Monthly Archives: July 2012

Technology for Artists

Technology for the artist: at your fingertips

‘C’ is a letter that I can make a long list for, but I might go around again with alphabetical posting, so today I’ve chosen the subject of technology and artists.

And each geeky-artist thing will conveniently start with ‘C’.

First, I put my portfolio back online. It’s got a page at the top of this blog, but it’s hosted by a portfolio service called Crevado. It’s a sharp way to showcase your work, and it’s free for a basic account.

Now, I just have add more to it. Bit at a time…

Second ‘C’ is for Corel’s iPad app: Cinco. This app has done wonders for my ergonomically challenged workflow. I have a first-generation iPad and this app hasn’t crashed on me yet. Rare, that. Cinco syncs with Painter and allows quick Minority Report-style access to your favorite Painter tools. Cinco adds to the functionality of my (old but lovable) art tablet and keeps my hands off the (usually pain-inducing) keyboard.

Less pain = WIN. Bonus that it’s also fun.

Best way to see what Cinco does is to watch the video on Corel’s site. Right now the app is free, but they’ll eventually charge for it.

Entirely my opinions and no one paid/bribed me to review anything.

Ooh, wait. I have one last ‘C’—a wishlist entry: the Cintiq by Wacom. Interactive pen displays. Draw right on the screen. Gorgeous things. *swoon*

As I mentioned, I have an older tablet. 12″ x 12″ Intuos. Yep, the first version. This tablet has been my friend for the last decade and I’ll be crushed when it finally dies. Hopefully, it won’t; maybe not ever. But if I need a new tablet, I’ll be eyeing the Cintiq. Eyeing for sure—affording?—not so much!

If you’re an artist: what are your favorite tools when you work digitally?
What invention do you wish for?

Silly invention wish:
I’d like a desk-hologram model similar to Princess Leia’s hologram message in Star Wars, only not her but whatever figure I need for life drawing. In color, and not just human models, but everything else—from cats to dragons! Yeah.

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Filed under Art, Career, Freelance, Technology

Books and Covers

Debris Dreams - Earth and Moon cropped image.

Despite not having my art portfolio back online—that will be another post—I’m choosing to talk about book covers as I stay with my alphabetical postings.

I’m fortunate to be the cover designer of a fantastic book called Debris Dreams by David Colby, published by Candlemark & Gleam.

Debris Dreams is a realistic space-opera/military Young Adult novel about a multiracial lesbian teen living on a space station who gets drafted into a war between Lunar citizens and spacers/Earthers. She’s stranded in space, forced to join the marines, and quickly has to learn military discipline, how to kill, how to lead, and how to disobey orders when they’re about to, oh, kill everyone in horrible ways. All the while, dealing with the fact that, because of a terrorist act that started the war, she will not be able to go to Earth for at least twenty years—and therefore, may not actually see her Earther girlfriend ever. It’s thoughtful, scientifically sound, and heartbreakingly romantic.

For more: check out the site and read the sample chapter (the cover design isn’t up there yet). Download the faction logos—also designed by yours truly.

There, a little self-promotion. *nods* I’m not one to usually do that.
But, seriously… it’s a great book. Release date is November 2012.

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Filed under Art, Books, Freelance, Ideas, Science, Science Fiction, Space

Thoughts from the Other Side

Reflection into another world.

I figured an alphabetical post series would be a great way to inspire more blogging, even during times when I’m super busy—which has been the case lately.

As I begin, I realize I can choose the obvious things… that I’m American (after all, it’s the 4th of July), or that I’m an artist. I could narrow that down, talking about living in Arizona or describing my favorite abstract art.

But I’d rather blog about the things I obsess about—the weird things.

I begin with the letter A, which turns out to be a fun one:

Alternate universes/worlds.

Won’t lie. I believe in them. Well, some of the time. Depends on the science news I’m reading, the television program I’m watching, or the book I’m getting lost in. It’s a fascination I’ve had since childhood—the idea that there are other planes of existence, either right along our timeline, completely removed from it, eerily similar to our reality, or as foreign as another galaxy. You tell me your tale is about alternate reality and I’ll dive right in.

I have three novels-in-progress in Scrivener right now. Two in first draft and one only a few chapters in. They all have some form of alternate universe. My artwork, when it’s not commissioned, is often drawn from worlds similar to our own but seen through strange veils.

I’m not alone in imagining alternate places. One of my dearest friends, Natania Barron, wrote a fantastic book called Pilgrim of the Sky, which contains not just two, but eight worlds. Across these worlds are facets of the gods themselves. Our own mythology could be very much real but wrapped up elsewhere, difficult to see, but possibly within reach if your heart calls to it.

One of my favorite television programs, Fringe, has shown us a parallel universe with differences in the timeline that puts Nixon on the silver dollar and drivers in double-decker cars (although we’ve only seen those as toys, never on the streets of Manhatan—spelled differently on the other side). Here, the alternate worlds are threatening to collide.

Some popular shows have featured alternate worlds and characters season after season. Doctor Who and Star Trek have a reputation for it. Even comedies like Community have had success with the concept. Mirror—especially evil—personalities make for a great plot tool.

You can’t forget alternate places like Narnia, and where Alice goes through the looking glass. Even the Wizard of Oz was a classic alternate universe tale. Dream world? Maybe. But it was Dorothy’s mundane world that remained in black and white. Personally, I’d have stayed in Oz, even with the flying monkeys.

What if? It’s the question we love to ask.

But is there—in some other alternate now—another we asking the very same thing? Would you really want to know? I think I would.

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Filed under Creativity, Fantasy, History, Imagination, Life, Multiverse, Mythology, Science, Science Fiction, The Unknown, Time, Writing