comic | episodes & e-books | store | about
< previous month | next month >      : Jul. 2016 : News archive | News search | RSS
 
view titles only (low bandwidth)
 
  Draw, pardner!Jul 30, 2016 12:26 AM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Heyyy remember that one throwaway panel back in the beginning of episode 28, when Selenis had just arrived here on the themed world of The Pearl? So here's Selenis as an Old West gunslinger in a sketch I did for a supporter of the comic through my Patreon campaign:
 
Image
 
This reader along with my other supporters on Patreon are helping me keep A* going in a big way! : ) Thank you very much. ^_^
 
 
 
 
·····
 
 
 
 
  A* art show in Seattle in SeptemberJul 29, 2016 1:07 AM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Today I got to check out the gallery space where I'll be having an art show in September! It's neat! It's the central hallway of the top floor of an old elementary school that's now a community center, and it's got the high ceilings, dark wood work, and large windows the newfangled buildings we have these days seem to leave out. I'll have way more wall space than I know what to do with! Gosh!
 
The show is going to run from 8/31 to 9/30, with the opening reception from 7-9 pm on Friday 9/9. I'll fill you in on where in Seattle this will be taking place when we get nearer to the actual show date, but now at least you can mark it on your calendar. : D
 
 
 
 
·····
 
 
 
 
  Dragons are the best, man.Jul 27, 2016 10:15 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:It took me like three hours just to do the pencil drawing for this page. ;_; On the plus side, the painting phase went relatively smoothly! Hey, maybe I should have a robo-dragon landing on every page. Supermassive Red Dragon Landing! Yeah!
 
 
 
 
·····
 
 
 
 
  More complaining about art being hardJul 26, 2016 9:22 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Been trying to see if I can incorporate more expressive line work in the past three pages. Sometimes it seems like I have to be in a certain mood to be able to do that; and on top of that, there's the trick of preserving the character of the line when converting the pencil drawing into a watercolor painting. Although come to think of that it would probably be better to think about it as trying to use what you can take from the line to make a good painting, whatever that might be.
 
...
 
Also I shouldn't overthink things. : P
 
 
 
 
·····
 
 
 
 
  Laying on light layersJul 25, 2016 9:38 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:For the last four pages I've been kind of sticking with an approach of starting the watercolor painting of the page with very light mixes of paint, and layering them on and eventually going a bit darker here and there. This allows for some nice coloration, although one risk I seem to run is leaving the painting maybe a bit lighter than I might have otherwise, because it gets to a point where everything is just so, if a bit light, but I don't want to spoil the overall balance of tones by putting another layer over it. Oh well maybe I'll get over that eventually.
 
 
 
 
·····
 
 
 
 
  Snakes on the BrainJul 22, 2016 5:30 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Here's another sketch I sent to a reader as their monthly reward for supporting the comic through my Patreon campaign : ) :
 
Image
 
Thank you very much! : D
 
 
 
 
·····
 
 
 
 
  Excuses, excusesJul 20, 2016 4:48 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:I have a family member's wedding and associated festivities to attend tomorrow, so I'll be downtown at the courthouse in a monkey suit instead of casually dressed at my drawing table making you a new A* page—buuuuut I'll be back with a new page on Friday! And in the meantime, here's a sketch I made for a reader as their monthly reward for supporting the comic through my Patreon campaign :") :
 
Image
 
Thank you very much! : D Back Friday!!
 
 
 
 
·····
 
 
 
 
  Gone in an instantJul 19, 2016 9:48 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Flavour changing neutrinos give insight into Big Bang says the title of a BBC article, which elaborates to say that results from an experiment involving shooting neutrinos (extremely tiny fundamental particles that scarcely interact with matter and are thus tricky to detect, "the neutrino is the second most abundant known particle; 60 billion neutrinos from the Sun pass through an area the size of your fingernail every second") and anti-neutrinos 295 kilometers across Japan, into the giant Super-Kamiokande detector (there's a cool picture of the inside of that at the head of the article), seem to show that anti-neutrinos oscillate their "flavor" (some sort of quantum mechanical property that Wikipedia has never managed to explain to me in terms I can understand : P—all I get is that neutrinos and anti-neutrinos can exist in one of three flavors, and can switch from one to another as they move through space) less frequently than neutrinos: more neutrinos arrived at the detector with a different flavor than they had had when they started than did anti-neutrinos.
 
Scientists get excited about this sort of thing because it suggests they could be on the way to understanding one of the great mysteries of modern cosmology, namely why it is that in the second after the Big Bang happened, equal numbers of particles and anti-particles were produced, but instead of the matter and antimatter particles annihilating each other, leaving the universe "consisting of nothing but light," the universe instead became quickly dominated by matter, with the antimatter becoming scarce; science has not been able to explain how this could have happened, given that, as far as has been known, particles and their anti-particles are identical, only with opposite charges. (One quirk in this is that for all we know for sure at present, neutrinos, which have a neutral charge, may actually be identical to anti-neutrinos.)
 
I seem to recall seeing several other articles about other findings suggesting other causes of the observed universe's matter/antimatter asymmetry over the past few years—none of which have panned out just yet, apparently. Anyway, the reason I mention this article is that it has an interesting way of quantifying our universe's survival of the matter/antimatter near-annihilation that theory says would have taken place in those early primordial moments: "Somehow, one 10 billionth of the matter that was created managed to survive and makes up everything we see around us today."
 
All the rest of the stuff created in the Big Bang? Pfft! Gone.
 
 
 
 
·····
 
 
 
 
  Accidentally according to planJul 18, 2016 11:07 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Whew! This one got a little crazy. Lots of layers of white ink and watercolor (or mixed muddles of same ; ) as I spent a long time trying to make the painting be like the penciled version (which, like the pencils for every A* page I do, you can see on my Instagram), until I was finally forced to give that up and just let the paint do nutty paint things until it kind of looked like something. And voila! Well I keep telling myself I want to get a little wilder with the paint so I guess I can't complain about it when it happens accidentally. : P
 
~~~~~
 
I will mention this again on Wednesday, but I'll just give early warning here that I won't have a new page on Thursday of this week, 'cause I'll be at a wedding (not mine!). But Friday and the other weekdays we'll have pages, yep.
 
 
 
 
·····
 
 
 
 
  Bare knuckleJul 15, 2016 5:36 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Here's a sketch I sent to a reader as their monthly reward for supporting the comic through my Patreon campaign : ) :
 
Image
 
Thank you! : D
 
 
 
 
·····
 
 
 
 
  Juno's first photo from Jupiter orbitJul 14, 2016 10:15 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Guess who didn't get a natural light photo of their painting today because they spent too much time trying to color it in an overly complicated fashion? Me! But guess who *did* get its first in-orbit (and natural light :P) photo of Jupiter and three of its moons? That's right, NASA's Juno probe! You can check it out right here along with the BBC's article mentioning that Juno is looping back away from Jupiter just now, but "will sweep back in August."
 
 
 
 
·····
 
 
 
 
  Patreon sketchy sketchyJul 13, 2016 8:25 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Thanks to everyone supporting the comic through my Patreon campaign! : D Here's a sketch I sent to a reader as their monthly reward for their support : ) :
 
Image
 
Thank youuuuuuu ^_^
 
 
 
 
·····
 
 
 
 
  Blog #2000! Edward G. Robinson as...Dr. ZaiusJul 12, 2016 8:10 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Bonus sci-fi goodies for my blog entry 2000! : D
 
Planet of the Apes (1968) was a favorite film of mine as a youngster—I suppose it helped that it and its lesser sequels were on TV quite a bit—so I was just tickled a few days ago when I found, on YouTube, the 1966 Planet of the Apes studio pitch / makeup test, a short scene the producers put together to convince the studio that a film based on the concept would work. Following the initial screenplay by Rod Serling of Twilight Zone fame, which was apparently much closer to the source material—Pierre Boulle's French sci-fi novel La Plančte des Singes—than the eventual, rewritten script was, you can see that the whole set-up of Charlton Heston's space-man "Thomas" (not Taylor, as he would be named in the movie) re: the apes would have been a good deal different. The test starts with storyboards accompanied by a voice-over; the live-action scene starts at about 2:45. Sparring verbally with Heston is the producers' original choice of actor for orangutan scientist Dr. Zaius, '30s gangster film star Edward G. Robinson (!) (who would die in 1973, just twelve days after finishing the sci-fi movie Soylent Green with Heston), in heavy makeup pretty similar to what would be used in the film itself—supposedly Robinson would turn the film role down because he disliked the burdensome makeup. They are joined by two other, barely made-up "ape" characters who would also have big roles in the film, the chimpanzee couple Cornelius and Zira, played here by different actors than would play them in the film; in fact, Zira here is played by Linda Harrison, the girlfriend of studio chief Richard Zanuck, who would play cave-girl Nova in the film.
 
Another Apes film extra! Actor Roddy McDowall, who played Cornelius in the film, took his own camera backstage on the set, filming his arduous chimpanzee makeup process as well as behind-the-scenes shots of the cast, crew, and stunts at the beachfront cliff setting seen near the end of the film (right before the famous twist ending, retained from Serling's early version of the screenplay); the compiled "home movie" by McDowall can be viewed on YouTube right here.
 
 
 
 
·····
 
 
 
 
  Natural light art photos, gee!Jul 11, 2016 8:30 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:I figured out a way to get better photos of my A* art! Turns out that snapping a shot of them in the natural light of my kitchen window works better than under the artificial lights at my drawing table—which had been yielding even spottier results than usual lately since the last of my incandescent 100 watt bulbs died and I had to replace it with one of these newfangley curly flourescents or whatever they are. So if you had for instance looked up the original art for a recent page and found the colors in the photo of the art looked weaker or weirder than those in the scan of the art you saw in the comic itself, and thought I was trying to pull a fast one or something : P, well, I couldn't have blamed you—but now the photos pretty nearly (slightly favoring blue over red, maybe) match the scans, which pretty nearly match the actual physical paintings I make and try to sell to you every day. : D
 
So just in case those old photos with yellowish or pale colors had been disturbing people, I reshot a few that just happen to be still up for auction on eBay—but ending in a day or two as of this writing! So for instance here's page 48 (auction here) in natural light
 
Image
 
and page 49 (auction here)
 
Image
 
and you can compare those with today's page (auction here):
 
Image
 
So yeah! Now I suppose I should go back and re-shoot some of the older ones that might have come closest to selling, like say page 45 (for immediate sale directly through my site here), but by the time I thought of that today the natural light was a bit dimmer, so eh well at least they can serve to show how the color in the old photos didn't look as good as it should have; the photo of page 45 taken in my artificial drawing table light and then processed by me to try to salvage something out of the yellowy ick it came out as looks like this
 
Image
 
but the actual artwork pretty much does look like the scanned version, whose colors came out much better:
 
Image
 
While I'm nearly on the topic, I suppose I should note once again that while in old episodes I used to darken the scans artificially in Photoshop, which made the colors you saw in the comic darker and richer than the watercolors I'd painted on paper were (which is one reason why I've always also included the best photo of the artwork itself that I could manage, for comparison!), over a series of episodes, as I got more and more accustomed to handling watercolors, and especially darker mixes of watercolors, I was gradually able to tone down the degree of my color darkening for the comic, until with episode 28, page 20 I finally stopped my Photoshop gamma adjustment of the scans entirely, and from then on the artwork you see in the comic has been pretty much what you would see if you bought the original artwork and held it up in front of your peepers. : )
 
(Hm and this shooting in natural light thing means that by winter time I'd darn well better be able to finish up a page by 4-ish pm each day! That leaves me some months here to get my daily production consistency down a bit better. ; ))
 
 
 
 
·····
 
 
 
 
  Wistfully PatreonJul 08, 2016 5:12 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Here's a monthly reward sketch I sent to a reader for supporting the comic through my Patreon campaign : D :
 
Image
 
Thank you very much! : D
 
 
 
 
·····
 
 
 
 
  So deepJul 07, 2016 10:02 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:I could swear that layering red and then blue, or vice versa, results in a darker purple than layering two layers of purple, if that makes sense. I should probably test this out some time. : P
 
 
 
 
·····
 
 
 
 
  A Pearl from PatreonJul 06, 2016 8:01 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Here's a watercolor painting I made for a reader as their monthly reward for supporting A* through my Patreon campaign : D :
 
Image
 
It was also secretly a trial run for an early concept of The Pearl, the planet in which the adventures of the last several episodes A* have taken place. But heck if it didn't turn out to be a pain to get all those little ridges and trenches to look like they were mapped onto a sphere in perspective! : P And anyway, when it was getting close to the time to paint the actual planet at the beginning of episode 28, it occurred to me that really advanced construction would smooth out the surface—and thus the unbroken lustrous surface (and the name of the planet!) we got in the comic was born:
 
Image
 
Also, it was slightly less of a Death Star rip-off this way. : P
 
But probably I never would have figured all that out—or even had the chance to : P—if it hadn't been for all the folks supporting the comic through Patreon. Thank you! : D
 
 
 
 
·····
 
 
 
 
  NASA's Juno enters Jupiter orbitJul 05, 2016 9:08 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Juno probe enters into orbit around Jupiter says the BBC; there had been some concern that passing through Jupiter's intense radiation belts could have shorted something out and caused the probe to miss its orbital entry—supposedly Juno got a radiation equivalent to about "a million dental X-rays" going into orbit—but apparently its titanium shielding held, and all seems to be going according to plan, with Juno moving into a large, elliptical 53-day orbit around the gas giant; the next big step will take place in mid-October, when it will thrust into a tighter 14-day orbit that skims "just a few thousand kilometres above the cloudtops"; at that point, Juno will begin its main science mission of trying to glean hints of Jupiter's interior composition: does it in fact have a core of dense, electrically conducting, fluid "metallic" hydrogen, for instance, that could account for the planet's powerful magnetic field? Answers to that and other questions will help scientists figure out how and where (did it form farther out or closer in, and then move to its current position orbit around the Sun?) Jupiter formed in our solar system's beginnings, and hopefully help explain things like Jupiter's two-Earths-wide storm known as the "Great Red Spot" that has been raging, apparently, for centuries.
 
 
 
 
·····
 
 
 
 
  Special Selenis painting auction ends Monday!Jul 01, 2016 5:26 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Monday is a holiday in the US and normally I'd spend it making an A* page anyway because what else am I gonna do that's more rewarding, but I've been invited to some festivities so it looks like I'll take the day off. : ) Fortunately, modern auctions are fancy and automatic these days so the big auction for my new, vertical-format 10"x12" Selenis watercolor painting will still conclude Monday! Sneak away from the beans and weenies or whatever you have to do to snipe that auction. : D The painting is called "Evening," and I'll leave a preview below; you can zoom in on a more detailed version on the auction page itself, which I just linked in the previous sentence.
 
Image
 
I'll be back with a new A* page on Tuesday! Have a nice weekend! : )
 
 
 
 
·····
 
 
 
 
 
< previous month | next month >      : Jul. 2016 : News archive | News search | RSS
 
© Copyright 2021 Ben Chamberlain. All rights reserved. | Privacy Policy