A solemn moment and a quiet gift

I get asked a few times a month for my current commission rates, for folks interested in having me do cover work, or maybe an ink or acrylic piece. Sometimes they hire, sometimes they don’t, that’s just business.

But there’s an underlying element often of folks who don’t want to pay anything. Ever. They just want free art, because they feel they are entitled.

Originally published by Apex Book Company, August 2012

Folks, “entitled” is what we in the business call a “bullshit word”.

There is no such thing as entitlement.… Read the rest

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Rabbitfield

Life influencing art, scaring the bejesus out of me

Earlier this week, author Ray Garton (who’s awesome, and you should read all his stories) asked on one of the social networks (the blue one) about sleep paralysis.

For those who aren’t familiar with the phenomenon, sleep paralysis, also known as night terrors, is perhaps the scariest thing you could ever imagine. You wake up in the middle of the night, completely locked into place. You can’t move anything, you can’t be heard by anyone else if you decide to scream, and all you can move is your eyes.

Also, as a bonus feature, you have an overriding fear of someone or something just barely outside of your sight.… Read the rest

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Myasoyedov

This week’s art: Myasoyedov’s The road in the rye

I think it’s important as an artist to look at various kinds of art each day. Just as it is important for graphic designers, filmmakers, authors, and anyone with a creative side, seeing the works of others can help a creative person learn more about what they do.

In that respect, I used to write long articles (here!) about different pieces of art. I learned from writing them, as much as I think others did as well when they commented on the pieces themselves. Over time, that activity was replaced with the quieter activities of resharing what others posted, or of posting to my Pinterest “Inspiration” galleries.… Read the rest

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New Artwork: Night of the Valravn

No, I didn’t misspell that title, it actually is spelled “valravn”.

The valravn is my new artwork, and new Alphabeast. From Danish folklore, a valravn is a half-wolf, half-raven creature. From Wikipedia (and a couple of other sites): 

The valravns appear in traditional Danish folksongs, where they are described as originating from ravens who consume the bodies of the dead on the battlefield, as capable of turning into the form of a knight after consuming the heart of a child, and, alternately, as half-wolf and half-raven creatures. “

In creating the art, I decided to use the more abstract, scratchy technique of my previous piece, A Lost Night (and of its predecessor, Lost Nightmare).… Read the rest

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New Artwork: A Lost Night

For some time, I’ve been wanting to create another “loose” piece, using scratchboard, ink, acrylic, and seemingly everything else I can find in my office. Quite a few people like the previous piece like this, last year’s The Lost Nightmare, and I thought today would be a good time to try another.

I had picked up some new scratchboard stock, so I went to work. I had an idea of where I was going, towards a “zombie” style creature, but I just wanted to keep that as a general framework.… Read the rest

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The game is afoot: Ebook cover art and design

Recently, I’ve had a couple of commissions to do ebook covers. Which is great, because I really am a starving artist (unemployed and all), so commissions help me survive. But that’s only part of why we’re here, the other side of it (and the point of this article) is designing for ebook covers.

Now, at the end of the day, the design really isn’t radically different. You still have margins, it still has to be proportionate, and so on. But there are some things to keep in mind with the ebook cover design that are very important, both with the artwork and with the design of the cover.… Read the rest

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New sketchcard: Phantoms and Lon Chaney, Sr.

I started out to make a new sketchcard (same size and specs as the others, 5″x7″ inked), with the idea of doing one of Lon Chaney Sr.’s famous monsters. I chose his Phantom of the Opera, basing it off of a couple of photos.

As I worked though, for some reason a certain softness, a certain humor even, worked its way into the image. It’s not as horrific a monster as I started out to make, and I think it’s much more Chaney than Phantom.

Whether I succeeded or not is up to you fine people, but I did decide to change the name I was going to give it.… Read the rest

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New Sketchcard: Phibes

I was hoping to do quite a few more small inked cards (I’ve been calling them “sketchcards”), but I haven’t had as much time as I’d hoped. But, tonight, I managed to get one finished.

I call it Phibes, and it’s based on the character from the “Dr. Phibes” movies. Since it’s Vincent Price Day, I thought that would be a good thing to try. It’s a 5″ x 7″, 140 lb. cold press paper, inked.

As always, let me know what you think.

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Maelstrom Cover #1: Kelli Owen’s Six Days

I’ve been lucky over the past few weeks to get to work with the fantastic Thunderstorm Books. I’ve been working on three books for their Maelstrom imprint, beginning with tonight’s showcase, the cover for author Kelli Owen’s Six Days.

For me, this first book is special because it’s Kelli’s first novel. As she and others have said online, you only get one first novel, and I wanted to make sure that cover had good art on it.

The biggest challenge was that most of the book takes place in pitch black darkness.… Read the rest

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Marketing the authors

Being a graphic designer as well as an artist can lead to some fun projects. When I’m working with authors, I tend to try to help them with what they need to push the books I’m doing the covers or other artwork for. After all, if they do well then hopefully I’ll get noticed as well.

Especially when the author is someone I already know, that makes it fun and hopefully I get to help a friend in the process.  That’s not to say I have the time or inclination to help on every project that I get, but I always think about it and try to help.… Read the rest

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