• Tag Archives art
  • Stay Focused Social Media Blocking App and Timex TW5M23300 Watch

    Stay Focused Social Media Blocking App and Timex TW5M23300 Watch.

    Last week I was off-line except for a couple of tasks that needed doing via the Internet (like administration). To ensure I remained off-line–I’m just as human as the next guy (I think)–I got an app for my computer phone called Stay Focused. This app can block any app on your phone and, in the free version (which I used), can block up to 5 apps at once. You set a schedule by telling it which hours and what days you want certain apps blocked. I applied these to the social media apps on my pocket computer to keep me on lockout. While true I’m in Broadcast Mode in the winter, as part of broadcasting I sometimes need to go into an app like Instagram and post something. The problem is one glance at the feeds can quickly lead to two, then three, and so on, and the next thing you know you’ve fiddled away an afternoon scrolling and scrolling and refreshing and scrolling.

    This picture is a screenshot of the app from the day I went dark. You can see the stat on there says I’ve already tried opening the app 3 times and each time it didn’t work (was running tests). The timer on locking me out of these apps ran for a week. And it worked! Once I knew I was locked out, I didn’t give the apps a second thought.

    Stay Focused APF

    Stay Focused also acts as a master lock, meaning you have these little locks under it (like the apps you’re blocking), but then you can lock Stay Focused itself–but only in 6-hour chunks in the free version–to ensure you don’t unlock your blocked apps. I’m assuming this is for extreme cases where certain people need a double padlock on their phone. To get even more extreme, I’m pretty sure there’s a lock on Stay Focused that forbids you from uninstalling it in an effort to destroy your barriers.

    What was interesting was it kept track of how many times I unlocked my phone to do something, like reply to a text from family. I was disgusted when I saw, at the end of one of the days, I had unlocked the phone around 35 times. I barely used it that day! But numbers don’t lie. I barely used it? That was 35 times in the span of 12 hours (roughly). That’s approximately 4 times an hour. That’s once every 15 minutes. My unlock count steadily dropped as the week wore on and I got busier, but this goes to show how much we’ve integrated pocket computers into our lives.

    The app has other features, like how long you are using any one program and your total phone usage for the day.

    In the end, getting an app like this is highly recommended, especially if you are a phone junkie and recognize you have a problem (dopamine addiction). And, yes, the irony of this kind of post ranting about frequent phone use is not lost on me. I fully recognize a good part of my business is digital and having people on-line looking at or reading my stuff is better for me yet here I am encouraging my readers to go live life in the physical world. Oh well. But my refutation to the irony is this: I’m referring to balance. Is your on-line and off-line lives balanced? Take away sleeping hours, eating, and body maintenance, and see how much time is spent on a screen while you’re awake. The rest is up to you.

    (I know that author J.B. Bennet got on board and locked themselves out of things during working hours each day, so others see the merit in this.)

    I made this video on Friday of last week and aired it yesterday. It gets into what happened during my time off-line. Watch and subscribe. You might relate.

    Lastly, for months I was getting frustrated of having to pull out my phone to check the time. While 9 times out of 10 all it was was checking the time, there was always that one time in there where it became an excuse to futz around on the phone. I couldn’t have that. I needed to be off-line, so I took the plunge and got myself a basic sports watch by Timex. As a kid, I had a couple of their Ironman watches, which I loved. I was aiming for another basic Ironman this time around but it was suggested to me that’s more a watch for a 15-year-old than a man so opted for a different one because I thought that was a valid point (I’m talking purely the aesthetics).

    This is the watch I got, model TW5M23300:

    Timex TW5M23300 Watch APF

    And that was how I kept dark last week.

    Taking a break from the Internet is something I’ve recommended for years for the sake of maintaining all facets of one’s health. I will go off-line again somewhere down the road because 2020 is a stupidly busy work year and sometimes you need to just shut up and get the job done. But that upcoming time off-line won’t be for a while yet. Not until my first holiday of 2020. Until then, I’ll be here, writing to you and making books and art and comics and videos.

    Keep coming back to the blog every day. There’s always something being posted.

    – APF

    Ps. Today, a new chapter of Gigantigator Death Machine aired on Patreon! Please go here to get access to this fun romp of creature horror for just a buck!


  • Appearance Announcement: FanQuest

    FanQuest Logo

    I’m pleased to announce I’ll be attending FanQuest in June in Winnipeg (specific dates still being determined; please keep an eye on my Convention and Book Signing Schedule for them). You’ll find me tabling there with author Melinda Marshall. I’ll bring loads of monster and superhero books and art for you to check out and enjoy.

