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Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas Beard & Dad's Geetar!

Welp, no matter how old I get, my folks always want to get me presents, so I gave them enough and pointed them in the right direction to get me a new digital camera (and a little extra for stocking stuffers; my mom loves stocking stuffers). I've missed having a camera so much.

So, here come some pictures:

First up, the Christmas Beard!!


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(Didn't get enough sleep last night)

Secondly, I am so, SO glad this gift idea popped into my head. My dad used to play the guitar all the time while I was growing up, but about 10 years ago he pawned it off to help us through a rough spot.

He was really surprised and as soon as he got it out of the package, he went right into "I Walk the Line" by Johnny Cash. It was really wonderful.

Here's my daddy:


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I'm hoping to sneak some video of him soon. :har:

Hope you're all having a great day!

~Ray

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas!!!

Merry Christmas, ever'body! I hope you're having a wonderful holiday season!

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Hope you like my Christmas desktop wallpaper! I know I'm a little late getting to this since it's tomorrow, but there ya go. Download away! ;o) As usual, that was done entirely digital with a Wacom tablet and Photoshop 7.

In other news, I'm still hard at work on the Lord of the Rings: Evolution sketch cards. 150 down, 150 to go. There's a new site up for that, too:

http://www.LOTRSketchCards.com

And I just got my Christmas shopping done today ... Christmas Eve, right before the stores closed at 6pm.

So, I'm about to wrap those and hit the hay early.

I hope you all have a very merry Christmas!!

Thanks for stopping by.

~Ray

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Drawlaxing the Hulk...

hulkClick for larger version

Ah, drawlaxing. It's a term (I think) I've just coined. It's drawing something that's not related to anything when you're burnt out from drawing a project. Drawing to come down from drawing. And the Hulk is a great character for that. Not a lot to him but big muscles.

I spent last weekend in Great Bend with my sister and her family. It was my nephew Orrin's fourth birthday, he and my five-year old niece, Dawnstar, had a Christmas program (which was a beautiful thing), and I had court for that accident (read this if you don't know what I'm talking about). Just had to show that I did have insurance at the time and pay a little fine. Was pretty scary being in a packed courtroom with a bunch of people up for assault, armed robbery, and drug charges, but, thankfully, it didn't take long.

I also took my twelve-year old nephew, Seth, to Chronicles of Narnia!!! That movie totally ruled! I've been a huge fan and Narnia has been a huge influence on me since about third grade, so seeing this version of it was just amazing. If you haven't seen it, go right now! ;o)

Anywho, now I need to get to bed so I can really dig into the LOTR cards tomorrow. Still have 250 to do. There's also a new Lord of the Rings: Evolution Sketch Card website now, too, where you can see some of the official sketch cards. I'll have some of mine up there soon.

Okay, off to bed I go. Thanks for stoppin' by.

~Ray

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Blue... better late than never...


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The latest for Illustration Friday based on the prompt "Blue."

It's also based on Beast from the X-Men. If you didn't already know, Beast is one of the new characters in the upcoming movie X-men 3! Go check out the new teaser trailer here. It looks fantastic. I can't wait!

This was done with Photoshop 7 and a Wacom tablet (as with all of my work).

Let me know what you think!

Thanks for stoppin' by.

~Ray

Monday, December 05, 2005

Turtle Power!

darkClick for larger version

"I love bein' a TURTLE!!"

Just thinkin' how cool it'd be to do a TMNT book. DWP did one previously with super-talented artist Andie Tong. You can read about that here. Maybe another one will come up and I can convince Ed Dukeshire to let me illustrate it. ;o)

Also, needed a break from my projects. Deadlines are kiling me right now (been up for about 30 hours now) and I'm getting a bit drained (especially coming straight off of NaNoWriMo). Doing a fun, quick sketch always helps loosen me up.

Got the fifth Noble Causes TPB mailed out today, and finished lettering Noble Causes #16 (Great issue!!).

Now, I get to go to sleep. ;o)

Thanks for stoppin' by. Let me know what you think of the sketch.

~Ray

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Great Beard, Great Cause! (not mine)

No, this post isn't about my beard. ;o) I will post a beard picture when I get one taken (still haven't gotten myself a new camera).

This post is about James Mathias. He's an artist I met doing Illustration Friday. He's growing a beard to raise money for low-income and homeless families.

Left - week one: January 7th 2005, 9:45pm:
Right - week forty-eight: Decemeber 2nd 2005, 5:15pm:



He's raised $315 of his $100,000 goal in the last year, so if you have a bit to spare, lend a hand. Not only is it a great cause, it's a darn cool way to do it.

To check out his progress, go here: The Shavior

To check out his site, go here: JamesMathias.com



Don't let a good beard go to waste!

~Ray

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Holy Moly ... I pulled it off!!







For those of you who don't know, NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, is a contest for which you have to write at least 50,000 words of a novel in one month's time during November.

Here's a screenshot of my profile. You can see the weird, (can't think of descriptive words anymore) progress:

*Click for Larger*



Here's the winner certificate:

*Click for Larger*



I feel pretty darned proud right now. And really surprised. I really, REALLY didn't think I was going to make it (especially not an hour early with a few thousand extra words).

I came in at 53,000 words. After I uploaded it, it bumped me up quite a bit from what Word was telling me. The first 40,000 words I like, for the most part. The last 10,000, I'm not even sure what I wrote. I was in a fury of description and rambling dialogue. And there towards the end it's more like notes.

But, I finished despite the odds and that makes me feel very good.

Cue Rocky theme song and montage of me writing (and really needing a shower):

It's the eye of the tiger.
It's the flig-guh-di-flop.
Doo-duhley-doo-bee-doo
bada-baaaa-daa!
Supervisor...


YO, ADRIAN!!!

yay for me...



And a BIG THANK YOU to everyone who encouraged me. After last weeks events, I really was going to give up. But, with your help, I stuck with it and I'm so glad I did. THANK YOU!!!

~Ray

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Down, but not out ... yet ...

Okay, the events of the last couple of weeks dealt a major blow to my NaNoWriMo novel. In fact, as of the beginning of this, the fourth and final week, I wasn't even at the halfway point yet (at about 21,000 words out of the 50,000 word goal of the month).

But, I never stop trying. I worked my butt off today to make it to 29,000 words.

Here, the grey shows you where I should be, the blue shows you where I am:



I'm going to give it a shot tomorrow and the next day, too. It's due at 11:59:59, Howland Island Time (GMT-12) on November 30th. So, I've got a little, teensy, tiny bit of time left to work. Probably not enough, but I'll give it a go anyway. I also need to figure out what time that would be in Central (Kansas) time. If any of you know, please tell me.

Anyway, I hope you fellow NaNo'ers are having better luck than I. ;o)

Thanks for stoppin' by.

~Ray

Friday, November 25, 2005

Tricksy Hobbitses!


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This is the latest for Illustration Friday. The prompt was "Small."

And with the Lord of the Rings: Evolution sketch cards I'm working on (and beaming about), I am, of course, on a LOTR kick! ;o)

So, the first thing I thought of was a little hobbit. Then, I thought of my mental image of The Hobbit, which is the cartoon I saw as a young lad. And since the cards I'm doing have to be of Peter Jackson's movie characters, I thought this would be a good opportunity to play around with the rest of the LOTR universe.

Oh, and I took a few style and mood cues from the lovely Lilah Dahl. Actually, I didn't even think about it, they just happened. So, that goes to show you how powerful her work is. I'll have to thank her son, Jon, too (oh, great, now his head will get even bigger ;o), for helping me realize that I need to let myself be a bit more free and experimental with my art.

Thanks for stoppin' by. Come in and sit for a spell. ;o)

~Ray

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Lord of the Rings: Evolution Sketch Cards!

This is the project I've been so excited about, but couldn't tell you about:



Click here to read more!

