Comparison in Blood

Currently experiencing a low infestation rate.

Darkest Dungeon certainly brought one of the more original ideas for bloodsucking abominations to The Crimson Court. Vampiric in nature, but not necessarily undead, the Bloodsuckers (as they’re fondly known) are actually variations of humanoid insects. They don’t sparkle, either. That said, there is a consistent theme in the art direction for Darkest Dungeon that often combines beastly features with humanoid anatomy. The Warrens is literally filled with dozens of examples. Not to mention those weird, misshapen, infested souls that plague the Weald.

The humanoid features make them more interesting, too.

A malformed bloody maw.

It also leaves me wondering how or why they exist in the first place. Or when they first appeared. But this isn’t meant to be an explanation of Darkest Dungeon lore (as fascinating as that would be), it’s meant to explain some of the thoughts I’ve had recently. Or, at the very least, attempt to explain those thoughts. As I’m not entirely sure that I understand it myself.

I think I’m focusing too much on the result. This particular pencil sketch is one of the rare few I’ve liked of the work I’ve done in recent weeks, which says a lot as it isn’t of a very high quality. But I like the approach. I liked how natural it felt (and how confident I was) approaching it. I attempted to enhance the original sketch digitally for the same reason, as I don’t feel as though my approach to digital paintings or illustrations is particularly sound. I never really stopped to think about how I would normally do things. I just jumped straight into painting without line work and going for a mostly realistic approach, which, again, I don’t think was a particularly sound decision. So in two ways this piece is teaching me more about my creative pursuits.

Firstly, that by being focused on the result I’m losing a lot of what makes up the piece in the first place. I’m not thinking about how to achieve the best representation of the piece- I’m instead thinking about how to work towards a result that I want for reasons I can’t explain. Secondly, that perhaps I’m not as inexperienced with digital paintings and illustrations as I would have assumed. Maybe I’ve just been doing things in the wrong way and expecting (for some reason) to get the representation that I wanted.

You can almost hear the maddening skittering…

I’ve also not questioned my approaches as much in the past as I have recently.

I’m most curious as to why that is. I don’t exactly feel different, but I’m wondering if maybe this is foreshadowing a great period of creativity in my life and I just need to get past these hurdles first. Almost as if I realise the potential I could have and because I’m not living up to it I’m squandering it. As egotistical as that may sound. Not that it’s intended to be egotistical at all.

I’m quite happy with the piece, too. If that wasn’t clear. I’m not entirely sure where it’s going from here, but I would assume that I’m going to work on the digital version a little further and perhaps even expand upon the original sketch. That’s one of the neat things about digital illustrations. You can keep adding, removing, and adjusting endlessly until you get the result that you want. Which is equally one of the worst things about digital illustrations, as nothing is ever done and can always be approached again. I’m also surprised at how efficiently I’m working through this piece. I’ve not run into the usual issue of spending significantly more time for a fairly similar result, which, hopefully, shows some amount of growth within my approach.

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.

Darkest Dungeon, The Crimson Court, bloodsuckers, and all associated trademarks and devices are owned by Red Hook.

To Ink a Deathclaw

An ill advised pursuit at best.

The phrasing could be misconstrued to suggest that the deathclaw is getting a tattoo, which would also likely be an ill advised pursuit. Unless you’d enjoy being eviscerated by a colossal lizard in an irradiated hell. Then it’s probably pretty fun. In any case, this is a digital work in progress that doesn’t feature any actual ink- but it’s the best parallel I’ve got to lining a piece crisply and cleanly. In many ways this is also the complete opposite of what I’d do traditionally, lacking many of the intricate and busy details.

Which might not be an entirely bad thing, either.

I’ve wanted to try and use less details in some pieces to get a feeling of how that would change the presentation, composition, and level of quality. I wasn’t necessarily hoping to do this digitally, but when the opportunity arrived (and the original approach wasn’t working out) it seemed to fit. It does look incredibly weird to me, though. I’m used to lines and whatnot being everywhere!

