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It's been years since I checked in here.
Let's catch up a bit, shall we?
  • I turned 40 a few days ago.  It's not as bad as people warned me it would be.
  • I recently got married to a girl I had been dating since I started on DA. :)
  • I moved to Connecticut and back to California.
  • I changed jobs twice.
  • I rebranded a 125 year old non-profit.
So many smaller changes happened that I can't list them all here.  Suffice to say, my focus, attitude and skills have changed pretty dramatically over the years.  I'm hoping to start posting some of my newer work here soon.  I'm also planning on using DaPortfolio to showcase my work professionally.
I've notice that my work here keeps getting views and favorites... it's a good feeling.  Thank you to everyone who has checked out and enjoyed my art.  I'm flattered.  No, really.  I'm blushing.
Actually, I'm not blushing.  That was a blatant lie.  Sorry about that.
But, I am flattered.
  • Listening to: My instincts
  • Reading: The Walking Dead
  • Watching: Vikings
  • Playing: Battlefield 4
  • Eating: Cheerios
  • Drinking: Coffee!

The Healing Process

Thu Apr 16, 2009, 8:09 AM
Spring Renewal

Ok, everyone...
I've been a depressed slacker.
I know that I said I'd have a lot more time to create and post artwork, and then, suddenly... nothing!  I haven't done anything on here for months.

What's been going on during my time away from DA?

For my part, I've been limping through my days...
My leg is about 75% of what it used to be.  This means I walk with a cane, which is a hell of a lot better than not walking at all.  And, at least I don't have to use a walker anymore.  I'm proud of myself for being able to climb stairs and take walks around the grocery store.
Of course, this totally sedentary lifestyle hasn't done anything for my physique.  I fattened up like a Christmas goose.  I thank the stars for the person who invented the elastic waistband.  Yep... it's all about comfort these days.

I've returned to work, and have found the atmosphere to be a bit more... tense.  Blame it on the economy, company expansion, or my extended absence.  The reason doesn't matter.  All I know is that the work environment isn't what it used to be.
I'm doing far less graphic design (if any at all) and concentrating more on SEO, SMM, and general consultation.  Which is ok, I guess.  I mean, I'm certainly not complaining.  I'm really quite happy to even have a job in the current business climate.  Still, it's weird to have a business card that reads Sr. Graphic Artist and not actually be doing anything artistic.

On the home front, I'm moving out of the ghetto and into a sweet 50's duplex with a black and white checkerboard tile floor in the kitchen and bath.  There's a jacuzzi tub so I can soak my leg (awesome!) and a washer and dryer in the unit!  No more laundromat trips for me!  There is plenty of space to set up an easel, or to work on sculpture, which is incredibly cool.  To top it off, the front yard is a pseudo-Japanese garden, complete with a little bridge, stone lanterns and Japanese maples.  Needless to say, I'm fairly stoked on my new living arrangement.

So, in all, I'm still disabled, but things are certainly looking up.  I renewed my membership on DA, so I'll have to start posting some work up here again soon.
Thanks to everyone for continuing to view and favorite my work while I've been away!  You're the best!!

:iconvector-artists: :icondeviantartcommunity:
  • Listening to: My conscience.
  • Reading: King Solomon's Mines
  • Watching: The F Word
  • Playing: Resident Evil 5
  • Eating: Humble pie
  • Drinking: Coffee!
Wounded Knee

On October 19th, at approximately 11:00pm, I broke my left knee.  I was at a Flogging Molly show at the historic Fillmore auditorium in San Francisco, and had just taken a few turns around the pit, when I saw a little kid fall down in front of me.  I bent to help him get up before he could trampled by the crowd, when, suddenly, some guy flew out of the crowd and landed on my knee.  I heard a crunch, felt immediate searing pain, and was unable to stand on or move my left leg.
I had to army crawl across the crowded concert floor, calling for a medic, my arms and hands getting stepped on the whole way.  I managed to make it about halfway across the floor before I just couldn't take it anymore and continued to call out for medics to come and get me.
They managed to get me to the medic's station, where I waited for the concert to end so my girlfriend could come and get me to the hospital.
Once at San Francisco General hospital, I was given some pain meds, some x-rays, a CT scan, and a diagnosis of "broken knee" and then sent back across the bay to try and go home.  
I managed to get up the stairs to my apartment by sliding backward up each stair.  The whole process took me about an hour and a half.  I finally managed to get some sleep.
When i woke up, it was off to Oakland's Highland Hospital for further evaluation, and to set up an appointment for surgery to rebuild my knee.
It's been some time since all of that happened... I've got a full leg cast on, now.  I'm staying with my mom, and trying not to go crazy.  I won't be able to walk for about 3 months, and I just got my computer set up so I can keep busy.  My boss won't allow me to work from home, so I'm having to take side jobs to get some money in my account.  I'll also be filing for disability.  Hopefully, the state doesn't fight me too hard on that.
All in all, I'm in a pretty sorry state of affairs these days.  But, I'm trying to stay positive and busy, and I'm thankful that I'll only be immobile for 3 months instead of my whole life.  I have moments where I really feel sorry for myself, and moments where I want to freak out.  But, everyone has been pretty supportive and patient, so those moments are getting fewer and farther between.
Anyway... I'll most likely have a lot more time to do artwork, so you all can expect to see some new stuff coming soon.

:iconvector-artists: :icondeviantartcommunity:
  • Listening to: Crows outside.
  • Reading: The Last Argument of Kings
  • Watching: Kitchen Nightmares
  • Playing: Fable 2
  • Eating: Sandwiches and fruit
  • Drinking: Water and Sierra Mist

A few thoughts...

Wed May 7, 2008, 10:26 AM
Designing Myself

I always meant to be an illustrator.
I love drawing... I mean really drawing.  Pulling ideas and images out of my head to communicate with the world.  It's really the only time I ever feel like I'm doing what I was meant for.
Maybe I'm not the best illustrator in the world.  That's ok with me.  As long as I keep drawing, I improve with every piece.  I become aware of my strengths and weaknesses.  I progress.  Drawing makes me feel like I have some purpose.
But, somehow, I ended up a graphic designer.
Most of the time I'm not drawing... I'm simply creating and arranging design elements on a page.  I'm manipulating the viewer's eye by use of shapes, colors, photos and text.  There are few, if any, illustrative tasks involved in my work.
Stranger still, it seems that I'm a better designer than I am an illustrator.
The principles of design seem to just make sense to me, and if I'm left to my own devices, and trusted to do my job, I can create highly effective work.  I've never taken a single class in design.  It just seems like common sense to me.
How did it get that way?
Why am I better at my job than I am at my passion?
How can I shift the balance?
Should I?
Or should I just pursue what I'm already the best at?
Do I try to be a professional illustrator, or do I make further progress in graphic design?

"I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it."
--Pablo Picasso

:iconvector-artists: :icondeviantartcommunity:
  • Listening to: The air in the ducts.
  • Reading: World War Z
  • Watching: Heathers
  • Playing: GTA 4
  • Eating: Pulled pork
  • Drinking: Coffee coffee coffee


Thu Mar 6, 2008, 5:35 PM
A life less ordinary

Last year, on the anniversary of my birth, I listed a bunch of experiences I've had that have helped me become who I am.  The list ended up sounding pretty incredible, unbelievable, and surreal.

This year has been remarkably NORMAL for me.
No spectacular highs or lows.

Well, that's not true.
I did finally make it to the 102nd story of the Empire State building.  That's pretty high.
And, I threw doughnuts at my mom while she was drunk.  That's pretty low.

I digress.

There doesn't seem to be anything special about being 34.
But the number 34 itself is actually pretty cool.
You can read about it here.

I won't be partying till I drop.  (But I might drink a little...)
I won't be opening a ton of gifts.
I won't be doing anything special at all, in fact.
It really feels like a normal day, which is a fitting way to cap a very normal year.

So, yeah.  Happy Birthday to me.


"May you live all the days of your life."
- Jonathan Swift
  • Listening to: The ringing of the fax machine.
  • Reading: The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian
  • Watching: Across the Universe
  • Playing: Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
  • Eating: Fruit
  • Drinking: Coffee coffee coffee
GTA San Francisco

So, I often drive my girlfriend's car to work because mine is a piece of junk.
It's a reliable little thing... A red '94 Honda Civic DX with 238,000 miles on it and no signs of slowing down any time soon.  She's been pretty good about keeping it maintained -- at least mechanically.  The interior is pretty messed up though.  No stereo... nothing of any value at all, really.  It's just a good little car that has managed to keep us mobile while my stupid car sucks my bank account dry.
Yesterday, I parked the car in the public lot I always use when I go to work.  The lot has a 4 hour limit before you have to go move your car to another space.  So, halfway through my work day, I go to move the car.
Guess what?  Yep.  It was gone.
It's not like my girlfriend is so well off that she can afford to buy a new car.  Can't even afford to rent one.  Moreover, I've been spending nearly all of my money on paying for the last batch of repairs I did to my car.  And, I still have more to do on it.  There's a laundry list of problems with my car, and now it's all we've got as far as transportation goes.
Needless to say, I'm a little pissed.
Why does this kind of thing happen to good people who are just trying to get ahead?
It's frustrating, and makes me feel a little hopeless about people in general.


We got the car back.
The cops found it a couple of cities south of where it was originally stolen.
The license plates were gone, the door panel was removed, the ignition was cored and basically gone... The car was undriveable.
We had to go through a world of hassle and pay $300 to remove it from the impound lot and tow it to a mechanic.
The mechanic estimated it would be about $750 to repair the car to a driveable state.
It'll cost about $35 to get new plates.
All told, this little disaster will cost over $1000 to recover from.  And that's $1000 neither my girlfriend nor I have.  We're scraping together everything we can, and borrowing from friends and family, so we'll make it work.
We had been hoping to do something cool for my birthday, but that's not going to happen anymore.

All because some dickhead was hoping to make a little extra cash.
Whoever stole it didn't make any money off of it at all.  There was nothing of value in the car... they didn't even bother stealing the tires or speakers.  So, it was all for nothing.
Makes me want to punch somebody.

I hit 3000 pageviews a couple of days ago!
That's 1,000 views since November!!  Unbelieveably cool...
Thanks again to everyone who visits my site and faves my work.
Please keep coming back... I have much more up my sleeve!

I still do believe that most people are basically good at heart.
It's getting tougher, though.
  • Listening to: Work sounds.
  • Reading: The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian
  • Watching: Across the Universe
  • Playing: Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
  • Eating: Roast beef sammich
  • Drinking: Coffee coffee coffee

Porn vs Art

Wed Feb 13, 2008, 2:39 PM
How far is too far?

This topic has been touched on thousands of times here on DA, but I've kept my voice down until now.
There seems to be a growing number of users (not official moderators) who feel it is their right and responsibility to monitor the moral content of the artists here.  This frightens me a bit.

Some people go too far for my personal taste.  But, I wouldn't go so far as to censor or ban any content of any kind, no matter how graphic or gratuitous.  It's a simple matter of the golden rule.  I would hate to have someone decide that my work is too suggestive or graphic, and consequently ban or censor me.  I try to be tolerant of even the most extreme examples of "art" because I understand that art is subjective, and subjectivity does not allow for a singular moral viewpoint.

I agree that subtlety and suggestion can be far more powerful than blatant nudity and sexual imagery... but, bare and gratuitous sexual imagery has merit of its own.  Sometimes it's just about playing with taboos and pushing the bounds of your audience's comfort zones.  Other times, it's about simply having fun with the concept of sex and sexuality.

I don't think there should be a limit placed on expression.  I know that I'm not qualified to determine what constitutes art for anyone else.  Art, by its very nature, is subjective.  What one person defines as porn, someone else may find sublimely beautiful.  We cannot make this distinction for anyone but ourselves, or we risk losing our own individual freedom of expression.

If an image offends your morality, you should simply avoid it in the future.  We, as a society of artists, should trust and allow others to excercise the same freedoms and responsibilities that we enjoy as individuals.  It is only through complete tolerance that we can hope to create a true haven for the arts as a whole.

I like tits and ass.
I like to say "fuck."
And if you think you can change me
You're shit out of luck.

Below are some images that I think are appropriate.
And, thanks for reading.

Revolution America. by secondrateemily Censored Creativity by NightOwlO-o People Against by TamvakisPhoto
  • Listening to: System of a Down
  • Reading: The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian
  • Watching: Firefly
  • Playing: Mass Effect
  • Eating: Cobb Salad
  • Drinking: Coffee coffee coffee


Tue Nov 20, 2007, 4:02 PM
You guys are awesome!

It's taken about a year, but, I've hit 2000 pageviews today!
I think that's a pretty decent accomplishment, and I thank everyone who's taken the time to view my little gallery.
I look back over the last year, and it's hard not to see how much I've learned and grown as an artist.
Thanks again to all of you who have commented and faved my work, and I look forward to another great year at DA!

Unlucky in name only
  • Listening to: The Shins
  • Reading: The Children of Hurin
  • Watching: Immortal Beloved
  • Playing: The Orange Box
  • Eating: Nothin'
  • Drinking: Coffee coffee coffee

I'm it.

Fri Oct 12, 2007, 9:25 AM
I've been tagged.

The rules are:
1. Post these rules
2. Each person tagged must post 8 random facts about themselves
3. Tags should write a journal/blog of these facts
4. At the end of the post 8 more persons are tagged and named
5. Go to their page and leave a comment telling them they're tagged

Ok... so here are my facts.  Enjoy!

1.  I didn't get my driver's license until I was 21 because I felt like cars are just a money pit.  I was right... but, now I can't live without my car.

2.  I was once attacked by a dwarf because I asked him if I could film him doing a little dance.

3.  I do a great rendition of Bobby Darin's "Mack the Knife."

4.  I love the rain.  Which is good, because it's raining today.

5.  I'm going to New York city in less than a week.

6.  I have had several dreams in which Sigourney Weaver is a close friend of mine.  We get together and have coffee, and talk about life.

7.  I've had at least 3 dreams in which Sidney Poitier is furious with me for a variety of reasons.

8.  I used to be a cult leader until my ex-wife told me that I had to quit screwing with people's heads because it was bad for my spirit.  She was right... I'm better now.

Now I tag the only friend I have who might play:  (god... how pathetic...)


  • Listening to: Cypress Hill
  • Reading: The Sandman: The Kindly Ones
  • Watching: Peter Pan (the live action one)
  • Playing: The Orange Box
  • Eating: Life Cereal
  • Drinking: Coffee coffee coffee

The devil in the details

Tue Oct 9, 2007, 4:22 PM
I've gone insane

Ok, friends... so, I'm currently working on the most detailed vector I've ever done.
Most of my vector works have been pretty fast jobs.  The longest one took me somewhere around 10 hours, I think.

Suffice to say that I'm already 12 hours into this work, and it's less than 1/16 done.

I took a photograph of a nice San Francisco city scene... and for some insane reason, I decided to vectorize the photo.
It's going to be entirely straight vector... no gradient mesh tool.
Yeah.  Lots and lots of detail... lots and lots of planning.
So, don't expect to see it anytime soon...  Just know that it's coming.
And, I'm nuts.

  • Listening to: My stomach gurgle
  • Reading: The Sandman: The Kindly Ones
  • Watching: The points in this vector pile up
  • Playing: Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass
  • Eating: Life Cereal
  • Drinking: Coffee coffee coffee

Creative stagnation

Thu Sep 20, 2007, 4:26 PM
Shadows on the moon

Sometimes, I struggle with my creativity.
I suppose it's called writer's block or artist's block, or some such thing.  The trouble is, it extends beyond a single period of time in my life, and lends a general color to my work and my attitude.  I've had this feeling of being creatively stifled for years and years and years.  It's as if there is a painting inside my head that exists just beneath the surface of my dreams.  I can't quite see it...
There have been moments in my life where I feel the creativity welling up, nearly about to break the surface.  But, those moments pass before I can actually see that masterpiece.
There are ideas and inspirations that possess me at times, but, they rarely come from an internal wellspring of creativity.  My moments of creative spark don't actually feel creative at all... they make me feel as though I'm standing on the shoulders of my influences.
I know that there is a shining point of light in my imagination somewhere.  But, there is a greater world in the way -- the real world, with all of its stresses, priorities and responsibilities.  The real world that I live in saturates my imagination, and my inability to step outside of it grows with each passing year.  The real world casts shadows on my imagination, as the earth sometimes casts shadows on the moon.
I'm reminded of the movie "Amadeus."  In that movie, an ancient, withered Salieri tells the tale of his life to a priest.  He grieves and rages over his own desperate mediocrity in the face of the casual brilliance of Mozart.  I feel as though I were Salieri, at times.  I think all artists must feel that way, periodically.  Although, I fear that an artist truly possessed of creative genius will take his own talent for granted, and never know what it feels like to strive for something greater than what he can ever attain.  The fact that I do know that feeling, I'm afraid, is the hallmark of mediocrity.
All of this could just be me being gloomy.
Sometimes I get that way.
I am creative, at times.  I just can't help but feel as though I could do better.  I could do better, if only...
If only there weren't shadows on the moon.

  • Listening to: Nothing these days
  • Reading: The Sandman: Worlds' End
  • Watching: Desperado
  • Playing: Bioshock
  • Eating: Taco Bell
  • Drinking: Venti Extra Hot Mocha No Whip

Mr. Unlucky's Random Reviews!

Fri May 18, 2007, 10:40 AM
The Reviews are back!

Ok.  To begin with, I feel that I need to apologize a little.  You see, my original intent was to make this a weekly column.  However, as we all know, sometimes life doesn't let you keep your commitments.  Work has been insane, and I've just now gotten the chance to devote some time to this humble article.  So, now I'm giving it another go.  Thanks to those who keep checking in, and thanks to JohnQPhats for asking about it.
Now, on to point two.  My first column featured reviews of work I found by clicking the "Random Deviation" link at the bottom of our screens.  However, the work I reviewed was not truly random.  In general, I'll review what captures my attention.  I won't review an image unless I can see that the artist put in some effort, beyond just pushing a button on a camera, or tracing an existing image.  Also, for my own reasons, I won't bother reviewing anime or manga inspired work.  I don't usually like it, and I think there's too much of it.  For more info on this point, read my earlier journal titled Too much anime.  So, long story short, I can't exactly say that the images are random.  However, I will continue to find all the work I review using the "Random Deviation" link.  I'll just skip the countless pieces of work that don't warrant a review.

As before, scores are based on a scale of 1 to 5 :skullbones:, with a score of 1 being eye-gougingly bad and 5 being stunningly wonderful.    All work that scores a 4 or better gets fav'ed and becomes eligible to be featured as my Fave of the Week.  All scores are entirely arbitrary, and are based off my personal taste and interpretation.  Please feel free to comment on my reviews.  If you agree or disagree with what I write here, please let the world know.  This column is intended to promote honest and thoughtful discussion of artwork among peers.  No personal attacks / compliments are intended.  It's all about the art…  If you do not wish your work to be featured in my review column, please contact me, and I'll remove the piece, and any references to it, as soon as possible.
Now, on to the reviews!


