Pug Life

I didn’t choose it- it chose me.

Here’s a digital painting that I’ve been working on recently. Which, because I’m writing this post, will never be finished. Or at least that’s what the general trend with my digital painting efforts would lead me to believe. That said, it’s not as a result of writing posts that digital paintings are likely to never be finished- it’s instead that because the painting is likely to never be finished that I decide to draft the post. If nothing else it allows me to use some of these attempts in a constructive way that’s conducive to further progression.

However, I’m still hopeful that this piece will be finished at some point.

I can’t say when that point will be and whether it’s in the immediate future or not. I’ve reached that (commonly arrived at) moment where I’m not sure how best to continue with this particular piece. It’s reasonably obvious that the next stages would be in painting the beige and cream fur on their face, it’s not as obvious, however, how I would go about doing that.

Which is another event I’ve identified as a quite common occurrence with my digital painting attempts. Each has their own moment where I suffer from my inexperience and am unable to move forward in a way that I feel represents the overall quality until that moment, thereby reducing the likelihood it will be finished and further adding to the innumerable list of abandoned pieces. Many of which were highlighted in Multiple Attempts. Again, that post exists for the sole reason of giving a visual indicator of the state of many of the previously mentioned digital paintings. In a way further reinforcing the point I’m making here, as, without some indicator of progression, it could be hard to understand the dissatisfaction (for lack of a better word) I have for them.

Fluffiness rising.

Fluffiness rising.

I also realise that digital painting has been a topic that I’ve returned to several times. Each time I’ve had a different opinion, a different approach, and a different way to solve the various issues as I perceive them to be at the time. I don’t disagree with anything I’ve said, either. This is (as I see it) part of the creative progression process. Exploring different options, using different approaches, exploring new materials, and understanding the results of those decisions are all important components in getting the results you want.

Not that I have been getting the results I want.

Then again, I have started to notice that as I’ve worked on this piece I’ve slowly begun to understand more about how all of the different pieces of digital painting come together. Most notably I’ve noticed many improvements by working with a larger canvas. I usually work with something reasonably large- but it would seem that bigger is better in this case.

I’m also starting to piece together a consistent illustrative style which isn’t too realistic but acts as a decent foundation for further improvement. Whether I’d like to move towards realism, towards coloured lined pieces, or towards something in the middle I’ve not decided yet. But I do find myself feeling more comfortable with digital painting. I’ve also felt my general brush/pen control has improved. Again, in comparison to traditional pieces, this process is accelerated to a significant degree, as I’ve been working with these digital paintings for just over a year. Which is why I’m not entirely disappointed in the results, as I’m aware that it will take significantly more time and investment before I’m seeing the results that (at the moment) seem almost unobtainable.

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.

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.

“Wark! Wark!” – 2016 – Digital – click for full view on site!

The trustiest of steeds.

Chocobos are definitely one of the iconic elements of the Final Fantasy series. One of the most diverse, too. Each colour often represents a different trait or ability, from the limited flight capabilities of black chocobos to the legendary racing capabilities of golden chocobos. In Final Fantasy XIII-2 they were even potential party members. They’re quite interesting creatures and you’ll likely enjoying riding them if for no reason other than their particular theme music.

It’s an addictive piece of theme music.

This particular chocobo is referenced from Final Fantasy X/X-2 while this particular piece is actually quite old. Well, a few months old at least. It was one of the many digital pieces I was working on over those few months of digital painting here on Moggie @ WordPress. It isn’t finished, but it’s as finished as it can be as I’m still not sure how best to approach digital painting.

That said, I did want to share something with my readers. Many of you engaged with the previous digital painting work in progress posts- which I appreciate- and I would like to give you all at least a little something before we take a rest from digital painting. I still feel it’s the best decision, but I don’t want to seem ungrateful for all of the positive support I received regarding those digital paintings. Plus, it’s a chocobo! What’s not to love? It’s certainly a welcome addition to my personal site, too. Given that the Final Fantasy series is one of the biggest reasons I’m as interested in gaming as I am. That and Chrono Trigger. Which gets double the love because of the Akira Toriyama art style.

"Wark! Wark!" – 2016 – DigitalFor this piece I decided to paint a young-ish chocobo. Mostly because I imagine that baby chocobos would look like baby chickens. In other words- fluffy and adorable. Which is mostly an excuse to paint tiny, intricate, almost invisible details. As I do. Also, don’t ask about the beak. That was one of the larger concerns I had with this piece and I didn’t really know how to approach it. So it’s sort of unfinished but finished. I tried to clean it up a little, too. Make it look a little more respectable.

I’m proud of that nostril, though.

This particular style is just another example of the many different things I’ve tried. I like those. They make my personal site that much more enjoyable to browse as you never know what you’re going to get, especially when you consider the older pieces. Which were set in their own ways- and their own styles- for such a long time.

On the other hand, it’s nice to be trying new things and branching out not only to new styles but to new materials. Or, rather, materials I’ve had for some time but have not used. Or, rather, have used but never shared the results as they were less than satisfactory. It’s complicated. As is many of the things that I do. It wouldn’t be half as much fun if it were simple. Certainly be a lot less stressful, though. Not that creating things should ever be stressful- it should be something you do because you enjoy doing it. Any time you’re not enjoying it, you should probably take a step back and assess what went wrong and where. Then rectify that situation.

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.

Final Fantasy, Chocobos, Moogles, Genji equipment, and all associated trademarks and devices are owned by Square Enix.

Leopard Warlock

Ever seen a leopard summon demons?

Those who have read Fluffy Chops will be aware that I’m working on a new digital piece. It’s quite an interesting piece as I’m slowly getting an idea of what makes up my digital style. Oddly, it’s completely contradictory to my traditional style(s). In that digital is more of a whirlwind of colours and textures, while traditional is (for the most part) careful and precise with intricate detailing to create unique compositions. That said- I’m glad. I’m really glad this is starting to make sense now.

It’s interesting seeing the piece evolve, too.

Leopard WarlockI’m not sure what it will look like when it’s finished, though. There are definitely hints of that careful, precise, and intricate detailing coming through. Especially with the lower mouth as it looks so fluffy like that. I’m not sure what my fascination is with fluffy things, either. It seems to be a trend in recent digital pieces at least.

I mostly wanted to share another work in progress of this piece as I feel this one is more coherent. It’s easier to see what it should be, how it will develop, and what it could potentially look like. You can also get a feeling for the size of the piece. The ears are interesting in this respect, as I originally planned to crop them out of the final presentation but I might leave them in. They too are so fluffy. I can’t exactly give a date for when this will be finished, though. I haven’t been feeling too well recently which has led to me not working on it as much as I would have liked to. Which, yes, is an excuse- but it’s hard to paint when you can barely see straight. Or paint in a straight line when you can’t stop sneezing.

Those who have been following the recent WoW: Adventures in Azeroth series will recognise my Orc Warlock below. Or, they won’t. As I’ve never actually shared anything regarding him. I wanted to do a few traditional doodles to stretch my traditional muscles. They’re not very big. Sadly. Though they’re more developed than my digital muscles. Like some sort of artistic behemoth with four arms, two for each discipline, both like noodles and unable to pump iron. Or pencils. I don’t know what I’d lift as an artistic body builder.

Leopard WarlockEasels? Supply boxes? Piles of sketchbooks?

I wanted to get that looser, lighter, sketchy style back. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to use that one reliably. I’d say it was a moderate success but needs work. Especially in terms of being able to carry the looseness over to the inking, which is often a little more rigid. It doesn’t feel as natural to me. But I’m sure I can fix that. Possibly. Maybe.

I think I’ve realised recently that when you lose something of significance that all of the things that used to seem so important no longer do. I’m not sure if it’s the urge to be comforted, or simply that you reassess what you’ve got and what that actually means. Or maybe you never cared that these things were pointless or worthless because you always had that something of significance. It’s an odd mental state to find yourself in. There’s definitely an element of despair, of sorrow, and of loss. But… it’s oddly motivating. In that creating things feels so natural that you want to create something good from all of those negative emotions. Almost as if I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t create something.

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, Thrall’s Balls, Gnomish Engineering, and all associated trademarks and devices are owned by Blizzard Entertainment.

Highlight – The Sacred Cow – 2012 – click for full view on site!

I’m sure if you look at this piece long enough you’ll find it very moo-ving. Get it? Moo-ving? …Eesh, tough crowd.

Do you like cows? Do you like paintings? Do you like mixed media? If you answered yes to two or more of these questions you may be in with a chance to win a new flat screen television. Post your entries to: Totally Not A Scam, 34 Fake Street, Simpletown, W6 3QP (please include a self addressed envelope to ensure hasty delivery of your new television).

I originally started using watercolours in 2009 as I felt it might be a nice change. Admittedly, I’d avoided them like some form of infectious disease up until that point as I never considered myself a painter and I didn’t really enjoy working with liquid media. All of that taken into account it was a nice summer, I was a successful young man, I felt like trying something new- and that age is particularly good for experimenting- so I did. I took up my brush and palette and mixed like there was no tomorrow.

Had I ingested some of the things I mixed with there is a good chance there wouldn’t be a tomorrow for me.

Initially I had much hesitation with watercolour. It was new, it was foreign, it was uncontrollable, there were no certainties, there was much to learn, and there was so much more to do. At this time I started branching out across various different materials. Pencil, watercolour, marker, ink, coloured pencil. It was all there. It was actually the basis for how I approached watercolours as I wanted to do something different with each one. Create a different style? Maybe not that far. But create different things so I wasn’t simply emulating pencil with watercolours. Early on I approached it with little to no line work but after the success of one piece I decided to radically change course and start using ink and watercolour together.

The original of this piece, as, technically, it is The Sacred Cow v2, was done without any kind of line work and very early on in my watercolour experimentation. I liked the concept behind it but I didn’t really like the execution. I felt that with other things I’d done and how many leaps I’d made I could make one here. I could better myself.

The Sacred Cow - 2012 - WatercolourThis later turned into a several month long project of approaching old pieces that had good concepts but that I felt lacked in execution and revitalising them with a new approach. Sometimes it would be a new material, sometimes it would be the same but using new techniques, and sometimes I would drastically change the elements of the piece but leave the concept intact. This particular piece started all of this as I hadn’t considered doing anything like that as I didn’t think I could better myself. Too much fear. Too much apprehension. Too many times I looked at things and doubted that I could go any further. Funny, in hindsight. But then most things are when it comes down to it.

Hard to believe that this piece is two and a half years old.

As I had done with other pieces in this style I began with a very simple lined version of the original pencil sketch. I tend not to add much in the way of shadows or heavy detail as I let the watercolour take care of all of the details and define all of the shape, form, tone, depth, and so on. It’s just the way I do these things. I’m not quite sure why that seemed like a good idea at the time- but here we are. Who am I to question myself? In later pieces I did add more details and more in the way of shape, depth, shadows, and general form. But that has a limited effect depending on how well the painting goes and whether or not you’re actually getting the result you want. If you aren’t then there’s very little way to salvage that as you can’t just paint over the blank areas. It’s there. It’s stuck.

The area I’m most pleased with is the nose and the lower facial area. Least pleased with the ears. Then again, it’s a learning experience and I try not to stress over each individual section as much as I probably should as I like to see progression between pieces. Which is pretty hard to do if you’re constantly “fixing” everything.

This is one of the signature pieces that I use for various things in and around the sites. I like it. I’m not completely satisfied with the result and there are things that if I were to approach a new animal portrait I would take into consideration, however, that said, I wouldn’t say I’m dissatisfied. It sits somewhere in and around the same sort of place where other signature pieces are. They’re the things that if someone said “What do you do?” I’d reply with those and say “This is what I do” without hesitation. Most of those pieces are older ones and there are few, if any, of the last two years. I guess that was a better time for me? Or maybe that was my usual time and this is just a worse time?

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.

Highlight – Wisdom – 2012 – click for full view on site!

This piece is a personal favourite and always been a bit of hoot! Get it? Hoot? …Oh why do I bother.

I could write pages of text covering the origins, inspirations, techniques, frustrations, and successes behind this piece. Yet, even with all the information I can give in hindsight- it was once nearly never finished. After doing as much as I could with the beak and the eyes I had become frustrated with how the rest of it was progressing. Naturally so as I feel confidence is a big part of art. You have to know your materials, how they work, how they mix, how they react, what they can do, what they can’t do, how they do it, and what not to do with them. Faber Castell Polychromos? Never used them before. Bristol board? Only ever used for ink and marker pieces. Everything here was new and there was a certain amount of hesitation. I’d also picked one hell of a reference photo for the first time out- there was nothing simple about this piece.

Still, one of the primary reasons I chose to do this the way that I did is because I wanted the challenge. I wanted to push myself. At the time I’d felt I’d become lazy and complacent with the kind of pieces I was doing and despite having many different materials they were hardly used.

The other major reason was that there are some really incredible pieces of art out there. Oozing with the blood of the artists that made them through their style, or their use of colour, or unique approach to form, or the use of negative space- there are so many reasons- but I had never done a piece like that. I was once told a long time back that I had a very angular style (it’s true) and I notice that’s a part of my style. But the other big thing that I’ve always had about my art is the graphic quality. I’ve never really been one for realistic or smooth shading. It just doesn’t have the same impact as the graphic style which feels sharp, edgy, crisp, clean, and has a lot of uses which is the way I tend to do shading these days.

Wisdom - 2012 - Coloured PencilSo this was to be something recognisable yet unique, graphic yet soft, unique enough that it could be recreated but never exactly, and something that I hope would be one of the best pieces I’d done. Or would ever do. Kind of like how some musicians have a long and successful run but they always have those key hits from earlier in their career. If it was unique enough then there would be no way to realistically compare this to other pieces and therefore it would stand, alone, but proudly alone, as the key unique piece I’d done.

I mean, realistically, I could recreate Wisdom- I could make it more realistic or with more accurate colours or even bigger so the composition is looser.

But would I? No. It is what it is and there’s no point in changing that for the sake of finalising or perfecting the last bits here or there. Perfection is as ever-changing as your own motivations and you’re never going to reach that point where you know everything and can do everything. So, Wisdom kind of sits, shifting around time, bringing something fresh to everyone who looks at it but representing a very specific part of my artistic journey.

Finally, Wisdom was featured in the Winsor & Newton Ink Exhibition as one of the pieces entered into the competition. This was a defining moment for me as I felt so proud of myself, but I really appreciated seeing the public and hearing their views while having people coming to see my art and talk to me about it? There’s nothing like it. It’s a really gratifying feeling. Luckily it was in London so I was able to attend personally and was probably one of best moments of my life. Actually there was no probably about it- it was the best moment of my life. Maybe one day something like this will come around again so I best keep my skills sharp and my pencils sharper, huh?

Have a nice night, 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.

Ball of Fluff – 2013 – Coloured Pencil – click for full view on site!

You may have noticed that birds (and their relative degree of fluffiness) please(s) me greatly.

One of the better parts of my new personal site design is that there’s a section for things like this. Things that don’t quite make the cut but are still pretty decent. That said, I’ve had a positive reception about this piece from those who’ve seen it. So maybe it’s just me that doesn’t know what they want. Which, to be entirely honest, wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest. So with the realisation that this section of the site exists, the fact that I sort of like it, and that other people seem to like it- here, have this.

This was another piece I approached with the seldom used Faber Castell Polychromos.

It is actually those which have left me in a state of constant indecision regarding this piece. I took a different approach to make this bird appear extra fluffy, but that didn’t really work out as I had anticipated it would. On the other hand- it does have quite a unique quality to it. Whether that’s a good or a bad thing remains to be seen.

Ball of Fluff - 2013 - Coloured PencilThis is also reinforces what I’ve felt about creative topics (as a whole) for some time. You can’t always get what you want- but, if you try, sometimes you find you get what you need. No, not that. Though it is a slightly apt reference to The Rolling Stones. It’s that you never really know how other people are going to receive your work. Sometimes you’ll find that the things you think aren’t particularly good are better received than those you feel are. It could be the opposite, too. There really is no way to tell.

Which is why I think it’s important to do what you do because you love doing it.

How a piece is received is definitely important. But it should not be a deciding factor in what you choose to do, as, again, there really is no way to tell how others will react to it. I’m not even sure what made the people who saw this be so happy with it. That’s okay, though. It’s one of the great mysteries of the universe. Like why some people dislike cats.

Have a great Monday, 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.