Friday, April 23, 2010

How It's Done

At the risk of spoiling any notions that anyone might have about me actually being an artist, I decided to post this little demo of how I make my comics. It's actually incredibly easy and though I like to think it takes some creativity to put together an actual composition, anyone can do it.

STEP 1: Take an interesting photo. It doesn't even have to be a good photo. It just needs to illustrate whatever is going on in this frame of the comic. It's a good idea to take several similar shots so you have options in the following steps. It also helps if there is a good deal of contrast in the photo as far as lighting and color, but even that can be adjusted later. Once you've got some photos, the rest of the process is really really easy.

STEP 2: Using a iPhone app called PhotoPaint (available on iPhone and iPad - there is a PC version but it's worthless) convert the photo into a black and white drawing. There are some simple settings to help fine tune the image, but essentially you just hit a button and the program does the rest. At this point you have the option of coloring the image yourself in PhotoPaint, but for some really fantastic results go on to the next step.

STEP 3: Here I use another iPhone app called Montage to lay the drawing over the original photo. Adjust the drawing's transparency just enough for the color to come through a little, and now you have a color illustration.

STEP 4: You can take it a step further if you want and fine tune the colors with your favorite photo editing app (I used an app called Format 126 on this one) and the all that's left is to lay it out in your strip and add text. I use Strip Design and Montage depending on what I need. Pretty easy stuff. The strip above took probably about 15 minutes to make.

An Update on the Plan

I have been really enjoying the last couple days. I had sort of a rough start to this run when I left. Freight has been slow and my sleep rythm was a bit off so I was constantly tired which just basically messes everything up. My break in Portland was grrrreat! I had enough time to really enjoy my stay and not feel rushed. I got a good dose of Portland people, food, music, books, and beer; I also picked up some environmentally friendly / sustainable apparel. I have been replacing a few essential articles of cotton clothing with wool garments and the difference is amazing. Next time I stop by home I will be dropping off about 20 pairs of cotton socks and boxers and almost as many T-shirts that have now been replaced by two pairs each of their wool equivalent. This has made life easier on so many levels, including space and showers, laundry time. Wool clothing is no doubt expensive, but so far it has been well worth the expense.
Other than that and my new iPhone - which has also revolutionized my trucking experience - it's pretty much the same deal as before. Pick this up, drive it over there, etc.
The plan to retire from trucking is still in effect but the timeline has changed a little. I found an Aveda Salon in Cathedral City, CA (near Palm Springs) that has an apprenticeship program, which means I can work my way to a cosmotology license instead of paying to go to a school. This is also fortunate because Palm Springs is a much cheaper place to live than Fullerton. It is unfortunate that this means I won't be living in Fullerton, but I will at least be around a lot more than I am now. Anyways, as I was saying this changes the timeline. Now the plan is, as soon as I have made certain living arrangements (I am saving up to buy a camper trailer - gonna live desert rat style!) I will put in my application for the apprenticeship program. There may be a bit of a wait for a spot to open at the salon so in the meantime I will keep trucking. So that's the plan. Wish me luck!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Friday, April 16, 2010



Web Comic Idea

I really want to start a web comic but I am having trouble coming up with story ideas. The easiest would be to do one about my daily life but that sounds tremendously boring. I dunno. Maybe I'll try a day-in-the-life episode as a test and see what I think.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Weekend Break in Portland

It's been too long since I got to spend some quality time in Portland, OR, especially as it is on of my favorite cities in the US, so when I saw that my next load was delivering in Clackamas, just a busride away, I determined to take a couple days off here. Originally I'd planned on staying at a hostel downtown for $25, but when I got there all they were completely full. An expensive lesson learned. I booked a room at the closest hotel a few blocks away, conveniently across the street from Powell's books (where I intend to spend most of the day tomorrow) and as luck would have it they upgraded me to a "Jr. Suite" - which is basicaly a small apartment complete with kitchen, etc. - at no extra charge. Much nicer than staying at the hostel, I gotta say. So, I spent more than I'd planned on but I am definitely getting my money's worth. Anyhow, time for bed - I wanna be up in time for the complementry breakfast!