8.31.2021

Foundation Leveling

 


Spoiler Free, btw. 

 Over the last few years I’ve been digging into the works of many classic sci fi authors. It started when I found an old Isaac Asimov short story collection that belonged to my father-in-law. I’ve always enjoyed science fiction in other media but I feel that was my first real experience reading full on sci-fi literature. I was intrigued by the notions of far off planets, space stations, all-knowing supercomputers, and of course, robots. After that I dug into a few of the classics of Arthur C. Clark, Robert Heinlein, and Phillip K. Dick, and lesser known but also important authors like Andre Norton. When looking through bibliographies and figuring out what to read next I always came across Asimov’s Foundation. But looking at the expanse of volumes it covers I found it a bit too intimidating to just jump in. I looked elsewhere and read other books. 

And then I found out Apple TV is making a Foundation TV series. I was coming up on the end of my latest read and I decided it’s time to dig in, so I hopped on ebay and ordered book 1. I picked it up and I found it pretty engaging enough. I never read too much about the book series beforehand. I just knew it was about a man by the name of Hari Seldon who comes up with a plan to save the galactic empire, which is falling to ruin. Asimov’s keen writing kept me glued to the book, and because I had the small, pocket paperback editions it was easy enough to pick up and read when I had even just a few minutes to spare. 

 

Trilogy cover art by Michael Whelan

One of the first things I noticed (especially in the first trilogy of books) is that you’re not weighed down with overly descriptive paragraphs of vague future technology or the way things work in the distant future. As these first 3 were written early in his career, Asimov kept the depictions of technology to a minimum. Instead, the early stories focused more on the character’s motives and missions, showing how they maneuvered politically to get things done and move the plot (and The Seldon Plan) forward. That first trilogy is very political, indeed. 


The biggest thing that stuck with me, though, is the scope of the entire series. The plot of the story moves along the course of 1000 years. In the beginning a desolate planet called Terminus is settled by a cluster of scientists and historians, and through the course of the entire story that planet and its population are somewhat a focal point. Reading about that got me thinking about the unspoken microcosms within the world of Foundation. While the main characters are out and about making their moves, sealing their deals, I imagine worlds on these planets are being built and torn down. A lot can happen in 1000 years. Just look at America and all the bullshit we’ve been going through. All these (still ongoing) fights for rights and equality, the old ways versus the new ideas, and we’re just 245 years old. 

The idea of social revolutions taking place on Terminus as the story moved along bubbled in the back of mind. The universe is not a utopian one, in fact, that’s why the Foundation was created, to save humanity from an extended period of chaos, so of course the people on any planet would be going through stuff. With communities growing and being built you have to imagine that there are city planners working out the detailed layout of these futuristic, far-off cities. In fact, it makes you wonder that in 20,000 years if mankind has civilized the galaxy, maybe they’ve learned a thing or two about infrastructure planning, so settling new cities doesn’t lead to all the problems we deal with here and now. 

Thinking about the wide scope of the story also got me thinking about how technological advancement happens within a civilization and how it affects people and cultures. For example, humans have had this invention of the automobile now for over 120 years. That’s it, just 120 or so years, and in that time it’s amazing how much this invention has shaped the landscape of how we built our society, and how it’s shaped the subcultures within. Not only is the actual industry of the automobile an economic force to be reckoned with, but it is also cemented within smaller communities such as hot rod and lowrider enthusiasts, among others. The term ‘Car Culture’ exists for a reason. Our society wouldn’t look the same today without this colossal invention. And so, what sort of inventions are shaping culture in the universe of the Foundation series? 

While it’s somewhat a given that humankind is, technologically, always moving forward, Asimov doesn’t really mention it until book 4. In the original trilogy, instead, he presents civilization as having achieved a certain level of advancement, however some of that advanced technology is only available on certain planets. High technology exists, it’s just not at everyone’s disposal. And what this technology is, other than described as nuclear-powered, is all up to your imagination. Within the editions of the books I read contained a four page blurb detailing the scenario of how the Foundation series came to be. Among the many insights discussed in that blurb was the fact that the original trilogy came out in the 1950s, and by the time Asimov returned to writing the remaining books in the 1980s science had made so many more discoveries and advancements. He mentions an example such as the discovery of black holes within that time. Indeed, I’m glad he left out any overly detailed technological descriptions of the future in the original trilogy, it would have made the series far less timeless than it is now. 

