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Monthly Archives: March 2014

  • D*FACE: GOING EVERYWHERE FAST!

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    Prints On Wood is excited to announce our latest artist print: Going Everywhere Fast by world renowned street artist, D*Face!

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    This 44" x 27" wood print features a beautiful reflective chrome layer, and will be extremely limited to 10 prints, all signed and numbered by D*Face himself! This mixed media print goes on sale April 3rd, and will retail for $1,500 per print.

  • ADVENTURE TIME: GALLERY 1988

    Greetings fellow humans! It's time to strap on your white bunny hat and dust off those navy blue daisy-dukes… or should I say it's Adventure Time!

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    Gallery 1988 has partnered up with Rook clothing to host an art show honoring the sweetest cartoon Boy / Dog team-up since David & Goliath!

    at2VINTAGE BMO & BUBBLEGUM PRINCESS by Dril One

    This Thursday, April 3rd, Prints On Wood will be in attendance at the opening night for the Adventure Time art show at Gallery 1988 in Los Angeles. Doors open at 7pm, so move those little baby feet and come hang out with us!

    at3JAKE by ROOK

    We'd also like to plug POW customer, and all around awesome dude / artist, Martin Donnelly, who will be showcasing some of his mathematical art at the show this week. (Which we were fortunate to print on wood for him!)

    Martin Donnelly ADVENTURE TIME WOOD PRINT by Martin Donnelly

    When we posted this bad-boy on our Facebook page, it garnered 700 likes in 5 seconds! Lets hope someone can match that many likes with dollars at the Adventure Time show this Thursday! Martin also has another super secret Adventure Time wood print that goes on sale this week at Gallery 1988! How secret? You just got to show up and see!

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    For more information on this event, please visit Gallery 1988 at: http://nineteeneightyeight.com

    To learn more about Martin Donnelly, please visit him at: http://known-as-unknown.tumblr.com

  • APP REVIEW: HALFTONE

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    When the recent Batman triology began with The Dark Knight back in 2008, fan-boys everywhere raced to their mother's basement to nerd-rage over the liberties Christopher Nolan had taken with his latest adaptation on the darkest, stickiest corners of the internet. While everyone broke their caps-lock key "shouting" their hostile opinions at each other on Reddit over bagel-bites, one thing these white knights could all agree on was how stupid Batman sounded while he talked.

    As a self-proclaimed dork, I must admit, I too was a little disappointed with these films. Not over the fact that a world famous millionaire / vigilante with daddy-issues disguised his voice by doing his best Michael Wincott impression. No. For me, growing up on re-runs with Adam West, I was crestfallen over the sever lack of BIFF's, BAM's, and POW's every time Batman crammed his fist down someone's throat.

    That's why I'm so excited to review this weeks app, Halftone! An app that boasts the ability to turn your photographs into comic book panels by the combining of Comic Sans with action balloons. If you've ever looked at any printed material up-close (like comic books), you'll notice a that the images aren't comprised of solid colors or lines, but a collection of dots varying in size and hue. These dots are what printing professionals refer to as a "Halftone", which is where this app gets it's name.

    To get started, Halftone prompts you to begin with either uploading an existing photo or taking a new one. For this review, I'm going to use this selfie that inspires my mom tell me how handsome I look every time she see's it.

    uncleandySure Mom.

    First things first. Once you select your photo, Halftone jumps right into adjusting your image. After getting a couple of app reviews under my belt, one constant that's always included in every photo editing app is the typical stable of image editing effects: Red-Eye Removal, Sharpness, Brightness, Filters, ETC. all of which are present in Halftone.

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    I glossed over these because in addition to knowing how most of these tools work anyways, I was more excited to play with the artistic aspects of this app. While there were several less traditional features such as the ability to Whiten or Tilt-Shift your images, let's just say that these tools worked as well as they should. I'm the type of person who likes to edit my images before I upload them into an app because I feel I have more control in Photoshop on my computer than fumbling with my iPhone. For those of you without access to either, the image effects included in Halftone can provide to be quite helpful.

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    Once settled on the image effects, your launched into Halftone's UI. Once I reached this screen, I looked throughout the app, searching for the feature to create a halftone pattern to give my image that printed comic book feel. I finally realized that the app does it automatically. While this is convenient, I would have liked the option to adjust the dot size or intensity of the halftone patterns on my image.

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    Clicking on the ear-marked paper icon toggles Halftone's Paper tool. This feature works similar to the Filters tool in most image editing apps. Your selection is overlaid on top of your original image to give it a aged / distressed appearance, which ties in nicely with the whole vintage comic vibe this app shoots for.

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    The frame icon accesses Halftone's Layout tool. A common literary device used in comic books is when someone is speaking in third person (be it the protagonist or the narrator) the text is encapsulated in a yellow box. The Layout tool offers several different panel layouts including these dialogue boxes.

    When you select a layout, it defaults with the day's date on the top, and some filler text at the bottom. Double clicking both allows you customize the text in these boxes. While this feature works really well with the overall theme of the app, I feel that the developers of Halftone missed out on an opportunity to make this app more engaging by neglecting to make the layouts and the dialogue boxes more customizable.

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    Onto the next feature. No comic is complete without word balloons! While most are familiar with the standard oblong word balloon, several different variations exist to emphasize tone or cadence when reading. A square word balloon indicates stiff robotic dialogue, a jagged word balloon indicates urgency or action, and a bubbly word balloon indicates a character's internal monologue. While most people might be unfamiliar with these variations, it's nice to see these little details included in Halftone.

    Once you've placed your word balloon(s) onto your image, tapping it once allows you to change the text, tapping and dragging the point of the balloon's tail allows you to place it accordingly, and double tapping the balloon changes it's style.

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    Now is where we get to the fun stuff. Halftone's library of comic book elements is so true to it's source material, it made me want to prance around flamboyantly in blue stain underwear! Let's have some fun shall we?

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    The comic book element library in Halftone is chock full of action text and effects found in golden age comics. You can also change the gradient of your selection to better match the look and feel of your image. My major gripe with this is if you look at the far right image, I wanted to use the action lines in the library for my image. Problem is these go on top of the layout dialogue boxes with no layering option to move them behind. If I made the lines small enough so they wouldn't cover these boxes, then the effect would end up covering my face entirely. While not a complete deal breaker, it made me grumble a bit.

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    Finally the last feature in Halftone is the Font tool. When I came to use to Font tool, I had several word balloons in my image and wanted to adjust the sizes of each since the Word Balloon tool only changes the look and content of the balloon, not the size.  Unfortunately, when you adjust the font size using the Font tool, it changes the size of every word balloon and dialogue box, not just one individually.

    So after compromising on about half of what I wanted to do, lets see how my final image looks.

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    I'm impressed! Halftone allowed me to create a comic strip that's almost just as unfunny and boring as Family Circus. Now lets see how my smug-mug looks printed on wood.

    HTP

    Normally I'd chime in with a pun or anecdote related to the theme of the article, but I was transfixed after getting sidetracked watching videos of Adam West dancing awkwardly for the past 45 minutes, so lets just get to the point.

    RATE

    Although a pay app, Halftone offered several in app purchases. While this would seem like a good idea to unlock different comic book effects or fonts, these purchases unlocked more image filters. Keep in mind these filters are added before Halftone applies it's comic book filter to get that printed look, which seems like they would go unnoticed after the fact.

    If I may nerd-rage for a bit, about halfway into this app Halftone started to feel like a glorified template. Time after time I've downloaded apps that were fun at the moment, but were long forgotten shortly thereafter. When more customizable features are included in an app, it creates a longer shelf-life in the mind of the consumer. Especially when thinking of all the combinations of effects and features they have yet to explore.

    Overall, Halftone is a very fun app, but only for so long. The attention to detail in replicating the look and feel of older comics made me feel like the developers had a good idea at the start. Unfortunately, Halftone is an app that's high on concept, but low on content.

  • CHOPPING BLOCK: PAMELA GALLEGOS

    Before tribal art was watered down for the masses to adorn the biceps of Frat-Bro's and the sides Del-Taco cups, it was popularized by indigenous people around the world for thousands of years as a way to tell a story about their legacy and culture through beautiful, intricate patterns.

    Peruvian artist Pamela Gallegos, creator of POM Graphic Design, has embarked on a one-woman quest to reclaim tribal art so that it can grow to become more associated with the elements and nature by snatching it out of the fat sweaty hands of Juggalos everywhere.

    This week, we were fortunate to catch up with Pamela, as she discusses the inspiration and heritage behind her particular style of art.

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    POW: The colorful patterns featured in your artwork have a distinct textile appearance, triggering mental images of dashikis, chullos, and tapestries. Is this intentional, and what would you say inspires this?

    PAMELA: I really don’t feel that it is intentional, however I understand I have a distinct style that is inspired by my cultural background. This influences the end result of my pattern designs and illustrations. I am a Peruvian who was born in the US, but then moved back home around the age of 5 where I lived until I was 19. I then came back to the US to continue my Graphic Design career.

    I started travelling within my country at a young age. During these travels I was completely captivated and “awe-inspired” by all that my fascinating culture had to offer. I visited mystical and majestic places such as Machu Picchu and Marcahuasi just to name a few. This played a big role in the development of the artist that I have become today. Travelling can be very inspiring, fulfilling and awakening.

    In most of my illustrations and patterns you see not only a variety of colors and shapes, but also elements of nature in some abstract iconic way.

    pam2TRIBAL ELEPHANT OF NAMBIA II by Pom Graphic Design

    POW: Several photographs on your Facebook page showcase your ability to create intricate geometric patterns by hand. How long do one of these illustrations take to complete, and are you ever discouraged when thinking of all the detail that it will require?

    PAMELA: It depends, but usually they take me about 2 weeks maximum to complete. The detailed and intricate aspect of my art is the most fun part to me. Even when my hand starts cramping and loosing all sensitivity I keep going! It is my happy place, where I can let my mind wonder freely.

    About my process, I start off by pencil not knowing exactly where I am going but always finding a way, creating harmony in my illustrative journey. Then I finish it of with Rapidograph technical pens and after that comes the digital component. I detail my design process step by step in my blog if you would like to check it out.

    Mostly my designs are done freehand but from time to time I use tools such as a compass and rulers. What I enjoy the most is freehand illustration where my hand has a mind of its own and it’s singing and dancing to its own compass. I am never discouraged when I consider the intricacy of my work. I love it!

    pam3ABSTRACT JOURNEY by POM Graphic Design

    POW: As a Graphic Designer with a huge body of illustrative work, was there ever a time when a client was skeptical about your abilities to create something a little more tame/boring than what your artistic style dictates? If so, how did you overcome their apprehension?

    PAMELA: Well, as an Artist/Graphic Designer I understand that what the industry demands from time to time is not exactly the “out of the box” artistic views that I express and that sometimes we got to go by standards, rules and trends. Most of the time I do accomplish and deliver what my clients require, however sometimes, if not most of the time, I must admit I do let my mind wonder off a bit more. Most of the time they end up loving it even if it’s not what they envisioned at the beginning.

    pam4BELUGA SKIN CARE labels & logo by POM Graphic Design

    POW: As someone who relies heavily on word of mouth, self-promotion, and trade/art shows to sell your creations, has showcasing your work as an artist on Prints On Wood allowed you to generate more interest among newer fans on a more national level?

    PAMELA: Definitely yes! Fans and friends love to see a variety of products.  I consider your Prints On Wood to be spectacular, full of bold and vibrant colors; just as the artists would like to see their artwork produced.

    SOULMATESOULMATE by POM Graphic Design

    POW: Speaking of fans, you're giving away a free 9 x 12 copy of your Soulmate wood print here at Prints On Wood. Could you tell us a little bit about the meaning behind this image and it's inspiration?

    PAMELA: Of course, it is always delightful when we get to talk about the inspiration behind each design. I have always been captivated by the romanticism associated with the idea of having a “Soul Mate”. As I created this piece of art, I was inspired to reflect the connection of the two souls adding my tribal touch.

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    POM Graphic Design and Prints On Wood are teaming up to give away this beautiful wood print!

    To enter, like and share Prints On Wood's Facebook page this Friday, April 4th. The winner will be announced Tuesday, April 8th, so keep your eyes peeled! No purchase necessary... anybody can enter!

    For more information on Pamela Gallegos, please visit her website at: pomgraphicdesign.com

  • MOUNTAIN MAN

    There used to be a point in time where that when a man wore a fedora, it indicated that he was a hard boiled detective walking the beat to solve a mystery, or perhaps he was a world famous archeologist in search of a lost ancient relic.

    JIMMY

    These days, when you see a kind gentlesir wearing a fedora, it signifies that he drinks Mountain Dew, eats Cool Ranch Doritos, constantly complains about being put in the "Friend Zone", and more often than not, his particular choice of headwear is complimented by his scruffy neckbeard.

    INDY

    Although with the emergence of characters like Ron Swanson in Pop-Culture lately, it has become fashionable to start acting like a "Real Man" again. Red meat, beards, and making things out of wood are all fun and good... but what is it that really makes a man, a man?

    Prints On Wood artist, Josh Corbin, and his brother Aaron set out to explore the implications of that question in their upcoming short film, Mountain Man.

    MM

    Mountain Man is a short film about a successful businessman named Alan, who's trying to keep a balance between his professional and personal life. With an upcoming promotion rapidly approaching, Alan is forced to visit his rural father at his cabin in Lake Arrowhead. With conflicting struggles between his job and family, Alan has to ultimately decide where he wants place his focus.

    MMP

    When the Corbin Brothers discussed the premise of their short film with us, we were excited to donate to their project by gifting them five 40 x 60 wood prints (including the 2 at the top of this article) to be auctioned off in an effort to raise money for their upcoming film.

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    While they are incredibly close to their final goal, they still need some help getting their dream off the ground, and not a moment too soon! With 2 days to spare, you can help Josh and Aaron by visiting their Indiegogo page to learn more about this exciting new project.

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    To learn more about Josh and Aaron's short film, please visit their Facebook, Instagram, and Indiegogo Campaign.

  • CHOPPING BLOCK: JIMBOT

    Growing up in the late 80's/early 90's and watching stuff like Small Wonder, Short Circuit, Not Quite Human, and Mystery Science Theatre 3000 had me convinced that I would some day grow up to build my very own robots(s). Sadly, the closest I ever got to this dream was when I was assembling my Voltron Vehicle Team robot, trying my hardest not to break the helicopter blades on his arms.

    Some kids don't give up so easily though. Take James "Jimbot" Demski for example, a boy who grew up with a similar dream and stuck to his convictions. Now as a fully grown man with a beautiful family living in Milwaukee, he somehow manages to find the time needed to build his own robots, and they're all programed for awesome!

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    POW: Your imagery is very playful, with most of your paintings take place outside on a field of grass, why is this?

    JIMBOT: I love spending time outside... especially in a grassy field. It's just peaceful! To me, a grassy field is one of the purest forms nature can take. The thing I really love doing is placing my robots in these organic settings. The juxtaposition of the two just fascinates me.... and the idea of making machines part of nature is fantastic.

    jb2IT EATS THE LIGHT by Jimbot

    POW: It seems that you have a reoccurring bio-mechanical theme in your paintings, combining robots with natural elements. What is your reasoning for this? A combination of 2 great loves? A subtle commentary on the current state of consumerism? Or am I just REALLY over-thinking this question?

    JIMBOT: Well, I guess my answer to the above question answers a lot of this, Haha. Like I said, the juxtaposition of the machines to nature is fantastic. A lot of times, when I paint my robots, I picture them experiencing these natural elements for the first time. It's very innocent and child-like. These bots are kind-of like my kids I guess :). Over-thinking it? Well, maybe, but look at all the fun topics you brought up!!!!! Now THAT is a great thing!!!! If I can get my work to bring up discussions like this, then I am a happy gent!

    jb3HAPPY HOME by Jimbot

    POW: Even though your artwork embodies a funky surrealism, are there any personal elements found in your artwork that we should know about?

    JIMBOT: Well, you can know about SOME OF them.... but I don't think I will completely explain them all, Haha. One of the things I love to do with my work, is to put all kinds of hidden things in my work, and wait for people to discover them. The meanings aren't usually apparent (and sometimes you need to have other paintings with them to complete the "equasions"), but it's fun to hear people say what they think it means. If you look at all of my work, you will see the numbers "3", "5", "8", and "0" used. Without getting too much into it, those numbers represent a lot to me! Love, life, events in my life, and they even represent the date I predict I will die! Or do they? What do you think they mean?

    jb_4THE ASSASSINATION OF ZERO by Jimbot

    POW: Your notoriety as an artist has garnered mentions in Juxtapoz and Artbox quite frequently. I also read that your submission won the Paul Frank Art Attack! Contest. With being relatively well known in the art community and having your art showcased in numerous galleries across the years, what would you say is your single most definitive accomplishment as an artist?

    JIMBOT: Well known? I'm not sure about that, haha... but those things were fun to be a part of. I am just happy that people get into my work. The single most definitive accomplishment? Well, at this point it probably has to do with my oldest daughter. She is only 4 now, but she loves working with me in my studio... to the point where she now has claimed a part of my studio as her own (art supplies and all). Recently she was working with me, and showed me this really great piece she was working on. When I told her that I thought she would be a better artist than me someday, it's like I gave her the moon on a platter, Haha. So I guess, getting my daughter so interested in art is probably my greatest accomplishment as an artist.... now I have another, younger, daughter to work on.

    jb5THE LITTLE SHAMAN by Jimbot.

    POW: With paintings, prints, posters, toys, t-shirts, and now wood prints under your belt... what can we expect from the future from Jimbot?

    JIMBOT: MORE TOYS! I'm actually working on my own line of wood toys as I type this! They will be going on sale soon! At this point they are all hand-produced by me, but I hope to grow it bigger! I am a child of the 80's and I love my toys! I've always wanted to have my own toy line, so I decided to make my own. Past that, I am working more and more sculpture into my paintings. There is a lot of fun stuff in the future.... you'll have to just follow up with me to find out. You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram if you want to see sneak peaks of stuff.... and pics of my toy collection, HA!

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    Thank you James, I... uh... I mean my "friend's kid" is looking forward to playing with your robots!

    For more information on James "Jimbot" Demski, please visit his site at: www.jimbot.com

  • APP REVIEW: YOU DOODLE

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    So we've reviewed apps for pictures and drawing, but what about apps that allow you to DRAW on photos!!? (It's ok, I'll give you a minute to let your head stop spinning.) That's right. While some of the apps we've reviewed so far allowed the ability to draw on photographs, it was more of a bundled feature than the entire focus of the app itself.

    This week we've stumbled across You Doodle, an app that shatters modern paradigms and gives you the unrelenting power to... I'm just kidding, it's like MS Paint for your iPhone.

    YD1

    When you first open You Doodle your greeted with a very brief tutorial outlining very basic instructions on navigating through the app itself. This is a great start, especially to an app that offers the ability to add layers, effects, frames, filters, etc.

    I tend to favor this a little bit more than the trial and error method of familiarizing yourself with an app. While it doesn't eliminate it completely, it definitely points you in the right direction.

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    Another thing unique to You Doodle is the built in access to tutorial videos on a wide array of topics, relating to navigating through all the effects and features of the app. The only downside is that these tutorials have no sound or narration. While I can appreciate the brevity of this approach, it makes the whole walkthrough seem a bit empty. I feel like it's more difficult to retain information when I'm memorizing steps, as opposed to a description on how the process actually works.

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    When I started to play with the features in this app, something about You Doodle felt incredibly 90's. A lot of the stock art/images gave off a really strong AOL vibe and felt really dated. I kept conjuring the high pitched screeches of a 50k modem dialing-up in the back of my mind while I was playing with You Doodle.

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    One thing I enjoyed about You Doodle was that it offered segmented frames, allowing you to individually select each section to place additional images, which are automatically masked-out to fit the selected pieces of the frame. This means you don't have to crop each individual image you'd like to use, the app does it for you.

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    After peeking through the frames, I found this lovely 4-square frame and filled it with what appears to be a blue Star Of David pattern to holster my gigantic skull. With three additional empty slots, instead of tormenting you with additional pictures of my pug fugly mug, how about we use three pictures of my "friends" instead?

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    Yup. There we go... just me and a couple of my "buddies". So now that this picture is jam-packed with 4 schlubby studs rocking nappy hair, lets get to the drawing aspect, shall we?

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    What's this? Can't have a "free" app these days without a hidden charge lurking somewhere in the shadows. You Doodle waits for you to play with its features, then when you want to save/work on your picture, it drops the bomb you need to pay $3 to unlock all it's features. While it isn't THAT steep, I already blew all my walkin' money on last week's review, so I'll pass. Lets decline and see what we can make do for free.

    YD8

    Oh c'mon You Doodle, desperation is always unattractive, not to mention you're only reinforcing the AOL comparison. When you decline to pay anything to unlock these low-end features, You Doodle gives you two new options. Pay $2 instead, or annoy all of your friends on Facebook about how awesome You Doodle is.

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    Now that Jeff Soto and his ceramic pig hate me, we can FINALLY start drawing.

    This picture of me and my fellow He-bro's kind of looks like a cheesy album cover... and what's the cheesiest from of music to gain popularity in the past 30 years? If you answered by saying Third Wave Ska, then you're correct. Unfortunately I couldn't think of a ska band name callous enough to highlight what unifies the four of us (besides our luscious locks of hair) so we're going with Hair Metal.

    YD10Oy Vey!

    Every asset placed onto your image has two bright green buttons that let you to scale and rotate your selections. You Doodle also allows the ability to zoom into your image which is slightly more difficult. Zooming requires two fingers on the screen at the SAME time, the slightest delay in coordination results in accidentally drawing on the screen. This became problematic because I spent more time coordinating my fingers and hitting undo than I did with actually drawing.

    After giving our band name an edgy tilt to express our inner rage, I realized our lead singer in the lower right corner isn't looking at the camera. (Come now, we're not an emo band) Let's fix that with a couple of stickers shall we?

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    You Doodle offers "Stamps" to place onto your images. These run the gamut from Flags, to tattoos, to animals, etc. All of which give you the ability to spice up your images (or make your friends look crazy). I prefer the later, so using a couple of strategically placed googly eyes, our curly haired songster now has a creepy stare so intense, it would make Kevin DuBrow proud.

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    While our combined lack of masculinity and tasty pouts are painfully obvious, we all still look like men. This is a huge no-no in the Hair Metal genre, so lets change that with the Pen tool.

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    The Pen Tool allows you to change the fill, width, opacity, and color to your liking. It also offers different drawing effects such as spray paint, chalk lines, and color fills. I know this might just be me, but when I look at the icons, it irks me to see they all look like random stock art images thrown together without cohesion as opposed to a uniform set.

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    When accessing the color picker, I was pleasantly surprised. The settings for some of You Doodle's features are a bit of a jump from the rest of the app itself in terms of design. The UI to adjust the technical aspects of your selected tool feel streamlined and modern, compared to other aspects of the app itself. It's a shame it's almost hidden.

    After getting the hang of the Pen tool, I decided to have at it and attempt to make me and my bandmates look more "glamorous". So how did the cover to our eponymous debut album turn out?

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    Yikes. We look like a bunch of drag-queens with a complete and total disregard for fashion... just like Poison! (Although I have to admit, this picture makes a strong case for me to wear guy-liner.) So how does our Hair Metal album cover look printed on wood?

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    With timeless tracks such as "Goys, Goys, Goys", "Dr. Spielgood", and "Nosh at the Deli", be sure to look for this record in the bargain bin at your local Goodwill!

    So now it's time to figure out whether or not You Doodle was kosher.

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    With all the stamps, frames, effects, and the ability to create online drawing jam sessions with your friends, You Doodle is a fun app. Unfortunately the drawing tools felt a bit clumsy. You Doodle features the pixel dimensions at the top of the screen, and even though my image was 1500 x 1500 in scale, the tiniest pen selection drew with the width and precision of an oversized kindergarten crayon.

    While I liked where they were trying to go with this app, the look and feel of You Doodle is a little hodge-podged, chock full of stock art elements aped straight out of Windows 94. The premise of You Doodle has a lot of promise, but I feel the finished project needed a little polishing. When researching the app itself before beginning my review, I assumed You Doodle would handle like a mix between PicsArt and Pages, but once I got the ball rolling, it felt more like playing with KidPix at the Elementary School computer lab 22 years ago.

    Keeping with that theme, I highly recommend You Doodle to kids or people with children. The features offered in the app itself seem like a fun/clean way to create images to send to Grandma, or print out for school projects. The look and feel of the final images you create in You Doodle seem like they're more suited to produce at home on the family printer, as apposed to any professional form of printing.

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    For more information on You Doodle, please visit: http://youdoodle.net/

  • POP-EYECONIC RECAP

    ch1POP-EYECONIC Opening Night, March 15th, 2014

    Since the release of the first X-Men movie back in 2000, TV and Movie executives have placed some major bets on nerds, nostalgia, and the internet hoping to cultivate a pop-culture apex in the darkest nether regions of our subconscious.

    ch8BOBA by Luke Chueh

    Fast forward 14 years later and all you hear about these days is Gritty-Reboot-This and Saturday-Morning-Cartoon-Turned-Film-Adaptation-That, all sold under the premise of watching Megan Fox run around yoga pants for an hour and a half. (A movie trend I'm TOTALLY cool with!)

    ch3THE YELLOW JEEP PARADE by Nouar

    Oh, they're making a Ninja Turtle movie where they're aliens instead of mutants? Popeye gets all Deepak Chopra and embarks on a spiritual journey to discover the meaning of "I yam what I yam!"? They cast Ben Affleck to play Batman!!?

    ch6WOLFBATMAN by Paul Frank

    While we collectively groan upon hearing that our favorite childhood franchise is getting bastardized and transformed into some lack luster 90 minute commercial to sell happy meals, you know damn well you're still going to go see it!

    ch4POP EYE CON by D*Face

    Why is that? It's because that even though they're fictional characters, by learning their life story in short all-encompassing 30 minute incraments over the years, Pop Culture icons feel like family. (Which reminds me, I haven't called Launchpad McQuack in a while.) 

    ch9THXPD by Carlos Ramos

    I know, that's an incredibly dorky thing to say, but think about how incensed you were when you heard Spike Jonze was making an adaptation of Where The Wild Things Are? (For those of you who actually LIKED that movie... take your Trilby, Toms, and fixe-gear bike and go buy some Pabst Blue Ribbon you neck-bearded freak!)

    ch10BELIEVE by Nate Frizzell

    But alas, there's still hope. While we have lost faith in Movie Studios to treat our nearest and dearest tv-shows / cartoons / comics / videogames with the upmost respect and delicacy, we dorks are still here for each other.

    ch7THE PURRFECT CRIME by SHAG

    Think about it... tickets to Comic-Con are harder to get than tickets to Coachella. Get a bunch of guys together in a room and someone is bound to start quoting Anchorman! Star Wars is so mind numbingly huge, we now have girls pretending to like it on Facebook! (SPOCK IZ TOTEZ MY FAV JEDI! GAWD! IM SUCHA NURD!!!1)

    ch5WE ALL COME TOGETHER IN THE STORY GARDEN by Lola

    This is why we at Prints On Wood decided to make the schlep to West LA and payed a visit to the Corey Helford Gallery. This past Saturday was the opening night for the Pop-Eyeconic group show boasting some of the biggest names in art right now. D*Face, Paul Frank, Ron English, SHAG, even Prints On Wood's very own Lola was showcasing their art at this fine event honoring the imaginary people we know and love.

    ch2UNTITLED by Peter Gronquist

    While we can't be sure whether or not Guardians of the Galaxy won't suck (I'm optimistic), we're confident that our mythical friends are safe in the hands of the great artists featured at this show. Who better to create art commemorating these characters than people like you and me who grew up with them. Best part of all, we made a bunch of new (real) friends while we were there.

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    The Pop-Eyeconic Group Art Show is currently running at the Corey Helford Gallery in Culver City and ends on Friday, March 28th. For more information on this event, and the artists featured, please visit: http://www.coreyhelfordgallery.com/

  • APP REVIEW: PICLAB

    pl1

    Inspiration hits us at the weirdest times... if you're like me, then you feel it right before you go to sleep. Every night you crawl into bed ecstatic about the brand new life you're going to start when the sun rises, and everyday, you sleep through the alarm and drag your feet 45 min late into work while forcing your co-workers to endure the lingering stench of your Del-Taco breakfast burrito. (Sorry Derric)

    That's why people find different ways to inspire themselves throughout the day, such as leaving encouraging post-it notes lying around their cubicle, or creating a phantom Facebook account to keep tabs on all the people they hate. While these methods are fine and dandy, a more popular way to inspire yourself has begun to emerge online. If you've ever spent a sleepless night basking in the warm blue glow of your computer screen, then you've probably found yourself wandering onto a Tumblr chock-full of those corny inspirational internet pictures.

    You know the kind I'm talking about. It's usually a picture of a sunset, the ocean, or a historical landmark underneath a body of text written in two or more different fonts. While these may be just a small step above any online image that reads "KEEP CALM, AND (FILL IN THE BLANK)" in terms of originality, one thing for certain is these images have developed a strong presence online, and more recently, on wood prints. That's why this week I've decided to review PicLab, the app for people who LOVE this kind of schlock, but don't have access to a pirated copy of Photoshop.

    On the surface, PicLab looks like your typical run of the mill Instagram knock-off, but seems to offer additional features that are unique to this app. How different? Well after spending an entire 5 minutes whipping up a mediocre concept for my inspirational wood print, let's find out.

    For this review, I'll be using a picture of myself taken by the incredibly laid back and groovy Jeff Soto when he came in for a signing last year.

    PL2

    Once your image has been selected, you're whisked away to PicLab's primary user interface. You'll notice default text is placed on top of your image, as well as the icons/buttons for it's 4 tools: Text, Overlays, Photo Filters, and Brightness/Color Correction.

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    It should be noted that the base version of PicLab offers about 1/5th of it's features for free, with the option of unlocking the additional Text, Overlay, and Photo Filter features for 99 cents individually, or 1.99 for all three (including the removal of watermarks). After playing with what was available for free, I felt there was enough promise to spend my hard earned $2 on the full app.

    As mentioned, the first feature of the group is the Text tool. I naturally assumed that following the app's prompt spelled out in the default text was the same as clicking the Text tool icon itself. Nope. Double clicking the text allows you to change the copy and color/effects of the text. If you want to change your text's font or opacity, then you click the icon. This turned out to be problematic because I kept clicking on one to access the other like some kind of stooge until I finally remembered what did what.

    PL4

    When adjusting the text, a nifty little grid appears (which I wasn't able to screenshot because I already had too many fingers on the screen to take one) to help keep your image assets aligned/centered. Unfortunately these are more visual guides because your selection doesn't snap to any lines on the grid, so just like me every time I walk into Best Buy and see the cute mexican girl with tattoos working the videogame counter... I had to eyeball it. Adding additional text elements to your image results in an ascending group of numbers on the top left of your screen, allowing you to access each body of text individually.

    PL6

    Now that I've written my inspiring message "Prints On Wood? Snap a photo!" in two of the trendiest hipster fonts, do you feel inspired now? Yeah, me neither. Lets see if drowning this image in a couple of Overlays will make it feel more uplifting.

    At first glance the Pattern overlays seemed coolish. This feature allows you place pre-designed shapes and patterns over your image, but a good majority of them seemed to drown out my picture, so I went with a simple hexagon.

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    Much like Instagram (and 99.9% of every other image editing app), PicLab offers the typical 5-6 lighting filters that range from giving your picture a blue tint to blowing it out with a sepia tone. Other than that, there were a few more fairly untraditional filters that looked kind of artsy-fartsy.

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    PicLab offers one of a kind image effects such as the JJ Abrams effect, the Girlfriend controlling the Thermostat effect, and my personal favorite... the "Johnny Five, Alive!" effect.

    Finally, the Brightness/Color Correction tool was nothing fancy or different, just simple to use and worked as well as it should. So after going through each feature with a fine-tooth comb, how did my final inspirational image turn out?

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    Wow, I definitely feel inspired (to shave). Even though no one asked for it, lets see how these handsome (hairy) devils look printed on wood...

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    Nice! Even though every Prints On Wood print is hand sanded to be smooth to the touch, this picture turned out to be just like my beard.... thick and rugged! On second though, I'll keep it. (Hides my double chin.)

    So what kind of score did PicLab inspire?

    RATE

    One thing I found incredibly frustrating with PicLab was the lack of an Undo button. If you boffed-up and accidentally deleted text or moved something unknowningly, too bad, you have to start all over. Also the separation of text effects between the actual tool and double-tapping the copy written felt completely unnecessary. I know that they we're trying to follow the over simplified theme of most apps these days, but it made that particular feature feel like more of a nuisance than streamlined.

    I was going to give it a solid 2, but the unique collection of beautiful fonts and uncommon overlays/filters made me feel a little guilty. At it's core, PicLab is a very decent/good app, but the theme itself seems to be a little pigeonholed. Inspirational images are fine for Tumblr, Instagram, or Facebook (if you're desperately fishing for likes), but an app solely dedicated to creating them feels a bit superfluous. Especially since you can achieve the same imagery with different (free) apps, which offer more than just creating these types of images.

    Bottom line, if you want to find the shortest distance possible between you and an inspirational image, PicLab is the app for you. If you're interested in doing something a little more creative with your iPhone, keep your $2 and download PicsArt instead.

  • CHOPPING BLOCK: TIFFANY LIU

    Even though I'm a fully grown adult male, I still like to read comic books, play video games, and watch cartoons. All of my friends and peers are worried about getting married or buying houses, meanwhile I'm lounging around my apartment rocking a Rat Fink t-shirt while chugging Vanilla Coke and playing Dark Souls II on Xbox. You want to know what the weirdest part is? I LOVE IT!

    Who wants to settle down and have kids when you're already a big kid? Unfortunately, much to the chagrin of many past relationships, the women in my life can't say the same. Quite the opposite in fact.

    That doesn't necessarily mean that all women hate childhood reminders of simpler times or naive wonderment. Take Tiffany Liu for example, she loves to paint all sorts of cute little characters who look like they rode the train straight off the back cover of the My Little Golden Book series... until you go in for a closer look and realize they crashed into a Baskin Robbins to burn it down. D:

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    TL1

    POW: Your paintings that contain delicious confections make me salivate like a hungry dog. Is that an intentional psychological cue to get people to associate your paintings with their positive primal instincts... or do both of us just really love cupcakes?

    TIFFANY: I'd have to say yes to both questions! Candies and delicious desserts are often themes in my paintings, I take the idea of eye candy pretty literally. Through bubbly colorful hues and fluffy goodness, I attempt to trick viewers into approaching my work with the nostalgia of more innocent days only to realize in the end that things aren't always what they seem and life is not all sugar and sweet and everything nice. That being said, yes, I really love cupcakes!

    TL2CANDYLAND NIBBLE by Tiffany Liu

    POW: Despite all of the adorable imagery contained in your paintings, there seems to be a darker context lurking in the shadows. Do you find that people are more receptive to disturbing themes when the message is candy-coated?

    TIFFANY: Yes, I definitely believe that people are more receptive. I used to work with very straight-forward dark themes that were a bit jarring to say the least. I later developed a different approach after realizing that I didn't need to paint the scariest and most shocking images to get my point across. Though my paintings are often based on fantasy and magic, there is always a catch and there is always something not quite right. I believe its more of a real statement about life. Within happiness there is always an amount of the opposite reaction and where there is beauty there is always a bit of the ugly.

    TL3THE CELEBRATION OF THE MONEY TREE by Tiffany Liu

    POW: The depiction of children (or child-like characters) has a firm presence in all of your work. Are there any strong memories from your childhood that you think might have influenced this?

    TIFFANY: I really respect children for their ability to be non-prejudice and non-judgmental about life. To them, there are no clear cut boundaries of what adults interpret as wrong versus right. They simply are what they are and don't imagine otherwise. These new eyes give them special vision that allows magic to be at its highest and most potent form. I draw children to remind children from all walks of life to remember what magic was and what it still can be if they choose to believe that it is so.

    TL4SEWING MY LITTLE PONY by Tiffany Liu

    POW: Given the substance and style of your work, is there a particular process, ritual, or routine that takes place in order to enter a specific mindset needed for you to paint?

    TIFFANY: A whole lot of daydreaming and thinking happens before any painting is started. I work out a lot of what I want to voice before I even begin to draw. I teach kids to draw on a daily basis so I definitely am inspired by how they work. To them, the process of drawing a picture is simply a movie or show waiting to happen. I like to approach my work the same way, it is how I have fun! I also like to look at all kinds of different things like story books, photography, movies, etc... for more inspiration. The drawing is the phase I use to study and develop characters, compositions and color themes. This process takes me days to weeks before I start a painting.

    TL5KILLERS OF SUGAR SWEET FOREST by Tiffany Liu

    POW: With the upcoming release of your limited edition wood-print, could you tell us how you came to be involved with Prints On Wood, as well as the story behind this painting?

    TIFFANY: I met the founders, Derric and Erin Swinfard of Prints On Wood at the Twice-Told Tales group art show I was taking a part in at Flower-Pepper Gallery. I spent a lot of time talking to them during the show, they were very engaging and really cool people. I was happily surprised to find out they had purchased my piece and even more happy to be asked to contribute to Prints On Wood.

    The piece that will be released is called, "Killers of Sugar Sweet Forest". It is my interpretation of the beloved story of "Hansel and Gretel". I was really excited to work with this theme because I have always been mesmerized by the idea that I could one day walk into a candy house of my own, that I could eat!! I have always loved how Grimm stories could be at once so innocently sweet, but alas, so very grim. However, I didn't want to simply say what had been already said. I wanted the story to be mine, so I changed it a little. In my re-telling of the tale, there is no witch. Instead, the candies and desserts are the monsters and the antagonist that trap the children into a not so nice ending. Right now, sugar is a hot topic and the reason for so many cases of diabetes and obesity world wide. I want my story to not only tell the tale of these two children, but also remind us of what evil is hidden everyday in our lives.

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    TL6

    Prints on Wood's newest artist release, Killers of Sugar Sweet Forest by Tiffany Liu, goes on sale Thursday, March 20th, and and will be limited up to 75 prints. This 11" x 14" print will be offered on our 3/4" bright white wood canvas and will retail for $75.

    For more information on Tiffany Liu, please visit her website at: http://www.tiffanyliu.com/

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