Monday, March 20, 2017

Spring Equinox - 2017 (warning! very verbose and lots of photos)

Wow.

Almost five years since I began this blog/encyclopedia.  Wow.  And about 17 since I started drawing the Arcane Compass.  You'd think I would've made more headway by now ....

Excuse # 71 - I've been busy; life has thrown me a huge curve-ball; and I've been working on other things.
(And excuse #21 - I'll ramble all through out this and probably not make much sense).

Way back when, like about four decades ago, my mom introduced me to the old '66 Batman t.v. series, quickly followed by comic books.  It's totally her fault.  Giving such an impressionable youth, with an over-active imagination and the desire to create, such material.  In ways, more expensive than crack-cocaine .... I think I made my first comic book shortly there after.  A simple thing, really - just a bunch of stick figures, drawn on notebook paper (I only had a pencil to work with, so no inking) and lovingly bound with three short pieces of yard (I had to have a little help from mom).

Reflecting back on the past, I remember the days when all I had were colored pencils, ink pens and magic markers (don't think Sharpie© was around back then).  Even then, I was more of a design illustrator than not (I think that part is dad's fault) - but I remember making some pretty cool pieces - before I was introduced to painting, and years later - Photoshop.

Things have been weird the past few days.  Weird enough that I got to thinking about doing some old-style drawing again.  Kinda getting back to my roots, as it were (but not stick figures on notebook paper tho).  So, I broke out the old coloring pencils and Sharpies© -


Forgot to take a photo during the initial layout part, but here I've already inked it, and I'm putting a hex grid on the map.  Instead of doing it the smart way (which, after doing all those lines and such, you'd thought I'd taken the easy way), I decided to just use the hex pattern I already had (notice the single hex, bottom right corner?) .....


 So, after an indeterminate amount of time, I have the land mass and near-by waters hexed; some topographical lines are laid in, and I've started some coloring.


  

Here's a "distance" shot - showing the colored pencils.  No finished shot yet, I'm still doing some color shading and labeling and such - to finish up the map.  Talk about an investment of time ....
However, it'll be a "handmade" map, something that seems to be almost non-existent in the business world today.  I realize that doing a map like this is a huge investment of time.  I started a little before 11am, then next thing I know I'm looking at 3:30pm .... and I'm not even close to being finished yet.
Now, in Photoshop or Illustrator, I'm sure I would've been done with time to spare.

I guess the grip I'm trying to get to is that sometimes, technology isn't your friend.  With this map, I feel more invested in it, more like I've actually done something - instead of making a computer file, somewhere in the megabyte, or gigabyte, range.  Sometimes, the old way, the slow way, is the best.

Now on to what I was being distracted by before this distraction - a pirate ship!  A cardboard, to-scale, pirate ship! Cool, huh?



 So, yeah.  I start this a few weeks back, during the lull before the killer storm, I suppose.  It's been a rough time since Thanksgiving Eve, and my adult game is nowhere on spot - hasn't been since then.  Long story short, my mom passed away March 11, after a long medical battle.  So it might take me a little while to get all my weasels at the same rave again.

I think it's good that I'm easing back into artwork, especially touching base on how I started all those years ago.  I do intend to continue with the story of the Arcane Compass.  I just can't promise when that will be.  Don't give up hope, as there are still loads and loads of tales that I wish to share.  It's just that I have a more difficult time finding motivation, and/or time to work on my art.

So hang in there - I know I am.  And you can just bill me for the time you just used to read all this. 😈

Until next time,

Excelsior!

EDIT - right after I posted this, it hit me!  Please, no notes of condolences, no "I'm sorries," nothing of the such is necessary.  Please.  I've gone through enough of those, I'm ready to move on.  Thank you for understanding.


Sunday, January 8, 2017

A distraction .... or 12 .....

Ok, so - new year and no new page.  I'm working on them, I swear.  I'm just taking my time (again).  That and life seems to be insistent on not being agreeable all the time.


    As you can see, I'm building Stoneport in TrueSpace (yeah, yeah - I know - 4.0 is like 20 years old), and it's almost finished.  While in the current story line, this location doesn't play a big role, I still want to get it finished (as it'll play a larger role in the future of the current story line).

I found a copy of the last version of TrueSpace that was released - 7.6 - but there's a slight learning curve transitioning from 4.0 to 7.6 - so give me time.

Now, the distractions - (warning - lots of cool videos) - making gaming terrain from cardboard ....

DM Scotty
DMG Info
Wyloch's Armory
Black Magic Craft 
...among many others.


