Friday, November 7, 2014

ArtRage. The Lowdown on Layers

5 - ArtRage 4 Transformers Layer Back-up Tutorial

There are quite a bit of drawing and painting software out there. Some very expensive and some not so good. Some very inexpensive and are great to use.

I will take some time to focus on them. First, we will start with ArtRage.

ArtRage is drawing and painting program built from the ground up for artists. It very closely, simulates natural drawing and painting tools. It also has a very short learning curve. And costs less than $50.

You may get ArtRage here.

The Transform Tool now has perspective and non-linear transformations.

The Layer now has separate locks for transparency, position and paint.

Back-up file saving is automatic up to 26 generations.

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Remember… Just Create!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

ArtRage. How to Use the Power of Patterns

4 - ArtRage 4 Pattern Fills Tutorial

There are quite a bit of drawing and painting software out there. Some very expensive and some not so good. Some very inexpensive and are great to use.

I will take some time to focus on them. First, we will start with ArtRage.

ArtRage is drawing and painting program built from the ground up for artists. It very closely, simulates natural drawing and painting tools. It also has a very short learning curve. And costs less than $50.

You may get ArtRage here.

The Fill Tool can create a variety of Pattern Fills of a image. You can control scale and rotation.
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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

ArtRage. Discover the Power

3 - ArtRage 4 Gradient Fills Tutorial

There is quite a bit of drawing and painting software out there. Some very expensive and some not so good. Some very inexpensive and are great to use.

I will take some time to focus on them. First, we will start with ArtRage.

ArtRage is drawing and painting program built from the ground up for artists. It very closely, simulates natural drawing and painting tools. It also has a very short learning curve. And costs less than $50.

You may get ArtRage here.

The Fill Tool can create a variety of Gradient Fills with a new Gradient Editor. You can import gradients from Photoshop.


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Remember… Just Create!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Sneaky Halloween Tricks Superheroes Like to Play

Happy Halloween!

She-Hulk makes a stop at Superman's house for Halloween.

You can see how I created it using ArtRage And Adobe Illustration


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Monday, October 27, 2014

ArtrRage. Who Else Wants Low Cost Software?

2 - ArtRage 4 Workbench Tutorial
ArtRage is drawing and painting program built from the ground up for artists. It very closely, simulates natural drawing and painting tools. It also has a very short learning curve. And costs less than $50.


The Workbench is a compressed UI from which you can access tools, colors, layers, all pods and a pin board of items from the Toolbox. You can pin items needed for that specific file.



An Updated Workbench.


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Friday, October 24, 2014

ArtRage Drawing and Painting Software - A Close Look

ArtRage Drawing and Painting Software - Part 1

There is quite a bit of drawing and painting software out there. Some very expensive and some not so good. There are also some which are very inexpensive and are great to use.

I will take some time to focus on them. First, we will start with ArtRage. A drawing and painting program built from the ground up for artists. It very closely, simulates natural drawing and painting tools. It also has a very short learning curve.

You may get ArtRage here.



ArtRage 4 Tool Box





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Remember… Just Create!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Should I be Afraid of Drawing Glyphs?

What the glyph?

A glyph is a visual shortcut to communicate story information. Similar to hieroglyphics that have images for men, pharaohs, water  and more to help tell the story.

Glyphs take the form of stereotypes, caricatures, audience expectations and lazy drawing.

Stereotype examples





Caricatures


Expectations

There are some characteristics we associate with how an evil person can look, so we rely on glyphs to communicate that quickly to an audience.

The hero has the square firm jawline. The audience expects that, so when they see it, they think heroic character.

Lazy Drawing

This is an Asian man. 


This a lazy drawing of an Asian man, with exaggerated slanted eyes.


Drawing Crutch
An artist may also draw the same eyes and mouth all the time.The characters may be different, but the eyes, mouth and nose shapes will always be the same or similar. It’s a learned drawing crutch from mental or muscle memory.

This completes our look at the visual vocabulary used in comics, graphic novels and comic strips.

Next we start our look at anatomy. Oh, what fun we'll have!

read next - It's Not Grey's Anatomy
previous - How Much Should I Charge for My Art Services?

Keep reading and follow me. If you have found this helpful, please let me know and share with other creators. Are the explanations clear and complete? Feel free to ask me questions.

Remember… Just Create!

If you are interested in further expanding your knowledge, then I recommend these books.

You can support this blog when you purchase a book by clicking the link below, I get a piece of the action and helps me to continue doing this blog. Support an artist today.

Please support me making video tutorials on Patreon

copyright 2014 H. Simpson

Thursday, September 4, 2014

How Much Should I Charge for My Art Services?

