Neither Man Nor Machine – 2018 – Digital – click for full view on site!

Like some sort of horrifically deformed cyborg.

It’s definitely more man than machine, though. I decided to exclude the harness from the finished version, which will hopefully put more emphasis on the anatomy and (most importantly) the face as these were the key areas of the composition. It hasn’t been the easiest creature to paint, either. But that was part of the challenge. Even with the original incarnation I wasn’t too pleased with some areas of the composition, but I still feel as though this is an improvement. It also helps me ease into some of the paintings I have in mind.

I’ve had to learn a lot over the last few months.

It’s hard to explain, but I’ve mostly reworked my approaches to digital painting as the new tablet is so noticeably different that I can’t use my old habits. They just don’t work. That’s why I’ve focused so much on how this piece has progressed from the early concepts to later developments, because I’ve had to mostly relearn digital painting in the last six months.

I’m most pleased with the skin texture and how it seems to cracking, bubbling, and peeling from their flesh. I’m least pleased with the teeth. I could never really decide what I wanted to do with them, and I didn’t like them as much as the sketchy almost non-existent teeth in the original concepts. This is one of many things that I’ll need to work on in the coming months. I know my understanding of all of the digital tools is limited, as I lack experience, so I expect to have areas of different compositions which could have been handled better, but weren’t for one reason or another. It’s definitely one of my better attempts regardless of any criticisms I might have. But then I’ll always have criticisms of everything that I do.
That said, I am quite happy that the majority of my work of late has been finished. Not only do I learn more about digital approaches with each finished piece, but they provide much needed creative content that is quite varied at the moment. We’ve seen everything from owls, to fictional beasts, to the no longer deceased. I’ve been itching to do more traditional pieces recently, too. But I’ve still got two digital paintings which are on their way. One has been started (and was actually started before this piece) and the second is going to be started soon.

The second should be quite good should it ever see the light of day.

The one thing that I lack at the moment is time. Not in the sense that I don’t have enough of it, but in the sense that I have so many things that I’m working on that even with an overflowing amount of it there isn’t enough. I’m using every hour in the day that I can without pushing myself to exhaustion but it still isn’t enough. It’s an oddly enjoyable feeling, though.

I don’t think I could ever be upset about an increase in the amount of creative content I’m producing. It’s just that I’m quite tired at the moment. I’ve been falling back into the old habit of letting the schedule dictate the content rather than the content dictating the schedule. That said, I’ve been actively working against that recently. It’s just a shame that this piece went through so many different iterations before reaching its conclusion. I’ve spent a good number of hours on this piece by now. Definitely more than I should have spent. But the result is agreeable enough and so I can’t complain, but I do feel as though I could have finished two paintings in the time spent on this one. I guess I’m just overstimulated by recent motivation.

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.

Doom, the UAC, Doomguy, Pinkies, Revenants, and all associated trademarks and devices are owned by id Software.

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Unholy Evolution

I wasn’t expecting to go on this journey.

Not that I mind. In fact, I’m actually quite fond of this piece because it has helped me illustrate (pun intended) some of my more ambitious digital approaches. It’s interesting looking back at how the piece has evolved from the earlier stages where it was more of a painting, to when it became an illustration of sorts, to how it has now become a hybrid of the two approaches. I’ve mentioned before that each of the newer digital paintings has their own unique qualities and this one (unsurprisingly) is no exception.

That’s a sentence that is quickly becoming redundant.

Mostly because I don’t think any piece will ever completely follow the one that came before it. I’m of the opinion at present that the thick painted style that’s starting to show through in this piece will make a return, but perhaps it will be more ambitious or more conceptual in that attempt. I’ll more than likely lean on this approach more as I think it has a lot of character.

I mentioned previously that I wasn’t sure how I’d use the layers for this piece. That’s always been an interesting point for me as I feel as though the layers are part of the digital approach, but I rarely use more than two or three. That said, I’ve also heard many experienced digital artists say that layers (and brushes) are individual to the person. There are no requirements to have multiple layers and you can use just the one if you prefer. I think that has always made more sense to me given my experience with traditional approaches. But, at the same time, it’s quite nice to be able to section up some areas of a piece to make it easier to add or edit them. Regarding this piece, it’s mostly painted on a single layer with a few extra layers for convenience.

I’m particularly reminded of raw chicken skin.

I’ve rather enjoyed writing these posts, too. It’s nice to have creative content that looks at how everything has changed. I’d felt that creative content had become stagnant, but through these work in progress (and the material studies) posts the newer content is more interesting as a result. It also gives me the opportunity to talk about things in a broader and less specific way. I can then easily tie this all together with an image or three, which makes it enticing even if you don’t care about what I’m actually saying in the post. Which I hope you do.

But even if you don’t it’s not like you can’t enjoy the pretty pictures all the same.

I’m particularly fond of the evolving colour choice in this piece. I’ve tried to include more darker colours to enhance the lighter ones, and to suggest a better sense of depth and contrast in the piece as a whole. I’m not sure if it actually worked but such is the way of painting anything. You can never be entirely sure of how a piece is going to develop until it has done so.

There’s also a whole section of this piece that I’ve yet to paint. It’s not a particularly large section, but the harness and mechanical components have yet to be added and will be used to frame the piece quite nicely. I don’t intend to paint much of the jet pack, either. But we’ll see how that goes when I get around to it. It shouldn’t be too much longer before we see the final version of this piece, though. The rather drastic change that occurred between this and the last work in progress shouldn’t occur again. But even if it does this will be the last post regarding this piece until the final version is presented, as I feel as though there is little left to say now. It’s definitely inspired more content than I could’ve anticipated.

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.

Doom, the UAC, Doomguy, Pinkies, Revenants, and all associated trademarks and devices are owned by id Software.

Horrific Resurrection

I always knew this would come back.

Those who have followed me for a while may remember the original attempt I made when painting this particular hellish creation. I don’t necessarily dislike the original attempt, either. It’s just that I always knew that I could do something that better represented the way I originally envisaged the piece, that, due to various reasons, never actually materialised in the finished version. Not that it was ever completely finished. That said, I do like the conceptual approach I took with the original attempt.

It also serves to highlight my progress with digital painting.

Which is an approach I’m still fairly inexperienced with. Each of the attempts I’ve made at digital painting earlier this year have highlighted something unique to those pieces, and this piece is no exception. It also marks the first time that I’ve attempted something that is at the very least slightly humanoid. Which helps me to ease into prospective digital paintings.

I’ve had many different ideas for digital paintings this year, too. Most of them are considered purely to leverage the benefits of digital painting. In that, unlike traditional painting, you have the capability to infinitely reattempt a digital painting. You can be much more creative with the composition, colour choice, or approach as well. As there is little to no risk of actually being unable to finish the painting at a later date. This process can be quite costly with traditional approaches. It also allows me to get used to working on a piece consistently over multiple periods of time, which is something that I will need to become more accustomed to with traditional approaches in the future. I can’t quite say when these traditional pieces will make an appearance, though.

That’s the face I make when I get a free coffee.

This particular work in progress is going quite well at the moment. I’m most fond of the peeling skin texture, which is not unlike frayed fabric and fits how I envisaged the skin to be stretched over the flesh. I’m also quite fond of the eyes. They’re a little more squishy and bloodshot than I initially intended but they still fit. They haven’t fallen out of their eye sockets at least. I’m pleased with the semi-realistic approach as well. I’m not sure how best to actually describe this approach, but that’s to be expected at this point.

I never know what to call anything that I do.

I’m not entirely sure how I feel about the colour choice for the exposed flesh. It’s a little too bright for my tastes. But that could just be because I’ve been staring at this painting for hours and need a break from it. I’ll decide later whether I want to darken those colours, lighten them further, or leave them as they are. I don’t really know what I’m doing with the exposed flesh.

I’ve been much more concerned with the skin and the general composition up until this point. I wasn’t sure if I’d continue with my usual single layer approach, or if I’d use two layers with one for the skin and one for the flesh. Each approach is useful but I still feel more comfortable with the single layer. That said, I do have my usual extra layer which is used for the little details and additions which I might decide against later. Which, again, is another benefit prevalent in digital approaches. You can easily add new colours or details and (if desired) remove them just as easily. I’m still quite proud of how my creative efforts have developed over this year and I’m looking forward to what I might do next. Even I couldn’t say for certain.

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.

Doom, the UAC, Doomguy, Pinkies, Revenants, and all associated trademarks and devices are owned by id Software.

