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 So it didn’t really seem to fit, both for the outdated concepts and the fact that I’m not going to be the one to use this site to find my work.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

Good Tidings

To you and yours.

Gather ’round the fire and listen to ol’ Moggie for a moment, folks. It’s that time again! The New Year. The time for resolutions, forgetting to date things correctly, and most importantly even more sales on anything and everything. Will the sales ever end? Will your wallet ever be safe? You feel comfortable knowing that the last gasps of the Steam Winter Sale can be heard. Soon it will be no more. Soon there will be nothing to worry about. Until you hear it rising once again from the depths- taking on another form- haunting your wallet once more.

Or you’ll just run into the Steam weekly sales.

It’s not just the time for sales, though. Some people spend it with their family. Or their pets. Or both. Or they spend it wondering why they ate so much as another mince pie carelessly falls into their mouth. They can’t stop. They won’t stop. They will be satisfied at any cost. They will awaken amongst confectionery wrappers with little recollection of the night before.

I’ve spent these few weeks reflecting on how things have progressed in the last year. Making small changes to my various sites, updating information, scheduling posts for the New Year, and deciding on what content I’d like to be working on. It’s certainly easier to find the time to work on these things when not actively making content or writing posts. Not that I ever take much of a break from writing posts. But it’s something. I’m always a little excited when I have a whole list of scheduled content that I can’t wait to share with you all. Especially if you’ve not seen it via Tweets or anything else yet. I’d love for that few week lead to carry forward into the rest of the year, too. But that’s not really how I produce content.

Twenty seven years and still not sick of it.

Twenty seven years and still not sick of it.

I also made a few purchases during the Steam Winter Sale. The first was GRID, which I have introduced to my followers via a couple of Tweets highlighting my inability to take corners or to remain unscathed during a race. The second was Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura, which, besides having quite the title, is something I’m keen to talk about once I’ve had more time to explore the opening areas. At the very least, I’m quite impressed with how extensive the character creation options are.

I can see that resulting in many unique builds and character stories.

On that note, Final Fantasy X is still going strong. I’m approaching it more casually than I first anticipated I would- but I’m in no rush to see the end of it. I’m also enjoying the varied character builds I’m able to work towards thanks to the Expert Sphere Grid. Who would have thought that Rikku would be one of the most proficient White Magic users in my party? Not me!

For the coming year I’m looking to introduce creative content as a major focus and have it remain as such throughout. I’d like to improve on the unexpectedly plentiful creative content from last year, but in a more diverse way. Perhaps by bringing together more materials than we’ve seen in any singular year before this. Or perhaps by bringing together a stronger, more developed, and more consistent approach overall. I’m looking to talk a lot more about what I’m doing, what’s working, and what’s not when it comes to all things creative. Hopefully this will encourage me to be more proactive when it comes to pursuing new ideas or using new materials.

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie

September to December 2016

The seasonal edition.

‘Tis the season to remember all of the things I’ve done over the last three months. Some of them were pretty good, too. I’d usually post these on the last posting date of the month (which in this case would be the 30th of December), but as this is the last post I’ll be writing this month (and this year) I brought it forward. This way things can transition as they normally would. You just get this post a little earlier, which, to be honest, isn’t an entirely bad thing if you’re enjoying my creative pursuits.

They’ve been surprisingly prominent for the entire year.

Then again, I’ve also had some great gaming content recently. Starting with the wonderfully enjoyable (yet incredibly cheap) Ember, leading to the exploration of the inner workings of my mind (and Cities: Skylines) in Salston Heights, followed by my observations regarding two very interesting titles through both Lost Castle (First Impressions) and Chronicon (First Impressions). I managed to squeeze a couple of JRPGs in there, too. Heavenly Pudding looks at something new while An Evolving Narrative looks at something old. We also had a brief look at the history of every video game ever through Evoland II in Nostalgia Lane.

I even spent some time with Moggie and friends to work on some of the things that I’d started with the previous subscription. It worked out better than expected with most of my long term goals being met quite quickly. Which, in turn, further reduces the number of things I’d like to do before we venture into the content that Legion offers.

Traditional art has been the sole focus of my creative pursuits recently. I’ve enjoyed bringing together different elements and new techniques in posts such as Equal Opposites, Aquatic Owl, Fishy Abomination, Murky Lioness, Leafy Green, Acrylic Ambitions, and Beastly Practices. It also seemed like a really good time for Fruity Nostalgia. Likewise, it was a great time to look at the process of Building an Abomination. Truly an interesting selection of wonderfully diverse posts.

We’ve seen a number of pieces reach my personal site, too.

The first was one that came as a surprise as I didn’t expect the scanned version to sway my opinion as much as it did, but you can decide for yourself when you see Failed Tree Attempt #206. To show appreciation to those who supported my digital painting efforts I slightly updated and finalised the Final Fantasy related “Wark! Wark!”, which was followed by (another Final Fantasy staple) Bomb. I also wrote the first Artist Feature post I’ve done in a while, in which I looked at the wonderfully adorable and exceptionally talented Laura Jane (and her gorgeous traditional art illustrations). They’re always a lot of fun to write (and to see the reception of).

Which brings us to the end of this post and this year of content on Moggie @ WordPress. If you’re curious about how the entire year has looked check this Tweet. It should give you all the statistical data your heart can handle, or, at the very least, a better insight into what I’ve posted. Which is just as good, right?

Have a nice Christmas, all!

Moggie

Assorted Adjustments

Tinkering abound.

Just a short post today to let everyone know that the changes outlined in Plotting Progress have been implemented. I’ve also made some additional changes to recent posts to bring them in line with the rest, often to include something I’d missed/forgotten or to recategorise them. As always, these weren’t critically important changes and if I’ve done it right you won’t even notice anything has changed. But I do like to keep everyone informed.

I haven’t got any further changes planned for the collection of sites. That said, I don’t necessarily plan when things need to be changed- I just notice that things aren’t working as intended. I try not to fuss too much over the sites, though. It doesn’t take too much time to implement changes but it does take time out of the other things I’m doing. Like making content. Or doodling. Or running around in the Orient with nought but a skirt covering my loins. As you can probably tell- I live a very interesting life.

Which totally doesn’t revolve around tapping the keys on a keyboard for several hours a day.

I also spend a fair amount of time scanning things. Isn’t that exciting? I bet you wish you got to do that. Unless you already do that in which case you’re one of the lucky few. You understand the joy of whirring scanner components, the blinking lights, and the excitement of having a cat that tries to climb inside that infernal contraption. I drink coffee, too. Probably enough to kill a rhinoceros. I don’t sleep all that much, though. Probably accounts for the weird things I say. Or do. It’s also not related to the consumption of coffee at all. It’s mostly due to thinking about far too much for far too long and never being able to rest.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie