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Black Ships Ate the Sky

I started this, thinking I was going to take an 8×10 pencil sketch and make a neat water-colory looking piece of it, or maybe just smooth it out and make some edits.

I began by making it 16×20 at 400 DPI, and then took to smoothing out all of my pencil grainy-ness. I chose this size, because I like my works to be high resolution, and my prints to be perfect – I also always consider that I might finish a piece, and then wish I had made it available much bigger.

The downside to working digital for me, is that can I zoom in to where I can see the individual pixels when it comes to detail… I begin just doing this for one part, then realize that the entirety of the work now needs to be in this ultra-high resolution – and set off on a journey of exploring a miles-square map of pixels for.. as long as it takes… in this case, over 300 hours I really did not have to spare. I think I spent nearly two weeks planning on being done “tomorrow”.

It was certainly a way to indulge though – as an artist these days, I don’t always get the chance to put so much work into one piece – though I do put a tremendous amount of work into every one comparatively.

From pencil sketch, to over 2 gigs of file size, hundreds of layers of painted elements, plus all the modification layers for overlay, lightening, darkening, color, multiplication, saturation, etcetera…

About a day or two in, I decided it would be a great idea to actually log the process for this one… and I saved a lot of progress pics.¬† Below, you can actually see the details of the finished piece. One thing with all of my paintings and other images: Web resolution will never let you see how packed with detail every inch is, or all of the interesting scenes, items, and mini-artworks semi-hidden throughout the painting.

Below that, I’ve added my progress pics – for people who are interested by such things.

Oh… if you would like to buy printings of this: There are giclees available in my store – There are also poster prints and photographic prints available at our Redbubble shop – Also in my DeviantArt account.

Image and details:


Progress Pics:


A rather rough sketch… these were quickies done for $25 a pop for bus fare a year or so back. The paper type really did not allow for erasing, so they were one-shot deals. I liked the concept and base layout enough, I thought I would do some digital work on it to make it print-ready.


A lot of steps went by before I realized it was going to be a much bigger project than I planned. It was the point where I was fleshing out this airship where I decided some screen caps would be good. I had started on the girl, switched to the airship, cut my pencil work out to its own layer, and placed other airships where I wanted them, as placeholders for the sake of layout.

I blacked out the girl for this stage, I didn’t want its pencily quality drawing my focus from the background I was working on.


head/face. This part took all of my night – so not much else has changed.


boots and leggy things… I put a lot of base work into this, then decided I would need to enlarge the feet, and widen and lengthen the lower legs. I write notes to myself whenever there is something important I want to hit first thing the next day… you’ll see these notes in other screen caps below.


The very beginnings of the holster and belt… I would later go in further, and further, sharpening up these details, then making details within these details… and sharpening those up. Oh, you can also see the base/beginning brushings of her stripey-pants.

… and done.

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For Lovers of Rare Books

I made this book a while back, out of hardwood, and spent a lot of time sanding, carving, and polishing it. I also put a lot of love into making the securing system – two fat-ended brass pins to give me lots of room to fill it.

If someone grabs it, through our Kickstarter:

– I will fill it with every print from the Airships and Tentacles series
– each printed on a fine rough-edged rag paper
– each page annotated as the coffee table book would be, but in my own handwriting
– each page signed discreetly and numbered “1 of 1”
– each of these prints will be an entirely unique size from any editions made
– The front page will have “to [Your Name]” and my signature.
– To make it even more rare, I will make one unique work or original art to complete the piece. Yes, one page will be an original work of art to complete the series.

The Book size is roughly 13 inches by 15 inches, and will be a hefty and beautiful tome for your tabletop or shelf. You can also remove each print if you wish, to hang them, and secure the book cover away someplace safe.

It isn’t cheap… It’ll cost me about 20 bucks to print each imaged page¬† – which means you’re getting this at no actual profit…maybe even a loss – but I am hoping that this sale would push us over that tipping edge of 50% funding. And I’ll do anything to ensure the success of our project… including this.

Yes, it will be well worth it if it sells – so don’t feel bad about grabbing this great offer and helping us to make something even bigger.

So, if you would like to have this book, it is available for a donation of $1350, as are many other great things, at our Kickstarter: HERE

ALSO:

$20 through our kickstarter gets you a signed and personalized print of any of the below (you’ll need to go to my gallery page to get full views… it was hell just putting this compilation of thumbnails together):

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Airships and Tentacles Coloring Book

In thinking of something really good, but inexpensive that I could put together as an added incentive to be a part of our kickstarter, and in staying up all night making a new engraving – it came to me…

This coloring book.

When I was a kid, Advanced Dungeons and Dragon’s Monster manual, and their Dieties and Demigods, had some rather awesome illustrations in them: All black and white. I loved those illustrations, but I loved them even more when I caught a Glimpse of my friend Brian’s book… which he had taken colored pencils to for each and every illustration. I thought it pretty amazing how with some simple color over the black and white of the pages, those illustrations really came to life. They were simple to color, because the shading was already there – which made for a basic coloring level, with lots of room for improvisation, and advanced looking results.

I thought to myself this AM, “Hey… all these engravings I’ve been doing would be perfect for this”,and so I set to gathering up pages for a coloring book… and with all the engraving that I do, I have a *lot* of them.

Here are the images that will be in this coloring book… which will for the time being, only be available through our kickstarter for an $11 donation (which includes Shipping and Handling). The coloring book is over 30 pages, and ready to color.

You’ll notice that some of the images below are colored, because I copied really quick from my gallery. These images will be uncolored in the coloring book version (see above).

If you would like to see a PDF of the actual book, CLICK HERE

If you would like to buy a copy of the book for $12, CLICK HERE

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Seven

A new engraving, 5×7 inches, with the usual really, really tiny details.

Seven cubes, seven limbs, seven chains between the cubes, seven chains on her neck…

I suppose it would be good for a children’s book on numbers, but I’ll probably end up using it with the other tarot inspired engravings one of these days for something more card-y.

The original is available here, as is the limited edition of 20 giclee

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New Wallpaper: The Ruins 1280×800

This piece is somewhat based on my collaborative work with Bethalynne Bajema … That 30 foot x 10 foot mural we have sitting in our garage awaiting a studio space to display it in.

The mountain city-scape in this picture is *heavily* influenced by her creations, as well as my desire to see them as functional parts of a mountain landscape.

The original is available here: [link]

35 signed, dated, Limited Edition Giclees ($90) are available here – but the first ten are available at $55 here: [link]

The-Ruins-1280x800 Steampunk Fantasy Art Desktop Wallpaper by Myke Amend
The-Ruins-1280x800 Desktop Wallpaper by Myke Amend
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Rescue Sale

Long story short: The Rescue 11×14 Metallic prints are on sale for only $24 through Mid-December [here]

The Rescue (featuring Abney Park's HMS Ophelia) can be found in my store (click the Store link at the top of any page)

I am at month 7 of trying to get an issue resolved with the printing company who used to be my favorite. 7 months of getting no response back here or there, or a simple “cut and paste” via phone or email.

Their customer service has recently upgraded to an email here or there, and actually trying to sort the problem out, but mostly a lot of “I’ll be in touch tomorrow”, followed by a 2 day wait and me trying again.

Fortunately, I found another company to order through… though this did not help me much for SteamconII, the World Steam Expo, or the 7 months of added expense/time ordering elsewhere, printing locally, and/or looking for other elsewheres to order from…. the prints are every bit as beautiful as the sort of quality I once expected from my former printing company (though they cost me about double if I don’t order in bulk).

Of course all this chaos had to be happening during Holiday rush, and I neglected to put up any sales…

I am at the point where, in a few days (December 15th), it will be too late to order from me and expect your gift orders to arrive in time for gift-wrapping and giving.

… Except…

I plan to order a huge re-stock on 11×14 Metallics of “The Rescue”… that pesky best-seller I wasn’t able to send to Steamcon this year.

So, if you already have this print but would like to give one to someone else, or if you haven’t yet gotten one for yourself, I am selling these for only $24 through December 16th, maybe till December 20th if supplies on-hand hold out.

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Colour from Space

Dead Sea Painting by Myke Amend
Dead Sea Painting by Myke Amend

An experiment in color, recently completed as a commission for Mike Skoog, wherein he asked if I could do something small enough for his music room, and more colorful than my standard muted palettes.

I went the more impressionistic route with this one, and instead of starting with the colors as I wanted them, I started with the nearest primary colors in their place, and worked downward in saturation and sideways in hue, until I reached this point.

Details are painted so incredibly thin, that I practically painted them with the very corner of a single hair, dropping molecules of paint in a line for stitches and ropes and other details. In this, I am reminded that working smaller is actually harder, not easier, because I still feel compelled to add my standard amount of detail…but in a smaller space (which means eye-strain and neck cramps in spades, and a more time-consuming work).

All the same, sometimes I like working small just for the opportunity to test my patience and practice my hand.

That was the second to last of all the commissions that remained on my plate before Artprize… one more to go, then I am my own man until I sell another…

Signed and dated giclees of this are available for only $25 here for a limited time, or $30 through Etsy

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Art! Troglodites Hate It, but You’ll Love It!

Does your summer shelter need windows to elsewhere, but without that annoying heat caused by sunlight? Tired of the warmth radiated by television, computers, and other electronic devices? Would you like the have images to liven up your place, without the annoyance of sound, and without the pesky associated energy costs of batteries and outlets?

You should try “Art”!

Art is 100% energy efficient, requires no outlets, and will continue to work day or night, even during power outages and Zombie Apocalypse (natural light source required for optimal enjoyment). Unlike money, which depends on a reliable system of government, art can be traded for gold, tools, women, men, chickens, or circus bears in post-apocalyptic settings, save for those dominated by troglodites and C.H.U.D.s, and it even serves as highly-prized contraband in every dystopian oligarchal collectivist society.

Concerned about your safety? Well, with the wonder of art, most any dangerous beast or precarious situation can be safely contained within a handy frame (not included)!!! Art has, in many tests, been proven to contain everything from ravenous krakens to the Civil War; Even ancient gods have a significant amount of difficulty escaping the confines of a well-crafted image: Play your records backwards day or night next to art, and if your soul is devoured, or sanity eaten, refunds will be the last of your concerns, guaranteed!

Need a friend? You can talk to art. Art will never interrupt or recommend you get professional help. Art will never, ever eat the snacks that were obviously yours because you wrote your name all over it in red marker; Art will never go to a party without you and then say it was studying all night.

Need a better view? Dread the expense of moving? Is it illegal in your area to asplode that ugly neighboring house or apartment building? Replace that ugly view with an always-pleasant view of another world, no more wondering “What are they doing over there?”; With art you can overwrite their existence safely, and without the fuss of jail time or mental wards. You can even place Art in areas without windows for an easy-to-install added viewing space(“easy-to-install” requires some working understanding of hammer physics and wall technology)!!!

But wait! Art is now available with your choice of discounts!! Read below !!!

Both discounts are valid at https://mykeamend.com/new/products-page/ and are simple to claim (just key in the coupon codes below at checkout).

1) Free Shipping (USA on all standard items. Basically, $5 off – since my flat rate, site-wide price for shipping in the US is $5. For original artworks and overseas shipping, this coupon simply takes $5 off of shipping.

Just enter “freeship” (without the quotation marks) at checkout.

2) 10% off. Yep, 10% off your entire order, including original artworks and other one of a kind items. The 10% off even applies to already sale-priced items.

Just enter “10p” (without the quotation marks) at checkout.

Offers are valid now, through whenever, which will likely be a week from now… though you should jump on it now so you don’t forget later, miss out on this incredible deal, and spend eternity in regret as a whino or one of those people who scream threatening words at trash bins. Websites are standing by.

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The Sweet Smell of Recovery

I am back online. I’ve finished fixing the images in the store, and got a lot of the more recent blog enties (though I still have ten years more worth to go).

The timing for the server going down couldn’t have been worse – as during those 4 days, I not only got featured by Internet Jesus, Warren Ellis, but I finally got one of the Daily Deviation thingers on Deviant Art – sending anyone who searched for me by name or tried clicking my homepage link to a dead page.

… I hate to even think of the dead page casualty count there… 1200 faves on that image in one day, says that number would be approximately …”a lot”.

Today, Browsing Warren Ellis’ blog, I found my good friend, Eric Adams: Moon Zombies
and also my fiancee Bethalynne Bajema: Cthulhu Maestro. It seems like the internet gods are smiling upon our little cluster of artists this week.

In other news, I’ve added three new artworks to my stock – prints of two new engravings (here and here) and prints of one new painting (here). I’ve also made a single page about prints, print quality, and print types (here). The new painting, as all my paintings from this series, was sold before the last brush stroke was done – if you are interested in either of the two engravings they are currently listed on Etsy (here).

Pollen
Pollen - a weird art engraving not necessarily from my Airships and Tentacles series
See Monkeys
See Monkeys - a weird art semi-steampunk engraving of ocean depths, man-made contraptions, and ancient beings.
Red Queen - A fast and rough spatter painting in acrylic on birch panel
Red Queen - A fast and rough spatter painting in acrylic on birch panel
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Shades of Things to Come

A month back, I did a cover image for the Gatehouse Gazette, my second cover for them. The Gatehouse Gazette being a black and white publication, with a standard of using line-art for the covers, I decided to do the piece in pen and ink.

Though not exactly an expressive and creative masterpiece by any stretch, the piece made me happy looking at it, as it reminded me very much of the sorts of things I used to draw at my desk behind a makeshift wall crafted of several propped up books and a huge overfilled backpack. It also threw me back to the days of hoarding strange fiction pulp comic books, cyberpunk or dungeons and dragons manuals, and sci fi books – which I collected primarily for the artwork and imaginative worlds within.

I tend not to see works which simply look ‘neat’ or communicate a scene as art, more I see them as concept art or illustration, as such is typically the purpose of these works. No underlying meaning, no personal expression, no sociopolitical undercurrents or overtones, no mysteries contained within… just a scene from a story, a character or item from a book.

In this, as much as I looked at my line art piece, and desired to see it at its very-most complete, I thought it would be best to push on to other actual artworks – but this what rather hard to do, as the piece was continually, incessantly calling to me – so, in order to remove this distraction, I took to it with several tubes of acrylics and have been working at it a little each night.

I can’t say how oddly happy this makes me, as I work on it, and as I look at it at the end of the night – running my fingers over its surface as I know I shouldn’t – fascinated by the results because in all my time looking for that perfect surface for me – I never really gave bristol or illustration board a serious try, especially when it comes to paints. I like to at least have the illusion that my work will last forever and am forever trying to find more time tested and durable media to work on, to print on or to paint in. Though bristol has a high archival rating, I always think of all the things that could possibly happen to a piece over a few hundred years – and shudder to think of it.

The trade-off however – very nice. No tens of layers of gesso and sanding. No fighting/working with the grain of the wood or the texture of the canvas – a nice smooth surface which is easy to draw on before painting, and handles the paint rather nicely once a base coat has been applied.

It may not be an historic or ground-breaking work of art in the art world – it is however ground-breaking in mine. Not only have I found a new surface to love, but I have reminded myself once more that all art is self portraiture – as even though not intended, it unavoidably communicates the loves, interests, desires, fears, fancies, and soul of the maker… in this case maybe only my love for strange pulp fiction horror/sci fi, or perhaps a little more. I may never know, but I certainly won’t know until it is finished.

Well, enough of my musing… I now return you to your regular programming.

Oh… some progress piccies:

Gatehouse Gazette cover - pen and ink
Gatehouse Gazette cover - pen and ink
Gatehouse Gazette cover - acrylic on Bristol W.I.P
Gatehouse Gazette cover - acrylic on Bristol W.I.P
Gatehouse Gazette cover - acrylic on Bristol W.I.P
Gatehouse Gazette cover - acrylic on Bristol W.I.P