Comparison in Blood

Currently experiencing a low infestation rate.

Darkest Dungeon certainly brought one of the more original ideas for bloodsucking abominations to The Crimson Court. Vampiric in nature, but not necessarily undead, the Bloodsuckers (as they’re fondly known) are actually variations of humanoid insects. They don’t sparkle, either. That said, there is a consistent theme in the art direction for Darkest Dungeon that often combines beastly features with humanoid anatomy. The Warrens is literally filled with dozens of examples. Not to mention those weird, misshapen, infested souls that plague the Weald.

The humanoid features make them more interesting, too.

A malformed bloody maw.

It also leaves me wondering how or why they exist in the first place. Or when they first appeared. But this isn’t meant to be an explanation of Darkest Dungeon lore (as fascinating as that would be), it’s meant to explain some of the thoughts I’ve had recently. Or, at the very least, attempt to explain those thoughts. As I’m not entirely sure that I understand it myself.

I think I’m focusing too much on the result. This particular pencil sketch is one of the rare few I’ve liked of the work I’ve done in recent weeks, which says a lot as it isn’t of a very high quality. But I like the approach. I liked how natural it felt (and how confident I was) approaching it. I attempted to enhance the original sketch digitally for the same reason, as I don’t feel as though my approach to digital paintings or illustrations is particularly sound. I never really stopped to think about how I would normally do things. I just jumped straight into painting without line work and going for a mostly realistic approach, which, again, I don’t think was a particularly sound decision. So in two ways this piece is teaching me more about my creative pursuits.

Firstly, that by being focused on the result I’m losing a lot of what makes up the piece in the first place. I’m not thinking about how to achieve the best representation of the piece- I’m instead thinking about how to work towards a result that I want for reasons I can’t explain. Secondly, that perhaps I’m not as inexperienced with digital paintings and illustrations as I would have assumed. Maybe I’ve just been doing things in the wrong way and expecting (for some reason) to get the representation that I wanted.

You can almost hear the maddening skittering…

I’ve also not questioned my approaches as much in the past as I have recently.

I’m most curious as to why that is. I don’t exactly feel different, but I’m wondering if maybe this is foreshadowing a great period of creativity in my life and I just need to get past these hurdles first. Almost as if I realise the potential I could have and because I’m not living up to it I’m squandering it. As egotistical as that may sound. Not that it’s intended to be egotistical at all.

I’m quite happy with the piece, too. If that wasn’t clear. I’m not entirely sure where it’s going from here, but I would assume that I’m going to work on the digital version a little further and perhaps even expand upon the original sketch. That’s one of the neat things about digital illustrations. You can keep adding, removing, and adjusting endlessly until you get the result that you want. Which is equally one of the worst things about digital illustrations, as nothing is ever done and can always be approached again. I’m also surprised at how efficiently I’m working through this piece. I’ve not run into the usual issue of spending significantly more time for a fairly similar result, which, hopefully, shows some amount of growth within my approach.

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 Crimson Court, bloodsuckers, and all associated trademarks and devices are owned by Red Hook.

Mushroom Fluidity

Liquid mushrooms would be an edible oddity.

Not that I think liquid mushrooms would be edible and even if they were I would advise against trying them. Then again, we do have mushroom soup which is sort of like a liquid mushroom even though the actual soup is made of other things. This tangent is weird. Here’s an update on the works in progress present in Mushroom Inspired. They’re a little further along now, too. Two of them have been painted, while the third (which wasn’t present in the previous iteration) is still an inked sketch.

I doubt there will be further progress here, though.

I’m not entirely happy with the results so far. I don’t think that deathclaw even looks like a deathclaw any more, either. If it ever did in the first place. While I will admit that the reason I started this project was to improve my watercolour approaches, it’s not really working as intended as I think that the initial approach was flawed. It was too forced and inconsistent.

I don’t feel as though the original ink sketches were accurate to my ink approaches in general. Which is a considerable issue, as I’m trying to use an unfamiliar ink approach with a somewhat new watercolour approach. It doesn’t have any strengths. It doesn’t feel natural, either. This is an issue that is entirely my fault, but it’s probably best to move on from these pieces as I don’t really feel like they’re adding anything to what I’m doing. I just feel frustrated when working on them. Almost as if I’m fighting myself to finish them. It’s a shame as I’ve used a considerable portion of expensive paper to be met with failure, but the worst failures are the ones that you can’t learn from and I can definitely learn from this.

One step forward and two steps back.

The third ink sketch is a Fallout 4 deathclaw which has notable strengths and weaknesses. Most of the strengths are in the lines and the textures (especially the horns) which look great, but is equally as weak in the overall presentation. My original intention was to work on numerous smaller pieces to more rapidly gain experience. However, in practice that probably wasn’t the best approach. Especially as I’ve hit several walls actually composing the ink sketches to begin with. It has not been as easy of a run as anticipated.

I’ll likely work on larger pieces for the next run of watercolour paintings, too.

I’ve also been wondering if I’m putting too much pressure on myself for certain results. I’ve noticed that my general enthusiasm towards a piece lowers greatly when things aren’t going as planned, which, again, is an issue that is entirely of my own creation. I have departed from my usual approaches with several materials and I don’t think it’s doing me too many favours.

However, it does promise better things in the future. I’m just starting to wonder whether the promise of future results is worth sacrificing all of the current ones. Or if it’s even possible to reach those future results if nothing is working out currently. It’s an interesting issue, which I hadn’t really considered when I set out on this weirdly infuriating journey. I’ve learned an awful lot about myself creatively, too. Which is always a nice bonus. I’ve started to notice weaknesses I hadn’t considered before. It’s understandably frustrating, but I’m still hoping I can come away from this with a positive push forwards. I’m still mostly happy with how things are progressing so it’s not entirely awful just yet. But it is getting there slowly.

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.

Fallout 3, Deathclaws, Super Mutants, Pip-Boys, and all associated trademarks and devices are owned by Interplay/Bethesda.
The Elder Scrolls, The Elder Scrolls Online, Morrowind, the Morag Tong, and all associated trademarks and de

Melty Black Goo

It’s a recurring concept.

Here’s one of those rare moments where I’m losing track of what I have and haven’t shared in various places. I’m usually a little more organised than this, but that’s what happens when you’re working in three-four different sketchbooks at once. I’ve got to keep flipping back through them to make sure I’m still aware of the things that I’ve done. I know that I’ve shared this particular piece over on Twitter but I’ve not shared it here, so that’s some clarity through the confusion. But I couldn’t say if there are any other pieces that I’ve missed along the way.

Or how many pieces that could be if I had missed some.

So, let’s talk about this sketch. It’s a concept that I’ve had in my mind for quite some time, but one that is evolving further away from the humanoid approach present in Corruption Collection and towards something alien. Melty black goo alien. Which is quite an interesting development as I’m not sure where it’s going from here, either.

I can confirm that it is going somewhere. I’m just not sure what the finalised version of this concept will be and whether ink, pencil, or even watercolour would be the best approach. I’m also not sure if there’s going to be more humanoid features in the finalised version. I’m mostly conflicted as the humanoid features will add an emotion to the piece, but the alien features will afford me the opportunity to be wildly more creative with a likely more unique final result. With both of these concepts I’ve been happiest with the faces and the emotions. Which might suggest that it’s best to lean towards the emotional approach. That said, I could explore each of these approaches as there are no restrictions as to how many of these pieces I do.

He’s more goo than man!

The version present in this post was actually a direct response to the fact that I haven’t felt too good about the faces I’ve been drawing recently. That particular issue is peculiar as I’ve always been interested in drawing anatomy, which makes it odd that my current displeasure comes from anatomy. It’s been a weird few weeks in more ways than one. I was surprisingly happy with how this piece turned out, though. It was mostly done without reference and more as an exercise to see how much of that information I retain.

Which, again, given it is anatomy, should be a substantial amount.

I’ve been looking to change various aspects of the process of creating things recently, too. I know that this has resulted in a more erratic posting schedule for which I apologise. But I would hope that you’d agree that the recent content has been of higher quality, is more interesting, and is more engaging to interact with. Which is a standard I intend to maintain.

Creative content has been particularly erratic despite a strong and steady flow from last year. There are more than a few reasons for this, but that doesn’t mean I’m not trying to be more consistent and to produce more content. I’ve been looking at new ways to develop content, too. I’ve been thinking about either video recording or streaming as a possible expansion of what I’m currently doing, but there are issues which I need to address before I’m ready to do those. I’ve also got a few things I’ve been working on recently, which will hopefully come to a satisfactory conclusion and provide a steady stream of creative content for a time. There’s also some older content that I might revisit as well.

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.

Ambitious Acrylic

Colourful mile markers.

I’m going to justify purchasing those brushes or I’m going to paint trees trying. Or both. Probably both. This piece follows on from the attempts present in Mushroom Inspired, which are not entirely related as those are destined for watercolour painting while this is an acrylic painting. I’ve also yet to add more attempts to that particular set of watercolour paintings. But that’s what happens when you’ve got watercolour, acrylic, and gouache tubes quite literally piling up all around you. Not to mention all of that canvas and watercolour paper.

It’s a muddled haze of various paint tubes and water jars.

I’m starting to echo previous thoughts of stretching myself too thin, though. It’s noticeable that my output is suffering somewhat in the face of trying to do as many things as I am at the moment, as I have a lot of things that exist in a transitory state. They’re not quite here, there, or really anywhere at the moment. But they exist in their own mildly confusing way.

To add a moderate amount of insult to that injury I’m also not too happy with this result. But that’s also a transitory issue as I’m still getting used to how these brushes feel, how they hold the paint, and how well I can apply the paint. I’m also a few months out of practice with acrylic painting. I’ve started to understand more about why I don’t like my acrylic paintings, though. It’s mostly related to details and perhaps due to or as a result of the preparatory stages. I’ll be taking a break from gouache for a while, too. It’s becoming increasingly confusing trying to sort watercolour painting approaches, acrylic painting approaches, gouache painting approaches, pencil sketching approaches, and ink detailing approaches all at once.

Only the fluffiest clouds.

There’s also an issue of breeding familiarity with acrylic painting. It’s still an approach in its infancy for me and that’s something I need to recognise more when I’m pushing for certain results, which might not be as possible as I’d like to think. I do need to learn how it works. Much as I have with other materials. That said, I’ve been unusually happy with recent pencil and ink attempts. Which is a small amount of positive reinforcement in an otherwise confusing time. It’s certainly… something… right now when it comes to all things creative.

But that’s not a negative response, either.

I’m rather happy that I’ve had this momentary reignition of inspiration. I might not be entirely happy with everything I’m doing, but I’m actually doing it and making progress towards understanding more than I ever have about my creative influences. Which is always better than coming away from the experience none the wiser and more frustrated as a result.

This can mostly be considered a mile marker on the road of my artistic journey. I’ll either look back on this as a better acrylic painter or I’ll look back and realise there’s still work to be done. In either case, I still feel it’s an important part of the creative process to recognise progression where it exists. Or to provide an amount of progression through sketches and other pieces that aren’t quite to the quality standards you adhere to. That’s why these posts are both fun for you and interesting for me. We both get to share something that not only generates content, but strengthens the level of creative content on the site(s), and provides me with an actually useful tool to measure how things are going in various ways.

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.

Mushroom Inspired

They’re really growing on me.

Not that I’ve ever had anything against mushrooms. They were one of the first things that made me truly appreciate the creativity behind The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. Those alien landscapes composed of gargantuan plants, trees, and mushrooms. The local customs and cultures which made every region feel different. The fact that the local races lived next to active volcanoes and that these same volcanoes were evident in the world around you. It’s one of those moments that remains unique in The Elder Scrolls series as nowhere else in Tamriel is quite the same.

Tangential conversation at its finest.

Intricate and tiny mushroom details.

I’ve had more than a few thoughts regarding all things creative recently. Firstly, that I don’t use watercolour as much as I would like to. Secondly, that I’d like to take a moment to appreciate the changes to my creative process. Thirdly, that thinking about things doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to do anything about them. Which is why I’m actively doing something, too.

The first two of these attempts are currently works in progress. I’m trying to see how viable it would be to approach new pieces with watercolour, and whether that’s something that I would like to do more frequently in the future. I enjoy the fluidity of watercolour, how it blends, the textures of the paper, and the fact that I can reinforce it with ink. So I’d like to take more advantage of that. That said, I believe that my state of mind is still one that suggests that watercolour is a special material. Meant for special things. Which is a silly state of mind. Much like how I wouldn’t think of using ink as a default material due to always regarding it differently. Now it’s just ink. It does what ink does. On the other hand, that doesn’t mean that these attempts will be successful.

