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Sat, Nov. 7th, 2009, 08:34 am
Well hello again Livethingee. How have you been?

Looks like you haven't changed much in a changing world, but you are still alive and kicking huh? Good for you. How am I you say? I'm super keen. Been very busy, thanks for asking.

Tue, Oct. 3rd, 2006, 11:07 pm
Polyphasic sleep

Last week I decided to try something sort of radical. I decided to try to change over to Polyphasic sleep.
The gist of this sleep is, rather than take one chunk of time to get all your sleep in, you instead take several naps throughout the day, training your body to go into REM sleep (apparently the most important part of the sleep cycle) right away, rather than towards the end of a 90 minute cycle which is how most people experience it. There are many, many different ways to approach polyphasic sleep, I went for the straight forward, hard core 6 20-30 minute naps during a day, with no "core" sleep time at all. I started on Thursday, feeling confident that I would need the weekend to recover from the worst part of the sleep deprivation that one goes through in the first several days. I'm glad I did. My lifestyle is such that this is an easy thing to make work. I work from home, and my work is flexible enough with my hours, where they really just care that I turn my work in on time and done well. I would imagine this would be a pretty challenging thing to make work for someone who has to drive to work every day.

It's been about 123 hours since my last full night's sleep, and I have turned a corner in the last 36 hours. We'll see tonight if last night was some sort of fluke, but I feel my energy levels going back up after a very rough stretch over the weekend. I only overslept on a few naps, and of those, two of them went to 45 minutes and that was my longest nap. The night times were the roughest, but I would always become alert as the sun came up and be good throughout the day.

The sleep deprivation is rough, but manageable, so long as I keep physically active while my body makes the adjustment to instant REM sleep, and that process is close to being over. The hardest part is training your brain not to make night time "the time you sleep". Psychologically, the process is extremely difficult. Until last night, I could not trust myself to sit and watch TV or even work at my computer. I had to be up and moving. Coincidentally, the house it much cleaner this week. I still won’t trust myself to sit still for very long. The other psychological hurdle to get over is the realization that you will never “catch up” on any of your lost sleep. At my most tired, I longed for one good catch up sleep, and was faced with the notion that my body would just get back to normal on it’s own over time, in fact, if it works out like I hope, I will be getting more REM sleep than most people get every night.

The schedule reads:


The 1AM to 5AM is easily the hardest bit so far, so I am squeezing in a 15 minute nap at 3. for now, but I hope to eliminate that before my body makes it something I depend on. Right now the naps are at about 25 minutes. I would like to get that down to 20, but getting my body used to a routine that works fine for now is more important. I can tweak things after I’m able to work at my computer for more than 20 minutes at night.

If this works out, I can say with some confidence that this is in my tope five most awesome things I have ever done. I have a really fantastic wife to let me try this with 100% support.

Wed, Apr. 5th, 2006, 02:55 pm
Another drawing? after one whole day?

Last night was a late night of being supportive husband while the wife had to work late into the night, so I had some time to do another drawing. This is a more robust process piece. I am hedging on what I said just yesterday regarding the pencil tool in flash being "not really for me", and I will try to explain why:

1) As you can see, the sketch is a big mess. I didn't even bother with feet for the sketch part. This is much closer to how I usually sketch, and since I am not a proper comic artist who doesn't have to draw the same character the same way over and over, it's fine for now to leave huge areas completely undefined, to be made up by me later in the drawing. If I were to start using this guy as a character, I would probably have to rethink this step, at least until I have the character down to where I know him inside and out. This was done in flash.

2) Here you see my first inking attempt done in photoshop. It was here that I realized that I just don’t have the photoshop technique down to any comfortable level yet. My hand is not nearly steady enough. This would not be a big deal in flash, as I could push and pull to get it right, but I am discovering I need quite a bit more practice with it before I start busting it out and claiming it’s good.

3) So I bring it back into flash, inking it using the pencil tool. There are two reasons why I think this is going to work out well for me. The first is that I still really want the reproduction options that using vector art gives me (though this is sort of moot when I then color it in photoshop, but I’ll think about that later). The second is, I get truly, honestly sick of looking at my own style of artwork, especially when I know I’m sitting down to make something look like it belongs in a comic book, rather than a cartoon or illustration. I can improve my drawing ability, but I really can’t do much to escape the very way that I draw. This inking technique makes me look at my own artwork like someone else is doing it, which makes me want to keep doing it, which, when you are as lethargic about drawing for one’s self as I am, can only be a good thing for now, so I will continue to explore the style.

4) The colored piece. I used the same technique as the old man at the bottom of my last pic, but did not get the same results, so I think I just need to keep working at the coloring part of this and eventually the way I color best will work itself out. I am not displeased with this.

Tue, Apr. 4th, 2006, 06:01 pm

Wow, so hey, how's it going? Miss me? I sure missed you guys. Lots of stuff has been going on. What kind of stuff you ask? Well, we had a near miss with a flash flood. There's nothing at all like feeling helpless as water creeps up to your home. I'm sure there are other things that can make someone feel helpless, I'm merely talking about that feeling. There's just nothing you can do to change what might happen. It ended fine though, so no harm done. I ran a half marathon this last weekend and it kicked my butt and various other parts of my body which are now sort of starting to recover from the trauma. I did extremely poorly, but I was expecting to, and everyone has to start somewhere, there’s basically nowhere to go but up.

I read Cell by Stephen King this week. It was ok, it didn’t blow my mind. I was honestly a little disappointed, but it’s not time I feel like I will never get back. I don’t read enough as it is, so just to finish a book is good for me. Now I’m onto the U.S. Armed Forces Survival Guide. I have my reasons.

Work has been crazy. It's still sort of crazy but it's about time I showed you my once a month (as it's becoming) drawings. When I haven’t drawn for awhile or when I’m feeling lazy about drawing(often), I always get back into it by doodling heads. I caught a thread on Warren Ellis’s Engine forum today where artists were showing their pencils and inks off, and I haven’t done a page in forever, but I thought it might be cool to share how crazy this works for me. I draw entirely with the tablet these days. I work at my computer all day and it just isn’t fast enough to draw on paper, scan it in and then go from there. So on the right you see what a sketch might look like. Sometime’s it’s even more messy than that. I often feel like I’m the only one who could possibly make sense out of what I draw in this sketch phase, but these are as detailed and clear as they get from me. I like the younger guy sketch a lot, and am already nervous about losing that energy with the inking, but I’m on my way at this point. I ink and color the young guy in flash. Now, I’ve talked before about inking in Flash, but I’m less enthusiastic about it at the moment. I’m not totally convinced that having to go back in and work the inked like out to not look like it’s done in flash is worth the upside, which is having all the art in vector art, which is fantastic for reproducing. Cleanup on top of the cleanup gets pretty labor intensive when it’s work like this, where I am trying to have a more traditional comic book look. Also, the flash coloring of work that looks like this is totally not working for me.

For the other character then, I took the sketch into photoshop and inked it there. This sucks because the image is a bitmap and if I want to print this out professionally it needs to be created at a super high dpi right off the bat, and there’s not that freedom to mess with details of the lines the way there is in flash. However, the line is more like a standard brush line for comics, and looks better. I colored this in photoshop as well, starting dark and working my way light. Between the two finished heads, I like the old man the best.

Below them, I decided to do something completely different for the inking and do my best impression of Steve “Fabricari” Harrison. For this, I used the pencil tool in Flash, which eliminates any line weight that a brush would create. You can get similar results by clicking off the line taper button on the brush tool, but even then Flash decides to mess with that line, so this is the best way to get this effect in Flash. I can then select the outside line and increase the stroke to make the line thicker. I like the effect quite a bit, but I will have to use it more to see if it works for what I am going wanting to be working on. To color the old man I went a bit different and had a white brush with the opacity set to 30 and then went over it several times. It’s an interesting effect, but not really for me I think.


Mon, Apr. 3rd, 2006, 04:45 pm
Today only!

So I totally forgot that today only Motorola took over the Yahoo Español Music page with an ad I did for them at my job. I've done a bunch of these ads for them, but it's rare I get to actually point to a place the ad exists and tell you it will definitely be there. Witness what seven days of animation looks like when done in three days!

Mon, Mar. 27th, 2006, 08:41 am
LJ only blogstravaganza!

