Friday, May 22, 2009

hell's bells

off for a family vacation--so instead of getting into a huge fight and destroying my home life, I'll put off posting this friday's arms and ether. It's all about longevity!
toodle-oo--see you monday--

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Crossword Thursday

Wow, this is actually truly dorky. It's a NYTimes crossword blog: Rex Parker Does the NYT Crossword. Received a 2008 Dorkfest Award and deservedly so. I love it. I think my favorite aspect is the running criticism of specific clues. My God. I finished last Friday's, by the way, and felt damn studly. But. . . if you're doing crossword puzzles it's essential that you "act like you've been there." (What Emmitt's dad said when Emmitt got too unruly during a TD celebration.)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Insufficient Indifference?

Let the chillun's find they's own majesty.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Minutemen & New Arms & Ether

armsandether now on fridays! and it's friday. The above is a fan video of one of the great minutemen tunes, my heart and the real world, off of double nickels on the dime.

Arms and Ether -- Origins

Oft, I start with a scrappy sketch done in the doldrums of a faculty meeting or while fidgeting about the Beanery in caffeine-stoked reverie. Here's the initial sketch for a recent strip.

With some strips, I'll scan the pencil sketch first, then bring it into Flash and draw over the top of it. Here's my first Arms and Ether strip. You can see the pencil sketch scans, my first "ink" lines drawn in Flash, and some Kaz and Achewood strips I brought in as references for setting up my template and comparing the visual quality of my work with theirs. Since Underworld and Achewood are popular on-line strips I figured they'd be good guides to getting my stuff "internet-ready."

Sometimes I start a strip without a preliminary drawing. Here, I just laid out the text (utilizing my award-winning Miles Inada 3000 font, of course) and made a quick sketch directly in Flash. The screen cap shows my template with pre-made panels and layers. The color layer contains the color swatches for the characters, so I can just grab 'em with the eye-dropper.

When I'm "inking", I'll take at least three passes through the strip. The first pass is to get the main idea blocked in. The second pass is to adjust proportion, composition and detail. The third pass is to clarify and simplify the lines. Here's a strip somewhere between the 2nd and 3rd pass.

After finishing up the inking, I do color passes. I'm a funky fellow, so I do this all in Flash. I like Flash because it's vector-based--a.k.a. resolution-independent. With a vector drawing, I can scale the drawings up and down to my heart's content and do big prints later on. For the most part, I make a quick outline of a color area and fill it with the paint bucket (don't do that in Photoshop--it'll be lousy). I find working in Flash much less fussy than working in Photoshop. In my first pass I go through and color in the main characters. I then make a few more layers and add in the background colors. If you look at the last panel, you'll see that I still haven't finished drawing in the students, even though I've proceeded with the coloring. Shirker.

Somewhere along the line I draw in the balloons, adjust text as needed and add any goofy marginalia. Yes, I just draw the balloons in Flash. No tricks. It looks better. I color them in using the ol' paintbucket. Here's the finished strip in all of its glory.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Making of Arms & Ether! Emperor's Prologue

Various and sundry little folk, (imps, hobgoblins, and sprites) appear to me in dreams and seek to steal my gold, my secrets, and my very vital essence. Instead of strangling them where they stand and watching in horror as they reanimate their godless corpses through some pagan power unknown and incomprehensible to me, I have decided to address their entreaties as best I can in this electronic missive you see now before you. May this act herald a new era of peace and bring to rest the eternal war between our realms.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I'm stealing imagery

But I feel like this "Rad Dad" when I'm on my game. I'm not on my game, by the way. The picture comes courtesy of ""
Yes, it's rad.
And on a slightly more relevant note, I should be able to make this FRIDAY'S Arms and Ether post date. That is nice.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Arms & Ether now switching to Fridays

1. Yes, look for Arms and Ether on FRIDAYS. Arsene Wenger has personally demanded this change. I've agreed, contingent on his shelling out for a nasty holding midfielder and a center half who's at least 6' 2". Monday's been a bit of a disaster as I've got a heavy teaching schedule on that day, and my weekends find me the devoted, ever-lovin' family man. Sooooo, I'm giving Friday a shot. Pray for me, pity me, but do not mock me, Sir.

2. That was a savage beat-down that Arsenal took at the hands of Chelski today. I guess they've "found their level." A horrible phrase, but the season finds them finishing well-above the 5th spot and well-below the 3rd, and . . . that seems accurate.

3. I'd like to see Arsenal's front five combined with Chelsea's back six. That would be a nice team.

4. Techno issue: How to make the text of Arms and Ether search-able? Technically there's no text reference, because each strip is just a big stupid graphic. Anyone know how to deal with this? I'm not worried about it at this second, but I'd like to deal with this (and a big ol narsty site redesign) during the summer.

5. Random Guilty Pleasure:

Saturday, May 9, 2009

It's Been A Bit

Mainly because I feel like I'm talking too much in real life. I just want to hear myself shut up once in a while, so, there's been less on the online front. On the up side. There's a new Arms and Ether coming at you. Herodotus is back! And he's drunk and passed out in a pastoral meadow, so. . . grab the rush!!!!!! Lots of pointless swearing in this one, so make sure and bring the kids!

On an off-topic note, I saw one of those goofy sexual innuendo bumper stickers ("Thespians Do It On The Stage!") in the Blockbuster parking lot and thought there needs to be a sexual non-innuendo option like, "Amateur Pornographers Shoot Video Of Themselves Having Sex And Post The Footage On The Internet!"