But that is of little consequence with watercolour. Those tubes last a very long time as you’re only using a small percentage of paint as you thin them to the desired consistency. While it’s not too much of an investment to experiment with the actual tubes, the paper is slightly more expensive than my usual cartridge paper. Which is why the sketches are smaller and there are multiple on the page. I don’t really want to burn through two or three sheets of paper wastefully. That and I’d like to start a little less ambitiously while I’m still working on the approach.

Inspired by the areas surrounding Davon’s Watch.

I’m hoping to do more watercolour sketches, too.

Particularly character concepts of some description. Those are notably missing from the two approaches with the closest being the deathclaw, which exhibits some human anatomy (and a more demonic look) but it’s not a human character. Or alien character. It’s a weird irradiated lizard that lives in the various wastelands that remain after the fall of nuclear fire.

The last of these attempts is pretty much the reason why I thought about watercolour painting in the first place. I’m starting to realise that approaching landscapes with pencil or ink alone might not be the best idea. There’s certainly nothing wrong with either of those approaches, but I feel as though I have more potential adding some amount of colour to those and thereby creating something more unique. I still love ink as an approach for trees and the like, though. Pencil, too. Those are most definitely still valid options. It’s interesting as both scenic pieces and watercolour are two things I can identify as things that I enjoy but don’t do enough of, but they’re both things that I haven’t made any significant attempts towards yet.

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.

Fallout 3, Deathclaws, Super Mutants, Pip-Boys, and all associated trademarks and devices are owned by Interplay/Bethesda.
The Elder Scrolls, The Elder Scrolls Online, Morrowind, the Morag Tong, and all associated trademarks and devices are owned by Bethesda.

Corruption Collection

Decaying souls housed in failing flesh.

There are a couple of trees in there, too. It wouldn’t be the same without a healthy dose of foliage. I’m starting to think I have a problem, but none have taken me seriously when I mention my obsession with my wood. I’m not sure why, either. They seem pretty understanding about the foliage thing. In any case, it’s a good time to throw together this sketch compilation. It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these and this one highlights a rather rare attempt at a Dark Souls inspired sketch.

I do love the visual style of the Dark Souls series.

There’s a certain quality that persists throughout the series which produces some utterly gorgeous suits of armour or weapons. Each usually telling a story about a previous owner, a previous age, or even a previous instalment. Highlighting the many realms and many inhabitants that have come and gone through the span of time that precariously knits each instalment together.

Many of these sketches have been previously highlighted over on Twitter. One is new-ish. That said, they were previously presented cropped and without as much context as they have here. Which, for the coloured pencil and ink tree sketch, is actually an interesting distinction, as you can see how the original pencil sketch looked and how things unfolded from there. It provides an interesting contrast to the graphite pencil tree sketch, within which you can see how the two approaches are surprisingly different despite having the same subject matter. Then again, the two were intended to be entirely different in their final presentation- but they remained fairly consistent in their original sketches.

I have a thing for trees. Colourful trees.

It’s interesting to me as I’ve been thinking about consistency for a while now. I was starting to question whether I had any which may have been slightly misplaced, as, while the two presentations ended up entirely different, they did start fairly similarly. Perhaps I’ve been looking at consistency the wrong way around. On the other hand, I’m pleased that these sketches maintain a level of quality which ranks with the best work I’ve done. Maybe I’m finally becoming more comfortable with my myriad styles, too.

Or maybe I shouldn’t have myriad styles.

I’ve also been working with a singular type of paper recently. I wish there were reasons for that, but the closest I have to a reason is that I can’t be bothered to disturb the cat by moving the supply box around to get my other bristol board. I know it’s in there. Somewhere. I’m starting to warm to cartridge paper, too. It tells all the best stories and keeps me warm on cold winter nights.

Been shuffling pencils around as well. Indulging in the pleasures of HB rather than my usual choice of B. No real reason for that, either. Just that it feels natural at times to select certain pencils over others. Almost as if I’ve gained some fundamental insight into how I approach things and what would be best to use, based on situation, instead of experience, to provide the best possible result at the time. It’s also fun experimenting with different materials from time to time. It’s surprising how something as simple as switching a pencil can drastically change the presentation of the finished piece. I’m still smitten with 2B*, too. (*The pencil not the android.)

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.

Hollows, Bonfires, the Elite Knight set, Estus Flasks, and all associated trademarks and devices are owned by FROMSOFTWARE.

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.