Accelerating Rate of Change (Pt. 1)

It’s the gift that never stops giving.

I’ve been thinking about writing this for a while, but there didn’t seem to be a good time during the recent of string of changes to do so. So I decided to make one. Otherwise the problem would persist as there still wouldn’t be a good time to talk about changes while things were changing. It also serves as a good time to talk about things in general. I don’t do nearly as much of that as I used to, and it might be nice to reflect on some of the more positive moments in the last few months.

First and foremost my personal site has undergone a slight change.

This was primarily to update the presentation of the site as I’ve switched to larger, clearer, and more consistent font choices. In fact, the entire site is larger as a result. I really did like the previous design and that’s why it’s relatively the same, but it’s now larger and easier to access as a whole. It’s also somewhat reminiscent of my WordPress presentation. Which I’ve always liked.

I’ve updated the profile information across the collection of sites, too. I feel as though everything as a whole is closer to what I’ve always wanted it to be. My personal site has always been subject to drastic changes, of which this change is no exception. But I can safely say that each change has been a positive one. Even if I didn’t know it at the time. Which leads into how Moggie @ WordPress has changed recently. I’ve been working through much of the older creative content to bring it up to date with current creative content, which, given how little the actual content has been changed, reinforces that (as I’ve suspected) the content is good but was being held back by the presentation. I’ve also added a new category, Material Studies, under the Art category.

They’re both fluffy and naturally that indicates a conspiracy.

This was mostly added to provide accessibility to content like Fluffy But Terrifying without having to go via the Art page. Now it is all presented as a list of posts which you can scroll through at your leisure. I don’t think there are too many other posts which would benefit from additional or alternate categorisation, but that may change due to future content. For now I’m happy with things as they are. I’ll also be making good use of that category in the coming weeks and months.

I’ve been working on a couple of new things recently, too.

I may share details of one or both in the coming weeks. I also might not. It really depends on when the second decides to leave the conceptual sea, wherein it has already undergone a number of evolutions. It’s definitely more experimental and interesting than some of my older pieces. Especially when looking at choice and use of colour. I’m particularly excited about it.

I think that’s definitely a highlight of the last few months. I’ve felt much better about my creative efforts as a whole and that has definitely helped me see recent pieces through to completion. I also feel as though the quality of newer content has been higher as a result, which, again, is all I’ve ever really wanted for whatever this is that I do. I just want to create things and be happy while doing it. Which is pretty much the situation I find myself in now. That said, it hasn’t been as great as it may seem when reading the above. I’ve had to deal with numerous things in my personal life that I would’ve preferred not to. But such is life. It happens, and, much like a constant state of change, it sometimes manifests in ways you don’t expect.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

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Hunter’s Notes: Paolumu – 2018 – Digital – click for full view on site!

Even their ears are fluffy!

It just so happened that the brush which I made for specific areas of Older and Wiser became incredibly useful in detailing the fur on their balloon neck. I swear that’s just a coincidence and not some form of precognition. I wish it was some form of precognition. Knowing what’s going to happen in the future would be awesome. Except in all the scenarios where it wouldn’t be, because something bad will happen, but is required to happen, and so you would try to avoid it despite knowing it is unavoidable. That would just be unfortunate.

Fluffy But Terrifying offers insight as to my thoughts while painting this piece.

They’re mostly the same thoughts I have now that the piece is complete. As much as any piece is ever complete. One of the best (and most painful) things about growing as an artist is realising that you’ll never be where you want to be, because the goal keeps changing relative to your current perception of your level of skill. It’s a gnawing feeling that never goes away.

That said, I’m most disappointed with the fur on their balloon neck. Everything else is mostly where I want it to be. As noted in the aforementioned post regarding this piece, the thick painted approach is one that I’m unlikely to use for the next piece. It’s an interesting style but one that isn’t suited to everything. Hence these weird paintings that seem to spontaneously appear and disappear with equal amounts of haste. I’m looking to challenge myself. Which, to be fair, is the entire reason I enjoy my creative efforts in the first place. But there’s no point in always falling back on things I know (or at least feel fairly confident) that I can do. I like painting weird creatures, too. Once I find one it’s almost impossible to avoid painting it.
On the other hand, I’m much happier with my work and rate of progression at the moment. I’m much happier with everything in general. I changed around my personal life substantially since the end of last year, which has led to me doing more things that I like doing and enjoying those things much more than I used to. That’s definitely helped me bring out the best in my painting. The acquisition of the Wacom Intuos Pro has certainly helped, too. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to switch to only digital painting or illustrating.

Traditional pieces will still be likely to appear.

I’ve just got quite a few pieces that I’d like to revisit which I think I can make a better attempt at now. To Ink a Deathclaw comes to mind. That would be interesting both because the thick painted approach would likely suit it quite well, and it would be one of the few digital attempts that has line work. Or I might just get rid of the line work with the finished attempt.

I’m not entirely sure if I’ll paint other beasts in Monster Hunter World. Some are kind of messy with indistinguishable details and others don’t really appeal to me, but I won’t say it isn’t a possibility. I might tackle one of their dragons. Both literally (if I happen to purchase the PC release) and figuratively. I might just paint a dragon because I feel like painting one. In either case, I’m quite happy with this piece and I think it fits with what I want my creative efforts (and my personal site as a result) to be. I’m also quite happy that I’ve been working on all sorts of things recently and I’ve still found time to start three paintings and finish two of them. The third is a secret. A secret which might need to be approached in a different way for me to be happy with it.

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.

Monster Hunter World, Astera, Paolumu, Anjanath, and all associated trademarks and devices are owned by Capcom.

Fluffy But Terrifying

The cycle of fluffiness continues.

I’d also argue that the Paolumu is anything but terrifying. Quite adorable, in fact. But they are giant flying beasts that would more than likely swallow you whole if they got the chance… so maybe they are slightly terrifying. But, again, quite adorable, as their primary way to show aggression is to inflate their balloon neck. Which looks ridiculous and is not at all terrifying- unless you’re scared of balloons- in which case feel free to change your trousers at any time. I’m mostly fond of them due to their original design and their unique (and rather interesting) anatomy.

They’re also a great candidate to test my new brushes on.

I reckon you could make some rather nice brushes from their fur, too. In what could only be described as an entirely spontaneous decision I started to paint this majestic winged creature. I do that sometimes. In fact, some of my best work has been entirely spontaneous. Sometimes it’s nice to not stress every aspect of the painting and just focus on actually painting it.

I was also wondering how my new brushes would perform with a new piece. I’ve modified my existing set to include sharper, more precise, and more accurate brushes for those crisp lines. I’ve also added more texture to the flat brush I use often. I’m finding that these new brushes give me more freedom in some ways, more precision in others, and that they encourage more consistent blending. I’ve spent more time adjusting opacity with this piece, too. These are all things that are only possible due to my increasing confidence with digital approaches. I’m also no longer having to fight with the hardware, brushes, and canvas sizing to get the results I want. It’s about as close as I can get to mimicking traditional approaches but with digital tools.
I feel I’ve been bolder in my choice of colours for this piece. Not as bold as I’d like to be- but that will come with confidence. I’m also learning a lot about how best to approach layering colour and defining areas of an illustration or painting, which I could translate to traditional approaches. I’m quite excited to see how different my traditional work will be now. I don’t necessarily feel that either will get weaker as a result of focusing on one or the other. I feel as though they can only improve now. I just need to remember the limitations of each material.

I also miss ink. It allows me to add so many tiny (perhaps unnecessary) details.

I don’t know if this is an approach that I’ll continue to use in the future. I tend to think that each painting or illustration is unique, and, as such, requires a unique approach. I do want to have some consistency between pieces, though. Not having that consistency has caused me problems in the past. But I don’t know if this thick painted style is one I’d like to pursue for every piece.

I rather like how Older and Wiser has its own unique qualities and this piece is starting to develop its own unique qualities in kind. I’m also proud of the progress I’ve made in such a short time with digital painting. I’m far from where I would like to be, but, again, these things will come in time and with confidence. There’s no sense in rushing things. I also don’t know if the next piece you see from me will be the result of traditional or digital approaches. I’ve not felt this positive about my creative efforts in a long time. It’s refreshing- and exciting- and gives me hope for the future pieces I’ll produce. We may even see a few more from Monster Hunter World, too. They’ve got some incredibly colourful, meticulously designed, and anatomically interesting beasts.

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.

Monster Hunter World, Astera, Paolumu, Anjanath, and all associated trademarks and devices are owned by Capcom.

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.

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.

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

Greatly Textured Horns

It’s easier if you squint.

Which is also true of the process to create such details in the first place. I’ve recently reintroduced my Copic Multiliners to my creative process, as the replacement Mitsubishi Uni Pin fine liners aren’t quite as reliable as I would’ve hoped they’d be. Great pens- but they run out incredibly quickly. Or seem to. Which isn’t too much of an issue as they’re fairly cheap, but even things that are fairly cheap become expensive if you’re continually investing in them. For example, I’ve already replaced the 0.05 pen three times since I started using them.

So I decided I’d take another chance on the Copic Multiliners.

They’ve always been great pens and they’re exceptionally reliable. That said, I did run into an issue replacing a nib and ink cartridge that made me slightly wary of them. But the new replacements have taken to the pens perfectly, everything is great, and as to familiarise myself with them again I’ve been doing ink sketching. You’d be surprised how different certain pens feel.

Or maybe you wouldn’t. But it makes for great tangential conversation, as it relates back to how much confidence you have with particular materials and much of that is derived from how they feel in your hand. Or how they react to certain types of paper. It’s particular evident in how you sketch with pencils, too. As you tend to lean on certain qualities of pencil to make it easier to translate those lines to ink, which, again, feels quite different depending on the type of pens you’re using. I notice that with Copic Multiliners I’m able to sketch finer details as I can actually translate those details to ink with them. The difference between 0.05 and 0.03 seems insignificant- but it’s there- and it’s very noticeable. Especially when you habitually sketch fine details.

It’s not only the horns that are greatly textured.

This particular sketch falls somewhere between a few earlier attempts and a finalised attempt with this approach. An approach that will likely include Faber Castell Polychromos at some point. I’m rather limited in my colour selection with those at the moment- but I’m sure I can work something out. I have got a small collection of certain colours. It’s also likely I won’t move straight to a finalised piece and more likely that I’ll do some more sketching. Trying to learn more as I go. But I’m fairly pleased with how the line work in this piece turned out.

I’m also quite pleased with the horns.

I don’t usually illustrate horns in this particular style but I do like them. I’ll be honest, I’ve never really understood how they work anatomically and some might argue that I still don’t. But I like ’em. They’re neat. The rest of the anatomy is fairly standard and muscular. Which is pretty much my standard. I even threw in a little armour to further my progress there, too.

It’s been a while since I’ve done larger pieces and most of that is down to my own perceptions of my inability to do so. Which, again, is partly due to my confidence. So I’m trying to work through new ideas that basically force me to do these things. Mostly because I don’t understand how arm anatomy works, either. So if I can cover that with armour I’ll be fine. I’m kidding. Mostly. This year has definitely been a learning experience, for better or for worse. I’m leaning towards it being for the better of my creative efforts as a whole. But you could also argue that I’ve wasted time pursuing some approaches that are less useful. That said, I’m starting to think that the side effect of being creative and being on social media is feeling like you’re never good enough.

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie