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Arctic ravens

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I really enjoyed painting this one – mainly because of the ravens. They’re my favourite bird by far, and also the ones I see the most day-to-day. Process below the cut.

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Happy new year

Farewell to 2018

It’s been a long year, hasn’t it? But despite that, I don’t feel like I’ve personally done much of note with all that time. The house I started building this summer had to go on hold for the winter months, unfinished; I’m still working the same job; and I made a single short story sale this year – an important one for me, but I can’t yet announce where. I also learned, once again, that the tortured publication history of Zeppelins are What Dreams are Made of will remain tortured, after signing a contract with another publisher we got the sad news this year that the Book Smugglers will cease publishing ebooks/print books for 2019, so those novellas are back in the trunk. I’m still deep into art and illustration, but despite seeing steady improvement I’m far away from where I want to be and I expect I’m cursed to feel this way no matter how much drawing and painting I do.

Here’s what took my mind off turning 30 that let me wring some enjoyment out of troublesome times.

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Side-scrolling on amphorae

A while back I wrote an article about how The Secret of Kells told a medieval Irish story through the idiom of medieval Irish artwork, and how this acts as much more than an aesthetic exercise.Unfortunately, we haven’t seen much of that sort of historicized film-making in animation since then. Cartoon Saloon’s follow-ups Song of the Sea and The Breadwinner do not reconstruct their worlds in this way; the only other example I can think of in the years since is Studio Ghibli’s The Tale of the Princess Kaguya. Kaguya is in many ways even more impressive – Isao Takahata putting in a stupid amount of work to give the film the character of a traditional Japanese brushwork brought to life. And, see, I get it: approaching historical and cultural material this way requires a whole lot of careful attention to detail, especially because you’re tapping into a visual language that by necessity you need to teach your audience as you go along since its outside their lived experience. It is not easy to pull off and I’m sure there are examples I haven’t seen because they never gained the attention that would ensure I’d hear about them, or failed to connect to their source material.

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The Sky Roads

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Despite all associated tribulations, airships will always be my first love.

Done with MyPaint.

Hindenburg, again

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Well this feels familiar.

I never formally announced that I’d signed a contract with Book Smugglers Publishing to release my serial novella collection Zeppelins are what Dreams are Made of. It was set for publication in 2019.

Unfortunately, the Book Smugglers are scaling back operations and will no longer be publishing novellas.

All rights have reverted back to me.

This is, of course, the same collection I sold to Eggplant Literary Productions back in 2014 shortly before that press shut down.

It is now almost nine years since I wrote the first story. I’ve become so disconnected from this work that I really am not sure what to do with this collection next, if anything.

All systems read

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Martha Wells has a talent for crafting a perfect first paragraph.

I could have become a mass murderer after I hacked my governor module, but then I realized I could access the combined feed of entertainment channels carried on the company satellites. It has been well over 35,000 hours or so since then, with still not much murdering, but probably, I don’t know, a little under 35,000 hours of movies, serials, books, plays, and music consumed. As a heartless killing machine, I was a terrible failure. (9)

That passage encapsulates the main character of All Systems Red (2017) far better than any summary I could give. Continue Reading »