Ill-Conceived Art

Let's face it: I am a total rank amateur with zero talent and yet that does not stop me from occasionally opening up a graphics program and poking around. I'm at the point where I kind of like what I end up with, though generally its absolutely nothing like what I envisioned whilst staring at the blank canvas. This is sort of a history of art for me as well; I'm not stupid or egotistical enough to think that the later stuff is any better than that from the very beginning, though possibly executed slightly better. I am egotistical enough to put all of this on a public page. Take that as you like.

A couple of different iterations of an idea are included because they incorporated some technique or tool I learned, but did not use in the 'final' product. These are all mostly photomanipulations, and they span about a decade, and while I no longer recall the sources, I think they fall under fair use, and I appreciate the opportunity to fool around with the images.

Arranged from oldest to newest; click on the thumbnail to open a larger image (except for the icons).

yourehereThis is my very first, and it hasn't survived very well. It might have even been in Microsoft Paint from Win98. 1999-ish?
flyingdutchmanI included this because it was a poster that I scanned in about 20 passes and put back together as a smaller image for a challenge in about 2001. I think this was Paintshop5.
mackfallsThis is after I made the jump to Photoshop5. I was figuring out layers and filters. I took the photo of Niagra Falls, and that's presumably Mack Stringer, a Nick Lea character. I was and still am in love with the 'dry brush' filter.
torontoI totally had a thing for Toronto for a while. July 2002, same program, same filter. Just the Toronto skyline. :)
bluemoonThere's a caveat to this. Jamie gave me the background precolored, and I put the text on it. That was a big deal! Nor did I achieve the look I wanted. This is 2002, and is a cover for my story of the same name for The Zone Zine 1.
intermezzoYet another cover I made. This is for The Zone Zone II, 2003 from a picture I took in Moscow; that's the park next to the monastery.
stbasilI made the jump to PhotoshopCS. I took this picture of St. Basil's, Moscow, and I was really perturbed that telephone and electic lines almost ruined the image. I learned how to get rid of them, and then fooled around with the filters. March 2004
fbibadgeThis is also from 2004, and is actually a layer for another piece that ultimately didn't really turn out like I wanted. But, I love the badge! The signature is actually from a screen cap from something that purportedly Krycek had signed (I'm sure it was the propmaster), and the badge base was Mulder's...
mkkissYet another unused layer from that same project. Virtually every screencap ever of that scene is too dark, so I was learning all about highlights, shadows and contrast.
rubicon4cYet another iteration of that project (trust me there were about 50 or 60 different attacks), and it really wasn't that catchy, but I like that the text is an image of a river, but ultimately not that great a picture.
rubiconfinal And so we dispense with everything that had come before, the final version that I settled on for the story cover. I like this because the 'lights' are actually a corrugated steel floor.
stanollie2004. Here's where I started scrounging up actual tutorials on the web, and going through them step by step. Masking, layers and blur. Plus, I still think it's kind of hilarious.
whatroughNov 2004. This is more fiddling with layers, transparencies, and using images as textures. Only I would make a cover for a story for an author who had left fandom. *eye roll*
unimoose Nov 2004. This. Cracks. Me. Up. I did a ton of archeological research for the page that goes with this, and then I meticulously whacked off one antler, moved the other and then replaced all the empty spots to get a megalomonoceros. All for an in-joke that kind of fell flat for its intended audience, but I am pleased and amused.
lauraxmasDec 2004. The photo that's the background is one I own, and I thought I would toss out a picture for a gift exchange instead of a story. the cutout of the poinsettia was a highlight of what I learned here.
snowflakesThis is the result of years of futzing. I built part of this picture, the two characters, in about 2000, as an inspiration for a story that I didn't finish writing until 2006. Then I added the snowflake textures, and some other layers and stuff. Probably the longest I had a story or image on the back burner–still not sure anyone but me and the beta has ever read it.
icheatFeb 2006. My first foray into Stargate Atlantis Fandom, the sga_flashfic 'post secret' challenge. John Sheppard famously used a coin flip to decide if he was going to another galaxy. What if that was a two sided coin? Wow, I really had to figure out layers, and transforming layers to get that coin to look like it was the same on both sides. It's not perfect, but it was enough to get the idea across.
