2011 Sketchbook Now Available

My 2011 Kindle Sketchbook is now loaded up and available on Amazon. As I looked back through these pictures, I was reminded that I was really busy that year working on three different lines of curriculum. At night to wind down, I was reading epic fantasy and playing Skyrim on the Xbox… and it seems a lot of those themes crept into my sketchbook that year. The 2011 Dennis Jones Sketchbook has about 60 pages of pencil drawings as well as full color illustrations that resulted from many of those sketches. It is available now Here On Amazon.

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$1.99? …that’s almost FREE!!

Over the past several years, I have been exploring options on how best to provide digital content. There are so many different digital readers on the market today and they each require their files to be built in different formats with miles of rules and regulations attached to each one. Because I have not wanted to build the same product over and over again to fit every different device in existence, I have hesitated in moving forward into this arena. I have finally decided to focus in on Amazon’s Kindle Reader, and this is the reason why… the Kindle App seems to cross the most barriers and can be installed and used on almost any device.

With that decision made, time for the hard part… me trying to learn the ins and outs of creating a digital book for Kindle. Having to start somewhere, I took my 2010 Sketchbook and created the DENNIS JONES SKETCHBOOK 2010 with it. It has over fifty pages of pencil drawings and full color illustrations.

Now I have a favor to ask… could a few of you with digital readers beta test this for me? If I could give it to you for free, I would, but Amazon doesn’t work that way and the lowest price I can sell it for is $1.99… but hey, $1.99 is still pretty cheap, right?! What I really need now is some feedback…

…does everything work properly? …is it formatted correctly? …are the pictures of high enough resolution? …thoughts in general about the product? …too long? too short? …what direction should I head in with digital products? I would really appreciate any kind of feedback you could give me here.

You can find the DENNIS JONES SKETCHBOOK 2010 HERE on Amazon. Thanks!

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Snow Fence Down

The air hurts my face… why do I live in a place where the air hurts my face? We Northern Indiana Hoosiers are all really looking forward to Thursday when our high temperature is supposed to reach 3… yea.

Last Saturday I hopped into my car to run up to the grocery store and as I started down my driveway through the blowing snow I noticed that my snow fence had literally been blown apart by the wind… yea.

Not to be deterred, I pulled on down my driveway and realized it was snowing and blowing so hard that I could not see anything… a white out… yea.

I figured if I drove really slow I could probably make it to the grocery store and back, so I creeped on into the neighborhood but was quickly forced to stop because I could not see anything but white. When the snow finally let up I discovered that I had driven into my neighbors front yard. I gave up on the grocery run, turned the car around and headed back home… and all I can say to the folks in my neighborhood is, hey… if you don’t like my driving, stay off the sidewalk.

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Magnus TriumpiHoosiernater

I have a bandmate (Robert Johnson) who is also a historical fiction author. He is currently working on a trilogy of books based on the old Roman Empire and an actual fellow named Gnaeus Pompey Magnus… and being a bit of a history buff myself, I thought I would toss out an idea or two for Robert’s third, historically accurate book in the series.

I’m thinking maybe Magnus finally gets fed up with Roman politics, grabs a boatload of corn and heads for the Bahamas with Curiosity his pet cat… (the poor cat sadly comes to a tragic end… SPOILER ALERT!!) …and without Curiosity to guide the way, Magnus drifts aimlessly until he is HIJACKED by Blackbeard The Pirate!!! …but ESCAPES when Blackbeard’s ship pulls into Miami for the Dolphins game. Magnus stows away on a Greyhound Bus headed for Texas where he helps Davey Crocket defend the Alamo against the dreaded Nazi menace…

…and this is all historically accurate, of course (according to my Mountain Grove, Missouri public school education) and free for you to use in your next book, Robert… no charge.

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Winter Is Coming

What’s new for Hoosier Winter 2015, you ask? …SNOW FENCE!! Of course, I know absolutely nothing about snow fence or how it’s supposed to work, but that didn’t stop me from buying about a mile of it back in November. I quickly put it up and within a week, large portions of it had literally blown out of the ground. (The wind really howls up here). I pounded the fence stakes back into the ground, (a whole lot deeper this time) and they held until last week when the wind decided to REALLY start blowing… and bent the majority of my METAL fence posts in half. Using maximum brain power, I came up with a solution, this touching tribute to old hockey sticks that have fallen in battle. I also like to think of this as a friendly salute to our Canadian neighbors to the north… and possibly a first line of defense against an upcoming zombie apocalypse.

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Music City Bowl 2014

My son Nick (a Notre Dame fan) and his wife Rachel (an LSU fan) will be here over the holidays. While here, their two teams will be playing in the Music City Tackle Football Bowl and I can hardly wait to watch that game with them…

(actually, what I can hardly wait for is to watch Nick and Rachel watch the game together in the same room… that could be more entertaining than the game)

…and after watching both these teams play this season, I put my prognosticator hat on and made this bold prediction picture.

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Wacom Intuos Creative Stylus 2

Over the years, I have purchased several types of styluses in a futile attempt to turn my Ipad into a fabulous, portable, mini Wacom Cintiq. I have finally come to the conclusion, (sadly)… that’s just never going to happen… but Wacom is making the Ipad a more viable artist tool with their new Intuos Creative Stylus 2.

It comes in a sharp carrying case with a usb charging cable. The main selling point for me was the thinner drawing point. (I never knew what was going on under those old fat styluses.)

ProCreate is my art app of choice, but it currently does not support this stylus, so I fired up an app that does (Sketchbook Pro) and created this picture.

At this point in time, drawing and painting on an Ipad is just going to be a limited proposition, but in my humble opinion, at least Wacom’s new stylus gives you a fighting chance at it.

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Woodstock

On cold Northeastern Indiana nights as we sit in front of our blazing fireplace, my wife will occasionally ask me why I’m just staring into the fire. I always say, “because I know each one of those sticks of wood personally.”

Every fall I tromp into the woods behind our house, look for downed trees and cut them up for our winter fire wood. Since I have no way to get a vehicle into our woods, I have to manually carry it all out by hand… one chunk at a time… did I mention that our woods slope harshly downhill? That means every single piece of that wood has to be carried UP a hill.

I split everything by hand with a maul and load each individual stick into a trailer to haul back to the house where I stack each of those individual sticks of wood into orderly piles.

This is how I spent my afternoon today… it’s pretty much how I spend most Saturdays in the fall… and when you cut the wood, carry the wood, split the wood, load the wood, unload and stack the wood, carry the wood into the house and light the wood on fire… you pretty much get to know each individual stick of that wood… personally.

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Doodle United Drawing Club

I belong to one of those internet drawing clubs… you know… the kind where a drawing challenge is assigned every couple of weeks and you try to do something really clever with it. A few challenges back we were assigned “pumpkins” and while the deadline for pumpkin pictures was about a month ago, I am just now getting mine done. A day late and a dollar short… but just in time for Halloween!

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Upgrading To Yosemite

Anytime you change operating systems you can expect trouble somewhere, and when I upgraded my OS to Yosemite it created a couple of Cintiq issues for me. I needed to figure the problematic areas out by rendering a piece of artwork, so I grabbed this 10 year old sketch and used it to see where the glitches in the system were. I deleted my Cintiq files, downloaded and installed new drivers and that solved… a few of the problems… and when the dust settled I looked at my sketch and thought, “hey… good enough to put on the blog”…

~ OCTOBER 22 UPDATE ~

I use Photoshop CS6 and I just discovered that the problematic performance issues had nothing to do with the new Yosemite operating system. Photoshop was just not playing nicely with my Wacom Cintiq. I found a Photoshop plugin called White Window Workaround, installed it, and now everything works like a charm. It is specifically for Photoshop CC and CS6.

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Paypal + Internet = Danger!!

I have discovered an extremely alarming situation concerning Paypal and the internet.

Let’s take a random example… an unsuspecting fellow is haphazardly looking at things on the internet and stumbles upon a page for an Indiana Comic-Con that is taking place an hour away from his house. One keyboard click leads to another and badda-bing badda-boom, the internet and his active Paypal account have ensnared this pitiful, wide-eyed hoosier. He is now hopelessly signed up to participate in something called Kokomo-Con on Saturday, October 18 before he can rationally think through the fact that he has never actually attended any kind of a comic-con in his entire life, much less have any idea what to do at one. Oh, the insidious peril of  cruising the internet with an active Paypal account…

…on a totally unrelated note, have I mentioned that I will be appearing on Artist Alley at Kokomo-Con in beautiful Kokomo, Indiana ( home of the world’s largest preserved steer AND the world’s largest sycamore stump!! ) on Saturday, October 18? If you’re in the area be sure to drop by, say hello and for goodness sakes, while you’re in town… go see that stuffed cow!

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Walk Into My Future Day

Yesterday was “Walk Into My Future” day at Huntington University. I would conservatively estimate that there were 47 to 48 gazillion kids there. The university had all sorts of things for these youngsters to learn, see and do… and one of those things was a ten minute, how to draw lesson from me. Here are a few of my exceptional art students!

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Not Exactly The NHL

Every fall I ask myself the same question… “Do I really want to commit to another eight month ice hockey season?” …and every fall I give myself the same answer… “Well, maybe just one more year and then I’ll quit.” …so yesterday was the first game of my new hockey season.

I am hoping to accomplish something big this year. Score more goals? Nope. Tally up more assists? Nope. Spend less time in the penalty box? Nope. Get our team to officially change it’s name to the Toronto SaurusRex? Absolutely!

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The Old See With Me Bible

In 2005, Zondervan and I created the See With Me Bible. The concept was to tell Bible stories with pictures only, no text, a wordless Bible… a concept that was perhaps a bit too abstract for the time. After a few years, the See With Me Bible was pulled back into the shop, given a tune up, full text and re-released as the Read With Me FOR TODDLERS.

I consistently get email from people who have worn that old See With Me Bible out and want a new copy of it, but sadly, the See With Me has gone the way of the buffalo. I did find a used copy on Amazon for quite a reasonable price…

…and I just want you all to know… if you are lookin’ to spend that kind of money, I just might be able to find a few copies in my closet that I could sell you for half that price! :)

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Digital Painting Class This Fall

I was recently asked to teach a digital painting class this fall at Huntington University. I have agreed to do this and I’m looking forward to sharing what I know on the subject. Being able to take the idea in your head, put it down on paper and then translate it into full color digital art (in some kind of orderly process) is our goal.

Photoshop will be our digital painting program of choice and our first task will be to tame that beast and make it work for us… not a problem. One of the really exciting parts of this classroom experience will be that each student will have a shiny new Wacom Cintiq to work on. It just doesn’t get any better than that. Class starts the end of August… this should be fun for all of us!

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The Hidden Treasure

Hey, there’s a new Big-Talkin’ Brother Jones Bible Story called The Hidden Treasure and it’s now available in the iTunes Store!

For those of you that may not know, I am one of three brothers and we have worked together on projects all of our lives. Before Photoshop was ever conceived, big brother Doug was manipulating photos in REAL TIME with an actual FILM camera… below is an early example. I’m getting ready to squash my little brother Donny in the first photo and lifting him off the ground with my superhuman strength in the second.

The brothers Jones are currently working together to build digital apps for children. Little brother Don has forgiven me for for the way I roughed him up in those two photos and is now (among other things) the builder of apps for his two big brothers. Also check out Doug’s brand new app called Flippy Face!

Have I mentioned that I also have three extremely talented sisters as well?

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Lebron Headed For Cleveland

I have a friend who has a friend who knows a guy that has a buddy at SeaWorld in Miami that says absolutely without a shadow of doubt, Lebron The Orca Whale is moving to Cleveland maybe… well, probably… if he doesn’t stay in Miami…

…Johnny Manatee arrived in Cleveland earlier this year.

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Jonah… Man On The Run

About a month ago, I was asked to help out with the upcoming sermon series at my church. The next thing you know, I’m knee deep in creating a mini Jonah comic book… which you can have for free if you happen to find yourself in Fort Wayne, Indiana on a Sunday morning at The Pointe Church. My main character seemed to morph into Wolverine with a set of pork chop sideburns and he somehow ended up on a crab boat in the Bering Sea so… all in all… an extremely accurate portrayal of the Biblical story by me… especially that crab boat part!!

Derek Taylor, (the church design guy) directed this project, gave me a layout to follow and very clear art direction such as… “ugly vomit scene, the grosser the better” …YES!!

Derek then took the assorted art assets and put together this really great promotional trailer.

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