Older and Wiser – 2017 – Digital – click for full view on site!

Something old that’s new again

If you’re curious as to the reasoning behind this piece (or potential creative content plans) feel free to check out Fluffy Beak. Most of the answers are there. What isn’t there is a long-winded explanation about how the right side of the face was ridiculously more complex than the left- as it was- and it was frustrating. I probably spent a good two hours painting over it. After which I was somewhat satisfied with the result. Mostly. No, no- it’s okay. Really. That said, as a first attempt with my newly acquired Wacom Intuos Pro I’m fairly happy with the result.

I’ll probably never be entirely happy.

But such is the joy of creating things. Or at least it is with my brain that never lets me acknowledge my accomplishments. I’m slightly easier on myself when it comes to digital painting and illustrating, though. I’m far less experienced with it (as I’ve only invested just over a year into it) compared to traditional approaches. Which I’m not always happy with, either.

I will admit that replacing my older Wacom Bamboo with a Wacom Intuos Pro has made an indescribable difference. I’m not usually one to highlight such things as I don’t believe that tools can ever or will ever replace experience, dedication, and practised skill. But there are some upgrades which make all the difference. This was one of them. Mostly because I wasn’t continually fighting with the tablet, having to work with an exceptionally larger than necessary canvas to accommodate a lack of pressure sensitivity, or working on such a small drawing surface so each stroke was much truer to life. I’m also exhibiting some of the aforementioned practised skill as I’ve become more accustomed with the ways to paint digitally.
On that note, this entire painting is comprised of two separate layers. One for the majority of the colour work and the other for minor details. I’d have preferred to do everything on a single layer, but it is quite convenient to have a layer dedicated to all those adorable fluffy lines and squiggles. I think the approach works quite well, too. While it’s also somewhat reminiscent of traditional painting as you usually work with only one surface and can only work it so many times. Even acrylic paint (or other opaque paints) have a limited number of layers.

Otherwise it becomes too warped to achieve the desired result.

I’ve also avoided an entirely realistic approach for this painting. I think that the semi-realistic somewhat stylised approach has a rather unique aesthetic. I don’t know if I’ll move towards more or less realistic results in the future, but for now these results fit well with my traditional approaches. I’m hoping to be more ambitious with my use of colour with future pieces, too.

I wasn’t really expecting such a positive result from this piece. I wasn’t really sure what to expect. But I’m glad that I’ve been able to better define some areas of my creative efforts and work towards things I actually enjoy doing. That even includes minor things like making custom brushes or organising supplies. Each and every thing I can do to make creating easier to approach, more convenient, or more enjoyable is worth doing. Working on this piece in shorter sessions also helped me work around the time that I sometimes don’t have to spare. It’s nice to know that I don’t need to compromise to continue to work on the things, but can also make progress and develop my approach at the same time. It’s a lot to juggle at once, though.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

Art, design, and the like found herein (unless otherwise specified) is drawn and owned by David Wilkshire (also credited as Moggie) from 2006 to present date.

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Fluffy Beak

An unexpected development.

Once upon a time it was cows and now it’s owls. They’re everywhere. This particular owl is a reinterpretation of a piece that once represented the culmination of my creative efforts and experience, which I hope will encourage the creation of many different pieces. It’s easy to see that I’ve not been happy with my creative efforts for a while. The reasons for that, however, are a little harder to see, which I will attempt to explain while talking about this work in progress. It’ll also serve as a good opportunity to talk about future plans for creative content.

Most of those plans will be tied to the aforementioned reasons.

As each reason highlights an area for improvement. Something that could be done better than (or at the very least differently to) how it is done now, which will hopefully mean that there will be more creative content and that it will be more diverse. You can reasonably assume that some of the older digital paintings which have faded into obscurity will make a return, too.

