•December 12, 2012 • 3 Comments

I have taken another step in my crusade to eliminate my dependence on Photoshop (and to use legal software.) Step one was to find a good drawing program, and I’ve done that in the form of Sketchbook Pro, which is nothing short of awesome for drawing and coloring.

The next step is to find a good painting program, one that is fairly easy to learn, replicates natural media, and is cheap. I currently have three programs on the roster; ArtRage, TwistedBrush, and Paint Tool SAI. Today was the day to take ArtRage out for a spin. So here is my official review: I like it. ‘Nuff said.

Since the version I was using is just a demo, I wasn’t able to save any finished files, so I present you with a couple of screenshots of the work-in-progress…

Layin' Down the Paint


OK, so maybe I won’t be taking the place of any of the masters in any museum, but it sure was fun, and you have to admit, not horrible for the first time using the program and not being a painter. I just may have to play around with this some more tomorrow and see if I can come up with something better…

Until then, Happy Little Trees!


•December 11, 2012 • 6 Comments

Well, I’ve been given an award. It’s kinda cool since I think the last award I received was probably in about 4th grade or so, when I was taken to McDonald’s with my teacher and the school principal. Although I wasn’t too keen on the company, I was keen on the St. Patrick’s Day green milkshake that McDonald’s was serving that day. I don’t even remember why I was chosen to go, but I remember that cold, creamy, green goodness like it was yesterday.

Anyway, I was given this award by fellow blogger ayaime, whose blog, Simply Simplistic Complexities,  you can find here:

So I nominate the blog that nominated me,, for their thought provoking words that inspire me to keep going. Although there are many blogs that I follow and think deserve Blog of the Year awards, I prefer to keep things simple and low-key. You can find those blogs to the right, under the ‘Blogs I Follow’ menu. I think their words, photos, and artwork speak for themselves.

There are some rules for this award:

1 Select the blog(s) you think deserve the ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award

2 Write a blog post and tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen – there’s no minimum or maximum number of blogs required – and ‘present’ them with their award.

3 Please include a link back to this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award –   and include these ‘rules’ in your post (please don’t alter the rules or the badges!)

4 Let the blog(s) you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the ‘rules’ with them

5 You can now also join our Facebook group – click ‘like’ on this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award Facebook group and then you can share your blog with an even wider audience

6 As a winner of the award – please add a link back to the blog that presented you with the award – and then proudly display the award on your blog and sidebar … and start collecting stars…


Blog of the Year Award 1 star jpeg

Have a great day!

For the Articles

•December 10, 2012 • Leave a Comment

So now we know what he’s doing in the bathroom…

For the Articles


•December 10, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Well today is the first day of not using Photoshop to draw and paint. My new preferred program is Sketchbook Pro. I really like it so far, I just need tons of practice. So far it seems to be very easy to learn and adapt to, although I have a couple of things I still need to figure out quickly, like how to rotate the canvas and using the smooth line feature. Drawing with it is definitely much better (in my opinion) than in Photoshop, and its “painting” abilities seem to be about the same, which means I need to find a good paint program that isn’t Painter. Here is a sample of what I’ve played with so far in Sketchbook:

Sketchbook Pro practice

The first part shows simple sketching with a pencil set to 2H, the second part shows my attempt at inking in the lines on a new layer, and the third part shows the (rough) addition of color with a paintbrush. Obviously it isn’t finished, but I never intended it to be. If only you could have seen the shenanigans I went through just to get this far, you probably couldn’t stop laughing. I had this thing zooming in and out, flipping upside down and back, sometimes the whole thing was entirely off the screen. You can see that the paintbrush doesn’t really blend like real paint, but then neither does Photoshop, it’s just a matter of selecting colors and building up as you resample to blend. So basically, it will just take some practice. What? I have to spend time drawing and painting some more? Oh, darn!

Looking Up

•December 10, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Just a real quick post, ’cause I have a ton of things to do it seems. Just a couple more photos of friendly critters at the zoo…

Reticulated Giraffe II


Reticulated Giraffe III

Have a great day!

And Now For Something Totally Different…

•December 7, 2012 • 2 Comments

Well, after much soul-searching I have decided to merge my art and photography blogs into one. You can find my artwork in the galleries to the right…

Green Eyes

This piece was quite a departure from the norm for me as it was done entirely in digital. Usually I will draw with pencil on paper first, then either scan that drawing or photograph it to get it into the computer, where I then paint it in Photoshop or Painter. This time I drew the original directly in Photoshop. I also colored it differently. Typically I lay down base colors then add darker or lighter shades of that color for value. This time I did all the values in black and white first, then added color on a new layer, setting that layer blend mode to “Color.” I think it worked pretty well. All in all I think it turned out ok, considering (1) I tried several new techniques and (2) I can’t really draw very well at all. I do have to admit that I cheated on the eyes; after I had finished the left eye’s outline and values I simply copied it, flipped it, and pasted it to create the right eye. Oh well. This also marks another departure for me in that I will no longer be using Photoshop to create artwork. My copy of Photoshop is…how shall I say…not entirely legal, and this bothers me. So I have purchased Sketchbook Pro, and will be trying to learn to use it. The program looks great, and the little bit of tinkering I have done with it is very exciting. It’s much more intuitive than Photoshop for creating artwork. I will also be trying several other programs for painting, including Artrage, TwistedBrush, and Paint Tool SAI, rather than my less-than-legal copy of Painter, which I find to be incredibly buggy and laggy. Hopefully my Mom will give me her other iMac, as I have already found a program to replace Photoshop for photo editing called Pixelmator, but it is Mac only, and my little laptop I currently use is Windows. Anyway, hope you enjoy this piece, turned out ok, can’t wait to practice more!

Grounded Aviators

•December 7, 2012 • 2 Comments

Today’s post features an incredible five photographs, containing approximately 10,643 feathers, none of which are ever in any danger of being melted by proximity to the sun. Nope, sadly these flyers are grounded, but don’t feel too bad; that’s what happens when you mess with the F.A.A., and these boys are some of the worst violators around…

Blue and Gold I

Check out this beautiful scarlet and gold macaw. The colors are just amazing, at least when his wings are down…

Blue and Gold II

What has he got? The mange? Somebody get him some “Head and Shoulders” in a hurry!


What a dapper fellow, with his pristine white scarf!

Flamingo II

That’s one heck of a bill!


When the shrimp supply runs low, there’s always toe-jam!

Until next time, good light and happy shooting!

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