Beginnings are a delicate thing.

Here is a wonder thread from the site that started me writing (SFFWorld.com) Hook me in 25 Words or Less.  There are quite a lot that would hook me if a story began with them and I have a few in there as well.  Enjoy.

New $1 Reward Added

I added this month’s story to my Patreon page (my Patreon page).  Here is what I wrote:

“Yesterday was a barely functional day so I forgot to add this month’s story to Patreon among other unfinished projects.  So, without too much ado, here is “Another Shift”. 

Nathan is a working stiff low on the totem pole and … Oh yeah, aliens are also attacking Boston.  However, work goes on for now, especially when you have a boss with a big ego and little consideration for those around him.   Today is going to be a long shift.”

Filler’ Up (from my Patreon page)

I have been watching a lot of Youtube, reading, and playing video games lately.  What has that got to do with writing and painting?  Well, glad you asked.  Everything.  I am constantly looking for ideas that push my boundaries in writing and painting.   I found that Youtube has computer animated short film channels where animator and director students and enthusiasts show off their work.  There are not only interesting stories but also beautiful animations in a variety of styles, which are basically moving artwork.

In addition, I recently read two very good books, both free.  The first one I read was about an AI-driven exploration ship that accidentally harms a civilization by ignoring them when it learns the human ability to lose track of time.  I won “At the Speed of Light” by Simon Morden as an early reviewer e-book from the site where I catalog my book collection and I will put a fuller review on the site.  If you are a reader like me, Librarything is a great place to track your books, get reviews, and win free books.  Not all the books are good but a good number are worth the time.  The second book was a free e-book from a new series by one of my favorite authors, Brandon Sanderson.  “The Way of Kings” was a book I was going to hold off on because of how many were projected in the series and how long it takes to get the next installment; however, when you get a free copy, you know.  The only reason to hold off was that my memory is not as good as it used to be and the two or three-year wait for a book makes for lots of confusion.  I reread the “Stone of Farewell” several times waiting on “To Green Angel Tower”.

Finally, I am a big video game buff, but not only for the play, also for the story telling and artwork that has become on a par with anything coming out of Hollywood, sometimes better.  The story and cinematic scenes in Halo 4, Mass Effect, or Skyrim are amazing.  I drink in the art and writing throughout the gameplay.  Almost anything to do with fantasy or science fiction art or writing inspires me to try harder at what I do.  If you check my archives, you will find posts on Mass Effect and Skyrim, as well as, mention of my collection on Librarything, including reviews.

Time to Tease (from my Patreon page)

Well, my day job has really been sucking the life out of me again and I missed posting a reward last week.  I will see about adding something this week, but for now it is time to tease next month’s story reward.

Nathan Anders was a man stuck in a job with an arrogant boss that made life miserable.  He always had to clean up the messes the boss made while the man came off looking pretty in the public’s eyes.  Now aliens were attacking the East Coast and everyone’s minds were turned toward the chaos and destruction but all Nathan could do was continue working to support his boss who was in charge of dealing with this crisis.  The mess was going to be big this time.  Worse yet, it was his anniversary.  Sigh.

Question for Those that Follow this Blog

As you know, from following this blog, I am trying to start making money off of my creative output, both written and painted.  The whole tenor of this blog has changed from thoughts on life, history, and politics to discussions on the mechanics of art and writing.  One of the things I recently did was to create a Patreon page to gain financial support through sharing exclusive content with patrons of my site.  One of the other ways I planned to turn my creativity into a business was to create prints of my work for sale.

To that end, I would like to ask a question.  Would you be willing to pay up front for a print of my work?  The reason I ask is that I would not be able to sell a print to you now without getting the money first to pay for the process.  My thoughts are that I could talk to a printing company, get quotes and a test print of certain images (to make sure the quality is there) then post a price based on a reasonable profit margin.  I would also personally sign each print beyond the signature I have in the painting.  However, I would have to get the money for the print and shipping beforehand since I do not have the cash to make a bunch of prints and sell them.  I basically would order the print as the money came in to pay for it.

At this point, you can buy some prints of my work at my deviantart page but the sizes are limited and I don’t feel they do the work justice.  I am hoping that if the test prints turn out well then I can make the prints in larger sizes to properly show off the detail.  So, if there is enough interest, I will start checking into the possibilities.  The works I am thinking about can all be seen as large size images, except for Quiet Strength – Silent Vulnerability which can only be seen as part of my finished in 2016 recap, at my devianart page.  The images to consider are:

Mystics and Misfits cover with no typography

Quiet Strength – Silent Vulnerability

Universal Eyes – Infinite Sadness

Denouncer cover with no typography

As I create more works, I will expand the list, but these are the ones I feel are worth printing and have no legal issues attached to them. Princess for Ever After; unfortunately, would require asking Disney for the right to sell it and the same for Juliette and Josephus needing legal rights to sell.  If there is enough interest, I will consider checking into the rights.  For now, the ball is all yours.  Let me know what you think.

 

Rob

Riding the High (from my Patreon page)

As I said recently, I am on kinda a high from reaching the conclusion of the Carrie Fisher project.  It has been a while since I have had such a good feeling, my mind is running around in circles thinking about the challenges I overcame with the painting and jumping about with excitement at what I can probably do now.  The feeling is a pleasant mix of past accomplishment and euphoric future possibilities.

I get this feeling from other people’s work as well.  When I see something done that just amazes me, I find new ideas springing up in my head.  Books, films, art, and music can all affect me this way.  Any creative endeavor that opens my mind to new possibilities from changing the way a story is told (Cloud Atlas – the book not the movie) to new ways of depicting science fiction (Star Wars’ game changing special effects) can do it.  Many of the books in my collection have changed what I viewed possible in the genres of science fiction and fantasy, leaving me in an excited state for weeks.  It is almost as if the books are stored kinetic energy released through reading, exciting the engine of my mind.  I hope that some of what I do has the same result on you.  This feeling is what I live for.

Flexibility for the Heretic Mind (from my Patreon page)

I am truly beginning to love digital painting because it suits my style.  I like to experiment with layouts but I am not fond of redoing images set to paper.  Yes, trained artists are used to creating several planning sketches for layout and/or color choices but I never acquired that skill.  Although, on occasion, I have created a few quick sketches to flesh out an idea, for the most part I dive right in and work straight through.  If I later decide that I should have done things different, I tell myself that is for the next image since, to me, the image is now set in stone.  Doing massive changes in a physical painting, while not impossible, is difficult and the results, in my case, leave something to be desired.

On the other hand, since I am doing each element as a separate digital painting and placing them into a background image, I can easily play with placement, size, and additional effects until I achieve the desired image.  I don’t have to redo the whole design to try these things without damage to the canvas or other parts of the image.  For instance, in my Carrie Fisher tribute, I had originally copied Carrie’s image into the background as is, no size change.  After adding a few elements, I decided she needed to be bigger.  In a physical work I would have had to live with the incorrect size or redo the entire image to that point.  I am not big on that.  In the digital realm, I just resized her layer and boom, there it was.  Same with the size of Y-wings and Alderaan.  Plus, since the Y-Wings are copied from only two images, I can add or delete the number I place in the final painting.  Currently I have five fighters in the painting.  I may add more.

Basically, when I get an idea in my head, I like to pin it down on paper.  However, once on paper, I tend to stick with that design whether it works or not.  I do have enough of a sense of layout and format that they aren’t too bad, but in many cases, they could be better.  Digital painting, which in my mind might be a little bit of a cheat, allows me to make the changes I would otherwise not do.  For me, digital painting does for my artwork what a word processor does for my writing.  I am a hunt and peck typist at best, if I had to constantly retype entire pages of text because I rethought a sentence, there would be no stories from me.  Word processing allowed me to explore another side of my imagination.  Now I can do the same with my art.