Most reasons relate to not utilising time (or other resources) effectively and therefore having less overall opportunity to work on things. I’m not happy with how much progress I’ve made over the last few years, either. Not to say that the progress isn’t there- but that there is very little in the way of finished pieces to demonstrate it. I don’t want to have endless quantities of somewhat finished sketches and attempted digital paintings. I want to finish things. For that reason, it’s important to invest more actual time in the process of creating things. Which I really don’t do now and I should. I’ve very few excuses for that other than that I always find an excuse. I need to stop doing that, too. Legitimate excuses do exist (like those of the last few months) but not in all cases.

It’s taking on a rather interesting shape.

This particular work in progress highlights a continued push towards finishing something. Over a few, shorter, less intensive drawing sessions of a few hours or so. In that way I’m rather proud of this piece. It has had significantly less time invested in it than Pug Life, but, in my opinion, looks that much better with more attention to detail. I’ve mostly settled on a semi-realistic kind of stylised digital painting approach. It’s also the first digital painting I’ve done with my newly acquired Wacom Intuos Pro and so I’ve got quite a way to go yet.

But it’s a pretty good first attempt so far.

It’s painfully obvious how much I’ve improved in my approach, too. Both with digital painting and with my creative efforts as a whole. Which may seem contradictory to the above statement about my progression, but it does illustrate (no pun intended) the point I was making. The progression is there but there needs to be pieces that are actually finished to demonstrate that.

Which, obviously, this piece isn’t finished, but it’s probably the closest I’ve had to being finished for some time. I’m hoping to change around the current creative content in January and if I’m successful in doing so then things will be very different. But I hope that most will agree that they’re better this way. I’m still particularly proud of the original interpretation of this owl and it is still an important piece, but I think it’s time to move on from it. To embrace new ideas and new inspiration. To use new materials and approaches both traditionally and digitally. To boldly go where no man has gone before. Oh- wait- that wasn’t what I meant to say. It might still work in that context, though.

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie

Art, design, and the like found herein (unless otherwise specified) is drawn and owned by David Wilkshire (also credited as Moggie) from 2006 to present date.

Alcohol and Resolutions

The two are inescapably linked.

I’m not particularly fond of New Year’s Resolutions, though. The concept is entirely fine but I’m of the opinion that if something should be changed then there’s no reason to wait. For that very reason I’m usually between several different things as I seem to have an endless desire to seek improvements, which is a problem and I recognise that. I might not do anything about it- but I recognise it. I like to think that it’s mostly a good thing. Except when I immediately realise that things could be better and completely invalidate my achievements as a result.

Maybe we should talk about video games instead.

I’ve been greatly enjoying my time with Okami HD in the last week or so. It’s an interesting combination of everything I’ve ever loved about the Legend of Zelda series and drawing to solve every problem ever. It’s also got an interesting yet somewhat exploitable upgrade system that’s akin to grinding experience, items, and currency in JRPGs. It’s pretty fantastic, though.

It reminds me a lot of the Legend of Zelda series mostly because the progression is so fluid. You can easily unlock a lot of different brush techniques, find unique items, and utilise varied upgrade materials from the start of the story. That said, each new technique you learn opens up new possibilities. Some of which are less evident than others. The boss fights are pretty interesting, too. They usually utilise the particular brush technique specific to that location but they’re presented like puzzles instead of button mashing contests. It also features a large and evolving open world that you’re free to explore, return to, and even fast travel around as and when you want to. I’ve found it refreshing to have that amount of freedom in progression throughout.

There are some mechanics prevalent in older video games that I miss. For that reason (and a few others) I’m rather fond of Chronicon, which I’ve also spent a day with over the last week to experience the new content and balance changes. I’m continually surprised as to how much I still enjoy playing that Warlock. He’s been around a while, he’s pretty strong, and probably could do with being on a higher difficulty level. But it’s still fun to develop his Masteries to build on his strengths and (more importantly) his weaknesses.

I’m looking forward to the day it releases in full.

I’ve even spent some time with my newly acquired Wacom Intuos Pro over the last couple of weeks. I’ve been working on a new digital painting that’s going much better than expected, which is due to both the upgraded hardware and an adjusted approach. Hopefully I’ll be able to share more about that later in January. It’s not quite finished yet so I can’t promise anything.

