Thursday, December 29, 2011

A year's worth of reading

So at the beginning of 2011 I decided to keep track of the books I've read. I've never kept a list before, so it was quite surprising to see how many books I managed to fit in the year. With a total of 27, that amounts to 2.25 books a month, not too shabby. I think towards the end I was reading a little faster than that average, since I was finishing the Dresden Files. Those books consumed me, I think I read the last two books in the series in one week alone!

Here's the list, it's not actually in order of when I read them, I grouped them by author mostly.

F Scott Fitzgerald - Great Gatsby
Cherie Priest - Boneshaker
Cherie Priest - Clementine
Cherie Priest - Dreadnought
HP Lovecraft - Herbert West, Re-Animator
Tim Powers - On Stranger Tides
Sethe Grahame-Smithe - Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Sara Gruen - Water For Elephants
Jim Butcher - Dresden Files - Summer Knight
Jim Butcher - Dresden Files - Blood Rites
Jim Butcher - Dresden Files - Death Masks
Jim Butcher - Dresden Files - Dead Beat
Jim Butcher - Dresden Files - Proven Guilty
Jim Butcher - Dresden Files - White Knight
Jim Butcher - Dresden Files - Small Favor
Jim Butcher - Dresden Files - Turn Coat
Jim Butcher - Dresden Files - Changes
Jim Butcher - Dresden Files - Ghost Story
Jim Butcher - Dresden Files - Side Jobs
Fritz Leiber - Swords Against Deviltry
Robert E Howard - The Savage Tales of Solomon Kane
How to Build a Better Blog
Robert E Howard - The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian
HG Wells - The Time Machine
Richard Matheson - Hell House
Richard Matheson - Stir of Echoes
Richard Matheson - What Dreams May Come

Now some of these books, I've actually read before. I've read Conan, Solomon Kane, Time Machine, and The Great Gatsby years ago. But like any great movie, a good book is worth reading again as well!
Now that you have an idea of my taste, I'd love to hear some recommendations for my reading list for 2012!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Venom Painting

Finished this acrylic painting today. It was a commissioned project, and I'm glad to be done after a month. I'm ready to move on to other work. We did 25% up front fee with my rough sketches as a guide, and 75% upon completion. I usually do 50/50, but I knew her, and I only needed enough money up front for a few new paints and a canvas.  
Note to new artists doing commissions: Always factor in your need for new tools and equipment on top of your estimated hours of work on the project, multiplied by your worth per hour.
  • For example: ( Estimated 8 hours of work x $20 per hour rate ) + $20 canvas + $20 new tubes of paint = $200

Acrylic on canvas, 16"x20"

Monday, September 5, 2011

24 Hour Comics Day Challenge!

It's that time of year again! The 24 Hour Comic Challenge is fast approaching - this international event, now in it's 8th year, will be held October 1st - 2nd, 2011.

The Challenge is simple; you have 24 hours to create a 24 page comic - this means writing, drawing, lettering, all in one 24 hour period. This is the 5th year that the Challenge has been hosted in Spokane, and this time there will be two locations available for local participants.

The Comicsmiths' Guild will be hosting the Challenge, in a location that should be very convenient for those in the Spokane Valley area or coming from across the border in Idaho. You can RSVP at the Facebook event page: 24 Hour Challenge - Spokane Valley

The Valley Challenge will run from 8 am Saturday to 8 am Sunday, and will be held at:
Otis Orchard Community Church (Annex Bldg.)
23304 E Wellesley, Otis Orchards, WA 99027

Guild members will be in attendance, and there will be additional activities for attendees - we'll have updates on activities as more information becomes available. This is a kid-friendly, all-ages, event and all are welcome!

If you'd like to find more information about the Challenge, and 24 Hour Comics in general, please see the official website: 24 Hour Comics Day

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Pixel Paintings

I get a lot of recognition for my pixel paintings. I paint all of these on hard masonite board, it makes the surface a little easier to work with since it's hard and perfectly flat. I use M Graham acrylics for all my paintings, they are very viscous and full of pigment, making strong marks on the board.

They take a lot of effort, I have to rule out squares across the masonite, then start marking out squares from a printed reference sprite image. I need to mix colors to get an proximate match to the original sprite. Then the pixels are painted with fine brushes to keep crisp squares. I take a lot of time and effort into these projects, and that's why I think they stand out from the others who have attempted pixel painting. I've seen people who use poor quality paint, I've seen people not paint with precision, I've seen people who rush the painting. Pixel paintings above all are not jobs that can be rushed, they are too intricate.

So far, I've done five pixel paintings, and I have one in the works. Out of the five complete, I've sold two. The largest painting was the Ryu Street Fighter painting, measuring at 4' x 3'. The smallest have been Boo and the One-Up Mushroom, measuring at 9" x 12". Raccoon Mario is 16"x20" and I enjoy that size best, it makes for just enough size for a decent sized sprite. I usually work with smaller sprites, as you can see from Street Fighter, those characters in that game take up a good 50% of the screen, hence why the masonite had to be so huge.

Boo, Raccoon Mario, and Thwomp are still available for sale on my Etsy shop, and I'm willing to do commissions of all kinds, from pixel paintings, to my standard style.

For Sale - 16"x20" - $75

Sold - 9"x12"

For Sale - 16"x20" - $75

For Sale - 9"x12" - $35

Sold - 4'x3'

I dare you to check Etsy, and see if you can find someone with comparable pixel painting work. I doubt anyone takes the time in their paintings like I do, I doubt they are as meticulous, and I'm sure the paint isn't as vibrant.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Working on an anthology

My colleagues at The Comicsmiths' Guild and I are hard at work putting together our second anthology. This year we are going with a Halloween theme! I'm super excited, I'll be doing a six page tale starring El Gran Búho. I haven't spoken much about him, mainly because I haven't had time to work on a project yet. But this anthology entry is a perfect introduction to the character!

Head shots

Early concept art

Page from a potentially upcoming mini comic

El Gran Búho(The Great Owl) is a world renowned Mexican luchador (mask wearing wrestler), who also moonlights as a monster hunting defender of justice by night. If you've ever seen classic lucha films, you'll get an idea of where this guy's inspiration comes from. If you haven't seen these films, imagine an old Universal or Hammer horror picture, starring a masked Mexican wrestler as the hero, and then add a bit of the colorful nature and silliness of the 60s Batman tv series, with just a dash of a Godzilla movie essence.

The hero is much like Santo or Blue Demon in nature, he has a strict moral code, and uses his fantastic wrestling skills to battle the forces of darkness. He never removes his mask either. I'm actually excited to do some playing with that concept, it was one of the more entertaining notions of the old lucha films. Santo would go to sleep with the mask on, eat with it on, brush his teeth, swim, etc. There would also be sequences where he would remove the mask, to reveal another mask underneath.

I'm two pages in on this six pager, due by the third week of August. If things go my way (which generally doesn't happen), I plan to be done with three pages by the 6th of August.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Mumm-ra Sketch

Decided to post some sketchbook stuff. Drew Mumm-ra today! 5"x7" bristol, pens, brush pens, and pencil.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Spokane ComiCon 2011

So Saturday May 21st, instead of being raptured away, I ended up wheeling and dealing my comics and art at the Spokane ComiCon at Spokane Community College. There were 1,300 attendees this year, a really great turn out! I sold a ton of prints, sketch cards, and original art. I was pretty happy overall! Next year I'll be running a bar from the poles, instead of cord. I didn't like how low the cord hung, it made it slightly hard to talk to tall attendees. I'm also planning on building a wall behind to hang paintings and a banner.

Here's my small collection of photos, I'll be posting more when I get a chance to steal some from others :) I didn't have much of a chance to photograph, as I was glued to my table.
This was a better pose, but we forgot flash!

This is me (left), and my buddy Amanda Robinson to the right.

My girlfriend, Veronica, to the left.
Lantern Corp!

I think I'm drawing Jasmin here

These are my buddies at The Comic Smith's Guild. I'm a member, but I sat across.

Lars Brown, of North World, sitting to the west...

Pink Lord Vader

My favorite costumes of the day, Blue Beetle and Booster Gold!

A very sweaty Beast, Mystique, and Dark Phoenix

Tuskin Raider
Apparently a team of DeLoreans were needed to stop the Rapture

My best friend, Aaron, decided to show up at the end!
 Butt Hurt Space Marine. He loaned the suit to the
owner of Merlyn's Comics and Games, then was super butt-hurt
over the owner getting attention.

Why do we wonder about Wonder Woman? Because we think she is a Wonder Man...

The Gotham Sirens

 Matt Nelson of the Comic Smiths' Guild

 Scarecrow, apparently throwing gang signs he learned in prison.

Spokane Ghostbusters
Is that Princes Leia underneath?

I did a doodle of Bruce Lee, munny style!

I also did a munny style Iron Fist
Jasmin, my favorite of the Disney princesses.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Your Brain on Latino Comics

So, recently I found out about two things:
1) Your Brain on Latino Comics by Frederick Luis Aldama
2) Latino Comics Expo 2011 in San Francisco, CA May 7th-8th

Your Brain on Latino Comics has sort of became my new little bible. It's packed full of info regarding traditional comics and comic strips regarding the Latino community. It's so funny to be flipping through this book as well, and to have spoken to so many of these creators online. I'm in love with this book, and I think it's well worth checking out!

341 pages! ISBN: 978-0-292-71973-6

Then we have the Latino Comics Expo. This happened over Mothers' Day weekend. Sadly I don't live near SF, so I wasn't able to attend. But now that it is on my radar (This was actually the first year for the event), I will have to keep it in mind for the future. So many people attending that I'd love to meet, it really sounded like the place to be for me. Not sure if they are giving out booths like a typical con, but it's also something I'd like to get involved with too.

Speaking of cons, I'll be at the Spokane ComiCon 2011, which will start at 10am at Spokane Falls Community College. I've been getting everything ready. This will be my third year at this convention, and each year my booth gets more elaborate, and I get just a little more prepared. I hope to see some of you this Saturday!

Preparing for Spokane ComiCon

So today I'm packing whatever I can in some tubs, and double checking everything for the con. It's a real stress, but it's also so much fun. I'm pretty proud this year because I'll have a really nice display for my art, I'll have my ipad for art references, plus I'll be using my iPad with the Square App to accept major credit cards. This will probably be the most professional my booth will look yet!

I'm also beating myself up over not finishing The Heidegger Experiment mini comic. I'll just have to suck it up and finish that and more next time. Every year I'm learning more, and expanding more. It's really great.

One last note, I also made sure to pack something I think every artist with a booth should have:  a dispenser of hand sanitizer. Have it available for attendees, and use it yourself. I shake a lot of people's hands, touch people's belongings, they touch my stuff, etc.

Yo Gabba Gabba print designs

I just finished these up to display at the Spokane ComiCon this Saturday. I'm pretty stoked about them, they were fun to make!

My girlfriend's nephew loves this show, and it's not hard to see why. It's creative, it's silly, it makes you laugh and dance. I'm glad not everything for kids these days is either junk flash style animations or Sponge Bob.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Kettle Brand TIAS

I just saw at my local Yokes Fresh Market that there is a new brand of Kettle chips called Tias:

I'm curious, are these chips made from real or artificial tías? Where are they getting their tías? It looks like their headquarters are located in Salem, Oregon; perhaps I should check Salem local papers for an unusually high report of missing tías?

All joking aside, I really think their marketing and branding team dropped the ball on this one. Nobody who speaks Spanish wants to eat an aunt flavored chip...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Frankenstein's Monster

Just finished this Frankenstein painting. 18"x24" acrylic on canvas.

It's also for sale on Etsy: Stay tuned for a Bride of Frankenstein!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Monday, March 14, 2011

Two Color Stencil Design

Did a two color stencil design tutorial at deviantArt last week. Here's the link:

I hope this helps some people out, it's a simple and effective way to make your own shirts with cheap products so you don't have to invest much into one or two designs.

Sorry I haven't been updating as much as I should. I've been posting work at my deviantArt account, just not as regularly here. I also still need to revamp my website, it's annoying.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Pages for iPad

So, I'm glad I bought a word processing app for my iPad. Unfortunately I've run into problems. I'm trying to write some papers in Spanish, and even though I switched virtual keyboards to Spanish, it seems Pages has it's own dictionary. My entire page is in red, and it continually tries to auto correct words. It's a headache. Does anyone know how to change languages in Pages? Any help would be great!

Friday, January 14, 2011

iPad Sketcbook Pro tutorial coming soon!

So yesterday I broke down and bought a webcam off eBay. I've decided to make a tutorial of what I can do, maybe it will help others out. I'll be posting here and on twitter, so check for it in a week.

Okay, and as far as illustrations, I swear things just snowball with me. Ultron went from a simple sketch, and now I have redrawn it as a vector and now I'm coloring it... Crazy. Here's a side by side:

To the left is the original illustration, colored in Sketchbook Pro on iPad, and the right is the vector illustration thus far. Only flats here, but I'm already 30% done shading Ultron. I'll probably be done tonight and share once again.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

More on Stylus, iPad, and Sketchbook Pro

So, has anyone else used the iPad for making art? I am, and I'm having a great time.

I've been using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro for my iPad, and it's really great. A lot like Photoshop, with layers, brushes, smear, plus you can do mirror drawing where it reverses everything you draw onto the opposite side of the canvas. This is really great for making front facing faces with ease.
The only features I am really wanting to see are layer masks and magic wand. Yesterday, when I was coloring an illustration, I had to color all my flats, then go back with an eraser to keep everything within the lines. A little bit of a pain, but it's really easy to clean up with a precise stylus and a lot of zooming in and out.
I am also using an iFaraday stylus, the tip is very soft so you can glide the stylus across the screen without sudden stops like many rubber tipped styli. I just saw that iFaraday now has an artist pack of styli that have different shaped tips. I might buy this in the future. From a review I saw on Youtube, the iFaraday stylus is much more precise than the Pogo stylus.

I've also tried Adobe Ideas. It's very cool because it turns all your marks into smooth vector strokes. Unfortunately, Adobe wants you to pay $4.99 for multiple layers on your project. No thanks!

I've also heard of Brushes, which is supposed to be really great, but I haven't bought the app yet.

At the college, I printed off some of the Sketchbook Pro manual for reference. This is really great, because most of my knowledge was learned via a short Youtube tutorial. I highly recommend checking out the manual, there are so many things I'm learning in it that I didn't quite know how to use.

Currently, I wish Autodesk Sketchbook Pro had two features: magic wand and layer masks. I would like to isolate a selection, then color within that, but without a magic wand or layer mask, that makes it a bit of work.

I'm still uncomfortable "sketching" on the iPad. I'm unsure why, maybe I just like the feel of pencils and pens in my hand. Maybe it's something I just have to train myself with. I'd like to draw right on it, then color like this guy on Youtube. For my last project, the Ultron:

This was originally a hand drawn illustration that I penciled, inked, then scanned onto my computer. From there I imported it into Sketchbook Pro and started coloring.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Ultron colored in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro on iPad

This is my first attempt at doing anything real on my new iPad. I colored this during my breaks at work today, about 40 minutes worth of work. I drew this Ultron sketch yesterday and scanned it in, then uploaded it to iPad where I used Autodesk Sketchbook Pro on the iPad to color.

I used an iFaraday stylus to draw with, I find it more accurate than my fingers. I heard in a Youtube video about Sketchbook Pro that the iFaraday is much better than other stylus that works for iPad. Autodesk Sketchbook pro is essentially a super light Photoshop. I can do layers with minimal blending modes, and several different kinds of brushes.

When I did this, it was originally just to play around with. I uploaded a low-res image of Ultron, and when I started getting into it, I was too involved to stop. I wanted to redraw him with better line art and on a higher resolution, but oh well. Next time I'll have to try working with a 150 or 300 dpi illustration and see how it handles it.

Is anyone else drawing on their iPad on DeviantArt? I haven't really sought it out yet, I hope so, I'm just going by my intuition from previous use with other graphics programs, so I'm kind of guessing how to do things. Maybe I should read a manual too, but that's the irrational man in me lol.

Does anyone want a tutorial in Sketchbook Pro for iPad? Does anyone think there is a better app than this for digitally illustrating on the iPad?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Still alive :)

Hey there! I'm still alive! It's been a busy winter, and I've got a lot going on!

First, let's pimp The Comic Smiths' Guild Anthology!

I've been madly at work since this summer, putting together this 40 page anthology with the Comic Smiths' Guild. Basically I was editor-in-chief on the project, plus I'm the third story in. It's a tale from Solar Flares. Click the comic to head to Indy Planet, and buy a copy, only $2.99! That's a deal compared to current 22-paged comics on the comic racks that cost $4!

and now, how about a sketch?

It's my interpretation of Ultron if he were in the Megaman Universe!

Okay, how about some more news? I might be attending RadCon in the Tri-Cities, Washington. Two hours away from my home, Spokane, WA. It will be February 18th-20th. I'm hoping to do some meet-n-greets and spread the word on the guild, as well as sell some paintings. Speaking of that, I sold the Super Mario 1-Up painting on Etsy!

Lastly, I got an iPad for Christmas! It's pretty slick, and I'm hoping to get some productivity out of it. I have Photoshop Express, and AutoDesk Sketchbook Pro for it right now, and I'm thinking about checking out Brushes. I'm also on the market for a word processing/Power Point app, not sure what to get yet. Currently, the majority of my iPad usage has been email, internet, and games... LOTS of games... specifically Nova 2. If you don't know it, it's essentially a really amazing Halo clone for iPad. Since I'm in college, I really would like to use this for school purposes as well. I've been toying with the idea of making a "How I use my iPad" blog, where I talk about what I want to do with the iPad, what software I've tried, accessories I like, and how I use them. For those who have interests similar to me, this might be a good resource. My major interests in conjunction with the iPad will be movies, Spanish, art, comics, word processing, college, and a little gaming.

Well, that's about it, I'll be updating more frequently, I promise.