30.12.09

Sketchies!


New sketch sampling from December. Notice a trend in weird animals? I'm thinking the goat and the lions are ideas for blockprints, while the portraits are oil or WC ideas. For portraits. 'Cause I haven't done enough of those.

Art Directors a-knockin?

Ye gods, querying art directors and submitting portfolio links take a long time when you sit down to do... *counting spreadsheet cells* ... 19 of them at once. Because you can't sleep. Because you drank hot cocoa too late. And you're stressed out over deadlines. As well as over cashflow.

So, you do something productive. It takes 2 hours to properly execute and doublecheck requirements and send out emails and copy down addresses. Anyway. Done! Thank tea I got the website cleaned up over this last month.

Now, during NORMAL hours, I'll do my dayjob work and then put together tearsheet packets for mail-in-requirement art departments. Maybe my spreadsheet will be all checked off before New Years? That'd rock. Then I just haveta be nervous while I awaits replieses.

Oh! And we might be getting a kitten to keep our roomie's cat company. If our friend's cat is pregnant after all. If not... might have to adopt.

20.12.09

The defilement of a respected tradition

So I got me an etsy shop, finally. It was a very long time coming, especially in these days when it seems every crafter and artisan in the universe has one. Took a few hours yesterday, when we were snowed in, and built the store:




And that's mostly what's there now: my ex libris/bookplate designs that are usable. I take on one of the bibliophile's most treasured traditions and make it as weird, freakish, or appropriate as I wish.

Or whatever strange disasters and arcane imagery YOU wish, even. Since I take custom ex libris orders as well as sell the array of personalizable designs. And of course, in the way of bookplates, any commissioned ex libris designs will never be sold to anyone besides the patron.

If you like books, or art, or both, you can't go wrong with bookplates in your library.

14.12.09

Glorying in icy grasses

Here again, after a weekend in colonial Williamsburg, VA.  Sister-in-law's graduation attended, fife-and-drum redcoat marching seen. Cold endured.

And, it's been on my (newly retouched) website and dA since just before I left, but for anyone who doesn't trawl the muck of my web presence (and serious, there's a lot of it... I understand), here's the newest painting off my drafting table. Part two in the Tailspinning series, in a different mood than the first:

23.11.09

Harlequin Romance Sucks Something Else Entirely, or why you can't pay to play.

Harlequin Romance and their publishing house have taken the short step into the worst of the vanity presses, scamming aspiring authors out of money and pretending to provide a service.

One which Lulu.com has provided on equitable terms for years, I might add.

Post over on Seanan McGuire's LJ about this travesty.

Thankfully the RWA, SFWA, and MWA have all come out against this shite with fervor.

19.11.09

Crossed Genres for YOU.

This is a great speculative fiction magazine, and it needs help. Go support Crossed Genres if you have $1.59 to spare. Preorder an anthology. Or just buy a few issues. $1.59 an issue, in pdf form.

It will be good for you. And print issues are cheap, and make great gifts for someone who needs some culture.

Blog post about CG:
http://sandykidd.livejournal.com/345174.html

Crossed Genres:
http://crossedgenres.com/

11.11.09

A: Popple / B: Not a Popple

Hey, guess what? I'm not a Popple. Our roomie's cat, on the other hand... as yet undecided.

The past few weeks have been filled with book reading, feeling sick with seasonal colds, and being sorta bleh about things. I've been doing dayjob work, and thinking a lot about this painting (read: stressed about this painting). But you saw the sketch, if you follow this blog... it's been a while since that part was done, and today was the first serious day of watercoloring after staring at a light wash for a week. In celebration of my (about time, you slacker!) diving in, I'm uploading the first photo of it in progress.

...I mean me celebrating, you can feel whatever you like about this moment.

30.10.09

Hedgehogs on Moleskines! Best gift ever.

