Shop Forum More Submit  Join Login
×

We here I am again… after another loooooooong absence. For whatever reason I just haven’t felt driven to create much art this year, and something in me feels guilty about coming to DA purely as a spectator. All I can say is that I sure hope this lull passes because I’m much happier when I’m creating!

I’d be lying if I said political anxiety here in the U.S. wasn’t part of the problem and with the outcome of the last election I find myself driven to become even more politically engaged to preserve the progress made over the last couple of decades. But I’ll attempt to minimize bringing my political baggage into the DA sphere which is about art, entertainment, and escape. I know that barrier won’t be 100% impermeable, but I’ll do what I can.

I’d like to shout out a BIG thank you to whoever gave me the anonymous membership boost! That was a joy to discover… and joys are a valuable commodity of late. I’ll try to participate more and make the expense worth your while… but “try” is the best I can promise and clearly doesn’t pass Yoda muster.

My first book cover of 2017 just rolled out this week! It’s not precisely a “new” work, but it’s a tuned up older image and it’s on James Cambias’ first self-published e-book, “Outlaws & Aliens”. This is affordable entry into Jim’s work, if you haven’t already read him. He tends to write good SF adventure with a solid science underpinning. I hesitate to actually to use “hard SF” to describe it since, to many, that implies dry, concept driven work. Jim’s work ain’t dry and it won’t require a calculator to appreciate. He has two fun novels already published by Tor Books: “A Darkling Sea” and “Corsair”. I can heartily recommend both!

www.amazon.com/James-L.-Cambia…

And how about that "Rogue One"? I haven't enjoyed a Star Wars film as much since "The Empire Strikes Back"! As always let me close with a selection of neat DA stuff you might have missed… and my personal wish for ALL of us to have a happy, fulfilling 2017.

Hidden-base by bluesey Friendship 7 by GrahamTG Mosquito pair by jncarter  Spruce Moose by Alex-Brady-TAD  Space Engineers_ Journey by IvanLaliashvili  Filming the Aquashuttle by thefirstfleet     Ambition 1 Lander by MacRebisz The business end by GrahamTG Gem Cosplay from The Empath ST TOS by imonlyhalfvulcan Epistellar Horizon by elreviae Discovering by QAuZ Thunderzeka by Andrei-Pervukhin Blade Runner by MarkRaats Sulphur Fields by TK769 They should have sent a poet by Colourbrand

Pool Party... 7 by erogenesisCGI Seventh Sister by Rathskeller7  Ambition 1 Ascent by MacRebisz  SEVEN JEDI Final Poster Struzan Inspired by hapajedi To Golden Light by QAuZ  Commissioned: The Lorentz (Updated) by Colourbrand Aspirations by jollyjack  Flyby III by ahaas  Warthog says 'BRRRRRRRRRRT' by Loopydave

  • Listening to: Various SOMA-FM feeds
  • Reading: Not enough!!
  • Watching: Netflix's "Travelers"
  • Playing: Exploding Kittens
  • Eating: Well
  • Drinking: Less
Hi! How are you all? I've been pretty AWOL over the last half year. It wasn't a conscious decision, but rather driven by the fact that I just haven't been doing much art myself. I guess you could call it a creative dry spell. Whatever the case I'm hoping that it doesn't plague me too much longer. I appreciate all the varied "welcome back" messages folks have dropped me.

While I may not have much in the way of new stuff got show, I have been asked to be part of the digital art gallery for the Museum of Science Fiction's "Escape Velocity" event, in Washington, DC on July 1-3. Their own description of the vent is as follows: "Escape Velocity is part comic con, part science fair, where we’ll have amazing guests, discussion panels, technology demonstrations, workshops, costumes, parties, concerts and more. Escape Velocity seeks to make a measurable positive impact to boost informal learning on the more conceptually challenging academic areas." You can read more about the event, here:

escapevelocity.events/

Meanwhile, life goes on around me/us, hm? Gravity wave detections. Space-X rocket landings. New dinosaur species discovered almost every week and new finds illuminating their plumage. A new fundamental subatomic particle threatening detection. All told it's a damn exciting time to be alive, once you read past the melodramatic election and Brexit headlines. And there's still some damn fine artists makin' stuff on DA…. like these talented lads and lassies!! Click the thumbnails to explore deeper.

'Rhamphorhynchus' by Vincent-Covielloart Giants In the Playground X The Traveller by TK769 Solar Sails II by GrahamTG The Departure. by duster132 Spiclypeus shipporum by atrox1 New and Improved - tee by InfinityWave Near the Sun by elreviae Upon the hand by arcipello Moff Hamster by jollyjack Ambush by rOEN911 Skydrops by Abiogenisis Saurolophus by Vincent-Covielloart Icy Moons Probe by Abiogenisis Filming Polaris by thefirstfleet Theory Of Machines by KuldarLeement TRON: Legacy - Private Commission.. by MarkRaats Kronos at Mars II by MacRebisz Lights Beneath The Lake by arcipello
  • Listening to: Various SOMA-FM feeds
  • Reading: "The Speed of Dark" by Eliz. Moon
  • Watching: 12 Monkeys Season 1
Dead parrot jokes aside, I’ve been AWOL for quite a few months. My creative spirit has been… well, someplace else. Beyond my professional work I haven’t been doing much… unless you count reading and watching movies. Maybe my tank’s run dry, in which case I’ll continue to refuel and hope for the best. Life’s also been throwing other distractions my way, so it’s all part of “not on DA much” equation.

