The Aphelion Arc

An Illustrated Anthology Series 
A collection of original stories in science fiction and fantasy, skillfully written and beautifully illustrated.

Adam's Eve Trailer

Check out the preview trailer for the new tale, Adam's Eve on the new website, currently under construction.

NOTICE: The Aphelion Arc website is under construction, but is accepting visitors. Stop by and catch a glimpse of what's in the works.  

Use the lower left button array on the StorIes page to navigate between issues.

Sample pages from the magazine (Click on image for larger view)
A tear sheet from this issue's NERD'S APPENDIX (Click on image for larger view)
BACK COVER listing some of the upcoming stories (Click on image for larger view)

A panel from story, "On Target." The moment of epiphany for a medical research scientist pursuing the cure to a devastating plague that is ravaging the land.
(click on image for larger view)

Fig. i (click on image for larger view)
  Fig. ii Pristine, it's not (click image for larger view).

The Illustration of Story Portal and STORIES link page added a used feel to the 
retro-future look I was going for.

It takes a lot of time and hard, focused work preparing these things for the web. Not only do they need to look good, they also need to function. The Buttons and lights, in particular were challenging.
Fig. iv The Cathode Ray Tube (CRT)

Making the CRT Screen

So much of what I do in art is on the board, using pencils, pens and ink. But, for much of my web page design work, I rely almost exclusively on computer-assisted methods. After all, these mechanisms are just tools, like pencils and pens. Also, I feel compelled to mention at this point that I am not going to get into every detail here. This is not an Adobe Photoshop® tutorial. I want to share the creative process in this venue, not the technical. 

Okay... so here we go...
I began, simply enough [Fig. v], with a circle.  I wanted to make it large enough to make it easy to work with, and to be useful as a CRT. 

Fig. v

This device was inspired by our family's first television set back in the early 1950s. We were the only family in the neighborhood without a television. I was about four years old when our family got a present from my mom's sister in Philadelphia. A T.V.! The screen (tube) was round and only about 8 or 10 inches in diameter. It took a few minutes for the vacuum tubes inside the unit to warm up. Eventually, the picture appeared. Black and white. Often, it would flicker and the horizontal trails of the electron gun exciting the phosphorous coating on the inside of the glass were evident. At last, we were connected.

Next [Fig. vi], I add color.
Fig. vi

I gave it some shading along the top [Fig. vii] and curved shading around the bottom to give it some form, a feeling of roundness.

Fig. vii
I added a frame around it [Fig. viii]. This was accomplished through a series of circles, fills, and beveling filters. to get the desired effects. This is starting to look like a rounded screen. But, I want it to be plain glass, not frosted glass or plastic. To accomplish this, I added

Fig. viii

striking reflections. Again, this setting is a vintage laboratory. So, the most dominant reflection is a large paned window (Fig. ix).

Fig. ix

To accentuate the roundness and reflective nature of the glass, I added another reflection on the top [Fig. x], a sort of oval shaped form that I filled with graduated white. Note, that I made the background inside the tube darker, to reduce the glow of the screen. I want it to appear off when inactive.

Fig. x
When turned on, it will need an image. So [Fig. xi], I added one from one of the stories. 

Fig. xi

At this point,it could be a framed photo hanging on a wall. But, this is a video, so I added some filters to give it those familiar horizontal lines [Fig.xii] from the cathode ray's electron gun, dancing from side-to-side across the screen. And, I decided to make it more greenish. I don't really know why. Influenced by the Emerald City, perhaps. In the final version, however, I opted to go more toward the blue side of the spectrum. I may go back to green, though. It's a crisp color and gives a bit more contrast to the CRT in its stand-by mode (blue). I'll wait awhile, though, to let the webmaster's nerves heal. 

Fig. xii

Well, by now and after looking at the website, you may have realized that this is not just the CRT on the stories page. Smaller versions of it were used for other buttons and lights. I made certain modifications to the frames and interiors [Fig. xiii] , but it is still the same basic design. 

Fig. xiii

Marketing and Branding Devices



  1. Nice, nice work Steve. LOVE the art and of course the typeface! What's the name of the typeface please? K

    1. Thank you Karla! I so appreciate the accolades.

      The font is called Komika and comes in a variety of faces. I like it, however the one thing that annoys me to no end is the lower case f. It is same as the CAP F! It's very distracting to the point I can't help but wonder if it was an error. I will probably make a change on the final printed editions. At some point, I will build my own hand-drawn font.

  2. Oh, your stuff is priceless. Is there anyway you could draw a donkey hacking up a pantsuit??? :)


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