Hey, I just realized Modofly still has a small selection of my steampunk hedgies on journals for sale! My hedgehog series, on a nice 5x8" moleskine? That's a lovely, lovely thing, trust me! I've seen them and they are astounding.

Just GO HERE AND TAKE A LOOK at the images and all the other awesome artists who're participating in Modofly's neat idea.

Available are the three images below, on a shiny, sturdy moleskiney sketchbook. So have a gander, and if you need a quick, original gift for someone... well, who doesn't like blank notebooks? I don't trust that sort.


29.10.09

Steampunk!

Squid to come soon.

I'll let you suppose what this entails. Or doesn't.

I'm sure you all are aware the Tor.com theme for October has been/is the wonders of all that iswasmightbe Steampunk. Now, this concept has been around since the late 80s (in the 1800s it was simply science fiction). But I wasn't even aware of it until 2005. In 2005, I discovered the welcoming, open-hearted, zeppelin-strewn skies of this odd little subculture/genre. Handmade craft! Dapper couture! Bizarre music! If you missed out on Tor's awesome columns and guest bloggers, and well... the event of the season, and you're interested even vaguely in this clanky, smoky mess that is Steampunkery, I'd suggest the following sites:

BrassGoggles
The Steampunk Workshop
The Clockwork Cabaret (Rather neat radio show/podcast of SP music and hilarity)
Dieselpunks
Steampunk Magazine
Make: Technology on Your Time (Steampunk and Maker culture overlap heavily)

Personally, I got into Steampunk through an odd coincidence of interests back in '05. I started looking heavily into handmade/renewable stuff like Instructables.com and at the same time, rereading Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, getting more disgusted with our cold sense of industrial design these days, and probably a slew of other catalysts I'm not remembering. The zeitgeist grabbed me hard and all these little aesthetic things that were floating around in my head coagulated like a chilled cup of pudding. Tasty, tasty aesthetic pudding.

I think I discovered BrassGoggles first, the Steampunk Workshop second, and it snowballed from there. I would guess I made my first Steampunk art in 2006 for work (greatest excuse). It was this custom dunny, given away as a prize in our local treasure hunt at Project A-kon 17 in Dallas, TX. I have since done t-shirts, art exhibits, vignettes from the Lively Adventures of Hogarth Merricule III, and of course... the 19th century outfit for my wedding last October.

In honor of the winding down of Tor's Steampunk Month, I would like to dedicate this entry to that end. In case this wasn't apparent enough already.

------------------------
Today's drastic timewaster: Twitter
Today's soundtrack: Regina Spektor & Luminescent Orchestrii
Today's projects: squid in the morning, digital graphics at night


*I keep capitalizing Steampunk because I've recently seen it used as a form of personal description, viz. "steampunk/s". So, to differentiate genre from practitioners.

27.10.09

Slide

Have you ever really and wholeheartedly loved a season so much that it competes with your sense of self?

That's how I feel about autumn.

be on twitter. peas.

26.10.09

GUD Magazine's excellent monster quiz.


"Any euchoi around here?" monster: You're the Hadez daemon from A Song, a Prayer, an Empty Space by Darja Malcolm-Clarke in Issue 3. You click mechanically, devour prayers, and you'll destroy the connection to God in anyone who gets too close.
What GUD Monster are you? Find out at GUD Magazine!
%22Any+euchoi+around+here%3F%22+monster

25.10.09

Artist of the Day Special

I have to say, I discovered the most astounding artist by the name of Koren Shadmi. Go look at the work; it blows my mindballoon. I'd seen some here and there before, but seeing it all in one place and knowing it was all the same illustrator was keen.

A friend of mine who runs an art gallery in DC linked him on Twitter, and I'm quite stoked by the images. Want. Paint.

Tomorrow: get printed copy of new sketch so transferral to watercolor paper might occur.

24.10.09

Vitriolic Words

I spent the entirety of today (meaning from noon 'til one ante meridian) working on the second out of three digital vector illustrations for a government contractor for whom I'm on retainer. Thirteen hours! Of Adobe Illustrator. Augh. The memory hogging of AI is legendary, and I can't even run it after a while. My laptop has 4GB of RAM. Four. And it still chokes up on Illustrator more than thrice a day. Bloody astounding, the heaviness of that particular aspect of Creative Suite 3.  Photoshop never does this. Acrobat, gods forbid. The few times I've had to use InDesign on my home computer, it's been fine. The only other CS program that's ever come close to this level of asshattery is Flash. WTF Adobe? AI is entirely MATH. There's not even pixel mapping.

I'm really not a pleased creature when it comes to AI, but that may be a combination of the above-stated and the fact that I'm just not as comfortable in AI as I am in any other program. I just don't think in vectors, and I have trouble conceptualizing what I need to do to achieve desired results, so I tend to wing it. Which probably takes longer than it should? I have no idea, really, since I've never sat and watched another designer or artist using it.

And in the end, 13 hours later, the files sent to my client... I'd like to start drawing. Mayhaps I will.

On the up side, I sent out a few inquiry letters to small press publishers today and yesterday! Here's finger's crossed. I need to finish the above painting to I feel comfortable about m'portfolio and then send it off to HarperCollins, Candlewick and the rest of them. I did enter the Illustrators 52 contest over at the Society of Illustrators. Am nervous.

20.10.09

Tailspinning Sketch 2 Final

Here's the final sketch for my new watercolor. Finally got a change to do some reference searches and finish up the ziggurat and the backpack.


So... trees to remain pale, graphic shapes against industrial darkness? Or perhaps trees to become dark, graphic shapes against a lighter background? Hrm.

17.10.09

The art, the work... a month in.


Eventually you wrap up a painting. So here's it all wrapped up. : ) Except no bows and ribbons.

Anyone following this knows I've been working on and off this painting since early/mid September, and it's nearly a month in doing. Sometimes I wish life would leave me alone so I could paint... and then I remember that I am addicted to the internets. Oh dear.


16.10.09

Art Update: Tailspinning Story Sketch 2

Just for you, fine Jo(e) Public, a preview of the next picture in the universe of the glowing pear.

Will be watercolor, with the tree limbs and foreground the darkest portions against a lighter, happy industrial ziggurat dystopia. Or some of that, at least.

Un sketch:

12.10.09

Art Update: Glowy Pear Goodness



More dragons and pear-carrying kids. It's probably finished, here. A high quality scan to follow as soon as I can find a place to do it.

Anyone know somewhere in the DC area that does large-format digitizing/photographing of artwork?

And I'd be joyous if people chimed in with their opinions of the painting, if you have any.

Thoughts on the books, though late!

It's an awesome little post that magneticcrow makes over GUD Magazine's website about Banned Books Week!

Give it a read.

10.10.09

Maybe guilds would be a better system?

GREAT post on the attitudes of clients toward freelance artists. Sometimes.

Text copied here:

"Every day, there are more and more Craigs List posts seeking "artists" for everything from auto graphics to comic books to corporate logo designs. More people are finding themselves in need of some form of illustrative service.

But what they're NOT doing, unfortunately, is realizing how rare someone with these particular talents can be.

To those who are "seeking artists", let me ask you; How many people do you know, personally, with the talent and skill to perform the services you need? A dozen? Five? One? …none?

More than likely, you don't know any. Otherwise, you wouldn't be posting on craigslist to find them.
And this is not really a surprise.

In this country, there are almost twice as many neurosurgeons as there are professional illustrators. There are eleven times as many certified mechanics. There are SEVENTY times as many people in the IT field.

So, given that they are less rare, and therefore less in demand, would it make sense to ask your mechanic to work on your car for free? Would you look him in the eye, with a straight face, and tell him that his compensation would be the ability to have his work shown to others as you drive down the street?

Would you offer a neurosurgeon the "opportunity" to add your name to his resume as payment for removing that pesky tumor? (Maybe you could offer him "a few bucks" for "materials". What a deal!)

Would you be able to seriously even CONSIDER offering your web hosting service the chance to have people see their work, by viewing your website, as their payment for hosting you?

If you answered "yes" to ANY of the above, you're obviously insane. If you answered "no", then kudos to you for living in the real world.

But then tell me… why would you think it is okay to live out the same, delusional, ridiculous fantasy when seeking someone whose abilities are even less in supply than these folks?

Graphic artists, illustrators, painters, etc., are skilled tradesmen. As such, to consider them as, or deal with them as, anything less than professionals fully deserving of your respect is both insulting and a bad reflection on you as a sane, reasonable person. In short, it makes you look like a twit.

A few things you need to know;

1. It is not a "great opportunity" for an artist to have his work seen on your car/'zine/website/bedroom wall, etc. It IS a "great opportunity" for YOU to have their work there.

2. It is not clever to seek a "student" or "beginner" in an attempt to get work for free. It's ignorant and insulting. They may be "students", but that does not mean they don't deserve to be paid for their hard work. You were a "student" once, too. Would you have taken that job at McDonalds with no pay, because you were learning essential job skills for the real world? Yes, your proposition is JUST as stupid.

3. The chance to have their name on something that is going to be seen by other people, whether it's one or one million, is NOT a valid enticement. Neither is the right to add that work to their "portfolio". They get to do those things ANYWAY, after being paid as they should. It's not compensation. It's their right, and it's a given.

4. Stop thinking that you're giving them some great chance to work. Once they skip over your silly ad, as they should, the next ad is usually for someone who lives in the real world, and as such, will pay them. There are far more jobs needing these skills than there are people who possess these skills.

5. Students DO need "experience". But they do NOT need to get it by giving their work away. In fact, this does not even offer them the experience they need. Anyone who will not/can not pay them is obviously the type of person or business they should be ashamed to have on their resume anyway. Do you think professional contractors list the "experience" they got while nailing down a loose step at their grandmother's house when they were seventeen?

If you your company or gig was worth listing as desired experience, it would be able to pay for the services it received. The only experience they will get doing free work for you is a lesson learned in what kinds of scrubs they should not lower themselves to deal with.

6. (This one is FOR the artists out there, please pay attention.) Some will ask you to "submit work for consideration". They may even be posing as some sort of "contest". These are almost always scams. They will take the work submitted by many artists seeking to win the "contest", or be "chosen" for the gig, and find what they like most. They will then usually have someone who works for them, or someone who works incredibly cheap because they have no originality or talent of their own, reproduce that same work, or even just make slight modifications to it, and claim it as their own. You will NOT be paid, you will NOT win the contest. The only people who win, here, are the underhanded folks who run these ads. This is speculative, or "spec", work. It's risky at best, and a complete scam at worst. I urge you to avoid it, completely. For more information on this subject, please visit [link].

So to artists/designers/illustrators looking for work, do everyone a favor, ESPECIALLY yourselves, and avoid people who do not intend to pay you. Whether they are "spec" gigs, or just some guy who wants a free mural on his living room walls. They need you. You do NOT need them.

And for those who are looking for someone to do work for free… please wake up and join the real world. The only thing you're accomplishing is to insult those with the skills you need. Get a clue.

If you do need portfolio padding, use your skills for a good cause - design a poster for a non-profit organization. Make a website for your local community theater. There are so many opportunities for pro bono work that will actually benefit someone.

Pass this on to every artistically-inclined person you know! Copy the text or just send them the link to the original post."

1.10.09

That Kid and His Pear

Another lovely day spent with procrastination, pumpkin, and paints. I'm hereby offering this work-in-progress part iii, for any who keep up with this. I'm nearly done, now. This stage is from around 6 pm.


SOZD

We would like to celebrate the glorious Support Our 'Zines Day by offering some fine publications you may not know about but should. I've had the honor of working with some of these fine people before, or MagneticCrow has likewise, and we are damned glad they keep putting such effort into fine editing. Without further ado:

'Zines To Watch Out For:*

GUD Magazine
Shimmer
ClarkesWorld
Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet
Fantasy Magazine
Crossed Genres
Leading Edge
Electric Velocipede
Strange Horizons
Steampunk Magazine 

And there are many more. There are podcast webzines, fanzines, pro and semipro books. Go find them. Your local indy bookstore will carry some. If they don't, they're full of fail. Tell them they should carry some of these fine selections of literature. Support the 'zines!

PS- Here's a small list of audio-podcasty-type-zines:

StarShipSofa
EscapePod
PseudoPod
PodCastle

Go support spec fic literature, and your hardworking 'zine creators.
More about SOZD: Damien Walter

*Apologies to Alison Bechdel, of the wonderful Dykes To Watch Out For

AHAHAAHAAHA!

So first we have this generous offer from our own resident Banana Guy and that bastion of self-righteousness, Kirk Cameron:




And then there's the counter response here:



My initial thought was that I simply MUST find out the location of the nearest "Top College" out of their 50 count. I want as many copies as they'll let me have!

*snrk* Sometimes, they just dig their own holes.

via Leigh's Art and Musings

26.9.09

Death and Literature

Been a bit. What, a week you say? Exactly? Hot dandy, that's about what happens when life tosses you a Sad Puppy(TM). These are the sort of unexpected and debilitating moments you knew were out there somewhere, but hadn't happened by for tea and scones yet.

On the night between Tuesday and Monday, my grandmother Margaret Jensen passed away, leaving the mortal coil for something new. Likely somewhere with a brass band and gin drinks. This came as little surprise to the family, as Grammy'd been losing the battle to cancer and Alzheimer's for a few years now. But yanno... death. Even if you don't think of it as an End, it's sad that you won't get to talk to this distinct intellect who's shone you love and support for years. At least in two-way communication. Whether you think it's an End or not, it's at least a change. And change is usually terrifying to our little primate selves. That's ok, though, I like to think that change is a comfortable continuity in itself.

I've been working to completion on that watercolor I posted updates about, in between paying work and putting together submission packets for different publishing venues. Painting's pretty darned near finished. You'll see it soon, ye wanderers of the night lands.

Otherwise, I've pretty much been reading. A lot, by comparison to recent trends. In the last two weeks (or one?) I finished:

KJ Parker's Purple and Black (cute novella. like the emperor a lot.)
Sean William's The Crooked Letter (the concepts are nifty, the prose is great, the protagonists took some getting used to and are still kinda whiny, imo)
Liz Williams' The Shadow Pavilion (not as smooth a tale as her earlier Inspector Chen books, but quite a romp)
Robert J Sawyer's www : wake (16 yr old narrator... sometimes overly pedagogal, but ends feeling fulfilled)
Octavia Bulter's Parable of the Sower (brilliant book. read it.)

Now onto Tim Power's Earthquake Weather. As you may notice, I'm doing a roundabout survey of the judges and teachers at the Writers and Illustrators of the Future workshop I was priviledged to attend in August. I have a KD Wentworth story on my laptop and would like to find a Nina Hoffman book at the library. Did I mention? These are all from the library. Damn fine institution.

And to end on a light note, from this interview:

"Nothing a writer says surprises me anymore, not even if Jeff VanderMeer told me he did his first drafts while dangling naked upside from a coconut palm, writing in squid ink through the hollowed fingerbone of William S. Burroughs. (I've seen his handwriting, this might actually be true.)" - Jay Lake

Tee hee.

19.9.09

Art update second go.


Much more color going into the scene here, though I haven't had as much time to work on it as I'd like. You know... eating, sleeping, working for pay. Those sorts of nonsense pastimes.