    FanQuest is a newish show. I think I’ve tabled it twice in the past. Regardless, it’s good times.

    See you at the show.


  • Quotes on Drawing – Jan1420

    Sketchbook Hands
    A page from an old sketchbook.

    Some quotes on drawing for Jan1420.

    Drawing and making comics was how I stumbled my way into the book industry. It’s a long story and one I’ll be sharing in my upcoming memoir. I’ve made it my goal to draw regularly in 2020 and get back to my comic-making roots. The picture above is from an old sketchbook, circa 1999. At this point in my life, all that mattered in terms of career aim was making comics.

    Here are some quotes for my fellow artists to ponder:

    “I cannot rest, I must draw, however poor the result, and when I have a bad time come over me it is a stronger desire than ever.” – Beatrix Potter

    This is true. I find I’m the most inspired to write or draw when I’ve hit a hard time. It’s a way to deal with what’s going on and get out on paper all that it is making me feel. This has also led to some strange, and sometimes even dark, drawings.

    “In drawing, nothing is better than the first attempt.” – Pablo Picasso

    There’s something raw about a first effort. That might go without saying, but a first try carries with it a lot of heart because if one is gung-ho about drawing a specific thing, that passionate thrust carries through into the drawing and makes it come alive in its own way, even if the drawing isn’t that great. A second attempt, as per my experience, seems to lack the same heart as the first and looks flat even if it’s technically correct. This is why I don’t agree with comic makers going back and redoing earlier work or pages. Artistic expression is a journey and there’s something to be said about looking back on earlier work and seeing where you were in that journey and what you were feeling at the time. It’s even better when someone from the outside sees it and knows where you came from and where you presently are at. This applies to early writing work, too.

    “Perspective is the rein and rudder of painting.” – Leonardo da Vinci

    This is true and, admittedly, a weaker area for me. I can do perspective when it comes to inorganic objects, but ensuring your character is 3D takes a lot of practice and is something I’m working on.

    In the end, the new 2020 art journey is going to be a good one and I look forward to sharing more art with you when it’s ready. In the meantime, please head on over to my art page to see what’s there.

    Lastly, on a side note, a new chapter of Gigantigator Death Machine was uploaded to Patreon this morning. In this chapter, those who are left desperately wish the gator will just plain go away. Head on over and get reading for just a buck. Thanks.


  • Appearance Announcement: Winnipeg Comiccon

    Winnipeg Comiccon

    Please note I will be tabling at the Winnipeg Comiccon on October 30 to November 1, 2020. You’ll find me and author Melinda Marshall in Artist Alley with a couple of tables full of monster and superhero books, comics, and art.

    This is the first show I’m booked for since taking a break from conventions and appearances in 2018-2019.

    I’m looking forward to it. See you there.


  • Various Bits from the Net – 121019

    The Various Bits from the Net segment was something I did as part of a daily blog schedule many years ago when each day of the week (Monday-Thursday, with Friday being a summary day; hope I remembered correctly) had a specific assigned topic. They were the same week-to-week except for, of course, the content itself. Various Bits from the Net was one of those days and it was a day I would post links and/or commentary on various items from the Net that caught my interest.

    I’m bringing that feature back but, as of this writing, not as a set day per week but rather something I’ll blog about here and there.

    So that said, welcome to Various Bits from the Net 2.0. Today’s date is 121019.

    Points of interest:

    The Black Widow Trailer

    Really curious about this one. Obviously, this takes place at some point before Avengers: Endgame, and then even at a point further back because we see Natasha training to become a spy. I’m also a David Harbour fan so I’m really curious as to what he’s going to do with Red Guardian. He’s seems somewhat Hopper-esque (from Stranger Things) which, to me, is a huge plus point.

    The Wonder Woman 1984 Trailer

    DC/WB have flubbed their movie outings since Day One with a few exceptions. And while I enjoy the WB/DC movies overall despite their flaws, Wonder Woman delivered well when it was first released about halfway through 2017. I personally think waiting three years for a sequel is one year too many, but I also understand the delay given what’s been happening at the WB offices and them not being sure what to do in terms of the DC Extended Universe. Anyway, Wonder Woman 1984 looks to be a promising sequel to Wonder Woman and I’m curious to see how certain things and characters are explained when the film comes out. This is also a teaser, and since we all know Cheetah is the other main bad guy and she’s not in this trailer, it’s safe to say the villainness will be the focus of a trailer closer to release date.

    The Ghostbusters: Afterlife Trailer

    I grew up with Ghostbusters. To me, they were superheroes because they wore a jumpsuit and had matching proton packs and stopped ghosts. I won’t mention the Ghostbusters reboot from a few years back. In the end, it looks like this is indeed Ghostbusters 3 (it’s about time), and also appears to be a transition movie to pass the torch on to a new group of Ghostbusters.

    UoN Interview: Alan Moore

    The last portion of this interview hit home hard. I’ve gone through what Alan Moore speaks about. It’s also very pleasant to see an interview with Mr. Moore that doesn’t rehash the same questions he’s been asked for the past twenty-plus years. He makes an excellent point about art in this clip and its impact on human history. It’s this point he makes that fuels me on a daily basis because I’m a firm believer that everything is art and that its value far exceeds anything else we put our value in (especially in the 21st century where our values seem awfully misplaced).

    My friend and fellow author Nick Cato came out with a book recently. It’s called Suburban Grindhouse and it’s his first film book. Though part memoir, it looks at exploitation films and the effect they had on audiences in New York and New Jersey. Presently, it’s available exclusively from the publisher. Details and write-up can be found here. (If you sign up for their newsletter, Nick informs me you get 20% off.)

    Lastly, today a new essay went up on my Patreon page and it’s about getting back in the creative saddle after a lengthy hiatus. I relay my own experience about getting back to work after being ill and suggest to you the steps that helped me get the ball rolling again. You can read the essay here.

    And that wraps up this installment of Various Bits from the Net.


  • New Artwork and Publishing Services Rates for 2020

    Keyboard and Pen and Markers
    I work with both traditional and digital tools.

    With 2020 around the corner, it’s time for me to visit my freelancing Artwork and Publishing Services Rates again and adjust things for the New Year.

    The following rates will be effective on January 1, 2020. If you book me before January 1, I will honor my old rates so this is a chance to book me now even if your project won’t be ready to go until early in the New Year.

    The formula for the list below is Old Rate > New Rate

    All rates are in US funds.

    Editing (which is a full edit that covers everything from copy editing to proofreading):

    Short stories (1,000 – 7,000 words): 1¢ per word > 1.5¢ per word

    Novelettes (7,001 – 15,000 words): $250 > $275

    Novellas (15,001 – 40,000 words): $325 > $350

    Short novels (40,001 – 60,000): $425 > $450

    Novels (60,001 – 80,000 words): $500 > $525

    Blockbusters (80,001 – 120,000): $625 > $650

    Doorstops (120,000+): inquire for quote

    Formatting:

    Paperback formatting – $200 > $225

    eBook formatting – $150 > $175

    Paperback and eBook formatting bundle – $325 > $375

    Book Cover Design (includes the paperback and eBook files):

    Using stock art/photos/art you acquired elsewhere: $275US or $350CAN > $300US or $400CAN

    A note on stock photos: I do my best to seek out stock photos that are free for commercial use, however, sometimes the perfect photo needs to be purchased. Responsibility of cost for the purchased photo is the client’s. All proposed purchases are cleared with the client first.

    NEW – Using my original art created for the project’s cover (which includes the use of the art plus all the design that goes into a stock photo cover): $500US or $675CAN

    NEW – Artwork Commissions

    Penciled only: $150 (for up to two figures; additional figures $20 each)

    Inked: $200 (for up to two figures; additional figures $30 each)

    Colored (digital or traditional media, depending on the piece): $350 (for up to two figures; additional figures $40 each)

    Custom Artwork: If your project doesn’t fit the above commission guidelines, inquire anyway and we’ll figure out something that works for both of us.

    Thank you. I look forward to working with you.


  • The Toughest Part About Being a Writer/Artist

    A.P. Fuchs Books
    Some books from the A.P. Fuchs library.

    Full transparency: I’ve never deliberately looked up blog topics (so far as I can recall) but for fun, this morning I decided to do that and see what’s currently out there for blogging ideas. “The Toughest Part About Being a . . .” prompt was something I came across and, maybe because I’m still groggy, resonated with me the most this fine winter morning.

    So that said, here is the toughest part about being a writer/artist as per how I feel at the moment I’m writing this:

    Getting respect.

    When people ask what I do for a living and I tell them I write stories and draw, I’m met with two general responses: “Oh man, that’s so cool!” or, “That’s nice. Maybe one day you’ll get a real job instead of playing all day.” The latter isn’t explicitly stated but is certainly implied by tone, facial expression, and body language, all with an air of disappointment.

    The first crowd is, of course, the most pleasant to deal with. Their eyes light up and they smile and are genuinely happy for me. They often become my readers and usually follow up with me the next time I see them and ask how things are going and if I’m still doing it (the “still doing it” part hinting they understand it’s an unstable job but they have my back and are in my corner even if my answer is “No”).

    The second crowd is the one I don’t understand. The general formula for a working adult is you get out of bed, go to work, come home, eat dinner, then get on with your evening, which may or may not include doing more work. That’s the formula I’ve lived by my entire working life–whether working in the arts or elsewhere–and the formula every working adult I know follows. The only difference is I work from home. So when I “go to work,” my commute is measured in hallways and staircases as I make my way down to the Central’s bunker to get started. I work all day–and get paid for it–turn the computer off, then reverse my commute and wind up back upstairs with the rest of the household. But mention you write stories and draw pictures for a living and suddenly you don’t have a real job (see the “On Freelancing for a Living (This is a Job)” blog post). Upon thinking about it, it’s not even the working from home part that seems to rub people the wrong way (though this can happen). It’s the specific what I do for a living. I’ve seen firsthand where others who work from home who don’t write stories and draw pictures are met with a metaphorical handshake. Me? It’s a metaphorical hands-in-their-pockets.

    There is a disconnect that happens–usually with the older generation(s)–where, in the old days, work was something you left the house for and something you didn’t always enjoy. Work was actual work, like a chore, or work was something that demanded such a hard effort that every day ended the same when one came home: a collapse on the couch from mental and/or physical exhaustion. I believe the disconnect also happens because a lot of people tend to forget the entertainment they consume had to be created by somebody. Those books you read? Somebody took a lot of time writing them. Those comics you love? A group of people had to spend a lot of time writing, drawing, coloring, lettering, and printing them. Those movies you go to every Friday night? A whole slew of people had to go somewhere to play dress-up and pretend for a camera to tell you a story. That video game? Tons of people. Tons of artists. Even the very computer or smartphone this entry is being read on was dreamed up and sketched out by people who went to work. Somebody had to write all the code used in that phone. Somebody had to draw all those app icons. Somebody had to make science fiction science fact. Oh, and they got paid to do it because they need food and shelter, too.

    Why is my job not normally respectable? Is it the non-steady paycheck? Is it the fact I like it? Is it because I’d rather spend a third of every day enjoying myself versus dragging myself through the motions? Is it because I made up my mind and chose what I was going to do with the old statement that you can either work towards making your own dreams come true or you can work for someone else to make their dreams come true?

    Why does a lawyer get the handshake and I don’t? Why does a doctor? Or an accountant? Or a factory worker or a mechanic? Their job puts food on the table and keeps a roof over their loved ones’ heads just like mine does. My income goes towards food and bills, getting stuff for the kids and gas in the car. It buys Christmas presents and pays for date nights. It funds life just like their job funds life.

    I work. You work. We all work.

    And like I posted to social media forever ago, I want to repeat here: Everything is art. Every. Single. Thing. Creation is God’s canvas and nature is His painting. The stuff humans have made? It’s all based on someone dreaming and asking themselves, “What if . . .?” Then writing it down and drawing it out. Designing your couch is an art form. Writing the code for your car’s computer is an art form. Coming up with how to safely make a handheld drill is an art form. And so on.

    Everything is art.

    In the end, I’ve learned to live with the hits and learned my career choice will be frowned upon by others. But there are also others who don’t frown and instead smile. Those are the people who give respect. The others? I’ll still respect their work because they are my fellow human beings, and perhaps one day I’ll get the same occupational respect in return.

    Author’s note: This article isn’t about complaining. It’s pointing out a disconnect that some people seem to have and is hopefully encouraging to those who might be in the same boat.


  • New! Artwork Showcase Now on Site!

    As part of expanding my on-line creative showcase, I have added an Artwork tab to the menu above. Currently, it’s a work-in-progress and will be updated when new items are created. Right now it is in three sections to depict the areas of art displayed: Lineart, Shadows, and Mixed Media.

    Thanks for giving it a look.


  • Winter is Coming

    Work is being done behind-the-scenes here at Axiom-man Central to get ready for the fall/winter season. After my hiatus, I’ve been trying to get my writing and art machine back up and running so, come winter, I can just work and have a bunch of stuff automated for me instead of having to worry about it. The plan is to go into full Broadcast Mode during this time. The other night I also made a lengthy list of all new things A.P. Fuchs and those will be revealed as time goes on.

    Keep watching this space.