Wednesday, March 14, 2018

End of Feb and half of March.

Me, smiling cause I'm actually kind of happy. 
Squid Character
My Space Frog!
My Zia T-shirt Design Entry: I submitted the purple and black one.
The last few things I did for the book so far: Two more images, some refining of style, decent colors, and I'm complete!
PS. My design didn't even make it to the finals. A shirt with a Reaper-esk Skull Guy won. It's a pretty solid design. I thought mine would at least end up in the running. Oh well. =)

Saturday, February 24, 2018

How I got punched in the dick today. A short story by Zach Michaels.

Let me just say that nothing in life is ever normal.
Despite things feeling normal it can quickly go off the rails without warning.

I'm 32. I work a regular 9 to 5-ish job. My life is pretty routine.
When I woke up today I didn't think I'd ever be in the situation where I would end up dick punched.
I woke up, crawling out of bed, thinking about calling in sick today. Mainly because I'm mentally exhausted from trying to keep it together. It was cold, I was bundled up in my sweater and pj's not wanting to get changed for work. Today I wore my form fitting and "sweat free" boxers. They are tight and keep everything compact and nice. It's good for cycling and stuff. The morning just unrolls with the typical stuff for me. Convincing myself to just keep going because this is better than nothing at all.
I got together my shit for work, breakfast items, a snack and my lunch. I toss on my leather jacket and get to steppin'. Gotta be a responsible adult, I keep telling myself that. I have to just keep it together. One thing will lead to another and I'll catch a break soon. I sure did catch something, and thankfully nothing broke.
At work, I arrive to find out that most of the morning crew had called out. So it was me, my manager and my assistant manager to run the store for a few hours before the mid shifts arrived. I am on the register, as per the usual, doing my thing. Helping people out makes me feel better about myself because they come in with simple problems that I can fix easily. I can get pretty chatty at the register because I can have people open up to me pretty quickly. I'm an easily approachable person and I like sharing stories with people. But this is just something I do. It's the humdrum of my work. I get in these routines where everything can be the same so I try to make it interesting by chatting with them.
Customers come and go but a woman comes in with a request to pick up her special order and I help her per the norms. "Did you want to shop around before I ring you through?" I asked, with her just replying, "No thanks, my husband is shopping around and he can just pay for what ever he picks up." I laughed and rang her through. He came up as we were finishing up the transaction.
"Nothing today?" I asked. He replied, "No, not today! Couldn't find what I was lookin' for..." I probed him for information, "Well, what are you looking for, maybe we can order it?"
He tells me he's looking for a 7 inch single of Led Zeppelins Hey What Can I Do?
To no avail I can't order it or acquire it for him. So we end up chatting near the exit / entrance of the store. I stand on a raised platform and he's a step below just resting his arm on the counter as we talk about how CD compresses the audio and how the vinyl will have the sounds specific to the instrument. He liked the way it sounded on vinyl because you could hear the guitars strings and the drums symbols perfectly. As we were chatting he leans in asking me if I heard of that specific guitar they used, and while he did he tried stepping towards me.
In slow motion he kicks the step and begins falling towards me.
He is trying to get his balance where he ends up forming a fist as he falls.
I'm stepping to him, to try and catch him because I see this happening.
He lands a punch, full force into my dick, punching me straight up.
He lands on his side, hitting these little wire racks that hold news papers.
With a wince and a lot of physical pain I help him up and get him settled, thankfully he wasn't hurt.
My managers look over and everyone in the store is looking at us.
He's beat red. "Never would have guess I was gonna do that! Huh!? I'm 65 years old!" and he just leaves the store.
My manager asked, "Dude are you OK?" Looking at me dead in the eye.
I'm hunched over and I tell him, "He punched me in the dick."
Everyone in the store busts out laughing. He comes to the register and tells me to take a quick break.
I'm a little embarrassed and honestly I find it super funny that it happened. It's so random that things just play out like they do. I was just trying to play it happy and cool despite the circumstances and I get punched in the dick. I could have taken this extremely negative and been shitty about it, but honestly it made my day unique and interesting.
I'm not happy it happened but I feel like I handled it pretty well despite it all.
This lesson can be applied to a lot of life.
Even though you're doing your thing, life will punch you in the dick.
How you react to it will either make or break you.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

February 2018 Update

Hello reader!
It's me! Zach!!

I realize I've been kind of "away" this month.
I've been really focusing on my job and making sure I'm a valuable resource.
I've been just really hitting it hard with working on my customer service skills.
I've also just been working on artwork.
My job at Zia Records is having this t-shirt contest this month and I'm totally up for making something cool. So I started with rough ideas. I wanted to do a skull and some cactus and for it being something for a record store I needed a music element.

I came up with this cow skull with it's horns rounding a vinyl record.
I liked the concept but I needed to push it further.

I wanted to focus on the details above the skull. A cool desert scene inside the record.
I then learned that it's only two colors. So that added a challenge to the whole design.
I could do everything in white or what ever but I wanted to do some purples and a gray.
So I popped it in photoshop and got to work.

I wanted to find a brush with some texture to make it interesting.

Here's the progress so far. I think the concept is super solid but there are things I need to work on to make it next level.
I am working on some elements to make the record look like a record and I'm also focusing on messing with the element of dimensions. Pushing the desert elements around to create depth.
I was also told that the mountains just look too flat, and that if I were to mix it up with their shape it would make it pop better.
I love the gray and purple, and I'm suggesting it goes on a black t.
More work and progress with that soon.

I made a Dark Souls themed stencil design.
I really like it but I don't think it'll go anywhere. I tried to post it up on RedBubble but they took it down.
I like the piece and it's pretty solid!

Alright, so I did some editing and what not for the pages of the book illustrations. I think it's coming along super nice.
I'm feeling confident about this new year and art in general.
Thanks for the time, I hope you enjoyed reading this months update.
Catch up with me soon. I'd love to talk with you. =)

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The first post of the New Year. Happy 2018.

Hey there reader! Welcome to the first blog of 2018.
I'm Zach, if you don't know me!
I just recently got contacted by an author of a book. They asked me if I was interested in doing some illustrations for their book. I've never done it before, so I said yeah!
I got some rough stuff posted up here. I've been spending a lot of time trying to find a voice and style for the illustrations. I'm still not set 100% on everything at the moment but here's what I've been working on.

This first image is me just messing around with trying to find a sense of style with the characters.

After talking with the author about what she feels is most visually important in her book we agreed to work on a few scenes. The fist thing she said to me was that there's a part involving the main character, a young girl, and her Grandfather. They were together on the porch and it was something to symbolize togetherness.
I wasn't sure what I wanted the grandpa to look like so I did a lot of just sketches feeling out characters.
Got a rough done, and then liked where it was going.
There's just a simple idea of what I was looking for but I'm still not sold on coloring it.
I want to emulate a style with a lot of texture. So I still have some work to do with this.

This scene, when read and described to me popped up so vividly in my mind. I am proud of this rough drawing and I hope to execute it properly.

Some progress of the clean up. Still not sold on the line work.

Here's one last rough drawing of a scene in the book. I think there's about 2 or 3 other ideas to get to but I'm still getting stuff together for it.

I recently had some hardware malfunctions which made me treat myself over the holidays.
I bought a Cintiq 13HD and was messing around with it all day yesterday.

I wanted to work on some lewd stuff with Panty and Stocking. So I started working out this idea of the next 3 pieces.
Panty, showing off her ASSets. Panty, doing the same thing. Then one final piece of them together.
So far the tablet is great, honestly. I love the feel of looking at what I'm drawing right there. It feels so natural. But I still have a hard time separating myself from the laptop screen or monitor. Breaking old habits can be rough.

Got a pose I settled on for Panty, but then we had to wrap up at the shop. It's usually how it goes. I get into the groove and then we have to leave.

The stream on has been put on hold because for some reason Two-Factor Authentication had been activated on my account, causing me to be locked out of it for almost a whole month.
I just recently cleared it up, finally! It wasn't my fault, Twitch and Authy took forever getting back to me. Glad to be back on track.

Hope to start this year out strong and keep the momentum.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

If I Were to do it Part 3

Dear Nicole, Coley!
Thank you for spending the last 10 years talking to me. We've spent a lot of time just chatting and shooting the shit but today we actually made a memory worth having.
We spent the better part of a day finally hanging out and it felt awesome to finally see who you were. I think for once in this bit, I was happy! So thanks for being there for me when I was taking care of some life business. Hope you carry on and keep things good.

Dear Raul I,
You have been a true bud. Your sense of humor has made things easier to bear. It's been good to hang out and talk to you about things and get perspective. You have a good head on your shoulders and you really are destined for greatness.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

If I Were to do it Part 2

To Maya,
Thanks for always being a light in the darkness.
You have your own complex life with your own problems and things, but you have always been so kind to me. I think genuine people attract other genuine people and it's nice to know that there was someone out there that treated me like how I wanted to be treated.
You are a true friend and the way that you always hugged me and said the right things to keep pushing is something I'm glad to have had.
Today alone, you provided perspective to my situation reminding me that I am not garbage. I am a human being that is deserving of things like a genuine smile and compassion. I've always worked so hard to build solid relationships but our friendship seems so natural.
Thanks for that.

To Jesse,
You are a positive part of my week. You're striving just like me to be something better. I appreciate you being a true pal. You're just a good human with qualities I wish I had in myself. Glad to have spent time and made art with you.

To Kirstin,
You were there for some of my dark days, and you were there for some of the light ones. You really did help with making things seem less shitty. I can't say it enough with how much I appreciate you reaching out to me and getting me out of my hermit modes. Glad you were able to get things in your life sorted out and it's nice to know you're on the right path. Sorry I gave up. Just keep fighting, I know it will get better.

If I were to do it. Part 1

If I were to do it, I guess I would write something that reads something like this:

To me Mah,
What a shame, right? I hope you don't think it's got anything to do with you. Because know in my words right now it does not and did not.
You did your best with what you had. I never resented you or anything.
I just wish you worked harder on helping yourself with your mental illness and worked harder on trying to get better. It feels like you gave up and it's hard to see how strong you used to be and see you just give up and not try anymore.
You are worth so much more and I love you.

To Jon,
You either get killed or kill yourself.
You were good to me, dude. I don't know if I had ever even tried to explain how much of a good friend you were. It's like we were brothers from another life and it was destiny for me to have a person like you around.
I'm grateful you helped me out in times of need and I'm super glad you were around to make some of the hardest days not so hard.
We tried. You just gotta try twice as hard now for both of us.

To Barbara,
Even though I know you'd never read it or hear about it, I would hope you think things went better for me.
I would want you to know that our interactions did genuinely make me feel like a regular human being.
You are such a nice person and it really radiates outwards. I truly wish you well and I appreciate the kindness you have shown me. I wanted to cry when you bought me lunch today because I felt like I didn't deserve it at all. You were actually the reason why I wanted to write anything at all.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

These feelings... They can only be described as post convention sads.

It's great when you can spend time doing stuff you like, and then make some money off of it.
Tucson Comic Con was fun. Sold some stuff and made some pocket change, which quickly went to life necessities.
But it was nice to not have to worry or stress about it. I was just able to handle business as usual.
Life outside of it just kind of stinks.
It's like, you do what makes your soul burn. You feel those fires rising up inside you and you want to fan the flames but then reality hits and you realize you can't.
You have to work doing other things in order to make this dream happen.
It's a little depressing.
I just want to be happy.
I guess all the things I do will fill that cup of happiness just one drop at a time.
Alright, well enough bitching. I seem to complain a lot about things.
All things aside. The things in my life aren't that bad, honestly.
I just feel like I expect more from myself and then I get lazy and don't deliver.
I think the core of my issues all start with me and I am just too lazy to really do anything about it. As if I'm too scared to make a change for the better.

 We are all seeking validation in different forms.
I think the convention weekend validated some of my struggles with my emotions, passions, drives, and personal strengths.
I just have to keep working towards the life I want.
Eventually I will be able to be a professional doing the things I adore.

The Rick & Morty print was the most successful one I had, next to the 11 vs Demigorgon.
I think the pop culture items and the hot items of the month are the best sellers for sure.
A lot of people looking for that fresh appeal, wanting something unique.
The sticker grab bags didn't work out like I had hoped. I think people weren't too into taking the risk. It was affordable but I think they were scared of getting something they didn't like.
Overall though I would do con again. Even though I didn't make thousands of dollars I felt like it was a great experience and I'm definitely getting better as time goes on.
Artists were talking about taking advantage of local art shows like RAW and others to get better exposure and possibly come across better opportunity

I'm hopeful for the future with art and design.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Prints are Ready to ROLL

Got things settled for Con this year.
I didn't make as much as I wanted but I have some cool things.
8x10 prints will be available as well as sticker grab bags.
The stickers are designs that were available last year, so if you remember any of those and didn't get a chance to get one I'll hook you up better this year.
Prints will be limited so if you like what you see come by and snag one!

I'll post up the progress pictures and talk about how I completed these in the future.
I'm wrapped up in something that just popped up.
I was invited to make some art for a children's book.
I hope the author likes my work!
Gotta get cracking on getting something to show them!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Splatoon X Panty & Stocking

Here's what getting work done looks like.
Let's keep the steam pumping. Chug-a-chug-a-Chooo-CHOOOOO!