Posts by Craig Gunderson:
Let’s just start by saying that I absolutely LOVE September. I love the transition to long pants. I love the moderate temperatures. I love walking the dog in the shade and pulling in deep, full lungful of air and exhaling slowly. I love pumpkin beers and Märzens and barrel-aged everything. Bring it on, Autumn.
Comics and HCK
Comics have come with some difficulty to me lately.
I have three longer stories completely written and it has been challenging to me to create the visuals for them.
- 7-page Savory Snack Squad story
- 10-page Minute Man story complete with Grey Burger tie-in ad
- A serialized, “made-to-be-delivered-in-bite-sizes” long-form story in ten episodes
All completely fleshed-out in script form.
When I picked back up drawing for Hard Cheap Knock, I found myself fearless and, honestly, giving zero shits, and it made me powerful. Now, I want to tell long, serious stories and that fearlessness is not serving me as well.
For example, I can’t “cast” a character to save my life. I have ideas of what aspects of characters ought to be, but applying visuals to them has been tough. Fearless Me would have just put something on paper, deemed it good enough, and moved forward. Storyteller me is just not up to the task.
I’m also complete shit without reference material and the idea of sourcing all of my panels is totally paralyzing. To say nothing of how slow that way of working is.
I’m the only member of Hard Cheap Knock with ideas and free time to be posting regularly and I’ve really been dragging ass. It’s shameful and I honestly have no excuses. I need to create some “non-epic” posts and get some fresh content up.
Also, it’s been nearly a year since I wrote this, which seems like only yesterday.
And then there’s the table…
I’ve been working on making this design a reality for over a year:
Those dark brown bits are all-wood flat for drawers I inherited from my father. Everything about this design follows their dimensions and they are big! I plan to use the open space for all manner of storage and the top is a pre-made, Amazon-bought hinged art surface. And yes, it will all be on WHEELS!
This is my first venture into pocket hole joinery which I am enjoying immensely! I mean, I’m a butt joiner at heart, so I guess I’m operating with less butt.
Naturally, I can find all sort of excuses for not making art until this is complete, but TBH, I’ve still carved out creative time away from the wood shop.
Yes, I will be participating! This will be my first. Link
I totally wish it was Inktember. I really need the pressure of a monthly challenge to A) shelve the projects I have a lot of anxiety about and B) just do daily focus exercises on. The sheer joy of being told what to draw every day would be delightful.
I have maintained a schedule with the beer site of one post every two weeks for the entirety of the year and I’d be lying if I said it was not htouroughly exhausting.
I am doing my best to maintain a balance between artist interviews (easy and cheap) and informational posts (expensive and time-consuming) and I think that has been going well.
I am hung up right now with a couple of info posts where I have decided to create the “featured” image as an illustration by myself. Josh was able to give me some good ideas for how they should go, but execution has been creatively challenging.
Currently reading Jeff Smith’s RASL. I’m astounded that this has eluded me until now. I mean, yes it took hitting ComiXology Unlimited for me to jump on board, but… wow! It’s spectacular.
If you like gritty, Tesla-influenced sci-fi grounded in real history, with a touch of romance, you’d dig it too.
I’m considering digging into Bone after this. Yes, I’m a Jeff Smith newbie.
I’ve got ingredients for five fucking home brews. Jesus.
- Get Fearless Again – This may require finding some quick victories with art, and I’m fine with that.
- Pick a story and commit to it. I keep coming back to the multi-episode epic because it is built to be episodic and thereby, delivered in small chunks.
- Fearless = dumb, short posts that don’t require a lot of original art. Make it happen.
- Keep in mind, Inktober is close. I think that means I should do a shorty for HCK and get clear for October.
- Create Featured Images for “Gluten Free Beers” and “Collaboration Beers” posts.
- Finish that goddamn table
- Brew two batches of beer, minimum
“That’s all I am, I’m just a simple guy who talks when
You put a microphone in front of him”
– “Little Girl”, Sparklehorse
What credentials do I have? A mouth.
You can give it a listen here or wherever fine pods are regularly casted.
I’ve spent the better part of this week wrangling my WordPress sites around with the different hosting companies I use. It’s insane how inconsistent the service offerings can be between different web host companies. What’s even more insane is how much time you can spend trying to get support.
The New Trend in Hosting Support
The new trend is to bypass the ticket system in favor of phone or live chat support. In the old days, you created a ticket explaining your situation. No more. You need to wait on the phone or in your browser for a support agent to respond to you in real time. I’m not sure why this is considered better, but let me tell you, it is not.
My favorite culprit is Hostgator. As a WordPress hosting customer, you will have to fill in your issue specifics at least twice using their online forms only to be greeted with a meaningless progress bar suggesting your wait time. Once an agent responds to your chat request (average wait time for me is 20 minutes), you’ll have to answer more questions to prove you are a customer.
My Web Hosting Company Situation
I have one site on Site5, two sites on Bluehost, one customer using GoDaddy hosting, and one site on Hostgator. I’ve been systematically moving my client’s sites to Hawkhost. So far, Hawkhost has been the winner by far. As mentioned previously, these are all WordPress sites.
My issues in detail are:
- Speed – My sites are slow
- Incompatibility – Mostly with plugins. I pay for the WPMU Dev service. They have a slew of plugins that are integral to maintaining a WordPress site. I love it when I log into my admin panel after a few days to find that WPMU Defender, Wordfence, or ManageWP have been disabled by the host. Thanks for having my back, guys.
- PHP – I had a support issue with Bluehost and their solution was to downgrade my PHP to 5.2. I had an issue with Hostgator and their solution was to upgrade my PHP to 7.0.
The EIG Debate
In case you did not know, small independent web hosting companies are being bought up by a company called Endurance International Group or EIG. I’ve personally seen each non-EIG company I use get bought and then turn to shit thanks to them. I’ve been a Site5 customer for a decade. As soon as EIG took over, my sites started to have problems.
I am currently switching my sites (as well as my clients’) to Hawkhost thanks to the research I’ve read. If you are considering a new web host company, give them a look. Yes, that is an affiliate link.
I have posted two colored and remastered pages from my 1999 superhero spoof Minute Man on the Hard Cheap Knock website. You can see them both here.
Episode 2, intended for Issue 7, is being seen for the very first time.
All colors were done on a Samsung Android tablet using the S Pen and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. I learned a lot about working this way – mostly that I still need Photoshop.
Spent the better part of the day trying to “get shit done” on my brand spanking new Samsung Chromebook Plus. I came to this from the Asus Chromebook Flip AND a Samsung Galaxy Note 12.2 in the hopes that this was the device that would allow me to ditch those two and replace them with one.
Despite the rumors, Chromebook is not there yet, my friends.
So what’s my problem?
It would be easy to write about the deficiencies of the tech I’m trying to utilize here, but instead, I’m going to approach this criticism from the perspective of the device I suspect IS indeed the answer to my prayers – the Microsoft Surface Book. Also, the device I want to avoid like the plague – ANY display-centric Wacom device. Did I say “like the plague”? I meant the iPad Pro with Pencil. Fine, my criteria are further detailed below.
- Drawing – I bought the Chromebook Plus and Note 12.2 for the stylus, yo. I feel like no one is saying this: the software is just not there. Autodesk Sketchbook Pro is not “Photoshop for Android” or “Painter for Android”. Nor is Painter for Android for that matter). At the end of the day, if you want to avoid IOS and use a pressure-sensitive stylus, Windows (with all its perils) IS the way to go. Book delivers here.
- Google Drive Access – Like it or not (but I do), Google Drive is the de facto Cloud storage. For me, for my collaborators, for life. ANY Windows device will be better than a Chrome device in this regard, assuming you can create a profile connected to your Google account.
- Software – Yes, I want high-end art-making capabilities, but let’s face it: even the most basic image editing apps on mobile or otherwise PALE in comparison to what you can get on the desktop. Photoshop might be overkill for most situations, but it’s also EXACTLY the right tool for most of them. Desktop wins here too.
- File management – Try as ChromeOS might, it’s a long way from bridging the gap in terms of accessing files in the same way as a desktop OS. Chromebook users need only install an Android app and attempt to open a file from the Chrome file system. Whomp WHOMP! It SUCKS. I know the app creators are MOSTLY to blame here, but why deliver on an empty promise? I love open and I love devs, but, guess what, the ship sailed without all ticket holders on board! Lose-lose-lose…
Don’t get me wrong – I fully understand the perils of owning yet another Windows machine. I fucking SHUDDER at the idea of adding another Windows device to my growing pile of sad, not-fully-supported and quick-to-grow-obsolete machines. It literally is a pile.
What do I need?
That said, if I could add a device that is EXACTLY what I need for the span of two years, that’s kind of tempting.
- The Surface Book comes in i5 and i7 flavors (at a price). That’s pretty future-proof for 2-in-1 devices.
- 8 GB RAM standard with the option of more. Again, pretty darned of future-proof.
- I wish it was USB Type-C compatible. It’s not and that feels old and cranky.
- Add Google Drive and what are you really missing?
- Yeah, you need an Adobe account for full creative license. Not everyone’s bag, but work pays for mine, so YAY. That said, $10 a month for Photoshop is powerful. Or Autodesk. Or other paid software.
I want to say, “Buy the best Chromebook today and you’ll be a happy camper in the next year”, but I just can’t. Buy and pray is a shitty strategy.
What will I be buying? I’m actually waiting to see how pricing compares on the Samsung Book Windows devices that were announced last month. I think they hold a lot of promise and check ALL the boxes in my list.