Apr 262016
Dinictis squalidens

Old, see?

When I was attending the University of Wyoming, back when Deinonychus was roaming around, I wanted to be a civil engineer.

Well, let’s back up a moment. I wanted to be an architectural engineer. Before that, an architect.

As you could probably tell, I didn’t know what I wanted to be. I grew up only wanting to be an author, but at the time there was no internet to get feedback with. In little odd town Wyoming, there were no mentors, no people to pass stories on by, so I let it go. At the same time, my family pushed for me to get a “real” job, and when my father passed away halfway through my senior year in high school, engineering seemed like the fit.

It wasn’t for me, of course, and since I’m not an engineer I may not need a spoiler alert to tell you what happened. I spent another year of finding nothing, then moved on to construction work. My father had always said that the world needed ditch-diggers, and for awhile that’s just what I was. To be fair, I was also able to drive some massive vehicles around, so it turned out fine.

After a few years of that, I did go back to school to earn my Associate’s degree. The only thing that ever helped with, other than to help realign my life in the late 1990’s, was that it gives me quite a lot of credits as I now return to school for my bachelor’s degree. After twenty years, as it were.

Why the long wait? Kids, lack of money, getting too comfortable in jobs that eventually try to kill me, those kinds of things. I also thought that, with awards and decades of experience under my belt, that employers would take me seriously. They, in fact, do not.

So, I’m back on the road to a degree. I can’t afford it, we’re broke. But I also must afford it, there’s no moving forward in graphics, communications, or much else without it. My awards, my two decades of experience, my great references, all of that is irrelevant to the working world if it doesn’t have the degree to go with it.

I’m currently hard at work on a communications degree, which gets me back to the writing I originally started with. We’ll see how it goes, but for now I can at least see the twinkle of something at the end of the dark tunnel.

Oct 212015
Customizing the sketchbook for the muse

moleskine1015-rdickerson3I like to customize my Moleskine sketchbooks before I start using them, and sometimes that can be quite an elaborate process.

Partly, I customize them so that they are easier to recognize and find if lost. Instead of just looking for a generic, small sketchbook, I can tell people to look for something more unique. By customizing it inside and out, it’s easier to spot, and frankly harder to get away with stealing.

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Sep 202015
A new pencil, and the importance of consistency

Artists, and creators in general, can be a strange breed. Notwithstanding all of the devious and unusual things we come up with, especially as a horror creator, our actions often seem unusual to the general public.

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Jan 052015
The best steak sandwich I've ever had

Twenty-five years ago, as of yesterday, I had the very best steak sandwich.

To be honest, I wasn’t hungry at the time. It was well past dinner time, past 8 o’clock at night even. There’s no real reason that a steak sandwich should have even been offered, and yet, it was the right thing to have.

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Sep 292014
Unimaginable is not a word in my vocabulary

When I was standing in line at the local coffee shop, I overheard a couple of people talking about something awful. That happens, certainly, it’s not unusual at all (I often stand in coffee shop lines). One of the women in the group, after hearing the full details of a plane crash, said, “That is just unimaginable. I could never imagine that happening to me.”

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Sep 122014
The Devil's Footprints: Creating Oddities From The Mysterious

For my entire life, from the stone ages until now, seemingly, I have been fascinated by the strange and the weird. Growing up, nearly all of the books that I read were about mysterious happenings around the world.

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Sep 092014
The texture of zombies and the dead

One thing I love about art is seeing the different interpretations that artists have. A different take on a sunset, or a new way to paint buildings, and even new ways to paint monsters. These new methods and creative views drive what I love in art. Let’s face it, especially where monsters are involved.

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Sep 082014
Weird is the new normal

I constantly look at other artists’ work, in fact I make it a part of my day to at least check out art or illustration boards on the web. There’s something I’ve noticed, and I’m not sure if it’s a trend or if it’s something that’s always been there.

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Sep 052014
Your monsters change, even when they never do

I was particularly enamored the other day with the newest trailer for the film Pacific Rim, and it made me think of something other than giant robots and giant monsters.

Originally published by Apex Book Company, April 2013

Aren’t these the same giant monsters we’ve seen for years?

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Sep 032014
Perception of the visuals: the look and feel of noir

Picture this: there’s a former cop standing in one spot, with a beautiful woman standing behind him. His gun is drawn, and he’s waiting for the bad guy to show himself so they can have a “final showdown”. It’s a tense scene, where quite a lot of bad things are about to happen.

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