Using the iPad as a portfolio

Something that comes up from time to time is the need, as an artist and a designer, to have a portfolio to show someone in person. That could be at a convention, or a job interview, various places where having a portable way to show your work would come in handy.

For many years, I’ve used a simple, letter-sized portfolio, which has worked well. I can have a design on every page, or a group of art pieces, or even change them out as needed. But, for that to really be effective, you need to print new things all the time, and in general over time they tend to get a bit beaten up.… Read the rest

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Creating a cover from scratch: Ray Garton’s Vortex

Despite the bad way that my year is going, I still manage to get some great projects by some wonderful authors. Case in point, I was given the chance to work on author Ray Garton‘s new book, Vortex, out soon from Cemetery Dance. It’s a great honor not only to work with one of Ray’s stories, but to work with an always helpful and constructive publisher like Cemetery Dance as well.

For the cover, I wanted something that showed the main characters. The trick of it was, the creature of the book was both a character the reader has sympathy for,  yet still very violent.… Read the rest

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Summer, learning, and children

For once, I’m posting less about art and more about life. Don’t worry, I’ll be getting back to posting about art soon enough.

I think, looking at my work overall, you can see that I’m influenced by a great many things. I don’t really match any one artist, or one style, and I tend to not really have a style at all. It’s a part of my nature to be interested in everything, and, in turn, to try to create from every angle.

My whole life, I’ve been fascinated by, really, everything, and it’s something that I can see in my children as well.… Read the rest

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Seeing it in a museum

I think it’s important as an artist to look at a lot of art, and in fact I love nothing more than to flip through the many art books I have on the shelf. Seeing different styles, different techniques, and just appreciating what others have done is a great way to learn more about art, and to think about doing it better.

Books are great, but to really see a painting I also think it’s important to get to museums. Seeing the real art in person gives you a different look, something that books just can’t do.… Read the rest

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My art on the walls of the local Jerry’s Artarama

My latest article for Apex Magazine (check it out here) is about, as an artist who likes being noticed, learning how to approach people. It’s not easy, and being a wallflower most of life it really becomes a challenge.

As the article I wrote discusses, putting that first step out can be difficult, but can be very rewarding. Case in point, on a whim I decided to ask about the art on the walls at the local art store (Jerry’s Artarama in Fort Collins, Colorado). My brain kept saying things like, “don’t ask about art”.… Read the rest

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World Horror – Catch me in person

I’ll be attending the World Horror Convention in Austin, Texas this week, and I’m hoping to meet a lot of people there. I have a number of friends that will be there, along with quite a few I talk with online who will be nice to meet in person.

If you decide that you’d like to see what a poor, unemployed, REAL starving artist looks like, here are a few places you might just find me. First, the “official” list:

  1. Artists Are People Too! panel
    4:00 PM Friday, April 29 – Phoenix Central
    Scott Edelman, Russell Dickerson (M), Vincent Chong, Steve Niles, GAK
    Thanks to the Internet, a right-click of the mouse lets anyone copy an artist’s work right off the Web.
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A Momentary Lapse of Reason

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks, while still working on projects and doing art and design, in a bit of a lost sense. I’m not sure why, but I’ve reached a bit of a crossroads with the world. Almost like this long, perceived journey is about to take on a different tact since the end of the last job.

But the more I think of it, the end of the last job isn’t exactly it either. Sure, being laid off from regular employment means many things, not the least of which is a distinct lack of funding.… Read the rest

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Stepping back: comparing the ink project

I decided that it might not be a bad idea to take a step back and look at the inks I’ve been working on.

For those that haven’t been following (I know, I know, no one has been), I started doing ink cards and ink works late last year as a way to learn more from photos and film.

I wanted to learn more about lighting, about texture, and about things that I can’t just pull from my head. Most of the work over the years has been right from my head, either as an original piece or based on a story.… Read the rest

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Of Unusual Things and Monsters

I was recently looking around my office for a reference for a piece I’m working on, and after a short search I came up with what I was looking for. But when I was done I came to an interesting conclusion.

I sure do have a lot of stuff.

Now, I’m sure many artists, writers, and in general creators, have large collections of various items. In that, I’m no different. Many of the items I have are for reference, like the plaster skull I have I my desk for example. Other things I have just to give me comfort in my office.… Read the rest

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Once more unto the breach

So, February ends, and with it the end of my day job.

Yes, believe it or not, artists have to eat, and often have day jobs. Or their families have to eat, that sometimes happens too.

In my case, I was the Creative Technologies Director for a nonprofit organization. As happens sometimes with nonprofits, the money runs out, and they can no longer afford to have a full staff. That’s what happened to me. They ran out of money, and I ran out of employment.

Now, I’ve said for a long time that I wanted to have more free time to do art, to create fine works that everyone anyone will love.… Read the rest

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Second star on the right, and straight on ’til morning

At the end of this week, I’ll be a guest at VisionCon in Springfield, Missouri. This is only the second time I’ve been a guest at a convention (though I’d love to be in more of them), but after the first time I realized how great it can be.

We’ll set aside the part for now that they help pay for things, though as an “about to be unemployed” designer/artist that’s really helpful.

Being a guest is great for many reasons. Obviously, as an artist, I need to sell both myself and my work.… Read the rest

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Graphic Design and Art: My cover for A Gathering of Crows

Some time ago, I discussed the genesis of the cover art that I created for Maelstrom’s edition of author Brian Keene’s A Gathering of Crows (check it out here!). For that article, I talked about the content of the art, what it meant for the book, and in general the idea behind what’s going on in the image.

But I didn’t really talk about the design part of it.

Now, I know what you might say. Russ, you’re an artist, not a designer. But the truth is I’ve been a graphic designer for just as long as I’ve been an artist.… Read the rest

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The Golden Ratio or Fibonacci Spiral

Now, before we begin, let’s just say that my years of being an engineering student are way, WAY behind me.

But I was looking at a couple of sites today that discussed the Golden Ratio or the Fibonacci Spiral, a quasi-magical scientific idea (let that roll around in your head for a minute) by which supposedly “better” or “more pleasing” art can be developed. The spiral is better defined on other sites, so I’ll wait patiently while you Google it.

… all done?

Now, I don’t discount such ideas, including the rule of thirds, the rule of not centering your work, those kinds of things.… 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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