You wouldn't know how many times I've had to tell the Gnome King that I can't come to her BBQ because of needing to do my real job. Sadly, she said I wouldn't be getting a Christmas Present this year... *sniff*

More to come, more to come. These Yarka St. Petersburg watercolors are quite nice, though it's weird to use pans rather than liquid WC tubes. I'd gotten so used to the somewhat overly vivid Sakura Koi colors, and these are much earthier.

Yar! I be seein' ye next time, me hardies. Aye, by the twelfth bell, fer sure. More rum!

13.9.09

Sense and Sensibility and Seamonsters

So I just posted a book trailer for WOTF XXV, and you probably don't want to watch another video, let alone another book trailer. Trust me, though! This one is well worth the time. It's wonderfully amusing and full of amateur pluck.

Art update on the table

Update on the watercolor. See? See? It's a watercolor. With a dragon, and a glowing pear. Like I said... because... yeah.

So, we're past the washes-and-messy stage... and I'm terrified at this point. Every time I embark on a painting, I mean REALLY worried I'll bollocks it all to heck and back. But, you go ahead and do it anyway.

So... weird light sources are a go:

10.9.09

Our BOOK TRAILER. ...Really?



Her's the trailer for the "Writers of the Future XXV" anthology. We saw it play on a giant screen at the awards ceremony... it's a bit overly dramatic for a book anthology, but then again it's a trailer. For a book. So, who know what the criteria are for that sort of thing. Supermusicvideotrailerexcitement!

From: Gra Linnaea

9.9.09

Writers and Illustrators of the Present


Here's what you all are looking for on the shelves if you want to see the imagery I had scribbled down for Mr. Mike Wood, author of "Risqueman" and the fine folks at Galaxy Press. I think my work is on page 256. Or somesuch.

Everyone's art is awesome. Go check it out. Thanks to Josh Stewart for the image of the book. But don't you dare just look at the pretty pictures...

The stories are grand, and you can read the first reviews I've seen here.

John did a bang-up job going through each story in the anthology and giving them all equal attention, along with the art. One can forgive him for not waxing lyrical on the artwork, as his forte is literature after all. : )

Cat's being noisy again. Have to bury him in the yard.

Final note: Inking's done on the new large watercolor I mentioned in post previous.

8.9.09

Networthiness

I just registered evanmjensen.com though the hosting hasn't gone through yet. I'm not sure why it took me this long to get my own name as a URL, but it did... and so there ya have it. My name. As a link. It'll forward right to fathomlessbox.com. Or vice versa. Either way, they'll be a pair that all goes to the same place. Same with evanjensenart.com.

So, back to inking! More fun than DNS linkage.

6.9.09

Art update and your daily cookie




Frankly, I'm not sure what havin' a new blog will accomplish, as I'd all but abandoned the old one in lieu of Twitter and Facebook, but perhaps the shift in connotation (demiadolescence to grownup 2.0) will rejuvenate my webloggery habits.

Thankless day of too much heat, not enough breezes, and far too many amorphous gaggles of bar people around the city docks tonight. Lisa and I took a 4 mile meander broken by a frappe-and-cookie moment at Hard Bean Booksellers. The joyous moment was quickly erased by noisy vehicles, smelly smokers gathered against facades, etcetera.

Quite lovely however, was the last night of full Luna on the bright surface of an airliner contrail. That makes a good sight to follow home, no?

Squarely into inking the newest watercolor I've got taped down to board right now. Kid with glowing sphere and angled birds-eye view at night. It also has a dragon. Because night scenes with odd light sources need that extra fantasy trope. And something about a serpent guarding some golden pears. The kid's based on a very solemn boy who I drew at BWI two weeks ago. He was messing with a gameboy like it was life or death in his hands.

Comp thumbnails and the airport kid above. Sorry about the huge signature... I was in rush need of business cards a week ago in LA, and figured I'd just make color copies of him.