For those of you curious about the process I go through in creating digital art, I’ve boiled it down into a two minute video showing the six basic steps I go through on most jobs.
I posted the video on YouTube and you will most definitely get into trouble there if you use music on your video without having permission from the artist to do so… but I was in a really big hurry to slap this blog post out and get back to real work, so I decided NOT to go through all the legal mumbo-jumbo to acquire song rights. I threw caution to the wind, found a song in my iTunes library and plugged it into my video. It just so happens that the song was created by my youngest son, Pete, in his basement recording studio.
I hope he doesn’t find out because I’d hate to have to get all lawyered up because of this.
The bell rang in the diner. I sat my spatula down, wiped my greasy hands on my apron and picked up the servers ticket… it was for an order of my world famous, piping hot French Flies. I filled the order, shoved it into the kitchen window and out to my customer. Later that night when I was cleaning up, I found this one last, little French Fly laying on the counter.
I just spent a great week with my Oklahoma kids helping them move into a fabulous new house. I flew out last Thursday (which was my birthday) and I killed time on the flight once again with my Surface Pro 4 tablet. This happy little redheaded birthday cat magically appeared beneath my Surface Pro Pen on the plane.
I’ve had some questions about how well the pen that comes with the tablet works. Everyone has their own unique process for creating digital artwork (so there’s not really an absolute answer that can be made) but I’ve found the pen works great for the way I personally create pictures. It comes out of the box with the HB nib (which I found perfectly acceptable) but in Denver I picked up the four pen nib set ($10.00 – cheap) and switched to the 2H nib because I have grown accustom to the slick feel of working on a Wacom Cintiq. If you prefer the “drag” of a real pencil, you can step all the way down to a B pencil lead feel. I’m very happy with this product.
We flew out to see our Denver kids last weekend. I fired up my Surface Pro 4 on the plane and painted a picture of the stewardess. JUST KIDDING… that was a JOKE… really… well, kinda… anyway… that tablet is a really legitimate option for digital painting on the go.
Several years ago I did a job for Mission Hockey and as part of the payment process I received a bunch of their latest hockey gear. For some reason my wife is not fond of this sort of compensation package (she seems to be a big fan of hard cold cash) but I loved it …and I’m STILL using those Mission hockey gloves!
I just finished another job that had a unique payout at the end. This time I got one of those new Surface Pro 4 Tablets. For years I’ve been looking for SOMETHING PORTABLE that I can digitally paint with and the Surface Pro 4 claims it can fill that bill… so I gave it a test drive to see.
Because I use an older version of Photoshop (CS6) I had to jump through a couple of hoops, but basically got it loaded onto the tablet with no problem. The Surface Pro 4 comes ready to use out of the box with a pen and screen sensitivity, so using the 8 megapixel camera on the device, I snapped a picture of a crumpled up sermon note that was in the trash can, opened it in Photoshop and got busy. To make a long story short, it worked great. (I write really short reviews) I can now sit in front of the tv with a full blown version of Photoshop on my lap and make goofy pictures with it. I’m really impressed…
…and oh, did I mention it’s also a pretty slick little gaming computer. It runs Steam games really well to boot.
Concept work is always fun. This is a project I worked on a couple of years ago… a crazy little pack of finger dog puppets.
In concept work my role is not to create finished color artwork, but to develop characters and then show them in front, side, three quarter and back views. My sketches are then used by animators and sculptors to create 3-D versions of the characters with. Below are my starting ideas for the pack of dogs, a few of the 360 degree views and some of the finished product.
I recently had the opportunity to create illustrations for the walls of a really great church down in Memphis, Tennessee. They sent me photographs that mapped out all the appropriate wall dimensions. I imported those pictures into photoshop and roughly figured out what the different components would be for each illustration. After the wall ideas were approved, I executed the finished art and sent it to the printer. The illustrations were then printed out in sections and installed to the wall. Here are a series of pictures that show the Noah wall in progress.
When I have time to kill, I will occasionally fire up the iPad and play a game or two… and my favorite kind are turn based strategy. The developers of the game I am playing right now ( HeavenStrike Rivals ) are currently running a promotion and awarding game bonus to anyone who submits fan art of one of their characters… and apparently, I’m not above doing that if it will help me in some way to win a game.
~ UPDATE ~
When I was rendering this guy, I went for a dark, grunge look, but afterwards did not think it was quite the right fit, so I knocked out a cleaner version… which is now posted below.
The air hurts my face… why do I live in a place where the air hurts my face? We Northern Indiana Hoosiers are all really looking forward to Thursday when our high temperature is supposed to reach 3… yea.
Last Saturday I hopped into my car to run up to the grocery store and as I started down my driveway through the blowing snow I noticed that my snow fence had literally been blown apart by the wind… yea.
Not to be deterred, I pulled on down my driveway and realized it was snowing and blowing so hard that I could not see anything… a white out… yea.
I figured if I drove really slow I could probably make it to the grocery store and back, so I creeped on into the neighborhood but was quickly forced to stop because I could not see anything but white. When the snow finally let up I discovered that I had driven into my neighbors front yard. I gave up on the grocery run, turned the car around and headed back home… and all I can say to the folks in my neighborhood is, hey… if you don’t like my driving, stay off the sidewalk.
I have a bandmate (Robert Johnson) who is also a historical fiction author. He is currently working on a trilogy of books based on the old Roman Empire and an actual fellow named Gnaeus Pompey Magnus… and being a bit of a history buff myself, I thought I would toss out an idea or two for Robert’s third, historically accurate book in the series.
I’m thinking maybe Magnus finally gets fed up with Roman politics, grabs a boatload of corn and heads for the Bahamas with Curiosity his pet cat… (the poor cat sadly comes to a tragic end… SPOILER ALERT!!) …and without Curiosity to guide the way, Magnus drifts aimlessly until he is HIJACKED by Blackbeard The Pirate!!! …but ESCAPES when Blackbeard’s ship pulls into Miami for the Dolphins game. Magnus stows away on a Greyhound Bus headed for Texas where he helps Davey Crocket defend the Alamo against the dreaded Nazi menace…
…and this is all historically accurate, of course (according to my Mountain Grove, Missouri public school education) and free for you to use in your next book, Robert… no charge.