Successful Start for My New Portfolio!

Hey hey! I'm excited. 48 hours in, my domain URL not fully migrated yet, and already I've had over 1200 views on my new site. Thanks everyone! 


Finally got fed-up enough with the lack of statistics and support from DeviantArt about their Portfolio service -I really think they've abandoned developing it- so I decided to hunt around and give Blogger's Dynamic Views another try.

I've complained about my problems with DeviantArt Portfolios before, and played with Dynamic Views before.

I decided to go with the Flipcard view to start, and then hunted around to see what other artist-bloggers may have done to tweak the service.

I found a terrific tutorial by fantasy art illustrator Dan Dos Santos on the stellar Muddy Colors blog that solved about 90% of my desired tweaks.

Then, I remembered a great blog for css tweaks to Dynamic Views I had found months ago when messing around, Southern Speakers.

The changes and tweaks were quick and easy, just a couple of hours. Uploading the art and adding links took a while longer. The great thing is, unlike DeviantArt Portfolios, I can have links to my online store, and buttons for tweets and +1 and Likes right below the art.

Note the links to blog posts, my online store, and buttons to +1, tweet or Like. Niftiness!

There seems to be a delay with my glendonmellow.com migrating to URL to mask the site - but clicking on www.glendonmellow.com seems to work fine for most people.

If you'd like to see the old site for comparisons' sake, it's still there. I really admire the set-up DeviantArt Portfolios had going, but it wasn't flexible and the lack of statistics really bothered me.

Thanks for checking out my new home!


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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite © to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

Portfolio
Blog
Print Shop

Find me on Symbiartic, the art+science blog on the Scientific American Blog Network!

Explosions of activity

Detail from Incredible Hulk Anatomy.

Recent news from my studio:
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The Incredible Hulk Anatomy image did very well. 

  • Published it on Symbiartic, got some good traffic, over 70 Facebook Likes and a few comments there. 
  • Editor-in-chief of io9.com, Annalee Newitz published it there, and it's up to about 24000+ views in 4 days. 
  • This Tumblr-er posted it, and it's been re-shared and Liked more than 370+ times. 
  • I had some fun viewing it on Google Ripples.
  • My Symbiartic post about fine artist Marc Quinn's Self also got a shout-out on Gizmodo.


    I don't have time to do a lot of fan art: but it is a useful tool to getting noticed by a wider crowd, much like how many 90's goth bands did covers of popular Depeche Mode and New Order songs. It's a lot of fun to do though. Wonder what I should tackle next?  Always wanted to finish something with Cloak and Dagger. 

    - - 
    I revamped my professional portfolio online. 



Instead of awkwardly grouping artwork by mediums used (painting, drawing) as I used to do, I think I've made it a little more editor and art director friendly by arranging the galleries by topic. 
New galleries are:

Hopefully this makes it easier to navigate. I also tried to pick some really strong images for the first image in each gallery. 
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I'm pretty close to revealing some of the work I did earlier this year. It's my first time doing actual scientific illustration instead of the surreal stuff I'm usually commissioned to do, and I'm really pleased with how they turned out. After doing these, I think I shed my imposter-syndrome that flares up a bit when I consider myself a part of the science blogosphere. #Iamscience

For now, here's a little Instagram-preview of one of the images:

© Glendon Mellow



Expect more posts about this project pretty soon!  There's also 4 more projects in the works...


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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite © to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

Portfolio
Blog
Print Shop


Find me on Symbiartic, the art+science blog on the Scientific American Blog Network!

My professional portfolio on deviantART - stay or go?

The last few years if you've looked at glendonmellow.com , it's whisked you away to the URL otherwise known as daportfolio.com/179939 - I have been using the popular art site deviantART for my professional art portfolio hosting. I'm considering a change and would love some opinions. Below I have my pros and cons.

Before I say much more (an oh, I'm gonna), there is a big difference between a standard dA account page and their portfolio service. I'm not planning to leave dA entirely, just considering whether or not to stop paying for Premium and using their professional portfolios.

Here's the visuals:


Standard dA bio page

Portfolio bio page.

Standard dA gallery page.

Portfolio gallery page.


I pay about $30 a year for the Premium service (last year with some very welcome donations from fans for this new dad). The Premium Portfolio means:


  • I can customize the URL, hence the very original glendonmellow.com.
  • No ads from deviantART appear on my page.
  • I can make new portfolios, add specific page URLS through my domain host (like published.glendonmellow.com
  • There's lots of image storage. 


Those are all decent features in the plus column.

Here's a couple of other things I like:



  • Layout forces me to stay clean and simple for potential clients. 
  • It really easy for me to change and add or drop artwork. 
  • Limits on how much art per gallery forces me to keep it fresh for return clients.
  • I occasionally add my entire resume to it as a pdf download - not there at the moment, but that's neat-o. 
  • I love how it looks. 


But here are the features in the minus column that have me wondering if my $30/year would be better served somewhere else. 


  • Not enough links. The text on the bio page is insanely limited and includes the HTML - so when something helpful to my business like say, Google+ crops up, I have to delete another important - actually important, not just for fun - link from the link list. They limit the text so that the whole portfolio has no scrolling. Yeah cool. But to link to my Scientific American gig and increasing Media list, I had to drop links to two other blogs I have contributed to. 
  • I pay for no ads, but I get pranks. This past April Fools' Day, deviantART thought it would be funny to pretend they were taken over by cats and there was a pop-up that if you wanted, would lead you further into the joke. Or you could disable it. Each time you went on dA on April 1st, it would pop back up. Kind of funny stuff, but I pay for no dA ads, and here's a silly joke I had no part in designing that any potential client was going to get stuck figuring out for a whole day. Pissed me right off. 
  • No links in art descriptions. Click on the little letter "i" under the art, get some neat info about the image. But no links to further information, and it's reduced to about two short sentences. I do science-based art. It sometimes needs a bit more explanation about the client, project, subject and materials. You know. The professional details. 
  • No statistics. This is the worst. The HTML I am allowed to use is on the bio page only, and is very very basic. No third party html widgets or gadgets to track stats using SiteMeter or Statcounter or even Google Analytics. When the portfolio service first launched I assumed this was coming at some point (dA offers crazy amounts of stats for their basic accounts). That was 2.5 years ago. Last year, when Annalee Newitz of the popular geek site io9.com featured Trilobite Boy and some of art in a fun article, they appropriately linked back to glendonmellow.com . And though I can see on the io9 article that it had over 14000 views (most just in those first few days) I have absolutely no idea how many went through to my own portfolio.



So. Do I stay or go?  If I go, does anyone have any good suggestions?  


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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite © to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

Portfolio
Blog
Print Shop


Find me on Symbiartic, the art+science blog on the Scientific American Blog Network!

Allosaurus Science Ink

You know, doing science tattoo designs is an aspect of my current career I never would have guessed I'd be doing 10 years ago. They're challenging and fascinating. Each time I feel really honoured someone would like their body graced by one of my images. 

When author of Written in Stone Brian Switek asked me about designing a tattoo, I was really excited.  Brian's one of my favourite bloggers, both at Wired's Laelaps and the Smithsonian's Dinosaur Tracking, and who I have also been lucky enough to meet at ScienceOnline the past few years.  Great guy. 

Right away, he knew what he wanted: allosaurus in the death pose in blackline. 

I headed to the Royal Ontario Museum, which has an allosaurus mount scurrying under the new signature barosaurus named Gordo.  


I took these photos since they're backlit, and that's helpful for a blackline tattoo, but in the end I didn't reference them.

Instead, even tough it was to be a blackline, silhouette design, I like to start by standing in the museum and drawing a detailed sketch of the skull, hands and feet



While I was drawing this from the original skeleton, Gregory Paul patted me on the head, gave me a doggy treat and said, "Good boy!". Then he whacked my nose with a rolled up newspaper. Yeah, I was confused too. 



I drew the body separately, and Photoshopped the head on. For those not familiar with this pose, most terrestial vertebrates, from dinosaurs to rabbits can be found in this extreme back-arched pose after they die. The thinking is that it's likely ligaments and tissues around the deceased animal's spine tend to dry out first, tightening and contorting the body. 




Above is a screenshot of me inking the skull using ArtRage Studio Pro, my favourite digital painting program.  I found the basic billboard marker gave me the lines I liked.

Brian was getting this tattoo in part to mark a transition: from his home state of New Jersey to Utah, and the allosaurus is Utah's state dinosaur. So as I neared completion of the skeleton drawing, I started thinking about different ways to make this tattoo design more personal to Brian, and not just a random dino fossil.

So I sent him this image below in an email, and asked if he could find the Easter Eggs:




Do you see them?  




The coloured-in portions are in the shape of a tiny New Jersey (green) and Utah (coral).

After looking at a few variations, such as all-black with no outlines, a broken tail, and so on Brian settled on the image above. I like this one too: the solid black ribs, leg and skull are offset by the outlined vertebrae.  I think it breaks up the image in an interesting way, and visually makes the image clearer to someone who may not be familiar with the dinosaur death pose. 


Here's Brian with the finished piece, done by Jon at Heart of Gold Tattoo.

Thanks Brian!  That was really fun and I love how the final version turned out. Badass allosaurus.

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For more of my science tattoo designs, check out the following links:

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

Portfolio
Blog
Print Shop 


Find me on Symbiartic, the art+science blog on the new Scientific American Blog Network!

Etsy sale and one-day offer for $10 art!

Time for an Etsy sale! I've cut the prices on everything in my Etsy shop, including one of the slate paintings by more than 50%.

If you're interested in any of these pieces, feel free to contact me.

--->I'm also putting out a special call: I only have about a day left to renew my deviantArt Premium account which hosts glendonmellow.com and my professional portfolio.  I was hoping to have picked up a second part-time job by now, but it's a tough market.

So - for anyone who is willing to donate $10 or more using my PayPal button on the right sidebar, I'll mail them an original drawing or sketch.  Offer stands for the rest of today, until 7 am EST tomorrow. You can also contact me via theflyingtrilobite@gmail.com to discuss it if you want, and I can send a bill via PayPal that way.

(I'll be in and out of the studio today with some family commitments, so my apologies if I don't get back to you immediately.)

Help support Art in Awe of Science - I'd really appreciate it!
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(Edit, 9:30pm: thanks so much for the generosity of so many of you - I'll be able to keep my portfolio site going for the whole next year! For the sheer fun of it, I'll do as I said in the post above and keep the $10 minimum donation in exchange for an original drawing open until 7 am EST tomorrow. I really appreciate the support for my studio and my groceries.
Flying Trilobiteers rock. )


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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow under Creative Commons Licence.

Flying Trilobite in the new Blogger Dynamic Views

Blogger has been adding more and more functionality. Check out this video for whole new Dynamic Views you can use to look at and read The Flying Trilobite:




All of these are enabled in preview form by clicking http://glendonmellow.blogspot.com/view
Or click on one of the options below:
Soon, these will be available as new Blogger templates.  Do you have a favourite? Should I go for one of these? I love the artsy view of Mosaic - I just hope the background would come in black or green. 

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow

New poll - choose my own adventure

There's a new poll at right below.  My freelance career will be beginning in the next several weeks, so I've opened up a poll to get a sense of what some readers of The Flying Trilobite may be interested in.  It's anonymous, and you can choose multiple answers.

My kind of dream-project at the moment is to have a picture book with my paintings complemented by some SF stories by various writers (thanks for the support, Brian!).  I know there are many venues where I could self-publish a beautiful book like this - one Facebook fan has already admonished me and said I should be considering an agent and mainstream publishing (thanks L!).

 What do you think?








[Edit:  the Blogger sidebar poll wasn't working, so I've replaced it with this one by PollDaddy. Please respond again if you tried to a first time.]

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Original artwork on
The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under
Creative Commons Licence.


Portfolio
Blog
Print Shop

A dotcom: boom!

I'm pleased to announce that glendonmellow.com is now live.




There shouldn't be too many bugs left, mainly I still have more artwork to upload. I'm going back and forth on the lead image, above. Should it have the text, or not?

After registering my domain with GoDaddy and deciding on deviantArt's new portfolio for my site template, the rest was fairly simple. There are not a lot of customizable choices on dA's portfolios, but I like the clean look.

What is it for? Well, time and again, I've read that art editors and directors prefer not to wade through the irrelevant-to-their-needs-stuff that makes a blog a blog, or deviantART, deviantArt. I wanted clean and simple, and something that aesthetically fits with both the blog and with my print shop. I've been blogging on The Flying Trilobite since March 2007, and it has been wonderful so far - no plans to stop!

2009 has been a busy year. I've had a number of commissions, art & interviews published in traditional print 7 times, any number of links & blog citations, a podcast interview and a reproduction is currently hanging in a Spanish museum. I'd love to eventually be busy enough to work on art & illustration as a source of income part-time (or full-time, dare to dream). I am hoping having a simple, glendonmellowdotcom will make this year even busier.


Let me know what you think of the dotcom!



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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

glendonmellow.com*** Flying Trilobite Reproduction Shop ***