Archive for August, 2012

This.  This is what I want for Zomblobs!… someday.  I saw the trend, the potential, but I’m not sure that my timing will be sufficient.  Trying to chase new markets in game design isn’t something that’s easy to do when timing is a factor, and I can only put hobbyist time (and barely that) into the process.

3D Printed Open Source Game

Zomblobs! may never really happen as a product I can make money from, or even be as finalized as I’d like (real life is a beast sometimes) but it’s nice to see that it could have, and that I wasn’t the only one to see the potential there.  Yes, technically, that’s an open source game, not really a commercial product, but still… 3D printing can be a great tool for indie-scale game design.


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Ballpoint Pen Art

Most of my art starts with a sketch in my sketchbook (if you look at the Buccateer, you can see the pen drawing), and almost all of them are done with ballpoint pens.  You can see other pen drawings over in my old mini portfolio thisaway, and interspersed here and there on the blog.

I find that drawing with pens makes me simultaneously more careful and more fluid, as well as faster and more accurate.  When I’m drawing with pens, I have to either get it right the first time or learn to incorporate my mistakes.  Once I made the switch from pencils (sadly, once I hit college… I wish I’d switched in high school or earlier), my line quality went up, my control over pressure was greatly improved, my ability to draw smooth curves and straight lines increased, and I learned to see what I was trying to draw better (especially figure drawings), as I needed to get it right, not relying on “fixing it in post“, as it were.

Dwarven Tinkerer, pure pen

I do sometimes sketch things out and then scan them into the computer, there to be cleaned up a little and/or painted under, making things like this… which was originally two sketches (the book was separate and I spliced it in) and a bit of Photoshop paint underneath.  I describe the process over thisaway, on the Puzzle Pirate forums (I really need to make one of those posts here, too, just to keep it in house).

Vargas the Not Yet Mad

To be sure, working with conte or charcoal helped as well, as those mediums are conducive to quick, loose drawings with a minimum of corrections.  I’ve done figure drawings with conte, charcoal, pencil and paint, and my best work wound up being with the nearly uncorrected conte.  (Yes, it’s nothing great as far as figure drawings go, but it’s my most presentable one.)

Male Seated Back

I think something similar would happen if I finally picked up oil painting.  I’ve done my fair share of watercolor painting, and I’ve learned to make them work fairly well for a variety of effects, but I hated them in junior high.  I pushed through it and tried a variety of techniques, and eventually wound up at least vaguely competent with them, but I’ve never done much with oils.  I’m a little intimidated by them and their appearance of being unforgiving.  (OK, their high cost doesn’t help.)  I know that I could learn control and develop skill with them, even though they can be tricky… I just haven’t put in the time yet.

Anyway, snippets of art wisdom aside, I’m mentioning all this mostly to point out this fascinating and very well-wrought series of pieces done entirely in ballpoint pen from a Mr. Samuel Silva.  His work puts my piddling little sketches to shame.

Ballpoint Pen Art by Samuel Silva

And the best part?  He’s a lawyer by day.  I really have to wonder, what would his art look like if he made a career out of it.  A big part of me thinks that it might suffer, actually, in accordance to what I noted earlier about work vs. hobbies, and doing what you do for love or for money.  Mr. Silva doesn’t do these pieces to make ends meet.  He does them because he can and because he wants to.  It seems to me that it worked out really well.

Sometimes the best art is art you do simply because you need to do it.  (Though sometimes, it’s perhaps best to… forbear some artistry.)

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Just something else I’ve been working on.


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Life is really busy now… but as of early early this morning, I have officially finished illustrating my first book!  My mother teaches piano and guitar, and writes music and stories on the side.  This is her first book she has wanted to get officially produced, so she and I worked together to make it happen.  It’s not yet available for the general public, we’re waiting on the first pass of production to see if we’re happy with the book layout, print quality and that sort of thing.  Still, it’s really nice to say “I illustrated a book, for real, really!”

I might dig a bit into my illustration process in a post or two, sort of like my old “how I do avatar art” thread (that I still need to replicate here as a blog post… someday), but for now, I’m just going to relax a little this weekend, take some long exposure photographs of the stars, and maybe play some Dominion or Quarriors.

…then get back to work on Zomblobs!, of course.  This book illustration thing is a big part of why I haven’t done more with Zomblobs! lately, but I’ll be hitting it more in the near future.  If nothing else, I have some game design blathering to do.

Until then, may your Halloween dreams be haunted by black cats with eyepatches.

Black Cats And Spaghetti Cover

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Hi, I’m Tesh, and I’m a late adopter.

I am interested in the bleeding edge of technology and entertainment, especially as I’m trained to produce some of it, but I’m just cheap enough that I don’t bother trying to keep up as a consumer.  I buy used cars.  I buy books on sale and used books (getting old Battletech source books for less than $5 with shipping made me happy).  I buy games well past their expensive heyday (the $30 I spent on the World of Warcraft Miniatures game and 18 other models for it were well worth the price, and my Magic the Gathering collection is all oldish and cheap, but still well worth playing).  I haven’t purchased a game at full price since Frozen Synapse, but before that, it was Street Fighter 2 Turbo for the SNES back in 1993.  (Paying $70 for it then pretty much burned me out forever on buying games when they are new.)

That’s why I love Steam sales like the recent Summer Sale event.  For less than the cost of Batman Arkham City on day one, I was able to get several games… including Batman Arkham City.  I just had to wait a while.  (For the record, I got Warlock – Master of the Arcane, SOL: Exodus, Plants vs. Zombies, Lost Horizon [thanks, Andrew!], Future Wars, Demolition Inc., Dear Esther, HOARD, Swords and Soldiers HD, Wings of Prey, and Arkham City and its Harley’s Revenge DLC.)  The Indie Bundles are also presently on sale again on Steam at the moment, just in case you missed one.  I recommend this one and this one… but there are gems all over the place.

Similarly, I got Final Fantasy 11 and several of its expansions for $5 a while back, and RIFT’s Collector’s Edition, also for $5.  I picked up the base World of Warcraft and its first two expansions for $30 last Christmas, and Cataclysm for another $20 a bit later.  Notably, if I’d waited on that, I could have got those for even cheaper thanks to the Scroll of Resurrection promotion they ran a while back (which also came with a character promotion to level 80, itself worth a bit of money, really); if I’d picked up the base WoW for $5 as I’ve seen before, I could have gotten all the rest in that promotion.  I kinda wish I’d waited on that, too.  (I’m curious to see what the next ‘Scroll offers, actually.  They set an interesting precedent.  I’m looking forward to taking advantage of it.)

Just yesterday, Star Wars, The Old Republic went and surprised everyone who wasn’t paying attention by announcing an impending business model conversion, the pretty much inevitable “free to play” conversion.  I’m pretty much certain to play it now, when I can make the time.  They might even earn some money from me… though I’d have paid them more if they had listened to me almost 4 years ago.

I suppose this trend of mine could prove troublesome.  I do have a nice flatbed scanner that doesn’t play nice with any Windows past XP (Memorex stopped making drivers for it), and my awesome Intuous 12″x12″ tablet that I picked up for $100 instead of the $1000+ it cost initially also doesn’t play nice with any computer that doesn’t have a serial port.  (There’s a tangential rant in there about planned obsolescence, but I’ll save that for another day.)  I might miss out on Collector’s Edition goodies, though those sometimes wind up on eBay later.  I might wind up adopting a twentysomething who just can’t quite graduate from college, or a phone that doesn’t let me remote control the International Space Station.  Still, I’m willing to take the risk.  It’s been worth it so far.

It just takes a bit of time.

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