Crocodile Dundee

Stereotypes and Film: Crocodile Dundee

As a parent, one of the things we encourage our children to do is to take in entertainment from various time periods, including books, music, and movies. One of the older films we watched recently was the 1986 film Crocodile Dundee, a comedy featuring an Australian man from the Outback and the female news reporter from New York City who shares adventures with him. Viewing the film after 30 years, it also features a laundry list of stereotypes from the mid-1980’s, including the stereotypes of the Hispanic maid, the affluent New Yorkers and their high style of living, and African-Americans as either chauffeurs or gang members.… Read the rest

time_enough_at_last_rdickerson

Creating Fan Art: The Artist’s Perspective

It is truly interesting that fan art is this week’s topic, since it is something I am not only intimately familiar with as an illustrator, but this week my freelance life centers around that very idea. One of the things I enjoy doing is interviewing the cover artists for Apex Magazine, and I am sending several this week. Fan art questions often come up with those artists, who create fan art for various reasons. Along with that, I am also working on a piece of fan art this week, in the hopes that it will be published later this year in a book filled with art based on the 1982 film The Thing.… Read the rest

Local Communities Should Offer Makerspaces

Imagine for a moment that a visually impaired teenager has an interest in building a marble machine, where a small marble can roll down a series of pieces connected to a wall, landing in a cup at the bottom. This project would take materials that the teenager does not have, with knowledge he cannot easily learn by himself, and without the space at home to even try. He has the intelligence to learn it, and the will to try out new things. But he simply does not have the resources available to him to follow his ideas to their fruition.… Read the rest

up-russell

7 of my favorite films, and why

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve seen quite a few posts online about favorite things. Seven favorite television shows, fifteen most influential authors, that kind of thing. The problem I usually have is that my favorites change constantly, thanks to the chaotic mind I’ve been dealt.

So, instead of merely popping out a list of favorites, I thought I’d write about why these seven films are among my favorites. I could never list out my absolute favorites, that changes all the time. Not just because something new comes along, either.… Read the rest

Article: Theodore Roosevelt and the bullet speech

In my home office, behind my computer monitor and at the front of my desk, is a board of various quotes that help me think. Most of them sit outside of my view tonight, in the dark of the evening, but one in particular stands out in the light from my lamp.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.… Read the rest

The value of returning to school

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.… Read the rest

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.

For example, I spent a good amount of yesterday looking for a new pencil.

Now, for most people, a pencil is a pencil. In fact, I have dozens of pencils, all of which have their particular values. I have what I would call a crapload of Prismacolor Turquoise pencils, from 6B all the way to 4H (there may even be a 6H in there somewhere).… Read the rest

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.

Having a meal is only partly about the food itself, especially when you are with other people. There’s an atmosphere to the room, both physically and the emotions of those around you. It has a lot to do with what’s going on around you sometimes, sure.… Read the rest

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.”

Those are fairly common things to say, and I understand the meanings of all of those words. I get where they are going with it, that they don’t think they would ever find themselves in that kind of situation.… Read the rest

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.

There were no limits on my fascination. UFOs, ghosts, Kaspar Hauser, cryptozoology, strange events and anything else that I could find under the “unexplained” topics were the entrée to my otherwise boring dinner called “life”.

Originally published by Apex Book Company, October 2013

My imagination would soar on high, thinking about events like the Devil’s Footprints incident in the mid-1800’s, in Devon, England.… Read the rest

some_things_never_sleep

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.

It can be tricky, especially if the basic idea of a type of monster is fairly well laid out. Since Zombie Month is upon us here at Apex (and it’s just eating at me to talk about it), we can take a look at the dead.… Read the rest

Lovecraft, The Deep Ones

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.

Some of these creations are just plain weird. But not necessarily in a good way.

Originally published by Apex Book Company, May 2013

I don’t like to kick out names of artists that I may not like, or pieces that I don’t think work.… Read the rest

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.

Now, everyone reading this has a different idea of the scene. Some of us grew up on Miami Vice and Magnum P.I., so we could see a similar idea in our heads. Others of us see the action hero, the John McClane with his machine gun loaded and ready to fire.… Read the rest

The strangeness of trying to give something away

As it turns out, I’m an artist. An artist that has, luckily, convinced others that he can do art. Thus, I produce covers, interior illustrations, and whatever else folks need. I’ve mentioned it before, and I’m not done beating it into the ground just yet, but it can be an up and down game. One that’s filled with happiness, regret, satisfaction, depression, and quite a lot of other feelings.

Having done this since the late 90’s (published, at least), I can see the trends of my career so far. They are, to say the least, very loopy.… Read the rest

Museum of the weird

Oh. You’re one of “those” kinds of people.

Whether I’m creating some new piece of art, or taking a photo, even writing a story (wait, “he writes?”, you say), I have always loved creating things. I especially love to create things that have, shall we say, an unusual feel to them. I love the fantastic, the supernatural, and all of the strange things that people don’t like to admit exist.

As a creator, it’s inevitable that I’m going to meet people who are interested in what I do. Now, as I’ve been doing this for many years, I have learned to read people.… Read the rest