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!