Because I draw art using applications such as PhotoShop, Deluxe Paint, and Ultimate Paint, I think it is justified to display an art gallery on my website. Now there is no way that I am the next Rembrandt. If I were a professional artist, this website would be nothing but art.

Do I have enough samples to justify an art gallery? Absolutely. The pictures in this gallery come from three sources: my web design-oriented work, my offline, project-oriented work, and images that I have drawn simply for my own amusement.

Web Art

The "Tap Your Brain" and "Brain Fart" pictures I had conceived well before I actually drew them. There's usually some time lag before I act upon a concept I think of. The best one can do is write the idea down in a notebook, scrap of paper, or anything else available, and often this just is not the case (I am working to remedy this deficiency).

For me, any particularly vivid image that I think of stays in my head until I have drawn it. I guess this is a consequence of my image-based memory.

One constant about me is silliness. My personality is silly by default, so it is fairly easy to come up with silly images. The expression "brain fart" is so silly in its own right that I thought it would look just as funny if represented visually. There is no shortage of catch phrases and one-liners that can form a basis for pictures.

My Best School Project: H.R. Incorporated

The drawings for H.R. Incorporated were all done in Deluxe Paint, except for the logo, which was done in Photoshop. Most of these "fake hair care products" serve as useful attention-getting devices.

"The Ultracutter" was conceived after watching those ridiculous commercials about how shaving has miraculously improved with three electric spinners instead of two or one. I just added some medieval- looking spikes, and suddenly the whole image took on a drastically different meaning.


Buttons, anyone? It's not too difficult to draw buttons. A single button image is decent, but individual buttons that animate are also quite professional. One thing that I wish web designers would realize is that those cleverly embossed, super-animated buttons take up a lot of memory, which means they won't download quick at all. Quite a few websites out there require heart-stopping 50+ button images to load in order for the page to even minimally function.


I know there are a boatload of better caracature artists than me. Still, I find it interesting to capture a person that stands out in some way. Whether this is myself, close family, or those very distant, it's really all the same job.

The "Buster" character is actually Professor H.E. Dunsmore. He taught web design at Purdue, and I thought his frequent "silent stares" to get all of us to shut up in our huge lecture hall deserved a tribute. I don't know if he ever saw my caracature of him (not at all rendered in a nice way), but if he did I hope he took it in good humor.


Creating images that are tesselated, or images that have the ability to be tiled across the screen in two dimensions, is definitely one of my superior skills. This type of skill is important for both web design and computer games.

The tough issue with tilable graphics is that there really is not a good rule of thumb to use for their creation. For "artificial" tesselations such as bricks, one must find the dimensions of the unit cell and design the image appropriately with all scale factors taken into account. For "natural" tesselations such as starscapes or organic tissue, it's easier to design the whole tile at once, whereupon one must copy the tile and tile it manually in the drawing program, and then one removes the seams. Some people find that "natural" tesselations are so tedious that they end up not removing the seams at all--and the result looks terrible.

For still other graphics, you have to think proactively about continuity considerations before you even start drawing. This last point was important when designing the "pipe maze" background, which has to look like each pipe actually leads somewhere.

Horizontal Tesselations

Another great formatting trick for web design as well as for computer games is one-dimensional tesselations. This is my specialty with web design. It is harder to do this type of tesselation, but it pays off. One can make very cool "stationery" by manipulating tables and backgrounds appropriately.

To make the above "horizontal nerves," one must create a table cell that has a preset width and height. The height should be about the height of the actual image (usually less, as some browsers give it a little more than needed). The width can be any value. Using horizontally-tiled images for text or concept separators is a welcome replacement to the drab "hr" line definition. I have implemented it several times in the "Tap Your Brain" school project.

Vertical Tesselations

The "vertical nerves" are not too much different. Just create a table cell that has its width matching that of the image width, and give its height any value under the sun.

One word of caution--browsers are sometimes finicky about displaying table entries that have widths and heights that don't meet realistic screen dimensions or satisfy the browser's internal set of rules. Designing rational dimensions is a good policy. To trump the rules, though, a cheap but effective method is to put a tiny transparent image into the otherwise empty cell. This tricks most browsers into using the desired dimensions.

Really Cool Tesselations

Here is a "deluxe" form of tesselations. Nibbler is all about putting pieces together, much like a puzzle. The table of tiles above, however, is tricky to create because the lengths must all align perfectly. I have done it on this page to demonstrate the potential of tiled graphics, but you can probably guess just how much work it involves. It is here where it may be more economical to use web-building applications instead of raw HTML.

Project Art

Screen capture is a very useful means of getting images "quick and dirty" to the web. It even works with DOS programs; just Alt-Print Screen gives a pastable graphic for use in MS Paint or other drawing programs. Shown above are screenshots from the first attempt at Nibbler and the ray-caster, both while running in real-time.

These drawings are ported directly from the Nibbler artwork I have been working on. The title page is unmistakable; it pretty much sums up the entire game. The two enemy documentation images were the most interesting to post online, in my opinion. So there they are. All of these were drawn with Deluxe Paint. That application is rather limited by today's standards, but there are still many simple features that make it shine above a whole variety of sophisticated drawing applications today.

Here are more images ported from Nibbler. I favor the use of facial expressions in my drawings to promote character development. Once again, silliness appears to have found its way into my work.

Images Just For Fun

The images that I draw for my own amusement often end up just that, amusement. The images can also wind up in my projects. You just never know...

This "Mad Fish" stems from an old joke expression that my sister Jennifer used in some of her early scribblings. Some time ago, she drew a rendition of the fish, replete with twitching and crazed expression. I used that model to draw the full-color version. It certainly looks messed up, but it serves as a great interlude to otherwise serious topics on web sites. Who knows? One day, it may be an official logo.

Another image which, like the "Brain Fart" image above, had its origins in a commonly spoken phrase.

I chose to characterize the hacker stereotype with this drawing. I don't really consider myself much of a hacker (at least, compared to some people I know). Sometimes, it's good just to sit back, look at the world, and try to imagine how the world views you. Some of the long nights I've spent web designing, programming, etc. gave me the idea to make fun of myself. It helps to laugh at yourself.

At one time, I had the above image printed out and posted inside my office at Eli Lilly. I put a caption on the page that read "Do Not Disturb: Pertinent Work in Progress." The response I got from my officemates was one of surprise and confusion. As time went by, I made a subtle change to the picture in my office. At that point, the image progressed from weird to genuinely funny.

This is the end of the gallery. I hope you liked it. Do you need a web designer for hire? I might be your guy.


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Copyright 2004 Christopher Allen.