Jacob Blade Vigilante series gets a face lift in 2020
Fans of the half-breed vigilante Jacob Blade are in for a treat in 2020. Thanks to the creative ingenuity of renown publicist Nick Wale and the fantastic art of Kevin Diamond, the entire series is being reissued this year with a new and exciting cover that’s sure to appeal to fans of the ‘shoot ‘em up’ western genre.
Jacob Blade was a simple farm boy living with his mother and father in Indian Territory until he came home from a trip to local markets one day and found his parents slaughtered by a group of itinerant outlaws. With his dying breath, Jacob’s father asked him to avenge their deaths, a task that he took on with relish. In the course of his quest, he discovered that there was a lot of evil infecting the western frontier, evil that he determined to help eliminate, one dead outlaw at a time.
This is just one of several series that I currently write, and is second only to the Deputy U.S. Marshal Bass Reeves in the joy it gives me to write.
The new covers give a sense of continuity to the series, and, in my humble opinion, illustrates the protagonist most effectively. I sincerely hope that readers will find them as attractive—and seductive—as I do, and welcome any comments. In the meantime, I’m currently working on another Jacob Blade adventure, with Jacob coming to the rescue of a small community of settlers in Nebraska who are being tormented by a greed rancher who wants to take their land. Keep an eye out for Sins of the Father, coming soon to Amazon.
Review of ‘Basic Cartooning’
If you like doodling and drawing cartoons, you might benefit from some basic instructions. Basic Cartooning by Maury Aaseng, follows the methods developed 90 years ago by artist, Walter Foster, at his home in Laguna Beach, California. It begins with materials and moves on to the basic shapes needed to make cartoons. Included is information on using digital techniques, not available during Foster’s time, and the process for developing panels and strips.
As useful as it is for beginners, I also found it a good refresher myself, to build on the techniques I developed during my time as a newspaper editorial cartoonist in the 1970s. This one is a must for your art reference library.
I’ve had this book in my own reference library for quite some time. Lately, I’ve been dabbling in my studio, working on some humorous illustrations for my books, and I came across it. I realized that I’d never reviewed this one, and decided it would be useful for budding artists out there to know about.
I give it five stars.
Pocket journal with ‘Buffalo Soldier’ photo on front cover and ‘Writer’ cartoon on back cover
Cover Reveal – Buffalo Soldier: Range War
The tenth book in my Buffalo Soldier series, Range War will launch soon. I’d like to share the cover I’ve chosen for this volume, which is the story of Ninth Cavalry Sergeant Ben Carter and his special detachment. They are caught in the middle of a dispute between cattlemen and sheep ranchers – with a gang of hired gunmen to complicate the mix.
There were a few other designs considered (see below), but I thought the stark, simplicity of the one above best illustrated the story.
Review of ‘Hidden in Plain Sight’
As an aspiring artist growing up in the 40s and 50s, I was, like many artists of that period, greatly influenced by Norman Rockwell. Despite the fact that the Saturday Evening Post, which regularly featured Rockwell covers, had a policy of only showing people of color in menial roles, other than Ebony and National Geographic, there was little else being published that an artist could look to for inspiration.
As an artist, though, I am probably more observant than the average person, and I’m aware that Rockwell on occasion had people of color, African-American, Native American, or Asian, in his paintings. I wasn’t aware that he was thought of as a painter of a ‘white’ America – but, I was looking into his paintings, not just at them.
You can imagine, then, how surprised I was to receive a free copy of Jane Ellen Petrick’s Hidden in Plain Sight: The Other People in Normal Rockwell’s Paintings. This compelling account of Rockwell’s career, viewed from the perspective of the models he used for his work, exposed a side of the artist I had never been aware of. Petrick has clearly done her research, adding an invaluable dimension to our knowledge of one of America’s artistic icons. Knowing his views on civil rights and equality makes me appreciate his work all the more, and his battles with ‘the suits’ who make editorial decisions makes the battles most of us freelancers fight pale by comparison
My only complaint about this wonderful volume is that it didn’t contain more Rockwell illustrations.
Art: Buffalo Soldiers at Yosemite
My next ‘Buffalo Soldier‘ novel will be about the Buffalo Soldiers at Yosemite; only, instead of being about them patrolling Yosemite after it was designated a national park, this will be a fictionalized story of Ben Carter and his men escorting the naturalists who mapped the place prior to the designation.
Given that the cavalry often accompanied railroad and other survey teams, this is well within the realm of possibility. At any rate, below are two paintings – or actually, two versions of the same painting – that I’m considering for the cover. Comments welcome.
Another Place to Showcase Your Photography
I like having the opportunity to occasionally showcase my meager photographic talents here on my blog in response to the daily and weekly prompts. My pictures can also be seen at Flickr.com or my other blog http://charlesaray.blogspot.com. I recently found, though, a site that beats them all when it comes to being a venue to show off your talent behind the lens. Viewbug.com is a site for amateur and professional photographers alike, as you can see from my wall, that not only allows you to display your work, but offer it for sale (provided you own all rights) and there are a ton of contests to enter for some amazing prizes.
If you have tons of photos burning holes in your digital files, go on over to Viewbug.com and sign up. You could start being noticed today.