Greatly Textured Horns

It’s easier if you squint.

Which is also true of the process to create such details in the first place. I’ve recently reintroduced my Copic Multiliners to my creative process, as the replacement Mitsubishi Uni Pin fine liners aren’t quite as reliable as I would’ve hoped they’d be. Great pens- but they run out incredibly quickly. Or seem to. Which isn’t too much of an issue as they’re fairly cheap, but even things that are fairly cheap become expensive if you’re continually investing in them. For example, I’ve already replaced the 0.05 pen three times since I started using them.

So I decided I’d take another chance on the Copic Multiliners.

They’ve always been great pens and they’re exceptionally reliable. That said, I did run into an issue replacing a nib and ink cartridge that made me slightly wary of them. But the new replacements have taken to the pens perfectly, everything is great, and as to familiarise myself with them again I’ve been doing ink sketching. You’d be surprised how different certain pens feel.

Or maybe you wouldn’t. But it makes for great tangential conversation, as it relates back to how much confidence you have with particular materials and much of that is derived from how they feel in your hand. Or how they react to certain types of paper. It’s particular evident in how you sketch with pencils, too. As you tend to lean on certain qualities of pencil to make it easier to translate those lines to ink, which, again, feels quite different depending on the type of pens you’re using. I notice that with Copic Multiliners I’m able to sketch finer details as I can actually translate those details to ink with them. The difference between 0.05 and 0.03 seems insignificant- but it’s there- and it’s very noticeable. Especially when you habitually sketch fine details.

It’s not only the horns that are greatly textured.

This particular sketch falls somewhere between a few earlier attempts and a finalised attempt with this approach. An approach that will likely include Faber Castell Polychromos at some point. I’m rather limited in my colour selection with those at the moment- but I’m sure I can work something out. I have got a small collection of certain colours. It’s also likely I won’t move straight to a finalised piece and more likely that I’ll do some more sketching. Trying to learn more as I go. But I’m fairly pleased with how the line work in this piece turned out.

I’m also quite pleased with the horns.

I don’t usually illustrate horns in this particular style but I do like them. I’ll be honest, I’ve never really understood how they work anatomically and some might argue that I still don’t. But I like ’em. They’re neat. The rest of the anatomy is fairly standard and muscular. Which is pretty much my standard. I even threw in a little armour to further my progress there, too.

It’s been a while since I’ve done larger pieces and most of that is down to my own perceptions of my inability to do so. Which, again, is partly due to my confidence. So I’m trying to work through new ideas that basically force me to do these things. Mostly because I don’t understand how arm anatomy works, either. So if I can cover that with armour I’ll be fine. I’m kidding. Mostly. This year has definitely been a learning experience, for better or for worse. I’m leaning towards it being for the better of my creative efforts as a whole. But you could also argue that I’ve wasted time pursuing some approaches that are less useful. That said, I’m starting to think that the side effect of being creative and being on social media is feeling like you’re never good enough.

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie

First Impressions of… Low Magic Age

Stand back! I have a spear and I’m not afraid to pretend I have the proficiency to use it!

Low Magic Age is an enjoyable Early Access RPG with a d20 System ruleset derived from the Wizards of the Coast Open Game Licence. At this stage of development there is a fully functional (yet deceptively complex) Arena, alongside deep character progression mechanics and varied equipment choices. The developers are also looking to add a campaign mode to fully flesh out the core experience. Likewise, there’s early Steam Workshop integration which could permit the creation of much more (Arena/campaign) content in the future.

It’s definitely one of the more promising Early Access titles I’ve seen.

Even if you’re not fully conversant with d20 System rulesets, Low Magic Age provides an intuitive and easy to learn presentation of mechanics alongside an impressive explanation of what everything does. A feature that I wish would be more prevalent in other RPGs with complex formulae. I’m also quite fond of how quickly you can pick up the nuances of combat.

The Arena is almost exclusively combat, too. So if you’re not too keen on the idea of something reminiscent to dungeon crawling with a party of adventurers, you might want to wait until the campaign is implemented. It’s not actually dungeon crawling, though. As you progress through the Arena in waves. After each fight you can purchase new equipment, replenish ammunition, spend Glory for party bonuses, or even recruit new adventurers for your party. Each party progresses through their own waves, too. Switching to an entirely new party will reset your progress back to the first wave, while also resetting your gold and Glory to their default values. Switching back to an existing party restores their wave progress.

Just one more turn…

Your party can consist of either default characters, your own characters, or a combination of both. When creating characters you can follow a template or create your own custom characters, with the characters created via templates levelling up automatically. Which, I assume, as I don’t use character templates, automatically develop certain abilities. Which is a great feature for those who enjoy the experience that Low Magic Age offers, but might not be as interested in statistics or agonising over new abilities. Thereby it’s very new player friendly, too.

Each wave in the Arena also features a boss fight.

These will become available once you’ve defeated all of the fights in a particular wave. Unsurprisingly, these often feature incredibly tough enemies which are stronger than most things you’ve faced before. You can either fight these bosses as they appear or grind experience in the fights of that wave. As I do believe each fight per wave is endlessly repeatable.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Low Magic Age but I’m very pleased with this current iteration. It’s an easy recommendation if you enjoy fantasy RPGs, tabletop rulesets, or Dungeons & Dragons with the only caveat being that the campaign isn’t implemented yet. So if you’re not keen on endless Arena bloodshed you may want to wait before purchasing. I still think it’s a great deal at the current price, though. Given that many of the existing systems are fully functional and that the Arena is also incredibly polished for many hours of enjoyment. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have another turn to take and another wave to finish…

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie

First Impressions of… Salt and Sanctuary

This island is plagued with death and depravity.

Salt and Sanctuary is a complex and engaging ARPG that feels reminiscent of both Dark Souls and Diablo in equal measure. There are definite hallmarks of the Dark Souls series, with punishing and brutal boss fights alongside replenishing consumables and similar equipment improvement mechanics. However, the character development and the continual loot shower feels more like what you would expect from Diablo. It’s an interesting mixture that works well in some ways and not so well in others.

I particularly like the Skill Tree approach to developing your character.

Salt is required to progress the level of your character and (as expected) has an escalating cost per level. Once you’ve gained a new level you’ll be awarded with a Black Pearl which can be invested in the Skill Tree, wherein you can find myriad passive upgrades for your character. It makes your character level slightly more crucial to success in certain builds than others.

Equipment will have requirements (such as Class 1 Dagger or Class 3 Heavy Armour) which are unlocked via the Skill Tree. Likewise, all of your basic attributes are increased by investing in the Skill Tree. It’s a fairly intuitive system if you’re familiar with skill trees in just about any other RPG, with most of the nodes you want to unlock being available from several different paths to allow you to spend only the Black Pearls you want to. This system is full of potential for interesting hybrid builds. Especially when combined with the Transmutation system, which essentially allows you to use certain reagents to transform your weapons into more powerful variants. There are unique variants, too. Like spears that scale with your magical proficiency.

The dead wander these bloodstained halls.

Character classes exist but they serve only to provide a basic set of Skill Tree points and attributes. They don’t have any specific restrictions and can be developed towards any final build. There are also numerous Creeds your character can join, which function like Covenants from the Dark Souls series and unlock unique bonuses for your character. Be it additional consumables, new spells, new incantations, or simply more of your basic consumables. You can increase your devotion to a specific Creed as well, but any and all devotion will be reset if you change your Creed.

Creeds can be changed as often as you like at the cost of accumulating Sin.

Your Creed also dictates who your Sanctuary will be devoted to. That said, if you change Creeds, you can still access your other Sanctuaries but will be unable to gain devotion with them. Sanctuaries can be upgraded with new vendors, blacksmiths, alchemists, and more via stone statuettes found in and around the areas you’ll be travelling to.

There are limited NPC quests which can be completed, too. Alongside Brands which unlock new ways to reach certain areas which will remain inaccessible without them. It’s a pretty content dense ARPG and rife with secrets, optional bosses, and interesting nuggets of lore. I’ve been enjoying a hybrid build of spears and spells, allowing me to engage enemies at any distance while providing unique bonuses as I switch weapon sets to utilise more spells. My only minor complaint would be that the platforming sections don’t feel particularly tight. However, that could be my general inexperience with timed platforming segments and not an actual issue with the controls. In every other way I highly recommend Salt and Sanctuary to all who enjoy ARPGs!

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

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.