Friday, June 23, 2006

And Now, The News...

Blogger Writes First Draft of Children's Book in 1 Hour; Spends 6 Days Creating Bad Illustrations:

Yep, the first draft of one of my children's book ideas is completed... the illustrations for it took longer than writing the first draft! As I noted previously, I couldn't draw cows worth a darn (the lead character in this story is a cow), but I managed to do construction paper cut-outs that didn't look too terrible... least untill I scanned them in... and had it confirmed that...

1) I really need a new scanner


2) I really needed to use more contrasting colors.

I was up until 2 a.m. Thursday night working on the pictures, and then putting them into a basic layout with the first draft of the story. Today, I did a print-out... and realized that I really need to rewrite the text (there's a lot of wordiness, and an entire section that could be cut out entirely... plus it's not really written at the right age level). I also need to have more illustrations than I created... plus, I really should just redo all the illustrations, as the construction paper cut-outs look really bad. Well, maybe just bad.

At least I can use them as templates of a sort when redrawing the illustrations on the computer, in FreeHand (I don't have Illustrator at home). Plus, I'll have a wider spectrum of colors to choose from, and don't have to worry about how long after creating the pictures it takes to scan them in and tone them. I'll also be eliminating backgrounds almost entirely, I think.

More on this as it develops... there were about 36 illustrations originally done, and I think that starting Monday, I'll start reworking them... if I get one done a night, I'll be happy. I also need to rewrite the text and polish it up a bit.

Graphic Designer Finally Gets Some Real Recognition:

So Tuesday, it was announced there'll be a departmental meeting. I didn't know what for until the newspaper's publisher shows up -- Employee of the Month time! Now, I've griped here before about how I have never been even nominated (so far as I'm aware)... and frankly, I came way too close to joking when the publisher started making the announcement, "Why don't I just save you a few minutes time and just go stand next to you now?"

Good thing I kept that to myself... because the Operations Department Employee of the Month for May is... me!!!! Yay! That means $100 extra in my next paycheck, and my picture's supposed to be in the paper sometime next week.

This also puts me in the running for Employee of the Year... we'll see how that goes! I figure if I do something outstanding enough to get nominated again, and win it again, that would increase my odds considerably.

Groom-To-Be Survives Three Days Without Fiancee:

It was a long three days with Jessi away... if it weren't for working on that children's book and working, I would've gone stir-crazy, that's for sure! Thankfully, she's been back since Wednesday!

And it's only three weeks from Saturday until the wedding!

Boxer Population Temporarily Doubles:

You may recall my mentioning a boxer named Jaeger, who belongs to our friend Kathy. We've watched Jaeger before a few times, for as much as five days. Jaeger has a brother named Yoshi, who's owned by Kathy's son (he owns two other boxers, too). So, Kathy was going out of town for a few days, and asked if we could possibly take on Jaeger and Yoshi until Sunday afternoon.

Naturally, we said yes. We are crazy, aren't we?

Neither of them are that well crate-trained. Krypto? All we have to do is get some treats out and most of the time, he'll head into the bedroom and get in his crate before we say a word!

Not Jaeger and Yoshi... they hate their crates!

They also take way too long to settle down.

Saturday, Jessi and I are joining my family for a trip out to Ocean Shores for my niece's birthday party... finally, a family function we can take the dogs along with us! Jaeger and Yoshi, sadly, will have to stay here in their crates (well, actually, I'd bet Jaeger will be in Krypto's crate). I know we're leaving at 9 a.m., not sure when we'll get back... but I'd imagine Jaeger and Yoshi will have all kinds of energy stored up by then!

That's the news for now... more Saturday or Sunday!


Monday, June 19, 2006

Glue Sticks Used to Last Longer When I Was a Kid...

So tonight, since getting home from work, after making and eating dinner on this first full day while Jessi's away at training, I decided to start working on temporary illustrations for one of my children's book ideas...

Since, as I posted last night, I can't seem to draw cows worth a darn, I decided to take a different tack in creating the illustrations: Construction paper cut-outs.

I'm not, however, making a complete construction paper picture for each picture the story needs... that would take forever! Instead, I've been working on backgrounds that I'll scan in at high resolution, and then I'll make the characters for the story (in some cases, I'll only need one version of a character... others will require several of them) that I'll also scan in, and then composite them together in PhotoShop as needed.

Sort of like doing animation, if you will... except without the animating.

So, why the subject line of this post? Well, this morning, before going to work, I bought three pads of construction paper at the dollar store (big mistake there... tonight, I discovered it's all pastels, and I needed darker colors, too, so this evening I had to got to Office Depot to get a pad of regular construction paper), and then to Albertson's for packaging tape (to pack up what's sold on eBay and paid for) and glue stick.

Yes, that's right: I bought one tube of glue stick, foolishly thinking that was all I needed. Apparently, three would've been more accurate. About an hour ago, when I'd done about six of the nine or ten backgrounds I need, I completely ran out. It wasn't too late to go to the store to buy more -- the stores are still open, or at least the grocery stores are -- but I didn't feel like going out yet again!

So I ended up finishing work on that for the night a bit early.

Tomorrow, I'll be packing up two packages to ship off -- both media mail, so I can't use the post office's flat-rate Priority Mail boxes -- and after those are gone, I'll probably stop at the store for more glue sticks... at least two tubes, maybe three to be safe.

Thing is, I could swear that when they first came out, they lasted a lot longer than this! I've even tried to be sparing in my use of them -- I can't imagine any kid making one of those things last very long at all!

Maybe I should've just bought some Elmer's Glue instead. Or even rubber cement. Well, not rubber cement -- I could never use that stuff very well, and often made a huge mess with it!


Sunday, June 18, 2006

Children's Book Update...

...apparently, I can't draw cows, either.

Or at the very least, my style of drawing doesn't lend itself to children's books, so I'll once again have to turn to someone else for help in coming up with initial illustrations!



Sunday Night Wrap-Up Post!

So, let's wrap up the weekend, shall we?

Jessi's Out of Town

Yep, it's been (as of this writing) about seven hours since Jessi left on her business trip... what has that meant for me?

Well... I'm trying to keep from being bored... while at the same time avoid watching the shows we watch together. Fortunately, that means I've been able to watch some stuff I recorded on the DVR that she has no interest in!

eBay stuff

My good buddy Craig Smith (whom I haven't seen in the longest time -- my fault, as I haven't made it to a Seattle comics show in way too long) bought a bunch of stuff from my eBay listings -- Thanks, Craig!

Three other books sold today (the "Greatest Stories" volumes), although the person who won them paid via eCheck, which means four business days to clear.

I hate eChecks... but at least the money should be coming sometime!

Still four books up for grabs! The link further down should still work!

TV Toon Talkin'

So one of the shows I DVR'ed yesterday and watched today was "Superman: Brainiac Attacks," which I'd already read a number of reviews about and was kind of looking forward to and also kind of dreading. The fact that about the only people who worked on the original Superman animated series that participated in this were voice actors (so far as I can tell, anyway... neither Paul Dini or Bruce Timm were involved in this at all, at least, not directly) made me even more nervous about watching it.

Still... there was good stuff and bad stuff.

The Good: Nice stuff between Lois, Clark, and Jimmy. Probably the best part of this was the interactions between them. Also good was the reference to Green Lantern (although I'm sure it's the Kyle Rayner version, as this takes place during the original series, long before the Justice League was formed). There was a neat twist when Superman went into the Phantom Zone that I should've spotted a mile away, but completely missed!

The Okay: The fight scenes between Superman and Brainiac were pretty mindless stuff... I was kind of reminded of Scott McCloud's "DESTROY!" one-shot, to be honest. Then again, I always felt watching the animated series that Superman never did much to avert collateral damage that could threaten the lives of the Metropolis citizens.

The Bad: Lex Luthor. He's portrayed here as a complete buffoon, as if he were channeling a combination of Gene Hackman's Luthor and Otis! If I'd never seen any of the Superman or Justice League series before this, I'd have a hard time believing that Luthor could've gotten where he is today, much less be a threat to Superman!

Overall... it wasn't bad... not nearly as bad as I'd expected from the reviews. I will say this, though: I hope that if there are any more direct-to-dvd movies based on the Diniverse that Dini and Timm are involved in them!

What Else Did I Do?

I wrote a first draft for another children's book... this one may be a bit on the long side, but I'll be trying out both stories in actual children long before I submit them to an editor (or to an agent, depending on what's the approved way to go).

I also finished re-reading William Hannah's autobiography. I'd re-read Joe Barbera's earlier in the week (after re-reading the excellent "Of Mice and Magic" by Leonard Maltin). Yes, that's why I was thinking so much about animation this last few weeks! I've also started reading the latest Alter Ego, which arrived on Friday.

After finishing that, I'm not sure what I'll be re-reading next... maybe Steranko's History of Comics!

Just Curious...

I'm wondering if anybody who reads this blog has seen it referenced on any other blog... or referenced it on their own blog! If so, could you let me know? Thanks.

That's it for now...

... and I am out of here!