:spotlight-left: :spotlight-left: Macro_Wildlife by ~onjo2 :spotlight-right: :spotlight-right:

Macro_Wildlife by onjo2

What an interesting painting.  I would love to see the source photos (if there are any…).
There is an incredible attention to detail in the moths and butterfly.  The colors used are perfect, and  manage to be striking without overpowering the image as a whole.
The muted tones, especially in the butterfly, are unexpected.  Usually, if someone wants to render a butterfly, the colors tend to be more vivid and saturated.  It's nice to see that the artist has such an attentive grasp of color.
Also, the moths are beautifully detailed, which is great to see.  The wings have a texture to them that you can almost feel.  The artist obviously spent a lot of time rendering these vignettes, or smaller images within the greater image.
Unfortunately, there is a roughness to this painting that doesn't go well with the level of detail present in the moths and butterfly vignettes, in my opinion.  The background is muddy and painted with very broad strokes.  This is most likely done to capture a depth of field effect from the source photo, but, in this painting, the effect translates into a muddy, sloppy looking background.  This is only enhanced by the rough, uneven edges of the vignettes, and the drop shadow effect surrounding them.
The shadows themselves seem to be more like frames around the vignettes… I can't tell if they're supposed to be framing the vignettes, or if they're supposed to be shadows.  If they're shadows, they shouldn't be of such consistent width around each vignette.  A realistic shadow would be slightly offset to simulate directional light.  If they're supposed to be frames, they should be sharper and maintain their tonal integrity, rather than blurring out at the edges.
Overall, this is painting is well done, but, it seems like the artist lost interest after painting the main subjects.  The butterfly and moths are very well done, and I would have loved to see this attention to detail extend throughout the remainder of the painting.
For a better example of this artist's skill and work, please see "mo's lilllies" or "blue and purple", both available in the artist's gallery.
These images demonstrate that onjo2 does, indeed, have a wonderful sense of color, composition, and style.

SCORE:  :skullbones: :skullbones: :skullbones:


:spotlight-left: :spotlight-left: "poor sweet baby" by ~greensprout :spotlight-right: :spotlight-right:

poor sweet baby by greensprout

I can't possibly rave enough about this image!
The mood and emotion are just excellent, and the color choice is fantastic.  The warm sepia tones make me feel as if this scene is taking place either in the early morning, or in the late afternoon… This establishment of the time of day really gives a sense of backstory to the image.  Moreso, the room is closed off from the outside world.  The lamp is on in the background, even though daylight is shining through the closed blinds.  This suggests to me that the subjects are seeking comfort and solace in their own world, safe from the outside.  
The details in the background soften appropriately, successfully demonstrating the depth of field effect that I mentioned in the previous review.  The subjects in the foreground have nice, sharp details, and their emotions are evident in their gestures and on their faces.  Beautiful…
Just as beautiful is the rendering of light effects.  The lamp in the background has a translucent shade, and its glow is soft and warm.  The light reflecting off the phone on the wall is subtle and very well rendered.  There's even a slight, but wonderful, bit of reflective light along the corner of the wall in the background.  Finally, the light that plays across the main subjects enhances their emotions with the same warmth and softness that characterizes this image.  
However, the rendering of the light is also where this painting loses its perfection.  The rays of light shining above and below the lamp shade could have been rendered a little more carefully… they seem uneven and splotchy.  The light shining between the blinds is very irregular, and the blinds themselves are irregularly spaced.
Also, I have a question:  Why in the world are the male character's eyebrows so HUGE?  They're like giant, rectangular blocks of black stuck on his forehead!  It's a strange, unrealistic choice in an otherwise wonderful image.
I've added this one to my favorites… Such a great composition… great conveyance of mood and emotion… stunning use of color.
For more examples of this artist's skill at rendering light, color, and emotive gestures, please view "The Kids are Allright" and "We were lucky to have the tree", both available in the artist's gallery.

SCORE:  :skullbones: :skullbones: :skullbones: :skullbones: :skullbones:


:spotlight-left: :spotlight-left:
"Dominiki" by ~ishor
:spotlight-right: :spotlight-right:

