My Eve Story

Eve Story Campaign: Rixx Javix
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I wondered what a real print campaign for MyEVEstory could look like. I only did 4 examples and I may have some of the details wrong, I just did these from memory. But the idea was to show the various ways in which a single player can make a difference in New Eden, but that it takes hard work and commitment to reach those goals.

I had fun.



The Daredevil

Daredevil
Click to download various sizes
I'm working my way thru my Project List, which despite my best efforts only seems to be getting bigger and not smaller. Learning how to deal with not smoking. Trying to keep positive about looking for a job all while also trying to keep freelance work flowing. And make plans for a future that remains uncertain. Y'know, real life. No biggie.

This piece came about in an interesting way. I'd started the painting of the Daredevil a few weeks ago as a template for a piece of real acrylic painting I had planned. Due to several weekends of leaf raking my hands were a wreck, it was difficult to even hold a pencil. So I put those plans on the back-burner for a few more weeks. So instead I decided to use it for the above piece instead. I wish I had the time to paint the whole picture, but due to time constraints I opted for a more mixed-media approach on this one. I dunno what "real" artists would label it, to me all that matters is the final product. And I'm happy with it. It captured the Romanesque fiery master painting feel I was striving for and that makes me happy.

I hope you enjoy it.




Quitting!!


No, not Eve.

Almost two weeks ago now my wife and I quit. This isn't the first time we've tried, but it is the first time we've stuck with it. It hasn't been easy the past four years to say the least. Between my business failing, the bankruptcy, the divorce, and all the other problems in our lives - the stress has been insane. But really, all those things are only excuses. We know this. So about three months ago we both switched to a crappy cheap brand and significantly cut back on how much we smoked on a daily basis. This was all a plan and we managed to stick with it. Now we're done.

The downside for me has been my brain the past two weeks. I've written numerous posts that get lost about half-way thru. I've started numerous projects that I lose interest in. And I keep forgetting things, misplacing things, and generally not logging in to Eve. Its been nutty. And the anger and frustration are extremely high right now.

So pardon me for a bit. I'm sure things will improve shortly and I'll be back to being super-awesome you-can-count-on-me guy! The funny part is that the past two weeks have also seen a significant up-tick in opportunities. Lots of new irons in some new fires. Hopefully this is good news that will continue.

And now I'm already losing interest again. I better stop now before this turns into an angry rant about the Eve Store.

Stay Frosty,




Tengu

Commission; Jester's Tengu

I recently completed this commissioned wallpaper for Katia Sae over at To Boldly Go and thought I'd share it. If you are interested in commissioned work please write me an email at rixxjavix@gmail.com and we can talk about it.



Valerian



Watching this only confirms my belief in an Eve Online movie and/or television series!



The Electoral College

Yesterday on Tweetfleet I was running a 140 character at a time primer on the US election system for several friends from around the world. Our system can be a tad confusing every four years to those not familiar with it. Heck, it can be confusing to Americans as well.
This young man is obviously very confused about it.

There are a bunch of good video primers available. Here is one from CNN that is very good.

As a life-long student of history and a proud American citizen who cares about his country, let me try to TL;DR the entire thing for you.

The "United States of America" is not just a name, it also happens to be how our country is built. It isn't one large country, but a collection of States that have agreed to a Federal system that can govern and provide for the common defense and welfare of the country. Before the Civil War this system tended to put the power into the hands of the States themselves and the Federal government was much, much weaker than it is now. After the Civil War the Federal government became more powerful and has grown into the behemoth it is today. We can argue the wisdom of all that, but it is how it is.

Ok so the founding Fathers in all their compromising wisdom decided on a government system intended to be as balanced as humanly possible. Which is why we have three branches of government, this system of checks and balances is pretty darn brilliant. However, from time to time in our history one branch or another can sometimes become more powerful than intended. Right now, after 16 years of Bush and Obama, the Executive branch has accumulated unprecedented powers. This is one of the things that worry some people in regards to Trump's election.

But back to the Electoral College. The Legislative Branch of government has two sides, the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Senate has exactly 100 members, two from each State. In this way every single State in the US gets the exact same representation. No matter how small or how big, you only get two Senators. The House of Representatives (or Congress) membership is based on population and there are about 430 seats in Congress up for grabs. Bigger States get more seats and smaller States get less seats. Add the number of Senators and the number of Representatives together and you have the Electoral College number for that State! For example, the State I live in Pennsylvania has 20 Electoral College votes, which means we have 2 Senators and 18 members of Congress.

Normally this system works just fine. But sometimes it can get a bit wonky. It is a human system after all. A few times in our history, like this week, a candidate can actually get more popular votes and still lose the election. This is the system working as intended. The reason for this is to avoid the popular vote becoming the way we determine a victor. If we did that, as the young man in the video demands, chaos would ensue. In that system only the votes in large coastal states would matter, effectively you'd have New York and California determining the winner in each election. And also getting the bulk of Federal aid and support afterwards. The Electoral system is not perfect, but it does ensure that even the smallest of States gets a voice.

And please remember that this system is ONLY for Presidential elections. Popular vote matters in ALL other elections. Local, County, State and Federal elections are all based on popular vote, only the President is elected on the Electoral system. This is an important fact to keep in mind. A citizen's representation is more than just the President. The President has extremely limited powers and cannot enact any Laws. In fact he or she cannot really do much of anything. The President is a leader not a dictator.

And while this system is certainly not perfect it exists for valid reasons that have been proven to work well over 200+ years of our history. It has survived a Civil War, two World Wars, several horribly wrong Wars, Watergate, a Great Depression, and much, much more. And it will survive Trump.

Hope this helped.



Doctor Strange and Templates


The last time I saw an adaptation of Doctor Strange was in 1978 on CBS. It was HORRIBLE in ways you can't even begin to imagine. Horrible in shlock, low-budget, television from the '70s, Bill Bixby Hulk, Spider-Man string ways that younger generations would have a hard time even wrapping their heads around. It was so bad there aren't even any good screen caps from it on the internet.

But as luck would have it, we do have the trailer:



Yes boys and girls at one time that was as good as it got. And yes, in answer to your next question, we did know exactly how bad it was at the time. Well, some of us did. But it was all we had.

But this weekend I saw a Doctor Strange much closer to the movie version that has been playing in my own head for the past (cough) forty years. And this version had good actors in it AND music! I'm still unsure how this happened. Somehow the same world that has spawned Donald Trump for President has also spawned a truly good version of Doctor Strange! We certainly are living in the future!

I'm not writing a review. And I'm not going to write the essay I thought about writing in regards to the weird "template" complaints I've seen all over the Internet this weekend. I just thought I'd post that 1978 Doctor Strange trailer and gently remind everyone that you could still be living in that world. The world I grew up in, when Comic Books meant "comic as in HaHa" from the adults that ran our world. That's the world I grew up in.

And now, people my age, who grew up in that world are the ones making these movies. We still remember. My friends and I used to talk about what it would take to one day make a truly good comic book movie. Not that long ago we could count the good ones on one hand. And now Marvel, and sometimes Warner Bros - but rarely Fox - have made dozens and dozens of them.

So go ahead and make your wittle Teen angst comments on the Internets. Its very cute.




The strive to be art

Commission: HEL Special Edition
A commissioned illustration of the Hel


When I first started doing Eve art for people it was simply a service I was providing, mostly just to help out around the community. Blog banners, a few propaganda pieces for the Alliance forums, and mechanical things like that. I was fortunate that a few of those pieces caught the eye of a few people here and there. One of my very first propaganda pieces was picked up by EON Magazine and I had to go back and re-create it for print. I wasn't trying for anything specific back then because it was just a fun diversion from running a business.

Over the years, as my own professional career has transformed around me, so has my approach to Eve arts. I still try as best I can to help support the community of course, but there has become an entirely separate and distinct "professional" interest as well. Prior to a few years ago I had never once did anything even remotely like the picture you see above in the header. Frankly, if you had shown three year ago me that picture I wouldn't have believed it was something I had done. There are times, even now, when I find it hard to believe.

The transformation has been an artistic one. I can easily pump out photoshopped wallpapers day in and day out. For me these are rarely challenging. They serve to keep my skills sharp, but I'm a lifetime photoshop professional, beta-tester, Adobe Expert consultant, National Association of Photoshop Professionals founder person. But most of my professional work with Photoshop and Illustrator and other programs has been in the service of actual work. Client work mostly. Design. Logos. Advertising. Professional photography. Packaging. That kind of work.

And while that stuff can often transcend "work" and become "art", or at least extremely well designed, award-winning graphics or words or images - it isn't specifically done to be art. At some point about three years ago I started thinking dangerous thoughts. What if, I asked myself, I could make something beautiful out of my love of Eve? Could I elevate a fun diversion into something more? Heck, did I even have that potential inside of me? Frankly I had no expectation that I did. Which is a very scary thing to admit to yourself.

What you probably don't know is just how scared I've been the entire time. I'm pushing myself into places I've never been before, doing things I've never done (or rarely attempted), and it is often a very frightening experience. When I talk about fear I don't mean the kind that keeps me from trying, I've never ever had that kind of fear. I mean the kind of fear of failure that pushes me, that motivates me, that makes me want to push thru it and come out the other side. That kind of fear.

Last weekend I bought some paints. All week my wife comes into the studio before she goes to work and one of the last things she says to me is, "Paint something today." I haven't yet. I'm working my way up to it. I haven't touched a real paint brush (other than for inking), since 1987. I paint all the time in Illustrator and Photoshop with my trusty Wacom tablet or with my Mouse, but the thought of holding a paint brush with messy paints on it... I'm both incredibly excited and horrified all at the same time.

Along this journey I think I've managed to touch something truly beautiful a few times. I'm extremely proud of that Hel illustration up there. Personally I believe it is the best spaceship illustration I've ever done. The lighting, the details, the mood, everything sorta just came together for me on that one. And then, the other day after I had heard the sad news about our fellow pilot BigCountry I created something in ten minutes that made me cry.

Godspeed Big Country

I didn't think about that image. I found the photo because it reminded me of his name and what that meant, it resonated. And the idea of a rocket blasting into the sky sprang from my brush and my heart, not my mind. I honestly don't remember thinking at all. I just did it. When I was finished I texted it to my wife and asked her if she thought it would be ok to share it. It was so primal and unbidden that I was a tad afraid of it. Raw emotion can be a scary thing. Creation is often painful. Even writing these words about it now exposes that nerve again.

Art is where we find it. That Hel illustration took an entire day to complete. The BigCountry image took all of fifteen minutes. I don't know if either of them are "art" or not, all I know is that they both mean something to me. And I'm going to keep striving.

As always, keep the courage.