Comparison in Iron

Quite the comparison to make.

This is more or less the same idea as Comparison in Blood but it’s in reverse, which is more significant than you might think. It’s also slightly overdue as I’ve not been feeling well recently. I couldn’t really do much about that, though. I’d much rather have slept at some point in the last week. In any case, this was always a spontaneous piece and one that will remain unfinished for various reasons. But as a material study it’s actually fairly useful. It might not seem as significant as I’m suggesting but I assure you it has merit.

Mostly in bringing traditional and digital approaches closer.

Needs more fire.

Hence why I’m doing these slightly odd studies in the first place. In this case, I was mostly trying to see how much impact adding line work to the piece would have. This is slightly closer to what I’d do traditionally, too. But it’s still a laborious and overworked process, as I’m still of the opinion I’m doing extra work due to the limited technical specifications of my tablet.

It’s still a possibility that I’m entirely wrong about that assumption. I don’t think I am. But I wouldn’t rule it out. I’ve definitely learned new things as a result of these material studies, though. I feel as though my digital pieces are stronger and that there’s potential for better results in the future. How I’m going to go about achieving those results, what form they’ll take, and with which equipment is entirely open to interpretation at this point. I’m almost certain I’m going to invest in better equipment mostly because I’m curious. That’s as good a reason as any to spend a lot of money, right? You know what they say about curiosity and cats. I might not be an actual cat- but I’m covered in enough of their fur that I might as well be.

The biggest challenge of this comparison was to try and recreate something recognisably similar. Not exactly the same- but recognisable enough that you can at least see what I’m trying to do. Which I hope you can. Otherwise that previous sentence exists simply to exemplify my failures. Usually I’m just applying digital approaches to previously attempted traditional pieces, but this seemed like a fun change of pace. Mostly to see how different the approaches would look and feel once completed. Unsurprisingly, they’re incredibly different.

Needs more everything.

Probably better approached with ink, too.

But that was mostly a matter of time and not wanting to invest that much into something to be used as a comparison. I’m fairly confident in my ability to translate pencil to ink at this point. I’m scarcely using that for anything worthwhile- but that’s not important. What is important is that I’ve got my confidence back. Somewhat. I think there’s some left under the cat.

I apologise if this content feels disjointed or it’s not particularly what people want to see. I’ve always believed that knowing where you came from is important, that knowing where you’re going is equally as important, and that we should do our best to understand these things. Especially for those who create. We’re often more personally invested in our work and there are usually reasons why certain things appeal to us. Being able to utilise those- through understanding, learning, and experimentation- is incredibly important to our growth. We’re all going to fail at one point or another, but understanding why we failed and learning from that is infinitely more important than not.

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, Warlords of Draenor, Blackhand, and all associated trademarks and devices are owned by Blizzard.

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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.

Mushroom Inspired

They’re really growing on me.

Not that I’ve ever had anything against mushrooms. They were one of the first things that made me truly appreciate the creativity behind The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. Those alien landscapes composed of gargantuan plants, trees, and mushrooms. The local customs and cultures which made every region feel different. The fact that the local races lived next to active volcanoes and that these same volcanoes were evident in the world around you. It’s one of those moments that remains unique in The Elder Scrolls series as nowhere else in Tamriel is quite the same.

Tangential conversation at its finest.

Intricate and tiny mushroom details.

I’ve had more than a few thoughts regarding all things creative recently. Firstly, that I don’t use watercolour as much as I would like to. Secondly, that I’d like to take a moment to appreciate the changes to my creative process. Thirdly, that thinking about things doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to do anything about them. Which is why I’m actively doing something, too.

The first two of these attempts are currently works in progress. I’m trying to see how viable it would be to approach new pieces with watercolour, and whether that’s something that I would like to do more frequently in the future. I enjoy the fluidity of watercolour, how it blends, the textures of the paper, and the fact that I can reinforce it with ink. So I’d like to take more advantage of that. That said, I believe that my state of mind is still one that suggests that watercolour is a special material. Meant for special things. Which is a silly state of mind. Much like how I wouldn’t think of using ink as a default material due to always regarding it differently. Now it’s just ink. It does what ink does. On the other hand, that doesn’t mean that these attempts will be successful.

But that is of little consequence with watercolour. Those tubes last a very long time as you’re only using a small percentage of paint as you thin them to the desired consistency. While it’s not too much of an investment to experiment with the actual tubes, the paper is slightly more expensive than my usual cartridge paper. Which is why the sketches are smaller and there are multiple on the page. I don’t really want to burn through two or three sheets of paper wastefully. That and I’d like to start a little less ambitiously while I’m still working on the approach.

Inspired by the areas surrounding Davon’s Watch.

I’m hoping to do more watercolour sketches, too.

Particularly character concepts of some description. Those are notably missing from the two approaches with the closest being the deathclaw, which exhibits some human anatomy (and a more demonic look) but it’s not a human character. Or alien character. It’s a weird irradiated lizard that lives in the various wastelands that remain after the fall of nuclear fire.

The last of these attempts is pretty much the reason why I thought about watercolour painting in the first place. I’m starting to realise that approaching landscapes with pencil or ink alone might not be the best idea. There’s certainly nothing wrong with either of those approaches, but I feel as though I have more potential adding some amount of colour to those and thereby creating something more unique. I still love ink as an approach for trees and the like, though. Pencil, too. Those are most definitely still valid options. It’s interesting as both scenic pieces and watercolour are two things I can identify as things that I enjoy but don’t do enough of, but they’re both things that I haven’t made any significant attempts towards yet.

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.

Fallout 3, Deathclaws, Super Mutants, Pip-Boys, and all associated trademarks and devices are owned by Interplay/Bethesda.
The Elder Scrolls, The Elder Scrolls Online, Morrowind, the Morag Tong, and all associated trademarks and devices are owned by Bethesda.

Corruption Collection

Decaying souls housed in failing flesh.

There are a couple of trees in there, too. It wouldn’t be the same without a healthy dose of foliage. I’m starting to think I have a problem, but none have taken me seriously when I mention my obsession with my wood. I’m not sure why, either. They seem pretty understanding about the foliage thing. In any case, it’s a good time to throw together this sketch compilation. It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these and this one highlights a rather rare attempt at a Dark Souls inspired sketch.

I do love the visual style of the Dark Souls series.

There’s a certain quality that persists throughout the series which produces some utterly gorgeous suits of armour or weapons. Each usually telling a story about a previous owner, a previous age, or even a previous instalment. Highlighting the many realms and many inhabitants that have come and gone through the span of time that precariously knits each instalment together.

Many of these sketches have been previously highlighted over on Twitter. One is new-ish. That said, they were previously presented cropped and without as much context as they have here. Which, for the coloured pencil and ink tree sketch, is actually an interesting distinction, as you can see how the original pencil sketch looked and how things unfolded from there. It provides an interesting contrast to the graphite pencil tree sketch, within which you can see how the two approaches are surprisingly different despite having the same subject matter. Then again, the two were intended to be entirely different in their final presentation- but they remained fairly consistent in their original sketches.

I have a thing for trees. Colourful trees.

It’s interesting to me as I’ve been thinking about consistency for a while now. I was starting to question whether I had any which may have been slightly misplaced, as, while the two presentations ended up entirely different, they did start fairly similarly. Perhaps I’ve been looking at consistency the wrong way around. On the other hand, I’m pleased that these sketches maintain a level of quality which ranks with the best work I’ve done. Maybe I’m finally becoming more comfortable with my myriad styles, too.

Or maybe I shouldn’t have myriad styles.

I’ve also been working with a singular type of paper recently. I wish there were reasons for that, but the closest I have to a reason is that I can’t be bothered to disturb the cat by moving the supply box around to get my other bristol board. I know it’s in there. Somewhere. I’m starting to warm to cartridge paper, too. It tells all the best stories and keeps me warm on cold winter nights.

Been shuffling pencils around as well. Indulging in the pleasures of HB rather than my usual choice of B. No real reason for that, either. Just that it feels natural at times to select certain pencils over others. Almost as if I’ve gained some fundamental insight into how I approach things and what would be best to use, based on situation, instead of experience, to provide the best possible result at the time. It’s also fun experimenting with different materials from time to time. It’s surprising how something as simple as switching a pencil can drastically change the presentation of the finished piece. I’m still smitten with 2B*, too. (*The pencil not the android.)

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.

Hollows, Bonfires, the Elite Knight set, Estus Flasks, and all associated trademarks and devices are owned by FROMSOFTWARE.

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.

Beastly Practices

I’ve had my fair share of them.

While I will admit that this year has come as somewhat of a surprise when it comes to my creative pursuits, and that, despite what I would have believed at the start of the year, I’ve actually made significant progress with various aspects of them- I’m not entirely happy with how things are progressing. Then again, I would hardly be me if I were to ever be happy with anything that I do. I’ve thought about it for a while and the only way I can describe it is to say that I lack enthusiasm.

Or I lack any sort of personal fulfilment from creating things.

There are a few reasons for this. Most prominent of these is the declining state of my health over the last few months, which culminated in a recent few days of winter flu pretty much putting me entirely out of commission. Which, in some ways, is actually more beneficial than not. As I had to stop for a while to recover.

This gave me time to think about the situation. How I would change it- if I could- and what the actual problem was. It could be a lack of confidence, too. I don’t doubt that I’ve made great strides in what I’m attempting to do, and that, if this were five years earlier, I’d be running every which way with every one of these materials. I’ve also been wondering if I’m now setting expectations I can no longer surpass (nor even attempt to). I’m consciously aware I’ve done that before. While I’m not looking to stagnate any time soon, having an unrealistic expectation of my abilities (and therefore demanding more from myself) is not the way to stop me from stagnating. If anything it’s an invitation for me to start.

Raised on a healthy diet of people flesh.

Raised on a healthy diet of people flesh.

I’ll admit, it’s a weird place to be. Having the knowledge and capability to do what you want to do but not the ability. That’s why I’m thinking I might need to take new approaches to old topics, within which I may even be able to revive some of my older ideas/inspirations once again. Honestly, if I had the motivation I had a five years ago coupled with my current level of ability- I’d be thrilled. I’d probably take up never sleeping at all. Arguably a good or a bad thing depending on how long the human body can survive without sleep.

It’s not very long, is it?

I’m also thinking I may need to take a short break from all things creative. It certainly helped to have the time recently to think about it, albeit not the way I would have liked to acquire that time but it was helpful all the same. Maybe with enough consideration I can find a solution that allows me to work towards what I want to do in the future.

The above sketch is a new pencil approach I’ve been thinking about. Relying on a 2B for darker shadows, smoothing shading, and a generally fluid technique which can be detailed but just as easily blended for optimal flexibility. It’s something that could translate to ink quite comfortably, too. Speaking of ink, I’ve been thinking about switching from my 0.05 to 0.1 pen for the majority of my lining and detailing. In cases where the smaller nib is preferred I’ll obviously switch back. But I’m starting to feel that there’s more work and time going into areas that could just as easily (and perhaps more appropriately) be approached with 0.1 pen. Which means there are more experiments to add to the list. I should probably stop doing that.

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.

Building an Abomination

The left leg is connected to the right shoulder blade.

That’s a pretty funny looking abomination. Then again- try to knock him down! See how he gets along just fine scuttling away like a malicious crab with his back legs? Who’s laughing now, huh? Probably not you. You’re probably wondering what I’m talking about. It’s okay, I don’t know either. You’re in for a treat, though. This is one of the rare times I’ll be able to throw together a traditional art work in progress post. Rare due to the fact that they’re cumbersome to create. All that scanning, cropping, and stopping.

Much easier to do with digital painting.

Pencil is one of the most forgiving materials for this sort of thing, though. It’s also been a while since we’ve had any exclusively pencil pieces here or on the site. So you’ll not only get to see progression, but you’ll also get an idea of where my pencil style could possibly be going. Honestly, I like leaning on the shading a little heavier than I probably should.

I’ve mentioned before that my pencil style is a great indicator of how much I’ve changed. I once had a very different idea of the style I wanted, I also had a different idea of how to achieve that style and how to bring materials together. To make sure they work together with the least resistance. However, we’ve seen great changes in the way I approach ink pieces. Ink used to be entirely consistent with pencil, too. Very light, crisp, empty lines. Developed into heavier, fluid, intricate lines. I’m still humouring the notion that ink may one day replace pencil as my primary choice of material. Not that the notion is very humorous these days. It’s actually very likely to happen.

An entirely malignant growth.

An entirely malignant growth.

This is a slightly different kind of paper than what I’d usually use, too. This is an older cartridge paper which is much heavier, much smoother, and more akin to bristol board than cartridge paper. As that is traditionally much lighter with a stronger texture. Or, at least, the cartridge paper I’ve used in the past was. I’m not entirely sure if I’m happier without the texture or whether the texture adds something to the piece. It’s easier to get smoother, fluid, consistent shading without the texture.

But textures are my jam.

I put them on bread late at night when I’m peckish and the pantry is empty. That said, the smoothness of the paper does allow me to transition to ink with little risk of damaging any of the nibs scratching against the texture. Especially that lil’ 0.05 nib. It’s so precious- I must protect it at all costs!

Those who are curious as to what this abomination actually is, well, that’s exactly what it is- an abomination. Those familiar with the Warcraft universe will most likely know of their existence. This is the famous named abomination Stitches. Referenced from his Heroes of the Storm standard skin. But still entirely relevant to the World of Warcraft incarnation. Abominations feature quite heavily around the frosty wastes of Icecrown (and pretty much everywhere the Scourge reside). They’re big, they’re tough, and they’ll hook you if you’re not careful. They only want to hug you, though. It gets cold out in Icecrown and they find little company amongst the legions of the Scourge. The hook just makes the hug happen that much quicker.

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, Abominations, Stitches, Disease Expulsion, and all associated trademarks and devices are owned by Blizzard Entertainment.