A BIG thank you to everyone who wished me a happy birthday. Sorry I wasn’t around much to take it all in, but trust me when I say they were met with belated and heartfelt appreciation.

I hope to be around a bit more in the coming months, but… the best of intentions and all that rot. We’ll just have to see how my time gets used up. But it was great to cruise the deviations that have piled up since I last got to look through things… and here are some choice picks, in case you missed these. ‘Til next time, I hope you coming holidays are relaxing and fun! If they’re not you should look into fixing that.

Ezonova 2 by KuldarLeement EXPANSE cosplay: Amos Burton by Rob-Cavanna Realm of Shades by TobiasRoetsch Star Trek: Starlost by AbaKon Just Outside the Box - Bonaventure by Ptrope Limbo for Unicorns by lora-zombie Alien life by thefirstfleet Touch Down! by Chrisofedf Nyctosaurus by Vincent-Covielloart The Blue Star by Colourbrand :thumb546106244: Shipping and Receiving by bagtaggar Pascal-blanche-armored-goose-low by pascalblanche Cloud Regatta by RHADS Desert Ship by Darkcloud013 Crankshaft Oasis by artofjokinen Kronos 1 - WIP 3 by MacRebisz Denizens vs II by TK769 RM Hyperon #3 by 600v

Yolk by sauco-m Another Outing For My Von Braun Moonship by Paul-Lloyd Space Orbit ID by Karezoid In the woods by MetalSnail Endeavour by sketchboook Colony by Phade01 Three Pistons Lodge by artofjokinen Starbase 4 by HandofManos

  • Listening to: Various SOMA-FM feeds
  • Reading: "Ancilliary Sword" by Ann Leckie
  • Watching: Season 4: Person of Interest

While I haven’t yet seen it yet, the theme’s in Brad Bird’s “Tomorrowland” movie have a certain tangency with my own recent thoughts and observations on science fiction and futurism. Many – particularly in my own generation – seem to pine for the future we were promised in the 60’s and 70’s. The reading (and re-reading) choices of many of my peers seem to reflect that by turning our imaginations back to the future possibilities painted when looking ahead from the mid-20th century.

Coupled with that trend of looking backwards for our future, I hear again and again that optimism is harder to find when looking forward from today and/or that today’s scifi writers are wallowing in dystopian futures. And I can’t disagree with either of those observations. But the question that now plagues me is “why”?

The human capacity for hope is great, as is our ability to make lemonade from lemons. So what’s impeding that? Our problems today are great, but they’re not insurmountable. What stands in the way of our ability to see beyond our current challenges? My own answer to that is the lessening power of the public will in the face of moneyed an corporate interests. The unregulated free market is consolidating the power to steer our species’ direction towards their increased profits and power, not to interests that serve the greater public - that is OUR dreams and desires.

In short, the average citizen feels increasingly powerless to affect change and realize their larger dreams for the future. So when we look forward, we tend to see this trend grow. At least that’s my own working theory. What’s yours? What’s getting in the way of looking ahead with optimistic eyes? And how do we get past it?

 

So while we’re on the subject of inspiration, dig some of the great, recentish (OK… and some golden oldies) works around DA!

  USS Discovery  XR-d1 NASA by bagera3005 Prepare For Arrival by overseer  Strike Force by rOEN911 February 2105 by DarrenMyners Dodge 110 Custom Truck by GaryCampesi<da:thumb id="361208638"/> Prometheus Base by SMPritchard Return of the Argonauts by Drell-7 A Mother's Embrace by Ebonenee The wasteland starlift by thefirstfleet Interstellar Wormhole by ErikShoemaker Territorial Dispute by KatePfeilschiefter

Mature Content

Lali's little afterparty by erogenesisCGI
  Nomad Desert Blimp by TK769  The Galactic Nomads by Fredy3D  NASA Shuttle Concept Advanced Next Generation by GeneralTate  Bathing with blossoms by gestiefeltekatze B5 Kudu Twins by CrazyAsian1 Seaplane by Lipatov  A Day At The Beach (revised) by Paul-Lloyd Spring Day is Coming by SharksDen H. P. LOVECRAFT - 125th Anniversary Exhibition by RUIZBURGOS 007 Skyfall by MarkRaats 
  • Listening to: Various SOMA-FM feeds
  • Reading: "Apex" by Ramez Naam
  • Watching: Mad Max: Fury Road!
I guess this is a second chapter to my earlier blog, “Are SF Writers Leading or Following?” I think the answer to that question is “both”. Since that earlier piece I’ve only seen more retreat – particularly with my middle-aged peers – from embracing new SF in favor of going back to the well-worn path of creative fruits from the late, mid, or early 20th century. The most obvious reason seems to be that the outlook from where we stand now is not particularly inviting, with global warming (or the exhausting effort to deny it), a reduction in ambitious visions of manned space  exploration (unless you’re Chinese), an increase in global obesity, the continued rise of religious extremism, the uncertainties of where the digital age is leading us, the empowerment of plutocracies in “the Free West” and the coming tests (and turmoil) over the validity of the capitalist model.

Given all that who can blame someone for looking “backwards” for a vision of the future. It’s not realistic… but it can be comforting. However now more than ever scifi has a role to play. The future before us is probably less predictable than the one we saw in the latter 20th century, but face it: while that “old future” seemed brighter, it didn’t turn out to be the path reality chose to walk.

So increasingly I see a division in SF fandom (and pros): those who accept the challenge of unblinkingly looking to the future from today’s vantage, and those turning their backs in favor of “comfort food fiction”. One is a pursuit of scifi’s mission. The other is an exercise in nostalgia (I think this includes all Star Trek’s manifestations, to date). The old stuff may still be entertaining, but it’s “off-mission”. Fresh SF has a shelf life.

I expect to see this audience divide (let me label it “progressive SF” vs. “conservative SF”, for lack of better terms, though the political associations are not relevant) grow even more obvious in the next few years, or at least become more clearly divided.

[disable cranky SF purist mode] OK. You’ve endured that, now a treat – ART!!!! GO!, my DA brothers and sisters!!! Feed your eyes and imaginations!

Max Rebo Band by Montygog Do your best impression of Batman by jadenwithwings Contact by Abiogenisis Super Dreadnought Axbet by Daemoria Snowgoose spaceplane 1 by Alex-Brady-TAD :thumb398831157: Gargoyle by KaranaK 2010 - The Year We Make Contact by Steve-T3D Arriving by martydesign
  • Listening to: Various SOMA-FM feeds
  • Reading: "Up Against It" by M.J. Locke
  • Watching: Person of Interest
I survived Snowmageddon! Honestly it wasn’t too bad here. The other side of the state – Boston – got at least twice the snowfall we got out here. No, it’s not the snow that hit us bad, it was the thaw! Ice dams on the roof edge piled water back under the “roof glacier” and caused it to drip down into the ceiling. The upper surface of my studio office now looks and smells like the site of a horrific rodent holocaust.

But hey – the plus side is Spring 2016 is well on its way to hatching, with green sprouts and chipmunks making their appearance in the front yard. I spent most of the last four weeks on a couple of book covers. First is the cover for “Star Trek: Seekers 4” (#3 hasn’t even had it’s public rollout yet, but we should be getting close!), which is probably due for publication late in the year. Second is a cover for Allen Steele’s new SF short story collection for Fantastic Books, “Tales of Time and Space”, due out in one month from now. I’ll be posting the cover art shortly.

With almost 25% of the year now gone by, I have little progress to report on my personal  creative goals for the year: becoming productive with modeling (using Hexagon) and writing my first real SF short story. But there’s still time… providing I don’t get too distracted by political clown circus gearing up to roll into Everytown USA this year.

While I haven’t been too productive on DA in the last couple of months, there's plenty of other folks that have been stokin’ the creative firestorm with their own cool stuff. Check it out!!!

The Symbiont World-Key Visual by przemek-duda The Last Human by karichristensen Stratospheric Colony by Phade01 Dilophosaurus by Carlo-Arellano BLACK FISH by CrazyAsian1 Model Pupil by PaulSuttonArt Home by artofjokinen :thumb512122392: Moment of creation by sketchboook Babel 02 by duster132 Pulp Sci-Fiction by serg4d the last ELS, low mars orbit by fmilluminati Shrew by Wildweasel339 Zero Gravity - collaboration by neverdying T V08 by NovA29R Bond by AndyFairhurst The Warriors - a couple of small changes. by Paul-Lloyd Station by FlorentLlamas Charlie Brown - Colors by SeanE by LeoVitalis disection with Dr. Tulp by URM R.I.P. Leonard Nimoy by DevonneAmos Wave Skimmer by Balaskas U.E.S.P.A. 2 - Bantam Edition by Johnny-Radar

  • Listening to: Various SOMA-FM feeds
  • Reading: "Up Against It" by M.J. Locke
  • Watching: Person of Interest
OK, I this is my first REAL blog update of 2015. Which means, I’m back on DA with a more regular frequency. There are a few projects in the pipelines that I hope to be able to talk more about in the near future. While I can’t share story details, I got my assignment for the Star Trek Seekers #4 cover, yesterday, and will be diving into that in the coming days.

While my winter has been “graphic-lite” as far as my output, my mind’s been working overtime on playing with SF concepts. A lot of my musing has surrounded the many aspects of human anatomy and psychology that we take for granted and how changing those parameters in an alien species would TRULY result in something alien to interact with. That may sound basic and obvious, but all too oft SF stories treat aliens like, say, giant, sentient spider-beavers who have the affable personality of cabby. The act of establishing basic communication with a species of which we share few to no common perspectives and priorities may be incredibly daunting.

Playing with all these ideas, many of which require a subtlety that extends beyond the power of most visuals to convey, has lit a bit of a writing fire under my lazy butt. So I’m trying to make it a personal objective to complete at least one SF short story this year. Tune in a year from now to see if I have anything to show for that commitment…

In sad news I just got a letter from Masao Okazaki ( www.starfleet-museum.org/ ), who many of you may know as the primary force behind the Starfleet Museum website, as well being the father of cool Star Trek tech creations like the Watchtower class space station and the Archer class scout. Due to some unforeseen health issues he may no longer be participating in Trek fan creations as he’s done for many, MANY years. If so his input will be sorely missed, but his impact on the mythos is already undeniable. I wish him a solid recover from his ailment and hope that he might once again be able to join our creative playground.

I’m not sure what cons I’ll be attending this year. The only certain one at the moment is Boskone, next month in Boston, MA. I’ll be there on Saturday, Feb. 14. I won’t have any art in the show, unfortunately. If you'll be ther, LMK! Maybe we can hook up to say "hi".

I’ll now leave you with an overdue collection of DA’s Recent Greatest Hits by other artists while I close the door on my bunker to prepare for the snowmageddon (™) that’s due to hit us in the northeast within the day.


THE MARTIAN by RHADS Lali at the window .1 by erogenesisCGI Helium-3 Farms by SMPritchard LEO Rendezvous by MacRebisz Soviet Moon by MacRebisz Voyager 3 Pluto flyby by MacRebisz Mononoke by Miles-Johnston Space Cowboys by DevonneAmos SHIPS by Seeker800 Blue Flame by dead-robot Alien 5 Factory by djahal Version B also flies by CUTANGUS Silver sunset by KuldarLeement Born of hope by thefirstfleet Lunar Investigation by MacRebisz NASA JPL Comet Hitchhiker #2 by Eimer :thumb509327438: Cooking Noodles by artofjokinen Space Elevator by dustycrosley Nya Furontia by JacobCharlesDietz No Kill I - A Mother's Plea by Ptrope :thumb508459904: Commission - Star Wars B-wing by Shimmering-Sword Pirat base by AKIRAwrong MILL10NAIRES by yakonusuke Heart of Nature by yakonusuke Old Rusty's by artofjokinen Nostromo by AndyFairhurst Enceladus Depot by William-Black
  • Listening to: Various SOMA-FM feeds
  • Reading: "Atopia Chronicles" by Matthew Mather
  • Watching: Mad Men
Apologies to all my DA friends, regulars, and watchers, but I still seem to be on a bit of a hiatus from the site – at least as far as new material and participation with fellow creators. This have been pretty busy in real life… and blah, blah, blah. A bit of laziness and distraction at play, to be honest. But I’ll be back into the thick of things soonishly. Meanwhile I hope you all had a great New Year!

 

But let me at least leave you with something to chew on for a minute or two… my annual reading list, back by popular demand. Well… popular with me, at least. I didn’t get much summer reading done this year so my finished list is a bit smaller than I’d hoped:

 

"The Middle of Nowhere" by David Gerrold
"Blood and Fire" by David Gerrold
"The Frozen Sky" by Jeff Carlson
"Biocentrism" by Robert Lanza
"The Martian" by Andy Weir
"Raising Cubby" by John Elder Robison
"The Churn" by James S.A. Corey
"Vn: First Machine Dynasty" by Madeline Ashby
"Cibola Burn" by James S.A. Corey
"Seekers 1: Second Nature" by David Mack
"Escape from Earth" (novella) by Allen Steele
"Seekers 2: Point of Divergence by Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore
"The Meaning of Human Existence" by E.O.Wilson
"The Science of Interstellar" by Kip Thorne
"The Swerve: How The World Became Modern" by Stephen Goldblatt
"Star Trek: New Visions" by John Byrne
"The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View from the Future" by Oreskes and Conway
"A Darkling Sea" by James L. Cambias

 

This year I hope to be able to add my own short story to said list. We’ll how well desire translates into action, soon enough.

  • Listening to: Bagel Radio / Echo & the Bunnymen
  • Reading: "Three Body Problem" by Cixin Liu
  • Watching: Black Mirror
Hey all.... sorry I've been AWOL lately. It's just life and the like distracting me. Hopefully I'll get my head back in the DA game soon and get caught up. 'Til then I hope you all have a great holiday season and GO SEE "INTERSTELLAR"!!!!!!
  • Listening to: Bagel Radio
  • Reading: "The Swerve" by Stephen Greebnblat
  • Watching: Agents of SHIELD S1
With Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar” premier about a month away, I’ve found myself thinking more about exploration-themed SF. For me that’s always been the primary appeal of the genre and why shows like the original Star Trek got their hooks into me. The challenges of managing an alien first contact or confronting an ancient alien mystery have always been high octane fuel for my imagination.  

Unfortunately it’s been a dying brand of SF in recent years, at least on the media scene. Just look at the Star Trek movie franchise and how many of the recent works have essentially been “the Enterprise crew vs. a future super villain”.

 

Anyway, I’ve probably beat a hole in that drum by now, but I though it might be fun tempt you all into a group effort: to seek out strange new worlds! What images by Deviant Art members best evoke a sense of exploration and/or scifi mystery to you? If you want to play, share you choices in the comment section!

 

Of course if I’m going to thrown down the gauntlet, it’s only right that I kick it off with some of my own picks:

 

The Secret Passage... by 3DLandscapeArtist Waters of Europa by JoeyJazz Curiosity by KuldarLeement Meeting by ahaas

Dark corners of a dead world by ILJackson A Flock of Hylighters by KerroPerro The Derelict by steve-burg Ground Truth by Drell-7

 

So what ya got? What DA images send your brain into “alien exploration overdrive”?

  • Listening to: Bagel Radio
  • Reading: "Point of Divergence" by Ward/Dilmore
  • Watching: Arrested Development
First and foremost thank you all for the birthday wishes this weekend. WOW! The volume was delightfully intimidating! I really appreciate them all – from the simple “Happy B-Day” greeting to the more ambitious and nuanced postings. Life in “online times” certainly does make birthdays a more robust affair, in its own way. It almost makes aging fun!

