I wanted to showcase the stuff Lady Ronn made in her 3D Design class. They used a bunch of different materials, and as with most of these school projects, they had some specific guidelines to follow. Which can often lead to some frustration, but I’m pretty impressed with each of these things my lovely wife has created.

A life-size clay bust sculpted from a photograph. A wire and plaster sculpture. A bird made out of cardstock. A chair made out of cardboard that could have no glue, staples, tape, or any other additional fasteners… all cardboard and nothing but cardboard. A sculpture made out of various bits and bobs of miscellania. And lastly, a two piece bit of carving that had to incorporate the excess plaster from the earlier sculpture. Each piece took a lot of effort and each is very nicely done.

After another evening of watching Poledark with the lovely Lady Ronn, I was scrolling through Amazon Prime Video and came across something that I didn’t know existed. A documentary about the art of Dungeons & Dragons back in the old TSR days.

I immediately started watching it, which probably was not appreciated by everyone in the room, but whatever. It wasn’t great, but if you’re a longtime gamer like me and have lots of good memories about all that old D&D art, you’ll enjoy it. I know I did.


My favorite tidbit was that artist Jack Fred was a pseudonym used by the artists, when a particular piece of art was felt to be subpar and they didn’t want to be associated with it.

It was an interesting watch and it was interesting to see and hear from each of the artists, most of whom I only know from their art. Check it out if you’re into this sort of thing.

Eye of the Beholder: The Art of Dungeons and Dragons
Documentary 2019 1h 31min
A documentary that explores the history & stories behind the art that helped create the world’s most popular role playing game. The movie profiles artists – both past & present – & features former company insiders, game designers, authors, & fans.

Eye of the Beholder

Appearances by Larry Elmore, Jeff Easley, Clyde Caldwell, Erol Otus, Tony DiTerlizzi, Brom, Todd Lockwood, Tom Babbey, Peggy Cooper, Darlene, Jeff Dee, Randy Gallegos, Ralph Horsley, Jennell Jaquays, Tim Kask, Dana Knutson, Diesel LaForce, Brynn Metheney, Dawn Murin, Steve Prescott, Harry Quinn, Jon Schindehette, Chris Seaman, Matthew Stawicki, Margaret Weiss, Tom Wham, Ralph Horsley

I took my work van in for service on Friday and it turned into an all day thing. Turns out that the reason my AC wasn’t particularly cool is because the compressor clutch has gone bad and needs to be replaced. So, that weird farting noise I heard every so often was simply the pressure relief releasing. That needs to be repaired. The stabilitrak warning light is due to a bad sensor. Also a thing that needs to be replaced. The problems with the radio… you guessed it, bad radio. That one didn’t get approved. I guess if I want a radio that’ll be on me. Then there was the oil change and tire rotation. Easy enough. And lastly, a thing I didn’t even realize was happening, one of the rear brake calipers is seized. That’ll need to be fixed as well.

I was at the dealership until about 2-2:30 before they finally got the approval to do the work from the fleet company. Needless to say, it didn’t get finished. They’re thinking Monday around 2. I’m thinking that taking Monday off might be the best way to deal with this. Clouds and silver linings and what not.

I woke up very early this morning and yet I still haven’t gotten the lawn mowed. Crazy. I was going to get some writing done before I did that. The writing is going pretty well. I’m not quite keeping up with the 1000 words a day, but I’m less than a thousand words behind at the 11th day. So that’s not to shabby and far better than I’ve been doing, you know, since a very long while back. But that didn’t happen this morning either. Nope. Instead I spent my morning and the early part of the afternoon coming up with book covers for my various projects that do not use artwork that I don’t have the rights to use. Which basically means, book covers without any art. This is what I came up with.

I based the template on the shield logo and while they ain’t great, I think they’ll work for what I’ve got in mind. However, now that I’ve said that, I’m going to have to look at those fonts. I’m betting most of them are not free to use. Because nothing is. I’d like to polish up some of these and offer them as ebooks, here on the site if nowhere else.

Sirens Cove is the thing I’m working on right now. I don’t know if it’ll actually make it to a novel length story. It started as an experiment to see if I could take the Crazy, Deadly, Cool story and genre swap it from crime fic to fantasy. So far so good, I’m enjoying the challenges that it’s providing. I don’t have a lot invested in it, but it is interesting to see the story evolving away from the initial kernel and become its own thing.

I guess I’ll go mow the lawn. The neighbor asked if his tree crew can use my backyard again tomorrow. Apparently, they’ll be taking down the remaining five pine trees in his backyard and want to drop them into my yard. I’m fine with that. They did a really good job cleaning up last time they did the same thing. I just need to do my stuff, because it doesn’t sound like I’ll be able to tomorrow. Later.

I am about to embark on a big change and one that seems to have an enormous learning curve. I am switching from Corel Draw to Adobe Creative Cloud.

I have been using Corel Draw for my graphic creating and editing since I found CorelDraw 3 among some office supplies that were being thrown out back in the middle of the 1990s. I found CorelDraw 5 in the same way, then I bought CorelDraw 8, or maybe it was 10, and from there I was invested in the software. Now, I have the X7 suite and Corel PaintShop Pro 2019 on the machine in my office, but I’m not going to be moving on to CorelDraw Graphics Suite 2019. Nope. I’m changing horses and trying my hand at the big dog in the graphic design game.

Why? Because I was emailed a 40% off offer. Well, that and the fact that Lady Ronn is already paying monthly to use a couple of their products for her photography editing. In addition to that, there are a lot of tools in Creative Cloud and I should be able to stop using a few other programs that use for my stuff; Audacity and Power Director in particular. And if I can figure all this out, I should be able to do a lot more cool things with images and video.

If you have any tips for me on learning these adobe programs or can simply tell me what any of these programs are for, I’d appreciate that. If, however, you just want to tell me that it’s a rip off, it’s too expensive, or anything along those lines… yeah, keep that to yourself and let me decide how to spend my money.

Here’s an idea that maybe you haven’t thought of, or maybe you have. How about using those canvas print offers on Groupon to print your world map on a large canvas. Hmmm… that might be cool.

I have a few different maps that I’ve made over the years, for writing and roleplaying projects. I’m pretty fond of a few of these and I’d like to display them in my office. But they don’t all look great. And then there was Wonderdraft. Suddenly, my maps are looking pretty sweet. Nice enough to display. Which brings us to the canvas print idea.

If you’re like me, you get these $29.99 canvas print offers from Groupon weekly. For $30 I was willing to take a chance and see what this might look like. My results were mixed, mostly due to my idiocy.

this is the map i decided to print

So, I used a Groupon offer from CanvasOnSale.com and chose my size, I went with the 36″x24″ canvas print for $30. I see a lot of 16″x20″ print offers for $20, but I wanted something a bit bigger. Groupon sent me a voucher for the discounted price along with directions on how to use it. At this point I know I need to pay for the shipping, but there has been no mention of how much that might cost. I won’t make you wait. Turns out, it’s fifteen bucks. $15 for shipping. Is that reasonable? I guess so, but I don’t know. I’m still under $50 for this experiment, so that’s okay by me.

First problem, I chose wrong. I either needed to pick a different canvas size or a different map. Aspect ratio matters. Pay attention to aspect ratio. This map ratio is 16:9 or HD, which is not the same as 36×24. And I may have panicked here a bit, or just gotten into a rush, but I didn’t see anyway to change the picture I’d chosen or the canvas size. That might be a result of the deal, or I could have just missed it. Whatever the case, know what you want to print and the size you’re going to need going into this project to avoid this happening to you.

So, the aspect ratio caused some cropping on my image, but mostly this was okay. Nothing important was lost. But once you’re in there choosing your image and finalizing your purchase, you’re offered other options–color grading, framing, canvas thickness. I didn’t do any of those. I arranged my map on the template by sliding it around a bit to get it looking right, and I did choose a black border, but that was free. And I finalized my order.

Canvas: 36″x24″ Border: Standard .75” wood frame, Black

Total including tax $219.00

Voucher $-219.00

Shipping costs $14.90

Payment method: Pay Pal Express $14.90

That’s a pretty hefty discount, $189.01. Not sure that I would pay $219 for this, but $30… that I’ll do. Additionally, I received a 91% off coupon for my next order from CanvasOnSale. Which is very nice. That would be $199.29 off this order, just as a comparison. With that done, I sat back to wait for my print to arrive. Six days later, this showed up on my doorstep.

canvas has arrived, that’s the same map on the left done in a different media

Sure, it’s cropped and I’ll never not see that, but the color is good and the print is sharp. It’s a very nice looking piece. If I had it to do over, I think I would have paid extra for the 1.5″ canvas depth. It just looks nicer. Having it framed would have been nice too, but that might be more than I can justify. I’m very happy with how this turned out and I think it was well worth the cost. Next time around, I’ll pay more attention to aspect ratio.

I’m definitely going to take advantage of the coupon they sent me to have something else printed. I’m also going to try a couple other groupon offers and see how they compare. I have three or five other prints I’d like to get made for the office walls. Later.

I came home to a surprise on Thursday. For all the years I’ve lived in my house there has been a broken pipe for the water shutoff in my front yard. It was kind of a jagged thing that I was pretty sure the neighbor kids, or myself, would fall on it and become grievously injured. Seems the city has been out and put a nice little cap on it… oh, and they dug up my neighbors yard and moved his. So, probably, mine was just something they noticed while they were here. But it’s a win. I’ll take that.

I had to crop that picture down to avoid you seeing the swath of yellow straw that is my lawn.

I’ve been thinking about wrapping my van with one of those vinyl wraps. Yes, I know, I’m doing that thing again. I can’t help myself.

I don’t have all my ducks in a row, and this is certainly premature. But it’s a thing I spent some time on this morning. Too much time. I couldn’t find any good templates online, so I had to build my own in Corel PaintShop Pro. It’s not perfect, but I think I could certainly use it to get the idea across to a designer.

It’s not quite what I imagined. I like the extreme/racing style patterns and there are a ton of them on shutterstock, but I don’t have an account to  access their catalog of graphic patterns, templates, and what not. So, I came up with my own. What do you think? 

I picked up this sword and shield from wish.com. The shield looked larger in their pictures, but it’s not in scale with the sword at all. I thought they were cool looking and for $3, I figured what the hell. I had no idea what I was going to do with them, but I like swords and I like lions. I thought maybe I’d stick them on the wall with the sword behind the shield or some such… I realized that wasn’t going to happen when they arrived.
So instead I carved a rock out of rigid pink foam and painted it up. Then I inset the tiny shield into the stone and hot glued it in place. I think the results look pretty good.

foam boulder

The sword comes out of the stone. It’s very Arthurian in that regard, only there’s no throne of Britannia to be had. And it looks pretty good on the shelf next to my map of the Skorr.
Robert E. Howard’s Valeria from the Conan story, Red Nails

Well, we’re finally done with the summer semester and I’m happy to report that I got all A’s this semester.

HVA 174 | HVAC Blueprint Reading/ Design | A
HVA 246 | Mechanical Codes | A
PS 110 | American Government | A

Yay me.

I know I need to get back to work on the bathroom, but between the mini bust that I started customizing and the idea I had for a 1/6 scale beholder statue… I decided that the bathroom could wait until this weekend. I’m going to take a couple of days to work on my art projects and relax a bit.