• Tag Archives art
  • Status Report – 052820

    status report 052820

    Status Report – 052820:

    A few things –

    1) The Patreon edition of Fredrikus posted today. The non-Patreon edition posts tomorrow. (The Fredrikus Patreon edition posts a day early.)

    2) As per the pic above, my Instagram has become an art channel so please consider following me there for art posts.

    3) This weekend’s edition of The Canister X Transmission is mostly written and will go out Saturday.

    4) Today will mostly be spent making comics as part of our effort to do One Thing at a Time.

    5) I made spring rolls last night.

    This has been your Status Report for 052820.


  • On Art and Never Arriving

    Prompted by a chat with artist Sean Simmans last night, I got to thinking that it is impossible to ever fully arrive in the arts field.

    You may be doing poorly or extremely well on the scale of subjective success, but wherever you are is only temporary and never stable.

    Any art form is about finding one’s voice, which is different at 30 than it is at 50 than it is at 70. Your style will constantly change, sometimes–and ideally–for the better, but also sometimes not.

    Unfortunately, we have been sold this packaged idea of what success looks like in the art field, genres ripping apart the industry, and marketing madness brainwashing us into what we’re supposed to think art looks like . . . but it’s never accurate.

    Ultimately, art is living and fluid and is like water, always flowing, not a dam in sight.

    Your work might be polished, but even in a polished state, it’s incomplete because there is always that one thing you could have done better or a little bit smarter.

    Art isn’t prefect. It’s not supposed to be. Then it isn’t art. That’s Sean talking and I agree with him.

    Whatever your craft, where you are is where you are. If the art is made, you’re an artist. And, in that context, you have arrived . . . but our work never will.

    It’s all about the journey.


  • An Elaboration of 2020 and a Career Shift

    Comics work
    Part of a print in progress on the drawing board

    An Elaboration of 2020 and a Career Shift.

    After years of putting it off, I’m stepping down from being solely an author. “Solely” being the operative word. The book publishing industry rewarded me in the ways I needed, taught me the things I wanted to learn, and helped me meet the types of people I wanted to meet, both creator and reader alike. And while true that since I’ve been back from being ill, I’ve taken on the mantle of writer/artist instead of just writer, I thought it’d be a fair thing to tell you what the current road map looks like career-wise so I don’t accidentally mislead you.

    This is the general plan:

    2020 is a year of rebuilding hence Project Rebuild. Throughout the course of the year–with the very end of the year being the ideal-but-flexible deadline–I’ll be bringing my book list into the 21st century and will release a new thing or two along the way. And it will take the whole year or potentially more because I have a lot of titles and all this takes time.

    Going forward in 2021, I have a few books that are done that need releasing so those will be tended to as well as finishing off some works-in-progress to wrap them up.

    While the above two are occuring, I’ll be spending most of my time and energy devoted to making comics. Comics are what started me on the publishing path and are a great love of mine. In short, writing books will be a secondary thing compared to the comics.

    All I want to do is finish the last bit of my book publishing life and make comics going forward.

    For Axiom-man fans, don’t worry. Lots of prose adventures coming. I’m referring to my non-superhero work.

    I also need to point out something to my readers that needs to be taken into consideration: I’m still sick. I’m much better than before, but even when I started up again at the end of last August, I was operating at around 65-70% capacity. Going hard at 1000mph has dropped me to about 50% on a good day, 40-45% on every other day. Each day I come to the keyboard, I’m not healthy on multiple levels, but I work anyway because making art and stories is what I do and it’s what helps me survive. All I’m saying is I’m changing things on various levels so I don’t keel over and die one day in the middle of a script or while drawing something. It is also important to point out that my shift to comics isn’t about accommodating for being unwell. It’s about looking ahead to my deathbed when I’m lying there and looking back. I know I’ll regret it if I don’t do comics and since time is the most valuable thing on this earth, I want to spend it doing something I love.

    Thank you.


  • 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.