How much is my time really worth?



The comic book industry is a different animal from the rest of the world concerning payment. Even at the major level, it sometimes compensates you for the time you spend creating and is still far below real world rates. Once you become a name creator, you can make much more than the rates listed below.

When you do work in the advertising, editorial, film, television or game industry, you will be asked what your rate is to do the work?

Here’s how you figure out what your time is worth.

1. Add up all your monthly bills. 
For example*:

  • Food - $200
  • Rent (with utilities) - $1000
  • Phone - $80
  • Internet - $80
  • Cable - $80
  • Car Insurance - $100
  • Gas - $250
  • Supplies - $50
  • Misc (laundry, haircuts, etc) - $200

Total = $2040

2. 40 hours x 4 = 160 hours per month 

3. 2040 divided by 160 = $12.75 per hour is your absolute minimum, Accept nothing below this!

$12.75 per hour is the minimum you can make in order to pay your monthly bills. The client is not just paying for time. If you only wanted got get paid for time, then you could work at a fast food joint.

Now let’s multiply $12.75 by 3. Why 3 do you ask? I’m glad you asked, because they are also paying for your talent, education and experience.

4. $12.75 x 3 = $38.25 per hour is your starting rate.

You may of course charge more ( and most of the time you should), but now you know the absolute minimum you need to make to pay your bills. You should try to avoid jobs that don’t meet your minimum. So if you need to negotiate, start  high and work your down to, but not past your starting rate.

*This is only an example. Your monthly bills will be different. Include what you have; health insurance, credit cards, debts, school loans, any quarterly payments (divided by 3), your child's dance lessons, diapers, your always broke relative, etc.

read next - Should I be Afraid of Drawing Glyphs?
previous - Color Troubles? Calibrate Your Monitor

Keep reading and follow me. If you have found this helpful, please let me know and share with other creators. Are the explanations clear and complete? Feel free to ask me questions.

Remember… Just Create!

If you are interested in further expanding your knowledge, then I recommend these books.

You can support this blog when you purchase a book by clicking the link below, I get a piece of the action and helps me to continue doing this blog. Support an artist today.

Please support me making video tutorials on Patreon

copyright 2014 H. Simpson

Friday, August 1, 2014

Color Troubles? Calibrate Your Monitor

Get Your Color Printing Correct



I recently answered a question about how to keep color consistent on computers and making prints that aren’t dark.

My answer was to calibrate your monitor. A quick, but ultimately unhelpful answer. I’ve been doing it so long, that I think everyone knows how to calibrate their monitor.

Below are links to that walk you through the process.

https://www.cnet.com/how-to/how-to-calibrate-your-monitor/

https://photographylife.com/how-to-calibrate-your-monitor

https://www.color-management-guide.com/how-to-calibrate-your-monitor.html

Check them all out and choose the best one the works for you.

read next - How Much Should I Charge for My Art Services?
previous - So You Want to Self-publish: Part Two Go APE!

Keep reading and follow me. If you have found this helpful, please let me know and share with other creators. Are the explanations clear and complete? Feel free to ask me questions.

Remember… Just Create!

If you are interested in further expanding your knowledge, then I recommend these books.

You can support this blog when you purchase a book by clicking the link below, I get a piece of the action and helps me to continue doing this blog. Support an artist today.

Please support me making video tutorials on Patreon

copyright 2014 H. Simpson


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Top Ten Must Haves for San Diego Comic-Con Survival Kit



2. Metro Transit Regional Day Passes are $5 with a Compass Card ($7 without: $5 Day Pass plus $2 for reusable Compass Card) and available from ticket vending machines

3. External Battery - Because someone else may get to a plug before you.

4. Travel Power Strip - If you do get to a plug first you share it with others.

5. Gadget Bag - Keep all your gadgets and wires nice and neat http://amzn.com/B005GD9W46

6. WhatsApp - Just found out about this app a couple of days ago. Keep connected by messages with your friends. 

7. Water bottles

8. Dress in layers - It can be freezing inside the center. It will be hot outside, so be pre parted to peel off layers as needed.

9. Wear comfortable shoes or sneakers - You will be walking a lot.

10. Buy some fruits from the supermarket - A nice healthy snack and cheaper than the expensive food inside the convention center.

Check out the Comics Beat for more ideas.

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Remember... Just Create!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Just the Blog and Only the Blog Monster

Hello my dear readers.




Things have been topsy turvy since my move. I made a lot of changes at once. Some necessary to move my career forward and others out of my control.

I will get back to my regular schedule of blogs after San Diego Comic Con. Even though my roommie backed out because an opportunity he couldn’t pass up and now I have to find another place to stay.

