June to September 2017

Prepare for an unexpectedly creative period of time.

We started with Mushroom Fluidity which looked at a recent material study, which was soon followed by Comparison in Blood, and then by Comparison in Iron. Both of which continued the trend of approaching materials I’ve used for a long time in new ways. These were followed by Greatly Textured Horns which not only looked at ink and how I’m currently using it, but also reintroduced some of my oldest (and most reliable) ink pens. These material studies have definitely helped me understand more about my creative processes.

Jovial July contributed to the creativity as well.

Through which I added new categories to both the Art and Gaming pages and made minor changes to my personal site. There have been and there will continue to be many changes to the collection of sites, with most of the changes being related to the accessibility of content and ease of using the sites. Hopefully making it easier to find what you’re looking for.

We’ve had a rather mixed bag of gaming content recently. Starting with Priests of Rathma, which looked at the somewhat recent release of the Rise of the Necromancer pack for Diablo III that (amongst other things) added the Necromancer as a playable class. This was followed by The Sunshine Estate which looked at a long awaited return to Darkest Dungeon via a Radiant Mode campaign. We then experienced The Realisation of a Dream which looked at the adventures of Neptune and friends in Megadimension Neptunia VII. Last but not least we also saw the conclusion of a Sorceries with no shield build in Dark Souls II through Shieldless in Drangleic. As you can probably tell- we’ve had our fair share of adventures recently.

Rather surprisingly we’ve looked at a relatively new Early Access title, too. It’s been a while since we’ve done that, but First Impressions of… Low Magic Age looks at a promising RPG with a d20 System ruleset derived from the Wizards of the Coast Open Game Licence. If you’re confused by that sentence, don’t worry- I was, too. There are more features that have yet to be added, but for what is there, and certainly for the ridiculously low price it is available for, it’s definitely worth looking at if you’re a fan of tabletop RPGs.

We’ve even spent some time in Azeroth recently.

Firstly in an attempt to conclude preparations to access Legion content, but, rather spontaneously, to experience Legion content after an impromptu decision to buy the newest expansion. You can read about this return via either Garrison Architects (which mostly looks at Warlords of Draenor) or through the dedicated category for the series. You’re a Highlord, Moggie.

While I am still making numerous changes to the collection of sites, we’ve already seen a great deal of them and one that I think is more noticeable with this post is that there is slightly less content in recent months. However, what content there has been is generally of higher quality. That said, there were meant to be more posts than there have been but I’ve been busy with personal things recently which have knocked a post or two off the list. I’m still enjoying what I do, but I am looking to change some things around and some of those changes may be more drastic than others. In any case, I hope you- the reader- are still enjoying the content I’m writing about. It’s an awful lot of fun to write in most cases.

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie

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Jovial July

Let’s make this month a good one.

I’ve been thinking about writing a post like this for a while. I’ve made numerous minor changes to all sorts of things recently and I felt like highlighting them, but previous iterations of this post never felt particularly coherent. So, if you’re reading this, this iteration made it. Good job, iteration! The first and most extensive change was to update both the Art and Gaming pages here on Moggie @ WordPress, which should (hopefully) make it easier to find what you’re looking for. Regardless of what it is or when it was originally posted.

This includes new sections for both of the pages, too.

These were the last few changes I wanted to make to the structure of the blog. Now that they’re implemented I’m free to update older content so that it can fit into the new structure, which mostly involves either new categorisation or presentation adjustments for those posts. It’s a background process in many ways. I’m actively working on it, but it doesn’t take priority.

The second change was to slightly adjust the presentation on my personal site by adding new thumbnails. These are slightly larger, lack the text, and I can only fit nine (instead of ten) per page. However, the loss of one thumbnail per page isn’t particularly notable. I’ve wanted to adopt a stronger visual presentation for my personal site for a while, which these thumbnails do and they’re incredibly easy to change back if I become dissatisfied with them. I can quite literally grab the old folder and throw it onto my server. I actually made that change a while ago (or a work in progress version of it) and liked it enough to finalise it. So, if nothing else, that gives me hope that this was a good idea. I couldn’t be wrong twice, right? Right?!

With the aforementioned changes now in place I’m feeling particularly good about how things are going. There are still improvements to be made- and there always will be- but I’m happy with the state of things as they are. I’m looking at YouTube and Twitch fairly closely, too. There are opportunities for both creative and gaming content on either of those channels. It’s definitely easier to put together videos as and when I have the time rather than set streaming schedules, but both are viable and I should keep both in mind.

It’d be neat to do some creative videos.

One thing that was painfully evident while updating my personal site is that I need to do more finished pieces. I’m definitely not seeing the correct representation of recent attempts. Mostly because many of those recent attempts have been material studies, which don’t make it to my personal site. So I’ve been wondering whether they should in the future.

I can only apologise for the erratic posting schedule of late. I’m still somewhat happy with it just because I’m only really posting when I have things to talk about, but I’d like to be more consistent. In so many ways. That said, I’m hoping that once I’ve worked through the infuriating indecision that I discussed in Mushroom Fluidity things will improve. At least creatively. So that’s something for both of us to look forward to. In any case, I do like to talk about the things I’m currently doing or will be doing in the future even if it’s not the most riveting content. That and now you can click on all of the above links and be astounded by the exceptional changes. Should keep you busy for a little while.

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie

March to June 2017

Changes abound!

The most significant of those changes would definitely be the new personal website I put together earlier in the year. I looked at the new design (and reasoning for) extensively in Season of Change, which also resulted in newly updated pages here on Moggie @ WordPress. I’ve not talked about those yet. But, for the most part, I’m reorganising the pages (and updating their layout) so that everything has a level of consistency. Wherein things are now easier to find and are where you would expect them to be. Which is good for everyone!

I’ve also changed over to the new section titles on the Art page.

We’ve had some interesting creative content in the last three months, too. Corruption Collection started them off by bringing together several pieces that I’d been working on recently, followed not long after by To Ink a Deathclaw which showed digital art some love. I also talked about the joys (and woes) of spending money on art materials in Expensive Mistakes.

Mushroom Inspired did the best it could to help us appreciate mushrooms, watercolour paintings, and the alien landscapes of Morrowind. It’s a pretty mixed bag. Ambitious Acrylic celebrated the purchase of new brushes, but lamented my inability to use them towards the results I’ve been hoping for. While Melty Black Goo looked at a recurring subject matter for my work. That of weirdly deformed human anatomy combined with strange black tentacles. Surprisingly, that’s safe to read if you’re at work. I’ll happily admit that I had been hoping for slightly more creative content in this time, but I’ve answered some of the questions I’ve been asking. Which is all one can really hope for in the wake of a disappointment.

A considerable portion of the gaming content in the last three months has been looking at The Elder Scrolls Online. An MMORPG that promised quite a lot and delivered a decent amount of it, which is both enjoyable to play and interesting to get lost in when you’ve got several hours to spare. Or even if you don’t have several hours to spare. That’s what MMORPGs do- they get you when you least expect it! You can read that entire series of events either via the Gaming page or through its dedicated category.

We also spent some time in the SteamWorld universe.

Steam Assimilation looked at SteamWorld Dig, which followed the events of Rusty as he dug ever deeper into the mines below and the secrets hidden therein. While Space Cowbots looked at SteamWorld Heist, which took a surprising turn with mechanics but continued the story of that universe as you adventured with Piper Faraday and her crew.

We got to see what happened next in the Hyperdimension Neptunia series, too. A Neptune to the Past follows the events of the third instalment of that series (Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth3 V Generation), which was, as always, a pleasure to experience and shows great evolution from earlier instalments. First Impressions of… Salt and Sanctuary exhausts the gaming content from the last three months, which (unsurprisingly) looks at the brutal ARPG Salt and Sanctuary that takes several cues but delivers something all its own. It’s not been a period of time focused on any one topic, but it’s definitely one that has delivered a range of different kinds of content be it gaming or creative.

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie

Season of Change

It’s better than a The Times They Are A-Changin’ pun, right?

I’ve spent some time updating my personal website recently! You should head on over to David Wilkshire.co.uk and check it out. I promise it’s pretty neat. If this surprises you- it surprises me, too! I wasn’t expecting to work on that particular element of this (increasingly complex) formula. Especially when you reflect on my ill fated attempts at trying to update the thumbnails for the umpteenth time, however therein lies the reason that I finally decided to change the site around in the way that I did.

While the thumbnails remain the same not much else does.

You’ll probably notice that the sections have changed drastically and that we’re a few shy of the number we used to have. I decided that it would probably be best to remove any which leaned on certain materials, as I may not be using those materials as much (if at all) in the future. It didn’t seem to make as much sense as it once did. Not that I disagree with the original idea, either.

It was a pretty good idea. I broke everything up into sections based on their particular materials, which does have merit and does help you find the particular things you’re looking for but it’s also rather convoluted. As, if you like my pencil illustrations, it’s reasonable to suggest that you’d enjoy my ink illustrations. Or marker illustrations. Or even digital illustrations. So it didn’t really seem to fit, both for the outdated concepts and the fact that I’m not going to be the one to use this site to find my work. You are. If I want to find various things I’ve done I’ve got myriad directories to explore. It’s also built a little more around HTML and CSS than around graphical elements now.

Pretty neat, no?

There’s no particular reason for that change, though. I just felt it would be nice to be able to create the same thing but without having to rely on a singular large graphic to do it. Now I get a relatively similar effect- but this one is built from many different things. I’ve also got a thing for horizontal rules, now. Damn those sexy lines. That said, it’s quite an extensive change and now I’ve got the task of updating various links in various places. Thankfully these updates only need to happen for the two sections I’ve removed.

The other two are pretty much as they were.

Actually changing a link can be done in a matter of seconds- it’s just finding the sneaky buggers. Once this post has been published most of the major links on Moggie @ WordPress will already have been changed, but I will be updating more over the course of the next week or so. But, in case I do miss the odd one here or there, I’ll be leaving the old directories up for a while.

So I doubt that things will break too badly. If at all. I’ll admit- it’s a pretty ambitious change. But it’s one that I felt was necessary for the betterment of the site and my content as a whole, which hopefully will not only mean it’s better presented but easier to find in the future. Apologies for not sharing more creative content recently. I’m still working through a good few things and it might be a little while longer before I’m able to share things. That said, if you’re interested in a recent creative effort or something I dug out of my archives you should head on over to Twitter. I’m always sharing various bits and pieces over there. In any case, I hope you like the changes and that the new site is not too confusing.

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.

January to March 2017

It’s a fresh new year.

I’ve been thinking about the kinds of content I’d like to share this year and these posts seem like a natural fit. I’ve always enjoyed writing them and I feel like they present an accessible summary of recent events, which, in this case, is slightly more gaming content than I would have anticipated. But I’m not too concerned about that, either. It’s been nice as I’ve enjoyed many of the things I’ve been talking about. Which is more than I could say for some of the things which have inspired gaming content in the past.

There have been quite a few JRPGs in there, too.

We started the year with Good Tidings, which reflected on my seasonal activities and the various ways in which I was unable to resist the temptations of the Steam Winter Sale once more. Before long we were talking about my Yearly Consistency, too. Turns out I’m a little more rigid than I would have expected! I’ve been assured by medical professionals that it’s fine, though.

While there has been more gaming content than creative there were a few notable posts for the latter. Mutant Deathclaw led into Anatomical Fish which allowed me to pause and talk about a Momentary Regret, but before long we were back with more creative efforts in Happiness Hat. There were examples of Multiple Attempts next which was followed by Pug Life. In many ways this has been a period that was oddly focused on digital painting, but there have been some traditional efforts in there as well. While I would have preferred to have more creative content in this period, I’m not that upset about it, as I’ve been able to reflect on what I’d like to do next, which should hopefully mean even better creative content in the future.

Gaming content started strongly with the Diablo III 20th Anniversary Event. The Darkening of Tristram was a limited time event which presented myriad challenges to undertake and achievements to earn, including one which required an entirely new character. I decided to give the Witch Doctor a second slot in my roster and you can read about that build over in My Curse Upon You! Which, oddly enough, became one of the most powerful builds I’d managed to bring together. I’m not sure that’s to do with her pets, either.

The damage over time spells are pretty ridiculous in their own right.

We also saw the conclusion of the Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster through both The Summoner’s Pilgrimage and Dressed for the Occasion. There was a brief return to the Hyperdimension Neptunia series, too. With the events surrounding the Journalists of Gamindustri and where there was Hope for Planeptune. Great JRPGs one and all!

I also explored the depths of a rather quirky and somewhat different ARPG in First Impressions of… Victor Vran. I took a break from writing posts about specific things for a moment to reminisce about the Smaller Parts of a Larger Whole. The conclusion to this period was Emotions are Prohibited, which looked at the intricately detailed and ridiculously enjoyable NieR: Automata that has continually surprised and impressed me. I’m still working through Route B, too. I’m nearly at Route C… there’s just so many side quests to do! There are also a number of weapons which could do with an upgrade. So I reckon I’ll be there for a while yet. Especially as I’m looking to complete all of the main endings.

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie

Momentary Regret

An unfortunate turn of events.

Over the last twelve months we’ve seen quite a few posts about any number of creative topics. Perhaps most surprisingly was the recent enthusiasm towards digital painting, which isn’t an entirely new topic. It’s just one that hasn’t been as prevalent in recent years. That said, it wasn’t an entirely positive experience for all concerned as I’ve expressed my doubts towards my suitability regarding digital painting. That’s a sentence that I swear makes sense even if it doesn’t seem like it does.

It’s not so much that I can’t get the results I want, either.

In fact, in some cases, I felt like I’ve made considerable progress with the results I’ve been getting. But there is an underlying feeling of not really being satisfied with the pieces I’m doing. Admittedly, as with all things creative, there is an element of learning how best to approach something, as what works for one won’t necessarily work for another and vice versa.

But that doesn’t change the fact that often times I feel more frustrated than fulfilled when attempting any kind of digital painting. Again, this could be that the tools or the approaches I’m using aren’t suited to what I want to do. But there’s really very little way to change that without some form of financial investment. I’m not about to say that the Wacom Bamboo is holding me back, either. Sure- it’s not as good as a higher specification tablet- but I’m not going resign myself to believing that if I bought something more expensive I would instantly improve. That’s not how it works. That’s not how it has ever worked. I need to possess some level of ability before that becomes even the most remote of possibilities.

So where does that leave us? In a state of continued confusion which I’m riddled with on a day to day basis. I’ve been looking into alternative approaches, though. Most specifically the Painter Essentials 5 package, which dilutes the Corel Painter experience into something a little less extensive but likewise a lot less expensive. Would that help? Maybe. It’s as good a guess as I’ve got at the moment. At least, if nothing else, it’s a digital package that attempts to emulate traditional materials.

Which seems like an odd way to approach this situation.

You move away from traditional materials to use a software package that emulates traditional materials. That said, despite the fact that it emulates traditional materials it is still an approach that is rooted in digital techniques. Layers, brushes, easier editing, and nearly endless chances to keep approaching something that hasn’t worked as you would have hoped it would.

There’s also an argument to be made that it might be better to cut my losses and stop. It’s an entirely defeatist approach, but it’s one that isn’t without merit given the current investment into digital painting and the fact that Painter Essentials 5 would be further investment. Admittedly the investment has only been that of time with the current process. But I do question whether there is any validity in throwing financial investment into this, too. Then again, it’s easy to argue that I’ve already invested the time into it (and that I’ve made progress) so maybe it’s best not to just stop. It’s definitely a tricky situation that raises a number of questions to which I have few answers at the moment.

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie

Yearly Consistency

Something that is surprisingly within reach.

One of the few things I’ve always been slightly bothered by with this blog is how the older content stands out. In a bad way. Not to say that the content itself is bad- in most cases it’s quite good- but that it lacks the presentation I’d like it to have. There are a few reasons for this. Mostly that the older content was written without many of the changes I’ve made in the last couple of years. The pages which outline the various aspects of the blog, the expanded category system, and even scheduling posts have made a difference there.

So I’ve been adjusting things here and there. Slowly but surely.

It’s something I’ve talked about before. It’s also something which I’ve said is not a major concern of mine, and, as such, will not take time away from the creation of new content. But recently I’ve seen the potential to finally bring everything to a level of consistency (and quality) that I want it to be at. So I’ve invested the time to make it happen.

The changes mostly exist in the posts themselves, but there are a few changes that everyone can benefit from (and enjoy) such as the new child categories. It’s now much easier to find both the First Impressions and Review posts. It’s a minor change but one that makes it easier to access content- especially if that’s the content you’d like to see. As I’ve mentioned in the past, the great thing about designing anything that someone else will use is trying to imagine what it’s like from their perspective. It may make sense to look for things in a certain place to me. But, to you, the user, if you can’t find something- it’s kind of useless. So I’m hoping these changes will make certain things easier to find and/or digest.

Not that I would ever suggest eating any of my posts. This process also gives me a certain amount of clarity as to how things are progressing. It’s interesting seeing the changes I’ve made over the years, it’s equally as interesting that I’m actually quite happy with things as they are now. I think we’ve got a good thing going on. That’s mostly interesting because I tend to be quite critical of myself. To actually be happy with something either means I’m becoming less critical or I’m doing things that I like.

Both of which are fairly positive results.

I would have preferred to bring you new content with this post, but I’ve been doing a lot of smaller experimental pieces recently and I don’t have anything reasonably coherent to share. Oddly, many of these have been related to digital painting. Who knew I’d dig that up again? Me. To be entirely honest. It’s always been fairly fun to do.

I’m starting to understand more about my weaknesses therein. I’d say that my use of colour and texture are among my strengths, but the initial sketching is pretty weak. I seemingly can’t sketch for love nor money with a tablet- but I can sketch with traditional materials. Mostly. I wasn’t intending to do coloured lined pieces with digital painting, but it might not be an entirely terrible idea even if it’s only for a short while. The only problem being that recent ink pieces aren’t really conducive to that approach. That said, I’ve always had fairly simple line art for watercolour paintings like Grotti v2. Which, thankfully, I scanned before painting. So there are a few ways to practice this new approach through those.

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie