Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Great Gift Idea - The Little People

Looking for a unique gift idea for someone that likes to read? Consider a copy of my contemporary fantasy adventure novel, The Little People. Can be purchased online in printed paperback or eBook. Contact me if you are local and I can get you a signed copy. http://www.michaelpaulhoward.com/thelittlepeople.html

Sunday, July 5, 2015

What Do You Choose To Believe?

Each of us has an important choice. It is the most important choice any of us will ever make. A choice that will effect us for all eternity. We must choose what we really believe. Based on the evidence we have available to us, each of us must decide if we want to believe that there is a part of us that will live on after our physical bodies cease to exist, or if this life is all there is.

If we choose to believe that we do not have an eternal soul, then we have no hope for anything after this life is over. For those that choose not to believe in an afterlife, then once this life is over they simply cease to exist and there is nothing more. For those who do not believe in an afterlife, while they are still alive, there are no real consequences for their actions other than what people choose to inject upon one another based on their own feelings or desires. As human beings, we like to determine moral standards of right and wrong based upon our own thoughts, needs, wants and experiences. These standards change from person to person and are different for everyone. Mankind alone is not able to determine and set a moral standard.

If there is an afterlife and each of us has a soul, then we need to ask ourselves What Will Happen To Us When We Die? Each of us also needs to decide whether we choose to believe in God and the Bible. Are we willing to take the chance of losing our souls for all eternity by choosing not to believe in something greater than ourselves. Is it worth losing our souls to live as we want to please ourselves in this life? Why would we not want to seek out all of the evidence that is available to us about God, the Bible and an afterlife and do our best to serve God in order to have the hope of eternal life?

Based on all of the evidence available to us, the only reliable source that tells us about The Existence Of God and our final destination is the Bible. If we choose to believe that the Bible is from God, it gives us everything we need to know to be right with Him and to live happy, productive lives.

For those of us that have seriously examined the evidence and claim that we have chosen to believe in God, we must ask ourselves, are we really doing everything God has told us to? We need to examine ourselves on a regular basis, study God’s word, pray and then determine if we are really serving Him. If we do not keep all of God’s word, do we really believe in Him? Many people claim that they believe in God, but want to pick and choose which parts of His word that they want to follow. According to the Bible, we have to obey all of God’s word (1 John 5:3). The Bible tells us what our Godly responsibilities are and what we must do to be right with God. The Bible also tells us about God’s love for us. God loved us so much that he sent his only son Jesus, (John 3:16) to die a terrible death on the cross so that each of us could have the hope of eternal life with Him. The Bible also tells us that even though we are also to love one another (John 13:34), we can not compromise God’s word.

When a person obeys God’s Plan Of Salvation, as is outlined in the Bible and they become a Christian, or a follower of Christ, they must choose to do their best to live according to what God has asked us to do. Even though God loves us, he also expects us to be obedient to him in all things. We cannot serve God and man (Luke 16:13) and be right with God. God’s holy word is the only way we can determine what is truly right and wrong and how we are to live. Anything we do that is contrary to God’s word is sin. The Bible tells us that sin separates us from God and unrepented sin will cost us our salvation (II Corinthians 7:10).

In the end, each of us must make a choice. Do we choose to ignore God’s word and live as we want in this life and take the chance of losing our souls forever, or are we willing to turn to God, submit ourselves to Him and have the hope of eternal life?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

How I Created The Cover Illustration To The Little People Part II

After getting my final sketches to a point that I was happy with all of the designs, I started thinking about the setting and overall scene for The Little People. I wanted it to be an outdoor, natural scene so I began looking for large trees in open areas during the summer that had limbs large enough that a person could be perched on them.

I finally settled on a small grove next to a local cemetery not far from my home. There were a lot of large oak trees with limbs at horizontal angles, perfect to have a small person sitting or kneeling upon. I took a lot of digital pictures of the trees, limbs and closeups of the leaves, then went through them and selected the limbs and leaves that worked the best. I then began putting them together in Photoshop and started painting over them.

Once the background was fairly complete I began painting in the animals. There were many layers of leaves, limbs and animals. After completing the animals, I then imported one of the 3D models I had used for my sketches and then began painting in all of the details for Daya using a combination of airbrush and paintbrush in Photoshop.

Once Daya was completed I worked on cleaning up all of the different layers making sure they blended well and touched up a lot of little details. What you see here is the final result.


Friday, March 20, 2015

Color illustration of the giant turtle DuGa-Si.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Color version of my ink illustration of when Daya first met Adam in the forest behind his home.


Saturday, February 28, 2015

How I Created The Cover Illustration To The Little People Part I

Once the final written draft to the Little People was complete, and as my family and friends began helping me proof it, I began the process of trying to come up with the cover illustration. I knew that I wanted to include at least one of the main characters as well as several of the animal spirits mentioned in the book.

My initial thought was to show Daya and Adam together so I began doing sketches of various scenes from within the book. Besides doing sketches, I also went into several 3D animation programs. These programs allowed me to take 3D human figures and place them into assorted poses to help created different scenes. One rough scene I did included several of the Little People, animals and Uktena in a large battle scene. I eventually decided it was too busy. After many attempts, I finally settled on a rough sketch that I was happy with. This sketch depicted Daya along with two of the animals perched on a limb in the trees.

I next began doing sketches of Daya’s clothing and ornaments. I went through several designs before settling on what was used in the final rendition. I was looking for something that was recognizable as Native American, but had an original look. I also wanted it to appear to be made of natural elements such as animal hides, bone and stone. I tried to keep the colors somewhat muted so they would appear to be made from natural pigments.

Once Daya’s costume was complete, I then began doing more detailed sketches. I used my 3D program to design a human female figure pose and incorporated that into the design. The final sketch was a composite of several sketches that I put together in Photoshop.

Once the sketches were complete I began looking at how I wanted to illustrate it in color

More in part II

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Change Of Seasons

Lately we’ve seen quite a fluctuation in the weather. One day it is sunny and in the 60’s, the next 10 degrees with snow, sleet and freezing rain, all in the same day. A favorite saying here in the south is all you have to do I wait and the weather will change.

One of the things I tried to incorporate into The Little People while I was writing it, were the changes in the seasons and the weather. Growing up in the south, we were use to extreme changes. The seasons also tied nicely into events such as holidays, school events, birthdays and more.

At the beginning of the story, it is summer. Summers were always a great time for me as a child. Right after my family moved to the south, the time I spent with my grandparents up in the mountains on the river during the summers are some of my fondest memories. Even though the summers were hot and humid, the things a child could do far outweighed the heat. Other than the occasional storm with a chance of tornadoes, summers weren’t bad.

There was always an adventure to be had, some place to explore, and something new to learn. My grandfather taught me how to fish. My grandmother taught me how to cook. There was nothing better than sitting in a lawn chair down on the riverbank with a pole and a line in the water.

Exploring the woods was a favorite pastime. Seeing wild animals in nature was always exciting fun. Of course the insects were never welcome. Mosquitoes, chiggers and ticks were not any fun.

Summer always ended too soon. When school started and fall came around it was always back to business. Of course then there was always winter break to look forward to. We were always happy to get a snow day. Funny how as children we had no idea how stressful and dangerous the snow and ice could be. We were just happy to be out of school.

I could never think of winter and not think about the holidays. The three biggies were Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Halloween was always cool outside and by Thanksgiving we were getting a lots of rain. By Christmas we were hoping for a little snow. Very seldom did we ever actually seem to get any.

We always knew when Thanksgiving was getting close because my father and older brother would begin practicing their duck calls. That’s all we heard around the house for a month up until duck season. It was worth putting up with the noise to get to taste my grandmother’s duck and dressing however. It was always one of my favorites at that time of year.

I think for most of us, the seasons always bring back memories that connect us to important times in our lives. 

Michael Howard

Thursday, January 22, 2015

10 Ways To Spread The Gospel

And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:” Matthew 28:18-19

Jesus commanded his disciples to teach all nations. Christians have a responsibility while here on this earth to reach out and teach the lost, unbelievers and erring members alike. There is no retirement from being a Christian. Revelation 2:10: "be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." Here are ten ways we can spread the gospel of Christ, help the church grow and save the lost.

10. Study God’s word. II Timothy 2:15: Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. We must first have knowledge of God’s word before we can adequately share it with others and the only way to do that is to study the Bible regularly.

9. Pray daily. 1 Peter 3:12: For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. Prayer strengthens us and God hears the prayers of the faithful.

8. Do good and help others. 1 John 3:17; But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? By helping others we show God’s love.

7. Participate in and support the works of the church. Reach out to church leaders and finds ways to help with current church programs and events such as gospel meetings and mission works.

6. Invite people to come to church. It could be to regular services, for a gospel meeting, vacation Bible school or any other church event or activity.

5. Speak to people about your Christianity in person or by phone. Romans 10:14: How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? We should always be on the lookout for opportunities to speak with people about God’s word.

4. Reach out to erring members, let them know you care about them and encourage them to repent and return to God.

3. Hand out books, tracks, flyers, DVD’s, Bibles or other materials and tell people about works of the church such as the Speaking The Truth In Love television program. We can keep Bible material with us at all times and if an opportunity presents itself, give it to someone in person or leave it somewhere that it might be found.

2. Share God’s word online. God’s word can effectively be shared on the internet. Here are a few examples:
    a. We can send emails to people in our list with articles, letters, and links to assorted Biblical content.
    b. Facebook – Create Biblical posts or like and share posts from sources such as Apologetics press, GBN, or Nettleton’s Facebook page. If every member that uses Facebook shared God’s word regularly, how many people might be reached?
    c. We can also tell people about and share YouTube and other online Bible videos from places such as World Video Bible School.

1. Be a living Christian example. Matthew 5:16: "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. When people see God’s light shining through us, then they will want to know more about us and who we are – Christians.