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.
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
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
"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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.