Put Your Word Where Your Mouth is!

Here is a little over six month review of the changes made to this blog since I began reflecting content from my Patreon page here:

Blog Followers are up from 114 to 166, a 31% increase

Blog Views are up from 344 to 527, a 34.7% increase

Blog Visitors are up from 260 to 346, a 24.8% increase

Blog Likes are up from 149 to 277, a 46.2% increase

The take away is that the seven month numbers are substantially up against the entire year of 2016, which happened to be the best year ever for this blog.

Why do I bring this up?  Well, because I have to ask you a favor.  When I started changing this blog it was in support of the launch of my Patreon page that I hoped would become a vehicle for achieving a measure of artistic success and hopefully supplement the income from my day job.  As part of this attempt to have an artistic life, I gave myself a year from the beginning of 2017 to make it an  ongoing venture.  Over six months have gone by and while the blog is enjoying success, my Patreon site is not.  There are going to be some things I will look at shortly to make the page more attractive, maybe even switch to a per project model.  Your feedback would be most helpful; however, your support would be better.  If not financially, then by word of mouth, because the more people who visit this blog, the more chances I have of gaining patrons.

Please, if you like what I am doing, tell your friends who like science fiction/fantasy art and writing to visit this blog.  Send them a link.  I come from a long history of retail work and one thing I know is that out of the people who shop, only a small percentage actually buy, so the more you get to shop the better your chance of a sale.  With enough shoppers you can make a living.  I need to make a living.  Please help me get more shoppers.  Promote my site on your blog, tell your friends, become a patron,or even give me advice.

If the situation does not improve, I will have to switch gears and look for a second job to get my financial situation under control.  I will probably find little time to work on projects or post to the blog, which is something I enjoy.  So send me your starving science fiction fans.

 

I will leave you with a content breakdown so far from my Patreon page Robert Garbin’s Patreon page:

7 Short Stories

18 image files

Painting Projects Completed 2 with one nearing completion and another far along

Two Art Projects in Preparation

Poem in the works

Horror Story started

 

Lights, Camera, Planet (from my Patreon page)

Getting down to the finesse work on the current project.  The basics are all set, it is now just a matter of adding little touches that will make the image really pop.  I have not been spending as much time on this as I wanted to because I got myself hooked on a youtube channel for science fiction space ship modeling.  I admit to being a model spaceship fan.  What a surprise.  The channel is called Trekworks and I created a link to it on the left of this page.

The creator, Boyd Crompton, is a serious model builder who has some stunning Star Trek, as well as other franchise, models.  What I enjoy the most is that he adds lighting and sound effects to the models.  His Star Trek the Motion Picture Enterprise build is amazing and the fact that he knows many of the people who created the actual model for the movie is even better.  So if you like small versions of iconic movie vehicles, definitely check out his site.

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

$5 Reward (from my Patreon page)

 

Here is  today’s Patreon post:

As promised, I took all the separate elements of the Carrie Fisher Tribute and made them separate jpeg images.  I copied in the star field from the main painting into each image.  There are three images, Alderaan, Carrie Fisher/Leia Organa, and the Y-Wing.

Princess for Ever After (from my Patreon page)

 

Well folks here it is the completed tribute to Carrie Fisher.  This one has been a long time coming and I was so happy with the results I could not wait until Sunday to reveal it.  I started this image back at the beginning of January.  This one took longer than many of the other images because I was again attempting something new, namely smooth transitions in color tones necessitated by the skin of Carrie’s face.  The learning process of the skin shading later came in handy with the silkiness of her dress.  When I decided to add Y-Wing fighters to the image, I added another challenge that slowed me up.  I have generally stayed away from vehicles because I am not that good at mechanical representations and the best image I could find was a three-quarters view.  I could not have copied that if I wanted to; however, I was able to make decent enough measurements to come up with a top down view.

Now, let us talk about the painting itself.  First, I chose this image of Carrie Fisher because it was the way I first fell in love with her.  Yeah, the slave girl bikini was hot but the soft silk of this dress plus her feistier nature just can’t be topped.  In addition, this particular photo from the early promos caught my attention because of the intensity of her gaze.  Understanding Carrie Fisher’s history you can almost see the pain buried underneath the future galactic Princess’ determination.  Perhaps a look at the real person under the fantasy.

I paid extra attention to the creation of the background because I wanted the star field to look like it came directly from the movies.  One thing I noticed while re-watching  The Empire Strikes Back was that Lucas did not put nebulae in the films.  We always see just a splash of stars.  However, if you look closely, you will see areas of soft fuzzy light and darker zones creating patterns.  I captured this effect by tapping lightly with the airbrush function in clusters to make the soft glow and an absence of these clusters for darker areas.

The Y-Wings are basically copies, scaled to different sizes, from two versions I created.  On a separate layer I made the softer glow around the engines and extended the trails to the bottom of the image.  The design reminds me of one of the playbill posters I saw at the time.  The reason I chose the Y-wings is that in one of the first novels to come out after Star Wars, The Splinter of the Minds Eye, Leia piloted one.  Also, I always thought they were kinda cool.

The planet in the background is of course Alderaan.  Nothing tying into the real woman behind the character, but I wanted to stay on theme and putting earth their didn’t feel correct for me.  For me, I depicted what I felt was important about Carrie Fisher by picking the particular image above others I could have chosen.  Everything else was for me.  Finally, I chose to make her look like a returned Jedi Knight for obvious reasons, which works just as well for Leia as it does for Carrie.

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.

 

Bringing Her Home (from my Patreon page)

I am in the last stretches of my Carrie Fisher tribute.  I ported her image over to the main canvas and gave her a jedi glow, while I played a little more with the Y-Wing placement and extended the exhaust trails to the bottom of the screen.  I may add a few more Y-Wings yet.  Finally, I have started the painting of Alderaan.

I never realized it from the original movie because of how brief an appearance it made, but Alderaan is an icy planet like Hoth except it still has oceans.  Yeah, I know that is how it is depicted in the prequels but I did not like how they portrayed it there.  However, looking at the reference image I am using, you can really see it was meant to be that way.  Hopefully, that will come across in my treatment as well.