Zoom into 8-bit Cosmos!
Sci-Fi tales of computer technology by Joe Lacey
Buy at BARNES & NOBLE and AMAZON
Get ready for an adventure beyond your wildest imagination!
You have questions. Outer space has the answers! Modern-day social media and AI technology are brought to life in the Sci-Fi tales of 8-bit Cosmos. For we all know, without fiction, there would be no science.
Transport yourself to a mind-blowing universe of cosmic computers and amazing aliens!
Illustrated in classic 8-bit pixel art!
• Cheer for Captain J. Peg as he defends the 8-bit Cosmos with his Galactic Interstellar Fleet!
• Cringe in terror as the evil robotic zombie Botnet seeks to destroy the 8-bit Cosmos!
• Relax at the Space Bar, groove to the wild wavy sounds of the Funkisites, and party with a dancing banana!
• Journey to alien worlds to see the future of social media, crypto banking, AI art, and chatbots!
With 90 pages of amazing B&W pixel illustrations and imaginative stories, 8-bit Cosmos is a must-read for anyone who loves science fiction and the unbelievable history of computers.
Written and illustrated by
Demetrius P. Idle, PNG/UFO
(Planetary Nebula Guide / United Future Oddballs)
A MESSAGE FROM THE AUTHOR
I made my first book, 8-bit Kingdom: Medieval tales of computer technology because of my love of classic arcade games of the 80s and my interest in mythology and folklore. When I completed the book, I knew I wanted to do another that would take place in outer space. Two years later, 8-bit Cosmos: Sci-Fi tales of computer technology was completed! This book explores more deeply our modern-day social media and technological advancements (or setbacks depending on how you look at them.) It's also quite sarcastic and funny. If you've spent any time on social media, or interacted with an AI chatbot, I think you'll enjoy this book. Believe it or not, I drew all the art by hand using a computer, but without the use any AI technology. Amazing, I know.
There's something joyful in those little jagged edges and square circles moving around the screen. They have an innocence and are loaded with personality and often humor. When writing and illustrating 8-bit Cosmos, I strove to bring this personality and humor to each page.
I made the art board 160 x 160 pixels in order to preserve that classic arcade feel. It’s impressive just how much character and emotion can be expressed in even the smallest pixel art image. A great amount of information can be delivered just a few pixels. Thirty pixels can depict a heroic fighter or cowardly person. It all depends upon the exact placement of the pixels. A pixel placed high - the character is happy, a pixel placed low - the character is angry. The idea of simple pixel art is actually an oxymoron. It can can be quite a challenge placing the correct pixel in the correct location to achieve the correct effect.
So, zoom into the 8-bit Cosmos! A collection of tales that blend retro gaming, personal computing, and social media all illustrated in classic 8-bit b&w pixel art!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Monster Mix-Ups was the second of two rubbing plate creativity kits I worked on for Crayola. It's identical to another kit of theirs that I designed two years earlier – Create-A-Critter, but this time with monster-themed plates and new toy colors.
The design of product components (stickers, stamps, rubbing plates,) and packaging for the Crayola Creative Development kits was the responsibility of Crayola Art Director Kathy Buckley. Kathy and I had known each other from college and working with her on these types of projects was always fun.
I submitted twelve different characters knowing that ten would be chosen. I kind of think of it like The Gong Show. I send my wacky characters out to be judged and someone's gonna get "gonged!". This time, the cheerleader and the gravedigger got the mallet. I wanted this Halloween theme to be done with a lot of humor. Kathy recalls, "I didn't have to tell Joe that Frankenstein should be holding a skateboard (and honestly it wouldn't have occurred to me to do so), but Frankenstein showed up holding a skateboard. A mummy tied up with a gift tag warning not to open before Christmas? Yes, please. Joe delivered so much more than what we asked and that is why we kept asking him to deliver more.”
It's pretty impressive that a kid could actually make 1,000 "scary ghouls." I haven't done the math, but I'll take Crayola's word for it.
I no longer have the original line art used to make the plastic rubbing plates. If they weren't returned to me, they have most likely been destroyed. Luckily, the side panels of the box have small, but very crisp, reproductions of each character. This was back when I would do the final inkings on graphics paper and markers. Later, I typically used a brush and ink on this type of project to get crisper lines. Today it's almost always computerized vector art. They both have their pros and cons.
I get a kick of seeing these drawings molded on to plastic plates. I often illustrated stickers that would be applied to a toy, but when the illustrations are the toys – well, that's even cooler! The combination of bright lime green, orange, and purple was a popular color scheme of the early 90s.
The illustration for the back of the box turned into a fun and creative way to show the step-by-step instructions. Kathy Buckley drew a very precise layout for me to follow. This was all pre-computer, so precision was important, and this illustration was going to get a lot of text wrapped around it.
Following her design I drew a tight pencil version at 100% size. I used photocopies of the three characters shown as "works of art." I lightly transferred the sketch to a piece of bristol board using graphite paper. The drawing was covered with a plastic film which was cut with an X-Atco knife, revealing only the background. I airbrushed the background purple and sprayed black for the drop shadows, both with acrylic paint. I then cut new film to cover everything except the red boxes, which were also sprayed with acrylic paint. The rest of the painting was completed with gouache. I used colored pencils to give a crayon look to the three finished pictures in the lower right corner.
I primarily worked on content and less on packaging. This always frustrated me, but it does make sense from a product line point of view. Typically, the same artist will work on the same parts of a product line. I got to design and illustrate the toy's art, while another artist illustrated the box covers. I was often given the job of illustrating the backs of the boxes, but I always approached them with the same enthusiasm as if they were the covers.
The sides of the box featured six crayon-colored "mixed-up" monsters as well as the B&W line art.
Trick or Treat 365 Coloring Book
• 64 Silly-Spooky Coloring Pages
• Halloween Sticker Sheet
• Metallic Foil Enhanced Cover!
From the back of the book: Who says it has to be October 31st to enjoy the spooky fun of Halloween? Join the all-year celebration with a ghoulish cast of madcap monsters who just want their mummy. 64 pages. Ages 3+
The holidays are here and we're kicking them off with this really cool coloring book from Crayola! Trick or Treat 365 started off with a brainstorming session over the phone with the creative director at Crayola. "What would the Halloween monsters do when it's NOT Halloween? What if they lived next door to you and me?" These are monsters that have the same life experiences as you and I.
• The Wolfman has a bad hair day...
• When Frankenstein isn't mowing the lawn–he's taking selfies...
• The Mummy has laundry to iron...
• The Skeleton is pumping up at the gym so he can look buff...
• Drac is moonbathing at the beach!
Did I mention that the swamp monster has to take swimming lessons in the baby pool? Well, he does! And you're not the only one who finds this funny! Look for "the laughing ghost" who pops up throughout the book. He thinks all of this is a scream!
The book also has mazes, dot-to-dots, puzzles, and a full color sparkly effect sticker sheet. The pages are perforated for easy removal.
by Joe Lacey