In contrast to the image in the previous post, the photo textures in this illustration were applied in Photoshop, and it took almost as long, if not longer, to do it with all the latest software. The sky and ground use textures taken from photos and the elephant uses a photo of actual elephant skin. Can anyone guess the source texture for the boom of the CRANE in this image? This image is from the elephant book and illustrates the story of a Zoo elephant that fell in a ditch and the efforts to get him back out.
My own efforts, for the next two weeks, will be focussed on last minute preparations for COMIC CON. I have about 100 copies of the elepant book left and they will all be on sale in San Diego. I will be making some prints of the illustrations from the Elephant Book just as soon as my tasty new Epson 1800 printer shows up. In the meantime, I am preparing the art and finishing off the mini comic. Apart from elephant stuff, I will be selling the new Mini comic and all the left-overs from previous years; sketchbooks, comics and so forth.
I’ve been having some trouble with my mental focus these past few weeks. This a common problem when working on my own projects but it rarely comes up when working for “the man.” I am very productive when working for for someone else but when working for myself, I guess I just don’t respect the boss.
When I need some creative Viagra, I usually just look at great artwork on the internet but that backfired on me this time. There is so much fabulous work out there that it leaves me feeling strangely inadequate! Inspiration can be a double-edged sword when it makes me want to throw out everything I’ve done.
Mind you, I am quite capable of chasing my tail without any outside distractions. My personal form of mental blockage is usually a case of having a lot of ideas and not knowing which one to use. I’ve heard this called “analysis paralysis” but I prefer the term “IDEA-rhea”. Too many ideas is as bad as none, sometimes.
Convincing myself that what I am making is even worth the effort can be a strange mental game. I’ll draw something I’m very happy with and then after a break for lunch, I come back and hate it. The reverse happens as well; I stumble upon some scribbles I did a day ago and have no idea why I threw them away. With me, that ridiculous internal chit chat can go ad infinitum… I know that all of this is a tempest in a tea cup but when the tea cup is my skull, the tempest can be exhausting none the less.
The artists who I really admire have, in addition to good drawing skills and original ideas, the ability to focus themselves and produce. Self-discipline is an invaluable quality in anyone but it really is essential for people creating things, especially when doing the creation solo…
OK, that’s enough of my whining; gotta go do some drawings. They don’t throw themselves away, you know!
After almost 7 years online, and 6 years doing this NEWS page, this is POST #200.
My first website launched in Late 2000, initially as part of the MAVERIX STUDIOS site (until I got my own domain and hosting in early 2002). This NEWS page began in August 2001 and I made the posts by hand in HTML until I discovered BLOGGER in August 2003.
The ease of the Blogger interface meant that the frequency of posts went up from one per month to roughly one per week, and the focus broadened from merely listing updates to my site, to posting general ramblings about this and that. In March 2006 I moved to WORDPRESS and I really like the flexibility and features of this platform.
Here are some stats from my administration dashboard: There are 200 POSTS and 703 VISITOR COMMENTS, the most commented post received 32 comments. A whopping 15,418 SPAM COMMENTS have been caught since I installed SPAM blocking software in March 2006. The real-comment/spam-comment imbalance is pretty intimidating…
Speaking of statistics, thanks to all of you who come by once in a while and create a HIT in my VISITOR STATS (I am ashamed to admit how obsessively I check them; it makes me strangely happy). EXTRA special thanks to those of you who occasionally take the time to post a comment and make this blogging process a dialogue instead of merely a monologue.
Having my own little outpost on the web has given me a lot of pleasure and I think that being part of a worldwide art-nerd community is a large part of the fun…
I will be making some GICLEE (which I think is French for “ink-Jet”) prints of the illustrations in the Elephant book to sell at Comic Con. It is a good excuse for me to buy a nice printer, which I have been meaning to do for some time.
There are 60 or so illustrations in the book, including those that are just wallpaper for the text to lay over, but there are maybe 10-15 contenders for prints. Some of the illustrations I was most happy with may not be the kind of picture that someone wants framed and hanging on their wall… People getting stomped and elephants getting shot at for example.
I am having a hard time picking which ones to make prints of… If any of you good people who bought the book have suggestions for illustrations you think might make nice prints, please let me know. For those of you who don’t have the book, you can see most of the pics online here.
And while I am in the market for advice, if anybody can steer me towards a good colour printer, or even give me hints on what features I should look, for then I am all ears.
Recently there were ELEPHANTS IN THE NEWS book launches in both hemispheres, North and South. Dad launched the Elephant book (plus another book he has just written) at the official book launch in my home-town in Australia. The photo here is courtesy of my Aunty Marg who was instrumental in getting the book published, as it was she who who introduced my Dad to the publisher. Without that introduction the book would have been self-published, Black and White, and a mere shadow of the beautifully printed book it eventually became. So thanks, Aunty Marg!
The Northern hemisphere “launch” took place two days later, when I sold the Elephant book to attendees of the APE convention here in San Francisco (photo by Jeff Pidgeon). By a funny quirk of fate, my neighbour-exhibitor was Ryan from ELEPHANT EATER PRESS so I made sure to stack my elephant books as far from his table as possible to prevent my stock from being eaten before I could sell it. I am happy to say that the stampede of Elephant sales made this particular APE my best yet, financially speaking. Sadly, I had no booth-buddy this year as Rhode was at a wedding. Last year he missed Wondercon to attend a wedding, so if the pattern persists, NEXT year he will miss Comic-Con because of a wedding…
It better be HIS wedding next time. I’m just sayin’…
Even though I was running the table solo, I was far from lonely. At one point on Saturday a fellow, who I had never even laid eyes on before, came up to my table earnestly chewing away at a bowl of candy. After a pause, to swallow whatever tasty treat was in the bowl, he demanded a FREE HUG. When I told him that there may be someplace at APE where he could get himself a hug, but my table certainly wasn’t the place, he went away, with a confused look on his face, still chewing on his candy. A few minutes later he gave ME something to chew on when he returned holding the official APE handbook, opened to the Exhibitors page, and pointed to the listing for our table. It said “Abismo/Nerve Bomb, events: FREE HUGS. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.” Well, this was news to me as I had not filled out the paperwork myself for this particular convention. Rhode and I take turns on that… and this year it was HIS turn.
Next year when it IS my turn I will get him back somehow for these double-punk cheeky shenanigans…. Any ideas for creative-payback? Please add comments below (The winning suggestion gets a FREE HUG).
Without a table-partner, I had to be strategic with my breaks and I didn’t have the chance to walk around and do any shopping. Thankfully, some great books were brought right to me as I sat there. Jennifer Chang and EunJu Lee were first time exhibitors at APE this year and both had made some SWEET mini-comics that I was lucky enough to get copies of. Jennifer’s book stars KITOSAN the food-obsessed little character who was in her AFTERWORKS piece, this time he is showing us how to make TEA.
Blair Kitchen hooked me up with the first two issues of his hilarious goofy-hero comic, THE POSSUM! He isn’t a parody of another hero, he is gifted with his OWN truly silly super power and the comedy comes from him making the best of it. If you like action-comedy comics then take a look at this book full of chuckles and beautifully kinetic action sequences.
My apartment is now home to a herd of elephants. They arrived from New Zealand a short time ago and they will be staying with me at least until this weekend’s A.P.E small-press comics show in San Francisco. (To see all the elephant illustrations that I’ve posted in this blog so far, go here).
It is such a relief to finally have these books in my hands. I often have bad-luck shipping stories, but this time there were an unusual number of SNAFUs, even for me. Thankfully, that is all behind me now, and the good news is that the book came out very well indeed. The publisher and designer did a very nice job on the printing and binding. It isn’t exactly like anything I’ve seen before. The end-papers are glued to the cover as in a hardbound book but the cover itself is a lighter stock than a regular hardback, so it feels like something in-between. I like the size very much. Even though I had nothing to do with choosing the dimensions myself, it is smallish, roughly the size and shape of my self-published books.
As you can see in the above photograph (all kindly taken by Rhode) the publisher has also outdone himself in the display department, making some neato little customised book-stands that feature a sculpted representation of the elephant on the cover.
I will be selling my copies here in San Francisco at roughly the same time as the official BOOK LAUNCH, which is happening in my Home Town in Australia. My Dad will be launching this book, along with another that he wrote in the time I took to illustrate this one. I am sorry not to be able to attend the book launch myself in person but I have to be here to sell MY copies. This collaboration with my Dad has brought a lot of joy to the both of us and I do believe that some of the fun in making it has been captured on the pages, so I hope that some of you may get a kick out of this book too. After raising these pachyderms, now I am hoping to find some good homes to send them to. If any of you are interested, then see me at APE this weekend, at COMIC-CON in July, or E-MAIL ME.
The book is on sale now in Australia and New Zealand, but many of the stores that were offering it online down there have already sold out. Because of the demands made on the stock, I was only able to get about half the number of books that I had intended to order, so I am not sure how long these will last.
BUY NOW to avoid disappointment!!
This pic illustrates one of MANY stories in the media involving fine artists who use elephant dung in their art, quite literally creating “shitty paintings.”