Almost…

The past month or so has been a busy one as part of the team promoting the initial release of the Star Trek Seekers series. It’s been conventions, promo posters, interviews, and the like. If you’d like to hear me and the writing team chat it up for about 45 minutes, you can listen to the podcast on SciFi4Me Live From The Bunker:

www.blogtalkradio.com/scifi4me…

I also did a text interview over at The Trek Collective:

www.thetrekcollective.com/2014…

With the second Seekers book out this week I think we’re through the big promotional push… AND I’m starting to work on the cover for book three! Seekers 3 and 4 are both greenlit for production (yay!).

In other news, as many of you know I’m a big fan and evangelist for the James S.A. Corey SF series, “The Expanse”. With four books and several novellas already written, it’s been a saga that has given the space opera/adventure SF genre a good shot in the arm. So much so that it found favor with the SyFy Channel to be made into a series.

News on the Expanse production’s been coming out in a trickle and there haven’t been any tasty pre-production images released yet, but they’ve been revealing the results of their casting. So far we have Thomas Jane as Belter Detective Miller, Steven Strait as the main protagonist James Holden, and Shohreh Aghdashloo as the foul-mouthed Chrisjen Avasarala. I’ve not heard anything about the production schedule so I don’t know when the series is planned to roll out, but at this point it’s just exciting to know it’s being made. Done right this has all the makings to become the next Firefly… though hopefully longer lived. Meanwhile, on the literary side, the cover for Expanse Book 5 – “Nemesis Games”- has had a public reveal.

If you want to stay up to date on Expanse news, the best two places I know of are:

The James S.A. Corey Facebook page:
www.facebook.com/JamesSACorey

The Daniel Abraham blog:
www.danielabraham.com/

Now…cool works from around DA!!!!

Guardians Of The Galaxy by AndyFairhurst Pygmy forest by MetalSnail Exploring Phobos, 1957 by Paul-Lloyd 2 Man Space Tug Diagram by William-Black Maneuvering by Bartlebooth Ascent by Jetfreak-7 Seven Samurai Poster by SHAN-01 Star Wars - Episode IV by abonny sprocket raccoon by BrianKesinger DY-100, realistic by 1Wyrmshadow1 Ogre Coelacanth by MrAverage Shadowing by NikYeliseyev Starting a voyage by davemetlesits Vonck DD-19 Barrelfighter by Ywander Yeoman Rand - STTOS by sodacan Brainsgiving Dinner by hardnox757
  • Listening to: SOMA-FM
  • Reading: "The Unicorporated Man"
  • Watching: Classic SF cinema
It’s amazing to look back at the original Star Trek and see how many of its gadgets (communicators, computer diskettes, digital tablets) have been made real by engineers who grew up with the show and were inspired by “what could be”. But it seems to me that modern SF – especially that of the last two decades – seems to be losing its creative edge by lagging behind real world science and innovation.

I forget the author, but someone earlier this year wrote an opinion piece entitled something like “is science about to run out of new discoveries?”. The only conclusion I can draw from such a statement is that the author is ignorant in terms of modern science news. We’ve discovered so many amazing things in recent years and most of the time when we open a door it just leads to deeper questions, like how the confirmation of the Higgs boson begs the next question of whether, true to Standard Model symmetry, it has an anti-particle… or if it’s actually its own anti-particle?

At a recent convention I sat in on a presentation on the state of the art with interferometry. In the next year or so, using ground based radio telescopes, we could actually be imaging the event horizon of the massive black hole that sits at the center of our galaxy. And even without breakthroughs like that, we’ve now discovered over 1800 extrasolar planets, with instrument refinement giving us more and more info on each, as well as expanding that number. And closer to home we’ve gotten our first really close up look at a comet nucleus, with a landing due to take place later this year. And next year we’ll finally get up close and personal with demoted Pluto and its court of moons as well as getting our first good look at the asteroid belt’s largest member, the dwarf planet Ceres.

Growing up I found reading SF to be the best source to stretch my imagination to the possible, but these days I just seem to find that SF – or at least the stuff I’ve been reading and watching – is not usually as inspirational to me as just keeping up with breaking science news. Like any technical profession, SF writers need to keep up on the latest breakthroughs and state of the art (or science), and I’m just not sure enough are doing that? The advance of discoveries today makes the job of being a cutting edge SF author harder than its ever been - at least if they want to fill the shoes of the previous generation in shining an inspirational light down our path to the future.

And now, a thousand words each from my DA peers:

Capella-class Utility Ship by Masazaki Flight by SidharthChaturvedi Eagle's Nest, Too by Ptrope Yellow starship by Paul-Lloyd abandoned 'Mars' by LMorse Thunderbird 3 stands ready. by Chrisofedf Akira by Quirkilicious TOS USS Miranda by Greywolf-Starkiller Eagle eye island by LMorse Transition by LMorse Porco Rosso Front by monkibase Vampirella Premium Format Statue by Artgerm Back in the saddle! by erogenesisCGI Suma Spire by AlexConnolly

  • Listening to: SOMA-FM
  • Reading: "The Unicorporated Man"
  • Watching: Classic SF cinema
I’m not sure how many of you are psyched for the release of the “Guardians of the Galaxy” movie, but I am. A year ago that statement would have surprised me. In part because I never had any real draw towards the comic. But after seeing all the great trailers and clips out there, I’m hooked. At least hooked enough to dare to have some good expectations. It looks like good, pure fun!

<da:thumb id="444433209"/> <da:thumb id="467951475"/>

Part of what appeals to me is having some rock ‘em, sock ‘em space adventure that doesn’t take itself too deadly serious. My younger self liked that stuff, but now I find I’m drawn to more works that let you laugh once in a while. Or a lot. I’m not talking about space comedies, like “Spaceballs”, but dramatic shows with a well written humor subtext like “Firefly”. They remind me a bit of the crazy space adventures that I shared with my buddy Bill ( abakon.deviantart.com/ ) in my old RPG days.
 
Guardians of the Galaxy by GeekyAnimator
My intolerance for ponderous, deadly serious SF is what turned me away from the series “Enterprise”. The scripts felt so dreadfully self-important and dry … not to mention sloppily written with plot holes the size of 18-wheelers. Inversely it’s why I so enjoyed books like Andy Weir’s “The Martian” (now being made into a film by Ridley Scott) and James S.A. Corey’s “Expanse” series (being developed as a series for SyFy). Sure, the basic plots are serious business, but the characters are willing to laugh at themselves and their challenges, as we all do in real life. Well… at least those of us that are fun at parties. And I'm talking about well-written, clever humor, not the forced belly laugh of a Jaj-Jar Binks fart joke written to amuse six year olds.

Another element that appeals to me about “Guardians…” is the 70’s SF production design. As you can probably tell I have a real soft pot for that look so they’re hittin’ my sweet spot. I’m sure the movie won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but it sure looks like its gonna make my palate happy!

  Guardians Of The Galaxy by AndyFairhurst

Two days ‘til I’m off to Shore Leave ( www.shore-leave.com/ ) in Baltimore, then it’s back home to see “the movie” (!!!) and to start my next cover assignment – a piece for a Kindle release of an Allen Steele novella. Catch ya ‘round on the digital playground! ‘Til next time, here’s a handful of DA eye candy worth gobblin’ down:

Scrap ship by badillafloyd Hover craft by simonfetscher Alien Jungle-2 by ahaas Kelway Station by Jim197

Mature Content

Intergalactic Faerie by Fredy3D
Callisto Mission Spacecraft Command Deck Overhead by William-Black Futuristic City 7 by Scott Richard by rich35211 Leonidas in Dry dock - Ventral view by Hummakavuula Unification War Era Wingship by William-Black Stake out - DC New 52 Batgirl by yayacosplay The Seekers - Log One - for Rob-Caswell by Ptrope starship by Paul-Lloyd Lady In The Dark by markkarvon USS Endurance by dragonpyper Volutz-Tinzin by kaario Gentle Giant by Chrisofedf Destiny Angel (Captain Scarlet) by Small-Brown-Dog Forty Second Boyd by N0T3R Powhatanortho by XFozzboute Encounter by Drell-7 Martian Rust by MacRebisz Sisters in the Stars by Ptrope

Man… you guys leave me in awe!
  • Listening to: SOMA-FM
  • Reading: "Seekers 1"
  • Watching: Nina Paley animations
I usually try to make my blog’s about something – either stuff that going on with me that might be of interest or some shared matter that’s been occupying my brain’s processing time. But right now I got nothin’. Well… nothing beyond the release of the first “Star Trek Seekers”, which is certainly cool! It’s been a lazy, quiet summer with amazing moderate weather (read: not too stinkin’ hot n’ humid, for once). My big project for the month has been prepping the Shore Leave convention. I’ll be featuring some art in the art show. I’ll be participating on the Seekers panel with The Guys (aka “the Seekers’ writing talent”) and may be giving a slideshow/talk on my art and how things led up to the Seekers project. And, if all goes well, we’ll have a limited release promotional 11”x14” Seekers poster available exclusively at the con as a hand out, on which we’re all happy to scribble our names for free.

Or not.

So I hope some of you can make it down to Hunt Valley, Maryland for the weekend. If you do, please flag me down and say “hi”! That’s:

SHORE LEAVE 36 (www.shore-leave.com)
FRIDAY AUG.1 - SUNDAY AUG. 3
The Hunt Valley Inn
245 Shawan Rd., Hunt Valley, MD 21031
Telephone: 410-785-7000 or 866-764-8359

I’m hoping that, once the con’s behind me, my brain will get back to the business of making some cool art. But for the moment it seems to be on vacation and sipping imaginary pina coladas. But there’s still lots of other great minds that AREN’T on vacation, so check out their fruits below!

The king Tiger by rOEN911 Out of the Cradle by Drell-7 Jora Guild Wars by illyne Observation deck by simonfetscher Crimson River by ARTek92 Scrap by ahaas Protector by Paul-Lloyd Forbidden Planet by Pyrosity Futuristic Bay by FlorentLlamas Hammer deflector by DonMeiklejohn Ussrfrig Sheet One by vir-inter-astrum

Lali's Custom-built Super Soaker by erogenesisCGI :thumb457995715: EscapeFromNewYork by oldredjalopy Patterns of Force by thefirstfleet All planes, Launch your lances! by AoiWaffle0608

  • Listening to: SOMA-FM
  • Reading: "The Unincorporated Man"
  • Watching: "Breaking Bad"
Sorry folks. I didn't plan to take a DA hiatus, it's just turned out that way thanks to a very busy Summer, so far. So my apologies for falling behind on "all things DA". I'll try to get caught up as time allows. One of the things that's been keeping me busy is promotional activities around the release of the Star Trek Seeker's book series, debuting next month. I've got two con events lined up. First is the coming weekend:

"STAR TREK SEEKERS: FROM ART TO WORDS"
PI-CON, ENFIELD, CONN. (pi-con.org/)
2pm SATURDAY, JUNE 28
Jumping off from the USA TODAY headline "Rob Caswell Goes Where No Fan Has Gone Before", this visual presentation will follow the development of my SF art… from it's earliest scrawling to how it inspired a sequel to the Vanguard book series. Hopefully it'll be an intimate and entertaining look at my art… but it could just be like my inflicting you with my own home movies. I'm hoping for the former.

