ArtRage, A Terrific Painting Program

20 June 2005 | Hisham | | Artwork

I was randomly browsing when I suddenly found this fantastic piece of digital art on the net. It led me to a digital painting program from Ambient Design Ltd. called ArtRage. It can simulate realistic brushstokes on canvas or paper, as if you were really working with oil or acrylics. And it even gives you tiny congealed globs of paint if you move the brush in a certain angle. The colours will mix realistically when different paints overlap.

Today, I tried my hand at it, using my trusty mouse in lieu of a graphics tablet, and here are the first two attempts at freehand painting, with no visual references. I'm really having fun with this and will have to practise more to refine my technique which currently sucks... the best I can with a mouse.

Scott's NajuridenDesolate Scene

Duckie Approves of RPGs!

19 June 2005 | Hisham | | Friends

Duckie, the feline roommate of my good friend Shane Welin of Nova Scotia, likes RPG books very much. Eberron, a stack of D&D 3.5 books, Forgotten Realms, d20 Modern, and even some WOTC and WEG Star Wars books.

Hisham: What does Duckie think of your RPG books?

Shane: She likes em I guess, she sleeps on em all the time.

Hisham: She ever join you gaming?

Shane: We usually game elsewhere, but the few times we did game here she was all about watching and chasing after dice.

Duckie, on RPG Books.

Well, maybe she doesn't read them, but she sure loves to sit on them. And everyone knows cats only sit on books that has high writing and production qualities. So, here's to you Duckie! May all your d20 dice chases end up as Critical Hits.


Billy West Interview

17 June 2005 | Hisham | | TV

Billy West? Who, you ask?

Just a voice in one of the best animated TV series ever, Futurama. He wasn't just Philip J. Fry. He was also the voices of Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth, Dr. Zoidberg, Zapp Brannigan, and even Richard Nixon. Now based on the diverse characters he brought to life with his voice in the list there, I would opine that Billy West is one of the best voice actors in the business. Earlier this week he was interviewed by The Onion, which cast some light on how Fox Network saw Futurama (which ultimately killed the show) and how movie producers treat voice actors, which is shameful. Especially the part about the Space Jam premiere party at Grauman's Chinese Theater at the end of the article.

Here is an excerpt of the interview:

Where No Fan Has Gone Before

The Onion: At what point did you realize Futurama wasn't going to make it?

Billy West: When they'd say, "Seven o'clock, Futurama. At 8 o'clock, The Simpsons. At 8:30, Malcolm In The Middle. Remember, it all begins at 8 on Fox!" [Laughs.] That's about the size of it. Matt [Groening] had total autonomy, pretty much. They let him do what he wanted to do, and the show was becoming a success. People were finding it, and Fox kept trying to hide it because they couldn't have control over it. How are you going to explain to the media world, "It's a success, obviously, because we had nothing to do with it. We didn't put our seal of death on it."

O: Couldn't they have said they were simply repeating the Simpsons formula—letting Groening doing his thing?

BW: No, not really, because people are pains in the ass. You know, if you created a show, and it became a huge, huge cultural phenomenon, you could have an idea for another show, and everybody would be lining up to lick your ass. Then, when you tell them what you want to do, "Okay, here's my idea: I want to do a show about people in space, you know, like in the year 3000. But they're not space, they're on Earth, and it's a delivery boy who winds up cryogenically frozen in the future." And people just look at you with that face of no breaks and a smile, going "But we want another Simpsons." You can't have another Simpsons; there already is a Simpsons!

And for the record, Fox Network was also responsible for the cancellation of the excellent genre series Firefly and Space: Above and Beyond. Hit the link above to read the entire article.


Honeymoon in Redang

16 June 2005 | sila | | Family Pics

As Hisham has faithfully chronicled in here, Vin & I got married in Malaysia recently. A few days after the big kenduri (feast) in Sitiawan, Hisham's and my hometown, Vin & I flew to Kuala Terengganu, on the east coast of Peninsula Malaysia where we were picked up by a bus and driven to the Marang Jetty. There, we got on a speedboat and left for Pulau Redang (Redang Island) for a 3-day snorkeling adventure.


Batman Begins - A Review

15 June 2005 | Hisham | | Movie Review

It took more than 10 years, but I have a new best feature length Batman movie to replace my old one.

Among the new generation of Batman movies (by new I mean, post-Adam West) I caught the first one on video, saw the second twice in the movie theater, raised my eyebrow at the third once on the big screen, and saw the spectacular train wreck that was the fourth on TV, and even then I wasn't too eager to watch it through to the end.

So I was very cautious approaching Batman Begins earlier today. And I left the theater more than 2 hours later very, very satisfied with Christopher Nolan's final product.

Spoilers shall thrive beyond this point.


Old Blue Harvest Fanzine Art

14 June 2005 | Hisham | | Artwork, Star Wars

When I was studying overseas back in the early 90s... very early 90s... I became acquainted by snail-mail to one Mary Jo Fox who was, with her friend James Addams, the publishers of the Star Wars fanzine Blue Harvest which ran for 21 "episodes", another fine way of saying "issues". They had a plethora of articles that you can read from, such as an interview with Michael Stackpole and A New Hope Special Edition review from way back when the EU was cooling down from its initial Big Bang.

Although it ran for years, I only provided art for the fanzine in its early days, mostly for its back cover right below the "Next Episode On Blue Harvest" blurb they usually have there. Here are two of the black and white artwork that were featured in the magazines:


The Game Mechanics Update

12 June 2005 | Hisham | | Recent News

It was official last week, Stan! of The Games Mechanics has thrust upon me another 1.5 pages of illustrations to be done for the d20 Future Player's Companion. I'm very excited about this, and like the previous batch of work I'll do my best to give them their money's worth. To clarify: TGM will be publishing short three e-books in a series in the middle of this year. Later this year, Green Ronin will be publishing a hard copy book consisting of the three e-books. Imagine that. My science fiction artwork on actual printed pages that people will have to buy to see.

I can't wait to add these illustrations to my gallery. Hopefully I'll get consistent work from other publishers as well. Another thing I have to look out for is an efficient way to transfer funds from the publisher to me, that wouldn't be difficult to manage for both parties.


Sila Blogging?

07 June 2005 | sila | | Recent News

Hisham has officially invited me to be a co-blogger on this site! Thanks Yope!!!


Daniel Falconer Fan Blog

06 June 2005 | Hisham | | Friends

When I first joined the Holonet Forums and SWAG, I met one Daniel Falconer online. Eventually I learnt that this well-mannered, down-to-earth, and extremely talented man worked at quite a respectable place, to put it mildly. His SWAG gallery is nothing short of impressive!

Now it seems that he has discovered that there exists a fan blog on the internet dedicated to himself! Check out Daniel Falconer Forever. If anyone deserves a fan blog, it's Daniel.


My First Freelance Job With An RPG Company

06 June 2005 | Hisham | | Recent News, Role Playing Games


Ever since I got this computer right here four years ago, the one I'm using to type in this entry, I have been developing a portfolio and sending them to companies for freelance work. An industry I have always wanted to work on is the role-playing game industry. There is a list of companies that I send my portfolio to every year, in a cycle. Most ignore my e-mails. Some like Chaosium wrote back with polite rejection letters. Very rarely, I get an e-mail asking for a quotation like the one from Final Sword Productions. But so far, I've not gotting any hits from any of the gaming companies.

Last week, it all changed.


A New Location for the Blog!

05 June 2005 | Hisham | |, Recent News

So, here we are at the new server. To be precise, at Okay, now why did you just hit the link? You know you'll end up right back on the blog's index page.

Now I have this webspace all to myself, what (you might ask) am I going to do with it? Watch this space for the news in the near future.


KLIA June 2005

03 June 2005 | Hisham | | Family Pics

Their time in Malaysia had come and gone. Vin and Sila left the country, back to their own lives in the United States last night. It had been a fantastic month, and we were all saddened by their having to leave. Irfan, on the other hand, took it well. Even after the evening claiming his Ayah Cik's luggage as his own, Irfan waved his goodbye to my sister and brother-in-law without any fuss. Even this morning, when I asked him, "Ayak Cik mana? (Where's Ayah Cik?)" Irfan cheerily replied, "Ayah Cik naik kapal terbang. (Ayah Cik got onto an aircraft.)"

Here are pictures from last night sad event.


A Stay At The Hilton: Another Photojournal

01 June 2005 | Hisham | | Family Pics

For the last year or so, after sending Irfan to day care, we drive to work together. After the construction of Hilton KL Sentral, we drive past it every morning. Sometimes we wonder if we would ever get a chance to spend a night at the newest and state-of-the-art hotel in Kuala Lumpur.

Then suddenly last week, newlyweds Sila and Vin booked us on what would be a 2 night stay there. After their honeymoon in Redang we were to rendezvous with them at KL Sentral. Soon after, we were enjoying the air-conditioned, luxurious rooms of the hotel.


Revenge Of The Sith Review... Sort Of...

26 May 2005 | Hisham | | Movie Review, Star Wars

After having been released for exactly a week, I finally saw Star Wars Episode III - Revenge of the Sith today. Well, not me alone, I was accompanied by my cohort, Irfan! Yes, true believers. There was a 2 years 8 month old child today in the theater watching a movie that was rated PG-13 by the MPAA, but "U" by some sleepy guy in a drab office in charge of rating English movies in Malaysia. Bite me, you oversensitive, politically correct whiners!

So, I guess it's time of me to review this movie. Before you let out another collective "not- another- internet- review- of- ROTS" sigh, I am very much aware that almost every guy with a blog and their one-legged puppy has reviewed ROTS this past week when I was in Sitiawan, so I'm not going to review ROTS.

Instead, I will review the experience of watching Irfan watching ROTS on the big screen!


Batman: Laughing at the Joker's Boner

25 May 2005 | Hisham | | Comics, Humour, Trawling The Net

Taking a break from Sila's wedding, let us now read on the subject of comics. Specifically, DC's Batman's comics. It's nothing to do with the Warner Animation's excellent animated series, nor will we be talking about Christian Bale in the upcoming Batman Begins...

Instead, let's take a look back at the time when Batman and most probably the entire Gotham City laughed at Joker's boner.

Yes, you heard me. The Joker's boner! (By way of the Accordion Guy.)


Sila's Wedding: A Photojournal

25 May 2005 | Hisham | | Family Pics, Recent News

Herein lies a selection of pictures of Sila & Vin's wedding.


Prelude To A Wedding, Part 2

21 May 2005 | Hisham | | Recent News

So on Tuesday Vin had to be at PERKIM for a crash course at 10 am. At the same time, Sila's Marriage Course cert has to be retrieved. With Ain at work, we sent Irfan to day care at his Opah Cik Timah's. The remaining members of the squad split up. I drove Vin & Sila to PERKIM while Emma went to get the certificate. At PERKIM, we met Arab-born, Indian educated Brother Sayid, whom Sila & I thought would have made a better Islamic studies teacher than most of the ustaz we had in secondary school, and especially boarding school.


Prelude To A Wedding, Part 1

20 May 2005 | Hisham | | Recent News

The last seven days have been a great experience.

Sila and Vin were in Kuala Lumpur maneuvering through some red tape and purchasing wedding items. Both were of course ably aided by Irfan, his Aunt Emma, Ain and I. We were like a squad of soldiers moving through military maneuvers timing each other, splitting up at some points to cover more ground.

Thus we were kept busy and on our toes at all times.


Have I Ever Told You That Wil Wheaton Has A Fantastic Blog?

13 May 2005 | Hisham | | Trawling The Net

Wil Wheaton is a fantastic writer and storyteller, a fellow geek, a funny guy to boot, and as far as I can tell, a wonderful father and husband. Plus he's also Aqualad on the Teen Titans. Here's the first paragraph of his latest post:

When I was a kid, and I or my brother or sister would get sick, our mom always dropped everything and took care of us. We'd usually spend a day or two on the couch, where mom would bring us all sorts of herbal teas, feed us massive amounts of vitamins, and let us watch whatever we wanted on television. Before VCRs, when I was sick, I'd watch game shows until ten, then whatever was on PBS (usually Electric Company or Zoom) until noon, then Twilight Zone until one. After that, TV pretty much sucked for the next two hours, so I'd read a book or take a nap, depending on how lousy I felt. After we got our first family VCR — a top-loading monster with digital numbers and woodgrain accents that weighed about 70 pounds — I would spend the day watching Star Wars (taped from ONTV) over and over again.

Click here to read more and go on to the rest of his blog.


Hishgraphics: The Name

12 May 2005 | Hisham | |

Why Hishgraphics?

It's a given that my name is Hisham and I do some (if not an unholy amount of) art in the last few years. Why not "Hisham Graphics"? Or "HishArt"? Or as was labeled on my old extinct e-mail marketing flyer, "Khairul Hisham Illustrations"? (Or my perennial favourite Exploding Toilets Sdn Bhd... don't ask.)

I chose "Hish" specifically because I've grown fond of what the guys over at the Holonet and SWAG usually call me, over instant messaging. (I have no idea how it will sound if someone verbally calls me that; no one has ever done so.) Graphics, because... because.... honestly I have no clue why I chose "graphics".

I've used "Hishgraphics" on two occasions in the past: the GeoCities site where my general artwork is on display, and this free hosting site at orgfree where you're reading this article, and I've grown used to it that I think future projects on the web will also be under the Hishgraphics name.

What projects, you ask? Gimme a couple of months to plan and implement it, then if all goes well you'll find out what here at this blog.

In the meantime, here are some ideas for a Hishgraphics logo I'm throwing around. If you have opinions, I'd be pleased to hear of it.

Hishgraphic Logo?