I’m rather hopeful for 2018 as a whole. Things have changed so dramatically in the last few months that it’s almost staggering to think how different things were, but they’re better (for the most part) and that’s what’s important. I can’t really anticipate and therefore can’t promise anything about the coming year but I hope I’ll be happier. At the very least. I’ve realised now that how I feel about things has a greater impact on everything than I could’ve imagined. It seems simple to say, but you get used to living in one way for so long that you forget there are other ways. Perhaps I’ll find one of those other ways and everything will be better as a result. Or maybe things will stay the same. But that’s what makes it exciting, right? Not knowing all the answers.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

September to December 2017

The last summary for the year.

That said, I’m not entirely sure that these summary posts will return next year. I’m planning to make numerous changes over the next few weeks and after those these may not be necessary. I might continue with them as I quite enjoy writing them and looking back over the last few months, but I may not need to rely on them. I’m hoping that the innumerable presentation changes have helped with that, too. In that content is now easier to find and we won’t need to use a post to summarise things. But we’ll see how things look in the New Year.

I may even have new art to share in January.

I would agree that the content has been entirely underwhelming in the last three months. There are many different reasons for that, but primarily that was because I didn’t want to force content out when there was no content to share. I’ve done that before and it doesn’t work. I’d rather have nothing than have a stream of useless filler content that doesn’t add to anything.

I was also committed to letting this year come to an end with whatever content I had available or could make available, and then letting the New Year dictate the new schedules and whatnot. The last couple of years have been interesting in that there have been many changes to things. Many changes which I wasn’t intending to make but that happened regardless. These have meant that things will be different as the collection of sites continues to evolve. I’m hoping that these changes will influence more creative content and less gaming content, but I can’t always be sure I’ll have time to work on different creative projects. I’m rather hoping that digital painting will help to bridge that gap. But, again, I won’t know until I try to do that.

The first of the few posts we did have looked at the brutally punishing yet oddly enjoyable Dark Souls III as a Purloiner of Cinders, which was followed by the excellent Ashes of Malmouth expansion for Grim Dawn in From the Ashes, which was ultimately concluded by Return of the Wang that looks at the ridiculous and indescribable Shadow Warrior 2. I had hoped to squeeze in the deliciously dark Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus before the year ended, but I’ve yet to finish it. Which is a shame as it is a really great sequel.

Just need to keep exploring those districts!

Aside from those there was Momentary Disappearance (Pt. 1) and Momentary Disappearance (Pt. 2) which hoped to explain where I’d gone, what I’d been doing, and when I’d be back. I hope they make a little more sense than my nonsensical rambling above. It’s hard to focus on where I want things to go when I don’t know where that is. As I really don’t these days.

All I can really say about the next few months is that I’m hopeful. I’m hopeful that things will change for the better. But I don’t really know. It could end up being the case that I stop doing these things entirely, as I don’t really have any immediate plans on where these things will ultimately end up. They’re just moving along. Slowly but surely. It’s likely that I’d keep the blog regardless and at least keep posting about my creative efforts. It might just mean that there will be literal months between posts and the content comes as and when it comes. But, again, I’m hopeful that it won’t come to that and that things will continue to a similar schedule as they have had previously. I guess we’ll see what happens in the New Year, huh?

Have a nice Christmas, all!

Moggie

Return of the Wang

The Way of the Wang is long, and hard, and ribbed for her pleasure.

Shadow Warrior 2 is an excellent example of everything you would want from a sequel. You’ve got deeper character development mechanics, a greater selection of upgrades, numerous skills to unlock, a greater selection of weapons (with new weapon types), and an extensive story that offers more freedom. The swordplay might even be better in the sequel, too. But, if that’s not enough, they’ve even thrown in free DLC, which will not only add new missions as you progress through the story but offer greater customisation of weapons and upgrade gems.

It’s also ridiculously fun in the silliest way possible.

The close combat options are just as enjoyable as they were in Shadow Warrior. I’m particularly keen on the dual wielding options that allow me to slice, dice, and observe giblets as my foes fall to literal pieces. You also get more chances to burn, freeze, electrocute, and poison foes when swinging these. I’m not sure what that calculated murderous intent says about me.

Upgrading weapons is a particularly important mechanic for unlocking their full potential in combat. Upgrading Wang is pretty important, too. Both of these sets of mechanics will allow you to specialise in the things you want to do best and give you the ability to handle different situations. Likewise, investing in certain skills will give you better results with certain techniques or styles of combat. Sting, Vortex, and Force Slash comprise your active weapon techniques. While Healing Flame, Chi-Blast, Grip of Darkness, and Vanish comprise your active chi techniques. Each has a specific situation in which it will perform at its best, but they’re all equally useful in helping you survive the countless demons you’ll need to slay on your lengthier adventure.

It’s a lovely day to go to the video store.

The best surprise in Shadow Warrior 2 would have to be the final boss fight music. It was one of those perfect moments in video game history, where you’re trying to take this particularly important fight seriously but you’re somewhere between smiling and laughing at the absurdity of the situation. I loved it, though. Which is, in my opinion, what makes Shadow Warrior (as a series) so great, as it never takes itself too seriously but is always enjoyable. There might be more grinding in the sequel but it’s enjoyable grinding.

Even the randomised loot was handled well.

Weapons (and some upgrade gems) will have specific statistics, while everything else will have randomised combinations of affixes which can create some truly unique (and powerful) bonuses for certain weapons. I’m not sure if it works from a set of prefixes and suffixes as an ARPG would but it does work quite well. You rarely find something that is completely useless.

That said, even if you do, you can easily reforge it with two other upgrade gems and have another chance to roll something usable. There is so much more to Shadow Warrior 2 than the previous instalment and it really helps to deliver a more enjoyable adventure. I can’t recommend it enough. I’m also starting to wonder when other first person action titles will start to employ as enjoyable close combat mechanics, rather than the repetitive left click spam. I’m particularly fond of swords in the first place but I’m more fond of them when you can do awesome things with them. Such as twirling around until you get motion sickness and your vision is clouded with blood and viscera. I’m also not sure what enjoying that sensation says about me.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

Momentary Disappearance (Pt. 2)

Giblets! Glorious giblets!

If there’s one thing I can always find time to do it’s hack, slash, and smash various once living organisms into glorious now deceased giblets. That’s a sentence that could be taken out of context by future employers- so I sure hope that none of them ever find this blog. I could probably explain the original context articulately enough, though. Not that admitting you play video games is any better or worse than explaining you’re a psychopath when it comes to most employers. It’s not like I spend the majority of my free time at the moment playing video games.

Not at all. I’m… uh, being productive…?

It’s been an oddly good year for all things video games. I’ve finally finished Dark Souls II which has been looming over me for quite some time, I had great fun with Dark Souls III, and as a result I’ve been really excited for the recently released (for PC via Steam) Nioh. I can’t wait to see what brutal visceral combat combined with an ARPG loot system is like.

SteamWorld Dig and SteamWorld Heist have also provided hours of good ol’ fashioned fun. You know that warm, fuzzy, content feeling you get when playing video games? That. Which is prevalent in Shadow Warrior 2 as well. Something that I’ve been playing recently and will be writing about shortly. My absolute favourite experience this year would have to go to NieR: Automata, which was an exhilarating and exceptionally enjoyable adventure. I’ve not had this much fun with gaming for quite some time. I really didn’t think I’d enjoy Dark Souls III as much as I did but I really do want to go back through it. Maybe without a greatshield this time. Those are useful for most enemies but some bosses are much harder if you rely on a shield.

I’ve also finally replaced my 1tb HDD that held my game libraries with a 4tb HDD that now holds even more gaming goodness. It’s mostly an upgrade for convenience, as I could shuffle my existing HDD around and install things when I want to play them. But have you seen the size of video games these days? They’re huge! They’re getting even bigger, too! I don’t really envisage sitting there waiting for things to download before I can play them as enjoyable. What is this? The early 2000s where downloading MMORPGs cost you subscription time?

Now there’s a funny story for another time.

I’ve greatly enjoyed much of what I’ve played this year, which is good for a number of reasons but mostly because that’s why you play video games. To have fun. To enjoy them. To create ridiculously stupidly underpowered character builds and try to clear the toughest content. Or at least those are the reasons I play them. So it’s nice to be enjoying things again.

This is much more of an update than an explanation like the previous post, but it’s still relevant information. Especially if you enjoy my gaming content. There will likely be less of it in the future, as I’m playing less new things, but what content there is should be of higher quality, so I feel it’s a worthwhile trade. If you’re interested in any recommendations I might have you can always follow my Steam Curator store page. I may also be creating content about things I’ve played before (the blog was created) such as Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, and the like. But I’m going to be focused on clearing things I’ve not played before returning to those I have. So if that sounds like something you’d enjoy then you’re in luck.

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie

Momentary Disappearance (Pt. 1)

It’s been a while, hasn’t it?

I wasn’t expecting to have a break in content but it’s been a busy few weeks. I decided earlier in the year that I wouldn’t force new content through if it wasn’t forthcoming- and it really wasn’t- so that’s why I took a break. But if all things go according to plan (which they never do) things should be more consistent soon. I’m hoping that this consistency will also reintroduce creative content as a more regular inclusion, as that has been practically non-existent for some time. There are reasons for that, though.

Most of which are related to the acquisition of materials.

There’s definitely been a continued trend of running into issues with various materials for numerous reasons this year. But (hopefully) those issues should be sorted with recent acquisitions. I wouldn’t count on every issue being sorted, though. Just that things are easier to do now because I’ve got materials that I’m confident won’t repeatedly stop working properly.

I’ve managed to get the full set of Faber Castell Polychromos, which is a pretty important acquisition as I can now illustrate so many more things than I ever could before as I had such a limited selection of colours with the old set. I also decided to try a 0.05 Copic Multiliner as I’ve run into more problems replacing the 0.03 nib. I’m starting to think that it’s just too small (and therefore too fragile) to replace properly. It’ll either work or it won’t, which, if it doesn’t, I’ve pretty much wasted my money. As I’ll just need to get new nibs again. So (hopefully) the 0.05 nib will be thicker and sturdier. The 0.05 is also a more appropriate nib for the things I like to do. It’s a nice compromise between the 0.1 nib and something thinner.

I’ve also spent a while sorting through my various materials and old sketchbooks recently. I’ve mostly worked out a way to store things that works for both long term storage and short term usage, which is nice, as I’ve been trying to do that for a while, which should hopefully make me more productive. Especially when I’m now able to select a set of materials easily. I’ve even got a box of painting supplies which has my recently acquired Winsor & Newton Galeria tubes in it. I’ll be testing those to see if they’re any better than the Daler Rowney System 3 tubes.

I really hope you’re enjoying the use of acquired and/or acquisition.

I’ve even invested in digital painting and illustrating by replacing my Wacom Bamboo with a Wacom Intuos Pro. It’s a fairly standard upgrade, which is ridiculously noticeable as I’m now somewhat capable of sketching digitally. So I’m fairly certain I’ll be able to do something good with that. I’ve still got much to learn about digital approaches, though.

In many ways it has been an interesting period of time that has opened up many new opportunities, but, due to being busy with innumerable things, I’ve yet to capitalise on any of them. But the good news is that they aren’t going anywhere. So it’s not like I’ve got a specified time limit within which I need to use these materials. As I said above, I’m hoping that I’ll be able to do something with them soon but I’ll undoubtedly be rusty at this point. Which only really means it might take a few attempts to get a passable result. But I thank everyone for sticking around and listening to my ramblings (and overuse of acquired and/or acquisition). It is very much appreciated and I hope you enjoy the content I’ve got in mind for the next few months.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie