I'd been using a Desktop PC for all my computer stuff since forever and 3 years ago I decided to buy my first Laptop. It got to the point whereby I was using my 'Intel i3, 4GB ram 300GB HDD' Laptop 90% of the time and only going back to the PC when I needed to work on a larger Photoshop file which my laptop couldn't handle or to store things on the PC's larger hard drives.
But now I have this: A Lenovo Y500 15.6" Notebook which performs A LOT better than my old PC and laptop put together!
This means I can once again update question 14 of my site's Q & A: 14. What equipment do you use to create your work?
Before Hardware- Desktop PC:
Intel i7 920 2.66GHz (currently overclocked to 3.4GHz) processor cooled by a Noctua NH-U12P Special Edition fitted to a Asus P6T SE Mother Board.
12GB of Corsair 1600mhz DDR3 RAM (Cas Latency of 7-7-7-20)
GeForce 9500GT Graphics
2x speedy 1TB Hard Drives, and a 1.5TB External HDD for backing up Running Windows 7 operating system
2x (Dual View) DVI 19" LG LCD Monitors
Cannon LiDE scanner and HP 1220c A3 Deskjet printer
Wacom Intuos Graphics Tablet- A4 (9x12")
Software Typically Used: PhotoShop CS5 (64-bit), Dreamweaver CS5, Flash CS5, Illustrator CS5, In-Design CS5, also Open Canvas (only for online drawing sessions with buddies).
Now Hardware- Lenovo Y500 15.6" Notebook:
i7-3632QM 2.4GHz Processor
16GB of Kingston 1600mhz DDR3 RAM (CL11)
NVIDIA GT650 Graphics
1x speedy 1TB Hard Drive for data, 1x 250GB Solid State Drive running Windows 8 Operating system, an external 1TB 2.5" overflow drive for movies and less frequently used data, an external 2TB drive for backing up
A DVI 19" LG LCD Monitor for Dual View
Cannon LiDE scanner and HP 1220c A3 Deskjet printer
Wacom Intuos Graphics Tablet- A4 (9x12")
[In the future I'd like to replace my dual view monitor and Intuos for a Wacom Cintiq 24 HD]
Software Typically Used: Upgraded to Adobe Master collection CS6
Configuring it to run how I wanted wasn't an easy task. Lenovo and Windows seem to team up against their customers if they want to replace hard drives and add a fresh install of Windows 8 on their system, but after a week of trouble-shooting and customizing it's all running how I want now
Perhaps towards the end of the year I'll get some free time to develop a smaller 'Ben Krefta' web site. A smaller gallery and gateway which links to my ever growing plethora of blogs, profiles and info pages!
Hitachi Europe asked if I'd be interested in working for them during the ISE convention in Amsterdam for 2013. My Role was to make use of their new 65" touch screen display by demonstrating how to draw manga style faces.
It's something I'd never done before and didn't know what to expect or how it would work out. Being a bit of a tech geek, a Photoshop pro and character artist put me in good stead to make use of their screen, although I soon found out Adobe doesn't currently fully support touch screen technology making Photoshop CS6 completely useless! CS5 was just about workable, but really buggy and for some tasks, impossible to use. Unlike my usual tablet, there was no resting my hand or wrist on the screen surface as I drew, and no access to the many keyboard short-cuts I use creating additional challenges. In the end the process of creating a typical head drawing was tricky, but not impossible! Here's a few samples I worked on over the 4 days:
I'd typically work on one drawing in the morning and one in the afternoon. It was a tiring but fun experience to produce art in this way and would like the chance to do it again some day ^_^
I've been making a little more effort to up my character art production levels recently. Check out my Character Art gallery page for latest Some of the artwork I do doesn't always quite fit within my main art galleries on OM- perhaps it's too rough and sketchy, a commission irrelevant to what I typically do, or perhaps doesn't necessarily showcase my abilities all that well. For these kinda works, they can go here in the blog
19/1/2013: This is Rusty's Original Character Sclera which I drew for a commission. She reminds me of an alien character from the Galaxy High cartoon! Pencil and Photoshop CS5. About 7 Hours
8/1/2013: This is a Snow / Ice / Winter Fairy design I completed as part of an Art Trade on Devianart. We agreed to just do sketchy drawings rather than polished works.
14/12/2013: This is an anime style portrait commission of the client's boyfriend. I find it's always tricky to 'animize' real people, but she was very pleased with artwork.
I've been asking myself for years: "what's my style?" I wouldn't necessarily say I have a definitive style which is unique to me. This is both a strength and a weakness all in one! When working on commissions, clients often ask for certain styles of illustration, so I adapt. Plus I love to vary what I do and these faces are an example of adapting or experimenting with different styles over the last decade+
One thing that can hold me back is when clients commission artwork; unless they nominate a particular style they won't know exactly what to expect from me as my artwork evolves so much each time I draw something new. I don't want to be confined to just manga or just western comic style or just realism, but it would be great if I could develop a solid and consistent portfolio for each of these categories when marketing my services * Why the numbers? For easier reference. * Most art Pencil for the line art + Photoshop for the colour - Some have been inked traditionally, or digitally * They're kinda in chronological order, but not totally * I like drawing faces
I decided to convert some of my lovely doodle art into shirt designs and submit them to DesignbyHumans- a shirt design contest site.
I need votes to win and get them made up, so if you'd like to vote:
 Click a link below which'll take you to one of my designs  Log in to DesignbyHumans.com by setting up a user name & password, or Login with your Facebook details.  Click to Vote link.  Add a comment and click the like (heart icon) too if you can.  Repeat steps 1,3 and 4 for the remaining designs ^_^
I don't really expect to win. The designs that seem to get through have over 100 votes and I don't have a big enough audience to get me that far. Plus I'm not drawing skulls, animals or Samurai which seem to win votes on a consistent basis! Worth a shot though
I created my first time-lapse video showing my process using Photoshop.
Check it out in HD here:
Although since I've condensed 8 hours worth of CGing into 4 minutes, it runs pretty quick! If anyone would be interested in me producing more videos- perhaps slower time-lapse or tutorials, let me know.
Also, my portrait video can be viewed here if you've not checked it out before:
Artwork for sale on thousands of customizable products
For those that don't know, I've set up a shop selling my artwork on various products including: posters, mouse mats, mugs, t-shirts, phone cases, stickers, skateboards, bags and loads more. Check it out ^_^
I'll probably post some of the best products on the OM blog over time also- they look pretty neat! I hope people enjoy customizing them by adding their name, initials or writing to the designs, or tweaking the image size, background colour and so on, but if not they're all good to buy as they are.
A bit of background...
I'd seen fellow internet artists putting their stuff on sites like Cafepress years ago, but never considered doing it myself until recently. I somehow managed to discover Zazzle. It seemed pretty cool by allowing members to create 100s of products from just one of their artworks/photos/designs. Since I have a back-catalogue of well over 50 artworks I decided to go through the motions of placing them onto products and listing them within my 'Organic Metal' store.
It was great fun!.. At first. The task of adding each of my designs to the various Zazzle products turned out to be more than a quick afternoon's work. It's ended up taking hundreds of hours to churn out a few thousand products housing my works! It's something I wanted to test out and see which (if any) of my artworks has the most commercial appeal and if there's potential to make money through Zazzle. But I'd advise if anyone else fancies setting up their own store, go for it, but expect to invest a lot of time and effort in it's creation. If anything, it's been a test of my patience! At least once it's all finished, there's potential to sit back and let the royalties start trickling in It's certainly not something I could make a living from but time will tell as to how profitable it'll be.
My milestones were to create 1500 products which I reached earlier this year, then 3000 which I achieved today, then 5000 which I should just about be able to squeeze out from my existing back-catalogue of artwork! After that, all my artwork will be placed on the majority of items currently available on Zazzle!
If anyone has any questions about Zazzle shop creating, let me know- I've built up a fair amount of experience from it over the last year
Although having been on Myspace and Facebook for several years, and other profile sites before FB and the like existed, I was never a huge fan of the whole social media thing. I probably cynically saw it as a giant popularity contest and an opportunity for everyone (including many who don't deserve it!) to have platform to shout about their lives to anyone who'll listen. And to be honest I liked it back in the day whereby if you wanted to put yourself on the web, you needed to make some effort, be a bit of a geek, learn some HTML and construct your platform from the ground up rather than being presented with a plethora of pre-made template sites and profile pages.
That's still all true to an extent but with the way the internet is right now, it seems to make more sense to have social media profiles where you can potentially connect with millions of people all using the same platform. People want regularly updated information quickly and easily and it's easier to get that from within a social media network than hoping to stumble upon it via Google. And to have the latest news from several/dozens/hundreds of sources/people all gathered in the same place is pretty convenient!
What I'm trying to say is, I think I'm being converted! Not massively, but I see the good side to social media now as well as the bad and would love to connect with anyone interested in following me
I started playing around with a mini synthesizer and some music production software last year and thought I'd upload a few sketchy doodle-like experimental tunes I came up with to YouTube. I'd love to do more tunes providing I have the time and inclination. Maybe update a few classics from old school video games or something?