Happiness Hat

Guaranteed to bring a smile to your face!

I’ve been thinking about things recently. Mostly about the collection of sites, what I’m doing, what I’d like to be doing, and how best to take everything forward to balance the content output and the quality of the resulting posts. I’ve also been making small (but meaningful) changes here and there. I haven’t done much art in this period, either. There was a small flurry of posts related to digital painting which resulted in Momentary Regret, which was another setback to add to the innumerable list of them. But I still believe digital painting could work for me.

It’s just a matter of figuring out how.

"Half price bran flakes?!"

“Half price bran flakes?!”

Traditional art has been a little hit and miss, too. Which is entirely my fault. I’ve been thinking about changing a few of the approaches, styles, and materials I’ve used for some time. That decision isn’t particularly conducive to a consistent quality output, though. So I’ve been frantically sketching and doodling a variety of different things. Most of which never reach anything.

That said, there are a couple of those sketches in this post. The first is a standard abomination from the Warcraft universe, who is surprisingly health conscious and wears a rather dapper small hat. Likely stolen from a Worgen. Or from any race that would wear a top hat. It’s a little small mostly because they’re so large. But that’s what you get when you stitch something together from a collection of other, unrelated, likely deceased creatures. I’ll admit- it’s a little odd. But I wanted to do something a little less serious, a little less thought out, and a little more enjoyable. Just for fun. I’m still allowed to have fun with creative disciplines, right? It’s amazing how often you’ll find people suggesting you can’t or shouldn’t.

One of the things that this sketch did reinforce was the notion that ink is a pretty good material for me. I’ve been thinking about that a lot, too. It’s interesting how both pencil and ink appeal to different kinds of work I’d like to do. Then again, that’s also a situation which is entirely my fault. As I could have chosen to work with a couple of materials, but instead I’ve worked with quite the list. Of which I’m still enjoying the majority of them. So it’s hard to place which would be best for what and which would be the default choice.

That's a turban... not a bandage.

That’s a turban… not a bandage.

You really don’t want to stress about materials as much as I do.

Which then brings us to the second sketch. I’ve been wondering if it’s better to approach character concepts with pencil or with ink, there are arguments to be made for both and there are styles present for each. In this case the topic of choice was the Occultist from Darkest Dungeon. A character design I’ve always dearly loved and felt was particularly apt for their role.

One of the things I really like about this sketch is how it all comes together. Admittedly, the turban is a little wonky and probably wouldn’t fold like that. Also, the nose is a little odd. Likewise, there really isn’t much development in his clothing at all. But besides all of that- it’s not bad. If that’s even a logical sentence at this point. Then again, one of the points I’ve often emphasised for anything that I do is that it’s about the journey. That’s what we’re discussing here. The journey, the experiences, the better, the worse, and everything that goes with that. I’m not looking for perfection (not that I’d ever be likely to achieve that). Just consistency and enjoyment from creative disciplines. I think I’m getting closer, though.

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.

Darkest Dungeon, the Occultist, the Ancestor, and all associated trademarks and devices are owned by Red Hook.

Fishy Abomination

Something smell a little funky to you?

It’s logical why undead abominations smell so bad (being rotted corpses and all) but I wonder what a fishy abomination would suggest. Perhaps some kind of fisherman mutated into one of the endless legion of the undead? It’s a good question. One that I’m pondering for far too long. I wanted to bring together two entirely unrelated yet equally interesting pieces in this post. One of which won’t be finished, while the other is likely to see some kind conclusion be it in ink or as a digital painting. Or both.

The first was a watercolour painting that I started but was soon abandoned due to one of the elements of its composition going terribly wrong. Still, that’s one of the joys about turning failures into successes- you can always learn something new from them! Or wallow in unending despair. Not that I would suggest the latter.

Even if that’s how I usually respond to those incidents.

These are the eyes that stare.

These are the eyes that stare.

As with all of my watercolour paintings, there’s a good selection of colours in this piece and they’ve come together surprisingly well. I haven’t used these brushes much since I bought them. So they’re still a little finicky when it comes to actually applying the paint. As I’m not entirely sure how they feel. I realise that probably sounds ridiculous, but you really do get used to how the brush feels in your hand and you develop your confidence in your ability through that. Like any other material or tool, really. This isn’t the worst watercolour painting I’ve ever done, though. You should see some of my earlier attempts. Not that you ever will, for I shall hide my shame in the depths of my art folders for none to see.

