Hero Forge Project, part One

Hero Forge is a cool concept; you use the Hero Forge interface to design a custom miniature. You have a lot of control over pose, build, genre, and costume, and can select different races like cat people or lizard folk. I have always been curious about the miniatures, but never got around to ordering one.

Maren and Josh commissioned me to paint up the figures they designed for their D&D characters, and I have to say I am impressed with what Hero Forge can produce. The figures look really nice, and there is a lot of detail packed into the miniatures. Maren has an Elven Ranger character, and she wanted her to have some aquatic details. Josh has a Dragon Born gunslinger, with black scales and yellow eyes.

Impressions? Maren and Josh opted for the high detail plastics, which look great but are incredibly brittle. The figures have a little bit of artifacting from the printing process, but there is not a single instance of flash, since there aren’t any molds used to cast the figures. I decided to cut the bow on Maren’s Ranger and reinforce it with a metal rod, because I KNOW that figure is going to fall, and that plastic is far too brittle not to break. The miniatures take paint really well, and paint up just like any other miniature.

Downsides? Only a few. There are areas of the miniature that are next to impossible to reach, like the inside of the Dragonborn’s coat. Since the figure is printed from the base up, the coat hangs just like a real coat would, and getting a brush up behind a character’s legs is pretty tricky. Also, for $30, I would hope for a more durable plastic. There is a stronger miniature from Hero Forge that costs less, but the detail is chalky and looks pretty rough.

The gallery below highlights the first half of the painting process, I will post the finished figures tomorrow!

Redbubble Test Batch 1

Some of the art from last week’s posts featured lots of cute little animals in stylish mod clothing. Aside from monsters, that’s just about my favorite thing to draw. The first batch was for a shirt, but while I was drawing those, I started investigating Redbubble as a print option for my art.

I have used several other services, and while decent, none really grabbed me. I ordered some stickers featuring those same animals, and a couple of Gorinka images, and crossed my fingers.

The stickers came today!

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I really couldn’t be happier; the colors on the animals pops nicely, the screens on the Gorinkas are crisp, and the stickers themselves are a really nice vinyl. I ordered these about 5 days ago, and got them today in a cool little mailer. Color me happy.

If you’re interested in cool little stickers of your own art, I highly encourage you to open a Redbubble shop. If you want some of MY cool little stickers, you can find them right here.

Change of course coming up for the next few weeks, as I have some miniature commissions to get to. I will, however, be posting progress pictures and reports here just for fun!

On the Creative Impulse

I used to manage the entire overnight operations of the banking arm of a Fortune 500 company. I was promoted to the position because I could see inherent flaws in certain types of operational practices and came to the table with multiple solutions that might work to solve that problem. Said company was impressed, and thought “let’s give this guy a team comprised of student loans specialists, as well as a smattering of investment ninjas from the consumer banking department.” There was a parade, balloon animals, and all was good in the world.

That was, to put it bluntly, the second worst decision made in any of my vocational arrangements. The first worst decision was me accepting the job. I am not in any way a Leader of Men. I don’t have a lot of compassion for people who don’t want to work, and I have little patience for laziness. I work my ass off, and if anyone is working with me, I expect the same. I don’t work well in the traditional American Corporate Management structure because I don’t want to babysit, coddle, or motivate anyone… I just want to get the job done. Quickly, and in a preferably efficient manner.

The first realization that they had made a terrible mistake was when they had me take the Carnegie Strengths in Business test. The typical Strengths that a strong manager would have were WAAAAAAY at the bottom of my list, whereas problem solving traits were towards the top. Something called Ideation was the giant cherry on top.

What is Ideation? Well, it’s a mindset that is always thinking of new ways to do something, or just new somethings in general. I do it all the time. I am doing it right now. Imagine, now, working for someone who isn’t in the slightest bit worried about how your work performance is today, because he’s thinking of ways to streamline the way you do your job in the future? It’s a trainwreck scenario for a call center. For a creative job, though, it’s pretty cool. It’s the kind of thing that turns a mundane afternoon of reading history into the life and times of vampire Andrew Jackson.

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I am self employed. I get to make decisions that could make or break our business, and that keeps me pretty motivated to stay on task and keep things moving. The only time it gets bad, though, is when my brain starts working on something else altogether. We might be working on new menu items for the restaurant, but my brain is trying to figure out how to work a gear on a puppet. I don’t make puppets, but my brain is trying to work it out. I have to shove that aside right now, and focus on the task at hand.

Here’s the problem, though; I have this idea for a game literally rampaging around the brain right now. Yesterday, it was a variation on the traditional Rummy card game, but instead of face cards and number cards it would have been body parts and sabotage cards, with the goal of laying down a stitched together monster before your opponent can sabotage your lab. Today, it’s a deck building game. (I don’t know anything about deck building games…) Tomorrow, it might be a traditional board game with dice and pawns. By next week, it might be a fully interactive RPG using puppets (what is the deal with freaking puppets this week?).

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Puppet Shatner? Just putting it out there. Might explain a LOT.

This is the curse of the creative process. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. It’s a huge part of what makes me who I am, and part of how I go from drawing a graphic novel in July to having a published coloring book in August. The creative ammunition is crammed in there, waiting to be fired off. I just need to aim a bit.

 

The Gift of a Stylish Gorilla

I am an unabashed fan of anything Simian. My formative years as an Anthropology major were derailed by my near-constant distraction from primatology, and to this day I can rattle off more info about Pan Troglodyte than I can about the Vinca burial mounds. Etruscan civ was my jam, kids. But the migratory routes of the Silverback gorilla was my bread and chunky peanut butter.

So, it shouldn’t come as any sort of surprise that I draw a lot of apes. And monkeys, sure, but APES, man! They grace everything. And this year, they can grace YOU. Two designs are available, the first is this stylish Bizness Chap:

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He’s a classy champion of corporate finesse, and can grace your stylish torso by following this link: CLICK HERE TO BUY A SHIRT!

Space Explorer Gorilla should be up and available later today, or perhaps tomorrow. I would never dictate a person’s holiday shopping preference, but this would look great on your weird-ass nephew or niece. You know, the one that gave Caesar’s address his ape followers from Conquest of the Planet of the Apes at Thanksgiving dinner.

Seriously, though. This shirt is, as the kids say, dope as hell.

the Lionfish

I was working on a mermaid concept for the mythology book last night, and realized that I didn’t want your standard fish lady to represent the Undersea Realms. So, I looked up a bunch of different fish and got really into the lionfish. They are pretty amazing to look at, and have some really neat spines, patterns, and colors. I decided that the lionfish would be the basis of my mermaid design, and here she is:

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I still need to work out a background image for her, it’ll probably be a shipwreck of some sort or another. My grandfather loved old sailing ships, and I inherited a little of that. I love the haunted mystique of a wrecked ship on the sea floor.

The Lemonade Stand is Open

Well, that was a thing.

On October 9th, 2016, at approximately 10:16 am, my wife took a spill and fell hard on her left arm. She was in terrible pain, and didn’t even hesitate when I suggested we go to the clinic to get it checked out. My wife is tough. Seriously. So, if she says she’s willing to see a doctor, I know it’s serious.

Two hours later, we knew she had broken her ulna, right about where it connects to the wrist. A few days later, yet another doctor informed us that she had a spiral fracture at the impact, so the bone had a lot of mending to do.

We own a restaurant. We run it together, and between the two of us we manage to keep a vegan diner running in a town known for meat and potatoes. With her unable to use her left arm and hand, it was up to me to make sure our tiny little kingdom didn’t sink. Well, seven weeks later, we haven’t sunk. Her arm is healing, and she’s just now able to help out around the restaurant. Life is returning to normal, and I have a little time to spare for my passion project again.

Many apologies to those of you who follow this page, it was never my intention to go Full Houdini… but life has its ways of keeping you humble, and I return to you humbled in many ways.

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