Momentary Regret

An unfortunate turn of events.

Over the last twelve months we’ve seen quite a few posts about any number of creative topics. Perhaps most surprisingly was the recent enthusiasm towards digital painting, which isn’t an entirely new topic. It’s just one that hasn’t been as prevalent in recent years. That said, it wasn’t an entirely positive experience for all concerned as I’ve expressed my doubts towards my suitability regarding digital painting. That’s a sentence that I swear makes sense even if it doesn’t seem like it does.

It’s not so much that I can’t get the results I want, either.

In fact, in some cases, I felt like I’ve made considerable progress with the results I’ve been getting. But there is an underlying feeling of not really being satisfied with the pieces I’m doing. Admittedly, as with all things creative, there is an element of learning how best to approach something, as what works for one won’t necessarily work for another and vice versa.

But that doesn’t change the fact that often times I feel more frustrated than fulfilled when attempting any kind of digital painting. Again, this could be that the tools or the approaches I’m using aren’t suited to what I want to do. But there’s really very little way to change that without some form of financial investment. I’m not about to say that the Wacom Bamboo is holding me back, either. Sure- it’s not as good as a higher specification tablet- but I’m not going resign myself to believing that if I bought something more expensive I would instantly improve. That’s not how it works. That’s not how it has ever worked. I need to possess some level of ability before that becomes even the most remote of possibilities.

So where does that leave us? In a state of continued confusion which I’m riddled with on a day to day basis. I’ve been looking into alternative approaches, though. Most specifically the Painter Essentials 5 package, which dilutes the Corel Painter experience into something a little less extensive but likewise a lot less expensive. Would that help? Maybe. It’s as good a guess as I’ve got at the moment. At least, if nothing else, it’s a digital package that attempts to emulate traditional materials.

Which seems like an odd way to approach this situation.

You move away from traditional materials to use a software package that emulates traditional materials. That said, despite the fact that it emulates traditional materials it is still an approach that is rooted in digital techniques. Layers, brushes, easier editing, and nearly endless chances to keep approaching something that hasn’t worked as you would have hoped it would.

There’s also an argument to be made that it might be better to cut my losses and stop. It’s an entirely defeatist approach, but it’s one that isn’t without merit given the current investment into digital painting and the fact that Painter Essentials 5 would be further investment. Admittedly the investment has only been that of time with the current process. But I do question whether there is any validity in throwing financial investment into this, too. Then again, it’s easy to argue that I’ve already invested the time into it (and that I’ve made progress) so maybe it’s best not to just stop. It’s definitely a tricky situation that raises a number of questions to which I have few answers at the moment.

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie

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Ten Year Anniversary

It has been a pleasure.

It was ten years ago (to the day) that I started my very first blog. Shortly after that I joined an art community site, then another, then started another blog, and then I ended up here on WordPress. On that journey I’ve met people, made friends, developed my personal site, employed social media profiles, and I’ve even got a few things that people haven’t heard of yet. Along the way I’ve embraced a lot of changes and most significant of those changes for WordPress is the inclusion of gaming content.

Initially (on my first blog) that was always a feature. In later iterations I had decided to focus solely on my creative pursuits, but it’s interesting seeing how the two different hobbies can interact and how some of the creative posts make more sense now. That said, I’m always trying to keep the balance in favour of my creative pursuits.

But it never hurts to have a few posts here or there about my other hobby.

Or about cats- those are pretty cool, too. As such I’m glad that I’ve been able to talk about Final Fantasy, World of Warcraft, and even Guild Wars (along with Guild Wars 2) in the last year. None of those are as prominent as they once were, but I’m hoping that could change and (even if it doesn’t) I’m happy that I’ve been able to feature them on Moggie @ WordPress. I’m looking to do more content in a similar vein soon. In the future I’m going to have a little less gaming content, but what is available will hopefully be more relevant and of higher quality than some of the posts in the past. However, as always, I don’t really have a map for this journey. So I’m going to develop as and when I feel the need to.

This year has been particularly good for creative content. We’ve seen some older traditional pieces, some newer traditional pieces, and even a few posts about things I’m currently working on. Alongside that we’ve had some digital and traditional marriages, some digital pieces, and even a few digital work in progress posts. It’s quite a fortuitous year in that respect. Given that this would be the year that I would doing an anniversary post, and that, as I said above, I’m trying to keep the balance in favour of my creative pursuits.

So now you get to look back at all of these wonderful posts! Isn’t that great? Besides what already exists on Moggie @ WordPress, it’s likely I’ll be doing a lot more creative posts as the year slowly winds down and everyone starts playing Christmas music in November. Not that I mind- Christmas is one of my favourite seasons.

I might even be spending it in Azeroth this year.

I’d like to thank each and every one of you, too. For all I can write, for all I can say, and for all I can do it means nothing if there aren’t people to consume the content. So to everyone who has liked a post, everyone who has shared a post, and to everyone who has taken the time to comment- thank you! I hope you’ve enjoyed your time here and I hope you’ll enjoy what’s to come even more. I can’t guarantee what that’ll be, but I can guarantee that (at the very least) I’ll be around here for a little while more. Until then, have fun clicking through all of these links and reading all my previously published ramblings. Enjoy the site, too. I’ve spent a while getting it just the way I like it.

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie

Collection Clear

It was a fun little side project.

Just a short post today detailing what happened following Eight Months Lost. While I would prefer to keep my Google+ page (for the effort invested if nothing else), it’s probably best that in light of recent events that I just clear the page of content completely. Not that there’s much content left to clear on there. It will still exist as a bridge between other pages but it won’t serve any purpose on its own. Which isn’t entirely a loss as it doesn’t really have much of a following at the moment. Not to mention that it’s only because of the weird way that Google+ chooses to work that I even wanted/needed the collections in the first place.

I’ll be removing links that point in that direction across the collection of sites over the rest of this week.

In positive news I’m adding some new categories to Moggie @ WordPress. Much in the same way I created child categories for the parent Art category, I’m going to be creating child categories for the parent Gaming category. At the moment there are only a few categories. One for SW:TOR The Jal’frezi Legacy, Guild Wars 2: Tyrian Travels, and The Final Fantasy Series.

I’ll be adding more of those as and when I see the need to. I won’t be doing them for everything I talk about on here as I would literally have no end to new categories, but instead for things that are regularly talked about. They won’t be individual when regarding multiple titles from a single series, either. It’ll be one collected category for an entire series. These are changes that will be coming over the course of this week, too. So if you don’t see them immediately- they’ll be here soon. If they’re not here soon then I’ve probably been abducted by aliens.

I hope I don’t get abducted, though. Those implements look awful long, hard, and cold for where they’ll be going. Or, at worst, it will be Mothership Zeta all over again. Which is terrible as I have prime real estate in Megaton which could make me a fortune. Not that I could spend it in space- but, still!

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

Eight Months Lost

Well, that’s unfortunate.

Google+ did a thing. Or, rather, I did a thing that Google+ misinterpreted and now I’m missing a whole chunk of content. As in (an estimated) 60-65% of all of the posts I’d previously shared over there, with the only exceptions being anything that was in the creative collection. Ironically this all started with a collection, too. As I wanted to set up a new collection to hold all of my Moggie @ WordPress posts to make the page more organised. However, many things occurred that shouldn’t have occurred.

Most notable of these was that it didn’t move the posts to the collection- it shared them.

Which means, as they were never part of the collection, merely shared to it, they shouldn’t have been deleted when I removed the collection as it wasn’t working correctly. Indicated by that fact that (unlike the creative collection) everything added to the new collection was shared to my main feed. Kind of like I’d shared external content onto my page. Needless to say, I was incredibly confused as I’d only shared a new post to the creative collection not five minutes prior- and that worked fine. It quickly became apparent that posts were missing when I reloaded the main page feed. Then, after skimming the remaining posts, it became painfully obvious that everything that wasn’t a creative post was now gone.

With that I’ve lost a considerable portion of eight months worth of work. There doesn’t seem to be any way to recover my Google+ page and revert it to a previous state, either. So I’m pretty sure the posts are not coming back. This doesn’t really leave me with that many options (and many of the options I do have aren’t that appealing).

Which probably means I’ll be clearing the remaining content on Google+ soon. As while there are ways for me to fix this- I really don’t know if it’s worth the time. Something I’ve noticed recently is that Google+ doesn’t give you any sort of page statistics if you’re under two hundred followers, and as such it doesn’t help me understand how or why I’m getting views. There also seems to be a broad disparity between the results per post and the overall page results. For instance, I’m at nearly six thousand views and yet the highest viewed post is under forty.

Most posts are under five and the remainder all sit at a lonely zero.

So how, why, or from where I got those six thousand views I don’t know. Given that the primary reason that you have statistics is to see how people found you, what they were looking for, to give an indication of if it was relevant to their initial query, and how long they’ve viewed your content it’s odd that Google+ has hidden this. Especially considering YouTube has a wealth of statistics that can even tell me really specific (possibly irrelevant) details. Like whether someone viewed my content as it was suggested to them and then whether they followed on to my profile page. In this way, I’m not sure if keeping the page as a backup social media site is even worth it. Unless I can get the followers that I need in order to access this information.

I’ll make a decision regarding Google+ by the end of this month. There is a chance that I might not remove the other content, but it’s likely that it will become a social media page to bridge the others together opposed to one that has a singular purpose. Any links that point that way will likely be removed, too.

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie

Archive of Experiences

It’s a novel concept, really.

Have you been enjoying the recent introduction of new and different creative posts? I hope you have. I was thinking about Moggie @ WordPress the other day and realised that, while there are two major focuses here, gaming has always had more diverse and interesting posts. Sometimes this is simply a case of it being easier to produce those kind of posts for gaming topics. For instance, it’s pretty easy and non-intrusive to just flick the switch on my recording software and capture some footage.

However, there are a number of times where I’ll talk about something I’m playing at the moment, or something I’m looking forward to, and even if it doesn’t connect to anything else I’ll still post it. Like a passing thought of sorts. Across Auriga is a good example of a post like that. It’s an isolated thought relating to something that I may or may not do a review post about later.

I haven’t done too many creative posts like that before.

Things like the recent Bleeding Ink or the not so recent Painting Pencil. Where I’ll be looking at a particular idea, style, or a new way to approach something with a different material (or an unusual combination of materials). These are the kinds of posts I’d like to do more often for creative topics. Focusing solely on finished pieces or things that will be included on my personal site is a very narrow content creation pattern. That said, as I’ve said before, I don’t want to flood the blog with pointless fluff posts to pad out the times where I have less content than others. If there are any specific kinds of posts you’d like to see- leave me a comment! I’ll do my best to accommodate where possible.

I’m also trying to be more open about the kind of content I’d like to produce in the future. I know that’s something I haven’t done much prior to the last twelve months, but I feel it’s a necessary evolution for me to continue to enjoy what I do here. I’m not really focusing too much on changing layouts, or adding new social media sites, or introducing major new features at the moment. I’m focusing on updating content, making it consistent, producing more, and hopefully producing things which are new and exciting for the readers.

I don’t think either of the two major focuses could exist without the other, though. I don’t feel that I could write about various video games consistently enough, nor that there would be enough content to form creative posts to fill the time available. Therefore, it’s unlikely we’ll see a shift from both at once to one or the other singularly. Doesn’t seem feasible.

While this can be considered a personal blog- it isn’t.

It is about my personal experiences, interests, and hobbies but not so much about me as a person. It’s more like an archive of experiences. In any case, I wanted to see how everyone was enjoying the recent creative posts and to give some insight into where things are going. This in and of itself is a pretty unconventional post for Moggie @ WordPress, but times have changed and I want to give the readers a little more information on what to expect in the future. As always, I’ll be adjusting older content here and there to make sure it remains consistent to the overall theme here. But hopefully we’ll start to see some really interesting new content, too!

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

No Success Like Failure

Probably teaches you a little more, too.

The acquisition of knowledge is (arguably) the most important part of learning any new skill or set of skills. There are many different ways to acquire that knowledge, for example, but not limited to: learning from others, learning from experience, learning from courses/activities, or learning from your own successes/failures. The last one is something that I feel many novice learners fail to grasp as quickly as they should. While some would also argue that learning from experience and from your own successes/failures are one and the same.

However, learning from experience is more about accruing knowledge over time rather than from a particular result.

As you continue to learn, develop your skills, and improve you’re going to be accruing a lot of knowledge that will almost passively help you understand more. While learning from your successes/failures is looking at a particular result critically. Observing what worked as well as you’d have liked, what didn’t, what held you back, and what you can learn from this result to differ the next one. One of the more common questions I see novice artists asking is how to overcome their initial failures. Quite simply? Learn from them. Understand what you didn’t like and find a way to approach that differently the next time out.

