Wednesday, January 29, 2014

908 - Lambinator Sketches

Some Terminator-lamb concept sketches.  A strange concept when taken out of context.  Not much point in developing these any more than they have been developed.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

907 - I'll Be Baa-ack!

The nonsense song goes, "Mares eat oats/ and does eat oats/ and little lambs eat ivy."  Familiar stuff if you're a fan of David Lynch's "Twin Peaks" (1990-91). 

We have an ivy problem in our back yard.  It's encroaching from the forest where decades ago it had taken hold after several people planted it as decorative ground cover.  Now, it's choking out the trees with its thick and intractable lianas.

The only lamb that could possibly tackle this creeping mess would have to be sent back to us from the future by Skynet.  

Friday, January 24, 2014

906 - Dog Gone

Friends are moving away, and as usual it's ripping me up pretty good.  I've had friends move on, or I myself have moved away often enough to know how things go.  Yet, it's never easy.

I don't know if I will miss the people more, or their goofy, trouble-making dog.  Stupid, flea-bitten, knuckle-headed mutt.  Bad news all around.  We're better off without each other, you know?  


Thursday, January 23, 2014

905 - Six Screens

I am adding to my compulsive list of computer screens for the bridge of the U.S.S. Enterprise.  It's a detailed compilation, but the research had already been done by fans of the show who are much more rabid about it than I am.  Michael McMaster has published online a free set of blueprints showing the exact construction of the main bridge down to the last button, with labelled functions for every control.  Primarily, I worked from his drawings, using sources from the shows to get the colours correct. 

From what I can tell, there are sixteen unique screens on the Enterprise bridge, not including the overhead displays, the main screen, or the navigation console out in front. I drew six of them.  At first, I had wanted to re-create some of the displays, but then I became interested in how they were put together.

The screens are means to look informative at a glance and from a distance.  They do not stand up to close examination.  Even though my screens are likely 75% accurate compared to the ones on the show, the screens created in the 1960's show many small inconsistencies  when you look at them close-up, which is typical for most television shows.  

I wonder why the original designers omitted blue from their screens.  My guess is that blue lights would wash out under the big studio lights, and combined with the limited colour fidelity of the film stock, blue lights might come out looking bland.  Maybe they wanted to avoid chroma blue, which could have been used for the main screen. 

In any case, I am impressed with the economy of style used to create the look of these screens:  they do look important, but they don't really portray any useable information.  

In order from top to boom, I believe these would be a warp field monitor, the universal translator, warp drive indicators, matter transfer gauges, and two life-support screens. 

Star Trek is the intellectual property of Paramount Studios.  

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

904 - "That's A Moiré!"

When your lines interfere
And make a big smear
That's a moiré!

Monday, January 20, 2014

903 - Renovation Dalmatian

Black dog plus white paint equals home-made Dalmatian.
I re-used JSVB Post #688 to make today's entry.  Please click here to see it.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

902 - Communications

The transition from JSVB Post #901 to JSVB Post #902 took six days... I've had a number of things to keep me occupied. 
This is an unfinished piece from a Star Trek style communications panel, all rendered from Photoshop. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

901 - $ From Parents

Today is the thirteenth of January, and every thirteenth of every month is Ungood Art Day on JSVB.  I publish art that I made that there is no reason to be proud of.  Fun for you, humbling for me, especially if I follow up my 900th JSVB Post Spectacular with this.
This year, with me slowly selling art, is going to be a very tight year as far as finances go.  I've even taken the drastic step of creating an annual budget, with the help of my wife.  It was not a happy budget. I drew from memory into the budget margin the little "Money From Parents" character designed by John Kovalic from the "Chez Geek" card game, and that made my wife smile just a tiny bit. 
I wish I had Mr. Kovalic's royalties.  I should work to make money from parents plus lottery tickets as not such a large piece of my financial pie. 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

900 - "The Hamster Who Saved Christmas"

Welcome visitors and loyal JSVB followers to my 900th post!  I am pleased to present the final book version of "The Hamster Who Saved Christmas".  
Of course, today isn't Christmas.  It's not even Orthodox Christmas.  My efforts to match up my 900th Post to the holidays missed the mark.  Doubly unfortunately, this is also not a real book, it's just a fantasy construct made in Photoshop, using my Lotus-driving Christmas hamster as the model for the front cover.  
Who knows what stories lie between the covers of this imaginary book?  Spikey saves Christmas, saves the country, and makes life safe for everybody who loves freedom and happiness, I expect.  A tall order for this sweet little guy, but I'm sure with a little of Santa's special holiday magic, Spikey will save the day... well, 349 days from today. 
For a close-up view of the cover art please click here to see JSVB Post #891. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

899 - The Earl Man And The Sea

Recently, my friend Earl very narrowly averted a catastrophic flood in the basement of his house.  Directly next to his workstation is a 500 gallon tank of water, weighing what I would estimate around four tonnes. 
The worst that could happen threatened when a valve that controlled the tank failed.  I imagined poor Earl being swirled around his office like a piece of belly-button lint travelling around the rim of the bathtub drain.  Fortunately, Earl got to the heart of the problem before the tank could explode, and the leakage quickly was controlled. 
Since I live far away, all I can offer is silly cartoons: Earl as Moses holding back the Red Sea. 
My friend Earl proves to be a remarkably reslient subject for genre peices.  Why not click on here and here to see more?
By the way, don't forget to check to JSVB to see the 900th Post Spectacular, scheduled for tomorrow!  900 posts, whoo!

Monday, January 6, 2014

898 - The Urban Roost

Every birdie deserves a good roost to call their home.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

897 - Elegy For A Re-Used Roaster

 In rounded corners did juice you contain
And set there to foment, reduce in stew
The flavours of holiday meats cook'd through
In thy scorched metal embrace entwined.
Ageless I consider'd thee: a true find.
Thine values unto me forever proved
Thine construction to be so ever true;
Yet punctured alloy allow'd sauce to drain.
Now irrep'rable thou'rt useless to me,
As I see scorch'd gravy 'pon mine ov'n floor,
A reeking black puddle that must be cleaned,
Such was not there when I used you before.
Five years I kept you for roasting turkey,
Now you live 'neath the recycling bin door.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

896 - Year Four: JSVB In Review

Today is the fourth anniversary of JSVB.  I started my visual blog on January 1, 2010.  Friends thought it would be a good idea if I started a blog.  It turns out they were right.
Yet times have changed, and most of my friends' blogs are moribund or abandoned.  Social media has shifted to focus on the most immediate communication, ideas that are very brief, cheap to create, cheap to maintain and easy to catalogue for data mining and future reference.  The age of thoughtful multi-media publication, something that has been striven towards for so very long has already been cast aside in its infancy, replaced by the plebian drone of the twitterverse and the insistent gabble-gabble of Facebook.  If it doesn't fit on a smart phone, and it can't be created or read in five seconds or less, there's little value.  Put another way, social media can make a lot more by selling a billion microtransactions than it can from a million old blogs.  It's not the quality, it's the quantity.
Will Blogger and Wordpress have value in 2014?  Judging by the ever-decreasing amount of support that Blogger gets, I have to wonder.  I did set up a Wordpress account with the best intention of expanding the JSVB universe, but even there blogs and personal websites just are not profitable. 
JSVB has great personal value, however.  The yearly matrix shows everything that I have posted: in 2014, I now have four columns.  If you could zoom in with enough detail, you'd see every single piece of artwork I have chosen to share.  In 2013, I continued to refine my art style, and a few pieces endure as my favourites.  As far as artistic merit goes, 2013 has been my best year, and I am excited to continue into 2014 as best as I can. 
In previous years, I have listed the top-viewed entries, but in 2013, there is only one entry that is worth mentioning: The Wrath Of Gandhi. 
For this piece, I was trying to emulate the art style of the video game Civilization V, by Firaxis Studios.  I succeeded.  My friend Earl re-posted the picture to a large Civilization fan site, and today that picture has been viewed 7,778 times on JSVB and countless times in other re-posts.  The next best entry has 567 hits, making The Wrath Of Gandhi the most popular JSVB entry by a factor of 14.  Since this spike dominates the statistics, I don't see much of a point in continuing by listing any of the others by popularity. 
Then too, the statistics are broken because of persistent hits by bots from places like  I get a lot of bot hits.  Once one of these bots latches on, it will generate dozens of hits that will appear on the Blogger statistics chart.  The idea is that curious bloggers will click to see what vampirestat is.  Don't click on the link!  It sends you to a page that automatically installs viruses on your computer.  Blogger is unwilling or unable to fix the hole in blog security that allows this exploit. 
So, I no longer trust the stat page on Blogger.  Instead of following the statistics, I will simply present the posts that have meant the most to me.
1) The Wrath Of Gandhi  My top entry is everybody's top entry.  Unfortunately, the widespread appeal of this piece never translated into tangible gains for JSVB, but it does prove that I can make an art piece that is popular (at least to bots).
2) The Hamster Who Saved Christmas (unfinished).  The finished version of this piece will appear on JSVB four posts from now, so keep watching to see how it turned out!  I think this piece shows off my illustrative skills and illustrates my show-off skills.
3) Saint John The Baptist (unfinished).  I have no idea how JSVB viewers take to my religious artwork.  Then too, I don't know if it's weird to have byzantine icons next to bikini-clad space vixens wielding radium pistols.  Today, they co-exist.  In the future, I imagine I will have to choose between them.  One thing that iconography teaches is patience in art and creation.  It's a tremendous lesson and a huge confidence-builder.
4) Enterprise Lounge (unfinished).  I need to finish this piece!  The artwork is complete, but I have work to do to finish the presentation.  Soon!
5) A Tribute To Charles Addams  This is one of my favourite photographs, taken in downtown Vancouver.  It's a real location!  I did spruce up the shot with Photoshop, but not by as much as you'd think.  I wonder what those properties must be worth...
HONOURARY MENTION: Commission: Nebula  I really enjoyed working on this piece.  Blogger shrinks it down to a postage stamp, but the finished piece is roughly 1 x 2 meters.  It's one of the largest things I have created as a digital file.  It looks spectacular when printed! 
2014 promises some big opportunities for all of us.  In a few posts, I will have reached 900 entries, and then it will be just a short ride to the Big One Thousand.  We will see what the future has to offer!
Keep care, loyal JSVB readers!  Remember that you can order much of this art for purchase.   It makes great gifts for you and your friends!