Archive for December 2010

New Equipment and New Software

December 28, 2010

This Christmas brought a very unexpected but welcome change to my line-up of equipment. My wife’s parents gave us a new laptop for Christmas! It is a 17.3 HP laptop that practically has a normal keyboard, complete with a 10-key pad, which is a big plus to me. So far it has been a dream come true.

One of the greatest things about the laptop is the power it has under the hood. It has a Pentium Dual-core 2.3ghz processor in it, 4GB of RAM, and a 320GB HDD. It is officially the most powerful machine in the house. That immediately makes me say “I can work on my artwork on this thing!” However, working on any of the artwork for the comic on this machine means that I had to figure out a free way to do so, as my Creative Suite license is for Mac OS, not Windows.

Enter the Gimp. The GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a free alternative to Photoshop. Now, factory GIMP going toe to toe with Photoshop, it definitely isn’t as good. However, there are some mods out there that cater specifically to the needs of illustrators and digital painters. One mod, called “Gimp for Painters”, which was created by a Japanese user, adds what is called the Mixbrush to the toolset. This allows you to mix colors on the canvas, something that Photoshop CS4 cannot do.

Next is Gimp Paint Studio (GPS). This addon by Ramón Miranda adds a lot of custom brushes and presets to Gimp that makes it easier to jump in and start sketching and painting. One thing I have noticed is that Gimp seems to be more lightweight, which makes it somewhat faster. Also, working at tabloid size (11×17) at 300dpi seems to run a LOT smoother than it does in Photoshop. Not only does it run more smoothly, but it also renders better zoomed out. You’ll notice than in Photoshop, you will tend to get a lot of aliasing when you zoom out to arbitrary percentages. Gimp does not do this. At least not Gimp for Painters.

I haven’t done any full-on digital paintings just yet, but I have done a couple of sketches. So far I am impressed with this laptop and surprisingly impressed with Gimp. I might just have a new illustration environment! Sketches are below.

All digital sketch done in GIMP for Painters with a 2H pencil brush

All digital sketch done in GIMP for Painters with a standard round brush

Gimp for Painters

Gimp Paint Studio (Download version 1.4 on the right side of the page)

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Refinement

December 21, 2010

Creating this comic has been an amazing journey. I have realized that it takes time and work to hew a diamond out of the many rock-shaped ideas that can fill our minds.

This week, I’d like you to share your feedback on another character concept sketch. I am continuously trying to refine the costume design to some unknown point of satisfaction. There is somewhere I am trying to get the design to that I just have not reached, yet. That goes for the writing, as well. However, I must say that I LOVE the process. It has taught me that I was born to write and create stories.

With that, I’d like you to have a look at this sketch and let me know what you think. Either that or just enjoy it.

And before I forget: Have a Merry Christmas 🙂

Art SLAM!

December 14, 2010

Okay, so back to our regular scheduled Tuesday posts!

Two Saturdays ago I got to participate in Art SLAM!, an event that my business mentor, Tony Snipes of Art Lessons From God dreamed up and was able to make happen here in Greenville, SC. It was a great opportunity to break me of my fear of messing up while painting, because you don’t have time to worry about it there. You have 2 hours to do a painting based on a theme they give you right on the spot.

This is really good for a guy like me, because I usually slave over minute details and freak out because I can’t control every movement of the paint. But something broke that Saturday. Time to take that and run with it. Check out the pics after the break! (more…)

Changes on the horizon

December 12, 2010

Hi folks,

I hope you’re having a good weekend. This week was a busy week, and I owe you some artwork. Also, during my blog silence, there has been some further progress on the comic that may bring about some changes. Many of you may know that I intended to call it “The Crusader”. This summer, concern of the name was brought up was in conversation with some friends of mine. At that time said that I might have to have a different name for the comic book outside of the US. The conversation always rang in my head and the concern has never left. (more…)