Burning Fortress

battledamagecolor

 

Every once in a while, I challenge myself to a time limit, because if I don’t actively practice the act of completing my art, I will obsess myself to a standstill. Many wonderful things have died on my drawing board this way.

In order to see my ideas take form quickly, I often fall back on charcoal and ink. Even though charcoal is sloppy and imprecise, it is a pretty forgiving medium, which makes it idea for working out shapes and compositions one is unsure of. I’ll often finish it off with a brief pass with a fine tip marker or ballpoint pen, to drive home some of the more prominent parts of the fine details. Every once in a while I’ll brush in some coffee for a sepia tone feel, like in the pic above. It is from an ongoing body of concept art for a WWII comic about a B17 Flying Fortress which I am slowly developing, a rough draft which I scanned and subjected to a brief round of digital coloring. I did my best to do as little as possible, no “corrections”,  just the orange in the sky, the red on the wounded gunner and leaking oil, and some fiddling with transparencies and layers. I spent maybe fifteen minutes on the original drawing, and maybe another fifteen colorizing it. The final result is very different from my usual work, which is controlled and precise and takes forever to come to life, but I’m still oddly happy with it.

Lately I’ve been contemplating art as a medium for catharsis. I can communicate a great number of things through art, even things for which there are no words, but I can never truly work through my pain via art, like some artists can. (I get a bit jealous, really.) No matter how much I practice my weird handstyle or begin my paintings by literally throwing paint at them, I can find neither words nor images to encapsulate many of the things inside of me.

Festering Head Art

 

So, I’ve been doing painted hats again, and this time my take on rotting animal heads seems to be popular. This one is a bat head featuring the alchemical symbol for putrifaction. (Before this one there was a Satanic rabbit head, but I forgot to take photos of it when it was finished! Of all things…) The up-curved brim was actually a request from the person who commissioned it, apparently this Gomer Pyle-esque style is popular among skaterboarders here– it was certainly a challenge from a design point of view, but in the end I think I was able to capitalize on and give it a truly monstrous feel it by breaking the face up across three surfaces and putting the teeth right on the leading edge of the brim, like a sneering, up-turned lip. In fact, I may just adopt this technique and call it “monster style” from now on.

If the Starship Enterprise Were Run On Windows

If the Starship Enterprise were run on Windows

“Captain! We have a Romulan warbird decloaking off the starboard bow!”
“Raise the shields!”
“Raising shields, sir!”
To the shock of the crew, the screen goes completely black for a solid second.
“Uh, Ensign?”
A dialogue box appears asking for an administrator password to raise the shields. The ensign growls in frustration and types into his control panel. Windows rejects the password.
“I thought we turned User Account Control OFF!”
“Sorry sir, so did we,” the ensign replies from his control panel. The ensign types the password again, only to be greeted by another box asking for confirmation to raise the shields, upon which he angrily clicks ‘yes.’ Then, another confirmation box, after which a dialogue box appears with the words ‘shields raising,’ a time estimate, and a loading bar.
“I see it counting, but the time is going up instead of do–” Suddenly, the Captain is cut off by a photon torpedo slams into the ship.
“Damage report!” Nothing happens. The Captain waits for several seconds.”Damage report! God dammit… computer! Damage report! DAMAGE REPORT!”
No response.
What’s the hold up?!
“I don’t know, sir! We seem to be topping out our RAM and processor but I’m not sure why!!”
Another photon torpedo slams into the ship; several control panels explode.
“Fuck! Control-alt-delete it!”
“I can’t! It’s totally frozen now! We’re too far gone to even get the Task Manager pulled up!”
“But we weren’t even DOING ANYTHING before!! Did you try the power button?!”
“I’m holding it down, but nothing’s happening!”
Four damage reports appear onscreen simultaneously, all atop one another. Another photon torpedo hits the ship, rendering them all incorrect. Alarms begin blaring. The ensign quickly attempts to close the damage reports, only to begin fumbling ineffectually at his controls. “The keyboard shortcuts don’t work anymore– no, the mouse is frozen too, sir!”
An important-looking message appears behind the four frozen damage reports, where it cannot be read.
“I found it!” shouts the Helmsman. “It’s BITS! Background Intelligent Transfer Service is downloading a massive update and can’t be interrupted, or it will corrupt the hard drive!!” The panel explodes, killing the Helmsman.
“We’re just going to have to risk it! Engineering! Pull the power cord AND the batteries! Engineering…? Hello?”
“It’s no good sir, there’s some kind of problem with the audio drivers!”
“They worked fine ten minutes ago!!”
Another hit slams into the ship.
“God! Dammit! What’s taking so long?!”
“Volume Copy Shadow Service is jamming up the hard-drive!”
“I thought I turned that off!!”
“It got turned back on by the last update!”
“I thought it was still downloading?!”
“That was the LAST update… this is a new one!”
“HOW MANY FUCKING UPDATES DO WE–”
Another photon torpedo hits. Another panel explodes. A red-shirt falls over a railing and dies. A dialogue box appears on-screen asking for confirmation to close the damage reports. Once clicked, an ‘end task’ box appears, which then itself freezes and does nothing.
“Sir! The Romulans are hailing us!”
“On screen!… I SAID, ON SCREEN!”
“Nothing is happening! It’s completely fro– oh, wait…”
Suddenly the screen goes blank, as the ship’s computer eventually begins to reboot.
“God almighty, finally!”
A screen appears reading “installing updates, do not power off or unplug.”
“FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK!”
The screen remains frozen as several more hits slam into the Enterprise. Panels explode everywhere. Life support systems fail. As the Captain lays dying, he glances up one last time at the screen, which blinks and changes as he watches, from “installing updates” to another loading screen which reads “preparing to configure Windows.”
“Oh, for fuck’s sake…” the Captain says as his head falls to the floor, the life slowly fading from his eyes.
Ten minutes later, the sign-in screen appears, bathing the wrecked bridge and its crew of dead bodies in an eerie blue light.

 

Aboard the Romulan vessel, its Captain stands calmly, his arms folded, watching the Federation vessel explode on the screen before him. A malicious smirk widens across his face into a sneering grin.

“Fools,” he chuckles. “When will they ever learn? Helmsman, set a course for planet Earth.”

“Yes sir!”

A moment of silence passes as the ship fails to respond. The captain frowns and turns to the helmsman, who simply raises his eyebrows and shrugs. Turning back to the main screen, he finds that a small, multicolored wheel has appeared in the center, spinning silently.

“OH, FOR FUCK’S SAKE!!”

 

 

(Ironically, Windows absolutely would not copy/paste this out of Notepad and into WordPress without massively fucking up the formatting for no apparent reason, causing me to take more time fiddling its goddamn appearance than it took to write the whole thing. And if the scroll buttons and keyboard shortcuts would work consistently, that would speed up my user experience quite a bit too. But apparently twenty-five years of developing Windows isn’t enough to nail down consistently working keyboard shortcuts. I can’t believe how much I paid for this faulty fucking OS.)

In a related tangent, I recently had a dream involving the fate of Windows 9. In this dream, Microsoft created what it considered to be the perfect operating system, one in which the computer is so overloaded with self-important tasks and processes that once turned on, it reached a state of self-serving computer Nirvana. With no system resources left for user tasks of any kind, it existed only to run itself and did nothing else, a kind of infinite closed loop. After contemplating the philosophical implications of this for a while, the engineers smashed the test computer with an axe because it would neither do anything nor shut off.