unresponsive to my attempts to reach them, so I have switched these sites to GoDaddy, which hosts other sites run by me and my wife. Expect to see these back up in the next few days.

-the Centaur

Yes I know Fanu Fiku is down…

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... I'm working on it.  It also affects and all the other people I know using the same hosting provider.   Stay tuned.

-the Centaur

Studio Sandi Updated

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My wife's site, Studio Sandi, has just been updated with a lot of her new art and many more samples of her faux finishing work.  If you live in Atlanta, New York or California and don't like the look of your walls, give her a call.

Above is one of her latest pieces in the Gigeresque series, Petrified Coral.  After seeing it hanging in its first showing, I decided to buy it ... but Sandi gave it to me for our second anniversary.  How sweet!  Now I own two pieces in this series; the first I bought, Gigeresque itself, was also the first piece in its series, and an offhand comment by me gave it its name:

Both of these Gigeresques are hanging near my desk at the Search Engine that Starts with a G: Petrified Coral over my desk, and Gigeresque in the hall outside my office.  Nice.

-the Centaur

P.S.  Studio Sandi is generated by a Python script I wrote based on the code for Fanu Fiku, and allows Sandi to update her site with no programming - all she needs to do is organize her pictures into folders with a text file listing their names and descriptions, and the software does the rest.  Hopefully I will release this software soon.

My ACTUAL Simspons Avataur

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My apologies, that was my Simpsons "avatar". THIS is my actual Simpsons "avaTAUR":

What was I thinking? That was too good a pun to pass up...
-the Centaur

Almost Certainly Magdalene Veen

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About a year or so ago, I was doing some art practice for the next issue of fanu fiku and found, downloaded and printed a whole bunch of images of people, clothing, and events that reminded me of fanu fiku's central character, Xiao Dreamweaver.

After a few months of scribbling, one of those practice drawings finally turned out quite well in my narcissistic little eyes: a woman with goggles in an image I found off Warren Ellis' web site.

Since the original picture was off someone's personal site filled with other similar pictures, in a fit of hubris I decided to send it to the woman and/or photographer who'd put it up in case they wanted it. Unfortunately, the link was gone off Warren's site when I returned, or I no longer had the savvy or the recollection necessary to find it.

After much hunting, I have determined that this picture is almost certainly Magdalene Veen of the band Abney Park, which, as I have apparently produced fan art for them, I guess I am now obligated to go check out.

As should you all.
-the Centaur

Where oh where have my fanu gone?

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Hm... f@nu fiku is down.

But so are my hosting provider and my domain name provider for that site and at least one other site I control. So it's not just some bandwidth limit thing ....

Hmmm... more news as it happens.

Dreams too big for the sky

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f@nu fiku is here.

Right now most of the material on the site is preliminary
(and yes, I know there are broken links; they'll be fixed
after I finish giving a talk this week) but the storyline
for the first arc, Premonitions, begins on Monday.

(... and in case you're wondering why the story
story doesn't begin until next week... it's because I
wanted to get in the habit of forcing myself to finish
at least one page each week so I won't fall behind.
Currently I'm five weeks ahead. Let's see how long
that lasts.)


Fanu Fiku … aaalmost there …

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The Wizard. The Warrior. The Seer. The Saint. The Scientist. The Mystic.
And the young girl who can take them...
...anywhere she can imagine.

Fanu Fiku

Weekly. Starting October 4.

The Gallery is OPEN!

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A whole passel of my art can now be seen on the Gallery page.

Kudos to Gordon for pointing out IrfanView, which made building the gallery a breeze.

And in other news, Fanu Fiku: Premonitions starts online October 4th and will run weekly. As I get ahead/behind on Fanu Fiku, I may or may not try to get Death Wish finished in online comic form as well.

Hope yall enjoy!

Okay, OKAY, I *get* the *point*!

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SO I'm sitting in a panel atAnime Weekend Atlanta 10 listening to the always delightful Piro talk about how drawing works for him, busy taking notes while sketching faces for practice in the margins.

Then the panel ends ... and a young lady sitting next to me asks me to do a sketch, because she liked what I was drawing so much. Then someone else commented on my t-shirt. And finally, out of the blue, while I was talking to a distributor of the fanfilm "Batman vs. Joker vs. Aliens vs. Predator vs. more Aliens vs. more Predators", he asked, "So, do you have a web site, and is any of your stuff on it?"

So, OKAY, I get the point! I'll put f@nu fiku and my other art online already. The gallery is half done, hopefully to be finished by Wednesday, and the front cover of Fanu Fiku will go up on Monday.

Stay tuned...

Little Soho Midtown Street Fair

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Continuing the translation of "articles" to modern blog entries... Article 33 from March 14, 2004.

A quick note --- the community of merchants at Georgia Tech's new Technology Square at 5th and Spring Street are sponsoring a street festival. Sandi and I just returned from two days showing her art. Even though Georgia Tech is on spring break and the advertising for the fair was pulled at the last moment, we got a lot of foot traffic and Sandi sold one of her newest paintings.

The organizers of the street fair are determined to make it a success --- they want to turn 5th Street into a popular Midtown walking location on the weekends and plan to hold a street fair like this every weekend. They are actively seeking artists, musicians, vendors, and passersby to help turn this festival into a really big thing. Email rgarrison135 at aol dot com if you want to set up a table.

It runs from noonish to fiveish on Saturdays and Sundays. So check it out!