Star Trek Seekers 1 - formatted by RobCaswell

And then, kicking off Seekers 1's release:

SHORE LEAVE, HUNT VALLEY, MARYLAND (www.shore-leave.com)
FRIDAY AUG.1 - SUNDAY AUG. 3
EVENTS NOT YET FINALIZED
I'll be at Shore Leave along with all the Seeker's authors to help celebrate the lunch of the series. I know I'm at least on a panel with the four of us. I've also done the cover for the con's program book and will have pieces for sale in the art show.

Star Trek Seekers 2 - formatted by RobCaswell

I hope to see some of you at these two happenings. If you can, please stop by, introduce yourself, and say hi! It's always nice to put faces to names. When the books roll out I'll be adding some "Seekers Development Extras" to my DA gallery, so stay tuned! Once I have these two events out of the way, I should be back to a more dedicated schedule of keeping up with DA and all your inspiring works. 'Til then I hope you're all having a great Summer…. or Winter, for my Southern Hemisphere chums.
  • Listening to: SOMA-FM
  • Reading: "Cibola Burn"
  • Watching: Chipmunks
I recently flew back from Italy. It's my first time outside North America. It was amazing to consider I started my return day on the Italian Riviera (no, I'm not rich…), then flew over the snow capped Alps, over the chilly North Atlantic dotted with floating icebergs as far as the eye could see, then over the still snow laced tundra of Labrador to arrive back in balmy New England. I don't take that for granted, and don't understand how any one can?

For me flying is the closest I come to a religious experience. Maybe it's because it forces my brain to "think big". You can't look out the window and not see that humanity - all that stuff we take for granted: cars, houses, friends, family - is all just a fine dust distributed around a vast globe. But at the same time you see Earth more as a planet - a finite ecosystem in which powerful yet subtle natural processes shape the land and life.

I don't understand why more people aren't awed by the views and the change in perspective - especially our political representatives who do a fair bit of flying yet remain so small minded. Maybe it's because some don't like to fly and are preoccupied by their fears during the process? I confess that when I fly I become a total fatalist. If we land safe or crash, my concerns and skills would have little effect on the outcome, so I just throw myself into the experience of being an observer.

Or maybe I'm just a freak? In any case flying has always opened my mind and spirit by viewing nature and our planetary cradle on that scale. It's no wonder that the Apollo astronauts were awed by seeing Earth in its entirety in their sky. Maybe we need to fly all our politicians to the Moon, just in hopes it will allow them to "think bigger"?

'K. Nuff spiritual chatter. More art! Click to visit strange new worlds!

<da:thumb id="397019741"/> The Martian - EVA suit design by artofjokinen  Submarine shaped by gypcg  Waters of Europa by JoeyJazz SR-71 by Athan1995 The Secret Passage... by 3DLandscapeArtist Laputa by FlorentLlamas Dragon Patrol by biomass Discovery by Long-Pham  Heavy Lift Nuclear SSTO by William-Black <da:thumb id="424055555"/>

Mature Content

Lali in Sierra Leone by erogenesisCGI
A New Hope by Noble--6 Amy Wong from Futurama by lillybearbutt <da:thumb id="444926868"/>
  • Listening to: SOMA-FM
  • Reading: "Vn: The First Machine Dynasty"
  • Watching: Cosmos
I've been waiting for the day the publisher would publicly reveal the covers I did for the first two books in upcoming "Star Trek: Seekers" series (see my earlier blog for details: rob-caswell.deviantart.com/jou… ), which I completed last December. Today is that day, which is cool and fun in and of itself, but the bigger surprise was the venue for the rollout. The covers were featured as an exclusive in today's (May 8) USA Today "Book Buzz" section, in both the print and web versions, along with a bit about myself and how the project came about!! I was blind-sided... in a good way! You can read the online version here:

www.usatoday.com/story/life/bo…
The USA Today print blurb on Seekers by RobCaswell

A big thanks to the modelers who supplied the critical foundation for these works: David Metlesits (D7), Mark Azevedo and Ptrope (Sagittarius/Archer), Fabio Passaro (Klingon BoP), and Georg Ankelakis (Constitution/Endeavour). If you care to chime in I'd like to hear which covers grabs you more :)

Star Trek Seekers 1 - formatted by RobCaswell Star Trek Seekers 2 - formatted by RobCaswell

The books will be released in July and August, respectively. In a way this first outing is a two-part story, starting with the crew of the Sagittarius and concluding in the next book under the crew of the Endeavour. Myself and the authors will be at the Shore Leave convention ( www.shore-leave.com/ )in the Batlimore area to celebrate the the publication. Both books are now available on Amazon (et al) for pre-order.
  • Listening to: Tune-Yards
  • Reading: "The Churn" by James S.E. Corey
  • Watching: Yamato 2199 on DVD!!!!
I am now working under my name as known in SF publishing circles, from my time in SF gaming up through my work on contemporary novel interior genre illustrations and  coming covers for the Star Trek “Seekers” series. The reason for the name change is largely professional and frankly it’s long overdue. My path into the 3D genre has been long, strange, and unplanned. Think of this move as “branding”… and not the kind that involves screaming cows. Arcas will trundle off to the shadows from whence he came, continuing to do his shadowy stuff in those shadowy places, and being referred to in third person.

