Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Sexual Experience, by Robert Jackson Bennett.

Occasionally, you get a chance to do something that you really shouldn' t put in your portfolio... but dang.

I present, A Sexual Experience, by Robert Jackson Bennett.

Robert Jackson Bennett - A Sexual Experience from Jake Sam on Vimeo.

You know you want this.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Day Job

Over at the Inkpunks, Wendy has distilled almost two weeks worth of us talking back and forth about day jobs and creative life into an excellent post, The Job Continuum:

"One of the most difficult aspects of working in writing and the visual arts (all of the Inkpunks are involved in one, the other, or both), is that they are arts people seem to only value when they are earning money. No one asks a knitter if they’ve ever sold a sweater, but people tend to smirk at authors who haven’t sold any books. There’s a lot of pressure to measure your success as a writer by the amount of money you’ve made." ~read more

There you will get a glimpse into our various paths and life situations as we try to balance family, money, and creative life.

Me, I just turned in notice at my day job. Not something I did lightly:

"It has just become time for something to give.
I was struggling to keep up with illustration deadlines, spending a good amount of time at my day job doing freelance work (it’s a slow job, I am usually able to get away with that), and constantly worried about how I was neglecting my partner and son to keep on top of it all. I’d hoped to wait till my freelance income matched my day job income. I’m not quite there yet. But still, it is time."

All of us, Sandra, Erika, Wendy, Christie, John, (and tho they didn't have direct quotes in the post, Andy and Adam) all have different life situations and different ways of negotiating this topic.

Incidentally, Kat Howard also blogged along a similar thread, Stealing Sands from the Hourglass:

"Here is the thing about writing: if you wait until you have free time to do it, you will write very few words. If you want to write, you must steal time from other places of your life, and protect those stolen moments vigorously, because otherwise, things will encroach on them, the time will disappear, and you will still never have written.

How do you steal time? You make sacrifices, you give things up. You get up an hour before the rest of the house, or go to bed after everyone else is asleep. You write on your lunch hour. You don't watch television. You lock yourself out of the internet...

Sometimes, though, stealing time isn't enough. Sometimes, it's finding the energy...."
~read more

It's a different answer for everyone. How do you do it?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

BookLifeNow design.

I recently joined a pretty fabulous group of people tapped by Jeff VanderMeer to re-launch the BookLifeNow site. It gave me the chance to work with Jacob Ruby and Marlyse Comte to help re-design the site. Jacob has shared about the initial sketch and design phase that when into the site. Here's a bit of the back and forth that went into creating the avatar that is used on twitter, facebook and tumblr.

It was a game of Dropbox ping pong between Jacob and I as we figured out which direction to go.

First, a first rough ideation phase
Then experiments in color/texture and playing with original BOOKLIFE imagery
Going back to black and white to simplify clean up,
And then, finally... adding color back in, to get the final avatar.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Taxman and the Artist

(now posted at the Inkpunks)


A few weeks ago, I took my receipts, pay stubs, and pages and pages of handwritten notes to an accountant to see about filing taxes as a freelance illustrator. It was my first time doing this and I was nervous the accountant would take one look at my stack of tattered papers and tell me to go play with my paint-by-numbers kit, or something. (I was wondering myself if this wasn’t just a glorified hobby). He didn’t laugh. He sat me down, walked me through my first Schedule C, gave insights into a few deductions I had not thought of, and complimented me on my record keeping. I had spent more than I had earned, but the IRS expects that in the first few years of freelancing/independent employment. I have the next few years to see if I can close that gap and start making a profit. *gulp*

Which will, of course, bring its own set of challenges.... ~read more


Much appreciation to Robert Jackson Bennett, James L. Sutter, Steven J. Scearce, Lisa A. Grabbenstetter, Evan Jensen, and Jacob Ruby who are making a living as writers, artists and freelancers, for sharing their expertise with me for this post.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

badass women.

(because I love strong women of all types...)

You probably don't get more different than Sunstone magazine and Lightspeed magazine, but between the two of them I've had the chance to illustrate some awesome female power lately.

For the Sunstone magazine (my lingering connection with mormonism) I worked with Holly and Stephen to re-envision Heavenly Mother and the Creation of Eve and some additional Goddess imagery to boot.

THEN, I got a story from Lightspeed to work on: Ruminations in an Alien Tongue, which featured a most intriguing protagonist: Birha, a brilliant, aging scientist living on a far away planet in the distant future.

NOW, I'm illustrating another story for Lightspeed that will go up in May, featuring a handful of kick-ass-century-old-space-age-warrior-women, fighting for their life on Callisto. (Can't wait for you to read this one!)

Life is awesome right now.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Illustrating EMPIRE STATE, the soundtrack

from the Empire State website:
"Empire State is a novel by Adam Christopher set both in New York and in an alternate reality version of that same, great city.

It was the last great superhero fight, but the energy blast ripped a hole in reality, and birthed the Empire State – a young, twisted parallel prohibition-era New York...

The novel is out now from Angry Robot Books, and we’re inviting you to create your own works based in the world of Empire State.

Whether you’re a writer, artist, musician, sculptor, puppeteer, interpretive dance major, or poet, we’d love for you to come and create. We’re calling this WorldBuilder, and you can find out more by clicking on How to Join In."

John Anealio has lent his skills to the worldbuilding by writing this amazing song:

(Then he let me get my own noir on to create the cover art for the song. Thank you John!)

Illustrating 'Ruminations In An Alien Tongue'

'Ruminations In An Alien Tongue' by Vandana Singh just went up over at Lightspeed. It is a breathtaking, heart wenching, poetic epic of a story. A brief teaser:
"She had gone up the ladder, stepped through the round opening. Darkness, her footsteps echoing in the enormous space, the light she carried casting a small, bobbing pool of illumination. This was the alien stronghold considered invincible by the human conquerors, to which the last denizens of a dying race had crawled in a war she had forgotten when she was young. She had expected to find their broken, decayed bodies, but instead there was a silence like the inside of a temple up in the mountains...
That was the moment when everything changed. For her, and eventually for humankind. She had been young then."
~read more
It was a privilege to work on an illustration for this Story.