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DZ-Jay

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DZ-Jay last won the day on December 30 2016

DZ-Jay had the most liked content!

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About DZ-Jay

  • Rank
    Quadrunner
  • Birthday 12/13/1970

Profile Information

  • Custom Status
    The P-Machinery AGE is almost here!
  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    NC, USA
  • Interests
    Music, books, video games, and programming.
  • Currently Playing
    Various Intellivision games...
  • Playing Next
    Some more Intellivision games...

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  1. Here's another behind-the-scenes peek at the making of the Christmas Carol book. Below I take you step-by-step through the process of creating one illustration, The Searching Snowman. 1. First, I start with a blank sketching pad. I drew all my sketches with pencil on a drawing pad. 2. I then take photos of all my sketches, select the best ones, and lay them out digitally on Pixelmator. My goal is to get the right lay out and proportion of all elements. 3. I continue adding elements and placing them in their proper relative order: 4. In this case, I had a good size snowman, but I liked the torso of another sketch I made: 5. The same thing with the "Santa Hat" on the little mock-snowman: 6. So, now with all the elements laid out in their proper place and proportions, I trace it digitally with the pen tool: 7. I continue to do it, using the sketch as a guide, and correcting as necessary. All by eye and hand. 8. Once all elements are outlined, I draw the background elements. In this case, a snowy floor and an "igloo" cave dome: 9. Then it's time to color, but first, I "hide" the pencil sketches and draft elements, and correct any final details of the outline with the pen tool: 10. I then color using a combination of gradients, brush strokes, and paint fills. The colors are added in layers, so that they can be adjusted and mixed individually. For that, I create a series of masks and selection regions, which I am skipping in this demonstration. 11. And finally, I add additional shading elements and textures, and adjust the opacity of any colors to give it a nice, professional look: And there you have it: That's how one of my book illustrations came to life. There are 14 more in the book, and they were all done in a very similar fashion. The first ones were a lot simpler. As I became comfortable with the tool and developed a style and a set of techniques, they became progressively more sophisticated, and perhaps even more artistically interesting. This particular illustration is one of the last ones I made, so you can see that it is quite a lot more complex in style than some others. It includes a nice "glassy" texture on the snowman, and some shine in the eyes and buttons, for effect. As I have mentioned before, I have never done this before -- at least not to this extent. I worked briefly as an assistant graphic designer waaaaaay back in the day, took one semester of drafting courses in architecture school, and had a stint as a web designer for various years; so I am no real stranger to art, and I have been known to possess some latent talent. However, I do have one secret weapon: One of my super powers is a very strong, powerful, and relentless urge (read: obsessive-compulsion mania) that won't let me stop until something looks exactly as I picture it in my head -- even when my talent and skills fall short of the task. This is why each illustration took me from 30 to 60 hours to complete: I could spend entire afternoons just shaping the curve of a single line stroke, by trial and error, until it looked just right. That's not talent, really. It's not even perfectionism. It's just stupid, stubborn, OCD persistence. -dZ. ------- It should go without saying that all the illustrations, characters, themes, story elements, and any materials related to Christmas Carol vs. The Ghost Of Christmas Presents, the story or the game, are copyrighted and owned by me, James Pujals, and are not to be used or re-distributed, in part or in whole, without my express permission. I hope you all respect that.
  2. By the way, to all you who have received it, I'm curious to know what you think of the presentation, layout, and artwork (and of course, the story!). Any feedback is always welcomed. :) The first few copies have included in them a nice and cool bookmark as well. Although it does not say it explicitly, this item uses special "Generic Bookmark(tm)" technology to support the product of other publishers as well, so it should be compatible with most of your other books too! 😄 -dZ.
  3. Well that was fast, considering they went on the slow-boat of USPS Media Mail .:) I hope you guys enjoy the story! :)
  4. I made a simple shirt to promote the book, so my wife can be a walking billboard. :) Each one cost me almost as much as the book itself! 😱
  5. That's an interesting comparison. Now that you mentioned it, I can see it. By the way, all pending orders have been shipped as of this morning. I hope everything gets to where it needs to go without trouble -- and I really hope you guys enjoy it. dZ.
  6. Yes, but it does not require it. The free ROM is available and does not use any JLP features, yet it is the same as in the cartridge.
  7. That's a neat idea. If I ever release another game (which I hope to do at some point), I will do that. Thank you for the order. I just shipped all previous orders; yours will go out on Monday. I really hope you and everyone enjoys the book as much as the game. Naaaah, nobody should feel obligated to buy the book, really. It's not intended to be a collector's piece nor an addition to the game or anything like that. As a matter of fact, I don't even relate the book to the game. I wrote the book for my granddaughters and I thought it was good enough to share with others -- but being the obsessive-compulsive, fussy stickler that I am, I couldn't help myself and had to turn it into a big production. The book is inspired by the characters and events in the game. So if you enjoyed those, and you think it would interest you to experiencing Carol's adventure in a brand new way, then I would recommend the book. -dZ.
  8. Here are a few more sketch-to-artwork examples. The Snowman searching for Carol ... Turned into this ... And the Bad Toy original sketch ... Became this nice shiny toy: The book has quite a few such illustrations depicting some of the coolest parts of the book -- which happen to be inspired by some of the coolest cut-scenes in the game. -dZ.
  9. Well, in reality, I learned that I was handy with the Pixelmator. The actual hand-drawn sketch looks like this: I then took a photo (the one above), traced it in Pixelmator with the "pen" tool, and shaded it by hand, in layers, digitally. It still took me like 30 to 40 hours to complete each illustration. I may be good at digital art, but I suck at time management. I am very, very slow. -dZ.
  10. A similar translation happened with the title screen. First, I thought of a nice Christmas morning scene, so I drew this sketch: Which turned into this title screen: Which eventually evolved into the final one: But all the time, in my head I saw this: Honest-to-goodness, I always intended the Ghost to poke his head and peek from behind the presents. I just ran out of time. I also couldn't fit the fireplace in. The other fantastically surprising thing is that ... I drew the book cover and all its pictures myself. Who knew I could draw! (Spoiler Alert: I didn't.) Had I known I could do that, I wouldn't have spent several hundred dollars (and much consternation) in hiring someone to do the box art! Live and learn. Another lesson taken from the Carol experience. -dZ.
  11. The Characters: Meet the main characters starring in Christmas Carol vs. The Ghost Of Christmas Presents. Some are naughty, some are nice, but they all have an important part to play in the story. Their likeness was inspired by the characters in the video game. That's right, those 8x8-pixel blobs actually looked like these in my head. I have a big head, it fits a lot of stuff. -dZ.
  12. Hello there! Unfortunately, there is currently no option for PayPal. I have set up a business account with Square, which is used by many small retailers (you may have seen it at your local stores as well, where they scan your card into an iPhone and such). Rather than just a micro-payment to me, it's an entire retail merchant solution. It offers an absolutely secure method of payment and supports credit cards, Apple Pay, and Google Wallet as well. I hope this is acceptable to you and others, but if not, please contact me via PM and we can work something out. :) -dZ.
  13. It's a long journey -- but don't worry, Santa Claus gave you an old map. 👍
  14. By the way, regarding shipping ... There is flat rate shipping via Media Mail across the entire USA, along with additional options for Priority and Express Mail. There is also Priority International Mail options for Canada, Europe, and the rest of the world. All books are packaged carefully in sturdy, heavy-duty cardboard mailers. No bubbleopes or cheap-o wrappers here! That said, I set up the shipping zones by hand and tried my best to offer reasonable and inexpensive options for everyone, but I admit I may have made a mistake or omission. I bring this up because I received feedback from a visitor to the web site pointing out that his options included a ridiculously expensive shipping rate for Iowa, which is definitely a mistake, but not obvious to the visitor. They were clearly not happy, which made me sad. So I will ask to anybody interested in a copy, if you find that the shipping charge is too high, or if you were looking to order multiple copies, to please reach out to me directly (via PM, e-mail, or web site feedback post) so that we can discuss reasonable options. Orders are fulfilled directly by the CvG Books Publishing staff (i.e., Mr. & Mrs. DZ-Jay), and they're very reasonable people. -dZ.
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