Thursday, December 30, 2010

Employees Only - Delayed Landing

If I was a pilot and forced to circle around endlessly waiting for traffic to clear up, you could bet this would be going through my mind!

So we come to the end of the first calender year for Employees Only. I've had a blast, and I hope some of you have enjoyed at least a smile if nothing else. I plan on keeping up the comic, so I'll see you all in 2011 with more nonsense in pen and ink.

Until then - Happy New Year!


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Latest Holiday Card - This Time It's Personal

Once again I have to leave you with a simple image of the stuff I'm working on for today's post.

I've been busting out my own holiday/thank you cards and it's taking up a lot of time, not that I mind though! If you were kind enough to help me out this year with testimonials for my website, or amazing enough to actually hire me to do something, you can expect one of the final versions of the ink drawing you see here.

See you Thursday!


Thursday, December 09, 2010

Employees Only - The Christmas Caper • Part 2

The Christmas Caper continues with today's comic, which I've privately titled Milk & Cookies.

There are many details about Santa's life and routines that a person lacking scruples might take advantage of (details no doubt released by the nefarious Wikileaks, which has no shame). I provide the dramatization of possibilities not to frighten you or your children, but to warn you and Santa, who I assume is also an en•Blog reader. You should also note that I personally like Santa and the presents he brings me too much to lace his milk and cookies with roofies, so please refrain from sending me hate mail.

See you next week with the thrilling continuation!


Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Latest Holiday Card

I have to rush today's post because of unforeseen flat tire complications, but I figured it wouldn't take too long to share my excitement about the latest holiday card commission I've had the pleasure of doing.

Titled, "Hitch'n a Ride" the card is a small tribute to Bill Watterson's Calvin and Hobbes winter cartoons.

Right now there isn't an active link, but when I get back from work I'll update my portfolio and you can see the full image.

Take a look at the full image on my portfolio site!


Photo taken with the Instagram app for iPhone. It's a great photo app that I highly recommend for your tweets and other sharing sites!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Employees Only - The Christmas Caper • Part 1

First of all...sorry for being late.

Part of the reason for my delay in today's comic was that I've been planning a pretty gnarly road trip the great white north. I'm traveling by land, sea and air over the course of a week to deliver a Jeep Liberty to my sis, who now lives on an island I've never even heard of until she told me about it. I imagine that there are hostile countries that are easier to get to than visiting my sister where she now lives...perhaps more safely too!

Small wonder then that I'm tying together this month's Employee Only comics into a small series that I'm shoehorning into a Christmas Special OF EPIC PROPORTIONS. Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you part one above...

...stay tuned.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Employees Only - Try Not to Die Thanksgiving Edition

I'm not going to lie, the cranberry relish was a little trickier than I thought it would be.

Anyways, it's nearly four in the morning, so I'm going to sleep. I hope each and everyone out there has a great Thanksgiving; and if you're planning on joining the mobs tomorrow for Black Friday, I hope you have a safe and riot free time.


Oh man am I thankful for a comfortable bed right now!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Employees Only - Coconut

When the whole shenanigans with NBC happened a while back I felt bummed for Conan like everyone else, but I also felt pretty guilty because I wasn't watching his show regularly to begin with. Sure, I caught episodes on the internet every once in awhile, but I never made a point of recording the show on the DVR or staying up late to watch the hilarity ensue.

Now that he's back though, I'm focused on being a dedicated fan. I'm super happy to be watching Conan's new show, and while I won't be nailing toupees to coconuts anytime soon, I figured I'd give special recognition to the iconic red hair in my humble comic.

But if you haven't been watching the show, get started! It's too good to be missed!


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Employees Only - This Tornado is Delicious

I originally wanted to do a comic about Storm Chasers, but couldn't think of anything good to make. Leave it to the Mix, who sent me the full script for today's comic, via text message, 30 minutes after I asked him if he had any ideas for tornado comics. It usually takes me a couple days to work out comic ideas for Pete sake...

...I fear the Mix's powers are growing.

Incidentally, in researching today's topic I've discovered that tornadoes are also rich in dietary fibre, antioxidants, and minerals - especially category fives.


Thursday, November 04, 2010

Employees Only - Cheater's Remorse

I didn't know how much I loved her until I dumped her for a younger, perkier contender.

My remorse was truly palpable, and I even called up AT&T asking them what to do if I decided to come back. Unfortunately Verizon is returning to it's bastardly ways of loading phones with unwanted crap that I can't remove without hacking the damn Gibson, and I just wasn't ready to deal with it. This in itself is worthy of an entire separate post, but I'm just going to button up my rage and keep my fingers crossed that eventually Verizon will stop force feeding me stuff I don't want or need when I'm already paying them money for something I do want.

In the end, was this enough to make me part ways with R2D2?

No, but I still miss having iPhone around. Oh man, she made the best apps! I used to watch Netflix with her and even doing my chores is a lot of fun when she's around...

...but Android's is still pretty good...I guess. I gotta say that having a flipp'n astromech in my pocket is very pimp indeed. Every time someone texts me, or I get an alert and I hear R2D2's beeps and whirrs - well my separation anxiety loosens a little bit more. R2 is a pretty good phone, and I have a feeling this little droid and me are going to be through a lot together.


It may be a bit awkward to run into the old phone when she's on her new network though. I'm not the jealous type, but hopefully Verizon doesn't screw around with her too.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Employees Only - Campaign Ads

It's a tough choice, but we can't afford to stand aside and let these brains go uneaten.

Don't forget to get out and vote next week people! Spend some time this weekend to really educate yourself on the issues and the people running for office, and for the love of Pete make sure you don't elect the undead; even if they are running under your party's ticket, ultimately their policy decisions are unsound.


I'm Ian C and I support this blog post.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Employees Only - Mankind's Greatest Challenge

I know we're all afraid of aliens and killer asteroids in the future, but given the fact that people can't keep their pants on for chat roulette, waste away hours reading twitter and spend hours playing FarmVille, I'm led to believe that the future has more to worry about keeping focused than it does any outside oppressor.

Also, you know everyone thinks the same damn thing about the holodeck. I'm fairly certain we won't get anything done after that thing comes out. It'll be the Matrix Version 1.0.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Employees Only - Awkward Halloween

Trick or Treat peeps! While I try to avoid driving my blog down political territory, the joke in panel 3 is just too good to pass up. Especially because I probably got the jump on everyone else who already thought of it.

However, as far as truly horrifying costumes go, I have to give my award to panel number one, which if any of you who have spent money on accessories for iPods know, is scarier than any ghoul or demon.


Thursday, October 07, 2010

Employees Only - Roadside Assistance

It really sort of stinks that if you have more than one AAA member at a breakdown you can't double up on roadside service.  I think the tow truck driver should at least pick up a complimentary iced mocha latte for you if that happens, or hell, a six pack. It's not like I need to be sober anymore when you're coming to tow my car. Might as well enjoy it!


Thursday, September 30, 2010

Employees Only - The Web is Worse 3 - Speed

Hey there, it's today's comic! Albeit it's today's comic extremely late in the day... but still today (in my timezone)! You'll have to forgive my lateness, as I was pruning the hedges and fighting back insect infestations in my back yard. Had you seen the state of the landscaping earlier, you'd agree that something had to be done.

Now on to your regularly scheduled comic...

I'm not against faster Internet speeds, but admittedly we pay the price for faster service. If any of you remember what unholy jpeg accompanies the clicking of a link that says, "Be Warned, You Can Not Unclick!" you may heartily agree with me at this moment that fast, instantaneous images isn't always a good thing. It's not even images anymore either - you can be Rick Rolled within the blink of an eye. While that's hilarious, I'm not eager for anyone to introduce me certain a citrus related party anytime soon.

Overall, I wouldn't give up fast Internet to go back to dial up, but I sadly feel an old timer's wistfulness for the simpler times of dial-up and telnet...but that is all something Xbox and Windows 7 won't be able to bring back.

You kids don't know how easy you have it! Why in my day we finished our chores and homework because the only thing you could do with a computer was play Oregon Trail and maybe Prince of Persia on the town computer.  Why, if I was going to play a game on my phone it involved prank calling my neighbor, and no, we didn't have an "app for that". You ungrateful hooligans!


Is there an app for prank calling? Hmmm....

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Employees Only - ¡Corre!

You may have heard the news about some members of a Colombian Drug Cartel using a parrot to warn them about the cops showing up, and it being pretty worthless.  Given the level of sophistication that the cartels have shown in the past, I find it pretty comical that they'd resort to a parrot, but maybe it's a sign that the war on drugs is actually moving forward. Anyone who's ever had a bird like a parrot could tell you that all it will ever say is the same thing, regardless if the milkman, your Mom, or a squad of narcotics officers are at the door. So, I can only imagine they really didn't want anyone to show up, or they got so used to hearing "Run! Run! You're going to get caught!" that the cartel guys just ignored it.

Either that or it's a sign they didn't read the manual. You have to pay extra for those features!


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Employees Only - Theme Music

I'm sure I'm not the only one that hears musical scores whenever I'm in the restroom. Actually, one of the reasons I was so excited to get the Personal Soundtrack T-Shirt was so I could actually live out what was going on in my head. I think the playtime for Ride of the Valkyries is a wee bit long for the typical duration I spend in the mens room, but I'm sure I can edit to the important parts for my purposes.

Oh, and as for the other musical masterpiece...don't be surprised if you catch yourself thinking it.


Turtle Power!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Employees Only - The Dental Debate

Boy do I enjoy some zombie humor. And let's face it, nothing is more hilarious, or adorable, than Gummy the Toothless Zombie. Oh man, what zany adventures will he have next?

Given the current political winds, especially in my state, I figure electing a flesh craving undead politician isn't that far off from reality. Really, it's all who you know, and whether you're on the right side of the issues. I picture Gummy as standing strongly on the side of universal dental care, which probably doesn't win him many fans, but no one can deny he is deeply invested in his cause.

In other zombie related news I've been playing the latest Dead Rising offering on Xbox Arcade, and am enjoying it. When zombies have teeth it's much easier to destroy them with aggressive indifference. It's also fun to run them over with a moose head. For 400 points ($5 bucks!) you can't go wrong by downloading the game and having a go at it yourself!


Thursday, September 02, 2010

Employees Only - Brand Name Goods

Ahh, the joys of car buying.

Today's strip was actually inspired by the game Split/Second • Velocity by Disney Interactive Studios. I'm a fan of good racing games, but like many games you don't always get exactly what you are expecting with the cars. They may look like a Chevrolet Camero or the Bugatti Veyron, but in the game it doesn't tell you that's what they are. Instead your told it's a "Ryback Clydesdale" or something else you've never heard of. I can only assume that when they were buying the cars for the game they fell prey to some wily car salesman peddling foreign knock-offs.

Hey, we've all been suckered from time to time. It's just a shame to see Disney be cheap about which cars we get to blow up and ram into bridges in the game.


Special thanks to the Mix as always for the comic suggestion!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Employees Only - He's Got "The Sugar"

It's the return of Susie and Learning Monster!

I don't think that I've actually had recurring characters yet with Employees Only, but if it's going to be any of the guys I've drawn up so far I've got to go with Susie and her out of touch instructor. Their comic was actually the biggest influence over the current style of Employees Only, so its only natural for me to want to bring them back. A very close second goes to Moses and his iPads from Mt. Sinai - I don't know, maybe I'll have him be a big Apple fan. I'm also obligated to resurrect the mighty Inspirasaurus Rex from extinction as well...how can I not?

The comic has come a long way from the many incarnations it's taken over the last decade, and I'm happy that I've finally found my stride with it. Now that I've found niches for some returning cast members, it should go more smoothly during the creation phase and that means I can enjoy making the comic even more.

And hopefully you guys are finding it enjoyable...maybe even educational - although I don't blame you if you're as lost as poor Susie!


Special thanks to the Mix for technical support on diagnosing diabetes jargon! I'm hoping you know what the hell this stuff means!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Employees Only - Who You Gonna Call?

The fact that they call the show Ghost Hunters is a bit misleading, but so much the better for my comic. As for the actual show itself, I'd describe it more as Ghost Surveillance, which I guess doesn't have quite as snappy a ring to it.

Almost every episode I've watched, and admittedly I've seen quite a few, has been more of a ghostly tease than anything else. I remember one episode where James and Grant swear they saw a full bodied apparition and wouldn't you know it, it happened off camera. Oh, it was exciting for them though. Usually that's all you get - vaguery and hints at something spectral; except, I should say, for audio recordings - for some reason ghosts love yapping it up for EVP.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Employees Only - Dental Deluge

My sister recently had me on the floor laughing about her experiences with dental devices like the water pick and I couldn't help but make a comic. Of her opinion for the Water Pick, which admittedly I use and find very worth while, my sister has this to say:
"Worst Invention Ever."
I can only hope that for the sake of my comic she continues to try out new devices - the results are worth it!


Thursday, August 05, 2010

Employees Only - The Pianist

I hear he likes to close his sets with "I'm A Little Teapot" to impress the ladies.

Learning piano, I'm finding, is all about starting with the basics. I'm not even talking about simple songs - I mean you need to relearn how to push something with your fingers. That idea you might have had that it's just pushing buttons is laughable. I've spent the past three months trying to relearn how to move my fingers; and naturally that means I'm not playing any concertos any time soon.

My latest triumph is actually a piece called "Frisky Little Rabbits". I rock the house with it.


Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Behind the Front Lines - Portrait Business Going Up a Notch

Time for an art business update.

This month begins a new serious foray into my art business over at IanCastruita.com. In the past I've always thought of portraits as a side income, but truth be told, learning more about illustration and the fine art business has made me think I might be happier making my main income from portraits - at least to start with.

In the past my portrait business has mainly come from Christmas and other holidays such as Father's Day. However I've consulted with a top-notch marketing executive, and I'm told that there is potential in dipping into the wedding market, which is why I'm beginning a Google Adwords campaign to try to drive some of that business my way.

Even though I've already started my campaign there are still a lot of things that I need to do. Fortunately my past clients have been amazing in providing testimonials to put on my website, and I've also been able to figure out a few good questions to mark down on a FAQ. In addition I imagine that I should probably put up some advertisements here on EN•blog.

I have a feeling that I still have a lot of work ahead of me, but I'm hopeful that this will end up being something that can move my career into a more solid "art-centric" direction. There is no denying that I'm still interested in becoming an illustrator and painter; for right now though, I'm hoping that this will give both of those businesses the boost they need!


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Employees Only - Try Not to Die

As a general rule, I don't like reality television - with the big exception being the survival shows on Discovery Channel. Something about them strikes a chord with me; perhaps the idea that I'm learning something I could use one day. Of course, were I ever to be in a survival situation and tried to rely on what I learned watching Man vs Wild I'd probably be dead within hours. I swear Bear Grylls must be infested with every parasite imaginable.

Of course, don't try to tell television executives there's such a thing as "too much of a good thing." I am currently counting six survivor shows on the Discovery Channel lineup. Six. I mean to say, either they are trying to tell us all something (what the hell do they know that we don't?) or they decided to ride this Survivor Horse until it dies broken and lifeless beneath them. Personally, with the rate they're going, I don't think I'm that far from predicting the future with today's comic - keep your eye out for my intellectual property lawsuit.

Incidentally, the Try Not to Die logo is way too good for me to not use it again. I may have to come up with more episodes of my own in future Employees Only!


Thanks to Survivor Man I feel naked without a leatherman handy. It's perfect for fashioning weapons from everyday objects, and makes a lovely conversation piece at airport security.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

J.K. Rowling Harvard Commencement Speech

J.K. Rowling Speaks at Harvard Commencement from Harvard Magazine on Vimeo.
I had originally planned on pontificating with yet another rant today, but seeing as I am late as it is with the post and that this is so much better than what I could possibly say, I'm happy to offer up this video of J.K. Rowling's Harvard Commencement speech.

This speech is a couple of years old now, but I think it's well worth watching today, and worth seeing again even if you already have. It is 20 minutes long, but don't let that dissuade you; her humor and sincerity is really captivating, and for me it hardly seemed long at all.


I can't even remember who spoke at my graduation - I'm guessing Harvard graduates don't have that problem.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Busy with Art - New Post Tomorrow!

This is actually very organized...trust me.
Sorry everyone, in addition to losing sleep last night because of bugs crawling up my sides in the dark, I've been busy trying to implement an advertising campaign for my portrait work, in addition to trying to get some headway on a few paintings, etc. - so I haven't been able to finish today's post. I plan on trying to work on it some during my lunch break today at work, but until then I'm sorry for the delay!

Don't forget you can follow my Twitter feed for random musings and Internet links throughout the week - it's not the full plate of experience you get here on EN•blog, but consider it a snack to tide you over! See you tomorrow!


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Employees Only - Naked Strategies

It doesn't work that well when you are awake though. Although, if you can take a pool cue to the head and afterward still beat the crap out of some bikers to steal their clothing...well, that's a different story.

Don't go trying that on my account though. I'm not here to give you ideas.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Ian Listen's to Music 16!

Today's post is regretfully another quick post, so I decided to throw out some recommendations on music that I'm betting people haven't heard yet.

Yes! by K-Os
Recommended to me by Bear the Astronot, the first word that pops into my head listening to Yes! by Canadian artist K-Os is "layered". The music is undeniably hip-hop, but you'll hear plenty of rock guitar and drums in the background with mixes of electronic elements - and on top of that K-Os seems to enjoy referencing pop hits from many genres with his lyrics.

K-Os seems to resonate most with other musicians from what Bear told me, and that is quite an endorsement. Yet while I could definitely hear what the excitement is about, I found that I really enjoyed the last two songs (3 if you count the hidden track) in the album the most, mainly because they were the simplest and easier to follow along with. Check it out for yourself though - it's definitely something you won't hear on FM radio (at least not in Arizona).

Broken Bells by Broken Bells
Fans of the Shins have something to look forward to while the band is working on their next album with this collaboration by Danger Mouse and Shins lead singer James Mercer called Broken Bells.

With this album, I'm reminded of the Gorillaz, which is sort of odd since the album was released at the same time as Plastic Beach. Listen to tracks like The Ghost Inside though, and tell me it doesn't make you think the same. James Mercer's unique lyrics and vocals definitely stand out though, making this something unique and enjoyable.

Special thanks to Anthony at work for letting me know about them!


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Employees Only - I'm a Little Busy Right Now

Hey what do ya know - it's a video game comic!

So Red Dead Redemption is awesome, and I'm probably going to start playing it as soon as I hit "publish post"on this baby. Fans of Rockstar games may remember that Grand Theft Auto IV had Roman, who would constantly call you to hang out, and consequently piss you off by the fifteenth time he does it because you don't want to flipping hang out - you want to jack a car. I'm not saying that RDR is as bad - it just seems that this "Mister!" guy loves showing up in the middle of something else.

It's almost uncanny, as if Rockstar programmed him to be like a waiter at the restaurant asking you how your meal is...you know what I'm talking about. Don't pretend you don't know. Hell, I was at a damn Subway this week (A SUBWAY FOR PETE SAKE) and an employee walked by me, in full mastication mode, asking me how the sandwich was. Seriously people, if I'm in the middle of chewing the damn thing you should just assume it's going to be OK.

Likewise, if I'm about to be gnawed on by 200 lbs of cat, now's not the time to save your buddy. Unless maybe you're asking the cougar. He might be up for dessert later on.


Thursday, July 08, 2010

Employees Only - Worth the Price of Admission

Ah to be a fan - Is there any other pleasure that is quite so bitter? Many of my fellow fans of Avatar • The Last Airbender are probably feeling like they need to organize an open revolt against the movie that was released last week, and I certainly can sympathize with their reasoning. I don't, however, feel like it was the worst thing on the screen, whatever metacritic.com may put forth.

As the comic title suggests, I thought I got my money's worth. I wasn't too happy about the movie's scripting, specifically the unending amount of exposition, but really that was the only complaint I had which stood out to me when I got up to leave. Yes there are other things, but how could a movie lasting less than 2 hours possibly compare to a full season of a fantastic animated series?

We've been down this road before, and if it isn't some tobacco contaminated kryptonite, or flipping Jar Jar dancing around on screen, it's going to be something else. I for one can't think there is ever going to be an end to the phenomenon of disappointment, and so the only way to overcome it is to count down from 10, breathe deep, and revisit the material* that made us love Avatar • The Last Airbender to begin with. Trust me, it's like Robitussin for the soul.

Still though, I'm hoping the next movie is going to be a much improved sequel to heal all our gaping Avatar fanboy wounds. And I plan on lining up on release day to see that one too.


*The full series (all 3 seasons!) is also available on Netflix streaming if you have it - check it out!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Employees Only - Celebrating Workplace Diversity

I'm all for being respectful of others, but have you ever thought about what the hell you talk about that isn't somehow disrespectful? Forget trying to tell a joke - they're almost always at someone or something's expense...and I imagine it's only awhile before some PETA fanatic won't allow me to tell a joke about the chicken crossing the road because it's disrespectful of chickens.

I know there is a line to cross eventually when it comes to offending others versus simply having a good laugh about how stupid blondes are; but who knows where to draw that line? Now, when it comes to employers, the quote "Celebrating Workplace Diversity" is about as euphemistic as you can be and still say, "We're scared s******* of being sued." But hey, it is easier than actually trying to bring about world peace, so I can't really blame them.

I for one prefer to decide upon intent when I decide if I'm insulted, which again isn't great, but there you go. I figure, if you actually mean to insult me, and manage to tell a joke doing it, at least you aren't giving me the finger. Otherwise, I'll show how much I don't appreciate your humor by not laughing.


* To a fan in a Darth Vader costume (on the chestbar):
"So this is to help you breathe yes? And which of these buttons calls your parents to pick you up?" -Triumph the Insult Comic Dog

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Employees Only - Target Demographic

My head is buzzing with all the news from E3 this week, and I'm super excited to get my hands on some of the new titles being thrown out. Well, I should say that I'm super excited to get my hands on some of the Nintendo titles being thrown out - Xbox is coming up a bit dry this year.

Not that I won't strongly consider upgrading to a newer, shinier, and slimmer Xbox 360, but what a downer to see what they've done so far with Natal! The line up for the Kinect release games isn't the sort of list that gets someone like me waiting in lines at Gamestop - clearly they're looking for a broader, family market. Such is the case of Kinectimals, where I believe Microsoft is hoping to catch the attention of children and possibly furries.

I can't blame them for trying to broaden out their reach; Nintendo is being bought by all sorts of people and Sony and Microsoft are clearly just trying to play catch up to the Wii's unique user interface. But what a disappointment so far for the Kinect! Where are all the cool demo ideas that were shown last year - like skateboarding and fighting games? Perhaps they're still under development? As far as controlling video with Kinect...I don't really care that much. What they need is to get me excited with some killer app - so when will that arrive?

I think Kinect is really about to become something that isn't confined to the Xbox 360, but is instead integrated into how we interact with computers and other devices. For right now, I'm willing to sit aside while five year old girls get to play with adorable animated kittens, but here's hoping that Microsoft becomes a bit more ambitious with the device over the next year.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Behind the Front Lines - "Restructuring"

Last week's comic took about 10 hours for me to finish - which in "Ian" time is approximately the span of a couple of days - which in "Ian" terms means I barely had time to buy groceries and do other chores. It also meant that unfinished paintings like the one to the side here are remaining unfinished and unworked on - which just ain't right!

I still love working on my artwork - and if it takes forever, it's because I'm getting deep into the detail work and polishing up the result. Last week's comic didn't really come up to scratch because after a couple of days work I told myself, "Ian, this is getting ridiculous." I originally intended to draw the library and other backgrounds, but my eyes were about to give out, so I threw in the towel and used photos from the web. It's sort of a low point for me, despite the fact that I'm still eager to keep going with the comic.

So I'm making a new rule for myself - line work only. Yeah, that means no color, but it also means I have to really make my line work spectacular for it to be successful as an end result. This really isn't easy to just get up and do, so I'm anticipating a few more weeks of aggravation. When all is said and done though - I will also have a streamlined approach for the comic that I can actually do in a day, and then maybe I can pay more attention to the other artwork laying around here in UnFed Artist Studios.

Thursday's comic is also going to be more stylized if I can pull it off. I'm not talking stick figures, but you certainly are not going to be seeing the past style of artwork. Since I'm just deciding this all right now, I can safely say that I have no idea what the hell it will look like either - but hey, that's what makes it fun!

(...that and booze.)

Until Thursday guys! See you then!


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Employees Only - Helping Because I Can

First off, sorry about being so damned late with this comic. I probably need to stop coloring them again, but as always, I'm still working out the kinks...

This week's comic is all about advice. Now, I used to consider myself something of a good advice giver, despite what the comic portrays. The problem with my advice was always the same though - no one would ever actually take it. Which, now that I reflect upon that fact, might mean I never really gave good advice. But I can also say that I've never given bad advice since no one ever took it either; so really it's win, win.

There actually might be a rant in this, but I'm going to avoid that this time. Instead, I'll leave you with a quote and a link to WikiQuote's page on Advice, where you can ignore all the advice you'd ever want.
"Advice is given freely because so much of it is worthless."
• James Geary, American aphorist and journalist; quote from James Geary website,    2009
Oh, and I've already thought of how the best advice for me would be to make the comic on time, as well as some other self deprecating comments, but feel free to leave your own below. I can't guarantee that your painful waiting for my comics to come on time will stop there though - but damn it I'll try!


Thursday, June 03, 2010

Employees Only - If Nerd is the New Cute...LARP is the New Hot

Out with the new, in with the old seems to be the way of hip now a days. It seems to be a new mantra for style and design especially, although I have no idea what brought it about.

I'm not immune to the old styles myself, but why "Retro" is such a phenomenon really is something that is bewildering to understand. So, rather than try to understand it, I think it's best to embrace it - to the Nth degree. Who's up for a return to hand-stitched animal skins and wool cloth?


Tuesday, June 01, 2010

UnfedArtist on Etsy

This month I'm starting off my foray into online sales with a storefront with Etsy, an online marketplace where people sell handmade goods. You'll notice that right now there's only my Abandonment painting up for sale, and I'm hoping in time that will change, but for right now I'm eager to see how it does - and Etsy is a great laboratory for my test.

Ideally I'd want to sell my paintings on my own, but with my current level of celebrity in the art world, I'm going to have some trouble getting my artwork seen by people who are likely to buy it without a decent amount of advertising and marketing. Not that I'm against advertising and marketing, but as you can imagine my time is limited, and that means I need to optimize my approach so I can work more on my artwork than on trying to sell it.

Etsy is a nice solution because the listings are cheap at twenty cents per listing, and selling something only goes for 3.5% of the final sale price. Compare that to showing in a gallery, where my final sale price is cut by an industry standard 50% consignment to the gallery owner, and you can understand why I'm interested in seeing my UnfedArtist shop on Etsy be successful.

More than that, Etsy also offers a cool solution for people who want to commission work from me in its "Alchemy" section. With Alchemy, potential customers can contact me with specific requests that I can review and choose to accept. Up to now, most of my income as an artist has been made with similar jobs, but on a much smaller scale with mainly friends and co-workers. Alchemy allows me to open up my talents to a larger public, who will hopefully be eager to ask me for portraits and other custom work.

As the month goes by you can expect to see a more customized store front on the UnfedArtist store at Etsy, and most likely a couple of corresponding links to the store on both this site and my portfolio site, iancastruita.com. Depending on how well things go, it's possible that I'll start selling the original ink drawings from my Employees Only comics and other original works as well, so be sure to check in and see what's up for sale! You'll also be able to find out about new listings by following my Twitter feed, so be sure to friend me if you're interested!


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Employees Only - House Sitting

Lately I've been making comics just because they seemed funny at the time I thought them up - not really taking into account themes presented, such as home invasion, even if it's the accidental variety. For some reason, those things don't get realized until I'm almost done with the comic and about to post it.

I don't know, I guess I shouldn't take these things too seriously, Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained as they say.

For those of you paying attention, I'm still experimenting with the comic's look and overall style. I'd like to think that I'm not far off from locking it in, but it's still sort of fun to change it up a bit too. Maybe I'll get it sorted out by next year at this rate!


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Employees Only - Urban Outfitter

Whenever I go out on a road trip, it's fairly certain that my Pop will start supplying abundant supplies of cola, snacks, and yes, weaponry. I remember going out on a day trip to work on my Rock Art project and Pop handed me a hunting rifle to take out all the rampant wolves and coyotes.

He's like some sort of parental Q from the James Bond movies, except instead of expensive gadgetry, he supplies things he got on sale at the local Costco.

Since he may not be in town as my siblings and I head out to California, I decided to hypothesize what his contribution to the trip may have involved. Needless to say, we'd be well prepared for anything.

Love ya Pop!


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Employees Only - Ointment

I'm still trying to put together ideas worth laughing at, but my head isn't delivering. So here's a talking tube of hemorrhoid cream.

Apparently the random stuff is getting a good response, even though I'd prefer to keep a modicum of sanity involved in these comics. But since Ferrets in Space has a few fans already - despite being filler art to make up for not having an actual comic - I may revisit it more in depth.

Nothing like space rabbits locked in interstellar war with ferrets.


Thursday, May 06, 2010

Employees Only - Inspirasaurus Rex

There is a phrase that may explain this phase in Employees Only comics, and it is, "Jumping the Shark". Of course, never wanting to adhere to the status quo, I've gone with my own version of it, which I've titled, "Being Eaten Alive by Inspiration Surrounded by Whimsy".

I keep on getting the feeling that I bit off more than I can chew (*ahem*) when I sit down and try to think of the next comic. I have ideas, and they seem funny at first...and then they lose air in front of me like so many comically deflating balloons. I almost hear the actual sound of PFFFFFTTTTTT coming out of my ears.

Leave it to the ever talented Mix to step in and save the day via Google Chat:
The Mix: just make up comical mythical creatures
 Ian: I could do that for awhile I suppose.
10:00 PM I'm just without any inspiration.
  I feel like it's a chore. Not fun.
 The Mix: well you need some inspirasaurous
 Ian: Riiiiight.
 The Mix: The amazing inspiration dinosaur!
 Ian: I like it.
  What's it look like?
10:01 PM The Mix: like T-rex wearing star glasses and a hat
  with some whimsy
10:02 PM Ian: Right...and he'll really be a T-Rex in disguise who eats everyone when they're relaxed.
  Thanks Inspirasuarus! AAAAAAAHHHHHH!
10:03 PM The Mix: I was just going to say he does nothing but talk about the importance of gang prevention
 Ian: Because that's a big issue in the Jurassic age?
 The Mix: but hes not as cool, as Bad Mr.Rex who smokes and wears a leather jacket
10:04 PM and is just so damn cool
 Ian: And gets all the ladies?
 The Mix: yeah, hes living the dream
10:05 PM Ian: Well, that's better than what I had, which was jack $%!&.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is how comics are made.


Thursday, April 29, 2010

Employees Only - Artist Mind Tricks

I know, I know...more filler. I suck.

I actually had an idea worked out for a comic today. Unfortunately, I was delusional enough to think it was a good idea. Perhaps sensing what corner I painted myself into, I brushed the idea past my brothers who each gave less than enthusiastic responses to it. But of course, by then I had already worked on the drawing up to the point of actually inking it and...well, I couldn't create a good replacement for today without seeing the sun rise as I finished it. What was the idea? It had to do with the whole Gizmodo/iPhone fiasco that's been in the news. I won't even attempt at telling you my lackluster punchline, which maybe we all can be glad about.

So, you guys get the intended artwork as a filler comic, and I once again consider how it is I'm supposed to do these comics and not suck at it.

One of the things I have discovered about doing these comics is that I no longer feel miserable about my art career, but while the act of working on something I want to work on is almost medicinal, not having perfected the time management is now a new worry. The whole point of this venture is to be happy about my career's direction, and it's important that I take the overall satisfaction I derive into consideration. Yet, as I type this I'm thinking about how I really haven't done anything at all with my other artwork projects...

...and that can't continue.

For those of you who have faithfully come around to see what I dished up, I don't want to let you down. It's important to keep you guys happy and if possible entertained, so I want to deliver on that consistently if I can.  I'll take more time to figure this out, but instead of comics every Tuesday and Thursday it may fall to comics every Thursday and artwork updates every Tuesday - updates of things like my paintings, pastels, watercolors and the like. Hell, I know no one reads the rants, but I'd like to write more of them too.

Look on the bright side though - one of these things will eventually become my full time income and that means I can quit my current full time job and dedicate myself completely to this stuff. On that day En•Blog will become a completely different beast altogether.

Until then, I'll go about my business, and move along.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Employees Only - Helping With The Big Words

The Mix informed me that Icelandic is supposedly the worlds hardest language to learn, which if you followed the news during last week's volcano news wouldn't surprise you. I think the actual pronunciation of the Iceland Volcano that grounded flights in Europe is the equivalent of diction kryptonite for most broadcasters since I only heard one give it a go - and afterward he said, "There I said it."

Of course, there is a force in the world that doesn't shy away from helping us with the big words, and I speak of course of the amazing Sesame Street. The Street's pronunciation teaching skills are unmatched in my opinion, but I'm hoping I'm not the only one who thinks videos like this one should be the format for all foreign language learning.

Plus how bad ass is it to say you learned something on the Street? I'll say no more.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Employees Only - The Upsale

I remember getting trained on up-selling when I started my first job at the movie theater, and I'm sure all of you know what I'm talking about with that. How many times have you heard the phrase, "A large is only a dollar more?" I like to think I've built up an immunity to the up-sale, where inside my head a little siren goes off yelling, "YOU DON'T NEED A LARGE! YOU WON'T EAT IT!"

Obviously it works though, otherwise they'd have stopped doing it a long time ago. Now it's gotten to the point where a suggestion sale is even on gas pumps...and I'm thinking it won't end with that. Douglas Adams' vision of moody doors and hesitant elevators perhaps isn't far off, and sadly the conversations we'll begin to have with machines will become much more involved.

Frankly, I'd kind of like to see an LA Story sort of scenario where I'm guided to true love by a gas pump if it comes to that. At least that would be worth the attitude I have to put up with.

See you all next week!


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Employees Only - Turning It Down

So no more color - at least not regularly. I've been wanting to go back to the old sans-color approach for awhile, but I kept on telling myself that it was a cop out to not keep up with full color. The fact was that doing it was keeping me awake and not letting me do anything else, and that sucks.

There's things I want to do, and this comic is definitely one of them - but it can't be all of them. Well, it can be all of them but I'm not ready to let it take over. Having only been at this for a month now, I'm hoping the return to the old style will let me get into the groove I'm desperate to be in with Employees Only. While I don't imagine my sleepless days will disappear anytime soon, I do think that it will be nice to sit down and paint again, and maybe even write, and I don't mind losing sleep over those once in awhile. Just as long as I'm able to approach all my interests I will hopefully be artistically happy.  Hopefully.

And don't think this is the end of all color. It's isn't. I'm just going to put it in my pocket and use it for bigger projects and occasional special Employee Only strips. Color works well for me, I just need more time to commit to it. When the day comes that I can dedicate myself to it more (like when I work full time as an artist) I will happily cut the hues loose upon the world and bask in the chroma along with all of you, but in a hopefully well rested state.

See you Thursday.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Comic In Progress - Ferret Filler

Sorry to say, but I'm still trying to iron out a good schedule and method for these comics. The next one deserves more time from me, so I've dished up this quick scene of Space Ferrets launching a surprise attack against the nefarious Space Rabbits.

I know, I'm sorry.

Tonight's theme is brought to you by the Mix, who's penchant for all things ferret can perhaps never be quenched. I'm glad I have no such infliction of the brain, and only chose to throw this together because single panel comics are so damn hard to think up for some reason.

Although I have to say the idea of a continuing mini-series of Space Ferret and Space Rabbit interstellar battles is rather appealing in a strange way. I imagine the sensation will pass by the time I wake up tomorrow.

Good night!


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Employees Only - Night Rider

Being as April is Bicycle Month for us out here, I figured it was worth an attempt at bicycle humor.

Today's comic is inspired by www.sharethedamnroad.com, a bicycle jersey shop with slogans directed at the drivers who can hopefully appreciate the humor the shirt's messages convey.

Since I'm plugging bike jersey shops, be sure to check out Twin Six as well; they probably have the best looking bike jerseys I've seen. No word yet on any brand of ultra-reflective-visible-from-space shirts, but I'll let you know as soon as I hear about them.