Robot Spotlight Concept Illustration

So I decided to give myself a crash-course in using Adobe Flash and Final Cut Pro to create a video that turned out, well, not so great (the resolution stinks). But it’s my first time using those programs and I was in a hurry to actually complete something before the morning. Well, it’s almost 8 am and I’ve been up all night, so I probably spent too much time on this stuff.

In any case, Plain Joe Studios sent me on a bluesky to Gateway Church in Arizona to help create a new spatial story for their children’s ministry environment. I was there several days, and there was one night I woke up at 4am and couldn’t sleep because I had this idea for a rotating spotlight light-fixture; so I got up and created this in Procreate in several hours.

Speaking of sleeping in, I’m off to bed. I just can’t seem to get on a regular sleeping schedule…

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Clip Studio Paint is the New Photoshop … For Me

Although I illustrate almost exclusively in Photoshop, I’ve used Clip Studio Paint EX for lettering comics because it has useful tools designed for making that job so much easier. Otherwise, I haven’t really played with the program at all, even though I’ve been wanting to do so.

While up late into the night (because I’m a night-owl and can’t seem to get on a normal schedule), I decided to launch the program and check out its brushes. And honestly, while I’ll still be using Photoshop for a while, I have to say that inking and painting in CSP is so much more fun and its brushes are so much nicer and natural that Photoshop.

Here’s just a page of doodles done while playing with the program. Nothing fancy or “nice” because I was just enjoying getting a feel for the pen tool and brushes and wasn’t trying to create something to post.

Another nice thing about CSP that I think is better than Photoshop are (as I already mentioned) the tools available for creating comic books, not to mention tools for simple frame-by-frame animating. And best of all, you can render in vector without the STUPID, counter-intuitive techniques required by Adobe Illustrator, a program I (and many other artists who came from traditional media) simply loath.

As far as the many custom tools or blending options Photoshop offers for photo-editing which we artists utilize for illustrating, I don’t know how many such tools CSP has yet. Maybe not as many (for now). However, the advantages it has over Photoshop is still pretty impressive.

So while I won’t be switching to this program just yet, I plan to learn it and keep it as a backup program when/if my OS X no longer supports CS6 (I haven’t updated my iMac OS in years because their updates tend to take things away or mess things up. Gone are the days when I was actually excited about an Apple OS update and was willing to pay for it. Now I don’t even want it for free). The thing is, I suspect that day will eventually come, and I refuse to allow Adobe to extort a monthly tribute from me rather than sell me a copy of Photoshop, so I’ll be looking for a new program to replace Photoshop CS6 for illustrating. At first, I thought Corel Painter would be my go-to replacement program if I had to leave Photoshop behind, but now I think CSP will most likely be the software I turn to. In fact, if I can find the time to learn it, I’d like to start using it for my professional work right now, or maybe bounce between CSP and Photoshop and use the best feature of both programs.

So if you’re worried about what you’ll do when your Pre-CC copy of Photoshop is no longer supported and you want a software you can purchase and own, you may want to check out CSP.

Incidentally, Clip Studio Paint has a mobile version for the iPad, but it’s a subscription-based app, which baffles me because the only reason I’m willing to use their desktop version is because I can buy it. Hopefully they don’t do something stupid and start requiring a monthly fee for their desktop version. If they do, I’ll dump them in a heartbeat and use Corel Painter.

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My New Light-Box!!!

One of the tools that would have made things easier when I was working in traditional media (before completely digitizing my workflow with a Cintiq) is a good light-box, which would have allowed me to use any paper I like rather than relying on graphic paper or vellum to clean up my rough drawings. While I like graphic paper, it can be too thin for wet media, including ink when applied liberally with a brush.

I’ve decided recently that I’d like to get back into using traditional media, if only for my own projects which have no deadline and don’t require the efficiency of a fully digital workflow (though I do plan on utilizing the Cintiq where it still makes sense to do so). This time around I’d like to use a light-box so I can work with a thicker paper, like bristol board or even watercolor paper.

In the past, commercial light-boxes tended to be expensive for anything larger than 9×12 inches. I figured I could save money by building it myself, which, given my ineptitude at crafting and building, would have looked something like this:

And then I realized I didn’t have to use old bulb technology, given the ubiquitous availability of LED lighting. Still, my lightbox would have turned out looking like the above design, minus the giant Edison bulb perched on top. That was till too clunky.

And then I figured that if I thought of using LED technology for a light-box, and since many artists use the light from their iPad or other tablet as a light-box, then surely a company out there has started manufacturing LED light-boxes. After mentioning this to my lovely bride, she does a quick search and sends me a link for a light-box large enough for my desired use. And it’s flat to boot, which makes it perfect for laying on my drawing board without bulking things up.

Well, it arrived yesterday, so here are a few pics I thought I’d share. I didn’t place anything next to it to give you the sense of its scale, but it’s “Yuuuge” and can accommodate something like professional comic art boards (I bought this on Amazon which advertised the size as 21 x 2 x 29.8 inches, though it looks a lot thinner than 2″. Heck, it doesn’t even look like it’s an inch thick). As you can see below, it sits nice and flat on the drawing board.

The power button is one of those surface-flat, touch-sensitive power buttons on which you don’t even have to push. It’s pretty sensitive, because I’ve accidentally turned it on while reaching for the power cord near it. When it’s powered on or off, the light comes on and turns off very gradually. It’s not like flipping on a lamp.

My wife made me a cover for my Cintiq so it doesn’t collect dust while not in use, and I asked if she’d make one for this as well. She immediately dug out some fabric and made a cover to keep this clean and neat. What an awesome wife — I’M NOT WORTHY!

This thing is so flat and slim that it’s actually difficult to wrap the edges of the cover around it. That’s not a complaint. It’s actually nice that it lays so flat.

So there’s the quick reveal. Since it just arrived, I didn’t have time or an opportunity to try it out or to take a picture showing it in use. Maybe I’ll get to that in a future post if/when I do an actual review of this.

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Video: Doodling On Procreate

The cool thing about Procreate is that it can create time-elapsed videos of your sketches after the fact. I didn’t intend to create a video of the boxing sketch in the previous post, but I thought I’d generate one and post it.

While I was noodling around, my son started sketching, so you’ll probably notice that when it comes up. Also, the reason you see me start and stop so much is because I tend to noodle around on a layer, turn off the layer and begin noodling around on another layer, and so forth. So I tend to have multiple sketches on one file. I do this because I’m too lazy to create different files for nothing more than sloppy little doodles.

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London Lizard

A bit of nonsense I illustrated for no good reason…

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Comic Con 2017 Badge

So my Comic Con badge arrived in the mail today. Here’s a video of the package opening.

I’m not sure why they’re mailing it in a box when an envelope would have been more than enough room and would have probably been less expensive to ship. Maybe they’re trying to counter the ticket-price sticker-shock with a somewhat pleasant badge package.

I wonder if people are already selling the box, pin, and and ephemera on ebay. I’ll probably save mine since this is the first year they’re doing this. I suspect as ticket prices increase, the fanciness of this package will get even more, er, um, “fancy-schmancy”?

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A quick doodle…

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Ruined Art

Frames cost a lot of money, especially when you have to have a custom sized frame made for an odd-shaped painting. This is why most of my paintings remain unframed. Consequently, I’ve stored a lot of them by simply stacking them against one another.

This raises a problem with oil paintings, because for some reason they seem to retain a certain tackiness — at least mine seem to have done so. Consequently, the oil paintings I did on canvas paper, which is essentially a coated paper with a canvas texture, haven’t fared so well. One of them in particular (which I painted for our kitchen but never got around to framing) I found to be completely ruined when pulling it out recently. Parts of the painting’s surface had stuck to the boards against which it rested and pulled away from the paper stock, which ripped large chunks from the painting. So now, maybe, some day, I’ll get around to recreating this painting… But I doubt it.

Before and after images. Thankfully I took a photo of the oil painting before it was ruined.

The lesson to be learned is, carefully store your art so that this doesn’t happen to you.

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Doodling On the Run or “What To Do With That Blank Placemat”

Ever find yourself sitting in a restaurant with a blank paper placemat or a table covered in white butcher-paper while waiting for your meal to arrive? Or maybe you’ve found yourself sitting in an office waiting for an appointment or meeting while blank paper sat there asking to be filled? Who hasn’t been placed on hold on the phone while holding a pen in your hand and ended up scribbling on a post-it pad instead of cursing the automated phone system (or maybe doing both)?

Well, like most artists, a blank sheet presents an opportunity to quickly scribble whatever comes to mind. I’ve spent many a product-development meeting ignoring the conversation and doodling caricatures of the people sitting across from me, sharing them with the guy next to me just to get a laugh (who hasn’t)?

In any case, I almost always toss those scribbles, but once in a while I’ll scan them before throwing them away. I’m not sure why I scan them, but the ones I did from my old job have served to bring back a memory or two, so I’m glad I kept them.

So here are some samples of doodling on the go. These are not works of “art” or meant for public consumption. Most are sloppy and poorly executed given the time I had to scratch them out. But in case you wonder what I do with that butcher-paper covering the table before I splatter spaghetti sauce all over it, here you go…

So the image below are caricatures of folks sitting across from me at our weekly product development meetings when I worked in the studio at Cast Art Industries. None of these doodles are meant to disparage anyone. It’s just a lot of friendly goofing around. These are all great folks.

The following are pages of doodles I did on either copy-paper sitting around or a pad on which I had to write device numbers while doing some side-work for a buddy.

So what do you doodle for fun?

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Go Kids – Arrival Of The SWAG

My gal trying out the t-shirt

My gal trying out the t-shirt

A couple posts back, I shared some of Justyn Smith’s photos of some products River ValleyChurch produced based on the Go Kids artwork I created. After my wife saw all of the cool stuff, she said she’d like some of it and so I asked Justyn where we could purchase some of it. He was so kind as to ask for my address and offer to send us a box of goodies. Well, the swag arrived last week! Here’s a few pics of all the cool stuff Justyn sent us  – Thanks, Justyn!

go kids swag

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