SDCC looks like it’s going to be exciting this year and I wouldn’t want to miss it.


In a few weeks I’l be able to share a big monster of a project I worked. It was very exciting and I was geeking out.on the inside, while being very professional on the outside.

Remember... Just Create!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Read Warren Ellis and Jason Howard’s Trees #1 for FREE

Trees #1 by Warren Ellis and Jason Howard


Image Comics is offering the digital edition of the first issue for free through Tuesday.

Trees #1 is available for free through Tuesday on ImageComics.com and the Image Comics iOS app and on ComiXology‘s platforms.

They certainly don’t make it easy to find. On the Comixology site I had to type it in the search field.

You can read more about here.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Last Chance to Vote for Eisner Awards

My friend N. Steve Harris has been nominated for an Eisner Awards.




Paradigm’s title Watson and Holmes has been nominated for two Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards: Best New Series by Karl Bollers and Rick Leonardi)
Best Single Issue #6 by Brandon Easton and N Steven Harris.

Go vote now!

Remember... Just Create!

And Subscribe and Share!


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Find out how to sharpen art skills that are dull around the edges.

In the interest of trying to improve myself and sharpen my skills, I joined a monthly art challenge.


The art below was done for a monthly challenge called Pummel over at the Penciljack forum. A collection of a great group of artists and writers interested in storytelling. I suggest you go over there and join today.




Remember... Just Create!

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Monday, June 9, 2014

The Road from Analog to Digital Art

Today we have some marker studies I'm going to do as final art in Photoshop


So now is the time to make any critiques or comments. Speak now or forever hold your peace!  Well... I'm always open to those. I'm just fooling with ya!

I always strive to make my digital to look like it was not done on a computer. Believe it or not, some clients want that Photoshop look.




Remember... Just Create!

And also Subscribe and Comment!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Today get my free comic!

My New Comic Grace: Fallen Angel is Available


Okay, here is the free comic as promised and at the demand of thousands. Sam Thousands that is, who runs the corner coffee shop.

You can choose the PDF and read it online.

OR

You can download the CBZ file and open in your favorite comic reader.

Also, check out my comic strips online at

Share these links with everyone you know. Who doesn’t love comics?

Please share what think, your reactions and whatever in the comment area below.

Remember... Just Create!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

You Have to Challenge Yourself Daily

These are some Daily Sketch Challenges I did.


Very good to warm up first thing in the morning for the day and get the drawing muscles loose. Wake the brain up to create. These were all less than 30 minutes drawing time.

Topics suggested by Outcast Studios.

These are all drawn in ArtRage.








You can see a speed drawing of the Tusken Raider below..


At the end of the week, I’ll have a free comic I recently did for you to download.

Remember... Just Create!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Throwback Tuesday

For the rest of this week, I'll be featuring some of my art done for clients, art challenges and myself.


The client for this wanted me to create "Pete" who would be a tour guide on a biblical journey.


The client planned to use this for some kind of e-card.


Both of these are vector art done in Adobe Illustrator.

Announcement! This Friday I will release a free comic for download.


Okay, I've religion and politics out of the way, so tomorrow some fun stuff.

Remember... Just Create!







Monday, May 26, 2014

Happy Memorial Day!

Happy Memorial Day!

Thanks to all the military personnel who serve, protect and die for our country.



Remember... Just Create!

Friday, May 23, 2014

So you draw dem dere' funny books?

Here are some pages from a comic I recently finished drawing for Heroic Publishing.

It's a Dr. Arcane story.

I was playing around with a different drawing style here. I kept lapsing back into my realistic style, when I was trying to be totally cartoony.

I scanned in the pencil art and the rest was drawn, lettered and colored in Adobe  Illustrator.

I was also trying for a European coloring style. I may have fallen short there. Oh well next time!




Remember... Just Create!



Friday, May 9, 2014

So You Want to Self-publish: Part Two Go APE!

How to Self- Publish

In my never ending quest to help you to be masters of your own destiny; I am sharing another great resource with you.

This book by Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch, titled APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur.

Self-publishing can be a complex, confusing, problematic and arduous process. If that scares you, then you should get this book to avoid the pitfalls inherent in publishing your paper or e-book.



Keep reading and follow me. If you have found this helpful, please let me know and share with other creators. Are the explanations clear and complete? Feel free to ask me questions.

Remember… Just Create!

If you are interested in further expanding your knowledge, then I recommend these books.

You can support this blog when you purchase a book by clicking the link below, I get a piece of the action and helps me to continue doing this blog. Support an artist today.

Please support me making video tutorials on Patreon

copyright 2014 H. Simpson


Wednesday, April 30, 2014

How Deep Does it Go?

Be careful they are wherever you look. They have their hooks in our childhood. They formed us without  force, guided and lead us to think what they want. Are comic strips funny because we think it is or because they programmed us to what THEY think funny is.

 
Remember... Hail Hydra! 
NOOOO! Just Create!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Batman 75th Anniversary

Detective Comics #27


My contribution to a group project to redraw Detective #27 for Batman's 75 Anniversary.

This is the very first panel of the story and the first panel Batman appears in the story.



I'll give you more details soon.

Remember... Just Create!



Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Dynamic Duo Yin Yang


Batman and Robin Yin Yang Symbol



Something I came up with between drawings.




to be continued…

Keep reading and +1 this blog. Share with your friends. Please comment.

Remember… Just Create!

Copyright 2016 H. Simpson

If you are interested in further expanding your knowledge, then I recommend these books.

When you purchase a book by clicking the link below, I get a piece of the action and helps me to continue doing this blog. Support an artist today.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Rueben Awards 2013 Nominees

The 68th Annual NCS Reuben Awards! 

The winners will be announced Saturday, May 24th at the annual NCS Reuben Awards dinner in San Diego, CA



Editorial Cartoons
• Clay Bennett
• Adam Zyglis
• Mike Ramirez
Newspaper Illustration
• Bob Eckstein
• Miel Prudencio Ma
• Dave Whamond
Feature Animation
• Mike Giamo: Production Design Frozen (Disney)
• Hayao Miyazaki: Director, The Wind Rises (Disney)
• Jonathan del Val: Animator of Lucy character, Despicable Me 2 (Illumination)
TV Animation
• Craig McCracken, Wander Over Yonder (Disney)
• Paul Rudish, Disney Channel’s Mickey Mouse shorts (Disney)
• Douglas Sloan And Art Edler Brown, Dragons: Riders of Berk (Dreamworks)
Newspaper Panels
• Dave Coverly
• Scott Hilburn
• Mark Parisi
Magazine Gag Cartoons
• Matt Diffee
• Bob Eckstein
• Mike Twohy
Advertising/Product Illustration
• Cedric Hohnstadt
• Sean Parkes
• Rich Powell
Greeting Cards
• Glenn McCoy
• Mark Parisi
• George Schill
Comic Books
• Sergio Aragones, Sergio Aragones Funnies
• Jay Fosgitt, Bodie Troll
• Chris Samnee, Daredevil
Graphic Novel
• Dan E Burr, On The Ropes
• Rick Geary, Madison Square Tragedy
• Andrew C Robinson, The 5th Beatle
Magazine Illustration
• Daryll Collins
• Anton Emdin
• Dave Whamond
Online — Long Form
• Jenn Manley Lee, Dicebox
• Dylan Meconis, Family Man
• Eddie Pittman, Red’s Planet
• Jeff Smith, Tuki
Online — Short Form
• Jim Horwitz, Watson
• Ryan Pagelow, Buni
• Mike Twohy, New Yorker Online
Book Illustration
• Matt Davies
• William Joyce
• CF Payne
Newspaper Comic Strips
• Isabella Bannerman, Six Chicks
• Terri Libenson, Pajama Diaries
• Mark Tatulli, Lio


Find out more information at The National Cartoonist Society.

Monday, March 17, 2014

So you want to self-publish?

Before you do anything read Matthew Mather’s SHAKESPEARE system for self-publishing.

Serialize
Hook
Amazon
Key networks
Empathize
Select Program on Amazon
Perceived Value
Editing
All free posting websites
Reviews
Engage

Also check out his CyberStorm novel Chronicles:



I feel this system is great! After reading let me know if you can think of anything else to add as a self-publisher for comic books and graphic novels for print and digital books.

Serialize

As attention spans shorten in the online (and real) world, readers don’t trust a new author enough to read 400 pages to get the point. For a new author, a winning approach is to serialize, to create your work as a set of progressively longer stories that connect together through cliffhangers to get a reader hooked. And speaking of that…

Hook

The first short story needs to be punchy and tell a complete story in itself while leaving the reader wanting to know more. Even more than that, you need to hook the reader on the first page somehow, create a mystery, a reason and need to keep reading.

Amazon

To start, focus only on Amazon. I’m not here to promote Amazon, but the first rule of entrepreneurism is to focus, focus, focus. The large majority of revenue in digital books comes from Amazon, with a small minority coming from all of the other players combined. So when you start, focus on Amazon by itself; getting reviews, getting up in the ranking. By only going on Amazon, you force people to buy from one place and thus drive up your rankings in this one spot. Once you have achieved some success there, expand to other platforms (FYI the easiest way to get on other platforms is just to use Smashwords).

Key networks

Make sure to use your personal social networks to maximum effect. Post on Facebook and ask people to re-post your postings for free book offers. Make sure to email everyone at work on the “internal” email (ask your boss first, of course!) Use your LinkedIn network to mention that you have a book out. What other networks are you a part of?

Try emailing top-selling authors in your category when you release the first installments of your work. Ask them to read the first one (by starting with serialized shorts, it makes it easier for other authors to try reading your work), or just ask them to post on their blog or Facebook. When I released Atopia, I had about five or six top-selling authors who posted to their readers for me!

Empathize

It is critical to create a character that you introduce readers to right away that they can empathize with. People read still primarily because they want to feel an emotional involvement with a character they meet in your writing. Keep this front and center of your mind when writing.

Select Program on Amazon

Use the Amazon Select Program: You can offer your book for $0 (free) for 5 days each 3 months. Used effectively, this is an extremely potent tool for reaching an audience. There are at least 40 websites I use to promote a “free weekend” for my books (email me for a list) – these sites are mostly specific to books that go free on Amazon Select and are mostly free to use for promotion.

If you can plan it ahead of time, write out all of the parts of your serialized work ahead of time, and then each two weeks release one of them, promoting it on Amazon select for free and on the promotional websites. I can usually get 4000+ downloads of a free book when I do this.

Perceived Value

Create perceived value by offering a deal. For instance, try and divide your ‘whole’ work into 6 parts, and sell each for $0.99, and then offer the whole ‘collection’ at half price, e.g. $2.99 for all six. This creates perceived value on the part of the buyer when you start to sell the whole collection

Editing

If your work is not edited well, you will get killed in the reviews and in word of mouth. As a first pass, make sure to find some friends or family to have a look. If you can’t afford a professional editor, trying going on Craigslist and find some just-graduated English lit major to edit your book on the cheap. A “real” editor can be quite expensive, but there is no excuse to not get an external editor of some kind, and not getting one will kill your chances of success.

All free posting websites

Craigslist and other free online classified ads are the secret weapon for a new authors. It is incredibly difficult to get outside feedback when you are a new writer. My solution? Post an ad saying you’ll pay someone $10 or $20 to read your book and give you honest feedback. Note that this is not for line editing, but for high level feedback to make your story more engaging in an iterative process.

Bonus: Get 20 people to read your book like this; these people will probably become your biggest promoters and will be happy to write reviews and Facebook and tweet your book when released.

Free PR – When you release your book, create several press releases about different aspects of the book, what it is about, why people would like it. When you release each of the story segments, put these press releases up on the free press release websites. There are about a dozen high quality free release sites out there. Highlight that the short story that is free that week.

Reviews

It is critical to get reviews as this has a direct impact on the Amazon ranking and recommendation system. YOU CANNOT do fake reviews. Apart from the ethical issues, Amazon has an impressive array of technical tools to make this very difficult. Instead, be honest and creative; use friends, family, co-workers; and see my point regarding Craigslist and getting people ready to punt for your project.

Engage

Find any and all ways to engage with your audience once you start to get readers. Do a video blog on YouTube about the process, do a regular blog showing progress on next books and stories, get people to your Facebook page. Just get engaged with them somehow!

read next - So You Want to Self-publish: Part Two Go APE!
previous - Kickstarter is not for the meek

Keep reading and follow me. If you have found this helpful, please let me know and share with other creators. Are the explanations clear and complete? Feel free to ask me questions.

Remember… Just Create!

If you are interested in further expanding your knowledge, then I recommend these books.

You can support this blog when you purchase a book by clicking the link below, I get a piece of the action and helps me to continue doing this blog. Support an artist today.

Please support me making video tutorials on Patreon.

copyright 2014 H. Simpson


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Kickstarter is not for the meek

Get everything in order before you do Kickstarter. Plan and plan some more.


If you are considering a Kickstarter, then be prepared to be working at it like a 40 hour a week job. You can’t just post and let it sit there. You have to continually campaign, champion your project, promote and update. You have to have a strategy. Plan like Batman.

Here are some words of wisdom from Max West after his failed campaign.

read next - So you want to self-publish?
previous - The Business of the Comic Book Industry

Keep reading and follow me. If you have found this helpful, please let me know and share with other creators. Are the explanations clear and complete? Feel free to ask me questions.

Remember… Just Create!

If you are interested in further expanding your knowledge, then I recommend these books.

You can support this blog when you purchase a book by clicking the link below, I get a piece of the action and helps me to continue doing this blog. Support an artist today.

copyright 2014 H. Simpson