It’s also taking a fair amount of time to get even the basic elements looking as I would like them to. This is nothing new with digital illustrating or painting for me, which is something I’m heavily considering the reasons for with each new piece. In comparison to traditional art many of these pieces take several times longer. In all the worst ways. This could be inexperience with digital approaches showing through, or it may be an indication that I might need a higher specification tablet, as I currently use a Wacom Bamboo, and I’m not sure if that’s meeting my needs any more. Normally I would refuse that suggestion as even being a possibility but there might be some truth to it. I’ve been thinking about upgrading to an Intuos at some point anyway.

That’s quite an impressive maw you’ve got there.

There is definitely a disconnection somewhere between my brain, my hand, and my tablet. Something isn’t working as intended. Which, again, could simply be that the pressure sensitivity isn’t as good on a Wacom Bamboo. I know it isn’t via the technical specifications. But I also know that you don’t need the best materials to create high quality art. One of the things that novice artists tend to assume is that they need the highest quality everything immediately, which, in skilled hands, does provide higher quality results, but will not immediately make you a better artist.

An understanding of fundamental concepts will always take you further.

Which is why I’m committed to seeing this through to the end. I’d like to know whether the problem exists within my approach (which is likely) or whether it exists as a result of my tools (which could be likely). In either case, I’m not going to invest in an Intuos any time soon and I’ve already made great progress over the last year with digital art. So we’ll keep going.

I do enjoy working with digital approaches and I see an incredible amount of potential in them. They’re also helping me appreciate my traditional pieces in a new light. It’s an interesting side step towards something that is fundamentally the same but provides a different challenge, which, hopefully if I pursue it further, will make me a better artist overall. I’m not really sure where this piece is going in the future, either. I will more than likely finish it as a lined piece. I’ve been talking to someone I know (who does great deathclaw pieces) to add some colour to it when I’m done. I think their approach would suit much better than mine would. It would also be a learning experience to see how they would approach this piece (likely differently to me).

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.

Fallout 4, Deathclaws, Super Mutants, Pip-Boys, and all associated trademarks and devices are owned by Interplay/Bethesda.

Pug Life

I didn’t choose it- it chose me.

Here’s a digital painting that I’ve been working on recently. Which, because I’m writing this post, will never be finished. Or at least that’s what the general trend with my digital painting efforts would lead me to believe. That said, it’s not as a result of writing posts that digital paintings are likely to never be finished- it’s instead that because the painting is likely to never be finished that I decide to draft the post. If nothing else it allows me to use some of these attempts in a constructive way that’s conducive to further progression.

However, I’m still hopeful that this piece will be finished at some point.

I can’t say when that point will be and whether it’s in the immediate future or not. I’ve reached that (commonly arrived at) moment where I’m not sure how best to continue with this particular piece. It’s reasonably obvious that the next stages would be in painting the beige and cream fur on their face, it’s not as obvious, however, how I would go about doing that.

Which is another event I’ve identified as a quite common occurrence with my digital painting attempts. Each has their own moment where I suffer from my inexperience and am unable to move forward in a way that I feel represents the overall quality until that moment, thereby reducing the likelihood it will be finished and further adding to the innumerable list of abandoned pieces. Many of which were highlighted in Multiple Attempts. Again, that post exists for the sole reason of giving a visual indicator of the state of many of the previously mentioned digital paintings. In a way further reinforcing the point I’m making here, as, without some indicator of progression, it could be hard to understand the dissatisfaction (for lack of a better word) I have for them.

Fluffiness rising.

Fluffiness rising.

I also realise that digital painting has been a topic that I’ve returned to several times. Each time I’ve had a different opinion, a different approach, and a different way to solve the various issues as I perceive them to be at the time. I don’t disagree with anything I’ve said, either. This is (as I see it) part of the creative progression process. Exploring different options, using different approaches, exploring new materials, and understanding the results of those decisions are all important components in getting the results you want.

Not that I have been getting the results I want.

Then again, I have started to notice that as I’ve worked on this piece I’ve slowly begun to understand more about how all of the different pieces of digital painting come together. Most notably I’ve noticed many improvements by working with a larger canvas. I usually work with something reasonably large- but it would seem that bigger is better in this case.

I’m also starting to piece together a consistent illustrative style which isn’t too realistic but acts as a decent foundation for further improvement. Whether I’d like to move towards realism, towards coloured lined pieces, or towards something in the middle I’ve not decided yet. But I do find myself feeling more comfortable with digital painting. I’ve also felt my general brush/pen control has improved. Again, in comparison to traditional pieces, this process is accelerated to a significant degree, as I’ve been working with these digital paintings for just over a year. Which is why I’m not entirely disappointed in the results, as I’m aware that it will take significantly more time and investment before I’m seeing the results that (at the moment) seem almost unobtainable.

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.

Multiple Attempts

There’s definitely a trend in my digital painting attempts.

They’re either animals or trees. For the most part. That said, I wanted to bring this compilation of unfinished pieces together so that I could share some of the efforts I’ve hinted about in posts such as Momentary Regret and Happiness Hat. It’s easy for me to explain them to you- but it’s easier if you can see these attempts for yourself. It may also help you to understand why I feel the way I do about some of these. You can also see the follow on from Anatomical Fish. As one of these was the painting that I switched to.

You might also wonder why I’ve never finished these pieces.

I do, too. But I’ve discovered that I’ve been looking at things the wrong way around. Or at least I feel like I have. As I have concerned myself with the presentation of the content for a while, but I’m starting to notice it’s the content (or lack thereof) which is the actual problem. That’s why some of the small changes I was going to make never came to fruition.

I started to realise that I could change around the presentation infinitely but it wouldn’t quell the disappointment (for lack of a better word) that I felt regarding the content itself. Therefore, I’ve started to work towards finishing more pieces. Some of which have been sitting around for far too long. Like the subject of Building an Abomination, which I’ve repeatedly put off working on for various reasons and it’s still unfinished. I could make countless excuses but I won’t. That said, I enjoy the aforementioned posts which bring together things I’ve been working on and I think they illustrate (pun intended) my creative journey nicely. So I’m not looking to lose those posts entirely.

They're a colourful bunch!

They’re a colourful bunch!

I’m just hoping I’ll be able to commit myself to more finished pieces. It’s something which I feel I’ve let myself down with more than anything. That said, I can’t control the myriad situations which have put me in this position in the first place. But, again, that’s no excuse. It’s a problem I’ve created and one that I’ll need to fix. In happier news, I’m rather enjoying the selection of pieces in this compilation which highlight some of my best digital painting attempts. There are some we’ve seen before and some we haven’t.

Those we have seen are a little different now, too.

On the other hand, I’ve also included a couple of traditional painting and illustration attempts. One was a painting which was sort of finished but I wasn’t too happy with the outcome of, the other is an illustration that combined a dozen different styles into one very confused piece. Both taught me something, though. Which is all I can really hope for from an unfinished piece.

It’s also an interesting compilation as there many different styles present in it. It highlights the rather eclectic nature of my creative efforts. I rather enjoy that about my various pieces, but I am starting to wonder if that’s causing me more problems than I realise. That said, through some of these unconventional styles and approaches I’ve started to understand things about my creative process I hadn’t realised. Like how I tend to ink things with incredibly stiff and rigid movements. I don’t have the fluid, loose, expressive approach that I use when I’m sketching with pencil. It’s an interesting realisation. Mostly because I hadn’t noticed that despite the similarities between the application of materials my approach changes drastically.

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.

Anatomical Fish

Everyone loves anatomy to some degree.

It’s something that I wish I knew how to better portray (especially in movement or with posing). But I don’t think I’m doing too bad. Mostly. In any case, this post looks to highlight a recent work in progress that may come as a surprise to some. Mostly because it’s another attempt at digital painting. Following what I said in Yearly Consistency, I’ve put my new brushes to use with a few ink versions of previously seen watercolour paintings. This particular piece was never a finished watercolour painting as I wasn’t happy with how it was progressing.

Staring with contemplative eyes.

Staring with contemplative eyes.

So- let’s paint over that!

Or (more accurately) paint that again. This approach was one that I spent a couple of hours with before I actually started to make any progress with painting the piece. As I was working with different settings- different brush sizes, different brush opacity, and even tweaked the brushes once or twice- to see which suited the style I wanted to work towards.

It was a very interesting process as that very same process would take twice to three times as long with traditional materials. Mostly because most semi-opaque/opaque materials cannot be simply removed from the paper/canvas repeatedly, which is one of the major strengths of digital painting. The ability to redo as many times as it takes to get the result you want. I’m still not as confident as I would like to be with digital painting- but this is a start. I may switch from this piece to another to see if I can learn more about the process before attempting the complicated areas, such as the fins, which I’ve yet to find a way to approach, or at least one that represents the style I’d like to use.

The second piece is a simple pencil sketch which addresses some of the changes I’d like to make regarding those materials. Mostly done with either a B or 2B, this piece highlights a change in how I want to approach pencil pieces in the future. It also lays a good foundation for combining this approach with Polychromos. It’s going to be an interesting few months for pencil, either way. It’s also hinting at my constant push towards having posed pieces in the future. Albeit this one is just their upper body.

But, again, it’s a start.

"I'm looking for adventure. Have you seen any?"

“I’m looking for adventure. Have you seen any?”

I think it’s easy to become overwhelmed with wanting to change too many things at once. It’s important to make sure you’re not trying to completely rewrite everything from scratch, as, if you are, you’re likely to lose track of your progress. Or feel like you’re not making any progress at all. So I like to break things down into smaller incremental movements.

For now, I’m happy with how pencil is progressing and these gradual changes are trying to influence the direction it will eventually go. Likewise with digital painting. It’s still slightly surprising how much I’ve learned about that over the last year. But, with each, I’d like to continue to make positive progress, which leads to me pushing into these different directions. It might work. It might not. There really isn’t any way to know at this moment in time. But what is certain is that if you don’t try you won’t get anywhere. I apologise that these pieces don’t have more substance, but I’ve found myself in a rather interesting (yet complex and time consuming) transition phase. I’m hoping that I’ll have something more substantial soon.

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.

“Wark! Wark!” – 2016 – Digital – click for full view on site!

The trustiest of steeds.

Chocobos are definitely one of the iconic elements of the Final Fantasy series. One of the most diverse, too. Each colour often represents a different trait or ability, from the limited flight capabilities of black chocobos to the legendary racing capabilities of golden chocobos. In Final Fantasy XIII-2 they were even potential party members. They’re quite interesting creatures and you’ll likely enjoying riding them if for no reason other than their particular theme music.

It’s an addictive piece of theme music.

This particular chocobo is referenced from Final Fantasy X/X-2 while this particular piece is actually quite old. Well, a few months old at least. It was one of the many digital pieces I was working on over those few months of digital painting here on Moggie @ WordPress. It isn’t finished, but it’s as finished as it can be as I’m still not sure how best to approach digital painting.

That said, I did want to share something with my readers. Many of you engaged with the previous digital painting work in progress posts- which I appreciate- and I would like to give you all at least a little something before we take a rest from digital painting. I still feel it’s the best decision, but I don’t want to seem ungrateful for all of the positive support I received regarding those digital paintings. Plus, it’s a chocobo! What’s not to love? It’s certainly a welcome addition to my personal site, too. Given that the Final Fantasy series is one of the biggest reasons I’m as interested in gaming as I am. That and Chrono Trigger. Which gets double the love because of the Akira Toriyama art style.

"Wark! Wark!" – 2016 – DigitalFor this piece I decided to paint a young-ish chocobo. Mostly because I imagine that baby chocobos would look like baby chickens. In other words- fluffy and adorable. Which is mostly an excuse to paint tiny, intricate, almost invisible details. As I do. Also, don’t ask about the beak. That was one of the larger concerns I had with this piece and I didn’t really know how to approach it. So it’s sort of unfinished but finished. I tried to clean it up a little, too. Make it look a little more respectable.

I’m proud of that nostril, though.

This particular style is just another example of the many different things I’ve tried. I like those. They make my personal site that much more enjoyable to browse as you never know what you’re going to get, especially when you consider the older pieces. Which were set in their own ways- and their own styles- for such a long time.

On the other hand, it’s nice to be trying new things and branching out not only to new styles but to new materials. Or, rather, materials I’ve had for some time but have not used. Or, rather, have used but never shared the results as they were less than satisfactory. It’s complicated. As is many of the things that I do. It wouldn’t be half as much fun if it were simple. Certainly be a lot less stressful, though. Not that creating things should ever be stressful- it should be something you do because you enjoy doing it. Any time you’re not enjoying it, you should probably take a step back and assess what went wrong and where. Then rectify that situation.

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.

Final Fantasy, Chocobos, Moogles, Genji equipment, and all associated trademarks and devices are owned by Square Enix.

Leopard Warlock

Ever seen a leopard summon demons?

Those who have read Fluffy Chops will be aware that I’m working on a new digital piece. It’s quite an interesting piece as I’m slowly getting an idea of what makes up my digital style. Oddly, it’s completely contradictory to my traditional style(s). In that digital is more of a whirlwind of colours and textures, while traditional is (for the most part) careful and precise with intricate detailing to create unique compositions. That said- I’m glad. I’m really glad this is starting to make sense now.

It’s interesting seeing the piece evolve, too.

Leopard WarlockI’m not sure what it will look like when it’s finished, though. There are definitely hints of that careful, precise, and intricate detailing coming through. Especially with the lower mouth as it looks so fluffy like that. I’m not sure what my fascination is with fluffy things, either. It seems to be a trend in recent digital pieces at least.

I mostly wanted to share another work in progress of this piece as I feel this one is more coherent. It’s easier to see what it should be, how it will develop, and what it could potentially look like. You can also get a feeling for the size of the piece. The ears are interesting in this respect, as I originally planned to crop them out of the final presentation but I might leave them in. They too are so fluffy. I can’t exactly give a date for when this will be finished, though. I haven’t been feeling too well recently which has led to me not working on it as much as I would have liked to. Which, yes, is an excuse- but it’s hard to paint when you can barely see straight. Or paint in a straight line when you can’t stop sneezing.

Those who have been following the recent WoW: Adventures in Azeroth series will recognise my Orc Warlock below. Or, they won’t. As I’ve never actually shared anything regarding him. I wanted to do a few traditional doodles to stretch my traditional muscles. They’re not very big. Sadly. Though they’re more developed than my digital muscles. Like some sort of artistic behemoth with four arms, two for each discipline, both like noodles and unable to pump iron. Or pencils. I don’t know what I’d lift as an artistic body builder.

Leopard WarlockEasels? Supply boxes? Piles of sketchbooks?

I wanted to get that looser, lighter, sketchy style back. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to use that one reliably. I’d say it was a moderate success but needs work. Especially in terms of being able to carry the looseness over to the inking, which is often a little more rigid. It doesn’t feel as natural to me. But I’m sure I can fix that. Possibly. Maybe.

I think I’ve realised recently that when you lose something of significance that all of the things that used to seem so important no longer do. I’m not sure if it’s the urge to be comforted, or simply that you reassess what you’ve got and what that actually means. Or maybe you never cared that these things were pointless or worthless because you always had that something of significance. It’s an odd mental state to find yourself in. There’s definitely an element of despair, of sorrow, and of loss. But… it’s oddly motivating. In that creating things feels so natural that you want to create something good from all of those negative emotions. Almost as if I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t create something.

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.

World of Warcraft, Thrall’s Balls, Gnomish Engineering, and all associated trademarks and devices are owned by Blizzard Entertainment.