nilsnisiJun. 2006. Cover for a story that is probably the most consistently read of my stories. I love the open awesomeness of the chair room and the starfield, but was a bit scattered, and the focus was taken away from the two main characters, so I ultimately rejected it.
nilsnisiJun. 2006 This is my more favored of the two, I got their eyesight lines pretty close, and the random layers of Elizabeth and Rodney dispensed with.
peterApr. 2007. This was for a revamp of a website, and I keep it mainly because my computer crashed, and I lost the filter that did this. I keep goading myself with it because I freaking love that filter.
eastwestSep. 2007 I include this because I was so proud of the Sheppard mirror image, which was thematically subtle for me.
geicoOct. 2007. I did not come up with the idea all by myself, but I handled the execution with Ulead animation. Still pretty funny. It was for the sga_flashfic community 'post secret' challenge (amnesty), I had to sit on it for two months.. Agony!
moonwalkThis is dated Oct 2007, but I suspect that it was actually made in 2006 or even 2005, from the technique and images. No reason, just loved the texture.
vectorAug 2008. I went back to Paintshop 7 for this, as it was what I had on hand when I had the time and tutorial on creating vector art. I made this for the background for Sue's new site update.
warning!Dec. 2008. I'm really proud of this. great layers, says exactly what I meant it to, and just about perfectly executed.
plum40Dec 2008. This is so deceptively simple, but really elegant. I took a WW2 flight jacket and trousers that were on a mannequin, and squished John and the jacket around until it looked like he was wearing it.
nashville Jan 2009. this is my 'album cover' from a meme that was running about LJ. I include it since I finally got the gradient tool to do a fade to white.
VegasJan 2009. I really love how this turned out. Rodney's eyeline is perfect, and the different layers and masks and filters really just make in interesting picture. No reason for this, other than the screen caps were posted and inspired me.
bluflamingoFeb 2009. I finally figured out the color replacer tool! It's about four layers of the same picture, with a bit of dry brush and masking.
AustrolopithamooseApril 2009. Companion to the Megalomonoceros. Dr. Confucius Darloss' Austrolopithamoose, the missing link between humans and the Piltdown Moose. Same Irish Elk horn on a neanderthal skeleton. The tinkertoy wrist bones only make sense in context. Also? this is exactly what I saw in my head!
black helicopters at dawnMay 2009. Was bored, and I was rearranging files and suddenly realized that I had already at hand most of the components that I wanted for this picture. The satellite dish (representing McKay) and the building were 2 separate images, but the Apache helicopter (Sheppard) and the Canadian Shield were from two other projects. I mused over adding the images of the characters themselves, but ultimately the standins were perfect. There is nothing that a bit of blur and texture can't cover up. The font is USAAF Stencil.
fanmixJune 2009. This is the cover for a 'fanmix', i.e. other people's music selected to accompany a story. I delved into dealing with gray scale as a layer. It's an interesting effect. I wish I could just recall how I 'embossed' that layer!
theseus2June 2009. This came out a lot like I envisioned it, but I don't care for it. Lots of trying to figure out our to invert a white bird and erase the blue background, but, eh. Messy.
theseus3June-July 2009. Yes, I have fiddled with numerous incarnations of this image set. the two center images just don't quite line up, but I really like the 'face-off' effect.
July 2009. This is two grayscale layers, merged together, then duotone and hardmix filter, and a texture. It's interesting, quite a lot different than two layers with opacity controls
linda sepiaJuly 2009. I had to work to get this one. The grayscale does not like filters or layer effects, so much saving as jpg and reimporting with a gradient map, a photofilter for the sepia tone, some poster edges filter and canvas texture. I really like the way this turned out, but I fear that I am pants when I want to do it again!

Icons

These are in no particular order, but I learned how to make my own brushes on some. Mostly made for other people.

kitty dean david scully msr matthew dossier
daniel daniel daniel daniel daniel daniel daniel
daniel daniel daniel daniel daniel daniel daniel
jackdaniel jackdaniel isaacnewton isaacnewton isaacnewton pisces matt2
because megalomonocerous east/west john trek atlantis uh, boss? not!marlboro no privacy
kodak moment three little birds ducky char rodney_atlantis john_vegas dossier
ctrl alt vessel cas hand

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