Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Kiowa Linux and Free Comics!

My cartooning friend and colleague, Polly Keener, sent me a few photos from the Free Comic Book Day event we attended this past May 5th.

Although it was a rather gray and rainy day, the weather didn't get in the way of lots of comics fans turning out. Not only did Polly and I draw a lot of cartoons and sign many a cartoon reprint, I had the opportunity to talk about Kiowa Linux.

I brought along my Kiowa Linux Laptop and set it up to display a slide show of all my cartoons (and Polly's). I used DigiKam to create the slide show. It's a terrific photo management program and worked equally well when I imported all my cartoons.

I have to tell ya, folks were really impressed with Kiowa Linux! When the Operating system was in action, the first thing they asked was, "What is this? Is it Windows? " Their own question cast doubt about it being Windows because they could see that Kiowa was doing things a bit differently from Windows. It looked cleaner. It looked cool. They also noticed that there was a greater stability, a familiar interface, ease of use, and lot less strain on system resources. Applications booted quickly! When I showed all the features of multiple desktops, free software (OpenOffice, Gimp, etc.), full customization, and other goodies, many commented that they wanted to toss their Windows system and get Linux ASAP!

In the above photo, I'm demonstrating The Gimp and how I use it to help create my cartoon features. (The laptop's display in these photos looks darker than it actually is. A photographic problem with lighting in the room) The Gimp is really a terrific application. I met a lot of parents who wanted to know what sort of graphics application they should buy for their son or daughter. These kids usually attend these events with their sketchpad to show me the cartoons they've created. They want to take the next step and get their cartoons into the computer so they can work on them digitally. That's when I pulled the laptop front and center to show them Gimp. Gimp comes with every Linux distro and does everything PhotoShop does and the cost is...FREE! The simple solution is to grab that old Windows box that no longer works due to virus infection, download Linux, and do a complete install. You wipe out Windows and you gain Linux security, Gimp and other terrific apps. And for the family on a budgt, this is a perfect solution. You can also buy a system pre-installed with Linux. Either way, you get cutting edge technology to do everything that Windows and Mac do. but the price is much more agreeable.

Get Linux and get creative.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

'Ol Blue Eyes and Gimp

I've always been a huge Frank Sinatra fan! I've got too many Sinatra CDs to count and my Cell Phone's MP3 area is loaded with Sinatra hits like "The Coffee Song", "I Love Paris", "Saturday Night is the Loneliest Night of the Week" and many others. Heck, my cell phone's ring tone is "Can I Steal a Little Love."

So, during the entire month of May, Turner Classic Movies is saluting the man and his music. This is why I've embedded the widget above. It'll give you some great vocal performances by Sinatra and allow me to segue into a Linux subject for this post.(By the way, check out the duet with Bing Crosby from The film High Society.)

A couple of weeks ago, a sales rep came into the office and remarked that his wife was taking a continuing education class on digital photo editing. The class was working in PhotoShop and he asked me to recommend a comparable program. I immediately downloaded The Gimp, burned it to disk and handed it to him to give to wife. She was delighted! Not only can she edit all the instructor's PhotoShop files, but the tools, look and feel are quite similar.

I explained that Gimp comes standard with just about every Linux distribution.

Well, the current assignment the class appears to be working on is adding color to a black and white photo.

The Sales Rep's wife has been having a bit of a problem understanding some of the concepts, so I colored in a file to show how Gimp handles this task.

I downloaded a B&W Sinatra photo from

Basically, all you're doing is creating new transparent layers on top of the original layer. You add color to specific areas of these new layers and then simply toggle the layer's atributes to create an overlay that blends into the orignal B&W photo.

By playing with the attributes setting and adjusting the opacity of the layer, you can create a realistic color photo effect as I've done with the Sinatra photo.

You can even copy layers, change the color on those layers, and try out different looks.

Gimp is easy to use, incredibly powerful and FREE! It comes free with Linux and it's free to download for your Windows or mac sytem.

But why stop at just getting Gimp? Get Linux and experience some of the most powerful and wonderful software available today!