However, when he returns to form in Foundation’s Edge, book 4, descriptions of new technology are perfectly apt and fit right in with the story. His idea for a computer interface within the protagonist’s ship, the Far Star, is fresh and even by today’s standards pretty impressive. In fact, the whole of this ship is fascinating. He imagined an interstellar spaceship that was so advanced, even for this society, that it is propelled by gravitic forces instead of rocket propulsion. And considering a few short years ago we just discovered gravity waves, that’s a mighty impressive speculation. 


The last two books are rife with all kinds of astronomical terminology and ruminations. You can tell Asimov followed all these discoveries closely and was excited to use these ideas. The last two books are very thick when compared to the original trilogy, and that’s because he explores these ideas fully and descriptively. 

Of course there were other elements at play within the whole of the story, a big one is the notion of mentalics; humans with the ability to read and/or manipulate the minds and emotions of others. It sounded kind of campy at first, but as this dynamic got woven into the story it leveled the playing field between the humans with political power and technology and those without. It’s an interesting idea, albeit a more fantastical one, but who knows where human biology will be in 20,000 years. In books 4 and 5 we’re introduced to a few variations of the human species, one of which is a planet with the entirety of its inhabitants and objects sharing a single consciousness, and the other is an intersex (the term hermaphrodite is used in the novel) society that has biologically-developed cranial lobes behind their ears capable of transducing energy. Some interesting concepts, indeed. 

The big difference in the last two books as compared to the original trilogy, is that the politicking and the passage of time through the ages has become non-existent in favor of a few central characters and their quest through space. Well, our main character does a few political maneuvers from time to time, but gone are the tales of noble citizens ascending the ranks to make moves to insure Hari Seldon’s plan. I would have liked to hear about Seldon’s hologram appearing one more time, it would have tied the series together a bit more. But I think by this time Asimov was more interested in a singular adventure narrative as opposed to the descriptions of space fleets and conquests of planets. While the original trilogy covered all sorts of characters and politicians through the span of 400 or so years, the last two books followed the same handful of characters through nearly 1000 additional pages. It’s quite telling of the author’s headspace then and now. 

Another thing the scenario blurb mentioned was how when he started the series Asimov was really into the fall of the Roman empire, and was fresh off the heels of reading up on it’s play by play history. I find it extremely fascinating how he could be so moved by something very real and very grand historically speaking, and he took that inspiration and crafted something amazing from it. The original trilogy presents something that mirrors that history, deconstructs it even, and uses it as a way to imagine an illustrious yet troubled future for humankind. It goes to show that even as humankind advances we are never far off from a slip up, and that that advancement can come tumbling down. Plus, I know the feeling of drawing inspiration from something that’s right under your nose and it’s exhilarating.

 Overall, I enjoyed the series very much. However, while I was digesting what I had read I couldn't help but feel sad and disappointed. And it’s not from the book themselves but going back to the scope, the perspective that came with imagining humankind in 300, 1000, and 20,000 years from now. With everything going on today, especially this looming kaiju we call climate change, I've been hit with a reality check that we still have a very long way to go as a civilization. I used to think, I think we all did (or still do), that we would see some futuristic-type things in our lifetime, the classic go-to being flying cars. Peace in the middle east, the end of starvation, virtual reality with a practical use, any one of these also fell into that category. And perhaps that’s just the positive framework that my generation was raised with, that we, us, would go forth and change the world for the better. Naive sure, but at the time when we were finishing high school and stepping out into the world everything seemed to be on the up and up (Pre 9/11). 

"You son of a bitch, you did it..."

Thinking about the scope of human civilization from reading these books has smacked me back to reality that we are indeed, as individuals, not all that special. Sure, we’re special in the sense that what we do here on earth has an immediate effect on those who are involved in our lives, but most of us will never be famous or renowned for anything we do in our lifetimes. We like to think we’re so important now and what we do has to have some kind of deep meaning, and then we die and civilization keeps moving on. I even realized that those people we do hold in high regard; famous artists, researchers that have contributed scientific breakthroughs, leaders of countries, etc, aren’t necessarily special or different from us common folk, and they too will eventually be brushed aside by the passage of time. Essentially we are just another generation raising up another generation, who’ll ideally grow up and raise another generation. So on and so forth. Except now we’re facing something that has the potential to end the continued proliferation of the human race. 


My sadness and disappointment stem from the notion that while we have a civilization full of famous people, philanthropists, charismatic leaders, and generally everybody wants to do and be good, nobody really wants to be great. Being great meaning somebody willing to lay down their power and wealth and use it to fundamentally change the world for the better. Not just donating to charities or food banks (which we do need, don't get me wrong), but people with the power to halt the current zeitgeist in its tracks and help mankind get on the right course to build a future that will eventually allow humans to take to the stars and civilize galaxies. And you know who I’m talking about; billionaires with so much money they couldn’t possibly spend it all in 1000 lifetimes; religious leaders who can mutter a sentence and have their followers bend the knee the world over, and so on. These people could use their power, wealth and influence to change the world today if they wanted. It’s the type of power that can tear down economies and break down borders, because that’s the kind of power we will need if we’re going to get past this hump, this supposed Great Filter we may be facing. 

Needless to say this book series got me feeling a certain way. And like great sci-fi, great literature at that, it has stretched my mind with new ideas and a fresh new perspective. So, how will the new TV show fare with bringing these old ideas to a fresh audience? The narratives in the book can be followed easily, it’s just fleshing out the actions and motions that are carried out in between the paragraphs. Basically it’s gonna take some decent writing to punch up the political drama to keep the viewers interested. With so much covered within the books I read (and including the 2 prequels I didn’t) there’s plenty of source material, backstory, and call-back surprises to make up an epic series. We’ll get to see battling star fleets, grand palaces and far off worlds of a future civilization, and I can’t wait. 

Honestly, though, the series has it’s fans who can’t wait to see how this will come to life, and, even if the adaptation isn’t keen, will probably still tune in. I’m just not sure how the general public will receive a story like this. Potentially, this show has the backing (story and production) to become a great one, but if the audience at large finds the story too grand or the scope too big they might just drop off or not pick it up to begin with, which means it’s a wrap for an expensive series like this one. But I’ll be rooting for it when I tune in this late September. See you on Trantor! 




7.29.2021

Special Dedication

 Here's a glimpse of the special dedication page in the next book.


Shane was big in the Houston indie writer and zine scene. Tommy was a hell of an artist, and was a bit of an eccentric character as well (bit is downplaying it tremendously!). Both passed away due to complications regarding diabetes. Shane got to a point to where he couldn't afford his insulin. Tommy's health, from what I heard, steadily moved downhill over the years. I'm not sure if he took care of himself as best as he could but I do know it's hard enough out here supporting yourself as an artist, let alone supporting yourself and paying these outrageous American healthcare costs. If healthcare had been cheaper or universal both of these human beings might still be here with us today.

So guys, here's to you and your continuing legacy. You are missed every day.

6.23.2021

Commissioning Commissions

As a designer and illustrator I’ve worked with all kinds of clients and requesters of high quality fine art, and there are a few things you should know to get the best out of the artist for that commission you’ve requested. Not sure how many other guides are out there but I think it’s fair to say many artists and designers will agree with this list. Follow these guidelines to make it easy on your artist and in turn they will churn out amazing work which will feel more than worth it. When it comes to commissioning art work or design work here’s a quick rundown of things you should do and not do:

 

DO: Pay attention and see if your artist is accepting commissions or not. A lot of times artists put it in their bios or websites Accepting Commissions or Commissions Open. If it’s not explicitly stated anywhere on their profile or website (seriously take a minute and try and locate this info, if it exists it’s meant for you to find) politely shoot them an email asking if they’re accepting commissions (once again they do have their email posted somewhere, find it, do a little bit of work, it won’t kill ya). If no email is found politely shoot them a DM and ask if they’re accepting commissions and that’s it. This brings us to-


DON’T: Blow up their DMs outlining and detailing the full idea of the project without them asking for it. Do not send them the concept video, do not send them links to past works or projects, do not send them links to whatever this art will be tied to unless they ask for it. This has happened a few times to me. And you know what I tell them? Two words: cool story. And that’s it. Or I’ll direct somebody to email me the details, story, ideas, links etc. and drop my email address to send it to so we can talk about how we can go about doing this commission. And what do they do? Proceed to send me everything in my DMs completely ignoring my request to email it to me. If you can’t follow my directions are you even serious about this project? I’ll just leave you on read.


DO: Have a budget. Figure out what you’re willing to pay for what you are requesting and communicate it. If you feel your funds are a bit tight but this request is very important let the artist know. Seriously, just talk and don’t be afraid to ask. We’ve been broke before and know how it feels. Be upfront so we know what to expect as far as payment and we can deliver a product that is fair to both of us. This brings us to-


DON’T: Be surprised when asked to pay at least half up front. It’s standard practice to ask for half down so we know you’re serious. And don’t be surprised if we don’t take your job/request seriously if there’s no money to back it up. So have half ready to go. Some artists may only take the whole fee up front so be ready for that as well. Tip: If you volunteer the whole fee up front with no delay you just may get special priority.


DO: Have a deadline. Okay, so you’re pretty chill and don’t have an exact deadline for what you want. You tell the artist “It’s no rush, just whenever you get a chance.” Unless your artist is extremely regimented (and you paid in full up front) don’t expect anything to be done anytime soon. You’ve just given your artist an imaginary chore and it’s down at the bottom of the list, because when will they have a chance? They have deadlines to meet! Even if there is no rush pick a date out of the air; two weeks, one month, a day before the day it’s needed. Anything. Have a due date and we’ll take it seriously. Need something rather hasty? Be ready to pay a rush fee.


DO: Know what you need. This one is a bit tricky depending on the situation. Many a client have stressed me out/pissed me off because they give me instructions for their request, I bust my ass and finish it, and they turn around with a list of changes because they weren’t specific enough or they decided they don’t like how this looks after all. This wishy-washiness makes more work for the artist and begins to supersede the initial agreed upon price. This makes for a disgruntled artist who may or may not rush the job just to get you out the door and out of their life. Know what you want. Be very specific if specifics are important. Pay attention to the details and requests you are giving your artist. Do not provide certain examples and then not like the work because the artist stuck close to the examples. If you’re not sure how the request may turn out, do communicate that you would like a concept open to changes because you may or may not be sure of the final product, that way we can work it into the pay system. See number three. Also this one goes hand in hand with the last one.


DO: Know who you’re talking to. The adverse of this sometimes makes for the wishy-washiness of the above step. This one is pretty straight forward; understand what the artist you’re contacting does and does not do. A comic artist will churn out some fantastic full figured black and white ink illustrations. A vector artist will turn out your new logo design sized and ready to go. An animal painter will excel at that dog portrait you’d like to get your cousin. Do not ask a landscape painter to design your business card. Do not ask the erotic illustrator to draw your next children’s book. Do not ask a comic artist to build your next website. And while those artists may dabble with those requests (indeed they may accept them cuz they need the money), the results may not turn out as top notch as you expect them to.


DO: Trust the Artist. You’re dealing with a professional, and the pros just don’t dole out crap to their audiences (at least intentionally). So please relax, sit back and let us do our job. You paid up front and gave us a deadline, prepare to see the work on that deadline. If any issue should arise you will hear from us. We wouldn’t hand it back to you if we didn’t feel it was worthy of you and your fee. 


I think that does it for me. Fellow artists, if you have any other tips I forgot to mention let me know in the comments!


5.21.2021

Bad Good Not Bad

At the beginning of the year frequent collaborator and friend Lee Lawson asked me to illustrate and art-direct his latest album release cover art. He filled me in on this project that has been in the works since 2012, a video-game-music-sampled beat album, and he wanted me to create something that spoofs the  iconic as the cover art for the US version of the NES classic Mega Man. Like, the first Mega Man, Mega Man 1. I looked at him and asked, Are you sure? Have you seen the original art to the first Mega Man? 

 

That's the one. I actually had a copy of this as a kid.

 He proceeded to egg me on to just do it and see what I came up with. Well, after some sketching and then the adding of color to paper I have to say it wasn't such a bad idea after all. Take a look:


This is gonna go right in the center of the spoofed cover, just the like in the art above. I  intend to match colors and a similar design to hopefully capture the feel of that old box art, one that raises the question Just what in the hell is going on?

Lawson tells me he's in the post-production stages of this project, mixing and mastering, and he said he's gunning for a an Autumn release. You heard it here first! I don't think he's even leaked this to his followers yet. He said he's gunning not only for a digital release, but one on vinyl as well. Imagine a design like this on a 12" sleeve. I'd love to see that! Stay tooned.