Not like I haven't been stockpiling old boxes & styrofoam for years


    So, after lots of research (see above links), I decided to try my hand at this crafting manner.  Since the outside temperature was below freezing, and since we'd had a few inches of snow, I thought I'd try some basic designs -
    In my defense, I didn't have all the resources that I needed for this - namely all the different paint colors, the water based gloss sealant, or double ply cardboard.  But I thought these basic sewer tiles turned out pretty good for a noob.  Then I guess that the idea of sewer construction grabbed onto my imagination, because what I had planned to do never surfaced.  I had planned on doing some interior pieces - tiles with wooden floors and such.  Yeah well .....
    Years ago I bought a new appliance and it had this cool piece of foam packaging.  I immediately thought "this would be a cool scene for table top gaming" and set about doing something with it.  I made it as far as mixing a cover/sealant for it from thin-set mortar, plaster, PVA glue, and painting most of the inside with it.  Then it ended up in the garage, to be stored, for years.
    Since I was outside yesterday, either bringing in firewood or shoveling the driveway, I noticed this lonely piece just hanging out in the garage.  So, my wooden floor tile project suddenly became a "Let's finish the main villain's lair in the sewers" project.
    The crushing part of this weekend was when I ran out of gluesticks for my hot glue gun.  And the roads were covered in ice.  And it was like 7° F outside *grumble, grumble*

I made it this far at least .....
    Not like I've done any table top gaming in years (with an exception here and there), nor have I DM'ed any games in quite sometime.  So it isn't like these are going to be used anytime soon, I just wanted to try my hand at building some of the awesomely cool stuff I've seen over the years.  For some reason, I have the sinking feeling that I've acquired another new hobby ...... *le sigh*

  So here are the excuses as to why I haven't posted a new page in a little while.  Now, if you'll excuse me, I must be off to try and requisition more crafting supplies (ie, hot glue gun sticks).

Until next time,

Excelsior!









Sunday, November 20, 2016

A Journey Transition

A new page here.

A kinda-like Indiana Jones traveling transition.  Complete with an allusion to a future character (?).  The heroes are traveling (as fast as they can) across the Kêl’torï highlands.  Needless to say, boredom is a factor any time extensive travel is required.


Fairly simple page - most difficult part was resizing the map and adjusting the scale for the panel.  Everything else went pretty quick.  And notice - no accent word bubbles this time.


Until next time,

Excelsior!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

..And it's anti-climatic

A fresh new page here.

A tense moment with some of the mildly xenophobic natives, which is saved by another round of ale from the bar.

Still haven't dreamed up a new way to do accents.  The different coloring is nicer than changing fonts, or murdering easy to read text.  Oh well, something may come to mind on of these nights.  Over at, rather pleased with this connecting page - but I did get lazy and only did minimal shadowing and such.  Meh ...



Until next time,

Excelsior!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Our tavern tale continues

A fresh new page is here.

Our heroes encounter the more pragmatic side of the Kël’töri culture here.  Or perhaps it's just a jealous patrol officer trying to intimidate the stranger hitting on his crush. Either way, it could turn out rather messy for our heroes ...

Still playing around with the foreign accents and languages format.  Not entirely sure I like the way this one played out.  I think I may have to go back to the drawing board, as it were, and tinker around with some other ideas.  Any suggestions, ideas, or comments, please leave them below.


Until next time,

Excelsior!

Monday, August 29, 2016

How time flies

Or not.  A new comic you say?

About friggin' time.  Or rather, past time.  Motivation - who developed this elusive idea, what?

Now, on to our heroes and their story -
Our heroes pick up where we left off from the Daystar Bridge (after the ominous little cut-scene) and their arrival at Faerie's Crossing.  The story gets started with their experiences in the Kel'tori Highlands, and the slightly insular culture there-in.  Will the heroes speed along on their time sensitive mission?  Will they arrive in the Frostland village of Norrvik with the crucial medicine in time?

As for updates, I will admit that I have worked on all I rambled about last time, I just haven't quite finished them all .  Yet.  But, the good news is, I'm about three pages ahead in the story line, so unless something drastic happens within the next month, there will be new pages to read every week.

EDIT: I remember one thing I was wanting to discuss/relate to you avid reader - that of accents in speech bubbles.  Decades ago when I first started the whole small press comic book endeavor, I want to portray accents with different fonts.  Great idea in theory, horrible idea in execution.  Having different characters speaking in different fonts made for difficult reading.
So that idea was scrapped.
Over the years, I've read quite a few comics where either the creator or the letterer tried to capture the accents phonetically.  As above, a great idea in theory.  But having to try and translate what the character is saying, difficult at best.
From these attempts (both mine and other creator's) I've learned that reading flow is much better than trying to be impressively fancy.  Then some time earlier this year (or maybe last year - time is so difficult to quantify it seems) I came across a genius that solved this problem!
Ever though I can't find the article that discussed this new method for simplifying accents and different languages, I thought it ingenious!  I found it here, in this article, from Blambot's facebook page.


(this section is from the bottom of the article)
Because of this, I'm going to play around a bit with the different accents and languages.  This is where the green outline plays into the bar wench's speech balloons.  I do encourage discussion about this, and any helpful or insightful ideas are more than welcome.

Until next time,

Excelsior!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Off to a slow 2016 ....

A new page, finally ..... here.

A little tardy for the new year, but here we change locations for a cut scene.  A little bad guy time never hurts the story's development, right?  Wonder what the "geodesic expansion algorithms" are?  Or, more importantly, when will they show up in the story again?  And what is that glowing cube?

Perhaps laying the ground work for future expositions ... or, maybe, some plot threads?

Having a slow start to the new year, but hopefully this year will see the completion of this current story arc, and a lot of updates on the web site.  I plan on greatly expanding the Cartography and Encyclopedia sections, and hoping to upload more content to my deviant art page.  I guess we'll just see how motivated I am for the rest of this year.

Until next time,

Excelsior!