I’m back from the comic shop this week and I got nine new comics.
Check them all out here:
I’ve been getting some artwork done on the computer lately. I find working on paper and canvas to be a far more satisfying experience but some ambitions can only be fulfilled with the help of a computer. Specifically I’ve been working on a book where I tie together lots of my artwork with some stories. I’ve been working on it for a couple of years now and I still don’t have anything finished. As a matter of fact I have three separate books started but none finished. That’s because I’m still struggling with exactly what I want to say and what form it will take. That and this stuff takes time. So this week I decided to take some of that time.
The book that I decided to work on was named “Textures and Art”. I started this one some time back in March or April and I think the concept was to integrate some of my past drawings and paintings with photos of textures that I took while out on some of my walks. And some unknown story would tie it all together. Or at least that was as much of the plan as I could remember. I had completed about fifteen pages back then and then abandoned it. Pretty much because I prefer to draw or paint. But I want to make a book. I really do. So I steeled myself to do some work on it this week.
I wanted to make it to forty pages but since I was nowhere near that number I just started with the next one in line. Last Spring I had worked out a basic design for the background and the idea was to pick through the scans of my drawings and paintings to find things I could visually tie together and eventually make a story out of. I also would use the photos of textures as design elements to help things out.
One thing else I would add was some of my street photography. I didn’t want them to be straight up photos so I decided to use some of my Photoshop filter recipes on them that take a photo and make them look different than your ordinary photograph. The few filter recipes I have make them look a little more like illustrations and a little more like pop art. Of course that means even more work.
My basic process for the whole thing went like this. First I choose a background design. There are four of them and they’re all basically the same neutral grey background only oriented four different ways: top, bottom, left, and right. I also started with a blank white background on occasion and then covered the whole background with a photo.
The next step was to choose a main image and decide where to place it on the page. The main image could be a drawing, a painting, or a photo. Sometimes the main image became a secondary image through the process but I had to pick one to start. All the work on the paintings and drawings has already been done since I routinely scan my work in so I have lots and lots of them to choose from. But it’s still always more work than I think it will be to design a page.
If the main image is going to be a photo then I have more work to do. None of the photos are finished. It doesn’t take a lot of work to make one since I have all the filter recipes saved as actions but it still takes a good ten to twenty minutes to get a photo done. And that’s me working fast. If I’m slow that day it all takes more time.
After the main image I pick a secondary image. I usually like to pair a photo with artwork but it doesn’t always work out that way. Sometimes I’d pair a drawing with a painting. Then I had to find a place to put the text. I chose a yellow/brown box with a black outline back when I originally made the design so I stuck with that. I had no hard-and-fast rules for the size and shape of the text box so I worked one or two of them in as they design saw fit. There is not a lot of text on the pages but I need some place to eventually fit the words.
After that I put in the tertiary pieces of art. This is where the most creative stuff happened. I usually went small with them and there could be any number of pieces but there were no other rules for this part. I’d interlock pieces and cover them up as I saw fit. No single tertiary piece was that important so I tried to get them to work as a whole. I even made some main pieces into tertiary pieces on later pages to tie things together.
I ended up getting about five pages a day done this way. I’d say it would take me about three hours to get five pages done and that’s all I could get done in a day. Or at least that was all I could take. I could and have spent a lot more than three hours a day on a painting or drawing project but those are a lot more satisfying to do. With this book design I would get frustrated after two to three hours. I’ve learned over the years that I have to stop then. I actually want to get this project done and too much frustration can make me stop so it’s important that I pace myself.
I ended up reaching my goal today and got that fortieth page done. That made me happy until I realized I hadn’t though about how to end this thing. I need some sort of visual ending but instead I had an ending they just stopped. It was a weird feeling. I almost always have an ending in mind for whatever I do but for this I had none. And as I ended the fortieth page was when I realized that. I don’t know how that escaped me.
Oh, well, at least I know the next thing I have to work on when I get back to that project. That pesky ending.
I’m back from the comic shop this week and I got sis new comics.
Check them all out here:
Here we go again with hard drive troubles. That happens every so often when dealing with computers. With external hard drives it seems to happen more often than with internal ones. I bought the one that failed on me this week back in 2010. Four years is about how long all of my external hard drives last. And this one didn’t give me any warning. Usually they start acting twitchy and don’t mount properly every time I boot up before they go bad. That’s when I buy a new one and get the info off the old one. This time the drive started clicking and beeping and only mounted one more time before dying for good. I didn’t have time to get anything off it but it was a backup drive so it didn’t have anything important on it. Unless my main hard drive died of course. And my other back up.
