Graphic Design and Illustration.

Archive for ‘February, 2012’

Guess I’m Committed…

As mentioned before, here’s the very first installment of the adventures of Clint McQueen. The title is pretty corny, but I think most of the series will be as well. So hopefully it will be appropriate.

I’ll try to post these as regularly as I can (and with a little more content than this one) but work’s been really crazy lately, so no promises.

Oh and if anyone is interested, some of the grayscale pattern stuff was done with some custom Photoshop brushes I found over here.

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Finally! The Perfect Buddha!

I’ve been on the lookout for the perfect Buddha for years and years. And I finally found it.

Did I find it high up in the Himalayans? Nope.

Deep in the jungles of Southeast Asia guarded by scores of ninja assassins and bored samurai? Nope.

No. After years of fruitless searching in exotic places like Walmart, flea markets, and even a few closeout sales of failed import shops, it was my wife, in the strange and exotic land of the LC, that my wife found the perfect Buddha.

Buddha beer!

Being a teetotaler myself (except in the Caribbean – but that’s another story), I rarely find myself in any LC, so it’s little wonder it took so long to find it. Thank God one of us drinks!

If anyone’s interested, yes I did take a quick sample. It wasn’t half. The last time I said that about a beer I was in New Zealand of all places. There was a microbrewery on the south island, whose name escapes me, that I was rather partial to. Kimmy liked it too. And before anyone tries to help me remember, no, it wasn’t Speights (or Tui for that matter either).

The Anthm to your life

This is a quick little update to my last post. Now that I’ve actually had the chance to try out the Anthm app as opposed to watching over someone‘s shoulder, I think I can say a few more things. Some good, some sort of ’meh.

We’ll start with the good.

The app is pretty easy to use. It integrates quite well with Rdio. And while I’m still sitting on the fence regarding paying for streaming music (call me old fashioned, but paying for “radio” still seems slightly fishy to me) I can also see the benefits as well. I’d have to do a more thorough check into the kind of music available on Rdio and any music discovery features it may have before I give a final verdict. Setting up a new party is very easy. And putting a password (even a very simple one) on your party mix may be a good idea. Seems people have been having strangers log into their test parties (as it has only been a few days available online) and fill up the playlists with random crap. I hate to admit this, but the night this app was beta-tested on us at Secret Handshake, I had similar devious thoughts. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a touch bit older than most of it’s members, and while I think I have fairly pedestrian tastes in music, it does run a fairly wide gamut. I spent my very early childhood listening (much to the utter shock and horror of my parents) to country western music and AM hits. I then graduated to oldies and didn’t start listening to a lot of music typical to my age group until almost my college years. And I’ve been dipping into my early childhood music a lot lately. The idea of flooding a playlist with old Conway Twitty, Waylon Jennings, and Johnny Cash to a bunch of twenty-somethings was rather tempting. Three Dog Night anyone?

Though I suppose it would make me more memorable at these gatherings. That’s the problem with joining a group with over 400 members. I get a lot of, “I think we’ve met before… right?”, along with a rather anxious looking face. I’d imagine forcing everyone to listen to the Powder Blues Band or Boxcar Willie would do a lot to change that! 😛

So now for the ’meh part. This is most definitely an iPhone app. It seems to have a problem determining a location on my iPod touch. It’s also an older model (second gen) so that might have something to do with it. Either that or there’s no one currently running the app the River Heights/Fort Rouge area. Doubtful, but you never know. So you might have somewhat limited functionality if you only have an iPod or wi-fi only iPad. But that’s a little hard to tell, as the only real test would come if I can convince Kimmy to get it installed on her iPod. She likes the idea of the app, but hasn’t really shown enough interest in it. She doesn’t really use her iPod Touch for music. It’s mostly a PDA for her. I have to admit my sympathies lie her way. But I do use it occasionally for listening to podcasts and some music.

Oh, and the app crashed on me the first time I used it. It may have been my fault though. I signed up for Rdio but had no music selected in my account. Once I had a few songs selected, everything worked just fine.

I can imaging quite a few interesting scenarios for this app though. Having a way to have multiple people be able to select music from a very large sampling of songs could be very useful for a lengthy road trip. That way everyone could get a chance to listen to the music they want to and not have to resort to zoning out with a private pair of headphones. Or having to plug in different devices to whatever cables needed to run the iPod on various car sound systems.

I also wonder if there’s a way to share the playlists at multiple destinations? Then you could simulcast the party music at several different locations. Have the same party here in Winnipeg, but also have people in say, Toronto or Vancouver both add to the playlist AND listen to the same music at more or less the same time. That would be cool. Same party, different locals. Though, that would be a very good reason to use a password as that could get out of hand very quickly.

So I think for a first time out the door app, it’s a good first start with a lot of future potential! Best of luck to the Anthm team!

UPDATE: Just got a tweet from the fine folks over at Anthm. If anyone reading this experiences problems locating a party, and you have multi-touch gestures enabled on your device (I don’t as it is way too many hoops for me to jump thru at this time) a 3 finger swipe to the right should give you a list of ALL parties. Good Luck!

Not quite so secret handshake

So, this past week, I was off to yet another installment of the Secret Handshake, a monthly meetup of Winnipeg’s finest (and not-so-finest)  creative freelancers and such. It was held on a Wednesday, so I was able to drag Kim with me for some company. It was held at the King’s Head Pub this time around. The last time it was held there I found it got rather loud. It was loud again this time, but not quite a loud as before. You could actually hear what the other person was saying this time around. Not that it was all that difficult as there was some rather loud people there (and the loudest person there was a marketing person – go figure).

Anyways, the evening was in dedication to an iPhone app that was just developed. Anthm. And yes, I spelled that right. It’s an interesting app. It basically lets someone setup their iPhone as a jukebox of sorts (assuming they have their iPhone hooked up to a stereo via an aux cable). And then other people in the party who have the same app installed can vote on what song comes up next on the playlist. It seems fairly simple and straightforward. I don’t actually own an iPhone and the King’s Head doesn’t have wi-fi so my iPod Touch was pretty useless for the evening.

There are two drawbacks to the app as far as I can tell. The first is, it uses Rdio (again with the missing vowels, Pat Sajak, where are you?) to generate a playlist and grab songs from. That’s all fine and dandy if you have an account with them. But if you’re a cheapskate like me, that could be drawback. At least it is if you’re the one who is hosting the jukebox party. For voting purposes it doesn’t seem all that necessary I think. Might be an idea to use the iPhone’s music library or maybe even patch into an iTunes’s music library on a handy nearby computer. The other problem is every now and then, everyone’s (and I mean everyone’s) head is buried in their mobile screen instead of socializing. Though, I have been to a few parties where that would have been an improvement and not a drawback. Hey, we’ve all been there!

The app, as of right this very moment, is not available on the iTunes App Store, but it should be as soon as it gets approved by Apple. Somehow they managed to have the app available for download on the night of the debut on Wednesday on their website. It does not look like it’s available any more. So you’ll all just have to stay tuned.

And now for the rest of the evening.

We were only there for a bit. I had had a very odd day and was feeling rather tired. And while Kimmy had a more normal day, she was beat as well. So we left after having an interesting chat with a photographer, who much to Kimmy’s delight was quite the name dropper. And I also made sure we stayed long enough to partake in the munchies provided by our host. I still have no idea how that happens. Nobody I’ve spoken to has any idea how this stuff gets paid for either. I guess I’ll just have to be on the lookout for Lefty and Knuckles when they come for my Secret Handshake dues. And put my running training to good use when/if they show up.

Next month’s meeting is supposed to be a big one. Which is too bad as I’ve got a lot of things on the go right now, and I think I may have to miss it. And then in April I’m gone for a big chunk of the month as I am off to the Domincan Republic for a destination wedding, so I’m most likely going to have to miss that one as well.


Some New 3D designs

I’ve been mulling over a few ideas I’ve recently had for some jewelry designs. I’ve flirted with being a rockhound over the years (a nasty outgrowth from an unhealthy obsession with fossils and dinosaurs) so it’s only natural to have a rock tumbler around. And occasionally I’ve tried my had at amateur jewelry making. I’m not very good at it (these fingers were made for drawing, not needle nose pliers) , but I am also pretty good with this whole computer thing, so I’ve been playing around in 3D programs with the intent of getting these things 3D printed. And since my first attempt turned out pretty good, I thought why not?

So I’ve got a ring, and two pendant designs just about ready. They are a little derivative, but what was it that Picasso said? Good artists borrow, great ones steal?

I think I’m going to get these printed over at Ponoko. They have a limited set of 3D printed materials to offer, but they are local (ie North American) so I hopefully won’t get quite so dinged with import charges as I will with other companies I could name. UPS equals highway robbery when it comes nasty import fees! I’d rather deal with USPS/Canada Post any day. But anyways, I think I’m going to get this first printed in a standard hi-res plastic print to ensure these designs will work in the real world, and then get them printed out in sterling silver. Probably over at Shapeways, as they have a printing process similar to the ones used in professional jewelry making. So I’d imagine they’d turn out pretty sweet. And worth the import fees.

Sweet Carrots! I’ve just finished Malcolm Magic!

And it was a great read!

For Christmas, my wife managed to snag the collected works of this early 2000’s comic created by a couple of Brits, Robin and Lawerence Etherington. I can’t remember when I first ran into their work. Possibly it was from a posting on some online artist forum. Probably here. Not that it really mattters. All I remember was boing totally blown away at the care and detail that went into their work.

Fast forward a few years later. After helping someone self-publish a book on LuLu.com, I went browsing and found the Malcolm Magic, The Big Kahuna Collection on the site. And at a very reasonable price considering the page count (over 300 pages). So on my Christmas list it went. And Kimmy, in all her amazingness, broke her rule about not wanting to order gifts online, and got it for me.

So firstly, I feel I have to review the book manufacture itself. LuLu.com is a print on demand publisher. You buy a book, they print the one book, and ship it to you. Unlike a traditionally mass produced book, where there are hundreds or even thousands of books warehoused somewhere. So the economics are a little different between the two types of book manufacturing models. So, the book is ENTIRELY black and white. No colour. While a colour book printed on demand is not too badly priced compared what it might take to print just a very few colour books in the massed produced way, it is still a touch bit too expensive to expect people to sell out that kind of cash for a commercial venture. And the image quality is not quite the same as a traditionally printed book. Knowing what I’ve seen of The Etherington Brother’s work online over the years, what I saw reproduced in the  book was a little substandard. But that could have also been my older eyes. Younger eyes may not have the same problem.

Now, onto the story.

It was awesome! I was a big fan of things like Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew when I was a kid, and as a somewhat older kid, I watched Chip and Dale‘s Rescue Rangers, Tailspin, and Darkwing Duck, so I’m all there when it comes to anthropomorphized animals. I’m not too certain what age category they were shooting for. I hesitate to say it’s for all ages. There might be a few situations in the book where a parent might not be too happy about a young child reading about, but I’d say (and not being a parent myself) anyone 12 and up would enjoy reading this book without upsetting the parental units. A really great fantasy/adventure comedy with lots and lots of pop cultural references older readers will appreciate. And the writer has a very interesting way of seamless interweaving multiple story lines into a single narrative (think Lost, but only better… seriously). And it takes a certain kind of writer to use the term, “Googalymoogaly” in a story and not have it seem out of place. I won’t say anymore so as to not introduce any spoilers.

My only complaint about the story was it’s ending. It seemed pretty clear to me that there should be at least a few more adventures for Malcolm and his friends. Especially the way it ended. And they did hint at a few details regarding Malcolm’s origins that I think need explaining. Hopefully, one day, the authors will help me out on that one and release a follow up.

Malcolm Magic is not their only tale. It seems they have quite a little collection going. They have a blog over here, that I am going to have to investigate further. I think Baggage might be the next story I pick up next. Though, that will probably be a while from now, as I have quite a backlog of reading to do.

Now if I can just get my mitts on Paper Biscuit

Happy Groundhog Day!

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Happy Groundhog Day everyone. Okay. Technically it’s tomorrow. Just a quick little image in a typical clipart style image. I never understood this day. I’m in Winnipeg (AKA Winterpeg), who do I have to kill for only 6 more weeks of winter? Sheesh!

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