Saturday, August 29, 2009

Big Update: New Art Page

The short version of what you need to know is that I have overhauled the art section of my site, in both interface and content. There is a lot of new art up; some of which you may have seen on this blog before, and some you haven't. Please check it out. For the long version of why I did this, read on!

I still really like the Flash navigation system for my art, and even though I still get comments on it and feel that it showcases my functional and artistic abilities in Flash, I felt it was time for it to go.

The main reason is that it was hard to add images to, period. Hence why I only updated it in chunks. But on top of that, since all the groups of thumbnails had unique animations, it was hard to figure out ways to add more thumbnails when I ran out of space. Think about it like building a shelf that can only hold ten DVDs: when you eventually get to that eleventh DVD, you have to build an entirely new shelf.

I also felt like because the categories for my work weren't in a straight forward list, a lot of things were being overlooked. Why should somebody click through twelve different sections just to see if something has been added to one of them? Now that it's simpler I suspect I'll get comments on pieces that have been on my site for quite a while but people just couldn't find before. I Also think flash is turning into something of a novelty if you use it for anything other than very simple applications like ads or my navigation banner at the top of this page. The only time you ever see really complicated flash anymore is on movie and brand websites. Otherwise it's very understated and combined with clever code so that it's as efficient as possible. Simply put, people know what flash can do now and the current trend with websites is to be efficient first and creative second. Which I don't disagree with, because what use is a site that looks good if it doesn't do its job? And I think if you plan effectively your creativity isn't squashed.

At first I looked into using a pre-built flash gallery that I could just download and apply to my site. The advantage is that all you have to do is add your images and it automatically organizes them into an interactive gallery. Even though I found tons of these, I didn't find one that did what I needed it to do. Or rather, that did ONLY what I need it to do. I wanted it to be simple, but effective. The effective ones, though, have too many features. Kind of like Facebook and Deviant Art. They're very useful sites, but you have to look stupidly at the screen for about a minute to remember how to do something. There are about 800 links on a Facebook homepage that say "Photos," but only one of them is the one that lets you add photos. I wanted to avoid confusion like this.

So I decided to make one giant grid of images on one page. I like having all my work together on a single page, and I like that nothing is hiding away on some oft overlooked subsection. The only thing I needed to figure out was how to use HTML instead of Flash to make image descriptions pop up when you moused-over the thumbnails. I'm sure web gurus could have done this in no time, but it took me quite a bit of research to figure it out since I am entirely self-taught in web design. I think I came up with a pretty creative solution.

This whole thing took a solid week of work, about a third of which was research and testing. The rest was the tedium of remaking all the thumbnails, rewriting all the descriptions, relinking all the images, preping all the new work for the web, and organizing everything. Part of the organizing was to get rid of some of the old work I had up, which is another reason for the overhaul. I looked back at some of the pieces I still had displayed that were from high school and was actually a little embarrassed. I probably still have too much old work up; it's just hard to get rid of it because it's all still stuff that I worked hard to create. But it just doesn't look the same as what my style has evolved into.

The only thing I didn't get to achieve was the use of little "Buy me" links on thumbnails of things that are up for sale, like shirts and prints. I got it to work great in Firefox, but Internet Explorer wasn't so happy about it. It's really pretty amazing how much you can't do in IE from a web design standpoint; I wish I could just make everyone stop using it. I figured out how to fix the problem, but it would require redoing a good chunk of the effort I've already put in. So it's there to mess with in the future if I feel so inclined, and at any rate I plan on adding a store to the site soon, among other updates.

If you read all that thanks for your interest. This site really is a labor of love.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Dr. Homburg Cubee is now available!

Happy Birthday to my dear Hillary. Click here to download her!

And of course thanks to Chris for his blessing and template.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

We'll Be Right Back...

A few weeks ago while visiting Columbus, OH I was wandering around downtown and stumbled onto a gallery called Rivet that had a show up based on 80's and 90's cartoons. Having no previous knowledge of the gallery or exhibition this discovery was a great surprise. I took a few photos and I posted my favorite pieces above, but you can check out more on the gallery's official page:

Rivet: We'll Be Right Back...After These Messages

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Show follow-up and Meeting Doug Jones

Chris from Cubeecraft was able to attend the reception of the 8 Bit and Beyond show (that's him on the right) and said that people had good things to say about my piece, which is awesome. Especially considering all the other great work there. I took this image from the Facebook page of Brave New Worlds, the comic shop that's hosting the show.

And I was successful in getting Doug Jones to sign my illustration! I told him that I had something unique for him and he did a bit of a double take and said "Wow! Oh my God!" when I sat it down on the table. He told me I made his day and that no one else had ever had him sign any Mac Tonight stuff (which I'm guessing is why he wrote "You got me!") He was an incredibly nice guy and asked if I would send the file to his website for posting, which I'll update on if it pans out. He also gave me a big hug...which he did to everybody, but you know, a guy likes to feel special.

Friday, August 7, 2009

My Art in the Philadelphia 8 Bit Show

As I mentioned yesterday, The Autumn Society of Philadelphia is putting on a classic video game themed show called 8 Bit and Beyond that opens today in Philly. When Chogrin asked me to join it was literally the day that they were hanging the show, but he still offered to print, frame, and hang one of my pieces if I got the file to him by that afternoon. I cut it close, but as evidenced by this photo I stole from Eric Braddock on the ASoP blog it looks like I made it in. That's my Mario themed piece "Pick a Box" just to the left of the top of the ladder.

I have wanted to be in a show like this forever (As many of you who have watched my unfruitful attempts to submit to I Am 8 Bit well know) So this is an amazing thrill for me; I just wish I wasn't heading in the opposite direction of Philly for the weekend.

So a public thanks to Chogrin for following through on his very gracious offer.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Autumn Society of Philadelphia

My friend Carrie recently linked me to a blog that is the collaborative effort of a large number of amazingly talented artists. It features a ton of pop culture related works, as well as many pieces based on old video games that are being assembled for a show opening today entitled 8 Bit and Beyond. Naturally, I fell in love with the blog instantly as it's exactly the kind of art and subject matter that I concentrate on all the time; both for my personal pieces and for my submissions to

I contacted the email address posted on the Autumn Society's site, and not only did they invite me to join but they actually knew who I was from my work on Splitreason. That was a bit of a trip to say the least.

So from here on out I am also going to be contributing to the Autumn Society Blog which I couldn't be more excited about. I strongly advise everyone to check out their site and look at all the amazing work they post everyday.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Mac Tonight

In a few days I'll be heading to Wizard World Chicago, the slightly smaller, less press-worthy convention for those who couldn't make it to ComicCon in San Diego. One of the guests will be Doug Jones, the guy Hollywood turns to when they have a very makeup or prosthetics heavy part in a film. His most notable recent roles are Abe Sapien in the Hellboy movies and the creatures in Pan's Labyrinth.

An interesting piece of information I came across a while ago is that Doug also played Mac Tonight in the McDonalds commercials of the 1980s. For those who don't remember, Mac Tonight was the McDonalds mascot character aimed specifically at adults who was a lounge singer with a giant crescent moon for a head. He played a piano and sang a parody of the crooner classic "Mac the Knife" to advertise McDonalds new later business hours to grownups. "Make it a Mac Tonight!"

So I figured a funny thing to do would be to get Doug to sign a picture of Mac Tonight, as it's probably the last thing he'll be expecting to see. I couldn't find any pictures of the character that I felt were high enough quality to print, so I created the piece above. To be honest though I didn't really look very hard, as my love of advertising mascots and McDonalds characters made the idea of creating this piece sound like a lot of fun.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Nova Storyboards

These are a few pages of storyboards I did for Nova, the film project being helmed by my friends Kyle and Randall. I've done a few more, but they're mostly for the end scene and therefore seem a bit inappropriate to just post online before the movie has even gone into production. I was happy with the way these turned out, and later Kyle will go in and add the text, signifiers for camera moves, etc.

Nova is a short written by Randall and directed by Kyle that will be shot in Huntington, WV. For more info about it I suggest checking out Randall's blog here.