It's a good thing, too, because I was about to pop! ;o)

Better day today. Looking forward to Thanksgiving tomorrow. Have a great one, everbody!

Thanks for stoppin' in.

~Ray

Monday, November 21, 2005

Really horrible weekend...



*Click to view larger.

*Update: Everything is working itself out now. Not all the way, but getting there. Thanksgiving went really well with the whole family. I added this quick, emotional representation of that day. It was actually pretty nice; the sky was really gorgeous, and not grey at all. But, it was really cold, and this is how it felt. Blurry, grey, and cold.


Well, as always and as evidenced by this blog directly following the great news in the last, when something good happens in my life, something equally bad is sure to follow. That's the balance of my life. And, since (thankfully) really good things happen from time to time, that means something really bad is around the bend.

Saturday morning, as I was sitting down to get caught up on my novel, I got a phone call from my sister saying that my brother-in-law's niece passed away. Her name was Amanda and, along with being mentally challenged and wrought with diabetes, her mother had passed a few years before. That's why she was living with my sister and brother-in-law, but at least she had a lot of kids to play with and a family to watch out for her. But, on Friday night, shortly after getting up for a drink of water, her blood sugar just got too low, and she went softly in her sleep.

My sister asked me through sobs if I could come be with her. She lives a few hours away and I really couldn't afford the time away from projects, but of course I'd go. Family is much more important than work.

So, I left and hurried as fast as I could. After the tedious, worried drive, I finally came to the small town of 14,000. A quaint, comfortable Kansas town. Relaxed, I turned onto Main Street, then down to 17th, where I turned again to head up to Jefferson, where she lives.

I made it one block before missing a stop sign and smashing into the driver-side door of another car. The impact was hard enough that it pushed the dash against my knees and pinned me inside. We'd spun around facing wildly different directions and I was really out of it. The car was totaled, undriveable. It was my fault, so I was issued the tickets and fines, and the car was towed away.

Long story short-ish: The rest of the day was a haze and I wasn't much good for consoling. In fact, when the cops came to ask my sister if she "knew of a Ray Dillon," she nearly dropped. Felt like I was doing more damage than good. I ended up calling the other driver, a nice older lady, and found out that she was okay, aside from some aches and pains. Things were better the next day. I tried to keep my two niece's and nephew's minds off of it. Nothing worse than hearing a three year old say, "Why's my Amanda dead?" :o(

Anyway, I had no way to get back home to work, so now I'm really behind on projects and it's not looking good for NaNoWriMo.

Not feeling too good right now. Still in some pain (my knees, mostly), and really stressed about my projects, including that really awesome one I just started. Took some time to pick up the Thanksgiving dinner, but I'm not sure if my sister and company will be coming now. Gotta get a new car and figure out how I'll make it up tomorrow for the funeral.

But, everything works itself out somehow. Just feeling kinda down.

Thanks for reading.

~Ray

Friday, November 18, 2005

Top Secret Classified Information:

Hey, all!

I started that really, super-duper-awesomely-cool-so-excited-I-could-burst project today!!!

Yeah, that's right, the one I can't tell you anything about yet.

But, trust me, it's super-mondo-bodaciously-awesome and you will eventually know what it is. Gotta get clearance from the company first.

Anywho, so that took up my whole day and kept me from writing or working on my other projects, but I'm still as happy as a clam ... who is, like, really happy.

It's going to be a LOT of work, though, that will take up the bulk of my time until after the first week of January. So, if you don't see much from me, that's why. Who knows, though, maybe I'll speed through some of it. I did pretty good today after the preparation and whatnot that really took up most of the time. Oh, and I do still plan on completely my novel this month, and, of course, meeting all my other deadlines (you sneaky, blog-reading clients who probably aren't really out there reading, you).

So, wish me luck, have a great day, and I'll catch ya on the flip side!

Thanks for stoppin' by.



~Ray

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

KONG and SUPES and more...





Don't worry, I haven't become so obsessed with 10Eastern that I've quit all my jobs to play on there. Not yet, anyway. ;o)

. I've just about finished the fifth Noble Causes collected edition.



. I made it to 20,000 words last night on my NaNoWriMo novel. Still behind where I want to be, but gaining.



. I'm workin' slowly-but-surely on a short story written and illustrated by "yours truly" (what a strange expression).

. I had dinner in Abilene, KS last night with Phantom Jack writer/creator, Mike San Giacomo. That was a fun meeting in a quaint farmhouse resturant. He happened to be in Kansas for a newspaper story about a soldier here.



. Oh, and last week, I forgot to mention, I saw the watermelon-smashing comedian, Gallagher, at the Stiefle Theater here in Salina. I yak more about that here.



. And, I went to the Garden of Eden museum in Lucas, KS. That was some creepy stuff. I yak more about that here



Now, I'm going to jump into some coloring. Later, I think I'll actually have time for some writing. I hope so.

Have a great day!

~Ray

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Aaragorn...

Here's another one from 10Eastern:


Click for larger version

I'm getting faster and more comfortable with it. This was about 30 minutes. Based on Aaragorn from the DVD of "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King."

Looks pretty neat from across the room.

Didn't get any writing done today like I'd planned. Lots of company, project stuff, and I received news on a REALLY, SUPER-DUPER-COOL project that I can't tell you about (or have I?). ;o)

Hopefully tomorrow will present more writing time.

Thanks for stopping by!

~Ray

*Edit: Hey, not sure why, but now Netscape isn't working, but Safari is working again. I hope it stays that way.*

Monday, November 14, 2005

Lions, Homers, and Bats. Oh, My!

Yeah, I know. People use that phrase all the time and think they're soo clever. Well, me too. ;o)

Here are some new ones from the online drawing site 10Eastern.com (In order from newest to oldest):











Being limited is helping me think more like a painter, methinks. I can't just create a new layer and get the perfect color, I have to built from the back to the front. It's really a blast. You should try it!

On a writing note, I'm at 17,200 words as of last night. Not where I wanted to be--which was 24,000--but I'm going to take today to write and ... I guess I'll be skipping my workouts this week, too. I hate doing that, but with my project deadlines and this novel, I might just have to.

Grammar note: its is possessive and it's is a conjunction. So, the jackel captures its prey just before it's dark. What's that? You already knew that and I'm a big dumby. Well ...

Thanks for stopping by!! Have a great day. ;o)

~Ray

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Strength...

Strength
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This week's Illustration Friday prompt was "Strength."

* EDIT: I forgot to mention that this superhero's power is being super-strong, but having one arm (his left, the huge one) that's super-duper-strong! Hence the reason why it's so larger. Not sure what I'd call him, but there ya have it. * ;o)

The first thing I think of is muscle-bound superheroes, because of my work, but that's too easy. What I really relate strength too is my Dad. Probably everyone when they're young thinks of their Dad as being the strongest superhero there is. So, a superhero changing a diaper. Way more difficult than fighting supervillains. ;o)

Well, I still think of my Dad as the strongest superhero there is. My dad has been through 63 years of hard life, working for 50, Vietnam, two kids, and a heck of a lot more. Now, he's retired and still, every morning at 3am, he gets up and walks a 150-customer paper route which amounts to around 8 miles of walking. Then, he heads back home and cooks breakfast for Mom.

I aspire to be be even half the man he is.

My dad:

Dad
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I swear, that photo is not at all doctored. He really did catch the Big Fish last year. It's an extreme angle, but what you see is what he got. You can see more pictures here.

Now, I really need to get back to writing. I'm currently on 14,300 words for my NaNoWriMo novel, when I should be at 24,000. Eep!

Thanks for stopping by.

~Ray

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Test & 11,000 words..

Well, this is not cool. It's still not working properly. Once again, I've had to go into a different browser before being able to post. This is really putting a damper on the blogging experience, so if anyone knows how to fix this, please let me know.

Anyway, a little update:

I've crossed the 11,000 word mark on my NaNoWriMo novel. I'm a bit behind this week because of other projects, but the novel is going well. I'm actually pretty darn excited about it. It's a darker, more "grown-up" style novel in the realm of Stephen King and Neil Gaiman.

Hopefully something gets figured out with the blogger set up. :o(

Thanks for stopping by.

~Ray

Friday, November 04, 2005

What happened?

test ... hmm ... there is something very wrong with this thing. Whenever I post something and hit Save or Publish, it dissapears and nothing shows up but the title.

I'm using Netscape and it's working okay, so I'm guessing it has something to do with Safari (my normal browswer). But that doesn't make sense, because I haven't had any problems all this time.

I tried downloading Firefox and it gave me a Microsoft Exell file. Don't know what to do with that.

Help!! :o(

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Draw online with 10 Eastern!!

Hi, all!

I had a great new site passed on to me: http://www.10eastern.com/

It has an online drawing program that allows you to draw with different layers, brushes, techniques, and colors, then publish it instantly on their site just by clicking SAVE. People can then comment on your work. There are different categories like Black & White, Color, Horror, etc. and each category has a different drawing system. It's really quite addictive. I've only done a couple of quick sketches on there so far, but there are a lot of talented artists doing really in depth pieces, from pixel art, like the old nintendo games, to much more detailed work. And it's not using a Flash system, like other sites. I'm not sure what the coding is, but it's pretty awesome!

(These are .png files, so I hope you can view them okay. If not, let me know, and I'll upload some jpg's)




Here's an example of some really good work by my friend and studio mate, Brent Engstrom (who goes by "poopmustache" on there for some reason ;o):




journal project They also have a great journal project going on where they send the sketchbook around the country and have people sketch and pass it on. Really fantastic, inventive site that I think is going to be pretty huge! I'm really impressed with the system over there. You HAVE to check it out! ;o)

http://www.10eastern.com

Sunday, October 23, 2005

The Color of Nothingface...

nothingfaceClick for larger version

I've signed on to color the series "Nothingface" by Kel Nuttal and Morpheus Forge Ent. The pencils and inks are by Dan Schmidt. It also has awesome covers by Juan Ferreyra, the artist on Small Gods (and now Rex Mundi) from Image Comics!

Definitely a departure in style for me, as I use a more painterly look, even for my normal comic book work. We're trying to go simplistic and stylistic, expressing a lot with the color choices. It's definitely a fun project and I look forward to the rest of it.

For more information, visit Morpheus Forge Ent. or Kel's Blog, The Mad Alaskan! where you can also see the inks and other previews for the series.

Here's the first of the killer
covers by Juan Ferreyra:

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Just HAD to draw!

darkClick for larger version

GOSH! ;o)

I've been working some much on my novel, then all the lettering projects and whatnot, that I haven't drawn in about a week! Yikes!

So, I just had to draw something. Especially after visiting John Nevarez's sketch blog. I love doing these crazy sketch pages that (generally) have nothing to do with anything. Just random drawings; whatever pops into mind. Always helps to loosen me up and remind me why I'm an artist. Most of the time, there ends up being a weird guy, a superhero (usually Wolvie), a woman, the Hulk smashing something, and a baby. ;o) Don't know why, those are just fun things to draw and the wide variety is fun.

Now, I think I can do some writing. Been so busy today I haven't had a chance to do that, either.

Oh, and last night I watched a cartoon that I loved as a kid, "Fun and Fancy Free!" It's a Disney combo of "Bongo" and "Mickey and the Beanstalk." I had forgotten how much I loved that. The "My, What a Happy Day" song is great (especially when the cow sings. that cracks me up everytime).

Goofy: Turkey. Lobster. Sweet Potater Pie. Pancakes piled up 'til they reach the sky.

Donald: Quack-quack, quack-quack, quack-quack, quack-quack, quack-quack, quack-quack, quack-quack, QUAAAAACK!!

Goofy: Oooooooooh! I wanna eat'n'eat'n'eat'n'eat and eat until I die.