So I'm damned busy, but I'm trying to get up to speed on the fallout from Joey Manley's column, which I have never paid much attention to because it just doesn't seem very interesting, possibly because I am not an online comic creator and these columns seems like wierd subliminal drama stirring broadcasts to everyone who ever scanned in a comic to be read by the masses.

What I need to know is, am I allowed to like Cat and Kurtz? Penny Arcade and Hypercomics.net (Not that I particularly know of any drama between those two, just pointing at two battling philosophies)? Orneryboy AND Deisel Sweeties? (FACT: Those fuckers HATE each other!*) Is anyone allowed to like Quantz? Will someone please start reading Fabricari already?

Is there a place for me in this new world? The drama is mildly entertaining, I wont lie, but some of you guys are stinking up my internet.

*I have been called out on this one being a dirty dirty lie and misspelled. Apologies to those affected. I'm keeping the misspelling though, because I deserve to look like an ass for that one.

Wed, Mar. 15th, 2006, 06:10 am

Last night I burned somewhere along the lines of 1300 calories (Likely more) in an 8 mile jog/power walk thing. THEN at 10 I worked until I pretty much passed out at midnight on work stuff doe this morning at 6AM. I woke up again at 3 to finish it, and turned it in at 6:02AM. Two minutes late.

The answer to the question, "Is today pizza day?" is yes.

The answer to the question, "Doesn't that put a dent in the whole reason for the run?" is screw you, stop asking so many god damned questions.

Fri, Mar. 10th, 2006, 05:13 pm
General personal blahblah

I have never been much of a cause and effect type of guy. Really, I used to be quite dense when it comes to WHY things happen most of the time. For instance, if I got heartburn, I would wonder why the gods had cursed me so, rather than remember that for lunch I had a tasty chicken parmesan sub. If I woke up one morning and my whole body was aching, it honestly wouldn't always occur to me that I had worked out the night before and my MUSCLES WERE SORE. I used to joke that if I fell and broke my leg I would wonder why my leg hurt so badly.

This has changed a bit lately. I was wondering recently why I've been having crazy abnormal feelings running through me lately, feelings like pride, joy for no reason whatsoever, feelings that I could eventually do this, something I never even considered doing even a week ago. I thankfully realized immediately what was happening. I am doing workouts twice a day, and my body is freaking out with all these new chemicals running through me. I don't know in the long run if the two-a-days are really a good thing, but for now, I am really enjoying this sensation. I turn 30 soon, and this year has marked a real shift in my attitude towards what I have control over in my life, which is really pretty much everything. I have spent probably most of my life going with the flow and taking things as they come, absolving myself from a lot of responsibility that comes along the way. That way of life will let you get by for the most part, you won't make any waves, and you may not want to, but it doesn't allow you to make change happen for you either. Over the last several years, my waistline has expanded to a degree I can say with some certainty that no one is comfortable with, certainly not me. The wife and I have been jogging regularly, and with that I started to think about doing a triathlon, something I always wanted to do. Christine has her sights set on a marathon, which I am fine with doing, but I don't particularly love running for running's sake, to me it's just a means to an end. The end being physical fitness. Two workouts a day send enough endorphins into the noggin that I start thinking way above my capabilities to the already mentioned Tough Guy race. I WILL do this race, though it might take me to 2008 to get there. Finishing that race will mean I have complete control over my life. Ok, that's too dramatic. It will mean a lot to me though. There was a long time as my waist was expanding where I didn’t really think that I was fat, or getting fat. It felt more like I was wearing a fat suit, something I could remove at any time. Some time in the last year and a half that feeling went away, and I was resigned to being an expanding man. Now that I have shed a few pounds, I’m getting the fat suit feeling again, it feels like a confident fit guy is hiding under here. I’m trying to take the suit off.