This is, ironically, a skill that most people already have. But they’ve yet to realise that while they can immediately look at something and be displeased with it- they can also identify those very reasons and improve on them. You’ve just got to take that step from “I don’t like this…” to “I don’t like this because…” to capitalise on it.

There’s no shame in not getting the result you want every time, either. You know yourself better than anyone else will and so you’ll be able to identify your potential more accurately. One of the reasons you’ll dislike some of what you do is not because it’s bad- it’s because you know you can do better. You’re comparing that result to what you know your actual potential is. While others, who may not see that potential, will like it and support you because they’re enjoying it (and what you do in general).

Which is why you should never be overly critical of yourself and your abilities.

You understand that you can do better, you can identify your potential, and you’re not happy about that- but that doesn’t mean the work isn’t good. It just means that (for the time being) it’s not hitting your expectations. Which begins the cycle anew. Learn, accrue knowledge, identify what doesn’t work, improve on it, and continue to do so until you are happy with it. While it sounds overly simple- that’s all there is to it. Really. It’s also funny to look back, several months, if not years, later and realise how far you’ve progressed. You won’t actively see that, either. It will just happen as you continue to push yourself further and learn more.

Which is why I like to have a collection of work on my personal site that covers older to newer work. It really helps to see that transition from the older pieces you weren’t happy with to the newer pieces that you are happy with. Most importantly? Have fun. Don’t stress to the point where what you’re doing isn’t fun or enjoyable any more.

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie

Pausing the Travels

Sometimes it’s a good idea to take a moment to pause and reflect.

We’ve shared a lot of adventures via the Tyrian Travels of late, and, while it wasn’t my initial intention, there has been a chunk of them throughout September to make up for the lull in content from August. While I do like to keep things regular (and my bowels working as they should) it’s not too concerning if we have dips in content. I’d rather not post than post things that probably don’t fit, feel right, or add any value to the collection of sites as a whole. Let’s talk about a lot of things today, though.

First of all- new art! Though a work in progress at the moment it is soon to be finished.

This piece was somewhat delayed as I got the idea earlier in the week but I’ve been under the weather recently (curse that pet cloud). It goes back to my days of playing Diablo III, which, while it’s not my favourite game, it did have some interesting concepts. The Witch Doctor and the range of beastly voodoo summons instead of your standard legions of the undead was one of those.

Don’t get me wrong- I love the Necromancer from Diablo II. It was actually one of the few minion master classes where (with the right combination of skills) you could literally have an army to call your own. It’s a bit like the Necromancer from Guild Wars. Though, the one from the first Guild Wars didn’t have as much capability to summon as many minions of different types (due to skill bar restrictions more than anything). But it’s nice to see something different every now and then. Like the Shaman being a two handed weapon user in Grim Dawn (finally not a holy warrior alternative). So, yeah, this one definitely asked a little more from exploring screenshots and concept art trying to figure out how those summoned creatures looked.

"You said you were going to summon that Gargantuan yesterday!"

“You said you were going to summon that Gargantuan yesterday!”

The currently incomplete sketched figure is reserved for the Witch Doctor. However, it will likely change in position before the piece is finished as it was only really there as a guide.

Secondly- the Tyrian Travels! It’s been a long road but it’s not over yet.

I’ve had a lot of fun playing Guild Wars 2 of late. I’m not really sure why- maybe it’s because it’s a Guild Wars game, or maybe it’s just a lot of fun, or maybe it’s the skill system- but something has taken hold of me. It isn’t letting go, either. But, as enthusiastic as I am, I think there will probably be more space between the posts regarding it after Pt. 8 or so. I think by then I’ll have my Necromancer ready to go and we’ll be entering levelling autopilot mode. That said, I’ll try to keep the posts as regular as there are new things to say and I do hope everyone is enjoying the snippets of my (mis)adventures. It’s been a great ride thus far and it’s always fun to look back and see how much I’ve changed in mindset even in a short time.

The new and improved Guardian has been doing well and has already closed in on the previous Guardian’s crafting discipline levels. Just got to get her to Lvl 50 and we’ll be good to go! There’s also the addition of the Necromancer (who’s going to be awesome) and then I’ll be taking a chunk of them to Lvl 50. So, there’s no shortage of things to do there.

As always, I hope, even in some small way, you’re enjoying any (or all) of the content I produce.

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.

Diablo III, Witch Doctors, Zombie Dogs, Gargantuans, and all associated trademarks and devices are © Blizzard Entertainment.