Thursday, May 29, 2014

Alabama Phoenix Festival

I'm at the Alabama Phoenix Festival all weekend! More updates to come.

If you're here after talking to me at my booth, hi! It was super awesome talking to you! You rock!

Find me on:
My Website

Mars 01 Cover Reveal

If you're anywhere in the Birmingham-Metro Area this weekend, and you like anything remotely nerdy, you should totally come to the Alabama Phoenix Festival, a sci-fi fantasy convention.

Matter Deep is sure going to be there! We'll have some new books up for sale including advance review copies of Mars 01, Kyle Strickland's new novel. Phoenix Festival is going to be the only place to grab a copy of Mars 01 for a while!

When Mars 01 is bombarded by panicked transmissions from Jupiter, the United Terran Nations begin to prepare for war.  The enemy should be months away by the fastest known means of interplanetary travel, but should and known don't apply when these strange creatures don't appear on video feeds and can survive unarmored in the void of space.
The challenge for the brave men and women of Mars 01 is to get the nations of the UTN to stop posturing and bickering long enough to save the human race from an impending invasion. As Captain Sara Moore fights to defend her crew from annihilation, it becomes increasingly clear that the people of Mars are just a pawn in a much bigger game.
In order to be true to the genre and vision we had of the book, we commissioned Larbesta for an illustration for the cover. We were tickled pink with the result.

"This is the most awesome thing I've ever seen in my life."
-actual quote from author seeing illustration for the first time.

I had the pleasure of laying out the type for this beautiful illustration.

Larbesta's Devient Art

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Raccoon Nation or Furry, Ring-tailed, Dorks

Drawing more raccoons for practice. I'm starting to get them figured out!

Watched Raccoon Nation, a documentary about city dwelling raccoons, on Netflix as the next best thing to life observation. I got some really good ideas about how they move and did some running studies

Raccoons don't even need an illustrator, they're ridiculous book characters all on their own.

My absolute favorite part of Raccoon Nation.
"Get in here right now, young man. Don't make me call your father!"

"What's up?"
"I don't know. Just hangin' out."
"What are you doing?"
"...and thinking?"
"Nope. Just Sittin'."

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Star Trek Alphabet, or Laser-Phaser Gun

Ever since I participated in The Electric Keychain Collective's Offbeat Alphabet challenge I've had a list tucked away in the back of my notebook. The challenge was to illustrate randomly assigned letters, and I chose Star Trek (because I'm addicted).

The original Offbeat Alphabet Letters

When it was done I amused myself by trying to come up with words for every letter. Some were easy: prime directive, Pon Far, pointed ears, photon torpedoes, phasers, physics (ya cannae change the laws of), peaceful mission, ect. Some were harder: Uhura... uniform... uh?? UFO? When I had time I would pull the list out and work on it, finding alternatives, moving things around, trying not to use something related to Spock on every single letter.

I'm finally happy with it, so I've decided to do it. I'm going to do the whole alphabet. Here's my progress so far:

A is for Alternate Universe, a la Mirror Mirror - you know, the one where Spock has a goatee (and it was a feat of restraint that I didn't do Spock for that one).

L is for the way non-corporeal energy beings kidnap and unnaturally extend the lives of astronaughts in the name of Love. Episode -Metamorphosis.

Some of these are not super new, so you may have seen them before, and some I made just a few days ago.

N is for New Life and New Civilizations- which you can read more about here.  

X is for the scientific word for alien biology, which Kirk is an expert in. (haha Kirk's a player, we get it, leave it alone. But seriously, view this meme for a more accurate representation than my narrow representation of one aspect of Kirk, also it's hilarious.)

M is for Menagerie. Aliens, a word of advice, just... don't put humans in a cage. Just don't do it. Kirk will talk your robot overlord into self-destructing, Pike will prove to be way too uncooperative and contrary to control, and Spock will make a laser out of a light bulb and a piece of equipment that sounds very helpful, but never gets used for its intended purpose, and then you will get nerve pinched, blown up, and/or die.

The count so far:

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Sherlock Holmes Pattern on Spoonflower Or Wear a Little Sherlock Holmes

I finally formatted my Sherlock Holmes fabric to be a perfectly repeating pattern and uploaded to Spoonflower, a website that allows indie designers to print their own fabric!

Buy on Spoonflower

I have plans to make something out my fabric, but I'm undecided. A skirt perhaps? or a waistcoat? hmm. What do you think?

Read more about this design.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Mothership Goose Gets Reviewed or a Psychotic Housewife Liked My Book (No Really)

Mothership Goose has received it's first review! Confessions of a Psychotic Housewife wife says, "Ah, adorable cuteness alert! Mice in space suits! A Corgi in a top hat! An octopus playing an organ! Squeeee.... I have died from the cuteness," and, "Not only is the story itself a lot of fun, the illustrations on this out of this world sci-fi journey are full of whimsy. We read this book three times before bed last night - it has a been a complete hit with my daughter."

Thanks Storm!

Read her whole review and check out her blog!
Purchase Mothership Goose

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Review: Society6 Casemate iPhone case

The Knight of Swords by Noelle Stevenson

The back of my phone is a perfect opportunity to carry around a little piece of art. What the case looks like is honestly the first consideration when I'm shopping. Secondary is how well the case will function and hold up to wear and tear. I also like to rigorously research things I spend my money on. I was miffed last year when I could not find a review of Society6's cases other than fresh out of the mail. I don't know if they were not out long enough for anyone to have an opinion or if no one really saw the point, or what. 

I bought one anyway because what it looks like is most important to me and I was completely in love with the Knight of Swords by Noelle Stevenson.

A year and some months later, this is the review of Society6's Casemate case printing I wish I had.

The printing on the back is nice and the colors are true. However, the printing on the sides is poor and it fades to white (the color of the plastic) towards the front.

Over the course of the year the paint has rubbed off the corners and edges. It took about 8 months before it became noticeable.

At 12 months it went from noticeable to disreputable looking.

Debris inside the case.

The case started out very secure on the phone. Quickly (a few months) it because slightly loose. Just loose enough to get debris caught inside the case where it rubbed the metal and damaged my phone. I don't take the case off very often, so I don't think it was anything I did to stretch it out.

The pits in the metal go all the way around.

I drop my phone at least once a week. With only a little bit of damage to the case, it's protected my phone from concrete, tiles, and my own stupidity. It finally broke last week near the buttons (exactly where I'd been expecting a break) after a nasty drop. As far as durability goes, the case has definitely saved my butt. It's not exactly an Otter Box, but it does pretty freakin' good for one of the thinnest cases I've seen.

It doesn't do anything to protect the front, so I employed plastic sticky screen covers, which works well.

In comparison:

My sister-in-law bought her phone case around the same time as mine. She got hers from RedBubble.

Her case has held up great. It's a tight fit (though her's is obviously a different kind of case than mine). The ridge on the top edge protects the screen from rough surfaces. And most importantly (to me), except for the corner that tangled with concrete, the art is 100% intact (though the glossy protective layer has scrubbed off a little).

In conclusion
If forty dollars isn't anything to you, and you want to change your case out every 6 or 7 months, Society6's phone cases are for you.

However, forty bucks is a lot to me, and I was disappointed. I was hoping to carry around a little piece of art that would hold up over time and protect my phone. My phone's pretty protected, but the body's also scratched from the loose fit, and now the printing is degrading. While I was very glad to carry around Noelle Stevenson's art, I doubt I will buy a Society6 case again. 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Raccoons Galore! or I'm Only Truly Happy When I'm Drawing a Rodent

I've started prep work for my next children's book! It's starting a raccoon who lives in a palm tree (apparently that's a thing - my fiancé had to talk me into believing it too).

By the time I was finalizing the drawings for Sunshine's Night Out I was practically drawing hamsters in my sleep. I doodled them on napkins and scraps of paper. I understood their proportions and could draw hamster toes without thinking. Hopefully with all this background in Rodent I'll be able to get a grip on raccoons much faster than hamsters.

I'm already in love with their grabby hands, it's their back toes giving me trouble.

These drawings aren't really supposed to be finished art (obviously). They're studies in proportion, fur direction, fur patterns, and the head from different angles.

Every animal I've drawn since Sunshine has been compared to hamsters in my brain, let me just say, these suckers have some looooong legs.

(Also have no doubt that every single one of these drawing's photo-reference was shamelessly torn from Google Images. Seriously. Go google raccoons. You will 100% find these pictures. Also have no doubt that I'm not making any money from these particular drawings, so please don't sue me.)

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Pre-Order Olympia Heights Book Four

Have you been eagerly awaiting the fourth and final Olympia Heights novel? Then there’s good news for you! From now until March 1, 2014, Matter Deep is taking pre-orders on Olympia Heights: The Cult of Kronos. Pre-ordered books come signed with an autographed mini poster, two bookmarks, and a PDF preview of the comic series in-progress. The best part is that the whole package arrives a week before the official March 30th release date.

Haven’t been reading? That’s okay, you can also pre-order your book as part of a bundle and get all four books signed, all the other cool swag we mentioned, and a vinyl sticker.

If you're not interested in Olympia Heights, here's a drawing of a raccoon:

Photo-reference shamelessly stolen from google images.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

News of the New Year

This week, for the first time in ages, I went to drawing session with a live model. It was tons of fun and a relief to see that I've not completely forgotten how to draw from life.

I'm no master of technique, but I thought I'd share my sketches with you guys.

one hour pose- The group I attended is Times Eight, and they meet Tuesday night 7-9 (or on the third Tuesday of the month 6:30-9:30 for Long Pose) at Forstall Art Center in Birmingham, AL.
Hopefully this blog is going to become somewhat of a sketch-blog for a while. I've just started prep work for two children's books and there's going to be character design and lots of drawings of dogs and raccoons and children for a while. I also hope to continue going to life drawing frequently, so there will also be naked people.

Happy 2014, guys! (I know, I'm three weeks late, sue me)