4.06.2021

Hotter Than Judy

 

That's what I call the piece to the new Screw Comics! 4 cover. That's right, it's here! Inspired by one of my favorite album covers from one of my favorite music artists, I set out to make a piece that is equally gripping and dramatic as this:


It's certainly an image that has stayed in my mind since I saw it as a kid. I'm not sure how the idea came to me, but keeping with the story that's set in a scorching hot level of earth I found it fitting. And how the shape the of her hood flowing off her head could be like the shape of Stevie's braids, how could I not try it out?

Having the cover finished is a big step. Once you have that the rest of the book layout really falls together. Right now I'm in the proofing process, going thru and rereading the text, editing, and making sure the art is stable within the boundaries of the pages. 

Heavy Duty Judy is back in this issue and it's gonna be a scorcher. Not sure who that is best to pick up issue 3, or pick up all 3 of the last issues here. I'll throw up presales once I send this to the printer and get a proof in hand. Yikes! It's coming together!


4.01.2021

3 Piece and a Biscuit

 

In a last ditch effort to promote the old books before the new one drops I've created the Screw Comics! Trilogy set for sale in the store. Order all books for $25 + shipping starting today. Now you don't have to choose between this one of that one, just snatch up all 3 at the price I sell them at tabling events and shows. Do it now!

3.19.2021

Couch Lock

 

Here's a piece I did that debuted earlier this month. There's an account on Insta and FB called Photos y Recuerdos and it's a special profile project that showcases the stories of Texas Latinas and Latina-identifying people. Started over lock-down last year it is headed up by my wife and her colleague as a way to publicize the stories and triumphs of Latinas with ties to Texas. 

So far the reception has been warm and positive with the readership steady growing and more and more submissions coming in. My wife commissioned me to create a piece that encompasses a wide spectrum of the representation they cover. For this she gave me a prompt; all the characters on a couch going through a photo album. I had free reign on the characters I could include, and since Latinas come in every shade, shape and fashion that left it wide open. 

Although my wife had to keep me on task to finish this piece, the project commissioners found the end result to be more than satisfactory. In other words, they love it. As do I. I tend to get a bit self-conscious when I do work for family but after I started the coloring process I really started to feel it.

Next up we have to choose a font and prepare the image for merch. Follow the profile on FB and INSTAGRAM, submit if you have a story about the Tejana in your life, share, and when the merch goes up please support!


2.13.2021

Get Mega


 
This past New Year I had the pleasure of building a special custom shelving unit I've been planning for months, with the idea for it cooking in my head for over a year. It's a very special shelf tailored to my needs for storage designed to hold all of my archival flat-work, comic pages, illustrations, etc. as well as storage for the multitude of sketchbooks I've piled up over the years, all while making them accessible as needed. Enter project code-named Mega Desk.
 
 
 
While I've built functional pieces of furniture to work in the studio, this became my most ambitious project yet. It starts with an idea which takes shape as a sketch, but it doesn't get real until you pull out the tape measure and start recording dimensions in space. With the base idea cooking in my head for over a year I already knew it what I needed this piece to do. Then you tack on additional 'What I'd Like It To Do' functions, such as the pull-out shelf idea. Ambitious indeed.

After a basic sketch depicting the final dimensions it needs to be, and settling on the wood thickness (¾" plywood is pretty sturdy) it's time to break it down and have every inch accounted for. I turned to the software Corel Draw to work out the plans, and I did it to full scale. That's right, in the sketch where it says the piece is 48" wide I drew a 48" wide shape in the document. It sounds like it would make the document excessive, but thanks to the miracle of vector art the final PDF plans were less than a megabyte. And seriously, drawing it to scale meant every inch was accounted for and calculated into the plans, including the minuscule space for the drawer slides. It had to be if this thing was gonna fit together as it does.
 

While the plans looked normal when printed when you zoomed into the PDF file you can see all the numbers for the dimensions and woodcuts. In fact, during the cutting process I double checked the PDF a few times just to be sure.


Accurate measurements meant I could place the holes for cables and ventilation exactly where they need to be. 
After the design was settled on, the next part was to layout out every single cut to know exactly how much wood would be needed. Understanding that plywood comes in 4' x 8' sheets I simply Tetris'd every wood shape needed filling up 3 plywood sheets worth of wood with a handy amount to spare. Next, it was time to pick out the wood.

