My class: “Creating Illustrations with Dimension” IS READY!

Hey everyone!

I listened to some of your input, and my SkillShare class “Creating Illustrations with Dimension” is posted and ready for early enrollments! I’m still working on the classes video content right now, and it’s slated for a mid-January release.

This class is going to be more than just a regular tutorial on perspective. Aside from going over everything you’d need to know about perspective, It’s also going to have quite a few recorded demonstrations of drawing scenes and commentary about best practices and considerations in different situations. I’m making the videos as high quality as I can, complete even with well designed animated explanations! I’ve also grown quite a bit as an artist over the last 5 years since I wrote that brief tutorial in my DA gallery. There’s a lot I couldn’t include to begin with due to size limitations, and I have so much more to say now! These video lessons will be a fantastic way for me to share as much knowledge as I can on the subject.

Get to the class by clicking on the cover image above or by clicking here: http://skl.sh/18nySQD

EXCLUSIVE TO MY FOLLOWERS: Until the class goes live, you can enroll for $5 off if you use the coupon code: 3DMY2D when you enroll! Have at it! [Share this around, there’s 1000 coupons available and the offer expires 1/17/2014!]

For those who aren’t acquainted with SkillShare, you can think of it as a bit like other skill-building sites like Lynda or DigitalTutors except you buy individual classes instead of paying an ongoing subscription fee. It’s also unique in that the students of the class are assigned a project to work on and complete and submit it to the class for teacher (me) and peer review / commentary / critique! The more people who enroll in the class, the more robust the classroom will be. (However unlike what SkillShare writes in its FAQ about teachers not needing to participate, I will provide whatever helpful commentary I can to those who enroll and submit their project.) Your project can be updated rather “Behance style,” and I encouraged you to show WIP shots along the way so we can see your process.

I really hope that you guys will be enjoying what I make here. I don’t believe 150-200 page books are a good place to learn perspective (it’s frankly incredibly boring to read about so so dryly,) and I don’t think you need to go to an art school either. So I feel this is a good solution that would be worth your time and investment! If you like my work, like my informative teaching style, and would like to not only learn and engage in some new stuff but also support me and what I do, sign up and let’s make some cool illustrations! YEYEAH!

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask or email me at foxorian@gmail.com!

Edit: By the way, a “Kickstarter” style “What’s this all about?” video will be posted on the the page soon! Maybe in a week or so. GET READY, HERE COMES MY FACE.

There will also be project incentives once the class goes live! Best submitted project(s) will some free prints of my work, video chat about your work, (or even an in-person meeting if you’re local for the same review!) Can’t wait to see what you guys will create next month.

Watch on tomlaskowski.tumblr.com

Futura Type Video.

Thought this would be the perfect time to blog this… as we start to create our own letters for a off-topic university project. Love the geometrics of Futura.


Designer in Focus:

Stephen McCarthy

Website: http://www.loft27design.com/

A graphic designer from Dublin, who currently is working in London. His design website entitled ‘L27 - Loft 27 Design’.  He focuses primarily on pictograms as seen above. My favourite of his, is his work on ‘The Sun’ newspaper.

Contributors' Corner: Laura Ellen Scott

Welcome to “Contributors’ Corner,” where each week we open the floor to one of our contributors to the journal. This week, we hear from Laura Ellen Scott, whose story “A Texas” appears in 2.2.

LAURA ELLEN SCOTT is author of the novel Death Wishing (Ig Publishing, 2011), a comic fantasy set in post-Katrina New Orleans and Curio (Uncanny Valley Press, online), a collection of 21 very short, creepy stories with illustrations by Mike Meginnis. She teaches fiction writing at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. She has completed a new novel called The Juliet.

Can you share a moment that has shaped you as a writer (or continues to)?

Dorothy Allison sent me a beautiful message about the stories I was publishing in online venues back when doing that sort of thing was still considered a little dodgy. I’d never met her (still haven’t), but the gesture lit a fire under me that has yet to go out. She blurbed my novel Death Wishing a gazillion years later. That’s the way my writing career has gone—little to no success except for the occasional out of the blue endorsements from unexpected voices. The love or hate of strangers is incredibly stimulating.

Same thing with the success of my friends. I never thought of myself as competitive, but when I hear that someone I know has a book contract, my reaction is sort of hormonal. I get overly excited and re-energized about whatever project I’m working on.

What are you reading?

Galveston, by Nic Pizzolatto, and The Wicked Girls, by Alex Marwood. On the TBR list, Tampa, by Alissa Nutting, and Ministers of Fire, by Mark Marril Saunders.

The book I bought and thought I would never read but now cannot put down:

Conjoined Twins in Black and White: The Lives of Millie-Christine McKoy and Daisy and Violet Hilton. It was edited by a middle school friend, Linda Frost, who has pulled together fiction, medical writing, and memoir to show how the identities of the Hiltons and McKoys were constructed during their own lifetimes. Just now when I searched to get the whole title, the Barnes & Noble page featured a sidebar ad for Twix. Gross.

Can you tell us what prompted “A Texas”?

I don’t remember why I wanted to write about undead adult alcoholic siblings, but much of the imagery for “A Texas” comes from a weekend we spent with a guy whose truck slipped into Aransas Bay. He had to dive under the truck to tie on a towrope, and when he came up he was covered in moon jellies.

“A Texas” is my first conscious attempt at writing a flash novella. I wanted to write a critique of vacation identity, which is weird because I adore vacations. When you’re on vacation, you’re immortal.

What’s next? What are you working on?

I just completed what I believe to be a readable draft of a novel tracing one hundred twelve years in the history of a cursed emerald. Think sex, murder, and wildflowers in Death Valley. So right now I’m reading, playing games, and catching up on grading while I wait for feedback from my first readers.

I also finished a novella I might spin into a mystery series set in at a university that has partnered with the local penitentiary to offer degrees in crime writing. The idea being that bringing all those corrupt/corruptible interests together (criminals, artists, and higher ed administration) in a small town stokes the wickedness in the population.

The more immediate next is running a panel on flash novellas for Conversations and Connections, a one-day writer’s conference run by the Barrelhouse crew. Erin Fitzgerald and Tara Laskowski will be joining me for that.

Take the floor. Be political. Be fanatical. Be anything. What do you want to share?

Political: Don’t italicize non-English words in your prose. Just because you’re supposed to doesn’t mean you have to. So stop, or at least dial it down, and we’ll all evolve a lot faster. Exceptions: Ubbi dubbi and Klingon (poss. French?)

Fanatical: Tom Yum > Pho.

Anything: HFR, thanks for having me here and in the Review. Feels good.

Read Laura’s story in HFR 2.2 here.


I just opened this from my PO Box THIS IS THE CREAM OF THE CROP!!!! This has my LIFE on here!!! It’s absolutely perfect, just look at my dog, MY DOG-MY HIPSTER DOG!!! I’m in love, thank you thank you thank you @pk_laskowski it’s absolutely PERFECT!!!

From The New World Collection 2 Anime DVD Review

From The New World Collection 2 Anime DVD Review

From the New World

From the New World thrives on ideas.

What They Say:
Still reeling from the deaths of her friends and the revelations of the Ethics Committee’s machinations, Saki returns to the village expecting the worst. However, what she’s learned so far barely touches on the edges of an even faster conspiracy. As she discovers the fate the committee intends for her personally, she realizes that her own mind is being turned against her. With her memories of Shun fading, she and Satoru find themselves in a race to find Maria and Mamoru before the committee condemns them to destruction. But the clock is turning against them in more ways than one, as the smoldering conflicts between the rat colonies threatens to erupt into open warfare. As pivotal pieces in a deadly endgame designed to wipe an entire species from the face of the planet, it’s not going to be enough for Saki and Satoru to merely survive. To lead the best laid plans of both rats and men astray, they’ll have to uncover the final secrets to two hidden worlds and turn them against their makers in FROM THE NEW WORLD – COLLECTION TWO!

The Review:
The audio is a little worse than the video here. It sounds a bit dull and the dub’s sound has to be jacked up a lot to be able to be heard well. The music seemingly comes in clearly, though.

I got a new TV, a 47” LG (details below). It’s pretty great, but it reveals the poor quality of DVDs. On the 24”, I was maybe convinced that they might look alright. From the same distance, the DVD on a 47” does not look as good. The video certainly gets the job done, but there’s some left to be desired. Most noticeably, line work is grainy.

Packaging is standard stuff. Mine came with two of the pegs that hold the discs in broken (one for two out of the three discs), so watch out for that. The discs and one of the images on the back have that same different-from-the-anime artwork on it, which is neat.

The menu is also Sentai standard. At this point, I’m fairly sure they just do the same basic menu for everything. Which is fine, the menu is completely functional. Don’t know why you’d need to change it. It’s awful that they only play the ending on a 15 second loop though. Play that whole thing!

Clean closing like always and some promos for the show that was already purchased are the only extras here. So there could obviously be more.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
I thought the reason I wasn’t a huge fan of From the New World when it was airing was because of the transitions between when they were 12, 14, and 26. It’s true that the 14 to 26 transition is a little awkward—Maria and Mamoru are suddenly gone from the story completely and we cut to years later with seemingly no repercussions. Both Saki and Satoru have protection from his grandmother, Tomiko. Mamoru will easily fall to the same fate as Reiko though and Maria can’t watch him go alone.

Their story is a tragedy. Maria loves Saki more, but has a much different and stronger love for Mamoru. It’s a familial love that can’t be broken by love between lovers. It’s a weird combination that where protecting someone you love is a stronger bond than loving itself.

There’s a strange moment, though, where Maria says, “I suppose two girls couldn’t start a family together anyway.” The book came out in 2008, but more contemporarily, it’s a little backward thinking. Oh well. I digress.

My real problem came to light upon this rewatch. The monster rats, who serve as the main antagonists throughout the entire series it seems, are absent. They played pivotal roles in almost every arc but are nowhere to be found. I don’t need them to be a constant presence, but I feel like there’s simply not enough, especially when the climax revolves so much around them.

I will give From the New World this though: The plot does revolve so much around them. For five or six episodes, Saki, Satoru, and those that are around them are in disarray because of the monster rats. They are the entire reason that the plot continues on. They’re just not around.

More weird is that their figurehead, Squealer—or Yakomaru—is absent. He doesn’t appear for longer than the monster rats in general. It’s not even made directly apparent that he’s the leader for the longest time. Who else could it be, but even a closer hint.

It’s a tragedy. The monster rats’ arc is the most interesting in the entire series and the reason why I gave it another chance at all. They began as creatures that, at their introduction, could barely even speak (only because we had yet to be introduced to one who could). They turned into revolutionaries.

Utopian stories are interesting because they, by definition, cannot have conflict. So conflict must always be created either between those that made the utopia or from without. In From the New World’s case, both of them happen with the Ethics Committee and the monster rats. It’s also interesting because the main characters embrace, somewhat, the utopia that’s been created. At the end of the show, the status quo is almost completely unchanged. The utopia isn’t broken for a new and improved world. It’s reinforced, perhaps better.

From the New World seems more like an amalgamation of ideas rather than a cohesive show. They had two conflicts and one is never really solved. The Ethics Committee seems to hold a strong hand over everything still and that’s not going to change any time soon. And now Saki is on the committee that’s ruling over everyone, complacent to just make a better world for her child but nothing more.

The revolutionaries, the monster rats, are the ones that are pushed down, subservient—if even existent—yet again. Kiroumaru accepts his sacrifice so readily for the sake of the “gods” when he could just as easily rip their throats out. Squealer, perhaps the most interesting character in the lot, is the one doing something (albeit going about it the wrong way) and he ends up in the worst possible situation; Saki shows her compassion in that final scene between them. The monster rats could have been dealt with better, though. They could have been what made the people realize what a shitty place they live in. Alas, they are just thrown to the wayside after their usefulness has passed despite Squealer’s declaration at the end being perhaps the best moment in the show.

In Summary:
After the first half of From the New World, I felt like I was either really dumb the first time I watched it or forgetting something that I really disliked. Upon watching this second half, I can understand my prior confusion. The show didn’t set my world on fire and it still doesn’t. The first half thrives in its focus on the internal conflict between humans. The second half meanders by adding in conflict both monster rats v. monster rats and monster rats v. humans. There needs to be a little more focus to make that work, or at least have that spread out over the entire 25 episodes. There are a lot of ideas I love and want to explore in From the New World, but they’re not completely there for the show to be 100 percent satisfactory.

English 2.0, Japanese 2.0, Japanese promos, Clean closing animation

Content Grade: B-
Audio Grade: B-
Video Grade: B
Packaging Grade: C
Menu Grade: B-
Extras Grade: D

Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: August 12th, 2014
MSRP: $59.98
Running Time: 300 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen

Review Equipment:
PS3, LG 47LB5800 47” 1080p LED TV

Check out the full article by Kory Cerjak at

The relationship between the human subject and non-human agencies and technologies

The relationship between human and non-human factors is explored in the thinking of many schools of thought. Specifically the field of New Materialism (neo-materialism, new materialism or naturecultures) as coined by Manual DeLanda and Rosi Braidotti explores the culture theory surrounding the dualism in our thinking about the oppositions between nature and culture, matter and mind, the human and the inhuman. These factors of interest bring great attention to previous contextual writing around these fields such as Donna Haraway, Marxism and Deleuze however bringing critique and improvement to these. 

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