For this change I went through my whole gallery, re-doing all my signatures… and I can’t begin to tell you how much of a pain-in-the-glutes that was?!! My aching back (really!). I’ve now learned to hate my own prolific abilities. But as a by product I was able to refocus and edit my gallery, pruning out some of the less attractive branches. I was also able to tune up many images, giving them needed tweaks that are now obvious to me with the years of retrospect (or maybe it’s just failing vision?).

So that is, in part, the reason I’ve had such a low profile here in the past couple of months. I’ve been up to my eyeballs in making this change, doing commission work, and taking care of real life (day job, family, etc), leaving little time for commenting, interacting, and creating new personal works. I’m hoping things will start to smooth out a bit come June. Then, come August, Shore Leave happens down in the Baltimore area and the Seekers books start to roll out. WOO-HOO!

I apologize for any inconvenience the name change creates, but this is the last time. I promise.
 
Maybe.

Though “Wilfred T. Bundernoot III” does have a cool ring to it. Hmmm….

As usual I leave you with some recent DA highlights (as I see ‘em). Visit these images/artists and share the love.

:thumb433581417: U.S.S.Valley Forge (Alternative angle) by rOEN911 ReadingAlieeen by maykrender Dark corners of a dead world by ILJackson Senatorial Brief by Balaskas Main Battle Tank by Abiogenisis Deep patrol by NovA29R POISON IVY 1966 by RUIZBURGOS Lali on the Attic 2 by erogenesisCGI Sci-fi city by alex-ichim 7th Sector Sea Monster by buryatsky Waterbear by Vladdyboy :thumb444433209: ISS Expedition Coming Home by markkarvon Balls to the Wall by N0T3R The Line MUST Be Drawn HERE! by Ptrope Neptune Cruiser by beltminer Curiosity by KuldarLeement Guardian Angel by rOEN911 :thumb435676673: Environment Wip09 by yongs SideComparison02b by NyrathWiz

UPDATE: Phew! I haven't had much time for DA this past month and stuff really piled up! Thanks for the comments, everyone! I'll try to get to answering those, soon.

  • Listening to: Tune-Yards
  • Reading: "Raising Cubby" by J.E.Robison
  • Watching: Person of Interest
OK... enough of life's sad losses. Let's take a look at those who are still with us and inspire anew each day! Caesar102 ( caesar120.deviantart.com/ ) , known to legal documents as Michael Vilardi, is an old friend and illustrator whose work constantly raises the bar for me… like a mean old bully who took my lunch and keeps it just outside of reach  :) Mike's always had mad drawing skills and began to seriously pursue it by attending the Rhode Island School of Design… but life gave him a wedgie and the plan changed. But there's no putting a damper on skills like his.

'Make A Move' by caesar120 Feral Attack! by caesar120 Dragon's Breath: Color Test by caesar120


I met Mike sometime in the 80's (insert wholly fabricated war story, here). When I became art director at Digest Group Publications I opened the door for him there where he produced some great art and proved himself to be the definitive artist for the Aslan alien race. I pulled Mike with me over to do work for West End Games on Paranoia and ultimately the Star Wars RPG.

'Aslan Attack' by caesar120 MegaTraveller: Arrival Vengeance by caesar120 'Tactical Error' by caesar120

Mike's Star Wars work left the rest of us in the dust. The opportunity to work on that license seemed to make his already considerable illustrative fires burn even brighter. We were there as the doors began to open on The Expanded Universe, allowing both of us to leave out fingerprints on the visual look of some key characters and hardware. Mike was one of the first artists to bring Mara Jade's image to life.

'Hold On Tight' by caesar120 'Cantina' by caesar120 'Blindside' by caesar120

These days Mike's ( caesar120.deviantart.com/ ) still doing some sporadic gaming work, as well as taking on private commissions. And his work still embodies all those elements that make space operatic SF so much fun to dive into.
  • Listening to: Bagel Radio
  • Reading: Biocentrism by Robert Lanza
  • Watching: Arrow
  • Drinking: To lost friends and family
As I sadly reported earlier in the week my friend and iconic Traveller artist, Bryan Gibson, died unexpectedly of pneumonia. Bryan's work was long noticed and enjoyed by many, within the Traveller community and beyond. He leaves behind his 16 year old daughter, Pamela, as his only close family.
Girls Night Out Color by Sabakakrazny
I was not surprised to discover that Bryan died virtually penniless. His passions for art, friends, and family ruled his life, but he was always "fiscally challenged". As a result his daughter and her mother are asking for donations to help with Bryan's modest funeral arrangements. If you never had a chance to thank Bryan the enjoyment that his art brought you, this may be your last real chance to make it manifest. And if Bryan was a friend... as he was for me... it can be a final thank your for the friendship and good times.
commission by Sabakakrazny
Donations are being collected through FundRazr: fundrazr.com/campaigns/1hR32/a… .  Thanks for your consideration in this final helping hand to an inspirational artist whose work helped entertain and fire so many imaginations.
  • Listening to: Bagel Radio
  • Reading: Biocentrism by Robert Lanza
  • Watching: Arrow
  • Drinking: To lost friends and family