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.

Mutant Deathclaw

You’d have a hard time trying to find something that isn’t mutated in this radioactive hell.

Then again, isn’t that the beauty of the irradiated wastelands we know and love? It’s not safe. It likely never will be. But, for some reason, we find ourselves exploring them regardless of the overflowing danger in every direction. That very reason is why Fallout 3 is still my favourite of the modern Fallout titles. The emptiness, desolation, and lifelessness of the wasteland truly fills you with a sense of isolation. You’re alone. You’ve got no-one to turn to but those you choose to make your allies.

If you even choose to make anyone your ally.

In any case, as much as I would like to talk about the things I love from the modern Fallout titles- we’re here to talk about two very particular pieces. We’ve already seen similar softer 2B pencil experimentation with Beastly Practices, but these pieces hope to refine that approach and create a more consistent style with which I have more confidence.

What lovely teeth you have.

What lovely teeth you have.

This approach also moves further away from the pencil style I had for many years. It’s not a bad thing, though. I’m quite fond of how versatile it is. You can see a little of that versatility over on Twitter via a tiny bearded doodle that uses a similar approach, but attempts to present semi-realistic facial anatomy. Regarding the first piece in this post, I love how that same semi-realistic approach is present but how it’s also stylised to a certain degree. It’s also really enjoyable adding in the small details, shading on the horns, and line weight as everything feels so natural and fluid. I’ll need more practice with this style before it comes entirely naturally- but this is a good start which shows a lot of promise.

It’s also interesting to see how my approach to detailing has changed significantly over the course of last year. I gradually switched to a more suggestive detail style, opposed to one which meticulously and intricately draws every line. There are positives and negatives to each approach. But I’d say this approach is one that I’m both satisfied with and that offers me a very good balance of detail and composition, which is something I’m usually guilty of not having. I focus too much on details and not enough on composition.

Leading to a lot of pieces that could have been more than what they were.

The shell of humanity.

The shell of humanity.

Regarding the second piece in this post, I’ve tried to approach super mutants many times in the past (but they insist on clubbing me with a board that has several nails in it) which has lead to varying results (and several scars). I attempted something a little more human than monstrous in this case, though. Despite their general form being quite monstrous to begin with.

Both of these pieces are referenced from their Fallout 4 models which does change their appearance significantly. It also provides much larger, clearer, and more detailed references. Not to say I don’t enjoy the references from the other modern Fallout titles- as they’re beautiful- but just that these are easier to work with. These pieces are also guilty of not having any sense of composition whatsoever. But this was purely to understand the approach, so I didn’t want to further complicate matters by turning everything on its head. That said, I’m looking forward to maybe having a little more armour and maybe even a weapon with the next super mutant. Perhaps a full body deathclaw, too. Miracles can happen, right?

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.

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.

Equal Opposites

Curly hair contradictions.

One thing that has continually surprised me while on this creative journey is how often my style has changed. Most interesting when looking at pencil pieces, as I had a very particular pencil style for quite some time. One that went surprisingly well with my ink style. These days both the pencil and ink styles have evolved into something a lot more… fluid? I’m not sure how best to explain it. They’re developing in a very natural way. Yet, at the same time, developing completely differently than expected.

Some of this comes down to the paper I’m using.

As I’ve explored a range of cartridge papers recently, which have changed the presentation when using pencil and ink as they’re interacting with a very different kind of paper. One that produces much softer results. One that is better suited to blending pencils together. Likewise, I’ve even tried using bristol board with pencil which produced results all its own.

It’s still quite likely I’ll be leaning heavily on ink in the future. Mostly because it affords me the flexibility, the intricate detailing, and the level of quality I want. That said, I don’t want to entirely ignore pencil and so I’m trying something different with the sketches in this post. Something that will hopefully encourage me to create different kinds of pencil pieces in the future. I’ve not yet finished a piece in this style, though. So it’s difficult to say if it’s even possible to do so. For me at least. But I think it’s an interesting blend of a more realistic style paired with my usual graphic style. As always, further tweaking is necessary as I continue to work on future pieces and the like.

Curly hair! Curly hair everywhere!

Curly hair! Curly hair everywhere!

While these are all regular pencil sketches, I am particularly interested in how Polychromos will interact with the range of cartridge papers and whether it’s more appealing than usual. I love the vibrancy and fluidity of the colours with bristol board- but it never hurts to try something new. Unless it costs you more money in the long run. Which it may do. Even if bristol board is among the most expensive of the materials I use. But that’s for another time when I have some evidence related to that train of thought.

I’m happy to spend the time on it, though.

When I first tried watercolours I was under the impression that I wasn’t a painter and that they would see little use. After trying a few things, painting a few paintings, and exploring the capabilities of the material I began to feel differently. So maybe I’ll begin a very similar yet entirely different journey with this pencil style.

I’d also like to finish a piece in this particular style at some point. Hopefully soon. However, I do have a couple of things in mind and they’re not really corresponding with pencils in any way. Maybe even a digital piece. Or, rather, a digital revival of a piece we’ve seen previously. As I do feel slightly annoyed by the fact that I felt it necessary to cut back on digital painting content. As odd as that may sound. I was also aiming for more traditional art content as a result of cutting back on digital art content, so you could see this as the beginning of that. Hopefully a beginning that won’t fizzle out in a few weeks and disappear until early next year.

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.