“Imagined Spaces” art opening on Saturday!

I will be having an art opening Saturday, October 27, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Art Association of Oswego. The exhibit will feature art by both me and my mother Cynthia Jerred of Artistree and Countrybuzzins. Hope to see you there! We will feature mixed media sculpture, paintings, drawings, digital prints, Allfield comics and card game artwork, and more.

First Flash
First Flash
Sculpture

Prepare your line art for painting in Photoshop

Here is a video explaining how I set up my line art files in photoshop for painting, why I set them up that way, and other ways artists commonly set up their files. Hope you find it helpful! Let me know what you think.

Woodcut block printing for Kickstarter bonus reward

Test woodcut block print design
Test woodblock design added to wood using black ink

Spontaneous experiment for fun

One of the bonus options for the February Kickstarter will be woodcut print cards. The cards will be from an in-story game called Dok. Dok is the Allfield word for the struggle of good and evil as well as the name of the little card game. It was fun making cards for a game that only exists in a fictional world.

Start with wood

I grabbed some planks of wood and measured some long and narrow card areas. Using a pencil, I filled in a design which I then went over with black ink. That way, I could see it clearly while I hacked away with it with whatever carving tools I could find in the garage studio.

Wood shavings

Printing a few sheets

I made a few rounds of thick handmade paper to print on. Unfortunately, they turned out looking like bacon. My paper was so lumpy I decided to go with regular watercolor paper and let the designs and prints be rustic looking.

My first few sheets came out too ghosty and there was interesting texture. But the ink was not layed on right and too many areas didn’t show up. So I remixed inks for the next round with a better, even consistency. Black also came out as my favorite color ink to use.

Test print a woodcut block print sheet
Test printing woodblock prints (too light) on sheets of watercolor paper using different mixtures of ink and paint.

Cutting and waxing the woodcut cards

In my excitement I forgot to stain and age the cards after I cut them. I could have done it before I polished them with candle wax, but I forgot then too. Browning the paper a bit would have been great for the test, but at least I was pretty happy with the waxing stage. The cards felt smooth and interesting to hold, and no longer seemed just like paper.

Waxed woodcut block prints
After cutting sample prints, card corners are rounded and cards are hand polished with wax. Next round, darker ink and applying an aging stain before the wax polish.

As I get closer to finishing round two of the printing process, I will post official pictures of the final products. I can’t wait to show them.

Charity game convention this weekend in Queensbury, NY

I’ll be set up at the Adirondacon Tabletop Gaming Convention in Queensbury, NY this weekend with copies of my Allfield Preview Decks. You’ll be able to pick one up for ten bucks, learn how to play, and we’ll be playing if you want to join. I’ll be making drawings while I’m there, plus I’ll have some giveaway items and printed directions.

This event is a gaming event so people can come play all sorts of tabletop board and card games here. There will even be tournaments, raffles, and more for a good cause.

This will be at the Aviation Mall at 578 Aviation Rd, Queensbury, NY 12804 at the Party Palace near the entrance. The hours are 10 to 10 on Saturday, and 11 to 6 on Sunday. If you’re in the area and thinking of coming, let me know so I make sure I’m at my table when you come!

This and other upcoming events are on my calendar right here.

For more information on Adirondacon you can click here.

Appa yip yip (Puppy, get off my stuff)

Appa is a two year old Havanese puppy (our kids named her after the flying bison in Avatar: The Last Airbender cartoon, the best cartoon ever.) Lately she has to be wherever I am. She is the first small dog we ever had. Sometimes acts as though she’s part cat.

I have a little area in the sun room to draw in. I’m sorting out pages while I’m drawing and spreading out on the floor a bit, making a little mess.

pages of Allfield
spreading out pages trying to reorganize

Appa found my drawings and thought it was a great bed. It was funny and cute for like two seconds. But I was sitting there actively sorting them when she came in and plopped down. Then she started rolling on them and digging them like she was settling down for the night. I didn’t take any more photos because the room immediately turned into flying papers, ripped papers, and chaos.

Time to set up a temporary table!

One young fan liked Allfield cards so much he made his own

One of the greatest things about this project is when it triggers another’s imagination. One young fan liked Allfield so much he started making his own characters and animals and monsters.

These drawings are outstanding, and I wanted to share them online.

Allfield Fan Art
Amazing color Allfield fan art drawings
Allfield Fan Art
Amazing Allfield fan art drawings
Allfield Fan Art
Amazing color Fan Art Drawings

While going over these drawings it only seemed natural that I tried to adapt some of these characters to the comic’s drawing style and even include these into an official deck as a sign of appreciation and gratitude.

Here is an example of how I turned a design into an official card drawing:

And finally with color and put into a card format:

Adapted Allfield Card
Adapting fan design into Allfield card design.

As I get ready for a new school year, it is an incredible privilege to stop and enjoy and share moments like these with children’s imaginative artwork.

About the Allfield Game

Over the years I’ve taught students from pre-k up through college. I have been fortunate to work with and watch thousands of people interact in a classroom from age 3 to 88 years old. I found they all share a common need-they needed to be heard and listened to.

Students need practice talking, listening, taking turns, and working together in a structured format. This is especially important for younger students and frustrated students. Therefore I wanted to make a game that addressed these ideas, and have it be all-age friendly. I created a tabletop-card game – a super simple storytelling rpg, which mimics how kids play pretend, but has enough structure to balance all players’ voices.

I hope you get a chance to enjoy the game, and maybe even emulate this young artist and create your own. Feel free to send me any of your thoughts or drawings.

New Allfield Game Video Demos

Gane Za-Ked Allfield Game character from video demo

Here are some video demos setting up a game of Allfield and now actually playing a sample round. These videos, along with the free print and play, full directions, and limited print preview decks, you have everything you need to get rolling. 

Video 1: Setting up a Game quickly

Video 2: One round of gameplay

Print and play | Online Directions

On this page you can get one of the limited preview decks designed for testers and reviewers. You can use the contact page to send me game feedback and see how you can further be a part of Allfield world. As I get more Allfield videos, or players publish their adventures online, I will feature them on my YT channel.

Power in numbers: Student-led video game design in elementary school art class

Title screen of Island Adventure
Here is a screenshot of the game loading up on a Chromebook.

Multi-grade art project for students

Mr. Jerred wanted to have students create a massive video game project together. So he organized and facilitated a crazy experiment at school this year. All Lanigan 3rd through 6th grade students completed all ideas, maps, 3D height maps, artwork, music, animation, sounds, and testing.

The beta version of the game, called “Island Adventure,” is online now. We created it using the Unity3D engine. As students playtest the game and give written feedback, we will update and improve the game.

Looking to ideas for next year

Next year, during the 2018/2019 school year, Mr. Jerred will begin teaching C# coding so students can build their own games in Unity3D, with possible 3D design and animation in Blender software. During the development of this project many students have come forward and expressed an interest in learning how to create their own games. Students have a foundation of the concepts of coding through programs like Hour of Code and code.org which they participate in as part of their library and media classes.

Hoping to connect with other teachers

Mr. Jerred will also be reflecting on the overall feedback and results of the project to better streamline, organize, and facilitate the project next year. Part of this includes the idea of working with ongoing class subjects and school inititiatives-for example, a virtual Pyramid, an ancient Greek city, an American pioneer town, social stories for students with behavior plans, or PBIS welcome tour of our school.

How students worked together: Lots of little jobs, one big vision.

Animator demonstration
4th grade student demonstrates his ability to create stop motion animation for Island Adventure video game

Hundreds of students came up with ideas, which we voted on. They voted on  ideas in categories such as genre of game, characters, settings, and gameplay options. The results recombined and reincorporated several people’s ideas so a brand new game emerged from this project that no one student came up with.

Game Job lists
Students chose from a huge list of jobs that needed to be completed for the video game project Island Adventure

Next, students had to pick from hundreds of jobs that needed to be done-all of which were focused tasks. For example, a fourth grader wrote the introductory story based on the ideas voted on by the classes. Another example involved the flags in the game. Flags posted outside each building level serve as spawn points after completing a level. Therefore, ten flags had to be designed.

Game Mapping in class
Four artists work together to map out dungeon escape levels for Island Adventure video game
Concept artists
Concept artists use a variety of methods to brainstorm designs for game, including using ideas from existing architecture.
Production Art Sample
Here is a small sample of the artwork created by students for the game Island Adventure

Some students also chose “Project Manager” jobs, which involved a range of responsibilities which were largely self-driven. Managers mainly chose to help or encourage groups and students who were off-task or having difficulty. They also kept groups whose ideas were straying from the overall vision. Project managers also mapped the whole massive island and came up with the names of the geography.

Students creating sound effects
Students work alone and in groups using mp3recorderonline’s website to make various sound effects for the Island Adventure video game.
Mapping the world
Project managers also had to brainstorm names for the sprawling landscape of the Overworld island in the game.
Musicians at work
Musicians ventured down to the music room to collaborate and record pivotal parts of the Island Adventure video game score using actual instruments.

Artists painted and drew on paper, which we digitized using the old document camera in the art room. Our photographers searched high and low for textures to also use in the game. Students cut up and created stop motion animations of player character movements which are featured in the game.

Game writers
Game writers and cheat code planners are working hard with old fashioned paper and pencil based on ideas voted by the whole group.
Stormy sky painters
Island Adventure’s sky changes depending on time, and that includes random storms, so artists are busy painting stormy skies.

Sound and music

Students used microphones on their laptops, chromebooks and ipads to record sound effects and voice overs using GarageBand as well as mp3recorderonline’s website. For music, some students recorded their voices or played instruments, while some used digital instruments in GarageBand.

Wonderful resources

We shared our files via google Drive into a central location so Mr. Jerred could assemble all the pieces together in Unity. Mr. Jerred used Photoshop, Audacity, and Unity to put all the student pieces together. The HELPDESK at Fulton City School District was extremely helpful in providing access to great software and allowing us unblocked online testing of our game.

It’s called “Island Adventure”

In this game, you choose a character and find 10 buildings on the island. Within each, you need to locate a key before you can leave again. When you have 10 keys, you can unlock the huge gate in front of Creeky Lake near Watch Town. Behind the gate is a boat that you can use to escape and win the game. This is the earliest version of the game, so please write down any things you notice that need to be fixed at send them to Mr. Jerred at Lanigan. Thank you and I hope you enjoy the student’s hard work on this crazy game!

Try to beat it yourself, right now!

Click here – the game is online and playable here in your browser (not yet playable on mobile devices).

If you have any comments, questions, feedback, for if you’ve found a bug or glitch you want to report for the first big update, let me know!

Allfield Soundtrack Cover Art

Here is the album cover artwork for the newly-finished Allfield Soundtrack by Bert Jerred. It is from an early scene in The Girl in the Jar, part 1 of my series. Hope you enjoy it!

Allfield Soundtrack by Bert Jerred Cover Art

Track Listing (May change on release)…

  1. The Everthought
  2. Song of Ksmeth
  3. Lada’s Theme
  4. Main Adventure Theme
  5. Syet Village
  6. Noro
  7. The Fussit Brothers
  8. Orina (Where the World Began)
  9. The Jars
  10. Desperate Seekers
  11. Dowluk Parade
  12. The Wastelands
  13. Bonigan Pass (Friendship Theme)
  14. A Different Lada
  15. BONUS TRACK: The Observatories
  16. BONUS TRACK: Find Me In the Gipp Grass

Listen to a Preview of Allfield: The Girl in the Jar Music Soundtrack

Digital music production
Bert showing me a bit of his latest processes and thoughts as he reviews some soundtrack titles

I’ve always loved the immersion of fictional worlds, whether I’m reading great books or seeing imaginary stories being brought to life on screen. This is why I’m still working on Allfield-an idea I’ve been kicking around since I was tiny. And a music soundtrack is a large component of stirring the imagination and emotion and creating an imaginary world in one’s head.

Amazing technology allows ordinary people like me the ability to use tools and software which in the past were reserved only for big budget corporations. Now making music, video games, film and animation is possible for anyone with access to off-the-shelf computers and the internet. These behind-the-scenes posts will explore my experience getting the opportunity to play and build worlds of narrative artwork using these unbelievable tools.

Soundscape

I have always thought of Allfield as an umbrella of different, related things – a kind of creative project engine. Programming games-to play and for pre-visualization of artwork and animation-was what I wanted. In my vision I saw  cards, animation, and books. Today, there are many more branches of “what could be” in this project. But one thing is for certain-music is a vital component of transporting people to other imaginary places. And even more certain-I knew who had to create it.

I know a guy

My brother has been creating a huge catalog of an amazing variety of music for years and years. His music has been downloaded hundreds of thousands of times, and has been used on television in things like National Geographic, Brain Games, CNN and ThinkGeek to name a few. He is an educator and has a diverse set of projects and interests.

Here you can learn about and subscribe to his podcast about synth music!

For more information, his main website is bertjerred.dx.am, jamendo – here, archive.org – here, soundcloud – here, and if you search him on youtube you’ll see a zillion people making crazy videos with his music. While music is not his full time career, it is something he loves to do which shows in all of his work.

Touring the studio

So I wanted to share a glimpse into an amazing home studio Bert Jerred has been using for over 20 years. During that time he has been honing his approach and his tools. This guy constructed each piece of his studio from various computers and machines, and the wealth of (to me- overwhelming) array of software tools available.

Keyboard and Mic
Here’s a mix of modern with the kind of keyboard I remember from being a kid.

Between computers and microphones and synthesizers are records, guitars, basses, drums, and many other traditional instruments. Occasionally there are things I don’t recognize which could be the inside of a tablet or a time machine, I would not know.

Little piece of tech
I think this is a computer, but I have no idea!
Shelf
Books, instruments, records, and walls covered with pastel-chalk murals.

Creating the soundtrack

While he definitely has a few kinds of software he is using now, Bert doesn’t seem entrenched in any brand for its own sake, rather he has a fluid and adaptable approach. Fun, functionality, sound, and efficiency seem to be important aspects of his workflow-both in the music and what is happening under the hood of the tech.

Screen
Sequences of music composed into songs!

Bert uses a balance of purely-digital tools and live recordings, until its mixed and the distinctions are seamlessly blended together. Its a one man operation that sounds like a studio full of musicians.

Listen to some clips here!

Here are just a couple of short clips to songs from the soundtrack:

Lada’s Theme (30 second preview clip)

Song of Ksmeth (30 second preview clip)

Orina (30 second preview clip)

Hope you enjoyed this – let me know what you think and please share. Soon the full graphic novel, the full Allfield card game, and the entire music soundtrack will be available for supporting on Kickstarter.