Another strange thing I’m feeling, which seems like something very NOT testosterone fueled, is an all consuming need to learn things. This started off with a need to learn CSS, then grew into a need to expand my knowledge of Flash, soon I wanted to know ANYTHING that would help me grow professionally. The weirdest  manifestation of the learning obsession started when I happened to catch the show Survivorman on the Discovery Channel. This woke a slumbering beast inside my chest that I had totally forgotten about. When I was a young man I used to be obsessed with survival techniques, learning what plants are edible, how to make a fire, stuff like that. How can I have completely forgotten about something I loved so dearly as a child? I just had a conversation with a friend about this obsession, and he remarked that it might have been a product of seeing Red Dawn, which I admit, I saw far too many times growing up, as most kids my age seem to have. That was definitely a part of it, but mostly I think it was the whole paranoia at the time (thanks, Reagan). I wanted my parents to have a bomb shelter in the worst way, but I wasn’t hoping for a nuclear winter, I would much sooner have had Red Dawn happen. You can’t fight radiation. You can live off the land if you have to though. I am currently reading this site from beginning to end in my free moments. Not skimming, READING IT WORD FOR WORD. It’s a sick new/old obsession I don’t really have a way of satiating, so who knows what will happen there. I tell you what though, I already need a swiss army knife at the very least.

Fri, Mar. 3rd, 2006, 07:34 pm
Man, so ok, more art junk

Seems I can only manage one of these a week, and until today it's been mostly empty of content. Here you go vultures. Don't get too excited, it's a trace over of a photo, so no super amount of skill was involved, just a steady hand with the wacom pen. Any thoughts on a favorite? I see alot of trace over vector work but it always seems sort of ugly/beautiful, if that can happen without a temporal vortex sucking the universe into itself. I'm trying to bridge some imaginary gap between ugly literal and actual drawing, I guess sort of inking it as if it were a pencil drawing. So what else is new? Oh this and that. As you may have heard, Speakeasy Comics have closed up shop, which means that second edition Rosemary's Backpack isn't going to happen any time soon. Ah well, that's how it goes sometimes. In other news, I can't stop listening to Ben Folds. I can't stop. I get obsessive about music, and will listen over and over and over again, I guess wanting to stay in that same place the music takes me. It's usually just one track though, not a whole body of work.

Jesus I don't know what happened, I just get done typing about the ugly/beautiful traceover and went and rocked this thing out. Another traceover, but much less carefully done, and with some added tweaks to spice it up. Someone mail this to Samoa Joe and see if he wants it as a t-shirt design. I grabbed it from his Myspace page. Awesome photo.

And here you go, some more wrestling stuff:

This is crossposted well, everywhere I have some web presence, I guess. Except deviantart. Never found a need or desire to get all my crap up there. Should I?

Thu, Feb. 9th, 2006, 06:56 am
Don't call it a sketchdump

Cross posted from my sire and Myspace. So yeah, this blogging thing is really not second nature to me. I admire the hell out of people who can find a way to put new content up every day or two, and I do suspect if I stick to this I will get there, so I'm learning to walk here. I haven't been completely inactive in this time, so let me make up the last two weeks to you with a few drawin's.

I am pretty god damned obsessed with Zombies these days, and I play this game online, Urban Dead, which is a grid based online RPG of sorts. When I started, I was really concerned I would become obsessed and it would consume my day, but you literally can't play it for more than maybe 20 minutes before you are out of action points and have to rest, so I get my playing done in the morning before work or when I am eating lunch. My character is me, though this picture makes me thinner than I am, and I would probably run in a more girlie fashion from Zombies.

Um, a theme at this point, this weekend, feeding my Zombie obsession I picked up books 1-4 of Robert Kirkman's most excellent comic book The Walking Dead. I really don't buy comics these days, and happened to check this out two weekends ago and was really impressed, so I bought all the books, and they are really truly excellent. Kirkman clearly loves a good Zombie story, and the characters who we go on this journey with are people we know and like, and sometimes don't like, and it makes it easy to get attached to them. I definitely recommend the book for anyone who likes Zombies. Anyway, that pic is me trying to do a semi-serious drawing, really it's just fan art of the main character of the book.

Oh, here we go, this is familiar territory. I felt a mini breakthrough with this piece, I am trying to find the right marriage between gradient fills and hard lines, and was really pleased with this when I was done with it.

And here is another character using the same method. Not quite as perfect, but it's not far off and I really like this one as well.

Can you tell I'm tapering off getting tired of blogging? I am. Now my wife can get off my back:) SEE YOU TOMORROW CROSS MY HEART.


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