The Artist known as Skinner: "This Fear You May Know"


MONGOLOID!

One of my dreams is to have an entire album just of covers of ‘Mongoloid.’
It should include these:

plus:

and:

and, I suppose, it should include:


Donald Trump birth certificate failure (sort of politics)

It has come to my attention that Donald Trump recently produced his own ‘birth certificate’ in order to dramatize the fact that according to Trump, Persident Obama has “failed” to produce his birth certificate to prove that he is a citizen. Obviously, arguing Obama is not legally capable of being president of the US is just a method of discrediting him without arguing any issues (and, conveniently, attempts to discredit the president for being something ‘other’ than a ‘normal’ American without using the N word… thus the closet racist can have his cake and eat it too). Coincidentally (that ‘coincidentally’ is sarcasm, by the way), the Donald is also throwing his hat into the ring for a run for President in 2012 — although why he would wear a hat when he has such a remarkable head of hair is beyond me.

Trump said, “It’s inconceivable that, after four years of questioning, the president still hasn’t produced his birth certificate. I’m just asking President Obama to show the public his birth certificate. Why’s he making an issue out of this?”

Unfortunately for ‘The Donald,’ it is actually ‘The Donald’ and the birthers who are ‘making an issue of this.’ We have had a chance to see Obama’s certificate of live birth. You can view a scan of it here. Of course, the batshit crazy will claim that it is a forgery and that anyone who remembers Barry’s birth is a liar, but the birthers didn’t get where they are today by changing their minds once the facts contradict their claims.

Ironically, the ‘certificate of birth’ that Donald Trump produced as evidence of his eligibility for running for president of the US is not considered valid for proving citizenship by birth. The document that ‘The Donald’ released is actually a hospital birth record. Basically, this is a glorified receipt that the hospital issues you for having given birth. In terms of ‘proof of citizenship,’ it apparently means very little. For that, you need a state issued certificate of live birth. Which looks like this one from President Obama.

The Donald should stick to ‘The Apprentice’ and leave politics to the adults.


Hooray for Basil Wolverton! And do you have any Silver bullets in .38 special?

The picture at right has been on my drawing table for a couple days now… I work on it, put it aside, work on it some more, etc. I’m pretty sure it’s either done or so close to done as to be considered done… the picture is for a collaboration with Il Male of The Yaqqothl Grimoire and shows a hapless human wasting bullets against the creatures of the outer dark… or maybe they are a variant of the green slime monsters?

While I was drawing the drawing at right (I am calling it “.38 Special” for now), I kept looking back at this panel from an old Basil Wolverton comic (see “swamp monster” at lower left; click to see big (DO IT! This one panel is more fan-fucking-tastic than anything I have ever done!)). I think every once in a while I find a picture that really teaches me a lot just by studying it — and Basil Wolverton is a new favorite of mine ever since his art slithered into my life via Monster Brains. I don’t know that much about dead comic book artists, but Wolverton seems to be a guy that previous generations of comic book artists really admired… and after finally finding some of his work, I can see why. Do yourself a favor and check out “Swamp Monster” if you haven’t already.

It also helps (at least in my book) that Wolverton was a really pretty unique and eccentric guy. Despite the fact that his work looks like ‘head shop art,’ Wolverton was a strict Evangelical Christian and even did comic book stories from the Bible in addition to the weird and gory pre-code horror and crime comics… as well as some early work for Mad magazine… so he definitely had a sacred/profane duality thing going on. I like artists who lead interesting lives and who are hard to figure out. Plus his work reminds me of Crumb and Tom Huck (to name just two).

Penury has me on a savings program, but as soon as I am able I am going to try to buy some Wolverton reprints.


E-Tools is for fools

I am a player in a D&D 3.5 game that meets once every two weeks. Recently the DM asked the players to create 15th level characters for a ‘special event’ of some kind (I have no idea). Because I am lazy, I used a character creation software to create my 15th level character. If it matters, I created a pixie ranger. In D&D 3.5e, there are rules that allow you to create a character of any monster race (even the gelatinous cube has a strength, dexterity, wisdom, etc., scores). Each monster ‘race’ is given an ‘equivalency’ to a character — so if you want to create a 15th level human fighter, the human will be a 15th level fighter… but a bugbear fighter will be 12th or 11th level in fighter because he will have 3 or more levels of ‘bugbear.’ So I have a 9th or 10th level ranger who can fly, turn invisible, etc., and shoots arrows with great accuracy (for something like 1-3 points of damage) and he is considered ‘equal’ to a 15th level human ranger because he has a buttocks-load of special abilities.

With all of the feats and skills and other shit to keep track of, I actually need a computer program to create a character if I want to create such a character according to the rules and in less than an hour’s time — a circumstance which bugs me. Then there is the fact that E-tools is (at best) unreliable, slow and crash prone. My experience with other similar products (some of my fellow players use a java based program that does the same thing; I can’t remember its name) isn’t much better. Since Wizards pulled the plug on D&D 3.5e, e-Tools is no longer supported.

One of my ‘dis-enchantments’ with 3.5 edition stems from the fact that character creation is just so complicated. Even if I just stick with the “player’s handbook,” there are lots of feats, skills and special abilities to be chosen. And many of the feats are ‘nested’ in other feats and abilities. So if you want to have the ‘great cleave’ feat, you have to pick ‘cleave’ first. In order to get ‘cleave,’ you need ‘power attack.’ In order to get ‘power attack,’ you need to fulfill some other requirements. This results in a game where players need to plan out their characters well in advance (i.e.: in order to get a feat like “Great Cleave” in the future, I need to pick the right feats and fulfill the pre-requisites beforehand). It makes planning a character like a visit to your college course advisor. And some players seem to love this ‘ongoing character generation’ aspect of the game. I am not one of them.

I will never DM a game again where players need xcel spread sheets or computer program to keep track of what they can or cannot do in a game. If that info does not fit on one page (2 pages at most), then I don’t want to run it.


The Finances of Art

I have had my ‘etsy store’ up a few days now and made a couple of sales, so I think things are going well. ‘Etsy’ was an experiment on my part — I have a big pile of previously published work and on occasion get emails from people asking if I ever sell original art such as some of the stuff that was published in the Goodman DCC line of adventures. Having heard of Etsy, I decided to give it a try.

Etsy is an online shopping cart/storefront service for artists and crafters. Sellers can create an account which will allow them to create a virtual ‘storefront’ with an electronic shopping cart, descriptions of inventory and amounts, prices, etc. Buyers can visit your online shop and ‘buy’ items and your inventory is instantly updated. Etsy then informs me via email that a product has been purchased and I can print out a sales invoice, pack it up, etc. Etsy charges the artist a small fee to list the item and a percentage of the sale price.

The nice thing is the Etsy store seems pretty foolproof from the viewpoint of a seller. Listing items is pretty quick (the first time I used it, I set up an account, created a store and listed 24 items in about 3 hours — and most of that time was spent scanning or finding scans on my hard drive of the work I wanted to sell). The next time I list I expect it will go a lot faster. And listing on Etsy is pretty cheap compared to competitors like Big Cartel (another online service I looked at).

Although Etsy has a search function, I don’t get the sense that many customers interested in my drawings will find their way to my store that way; most Etsy sellers seem to concentrate on jewelry, hand painted t-shirts, knitting and similar crafty stuff. When I attempted to find my way to my own work via Etsy’s search engine, only the most obvious search terms (like my own name) got me there. I doubt many shoppers will just ‘wander in’ and I suspect I will have to bring shoppers to my store by placing links to my store on other sites (like The Acaeum Forum).

I wish Etsy did not force buyers to open an Etsy account before they can shop in my store. I find myself wondering if adding another step (join Etsy) is always in the best interest of the seller and the shopper (although it is obviously in the best interest of Etsy and perhaps helps discourage abuse of the system since visitors can be traced back to an individual account). Big Cartel does not require shoppers to join but charges between 10 and 30 dollars a month for listing between 25 and 300 products (which, frankly, seems kind of expensive for what you get — especially if, like me, you are selling ‘one of a kind’ products rather than a few listings where I will have an inventory of many identical units). The third option, I suppose, is to set up my own store (perhaps using paypal to take care of transactions), but then the functionality and security of the site all become my problem and the time investment in setting up and maintaining the store will be increased.

I’m not ready to quit my day job (wait; I don’t have a day job — but I am supposed to talk to someone about getting some temp work stocking the shelves of a hardware store tonight — ah, the glamorous life of the artist)… and I recently paid about $75 for 60 sheets of drawing paper, 2 bottles of ink, some pencils, brushes and blenders, so obviously to ‘keep selling’ I have to keep creating and to keep creating I have to keep earning… and the mosaics have not been bringing in the hoped for flood of money, but my s.o. has infinite patience and a steady paycheck (and I get benefits through her job so I am OK), so, all things considered, I guess I’m living as close to the ‘dream’ as I ever have.


Goodman Preview from Garycon

Jeff has posted some pics and stuff from Garycon (which was this past weekend) on his game blog (check it out here). I wasn’t able to attend (damn you poverty!) so I appreciate the peek. He picked up a lot of flyers with art and stuff and was kind enough to scan and post.

Shameless bit of self promotion: the drawing at the bottom of the B&W flyer for Goodman’s DCC RPG at right is by me! (it has a wizard translating runes in an ancient ruin while his scribe scribbles notes and a group of mercenaries while away the time with gambling (or maybe they are playing the DCC RPG!)). I’m pleased to see it included (one reason being that I have a couple of pieces in the upcoming game that I would love to show off but feel I should give Goodman the right to show them first). But I am also just overwhelmed with the peek at some of the other art included on the page! WOW! I cannot wait to see this book! And I’m just busting with eagerness to show off some of the drawings that I did for it, so having this flyer go public lets me show off some of the work I did without bigfooting Goodman’s publicity.

But as much as I like to boast about what I did, I’m just blown away by the contributions of the other artists as I finally get to see some of them! That drawing in the middle (Lokerimon the Lawful?) is obviously supposed to be a companion piece to D.A.T.’s iconic “Emirkol The Chaotic” drawing in the 1e DMG, and Mullen’s picture of a wizard’s battle (where one of the participants appears to be giant sized) is just blowing me away… but Peter Mullen is one of my art heroes. I’m not sure I can identify the other artists in this flyer. One of the DCC’s previous flyers included a drawing by the late Jim Roslof… so there is that to look forward to as well. Plus there is just so much more to see. I can’t wait!

There are also some pictures of the color covers for DCC products on Jeff’s blog well worth checking out. I’m not going try to cop all of Jeff’s thunder by re- posting every picture from his blog here; I am just excited and eager to see this game come out!