Sunday, December 22, 2013

Practice, Practice, Practice

I don't want to jinx it, but I've been practicing a lot more lately.  Drawing that is.  I've been watching videos by Reiq where he's just sketching away.  It was kind of inspiring.  To start with, he's good.  Real good.  So I've been trying to level up my skills and produce better stuff.  In the meantime I'd settle for figuring out how to post my sketches so they look decent. 8(

More updates on my DeviantArt page as I work on this.

On the other side of things, I've been working on my short story writing skills, and reading awesome examples from Tobais S. Buckell.  I've read a bunch of his sci-fi books.  They're awesome, brutal at times, and can be kind of shocking at others.  It's kind of refreshing when you've grown up on tame Star Trek stories.

So I'm trying to learn from his example and write good short stories, which seem the closest thing in the writing world to creating comics.  I'm hoping it doesn't take me 15 years like it took him. 8)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Surface Pro 2 - Issues

I have to say: I've never had to mess with drivers on my iPad.

My Surface Pro 2 on the other hand...

So at the moment I think I've got it fixed, but the CPU has just been working overtime on this thing.  It's killing my battery.

I went over to via a google search for "high cpu load" or something like that.  There were a bunch of folks complaining about the same issue.  Turns out it was a problem with the audio driver.  How was I supposed to know to go to Realtek's site and download their drivers, and not use Microsoft's?  Madness.

This isn't the first driver issue I've had with the thing.  The first one was with the pen, and using wacom's drivers instead of Microsoft's.  More madness.

It's a lot of hassle to get a portable drawing solution working.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Microsoft Surface Pro 2

Following Penny-Arcade's glowing review of the Microsoft Surface Pro for producing art on the go, I decided to buy one when it was time to upgrade my tablet.  It was a hard decision not to go with the new iPad, but the Surface is much better in terms of art resources.

I looked at the iPad and Wacom's Cintiq Companion when I was making my decision.  The Companion was nice, but it used last year's technology was too heavy (4 pounds!), too big (10 inches by 15 inches) and too expensive ($2000!).  The benefits were native Wacom digitizer technology and a slightly larger screen: 1 inch in height, and 2 in width.  There were too many down sides.  I wouldn't carry something that big and heavy around with me, and the added screen space wasn't enough to justify the extra expense and inconvenience.

I wanted to use the device like an iPad.  Carrying it around with me everywhere in my satchel bag, and being able to pull it out and do real production work.

So why not the new iPad?  Well, two things: First the painting programs are all really simplified.  procreate and Sketchbook pro are the closest, but they lack major features I use in the production of my art.  Second, the pen's all suck.  I tried the pogo something-or-other pen, and I just couldn't get the sensitivity out of it that I was used to on my regular desktop wacom tablet.  Also, drawing with something the size of an eraser just doesn't cut it.  There's no precision there.

The only real portable drawing tablet I could wrap my brain around was the Microsoft Surface Pro 2. It's definitely not perfect.  It doesn't have any hardware buttons to use with drawing, and I had no idea how much I relied on that until it was gone.  Second, the pen only had one button and the upgraded pen I found didn't have an eraser end.  So I went out and bought another pen, from Britain no less, because it was out of stock here in the States.  Having a second side button, and an eraser has been a huge help.

I have a cross-platform drawing app that I use: Manga Studio 5.  It's awesome, works on my Mac and the Surface, and is designed for tablet use.  Besides, it's really cheap ($50) and beats Photoshop ($600) hands down for drawing.

I'm still ironing out the kinks, but I really feel I'm on the right track for mobile drawing.

Questions about all this? Email me: jallen327 at yahoo com.

Fresh Pickles!

So I'm back trying to revitalize this page and get things moving again.  I have a whole host of stories I've been working on.  Some are in book form, some more comic oriented.  If you check out the page you'll see some of the concepts I've been working on.

I haven't forgotten the Down-time comic, but I haven't put that much work into it recently.  There's an updated image of Dagen, and I'm still in process with the other characters.  The character designs definitely need some freshening up.

The Super-hero comic featuring Astrid, my norse hero, is perking along.  Character concepts are in progress, and I have a couple stories that need a little more fleshing out.

There's also my Sci-fi story, TigerShark Transport Services, which. is. still. evolving.

There are many stories other than this.  I'm hoping to get something to the web soon.  We all know well that's been working out.