The second is a work in progress that I’m not sure about. That said, what am I sure about? The only thing I’m truly sure about is that I’m not sure about anything. Yeah. You figure that one out. Referenced from the endless abundance of grotesque monstrosities hailing from Darkest Dungeon, this piece has a fair amount of potential and I’m actually quite interested in seeing flat colours applied to it once finished. Or, rather, if finished. The paper texture does something quite magical with it.

It seems to fit the style that Darkest Dungeon has. Maybe even throw a little shading onto it. Something akin to the way an older comic book or graphic novel would be illustrated. It’s definitely got potential and remains an interesting consideration while working on this piece, which could even change the approach I take to the line work from here on out.

I'm not sure what's wrong with him, either.

I’m not sure what’s wrong with him, either.

Obviously I can’t rework existing lines.

But I can adjust them ever so slightly. A stroke here, a stroke there, and slowly it will form into something glorious. Or start purring. That’s usually what happens when I apply strokes to things- most specifically cats- as they seem to like them. I would be slightly concerned if my paper or pens started purring, though. It might be time to cut back on the coffee should that happen. Or seek psychological help. Or both. Given the recent flood of creative posts, I felt this would be an appropriate time to share some things I’ve been working on (or have worked on before). Hopefully it won’t be too long before we see the finished version of the second piece (if there is one).

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.

Darkest Dungeon, the Caretaker, Swinetaurs, Templar Warlords, and all associated trademarks and devices are owned by Red Hook.

Ink Reaver

Let’s talk about materials!

Traditional artists rely on their materials quite heavily. Not just in the sense that you have to be confident in the quality of the materials themselves, but that you have to understand how they work alongside other materials. Often that would be how ink or marker or any liquid media would work with paper and board. Will it bleed? Will it leave streaks? Will it warp/cockle (with liquid media especially)? Does it have a texture and will that texture affect how pencil, ink, or any other material will look and respond? There are a lot of questions.

Often times this will also be dependant on the technique and how you apply it.

Is it not as aesthetically pleasing due to the paper? Are the nibs not sturdy enough? Or is simply that the nibs are damaged? These are some questions I’ve had about Copic Multiliners. I’ve also had some bad experiences with them recently, as I tried to replace a nib and ink cartridge and it didn’t really go too well. Firstly, one of the replacement nibs didn’t even have a nib in the casing. Secondly, the second replacement nib wouldn’t go into the ink reservoir properly. The ink cartridge worked just fine, though. Still, this was a point of concern for me as one of the reasons I favoured Copic Multiliners was that I could essentially rebuild the pen rather than buy a new one.

Not that I’m saying one bad experience is enough for me to never use them again, as I already have a fair bit of money invested in them. What with the fact I bought four individually, I have multiple spare parts, and I’ve used them for a good six years and so have the experience as well. That said, I have decided to try the Mitsubishi Uni Pin fine liners.

I've wanted to try this particular style for a while.

I’ve wanted to try this particular style for a while.

I’ve heard good things about them from other artists. They’re also quite cost effective despite the fact that I don’t believe you can refill them/replace the nibs. You can pick up a five pack of pens at a further discount as well, which is particularly good as those five almost mirror the choices I made with Copic Multiliners. Trading a brush nib for a 0.8 nib. Which is perfectly fine as I don’t really like brush nibs all that much. It’s worth giving them a shot even if I don’t continue to use them in the long term.

I’d always recommend that artists try new materials every now and then.

I spent many years using Faber Castell Pitt Pens (something in the region of six-seven years) and they dictated my experience with ink pieces. I wasn’t as concerned with such intricate detailing at that particular time, but now that I have leaned towards that quite heavily the Copic Multiliners were a great choice. Especially considering the 0.1 and 0.03 pens provided the ability to add detail I didn’t previously think I could achieve. This may be a continuation of that cycle of learning more and understanding more about where this whole thing is going. It could also be a temporary reinforcement that the Copic Multiliners are still the best choice. That said, I did want to start a piece to give them a fair chance.

This piece (once finished) will also replace another that is already on my personal site. It may span two sections eventually as I am thinking about throwing some digital paint on it, using a style reminiscent of the one we saw with Draenei Paladin. But that really depends on whether I feel it is worth while at that point in time.

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.

Darkest Dungeon, the Caretaker, Swinetaurs, Swine Reavers, and all associated trademarks and devices are owned by Red Hook.

Incremental Progression

Once more to the daily grind.

I’ve been playing a lot of the full release of Darkest Dungeon recently. The full release is something I’ve been anticipating for quite some time and I’ve really been looking forward to seeing the title in its entirety, including, most importantly, the actual Darkest Dungeon. Wherein I expected to find mechanics unlike those we’ve seen before. Having been to the Darkest Dungeon already (admittedly on a suicide run) I was both surprised and disappointed at what I found in there.

That said, as a whole, I’m already getting bored with the full release.

I’m really impressed with the level of detail they’ve gone into balancing the classes on release. Many classes now work much better together and some of the more questionable abilities, such as Target Whistle, which used to be an exclusive debuff, now marks the target and allows more skills to make use of the effect. Damage over time effects seem to have generally received a boost (especially for the Jester) and it’s now much more interesting building a party. I’ll also admit that I’d undervalued and overlooked the Leper for a long time, until realising he hit like a freight train and had surprisingly useful survivability skills now.

That said, I’m not sure if this is an on release change, or a change some time during Early Access, but the rewards from quests seem to have been toned down. Very rarely do I find that even a Lvl 3 quest provides more than five to six thousand gold. (Once you account for provision costs, diseases, quirks, stress, and so on.)

"The ground quakes!"

“The ground quakes!”

I’m finding that quests are providing smaller increments towards overall progression each time. Which one might argue is a natural depreciating curve as, as you develop more of the hamlet, or your roster, there is less and less to improve each time. Except there’s a lot to improve on- negative quirks to be cured, diseases to be cured, buildings to be rebuilt, and so on. But I find it hard to care about most quests unless they’re for a boss clear or I meet a Collector or something similar (for the gold boost) during the run. It feels like such a grind now.

While I’m taking on the Lvl 3 bosses, I’m finding it harder to want to come back each time I stop playing.

It’s similar to how I feel about Diablo III. You’ll get the occasional decent item, you’ll maybe score a few hundred Blood Shards and get lucky, or you’ll roll an Ancient Legendary at the blacksmith, and then you’ll be back to grinding out repeated content. Often times with very little reward, besides a few hundred thousand gold and a few salvageable Legendary/Set items to get some additional Forgotten Souls. Which has always been my argument even when the Auction House was still a thing. It’s not that the Auction House was a bad idea- it was actually a pretty good one- but the drop rate/quality of dropped items was so low that you needed it to progress. Unless you wanted to grind for hours on end.

However, most would argue that the grind was a prominent feature of the Diablo series (and ARPGs in general). But for Darkest Dungeon it’s become somewhat of a disappointment. It’s not enjoyable (to me at least) to spend all that time and effort for little to no reward besides the odd level up, trinket, or progression towards another boss.

Which is a shame. I really wanted to enjoy what Darkest Dungeon had to offer but I’m finding it hard to do that at the moment.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

Swine Chopper – 2015 – Digital – click for full view on site!

Prodigious size alone does not dissuade the sharpened blade.

You may remember this piece from a Twitter post quite a while back now. I hadn’t realised how long it had been but there were obviously a number of things going on between when I started the piece, to when I updated it, to when I decided to throw gallons of digital paint at it. I was originally going for a different style but settled on colouring the lined piece (which is actually how my first experiences with digital art occurred). Let’s dive into all the fun and interesting things that make up this piece.

First of all- Darkest Dungeon has an awesome art direction. Though it’s not an overly realistic style, it is presented in such a way that it conveys depth and realism in a rather unique take on 2D sprite styles. It’s dark, it’s gritty, and it’s mature. The well documented stress system is where these imposing and often horridly disfigured beasts come into play.

Why the Swine Chopper? Well, I rather like the interesting take on enemy classes in this particular title. The swine and their varied assortment of combatants, from the smaller vomiting swine, to the bigger and devastating Swinetaurs, give a lot of flavour to the types of beasts you’ll be facing. All handled in a rather unique way from the fact that being vomited on causes stress (naturally) to the delightfully comical references to hooves and trotting. There are also an assortment of horribly disfigured humanoids(?) in the form of fungal foes.

The actual origins of the swine and whether they too were once human or not remains to be explained.

Swine Chopper - 2015 - DigitalOne would assume not as they seem to possess almost all physical traits of animals- rather than humanoids- just that they stand on their hind legs and cleave their foes asunder. Or make drums out of what looks like the stretched skin of a human face. The game is quite dark and macabre when you really get down to it- but that’s all part of the charm!

I was originally going to try and go with a lineless painted style with this piece but I still lack the apparent experience to do so digitally. However, I do enjoy the style I have for digital pieces at the moment (which mostly relies on a lot of opacity). Combining that with the lined piece seemed like a natural fit and it went through several changes, from being lighter in tone, to having more defined shadows, over the course of completing this digital rendition. While it didn’t work out exactly as planned I am happy with it. It’s a nice deviation from the normal kind of thing I would do- and it’s digital- so the site finally has a new and rather nice digital piece.

While, yes, it still falls into the category of fan art, that doesn’t actually bother me all that much.

In any case, I didn’t simply want to let the lined piece fall to the wayside even though I wasn’t entirely thrilled with how it had turned out. This offered the opportunity to salvage the piece, improve upon it, and perhaps make something worthwhile from it. Which is always a plus. Either way, I hope you enjoy it!

Equally, such a piece would not be possible were it not inspired from the rather enjoyable Darkest Dungeon. Much appreciation to Red Hook for creating such a unique and devilish title!

Have a nice Sunday, 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.

Darkest Dungeon, the Caretaker, Swinetaurs, Swine Choppers, and all associated trademarks and devices are owned by Red Hook.

First Impressions of… Darkest Dungeon

Do you like the idea of losing one or several of your heroes to the encroaching darkness?

Or would you prefer having a character suffer the stresses of the abyssal horrors beneath the manor only to eventually succumb to them and go completely mad? In either case, you’ll find what you want in the myriad of ancient halls and winding pathways of Darkest Dungeon. Not the actual Darkest Dungeon, though. That has yet to be implemented. But there are plenty of other places you can visit, explore, or maybe even cleanse while trying to redeem your family name.

Or while making ridiculous amounts of money.

Unlike other RPGs, Darkest Dungeon will tax brave adventurers with an overflowing amount of stress for facing the abominations which call your estate their home. Too much of it will lead to a character making a resolve check, which can be either positive or negative, and can severely impact how they perform in the rest of the dungeon. In one circumstance my Crusader refused to fight at all for several turns. Which, given we were one person down, and close to losing another to madness, wasn’t great. Should they take too much damage, they’ll fall to Death’s Door, where each subsequent amount of damage received may permanently kill them. You’ll lose all of their equipment if they die, too. Unless you can finish the fight and recover their trinkets.

Death has a number of other consequences (besides the obvious) as well. Remaining party members will incur a stress penalty, the party will likely be unable to finish the dungeon with reduced numbers, and (if you’re lucky enough to recover the trinkets) you may need to leave loot behind. It’s not something to be taken lightly.

Bleeding from your face is no longer optional.

Bleeding from your face is no longer optional.

Darkest Dungeon is shaping up to be an Early Access title which (despite already being quite promising) is going to get even more interesting in the coming months. Beside the number of already implemented, fully functional, and fully upgradable character classes they’re looking to add a few extras. There’s also a fourth area which will be implemented later in the development process. There will likely be other changes, too. As the developers are quite keen to respond to how the community is faring with their hellish adventure.

That and there’s the actual Darkest Dungeon to see. One day.

Besides delving in dungeons you’ll also be expected to upgrade your estate, your character roster, your facilities, and even the equipment for all of your heroes. You can also let any of your inactive heroes recover stress or remove negative quirks. Quirks, which, while they seem fairly scarce to begin with, will pile on quite quickly. These will also affect how your heroes respond to the interactions in dungeons, how much damage they take, how much stress they accrue, and more. So they’re not something you can afford to let run rampant. If you get everything perfectly balanced (with a few good runs under your belt) you might even get to retire one of your favourite heroes.

It’s not likely, though. Darkest Dungeon is inherently a punishing title that expects you to lose characters, progress, and even trinkets. It’s designed to push you to the limit and (at the moment) there is no easier difficulty level to choose. That said, if punishing difficulty sounds like your idea of a good time then this title is well worth the price of admission.

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie.