Momentary Disappearance (Pt. 1)

It’s been a while, hasn’t it?

I wasn’t expecting to have a break in content but it’s been a busy few weeks. I decided earlier in the year that I wouldn’t force new content through if it wasn’t forthcoming- and it really wasn’t- so that’s why I took a break. But if all things go according to plan (which they never do) things should be more consistent soon. I’m hoping that this consistency will also reintroduce creative content as a more regular inclusion, as that has been practically non-existent for some time. There are reasons for that, though.

Most of which are related to the acquisition of materials.

There’s definitely been a continued trend of running into issues with various materials for numerous reasons this year. But (hopefully) those issues should be sorted with recent acquisitions. I wouldn’t count on every issue being sorted, though. Just that things are easier to do now because I’ve got materials that I’m confident won’t repeatedly stop working properly.

I’ve managed to get the full set of Faber Castell Polychromos, which is a pretty important acquisition as I can now illustrate so many more things than I ever could before as I had such a limited selection of colours with the old set. I also decided to try a 0.05 Copic Multiliner as I’ve run into more problems replacing the 0.03 nib. I’m starting to think that it’s just too small (and therefore too fragile) to replace properly. It’ll either work or it won’t, which, if it doesn’t, I’ve pretty much wasted my money. As I’ll just need to get new nibs again. So (hopefully) the 0.05 nib will be thicker and sturdier. The 0.05 is also a more appropriate nib for the things I like to do. It’s a nice compromise between the 0.1 nib and something thinner.

I’ve also spent a while sorting through my various materials and old sketchbooks recently. I’ve mostly worked out a way to store things that works for both long term storage and short term usage, which is nice, as I’ve been trying to do that for a while, which should hopefully make me more productive. Especially when I’m now able to select a set of materials easily. I’ve even got a box of painting supplies which has my recently acquired Winsor & Newton Galeria tubes in it. I’ll be testing those to see if they’re any better than the Daler Rowney System 3 tubes.

I really hope you’re enjoying the use of acquired and/or acquisition.

I’ve even invested in digital painting and illustrating by replacing my Wacom Bamboo with a Wacom Intuos Pro. It’s a fairly standard upgrade, which is ridiculously noticeable as I’m now somewhat capable of sketching digitally. So I’m fairly certain I’ll be able to do something good with that. I’ve still got much to learn about digital approaches, though.

In many ways it has been an interesting period of time that has opened up many new opportunities, but, due to being busy with innumerable things, I’ve yet to capitalise on any of them. But the good news is that they aren’t going anywhere. So it’s not like I’ve got a specified time limit within which I need to use these materials. As I said above, I’m hoping that I’ll be able to do something with them soon but I’ll undoubtedly be rusty at this point. Which only really means it might take a few attempts to get a passable result. But I thank everyone for sticking around and listening to my ramblings (and overuse of acquired and/or acquisition). It is very much appreciated and I hope you enjoy the content I’ve got in mind for the next few months.

Have a nice week, 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’s Proclamations, 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

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’s Proclamations 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.

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

Plotting Progress

An entirely mathematical affair.

The protractor always said the compass was acute and they weren’t just talking about their angles! I’ll admit- that was terrible. But the rest of the post won’t be. Hopefully. I guess it really depends on your definition of terrible, though. I wanted to talk about the general state of things today. I haven’t written a post like this since Archive of Experiences earlier in the year, where I talked about the content creation process and what I’d like to do next. Now we get to reflect on whether I did those things or not.

I think you’ll agree that the recent content has been of higher quality, has been more diverse, and that overall they’ve been more engaging posts. Leaning a little heavier on gaming content at the moment, with some posts covering one my favourite series of all time and some focusing on my adventures in World of Warcraft. Gaming content will be the focus of some minor updates on Moggie’s Proclamations in the coming weeks, too. As I’ve pretty much got the creative content right where I want it. Now to explain my nefarious scheme in detail only for it to escape and foil me once more. Not sure why it would want to stab me with a fencing sword- but we can figure that out later.

Scheduling has also encountered a slight change recently.

I’ve decided to push back the publishing/scheduling time a little to make it easier to work around things outside of this. Hopefully this won’t change how people interact with the content too drastically. But, if it does, I’ll change it accordingly. The frequency of posts remains as was so there will be just as much content as before. Just a little later in the day.

There may be some minor changes coming to the collection of sites, too. I’ve been thinking about changing the header/cover images. I just need to think of a decent design, design it, upload it, and then tinker endlessly until it looks right on every site. I wish I could say I was being sarcastic but that’s how it goes. That won’t affect the creation of new content, though. Nor can I give a definite date as to when I’ll be ready with it. It’s not a major concern at the moment as I quite like my current header/cover image.

I haven’t got any new sites or major changes to talk about, either. I was considering actually using my Twitch account and doing some streaming at some point. The odd one here or there, to gauge interest, to see what it’s like, and to see whether it’s worth an investment of time. Probably something like Fallout 3 at first. Given it’s something I know quite well, it’s easy to record, and it shouldn’t cause too many problems. Just as long as I turn off the radio stations. There are still a few things to set up before that will be available, though. Like the possibility of using OBS to record/stream, as I’ve heard that has been updated considerably since I last looked into it.

I hope that everyone is still enjoying the content and that they’re excited to see more.

You can always drop me a comment or two. Tell me what you like, what you don’t like, what you’d like to see more of, what you’d like to see less of, or even what breed of cat is your favourite. It doesn’t even need to be a domestic cat, either. I’m open to all kinds of suggestions. Some I will only indulge in after dark, though.

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie