Month: May 2014


In the worlds of one of my oldest teachers: take chances, get messy, and make mistakes. Learn constantly, take in data with all your senses. Do not worry if you have too much to digest or if you do not have the equipment or knowledge yet to process sections of it. More will come with more you learn. Ask questions. I do not believe I should tell you to not be afraid, but rather to take action despite your fear. For example, sometimes recently I am nervous getting up on a horse because for some reason I do not feel as balanced as I used to be. However, I want to learn to balanced as I once was. How do I know this? While I am no master yet I have ridden horses who have sidled, pivoted or spooked suddenly and I stayed glued to their backs. The only time I have come off so far is because I wanted to get off the horse. I refuse to let nerves get in my way. If one way does not work then there must be another way. Try. What if you fail? Well if you want it try again. What if you failed and you’ve discovered the something is not for you? Then at least you tried. The best part would be if you also learned from the experience. No one was born knowing everything. If we were, what would be the point?

I believe being brave is taking action or speaking up despite nerves, or fear – despite being unsure, because how else do you figure out who you are? If anything, do it for you~



I am offering prize art for a contest that recently finished. I’m sure I’ll be sharing the art with you once it is completed. Until next post, keep exploring~


Commission Price Guide

Hey guys and gals! The major update this week is my Commission Price Guide! I have complied a chart to display my digital artwork commission prices. Though the chart is displayed below please also click on the image or read below for detailed information on how commissions work.


:bulletred: NOTES :bulletred: 
– the price will vary depending on detail. I am open to discussion. 
– your base commission comes with one main subject plus a small pet/companion
– additional characters are 1/2 of the base price
– at the moment I only accept payment through Paypal
– I do not start a commission until you have paid (remember, I am operating on the assumption that you are commissioning me because you like the style of my work)
– you may use the work for personal purposes only – no commercialization. If you wish to purchase the copyrights for commercial purposes please contact me regarding this.
– I reserve the right to use any art I produce for personal showcasing – you keep the rights to any characters you own.

:bulletgreen: PLEASE PROVIDE ME WITH :bulletgreen:
– type of commission you want (EX: full body – color sketch, chibi – lines, waist up – detail color, full body – lines & flat colors, etc.)
– references

:bulletblue: NOTIFY ME IF YOU :bulletblue:
– want a quote before establishing you want a commissions
– prefer a type of background (this can affect the price of your piece)
– have a pressing deadline

Will do: 
– humans, animals, creatures, humanoids, curries, etc.
– gore, sexual themes, illustration, poses, expressions

Will not do:
– explicitly violent depictions
– explicitly sexual themes

Happy exploring~

The Luckdragon

Creature effects in movies intrigue me. I like learning about the imagining, building, and operation of these creatures. In 2011 I wrote a series of three posts called Dragon’s Heart. They focus on the devotion and creativity that went into the making of the movie Dragonheart. Now I want to bring your attention to  another dragon: Falkor the Luckdragon from The NeverEnding Story film.

Falkor the Luck Dragon
Falkor the Luck Dragon

Falkor started out as a darted miniature rubber-jointed model that was eventually brought to life as a forty-three foot long motorized creature1. The head of Falkor is thred was crafted by Colin Arthur who specializes in production special effects and make up. He is currently working on the special effects make up in the 2014 film Vampyres – he is also known for his work in the 1974 original for this film.

The frame for Falkor was constructed by Guiseppe Tortura and featured airplane steel. It took thirty-six tackles to enable Falkor to speak, roll his eyes, laugh, and curve his body and tail around when interacting. Can you imagine the teamwork technicians had to develop to control all the tackles and achieve a semblance of natural movement? They practiced with the help of display screens so they could see the effect of their work2.

building Falkor
building Falkor

What about those sparkling scales? Falkor is covered in over 6,000 shiny plastic scales and draped with pink feather-fur. These were attached by hand. Goodness, the detail that must have gone to keeping him well polished and functional. What if scales popped off?

As for the deep voice Falkor uses in the first movie, Alan Oppenheimer is responsible for voicing Falkor1.

So where are the models used? According to a sourced article one is at the Bavaria Studios in Munich. This model has a saddle that visitors can ride on. As for the others, I’m not sure what was done with them.

Falkor ride at the Bavaria Film Studios in Munich, Germany

I seem to like looking into the construction of creatures in movies. I’ve done a similar examination of the effects used in another of my favorite old movies, Dragonheart (link to old blog). I’ve always loved to find out how many things worked, picking apart the gears in a clock, and taking apart old chargers whenever I got the chance. Unfortunately I have not gotten my hands on an old car engine and virtual toys only go so far. Perhaps one day.

As always, feel free to leave a comment and inquiry below. If you are interested in seeing an exploration or interpretation of a topic please let me know!

Until next week, happy exploring~


  1. The NeverEnding Story – film commentary
  2. Creatures

Dragon’s Heart – Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

More “Ratified Research” posts:

  1. Purple Heart
  2. Headless Horseman
  3. Beneficial Stress
  4. (more coming soon)

Underwater Rivers!

Remember that liquid density experiment you did when you were younger? The one where you poured as many different liquids into a container as you could and then dropped items into it to see what held them up?

Liquid Density Tower

Well, get ready for a life sized alternate version of it! It’s called an underwater river an it manifests in nature under select conditions.

Underwater Rivers

How does this happen? Well, like with the first picture of experimental liquids, it is a matter of density. In Mexico “the natural formation occurs when hydrogen sulfate mixes with saltwater causing it to be much heavier than regular salt water. The mixture sinks to the bottom, forming a distinct separation that flows like a river.”1 These rivers have also formed in sub-tropical regions and can be present throughout the year. The high density water can cut deep through the ocean floor just like the land bound rivers can. One such river cuts through the Black Sea, and another winds in the waters off the coast of Australia.2 Isn’t that fascinating?

I hope all is well on your end and you are exploring and learning about the things that interest you. Keep moving forward~



  1. Mexico Underwater River – The Huffington Post
  2. Underwater ‘Rivers’ Discovered on Ocean Floor – Lifescience

What Colors do Horses See?

I once conducted a scientific project inquiring which colors lovebirds could differentiate between. I thought it ideal seeing as I liked animals, our family owned a small flock of lovebirds, and I had never seen the question answered. I would have won first place if I had not been very sick on the day the judges conducted interviews. I do have red ribbon for my hard work. Not bad for sixth grade, ey?

Can horses pick up different colors? Yes. A journal study was conducted in which scientists conducted tests – approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Facility of the University of Wisconsin-Madison – to illicit responses from the receptors in the eyes of six ponies. Another is a study was conducted by Tania Blackmore, a graduate student at the Department of Psychology at the University of Waikato. This was a research study she conducted for her Masters thesis in which a special stall with colored treat prompts was constructed in order to Measure results from four horses. These studies showed that horses can differentiate colors on a dichromatic scale whereas humans and other primates perceive on a trichromatic color scale.

What is the difference?

click image to see more interpretations

This is the trichromatic color scale that humans and other primates perceive with cone cells in their eyes. Cone cells are photoreceptors that perceive different wavelengths which we identify as colors. Our photoreceptors take in three primary colors: red, blue, and yellow – and four basic hues, red, blue, yellow, and green. The differentiation in our scotopic vision varies between people, hence the disagreements over the grade of red or blue an object appears to be.

click image to see original study
click image to see original study

Dichromatic vision as experienced by horses features blue and yellow photoreceptive cone cells. Neither of the referenced studies are sure if horses can see the green hue between yellow and blue. This perception  would be similar to a person who is color blind to red and green hues:

click image to see original study
click image to see original study


Figures A and B show unaltered images as we would perceive them. Figures C and D show the same images as a horse would seem them. As you can see though the images are clear the color creates a blurred effect in figures C and D. This would also explain why horses will react differently to things than we would, especially if they do not understand what they are seeing. This is also why horses have to use all their senses to perceive the world around them – touch, smell, sight, sound, and taste~

Until next week, happy exploring!


Other Ratified Research Posts:

  1. People, Horses, and Halitosis
  2. The Headless Horseman
  3. The Luckdragon
  4. (more coming soon)


Watermarks are perfectly acceptable to have on your images.

The purpose of a watermark is to discourage the unauthorized use of work. It is a matter of intellectual property. A watermark cannot prevent unauthorized use but it makes it much more difficult for others to claim your creative intellectual work as theirs. The more complex or well oriented the watermark the more difficult it is for thieves to hide it and the easier it is for you to prove the work is yours.

Akreon has a stylized watermark that she makes apparent in the pictures she posts. Left->Right: Pomeranian’s Garden, Forest Queen

While a watermark can be hidden by thieves with much time and patience it is not easy, especially if the mark is over a color dynamic area in the picture. I recommend refraining from placing the watermark over a solid color area or a textured area as those can be easier to cover over. When placing a watermark on your image keep in mind that it should give viewers the opportunity to contact the original owner (you) by including your name, website, or artist handle.

Shilin Huang has a simple watermark that has her site and copyright information condensed into a stamp. She also integrates her signature in her pictures. Left->Right: Untitled, Orient
Shilin Huang has a simple watermark that has her site and copyright information condensed into a stamp. She also integrates her signature in her pictures. Left->Right: Untitled, Orient

If you’re just starting to consider watermarking, here are some tips on how to effectively make and place a watermark. Uconomix also presents seven ways to watermark your images with the help of the application uMark. There are also several successful artists with beautiful work who balance a watermark in all their shared images whether you see it or not. If other talented artists are including watermarks on their images yet are successfully selling work to make a living then the only person who is allowed to tell you that you have to display your art one way or another is you.

Sakimichan usually overlays her site information as her watermark, but sometimes she integrates her name with the picture. Left->Right: Protector of the Forest, Pink

This topic arises because someone once told me I should remove my watermarks completely to increase the crispness of my images for display. I disagreed and am finding a way to facilitate both crisp viewing and a satisfactory placement for my watermark.

Left->Right: Under the Snow, Cowgirl
Left->Right: Under the Snow, Cowgirl

Don’t see a method of integration that you like? Conduct more research, try out different placements. We are always constantly growing, changing, and improving. You’ll get the hang of it~

Until next time, happy exploring!

James Walls's watermarked images
James Walls‘s watermarked images

Expressing in Your Style

Rant art. Vent art.

You may have seen these phrases before, especially if you watch the updates of artists on deviantArt, Tumblr, or any other art journaling site. Recall the characteristics I laid out in Creative Habits of Creative People part 1 and part 2 – that expression is almost a requirement of existing. When anyone hurts it is good for us to express how we feel. This can be communicating with someone we trust, creating a creative work (painting, writing, sculpting, singing, etc.) or using the energy to do something constructive (taking down drywall at a construction site, cleaning up a room, exercising, etc.).

“Above all, artists must not be only in art galleries or museums – they must also be present in all possible activities. The artist must be the sponsor of thought in whatever endeavor people take on, at every level.”   — Michaelangelo Pistoletto3

It may not be the same for everyone but if you ever feel so angry or hurt that your cells might shake apart on their own it is best that you let it out. Expressing it whether with others or privately is like expelling toxins from your body. If you think about it you’ll realize that you do this on a regular basis when you sweat and go to the bathroom.

When you take in food and drink you are putting fuel in your body. Your body processes the intake, breaks it down into what it can use to nourish you, and then expels the waste1. Keeping too many toxins in poisons your body, reduces functionality and prevents you from performing at your best. Whatever waste it cannot expel is stored in fat2. Over the course of a day we can take in a lot of experiences. Over the course of a week those experiences multiply especially on a busy day. Anything negative that you experiences that you do not let go can stick around and bother you from the background. It can build resentment and influence how you deal with others who are and are not at all directly related to the experience. The longer you hold it in, the more it can poison you. Some people do not even realize they do this. Sometimes we have to help point it out. It is a risk for those of us trying to help, and a risk for the person to share.

“An essential element of any art is risk. If you don’t take a risk then how are you going to make something really beautiful, that hasn’t been seen before? I always like to say that cinema without risk is like having no sex and expecting to have a baby. You have to take a risk.”   — Francis Ford Coppola3

Remember, letting it out does not have to be in imitation of the way anyone else will express it. Do what feels right to you. Do it your way. I believe by letting it out you are telling yourself that you are important, you are worth taking care of and it is a measure of self respect. By doing so for yourself you can then share with others.

“Insanity” by Kiri Ramdeo [click the image to see it larger]
Then there are those who need to be taught how to treat you, but that is another post entirely. Until then, lots of hugs and happy exploring~


Quote Source:

  1. The Structure and Function of the Digestive System – Cleveland Clinic
  2. When waste is not removed – Sharecare
  3. A Brief Rant on Art Appreciation – WordPress

Other Ratified Research Posts:

  1. The Purple Heart
  2. The Luckdragon
  3. What Colors do Horses See?
  4. (another link coming soon)