 
During lunch on a Friday I headed over to Houston Hardwoods on 34th in Houston where they have all sorts of plywood in all types of prices and finishes. After browsing around for a few minutes I found the thickness and finish I wanted, a nice Birch. While three 4' x 8' sheets wouldn't fit in the 4Runner intact the place was happy to cut them down into smaller halves to get them home. And because I had the cut plans with me we were able to halve them in places where it wouldn't interfere with the planned cuts.




 
 
The next day it was time to cut these 6 sheets down. A few months back, anticipating this project as well as other projects I want to do around the house, I ordered a circular saw. Upon reading the subpar  reviews for the stock blade it came with I ordered an aftermarket blade which made it a game changer before I even knew the game. Let's just say the cutting was like a hot knife running thru butter and when I was finished no sanding on the edges was needed. It was that smooth.
 
 
Seriously, I had no chipped or splintered edges. Everything got chopped pristine. As I chopped each piece I kept a some masking tape and a magic marker handy to label each piece which made assemblage a whole lot easier.
 
 
 
After the cuts came the drilling of the vent/cable holes.


Assemblage of the pull-out drawer.

Followed by the general assemblage. That Sunday night I was able to put the wheels on it so we could get it inside.

Measuring the shelves on the right side. These weren't a strict size like the left side so I did multiple measurements and drilling so the shelves can be adjusted as needed with removable pegs.

The left side shelves, however, have a very specific purpose, holding flat comic pages, and are sized accordingly. Each shelve had to have certain dimensions inside and are permanently bolted it.

Next came the installation of the pull-out shelf, which actually turned out to be the easiest thing to do in the whole project. A spare piece of wood was used to set each slide at a uniform height on each side, then drilled. That same piece was then laid flat on the center surface as I sat the drawer in on top, giving the drawer the proper clearance underneath. After that I just lined up the slides to the drawer drilling each one as I gradually slid the drawer out. Viola!


Finally came the crowning top. At first I wasn't sure if I wanted to go with tempered glass or clear plexiglass. After shopping around online I decided to go with the plexi on account of it'll be easier to install and the chances are much lower that it will shatter on me, for any reason. And to lessen any possibility of warping or sagging I matched the thickness of the plastic with the thickness of  the wood. 

After a 10 minute search I found a local plastic manufacturer that could produce the dimensions I requested and that also turned out to be the most affordable quote. The turnaround was 5 days.


A bracket in each corner followed by a quick drill pass in each of those corners created a way to fasten this thing down via bolts, screws and washers. Inspired by many clear and frosted-topped desks and how they focused light coming up from the bottom I purchased an LED strip kit to wire up along the edge underneath to create an ambiance and give it a modern feel. The strip can produce all sorts of colors and is wired up via USB, which powers up with one of the towers down there. I also like how if I ever need a light-box all I have to do is place a tiny light face up and trace away.

Ultimately, the pull-out shelf is to house a turntable and large format scanner. I already had a turntable stashed away in the stacks of junk this shelf helped replace. After ordering a new stylus and a pre-amp I'm able to play my favorite records right here in the studio, as well as record those records either for archiving or sampling purposes. The scanner, of course, is for scanning flat work to use digitally and for archiving. So not only does this furniture piece provide me with organization of existing work, but it makes it easy for me to keep organized, to stay on top of archiving work and filing it away.

This shelf consolidated so much space that was being taken up by cumbersome, unsightly boxes and various other dollar store bins and shelves it has literally changed the energy of the studio. As I was sorting, organizing and filling this thing up I felt myself become lighter, my mind less cluttered. Indeed, I feel like since I've been able to put stuff away in a permanent place it's become a finality, a closure of sorts for work spanning the last 12 years which is a very big deal, folks. There are few things worse for a creative mind than stifling your workspace with old work that just continues to pile up. You don't feel like you're progressing being constantly reminded of things you drew half a decade ago. You have to get rid of it or find a way to store it out of sight, otherwise you'll feel stuck!

And there you have it, how I created a custom piece of studio furniture and how it changed the work flow in the studio for the better. Now for a quick run down of what this this cost to build:

Plywood - ¾" Birch 4' x 8': $57 a sheet x 3 sheets = $171

Custom Cut Clear Plexiglass ¾" 20" x 48" = $200

LED Light Strip = $10

USB Switch for the LED lights = $6.89

Clear Caster Wheels = $25

Heavy Duty Drawer Slides = $20

Various hardware including wood screws, L brackets, pegs & bolts = $48

Total, not including tax = $480.89

Not bad! Having this custom made would have easily cost twice that (at least).

