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

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Art & Design: Promotional materials to leave behind

It is a good idea, after an interview or portfolio review, to leave behind some manner of promotional material for yourself. That could be as simple as a business card, or as complex as a brochure. The idea is that the person doing the review will have something to refer to later, hopefully to get back in touch with you for work or a project.

Each of these materials should follow some obvious guidelines, though the design and size of them might dictate how much information you should (or shouldn’t) have on there.… Read the rest

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New cover art & design: Fleshbags

I’ve been busy for some time now, and I haven’t been able to post the newest ebook cover that I created a couple of months back. I thought it was time to show it off, so here it is.

For those that follow this blog (both of you), a few months back I was in the middle of creating a very nice, calm seascape (see it here). I joked on the social networks that, while I was creating this nice art piece, at the same time I was creating what might be my goriest and most horror-filled piece ever.… Read the rest

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Of Soccer and T-Shirts, and Steel

As a designer (not just an artist!), I run into all sorts of different projects. Everything from very simple designs up to extremely complex ones. Sometimes it’s web design, and other times it’s graphic design.

Sometimes, when I’m lucky, it’s graphic art and illustration.

A few years ago, my freelance client asked me to design a t-shirt for the construction company she was working with. I’ve done plenty of t-shirts for her, and plenty of other designs for apparel and other items. But this one was a little more of a challenge.… 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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Crowds and animation

For my current day job, I’ve been tasked (since 2005, when I started) with creating animations for our big conference/workshop. The animations played, with video, in front of the major sessions at the workshops, for between 700 and 1200 people at a time.

They needed to accomplish several things from the design perspective. First, they needed to represent, at least in a short way, the area where the workshop was taking place. Next, they needed to be “flashy” (pardon the pun, they were done in Adobe Flash), so that they would get the attention of the participants in the room.… 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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Dabbling in the land of multimedia

When I’m not doing art (so-so art, really), I work both as a day job and as a freelancer in web and multimedia design and development. Most of the time, that means I have to turn off the creative side of my brain and slog through whatever code comes next.


But occasionally (and hopefully more often quite soon), I get to work on fun, creative projects with multimedia, and today one of those projects was posted by Cemetery Dance Publications.  They needed a book trailer for Brian James Freeman’s book The Painted Darkness, so I worked on that for them.… Read the rest

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A YouTube promo for my art

I’m working on a Flash book trailer for a  client (you’ll see soon enough, it’s not a small client), and for testing with converting Flash animation to video I decided to create a promo for my own art.

After a number of unique issues (I’m looking at you, Kaspersky), I was finally able to upload it to YouTube.  Check it out, all opinions are of course valued. Believe it or not, I also did the music for it.  Which isn’t half bad.

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Graphic design: my red-headed step child

Most people that know me outside of family (both of you, you know who you are) know me as an artist.  But by day, and sometimes even at night, I am also a graphic designer.

Sometimes that means signs, or books, or even logos, which is the topic for today.  I created a logo for a client last night, and interestingly she asked what the ideas were behind the logo.  To be fair, the client did give me a good, if not nearly exact direction to head in.  But I came up with something a bit more abstract, and she was interested in how I thought of it.… Read the rest

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Fun with Photoshop: The Big Adios

I don’t always get to just experiment and have fun with Photoshop, and tonight I had a chance to so I ran with it.  This takes the place for tonight’s sketching, something I’ve been trying to do every day.

The images below are for possible use with the great site The Big Adios (or at least their MySpace).  Visit there if you haven’t been yet.

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Photoshop: fun with warping

My good friend Kirk Alberts suggested making my blog partly about design and art techniques, so I thought I’d give it a try.  This one’s on Photoshop’s Warp abilities.

One thing I missed from using Corel PhotoPaint all the time was the warp abilities that Photopaint had.  There were certainly ways around that in Photoshop, and maybe I just missed other easier ways.  It might have been that I didn’t like how they worked.  But I use it quite a bit in CS3, and it’s fantastic.

One thing I do a lot is use textures. … Read the rest

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