Monday, January 30, 2006

New Project

This is a skateboard deck. I'm going to paint something on it. I have no idea what, though!

My friends Christian and Danielle have an art gallery in the Valley, and Christian has asked me to do a piece on the skateboard for a show coming up in March with the theme "Self-Propelled." Right off the bat the only ideas that occur to me are some kind of pretty girl with wings or rocket engines or something like that, or possibly paint several dozen hamsters, belly view, on the bottom so it looks like they are propelling the board with their little feet.

I think I should brainstorm a bit more, huh?

I need to go to the hardware store and get some steel wool and sandpaper and a few other things to prep the board and put on finish when I'm done. I'm gonna lay down primer, then a base coat, and then paint on the base with acrylics, maybe a bit of airbrush, then seal that, then put a hard polished polyurethane finish over that. Should look pretty nice, as long as I come up with something cool to paint.

Some nice words from friends about the comic. This week's will be up on time. I haven't written next week's yet, so I better get to it!

In hindsight, I should probably have done an actual comic of R. and J. telling me that I should do the comic as the first strip, so that I didn't have to explain all that, eh? Well, I'll do that one later as a "#0" strip, like all those fancy Image comics from the '90s. Many of which are collecting dust in my closet. No no, I bagged and boarded them, and they're in short boxes! The boxes are collecting dust, not the comics! Sheesh!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Comic is Up!

And so here it is, Just a Bit Off... , my new weekly webcomic. It's based on things in my life, mostly, but all of it is tweaked, exaggerated, modified, and mutilated, so even though actual people have "avatars" in it and various events actually happened (more or less), don't expect historical accuracy or that anything the characters do or say is in any way related to the folks on whom they're based.

The first 6 strips or so are all setup, as it explains below the comic, because the 30-odd strips I wrote that made me decide to really do this are based on much more recent happenings and they jump around a lot, so they would be very confusing to just jump into.

See, quite a while back, R. Stevens and J. Ro. both told me I ought to do some kind of autobio strip based on my wacky adventures as a hair-band rocker back in the 80s and 90s, and since these guys are people I consider true masters of the webcomic arts, I took that very seriously. However, at the time they were telling me this, I was hitting the bottom emotionally and financially, and so I just wasn't able to do anything about it... the crisis of 6 years ago was just too much to even think about anything other than just digging out. It's been sitting in the back of my mind ever since.

I started doing the comics very spontaneously one day at my old job, starting from an IM conversation that I was having with my friend .sara. I did the first one, and then suddenly a whole bunch more just rolled out of my head, about 6 in that one day, and then a bunch more over the next few weeks. I showed them to .sara and most of my other cow-orkers, and they all laughed, so I said HMMM, maybe there's something here. I sent them to a couple of comics buddies of mine for their opinions, and they also liked it, so... well enough about all that. It's up and it will be updating every Thursday.

Because I just never could get the hang of Thursdays... Oh, and there will indeed be bits of wacky hair band adventures. Oh yes. Be afraid. ;)

Anyway, big thanks to R. and J. for encouragement, even though the fruits are somewhat belated.

Monday, January 23, 2006

More Progress

I was able to write and draw a second strip for the webcomic yesterday, but I didn't get any time to work on the site design. The comic will still go live this Thursday, but you'll have to forgive the way the rest of its infrastructure looks. I probably won't get a chance to get my CGIs working until maybe this weekend, so I'll just have to do it all the hard way...

Though I have something like 30 strips written (as I've said here before), I feel the need to do some setup strips to quickly describe the circumstances leading up to the "present day," where I'll start jumping around all over the place. This will probably take another 6 or 7 strips after these first two, which I'm sort of writing on the fly. If I just start in with the rest of the strips, you won't know what's going on at all.

We're doing some crunch time here at work this week because we have big milestones due on Friday, so I gotta get back to it. More tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Another week, not so much art

It's been a busy 7 days for me, and unfortunately I haven't done much art except for work stuff. I did finish inking the first comic last Thursday, but I still have a lot of web infrastructure work to do in order to get it up and running on the site. I haven't even finished just the basic template page for the comic; I'm actually having some difficulty deciding whether I want to do it using the same setup we used for Mystic For Hire, which is a CGI-based auto-updating and generating scheme, or whether I should use Blogger like JeffR does for Overcompensating, which seems like a very cool way to do a comic, providing I can get the template right. It might even be quicker to do it that way, although looking at the source code for Blogger templates is pretty daunting.

I'm definitely going to go with a layout scheme similar to R's, with a header at top, then comic taking the full width, and then other info underneath that. The Blogger-style thing appeals to me because it would make it very easy for me to add comments about each comic right below it as JeffR does, which would be more difficult the other way, requiring a separate text file include or something even fancier like a full-on MySQL database.

I guess I should just suck it up and just put something up, it doesn't have to be fully functional, really. If I have to do the first few updates by hand I can deal with that.

This weekend is my monthly Me Weekend, where I take the entire weekend for myself from Friday End-Of-Work through Monday Alarm-Goes-Off. I do this basically so I can have a good 48 hours or more of uninterrupted creative time (with attendant excellent sleeping conditions), to try to be as productive as possible... it's part of the big Balancing Act that I have to do between work, relationship, and my "hobbies," and it's really important to me. I haven't had one of these Me Weekends since November, because December had no free weekends, so I'm really looking forward to this one. I'll be working on the comic and also recording the first music for this year's new CD (see the musicblog for details).

Therefore, I will get something done for the comic, and it will start up next Thursday, January 26th. OK then!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Some Progress

Last night I finally started working on the art for the new webcomic, yay! Other than making the time to actually work on it, I had some trouble trying to come up with a good "first comic," something to start the thing off properly. Though I now have something like 30 episodes written (which is a bit amazing to me), they're all "in medias res," as my English teacher Mr. Hooper used to say, which means "in the middle of things" - they all kind of happen with some context around them that probably could use a bit of pre-explanation, and probably introduction of a few of the characters. It's often good to start the audience in the thick of the "action," and I will be doing quite a bit of that, but I think for my silly webcomic a few lead-ins are probably a good idea.

So last night I racked my brain a bit and came up with 4 panels about some of the events that led to me leaving New Jersey... good lord, that was almost 8 years ago now. Yikes. Time flies... Anyway, it seemed a fitting start, since the original theme of the comic was me as the east coaster moving to California and seeing the differences while hilarity ensues.

I'm doing this webcomic on actual paper with actual pen and ink, which I will scan in for web looking-at. I'm doing this because it's still fun for me to draw with the ancient tools of my trade. However, I forgot how long it takes to hand-letter and draw the word balloons, which is what I spent about 2 hours doing last night. That's too long, but I'll get faster. I need to get some new Speedball lettering nibs and get all my Rapido pens clean and working

Also, I'm doing it on paper because I want to be able to sell the originals, similar to how Jon over at Goats makes his available. So if you really, really like any of them, you'll be able to buy them, and for cheap too - $20 each to start.

OK, much work to do, gotta go...

Oh, also, the mighty R. Stevens has a new pixel sketch blog. You should go there!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Finally, some actual art

I had a few minutes to goof off today, so here is a doodle of my girlfriend walking her dog. :)