New Kin to Stars single, “First Day Of Summer”

What better way to let this summer kick your ass than with heat-shimmery new music from Kin to Stars? That’s me and Jerin Falkner, with help from Kirby Krackle keyboardist Bryce Francis and audio engineer Don Gunn on drums. Tap the big image below to listen:

We recorded this at Don’s studio over a handful of days in late April. Even though KtS is semi-retired since 2013, we still have these unrecorded songs laying about and it doesn’t feel right to let ‘em sit.

Released on the solstice, because why not? Roll those windows down. Feel that sun. It’s the first day.

Works in progress

Things have been quiet around this website since the Mutate, Baby! release. We played another enormous Kracklefest show, ran down to Portland to play a concert at Things From Another World, then Kyle jumped on a plane to Australia to spend two weeks at Supanova. This resulted in an unexpected three-week vacation from rehearsals, which I’ve been filling with working on Neat Hobby and some other stuff.

Recently I started working on a short adventure story comic which has really been testing my abilities as Amateur Art-maker. I don’t have a timetable for it, I just work on it when I can. But I sat down last week and wrote a “book jacket” description of the world in which this story takes place, and it was fun and thrilling in the same way that creating a D&D campaign or other make-believe world can be. It makes me wish I were already better (and faster) at the art so I can coax this world into being more quickly.

I’ve been posting works-in-progress art over at my personal Tumblr (and I have an Instagram account for that stuff as well). Here’s a peek:

The shattered moon: I can’t wait to tell you about this part.

Cool digital coloring timelapse by Steve Hamaker

Steve Hamaker did the colors for the latest Penny Arcade story arc “The Judging Wood” and made a timelapse video of his work on the final page. It’s pretty remarkable to watch.

The early steps where he’s filling areas with solid, bright colors is, I’ve learned, a process called flatting. It’s supposed to make coloring detailed objects easier (especially objects that overlap others) by making them easy to separate select with the magic wand tool in Photoshop or whatever. I used some flatting techniques in a handful of Neat Hobby strips like The Eternal Battle but for the most part my linework is too simple and I end up just dumping colors in with the paint bucket tool.

Alien: Isolation concept art by Callum Watt

Digital artist Callum Watt did a bunch of concept art and storyboards for Sega’s Alien: Isolation game. Callum doesn’t seem to have a storefront, so…hire him, I guess? Browse his hopelessly awesome portfolio here.

I like how there’s barely any linework to these, mostly shadows and light.

I’ve played about 20% of Alien: Isolation so far. It borrows a lot from the original Alien film and in that sense it makes for a terrific steath game. That said, the real downer is that you die a lot. Make too much noise, you die. Run, you die. Spend too long hiding in one spot and the Alien will yank you from your refuge and you die. I can’t imagine playing this with a VR rig.

Mutate, Baby! The new album from Kirby Krackle is here!

Today’s a big day in Kirby Krackle land. Our new album Mutate, Baby! is out today!

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Holy crap we worked hard on this, and that goes double for Kyle, who not only writes and sings all the tunes, but does it while keeping the KK Patreon Fan Club going with two extra songs per month and organizing our annual KRACKLEFEST show which coincides with Emerald City Comic Con.

Nothing makes spring feel better than a new album release! So, grab the album, join the fan club, get tickets to our big annual blowout show and enjoy the nerdy fruits of our long winter labors.

Color Thief: create color palettes from images with JavaScript

Lokesh Dhakar’s Color Thief is a clever JavaScript library that uses the Canvas API to create RGB palettes from source images. You can use it to find the dominant color of an image, or extract any number of colors into a palette. Cool!

I used Color Thief over the weekend to create a new header graphic for my webcomic Neat Hobby. I extract up to eight colors from the first comic image on the page, then randomly choose one as the background color for the header graphic. Go reload some pages to see the colors change out.