I didn’t immediately order a replacement for this drive as I usually do. I wanted to try and test it first. I’ve read that often when external hard drives go bad it’s not always the drive that breaks but the stuff in the case that holds it. Circuit board, power supply, or whatever. When I test a drive I do it in one of my tower’s four hard drive bays. That is a bit of a pain. I have to power down, pull a drive out of a bay, put the drive to be tested into the bay, and restart the computer to see if the drive shows up. So this time I decided to buy a hot swappable hard drive case ($25). I plug it into the computer via USB and then just pop a hard drive into the case. No screws or plastic tabs to worry about as in a regular hard drive case. And no powering down and removing one of my regular drives.
Since the new hard drive case is USB 3.0 I decided to buy a USB 3.0 PCI card to put in my computer (another $25). My tower is old (from 2008) and only has USB 2.0 in it so I figured I may as well. After I put the USB 3.0 card in the computer I powered back up and tested the broken hard drive in the new hot swappable case after I cracked the drive out of its old case. The drive was broken for sure. I then pulled a couple of old hard drives out of the garage to crack them out of their cases and test them too. At 320 and 500 gigs they are smaller than the drives I use nowadays but I wanted to test and see if they worked. Turns out they did. I put the 500 gig drive in the case of my newer broken hard drive and it boots up fine now.
My computer had been running slower than usual all this summer. I think it was because my main hard drive was getting full. It’s a 2TB drive which seems like it should be enough but I have a lot of my image files on that one. I had up to 1.6TB worth of stuff on it. It must have taken five minutes to start up each morning. And often I’d see the spinning beach ball of the computer accessing the hard drive as I was doing my usual work. So I decided it would be that 2TB hard drive, my main one, that I’d replace. I wouldn’t buy another external drive but an internal one. So I ordered and got a 3TB internal drive.
Replacing my main hard drive is always a bit of a chore. But it’s made easier by cloning software. Some people like to make a fresh install of their computer’s OS when they get a new drive but I don’t. That would mean installing a lot of programs as well and finding all their activation codes or whatnot. No thanks. I prefer to clone. I find that easier and have never found an advantage to starting all my software over again. With the cloning software you tell it what drive you want a copy of and what drive you want to copy onto. Simple.
By the way, remember that USB 3.0 PCI card I installed? A friend has since told me that I won’t get USB 3.0 speeds with it since my computer is too old for the bus on the motherboard to handle those speeds. Before I knew that I tested the speed of the 3.0 drive by copying a large file onto it and it seemed to copy a lot faster than with USB 2.0. Maybe it was my imagination or maybe it really did copy faster but when I cloned the 2TB drive onto the 3TB drive it sure didn’t go very fast.
When I did this years ago (with the 320GB drive) I put the new drive in one of the internal bays rather than use USB 2.0 but I got the hot swappable drive and USB 3.0 to avoid that inconvenience. Sure 1.6TB is a lot bigger than 300GB but the whole cloning process took a lot longer than I anticipated. I started it about noon and it went on for twenty four hours. I don’t think I was getting USB 3.0 speed. It also slowed down my whole machine as it copied in the background. I opened up Activity Monitor to see if the cloning program was using a lot of my computer’s power but it wasn’t. It was obviously using up a lot of something Activity Monitor doesn’t measure though.
I may have taken a while but eventually it was finished and so I powered down and swapped out the old drive for the new one. It booted up remarkably fast. It now takes about a minute to start up. Much better. I had to tweak a couple of setting of things that didn’t like to be copied but overall it went remarkably smoothly. I like when that happens. I’m waiting a week or two before erasing and reformatting my old main hard drive though in case something goes wrong. I can’t see anything too bad with a new hard drive happening but when do you ever see it coming?.
Along with the new main hard drive and the maybe not quite as advertised USB 3.0 card I put a new video card in my machine a few weeks ago. I want to get a new machine some time next year or so but until then there is still a lot of life left in this old machine. Now if only my monitor would stop acting up.
I’m back from the comic shop this week and I got eleven eight comics.
Check them all out here: