Category Art

The grocery store now versus going when I was 18

When I was 18 and started to shop for my own food

The possibilities were endless.

I was no longer required to eat what my parents threw at me. Just the thought that I could buy all of my favorite things was amazing, and taking on a new responsibility really made me feel like a grown up.

So at the time, the grocery store seemed like a magical place where Oreos floated down rivers of orange soda and the candy fairies sang of my bountiful harvest.

Magical food shopping adventures

I could spend an hour just deciding on what type of snack cake to get. Sure, I didn’t have a ton of money, but I could always fill up on Ramen. Which meant that there was always enough money left over to buy several more cakes.

Did I mention I like cake?

Of course, it’s a bit different now. The magic is gone. The candy fairies have left this barren wasteland in search of greener pastures, and the last thing I need is more responsibility. I just want to get in there and get the hell out as fast as possible while destroying anything that might get in my way.

I cant indulge on cake anymore, so my choices have shrunk to only a few items that are ensured to keep my pantry depressing.

To make matters worse, the price of food has risen drastically, so my food budget doesn’t go as far as it used to. I’d go back to buying nothing but Ramen but the sodium levels would probably kill me.

Plus, my aging body seems to have developed several issues with digesting certain foods. So, my choices for potential food consumption have been reduced even further.

In short, my only option is to either put up with the hassle of going to the store forever, or buy some food seeds and start growing my own food. Maybe I’ll try hydroponics, that would be fun. It’s like farming, but with science.

JOIN THE PARTY – WIN SOME STUFF

To celebrate the release of PARTY HARD, I’m picking three winners to receive a signed copy of the book as well as an art print for their wall. I’ll be pulling one name from the Facebook group, one from my Facebook page, and one from the mailing list. So there are three chances to win! Just join the group, like the page and sign up for the mailing list to be entered. (Links below) I’ll announce the winners on October 19th. I’ll also be doing more giveaways every few months, so stick around for more fun stuff.

How to design a book cover… my process if you’re curious

Behold, the thrilling cover of PARTY HARD! Okay, now that that is out of my system, let us see how this thing got made.

Party Hard is a very different sort of book. So from the start, I knew it wasn’t going to be enough just to slap some fantasy art on the front and call it a day. That wouldn’t properly give the reader an idea of what they’ve signed on for. And to be honest, the book is ridiculous in ways that I am particularly proud of. So, my challenge was, to find a way to convey the right feel to the reader and stand out while doing it.

Like all design projects, there was really only one place to start. Research. That’s right, the most exciting part. I started off by asking myself what Party Hard was about? Now obviously the book has a story, but I can’t really get into that with just one picture. So I asked myself another question, what is Party Hard about at its core? That answer is simple. It’s about gaming, and gaming is exciting, fun and sometimes, truly epic. That’s why we play them. And since one of the main characters, MaxDamage24, is an epic badass (when he’s not falling down or dropping his guns) I wanted to push that feeling with the cover. I started by looking through dozens of vintage action movie posters.

From there, I got to work on the layout. The title had to be bold, the character poses had to be dynamic, and there had to be an element of motion to convey the action. Fortunately, I knew a good concept artist named, Kevin Eaton (who happened to also be a beta reader who loved the book.) We put together sketches and I finalized the layout concept.

With the hard part done, it was time to find an artist for the final work. I scoured Deviant Art and Patreon for someone that could make things come alive. But in the end, everyone good was not taking commisions at the time. I almost gave up and just bought a premade and moved on. Fortunately, some networking paid off and I got the name of someone up to the task. From there, magic happened.

The beauty of supplying an artist with concept art is that you get to skip over a lot of the back and forth. Of course, not everything works on the first try. Sometimes you have to remove some side boob or adjust how a dude is gripping the D. (No one likes it when the D is gripped wrong.)

But in the end, everything worked out and the result was fantastic.