Monday, January 31, 2011

Inhuman | Chapter 04 strip [updated]

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Chapter 4 strip: Corinthean War scene
Chapter 4 strip: Corinthean War scene
Sketched, inked & colored in SAI, retouched in PhotoShop CS4 • Tools: Wacom Bamboo tablet

This is an exposition shot from the very first scene – very first paragraph, even – of Chapter 4: Memories. It turned out a bit more murky-looking than I anticipated, but I suppose that makes it more realistic. I don’t expect civil wars being bastions of clarity and aesthetics, anyway, so art depicting it might as well reflect it. The hardest parts were the flames and (especially) the smoke, which still doesn’t look right. But considering what it started out looking like, it really ain’t so bad.

Changelog: (click the [+/-] to open/close →) []
  1. 03/03/11 2:20 PM ET: Uploaded new version with improved fire and smoke.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Whispers of the Night

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Whispers of the Night
Composed by Joé McKen
Posted: [c. 2009] | Last updated: 01/28/11


(Adobe Flash required for audio player)

This is the last sad/angsty-type song, I swear! (Also, cheesy title is acknowledged.) This is another segment from my 20-minute-long rhapsody that I’ve made into its own song. It isn’t a whole lot technically or creatively, but I like it, so I figure others will, too.

Written & recorded with Sibelius.

Changelog: (click the [+/-] to open/close →) []
  1. 04/18/13 9:14 PM ET: Changed title from ‘Whispers of the Heart’ to the only-slightly-less-embarrassingly-corny ‘Whispers of the Night’.

You are free to use & share my music as long as I am credited as the original creator. Song(s) available upon request.

Request: Gene Burmington | Munchausen’s Theme

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Request from Gene Burmington
Munchausen’s Theme
Composed by Joé McKen
Posted: [c. 2010] | Last updated: 01/27/11


(Adobe Flash required for audio player)

Another little request by my pal Gene Burmington for a school presentation on Munchausen’s Syndrome (a mental illness where sufferers compulsively harm themselves or others [in Munchausen by Proxy] to seek attention from doctors or others). He wanted a 3-minute background theme that loops over and over again, so here’s my shot. I tried to make it somewhat minimalistic, melancholic and slightly creepy; he basically asked for a sort of “creepy nursery” type of feel. I think I did well.

Written & recorded with Sibelius.

You are free to use & share my music as long as I am credited as the original creator. Song(s) available upon request.

Request: Veritas | McGuire is Terrible Theme

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Request from Veritas
McGuire is Terrible Theme
Composed by Joé McKen
Posted: [c. 2010] | Last updated: 01/27/11


(Adobe Flash required for audio player)

A buddy of mine, Veritas (or @VeritasKnight), asked that I whip him up a little theme song for his new hockey podcast, McGuire Is Terrible (an open attempt to spite allegedly terrible commentator Pierre McGuire). This was tricky, technically speaking, being the first piece I ever used more than one program for, but I like how it turned out.

Written & recorded with Sibelius and Guitar Pro, mixed with Audacity.

You are free to use & share my music as long as I am credited as the original creator. Song(s) available upon request.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Faraway

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Faraway
Words & music by Joé McKen
Posted: [c. 2009] | Last updated: 01/26/11


(Adobe Flash required for audio player)

I was stuck with a guitar arpeggio in my mind that just wouldn’t be exorcised, so I used it to build a song, which actually turned into this fine piece.

Song is complete with lyrics, which will be performed by yours truly, as soon as I’m able to properly record them into the audio. (Seriously, I’d need a studio or something. I suck at it.)

Lyrics: (click the [+/-] to open/close →) []

LYRICS

[Verse 1]
The shadows are mounting tonight
Try to pull us apart with their might
Never gonna let you know
Never gonna let you go
I’ve walked those streets at night
Seen the shine of the blue moon on high
Shine with sparkles in the pools of the dawn
Wherever you are, I’ll be drawn to you

[Verse 2]
Race like angels for the light
Look at me with those eyes so bright
Feel the safety in your arms
Why do they wanna rent us apart?
Do you know what you mean to me?
Do you know how you mean to be?
Cross the field and run the line
I promise you we’ll be just fine

[Chorus 1]
Hold it, stop running away
So faraway
Hold, wait, I’m coming along
So faraway
I'm trying to find a way over to you
But you’re faraway
I promise I’ll do whatever I have to
But I'm faraway …

[Bridge 1]
Yeah, yeah, yeah
Follow your heart into my arms …

[Pre-Chorus 2]
Swim with the moon in the river
Catch the wind across the plains
Though the dark will come and blind us
Well find a way to each other again

[Chorus 2]
Wait, stop, I’m trying to find you
So faraway
Wait, please, just give me a chance
You’re so faraway
I’m coming to find you, you know I will
But you’re faraway
Ill fight ’til I die and never stop
Until we’re together again

[Outro]
’Cause I’m faraway!
We’re faraway!
Faraway!
Yeah, yeah, yeah …

Written & recorded with Sibelius and Guitar Pro.

You are free to use & share my music as long as I am credited as the original creator. Song(s) available upon request.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Path to War Soundtrack | And So They Came

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The Path to War Soundtrack
And So They Came
Words & music by Joé McKen
Posted: [c. 2009] | Last updated: 01/25/11


(Adobe Flash required for audio player)

This is part of my soundtrack for my planned novel, The Path to War, which has been on the backburner since my early teen years.

This is a traditional/folk-type song of Noran lore, speaking of the troubles and hardships caused by the Empire and its oppression and destruction. It’s basically about a young boy who sees his homeland destroyed by an Imperial raid, his loved ones lost.

Lyrics may eventually be performed by yours truly.

Lyrics: (click the [+/-] to open/close →) []

LYRICS

[Verse 1]
I used to live in lands of gold
Yet always looking for demon’s call
As my mother used to say,
Be happy, be happy

[Verse 2]
We sought to hide from our enemies
Lived to fear what would come near
My mother said, just to reassure,
Be happy, be happy

[Verse 3]
And so they came from the fields of grey
They burned the lands and tore us down
The day we hid is the day we prayed:
Keep us safe and them away

[Verse 4]
And so she told me,
Be happy, be happy
They came and went in a blurry haze
All was gone and I was lost
In the night, you can see the flames
They took my life and thew away
Look in the eyes of darkness calling
Be happy, be happy

Written & recorded with Sibelius.

You are free to use & share my music as long as I am credited as the original creator. Song(s) available upon request.

The Path to War Soundtrack | Traveling Theme

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The Path to War Soundtrack
Traveling Theme
Composed by Joé McKen
Posted: [c. 2009] | Last updated: 01/25/11


(Adobe Flash required for audio player)

This is part of my soundtrack for my planned novel, The Path to War, which has been on the backburner since my early teen years.

This simple little theme is what would play during traveling or time-lapse sequences, such as when a character is traversing long stretches of terrain and such. Nothing very elaborate here.

Written & recorded with Sibelius.

You are free to use & share my music as long as I am credited as the original creator. Song(s) available upon request.

The Path to War Soundtrack | Melancholy Theme

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The Path to War Soundtrack
Melancholy Theme
Composed by Joé McKen
Posted: [c. 2009] | Last updated: 01/25/11


(Adobe Flash required for audio player)

This is part of my soundtrack for my planned novel, The Path to War, which has been on the backburner since my early teen years.

This is the theme that would play during tense or disquieting moments. It’s not my longest or most complex work, but then, I don’t need or want it to be.

Written & recorded with Sibelius.

You are free to use & share my music as long as I am credited as the original creator. Song(s) available upon request.

The Path to War Soundtrack | Sad Theme

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The Path to War Soundtrack
Sad Theme
Composed by Joé McKen
Posted: [c. 2009] | Last updated: 01/25/11


(Adobe Flash required for audio player)

This is part of my soundtrack for my planned novel, The Path to War, which has been on the backburner since my early teen years.

As the title cryptically points out, this is the motif for more sad, morose or mournful scenes. It used to be only the piano bit, before I added the rest to it to give it more versatility and depth.

Written & recorded with Sibelius.

You are free to use & share my music as long as I am credited as the original creator. Song(s) available upon request.

The Path to War Soundtrack | Liliane’s Theme

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The Path to War Soundtrack
Liliane’s Theme
Composed by Joé McKen
Posted: [c. 2009] | Last updated: 01/25/11


(Adobe Flash required for audio player)

This is part of my soundtrack for my planned novel, The Path to War, which has been on the backburner since my early teen years.

This theme, which represents Liliane Duruisseau, the romantic interest of protagonist James Hania, has got to be the single hardest thing I’ve ever written, in terms of just how bloody long it took me to get it to sound right. Still not perfect, but at least it’s getting there.

Written & recorded with Sibelius.

You are free to use & share my music as long as I am credited as the original creator. Song(s) available upon request.

The Path to War Soundtrack | Rebels Theme

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The Path to War Soundtrack
Rebels Theme
Composed by Joé McKen
Posted: [c. 2009] | Last updated: 01/25/11


(Adobe Flash required for audio player)

This is part of my soundtrack for my planned novel, The Path to War, which has been on the backburner since my early teen years.

This theme represents all the decent people who are kept in oppression by the Empire. The tone of the theme is self-explanatory: This is for the good guys. I considered making this into the main theme for TPtW, but it’s a tad too cheerful to work.

Written & recorded with Sibelius.

You are free to use & share my music as long as I am credited as the original creator. Song(s) available upon request.

The Path to War Soundtrack | Asmodai’s Theme

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The Path to War Soundtrack
Asmodai’s Theme
Composed by Joé McKen
Posted: [c. 2009] | Last updated: 01/25/11


(Adobe Flash required for audio player)

This is part of my soundtrack for my planned novel, The Path to War, which has been on the backburner since my early teen years.

Lord Asmodai, the Emperor of the Land of Norath, is a heartless, egomaniacal, brutal and coldly tactical tyrant who will stop at nothing to get what he wants, regardless of who or what is in the way. (Viva archetypes.) I’ve been working on this theme for a few years now as well, and although not perfect still, it’s coming along quite well, IMO.

Written & recorded with Sibelius.

You are free to use & share my music as long as I am credited as the original creator. Song(s) available upon request.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Inhuman | Back cover illustration [updated]

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I’m on a roll. Here’s another book illustration finished:

Back cover illustration: Sean’s disabled escape pod approaching the Earth
Sketched, inked & colored in SAI, retouched in PhotoShop CS4 • Tools: Wacom Bamboo tablet

Anyone who’s read Chapter 1 will know what’s going on, here … I know the Earth looks a bit crappy, but drawing a realistic pic of an highly complex arrangement of colors and shapes such as our watery, earthy and cloudy planet is surprisingly hair-pull-inducing, so I copped out and just Photoshopped a photo, instead.

Changelog: (click the [+/-] to open/close →) []
  1. 03/03/11 2:20 PM ET: Uploaded new version with improved Earth textures and highlights.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Inhuman | Chapter 1 strip [updated]

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My (eventually, hopefully) published novel will contain a decent number of illustrations, including narrow, “teaser”-like strips at the start of each chapter. Here’s the chapter strip for Chapter 1: Escape and Arrival:

Chapter 1 illustration: NC-R3 Chartraine cruising at nighttime
Chapter 1 illustration: NC-R3 Chartraine cruising at nighttime
Sketched, inked & colored in PaintTool SAI • Tools: Wacom Bamboo tablet

For those interested, here’s a quick little reference of the Chartraine I drew up in MS Paint (it’s crude and just meant as a general guide):

NC-R3 Chartraine (profile)
NC-R3 Chartraine (profile)
Drawn & colored in MS Paint • Tools: Mouse

If the shape looks a little too close to a modern-day cruise ship, I explain that based on A) my own lack of experience and creativity in drawing spaceships, and B) New Corinthean spacecraft are ordinarily designed to be able to withstand a water landing in times of emergency. So, there.

Changelog: (click the [+/-] to open/close →) []
  1. 03/03/11 2:20 PM ET: Uploaded new version with improved lights and contrast.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Inhuman | Rear matter illustration [updated]

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Finally! Finished! (Again!) Here!

Rear matter illustration: Older Aki (40, left) & Sean (49, right) resting lovingly on grass
Rear matter illustration: Older Aki (40, left) & Sean (49, right) resting lovingly on grass
[full size (1173×673)]
Sketched, inked and colored in PaintTool SAI, finished in Photoshop CS4 • Tools: Wacom Bamboo tablet

Over a week’s toiling and countless restarts later, I’ve finally finished the revised and redrawn version of the illustration. Changes include colored linework, improved shading, more realistic grass (or so I hope), and any number of tiny edits. Compare it with the old one to see what’s been changed.

Now, I want more feedback, dangit! (Extra-pretty please?)

Changelog: (click the [+/-] to open/close →) []
  1. 03/03/11 2:20 PM ET: Uploaded new version with slightly improved highlights.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Inhuman | Rear matter illustration [old]

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Finally! Finished! Here!

Rear matter illustration: Older Aki (40, left) & Sean (49, right) lying comfortably on grass
Rear matter illustration: Older Aki (40, left) & Sean (49, right) lying comfortably on grass
[full size (1178×683)]
Sketched and colored in PaintTool SAI, finished in Photoshop CS4. Tools: Wacom Bamboo tablet.

I know, it’s still riddled with issues (the amateurish shading, uneven inking, crappy greying hair & fur effects, transparently Photoshop-esque grass … to name a few), but screw it, I’ve spent over 40 hours or so in total on this thing, including two entire nights.

Now, I want feedback, dangit! (Pretty please?)

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Inhuman | Older Sean and Aki lying in grass (WIP)

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Here’s the current draft for an illustration for my novel, Inhuman. Pictured are main characters Aki (left) and Sean (right), now 40 and 49 respectively, lying peacefully in the grass. Many changes to come still, but overall, considering this started out as a throwaway sketch, I think it’s surprisingly decent. (Also, I am now reasonably convinced that hair is the child of the devil invented to drive artists insane.)

[Work in progress] Older Aki (40) and Sean (49) lying in grass (draft)
[full size (1263×657)]

Feedback and criticism is welcome.