Other notable expenses that make this desk/shelf work:

9" Metal L bookends (these hold all that flat work vertical) = $11.90

Special Switch that Hooks 2 Computers to 1 Display = $31.96


If you think you wanna build this for yourself, holla at me and I'll send you the PDF plans. Shout out to KCool for helping me out during the cutting and assembling process.

I wonder what I'm gonna build next...

1.12.2021

Six Years

 As I'm rounding up and finishing the guts to the upcoming book Screw Comics! 4, I had a realization. It's taken me six long years, from idea, to pencil-to-paper, to inks, to scans, to greys and finally to the layouts. Clocking in at nearly 100 pages of new art and comics, Screw 4 is my best book yet. But I felt something was lacking. Sandwiched in the middle of the those six years was the very turbulent, disgusting and disturbing Trump administration, who day after day topped their latest atrocity with a new one. Seriously, every day was new shit to be upset about. For four years. And in those four years I felt my own anger and outrage, as well witnessed those around me get fired up, by the various shenanigans stirred up by this raft-of-floating-shit-of-an-administration as they steadily and reliably ran this country into the ground. And yet, there's not a hint of it in the book. While there's certainly themes within the stories that do reflect our society, there was no hint of any specifics going down. Indeed there was so much to be pissed about by the time you finished a cartoon or comic admonishing one atrocity, two more would have popped up.

I guess I recognized this from the beginning and decided to not even try to tackle any of that. There's plenty of other cartoonists and progressive heads out there that can better articulate how I feel, and in a far more timely manner. Still, there was this empty void. I simply don't want to let my readers think that I wasn't paying attention or that I didn't care. I believe as an artist I have a responsibility to address issues I feel super strongly about, to bring attention to grievances and injustices happening to the groups of people I belong to. So as I was compiling the guts of Screw 4 I simply sat down and described the process of making the book amid the chaos and media frenzy that was under way. It became a 4 page intro to the book, and drawing the panels, each representing a year, was not only fun but also puzzling at the same time, as I try to include the more pertinent occurrences of that year. I also tried to include more obscure/pop references such as the mummified monk, or Bong Joon-ho making his Oscars kiss. And certainly the death of the app Vine is a definitive mark on this upcoming generation, stuff like that, as well as personal milestones, like getting me getting married in 2018. Needless to say there were too many shootings to include. Go figure, America.

So here are the years posted in panel by panel, as I shared them on my Insta. 


 
And then to top it off I depict the year 2021 as an giant, engrossing Abadox monster. At first I thought this would come off as pessimistic, but a few days in I had nothing to worry about.

A pretty apt description of the year so far, eh?


12.19.2020

Snowman Holla

 It's Christmas time and that means listening to Christmas music. Whenever Winter Wonderland comes on the part about the snowman plays I like to do a creepy drunk-uncle type voice "Are you married?" to my wife.

Happy Christmas in Quarantine.


11.25.2020

Ink Slingin' 2020

 


Another year, another Inktober. I got into my little rhythm and knocked out every single day just like last year. But unlike last year I switched up the mediums a bit, mainly with an iPad Pro and the Procreate app. 



So, while some pieces are ink brush and pen to paper, a lot of the following pieces were made digitally. Many of the digital pieces, you will see, feature color. Although I never set out to make fully rendered colored illustrations I found the color just takes certain pieces to a whole new level. Indeed I've always hated digital coloring, I found it tedious and time-consuming. But with the Apple pen and the 12 inch iPad I found it stimulating and colored many pieces in no time at all. So keep scrolling and take a look below at my Inktober 2020 rundown. Unlike my Instagram where I first posted these, I have since scanned and formatted the pieces so they look sharp in their presentation.

In order of how the prompts are listed above.








Blade and Rodent in one, posted one half at a time.













































And there you have it, all 31 prompts. 

Look out for my digital based illustration. I'm not switching my whole outfit to digital btw, just adding it to my arsenal as I learn more to make the most of it, like any tool. I hope ya'll are enjoying the holidays and staying away from each other. Stay safe!

Coming soon, Project Mega Desk!