Dominiki by ishor

I'm not really sure where to start here.
Ok… let me preface this review by saying that I love this artist's work.  He has a great gallery, and doesn't seem to be concerned with sticking to established rules of proportion, and perspective.  This is a good trait to have, especially when you're doing surrealist work.  However, in this image, I don't think it works at all.
The image is that of a very thin nude woman (?) crouching, or kneeling against a background of dark clouds.  She isn't rendered well anatomically.  
First, the eyes: They are too big, and they're badly shaped. There's some white in the pupil area of each eye that I assume is reflected light, but, without any real shape or sense of direction.  This makes the eyes look flat and lifeless.  The light seems to be rendered in reverse of what it should be… dark beneath the brow ridge, light at the top of the cheekbones.  Instead, the dark tones appear on the cheekbones, and the light tones are just under the brow ridge… almost as if the light source is coming from beneath the subject.
Next, the nose:  It is a very badly rendered nose.  There doesn't seem to be any sense of volume or dimension to it.  It's flat, and only has the barest sense of shape that suggests it's a nose.  There should be variations in tone to suggest the form… the nostrils, the bulb at the tip of the nose, the curvature of the bridge… all of these things are either neglected or omitted for reasons unknown.
Next, the lips:  They are not shaped like lips should be shaped.  There's no bow to the top lip… it's the same shape as the bottom lip.  The color choice for the lips is garish, and inconsistent with the rest of the image.  It looks like she's wearing lipstick, but no other makeup.  
I could go on and on here, but, I don't want to endlessly attack this image.
Instead, I'll mention that the clouds are well done.  If this were a painting of clouds, it would be very successful.
The real tragedy here is that ishor's gallery has some wonderful stuff in it.  His surrealist work is very reminiscent of Dali, especially his color palette.  The artist shows a great understanding of light as it hits geometric surfaces, like buildings, or rocks.  He has a great eye for layout, and a wonderful ability to distort perspective.
I really wanted to chalk this painting up to artistic license, but, in the end, it just feels rushed, and amateurish.
Oh… and I really wish the artist would use a less intrusive copyright mark!  I understand that he doesn't want his work copied, or whatnot, but, the huge text line placed over the images is really ugly.
For better examples of ishor's work, please view "The house of fear…", "Black beach" and "Suspence".  All available in his gallery.

SCORE: :skullbones: :skullbones:


Well, that's it for this week, folks.

I'm going to try to keep up with this column on a regular basis, but, I'm a busy guy.  So, please bear with me and check back again soon.
Also, remember that I will accept suggestions about ways I can improve this column.  If anybody reading this has any ideas, let me know.
Thanks for reading!

  • Listening to: The Inkwell Rhythm Makers
  • Reading: The Watchmen
  • Watching: Pan's Labyrinth
  • Playing: Wii Play
  • Eating: Tandoori Chicken
  • Drinking: Venti Extra Hot Mocha No Whip

Happy Birthday to me...

Tue Mar 6, 2007, 10:03 AM

It's been a weird life, so far.

So many ups and downs... so much moving around.
So many people have come and gone.
I've been in and out of the hospital... I've been diagnosed with a mysterious, incurable condition.
I've seen incredible sights, both natural and man-made.
I've been on the verge of fame.
I've been homeless and impoverished.
I've been strung out on drugs, and and I've fought to regain sobriety.
I've had a baby named after me, and seen the births of several others.
I've been a best man, a groomsman, and a groom.
I've been a divorcee.
I've been a waiter, a manager, a painter, a general tradesman, a network engineer, a film director, a DJ, a party promoter, a director of marketing, a cook, a clerk, a grocery stocker on the graveyard shift, an illustrator, a student, and a graphic designer.
I've been a husband, a boyfriend, and a one night stand.
I've been beaten, and I've beaten others.
I've known people who are now dead, and others who have disappeared.
I've been in the newspaper, on TV, and on the radio.
I've traveled around the country.
I've ridden in a helicopter.
I've accepted a random ride in a van with strange, but friendly, Puerto Ricans in New York City.
I've seen where they make Mounds and Baby Ruth candy bars.
I've been depressed, elated, and somewhere in between.
I've gotten piercings, and tattoos.
I've had blonde, purple, white, green, blue, black, and brown hair.
I've met famous people... one of whom said that they hate me.
I've injured almost every part of my body.
I've run away.
I've come home.
I've started and led 3 different cults.
I've written a children's book.
I've been chased by a mob.
I've had a parakeet, a hamster, a dog, a lobster, a snake, a tarantula, 2 cats, a cockatiel, and 2 rats.
I've been a boy scout.
I've been a karaoke superstar.
I've been thin as a rail, and fat as a whale.
I saw New Orleans before she drowned.
I've been lost in the woods.
I've fallen down a mountainside.
I've been hit by a bus.
I've had a candy cane rammed into my head.
I've had my naked ass shot by a .50 calibur painball gun from point blank distance.
I've stun gunned people.
I've been attacked by a dwarf.

All of this and more has happened in 33 years.
I wonder what will happen in the next 33?

Everything above is true.
:skullbones: Unlucky
  • Listening to: Tenacious D
  • Reading: EGM
  • Watching: Stranger than Fiction
  • Playing: NBA Street: Homecourt
  • Eating: BBQ beef brisket
  • Drinking: Venti Extra Hot Mocha No Whip

A pinup artist is me.

Thu Feb 22, 2007, 4:59 PM
Coming up short...

So, I've been fixated on the pinup art style for a while now.  I've been drawing with no reference models, and I like most of what I've done.  However, there's something missing from my work... actually, there's a lot missing from my work.
1.  Dramatic lighting.
2.  Correct anatomical proportions.
3.  Classical poses.
4.  Interesting backgrounds.
5.  Accurate hands and feet.
6.  Clothing, and jewelry.

So, realizing that I have to improve on all these points, I figure there's just one thing to do.
It's time to get back into a class so I can start drawing from life again.

In the meantime, I think I'll start posting some of my older work, from before I started doing everything digitally.  I have a lot of drawings and paintings that I have yet to post.

If anyone viewing this has any tips on what/how to improve my work, please send me a message.

Thanks in advance.

:skullbones: Unlucky

  • Listening to: Norah Jones
  • Reading: Maxim magazine
  • Watching: F*CK (the movie)
  • Playing: Crackdown (Xbox360)
  • Eating: Strawberry La Creme Yogurt
  • Drinking: coffee

Vanilla Sky

Mon Jan 29, 2007, 10:25 AM
Strange... very strange.

So, my ex wife leaves the state tomorrow to go live in the desert.
Never thought that would happen.  I couldn't have imagined this turn of events.
I saw her yesterday, and spent some time with my kitties.
I was far more ok with things than I thought I'd be.
Not that it wasn't sad... far from it.
But, we laughed and talked about things like we did in the old days.  It was nice.
When it finally came time to part, she walked me to my car, and we hugged our biggest hug in years.  Felt really nice...
She held my hands and we looked at each other's eyes.
Seemed like neither of us wanted to let go.  But, in the end, we did.
And, that is a summary of the end of my marriage, and all of the tragedy therein.
Neither of us wanted to let go, but, in the end, we did.

I went home.  Watched "Vanilla Sky."
Depressing fucking move.
It really brought to mind all those times I've felt like I was stuck in some dream... like none of this is real.
You can find concurrency between art and your life if you're open to it, or looking for it.
Hell, you can find concurrency between your life and almost anything.
Sometimes it's just more obvious than others.
Sometimes the parallels just beat you over the head.

It's over, if there is such a thing.
She'll be gone in the morning.

Good luck, squeaker.
I love you.

  • Listening to: some stupid dance music
  • Reading: Mental Floss books
  • Watching: Vanilla Sky
  • Playing: WarioWare: Smooth Moves
  • Eating: Humble Pie
  • Drinking: coffee
It's all happening now.
Too fast for me to wrap my brain around.
I've got the forms in hand... we're just trying to figure out if I can manage to keep her even as a friend.  Right now, I don't think it's possible.  I guess we'll see.
Why does this have to be so goddamned painful?
Why can't I just turn off the emotions?

A piece of advice to anyone who reads this:
Don't get divorced.  It sucks.
  • Listening to: Staind "It's Been Awhile"
  • Reading: The Elric Saga
  • Watching: Superman Returns
  • Playing: nothing
  • Eating: nothing
  • Drinking: coffee
It's been so long since I first met her.
We met at the Varsity theater in Palo Alto, CA.  It was a Saturday... around midnight... at the Rocky Horror Picture Show.  Sometime in February.  She and her friend saw me and asked me to do a little pirouette in front of them, so they could check out my ass.  I didn't think much about it at the time, because I was used to getting flirted with.  I thought she was gorgeous, though.  It was her eyes... the color that the ocean was supposed to be.
A couple of weeks passed, and I went to the show again, acting like a clown...  She approached me, without hesitation, and told me that I looked like I needed a hug.  There, in those eyes, I saw the woman I would spend the next 13 years of my life with.
We were in love.  So very in love.
We conquered obstacles together that would have crushed other relationships.  We were the stuff of dreams.  Our friends and acquaintances couldn't imagine us apart.  Everyone knew we were made for each other.  Even us.
Our wedding, in the summer of '99, was perfect.
We made our vows, which we had written ourselves, near a pond, in Soquel, among the redwoods.  It seemed appropriate that the oldest living things in the world should serve as our witnesses and our cathedral.  Our families were there, of course.  Friends, acquaintances, co-workers... they filled the seats, and later talked of how ours was the best wedding they had ever attended.  Our wedding favors were bubbles, and a CD we made, full of "our songs".  Each song on the CD spoke of our love for each other.
Later, strangers would request copies of the CD, having heard it playing in the cars of friends or relatives.  People we had never met were moved to tears by the music of our lives.
We honeymooned in New Orleans, years before it drowned.
We threw secret wishes into the Mississippi river, attached to pebbles we had picked up.
Our wishes were never to come true.
Three years after our marriage, she began to grow increasingly distant... sullen.
She was diagnosed with an illness that we both tried to fight, but, we underestimated it.
She became obsessed with online gaming... meeting people to whom she had no commitment, with whom there was only fantasy and escape.  I was a ghost for 2 years.  I wondered what I had done to her... but it was her illness that was keeping us apart.
Two years later, we would be separated.  She cheated on me.  After 13 years... she had cheated on me.  And she left me for the guy.  She had met him online.  Their affair had been going on behind my back for 4 months.  My heart broke then, and has never stopped breaking.
I moved in with a friend, still reeling from the shock.
Each night was endless.  I stopped eating.  I lost 60 lbs.
My friend was desperately single.  While I wallowed in my misery, he was placing ads to meet people through singles services.  He was having no luck.
One night, feeling low, but, alive, I decided to show him how easy it can be to meet people.
So, I answered a personals ad on craigslist, mostly as a joke.
Suddenly, everything changed.
The man my wife left me for was horribly injured in a car accident, about 2 weeks after she had left me.
Karma?  Maybe.
2 more weeks passed, and I had begun to see the girl I had met through craigslist.
She seemed very sweet, and demanded nothing from me.  We had fun together.
It was what I needed at the time.
My wife called me one night, in tears.  She begged me to come see her, because she was lonely, scared, and depressed.  She had realized what a horrible mistake she had made.  While waiting for her new boyfriend to wake up from his coma, she had stumbled upon some of his letters to an ex girlfriend of his.  These letters revealed him for the liar he was, and my wife was suddenly lost, and scared.
I went to her, comforted her, and, with the help of her parents, she left his house, and moved in with her brother.  I told her that everything would be ok soon.  I didn't take her back right away, but I told her that I just needed time to process everything.
I continued to spend my time with the new girl, who was very understanding.
I tried to explain to her that I was married and that if my wife wanted me back I had to go back to her.  She understood... she was sad, but she understood.
My problem was that I was now scared of my wife... this woman I love so much.
I second guessed her motives... I was terrified of being left again.
I broke up with my new girlfriend, and told my wife that we could start seeing each other again.  Taking it slowly.
But, I couldn't stay away from my new girlfriend.  I had grown feelings for her, too.  Her understanding, her patience... just the fact that she was willing to date me, even though I was obviously damaged goods... All of these things were qualities I found difficult to simply set aside, in favor of someone who had devastated me so.
And, yet... I wanted my wife back so badly.  I was so afraid of losing her forever.
I lied to her.  I told her that I wasn't seeing the new girl anymore, when in reality, I was.
My wife and were still living separately.  You know, taking it slow.
I couldn't handle the guilt for long, and ultimately confessed.  She was devastated.
The worst part of all was that I didn't only do this once.
I did it 3 times.
I could justify it until the end of time.
But, I know I hurt her terribly.  My wife had waited, hoping for a chance at redemption... hoping for a time when I would tell her to come home.
Eventually, she stopped waiting.
And, now... even though we've both suffered, and made terrible mistakes, and have forgiven each other, she has moved on from me.
We've been separated for almost 2 years.
She just told me she's moving to Arizona.
She confirmed that there is no more hope for us.
She has found someone new.
She told me that she will always love me.  She wants me to stay in her life, somehow.
But, we'll never be together again.
I find myself grieving as deeply as I did when she first left me.
The tears come unannounced, and silent.
Guilt, remorse, regret, bitterness, anger, sadness, nostalgia... these emotions pour through my mind.
It's finally, hopelessly, over.
After nearly 15 years... I have to say goodbye to that beautiful girl I met at the Varsity theater.
I really did want her back.  Still do, most of the time.
She was where my heart lived... she was home.
And, now I never get to go home.

I'm so sad.
  • Listening to: my own hearbeat in my ears
  • Reading: The Elric Saga
  • Watching: Heroes
  • Playing: nothing
  • Eating: nothing
  • Drinking: nothing
Ok... here's the thing.
I'm not an anime hater.  I just have very high standards for it.
My standards have risen not because the quality of art has improved, but, because there's so damned much of it around.
Take deviantART for example.
I'm new here, and one of my favorite things about the site is the "Random Deviation" link.  
I love finding art in genres I wouldn't have thought of...  I love the way that this site opens us all up to a broader artistic community.
The only problem is that about 70% of the time, when I click the link, I get to see some badly drawn impression of some character from some obscure anime or video game.  Either they have cat ears and a tail, or they're big eyed, wild haired space pirates, or, maybe I might get to see Sephiroth as interpreted by a 10 year old.  And then there's the classic androgenous anime character with long hair, kissing another androgenous anime character with long hair...  and they're both wearing school uniforms.
Where is the originality?
I mean, as I see it, anime, manga, whatever you want to call it, was accepted into the mainstream here in the West because of its freshness, originality, and hyper-stylish aesthetic.
That freshness is long gone... It seems like the majority of what I see on this site is just poor imitation, and a lack of creativity.  People with real talent are wasting their pen, mouse, and brush strokes on someone else's tired old ideas.  People with no talent are being recognized because they can copy Naruto's spiky blonde hair correctly.  Wonderful artists are being overlooked in favor of the latest Full Metal Alchemist fan art.
And, that, I think, is the core of my issue.
Too many fans, not enough artists.  Too much fan art, not enough original art.
I wish there were a better balance.
AND, I wish that people out there who specialize in fan art would stop calling themselves "artists."  Just come up with a better term to describe your limited scope of rendering... I dunno... maybe fan artists should be called "fans."
Just a thought.
  • Listening to: the hum of my computer
  • Reading: America: The Book (Teacher's Edition)
  • Watching: Heroes
  • Playing: Okami
  • Eating: Starbuck's Breakfast Sandwich (sausage)
  • Drinking: coffee. coffee.