To Ink a Deathclaw

An ill advised pursuit at best.

The phrasing could be misconstrued to suggest that the deathclaw is getting a tattoo, which would also likely be an ill advised pursuit. Unless you’d enjoy being eviscerated by a colossal lizard in an irradiated hell. Then it’s probably pretty fun. In any case, this is a digital work in progress that doesn’t feature any actual ink- but it’s the best parallel I’ve got to lining a piece crisply and cleanly. In many ways this is also the complete opposite of what I’d do traditionally, lacking many of the intricate and busy details.

Which might not be an entirely bad thing, either.

I’ve wanted to try and use less details in some pieces to get a feeling of how that would change the presentation, composition, and level of quality. I wasn’t necessarily hoping to do this digitally, but when the opportunity arrived (and the original approach wasn’t working out) it seemed to fit. It does look incredibly weird to me, though. I’m used to lines and whatnot being everywhere!

It’s also taking a fair amount of time to get even the basic elements looking as I would like them to. This is nothing new with digital illustrating or painting for me, which is something I’m heavily considering the reasons for with each new piece. In comparison to traditional art many of these pieces take several times longer. In all the worst ways. This could be inexperience with digital approaches showing through, or it may be an indication that I might need a higher specification tablet, as I currently use a Wacom Bamboo, and I’m not sure if that’s meeting my needs any more. Normally I would refuse that suggestion as even being a possibility but there might be some truth to it. I’ve been thinking about upgrading to an Intuos at some point anyway.

That’s quite an impressive maw you’ve got there.

There is definitely a disconnection somewhere between my brain, my hand, and my tablet. Something isn’t working as intended. Which, again, could simply be that the pressure sensitivity isn’t as good on a Wacom Bamboo. I know it isn’t via the technical specifications. But I also know that you don’t need the best materials to create high quality art. One of the things that novice artists tend to assume is that they need the highest quality everything immediately, which, in skilled hands, does provide higher quality results, but will not immediately make you a better artist.

An understanding of fundamental concepts will always take you further.

Which is why I’m committed to seeing this through to the end. I’d like to know whether the problem exists within my approach (which is likely) or whether it exists as a result of my tools (which could be likely). In either case, I’m not going to invest in an Intuos any time soon and I’ve already made great progress over the last year with digital art. So we’ll keep going.

I do enjoy working with digital approaches and I see an incredible amount of potential in them. They’re also helping me appreciate my traditional pieces in a new light. It’s an interesting side step towards something that is fundamentally the same but provides a different challenge, which, hopefully if I pursue it further, will make me a better artist overall. I’m not really sure where this piece is going in the future, either. I will more than likely finish it as a lined piece. I’ve been talking to someone I know (who does great deathclaw pieces) to add some colour to it when I’m done. I think their approach would suit much better than mine would. It would also be a learning experience to see how they would approach this piece (likely differently to me).

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.

Fallout 4, Deathclaws, Super Mutants, Pip-Boys, and all associated trademarks and devices are owned by Interplay/Bethesda.

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

Painting Pencil

This here’s my painting pencil.

I suppose it’s technically possible to paint with a pencil if you’re using watercolour pencils. Though, you could still argue it’s the brush and the application of water doing the painting- not the pencil. But we’re not here to talk about technicalities. I’ve been thinking about digital art since How You’ve Grown and I’m still confused about where this is all going.

I’m not convinced I’ll ever be able to get my head around doing full digital pieces from scratch.

Well, no, I’m sure I could learn- but I don’t know if it would be worth it. I like each different material to bring a different result to the table. Pencil is universally versatile, ink has contrast, marker has vibrant colour, watercolour has exceptional colour blending, and so on. Where does digital painting fall into this eclectic mix? Good question. So far I have no definite answers. But I have been playing around with an older pencil sketch and I’ve brought some colourful life to it. Which, with the considerations above, is actually a pretty good way to incorporate digital painting into the mix by providing something that I can’t get anywhere else. Mostly due to the varieties of paper I use for pencil work.

The paper itself is fine. It’s excellent, in fact. But, it does have one weakness- despite being heavy it’s not heavy enough to accept liquid media. Marker would bleed. Watercolour would cockle the paper. Ink would accept but wouldn’t be of the highest quality thanks to the tooth/grain of the paper. This opens up a future possibility to use digital painting to enhance pencil sketches and create something that has a very unique feel. It’s certainly nothing like what I’m doing otherwise.

Forever a work in progress. Forever changing the background colour.

Forever a work in progress. Forever changing the background colour.

That said, like every experiment, it hasn’t gone entirely as smoothly as I would have initially hoped. It’s coming along. It’s coming along well. But it’s still a foreign concept to me, and one that requires a lot more investment than I’d initially figured it would. Which is not entirely a bad thing, either.

Pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone is never a bad idea if you want to improve.

It’s been a pretty odd start to the year in that respect. I wasn’t expecting to have a surge of creative work this early, nor was I expecting to come from something I’d barely had any experience using. But here we are. I’ve been going through odd emotional states, too. Almost as if I’ve remembered something that I’d never really forgotten but has been dormant for a while. I’ve got a fair few ideas in mind. Which is a surprise. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to say I’ve had a flood of enthusiasm about my creative efforts. I’ve even been thinking about starting a new project in Unity and trying to push out a finished product. Or, at the very least, a working demo that you could play for a short while.

I’ve been itching to get back to traditional art, though. It’s where I’m comfortable. That said, even there, I’m exploring new ideas that are pushing my various styles/techniques further. It’s quite an interesting time for me. However, such as I’ve come to expect, it’s not without a number of hiccups along the way. Personal issues and concerns plaguing an otherwise good time. But that’s probably the reason I’ve become as enthusiastic about everything as I have. Seems to be an ongoing trend of mine.

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.

Fallout, Super Mutants, and all associated trademarks and devices are owned by Interplay and Bethesda.

January to March 2016

The most literal of post titles.

I thought it would be nice to look back at some of the highlights of what ended up being a very creative start to the year. I realise it’s not the end of March just yet and we may have another post before April, but, I doubt anything major is going to happen in said post, or if said post is even going to happen at all. As always, I have dozens of projects that I’m either planning out or planning to start. So, hopefully, the content won’t dry up any time soon.

Initially we had some early hints of new traditional art in Graphite Haze. These bled over to New Approaches which focused on the updates to the collection of sites, older content here on WordPress, launching the Google+ page, and even bringing the pieces on the site to much higher quality standards.

In doing all of the above I was able to resurrect (and bring to the site) He Who Brought Life.

Following this was the deliciously humorous Not Mushroom Inside and even a work in progress post in the form of Traditionally Painting Digital Trees. The latter being a rather odd inclusion, as I haven’t really focused on digital art that much in recent months. Following that was How You’ve Grown which was the final version of that digital piece. This has certainly made for a diverse set of posts focused on various materials- both traditional and digital- which has really helped Moggie @ WordPress develop more content. That said, there is a stronger focus for traditional art in the coming months with some of the projects I have in mind at the moment.

There’s been a fair bit of gaming, too. Kicking the New Year gaming off talking about my Rocket League experiences in Fun With Balls, and exploring some of the recent changes in Diablo III through both Return to Torment and Anomaly Monk. I followed that up with the first review in a while for Killer is Dead. Then I got into some Early Access shenanigans with the incredibly enjoyable First Impressions of… Portal Knights post.

I’ve also invested a fair bit of time into the classic ARPG goodness that is Grim Dawn. With my release post Darkest Before Dawn, and then the full review in the form of Aetherial Possession, both of which have been a long time coming as I’ve really been interested in this title for a while. As you’ll well know if you’ve followed me for any period of time between March 2015 to March 2016.

I also slipped into a little nostalgic PS Vita action over in the Old Man Gaming post.

This pretty much concludes the activity over the last few months. There are a few stray posts that I’ve not mentioned here, which you can find over on the Art and Gaming pages (respectively) if you’re interested in seeing what those were about. As mentioned previously, I would love to be able to add more content for the site(s) on my PS Vita adventures and I’m currently looking to see if there’s a way to easily do so. However, even if I can’t, there should be some mention of gaming regardless in the coming months. I’m likely to even get a little further in Guild Wars 2 whenever I can find the time to squeeze it into my posting schedule. Can’t promise it, though. I’m known for being unable to play MMOs consistently month in month out.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

How You’ve Grown – 2016 – Digital – click for full view on site!

So many meanings. So much time.

Ever have those pieces that seem to never end? No matter how many times you come back to them, no matter how many hours you work on them, no matter how much you’d like to fool yourself into believing they’re done- they’re not done. They might never be done. You can’t even tell at this point. Such are the feelings I had about this piece when I sat down to work on it as it neared completion. Now, don’t get me wrong- I’ve enjoyed working on this piece- but will it ever end?

This is entirely my fault, though.

I shouldn’t have taken such an open ended approach to how the composition developed. I also could have picked a material I had any idea of how to use. Might have helped. Still, here we are at the finish line and I’m ready to view this piece for what it is. A pain in my ass. I kid. Or do I? You’ll never know!

Regardless, it’s a great addition to the site and has helped me understand so much more about digital art than I did previously. Even if I did approach it with traditional techniques and completely shunned making a new style. Well, for the most part. The style is certainly unique compared to what I’ve done previously. Not entirely sure if I’ll ever use it again- but it’s there. This piece has also been an exercise in spamming my Twitter followers with WIP Tweets. Over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over again. I’m sure they loved it, though. I also apologise for dragging my feet in completing this particular piece. I’ve not been feeling well recently. I have been trying to put in the hours where I can, though.

How You've Grown - 2016 - DigitalHad an interesting time bringing this piece together, too. Played around with the composition quite a bit, cropped it differently, added some elements, took some out, and tried to balance out a decent result that wasn’t too large (or too small). It’s quite odd how difficult it is to achieve the same results with digital as I do with traditional, probably due to not having the natural textures of both the paper and materials I’m using. I do try to avoid the vanilla Adobe Photoshop CS2 brushes where I can.

I’d like it to have a little texture.

I also put a lot of emphasis on the composition as I have a lot more opportunity to add, remove, and rearrange elements with digital art than I do in any kind of traditional art. It’s a learning experience in many different ways. That said, I feel the final result could have worked out a little better.

On the other hand, it’s not really surprising that it worked out how it did. Given that this is the first full digital piece I’ve done in a while (if ever). I’ve had quite a few ideas of what I’d like to attempt next with digital art, not to mention with the working dark to light technique. That could be pretty cool with several things. Well, no, it would only really work with acrylic. Still, I hope you enjoy this piece (even if just a little) as that’s what I do this for. Otherwise I’d spend the hours hunched over a Wacom Bamboo tablet, illuminated by the light from my monitor, drinking nothing but coffee, and share the end result with no-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.

Traditionally Painting Digital Trees

It’s a thing that I (sometimes) do.

I’ve been painting a lot recently. Acrylic, digital- you name it! Well, those are the only two actually. Still, it’s rare for me to pick up my tablet and attempt to do anything digitally. Given that I’m much more experienced with, proficient in, and comfortable with traditional art. However, every so often I try to think of a particular style or technique I can develop with digital which would help it fit nicely into my rotation. This is probably one of the more successful ones.

It’s also a nice opportunity to do a work in progress post about something I’m creating.

Again, with traditional, this is much harder to accomplish unless I want to stop at certain points and scan it in. Which is more hassle than it’s worth at some points of doing a particular piece (especially paintings as they’re still wet). With this particular piece it’s rather interesting to see how the size of the piece has changed, how some elements have been added, and how some parts of it are slowly coming together. Which is one of the major benefits of digital art- versatility. You can save multiple copies of one piece, resize the canvas, create layers to toggle certain elements on or off, and you’re free to continue to experiment with the piece without the fear of losing all of the hard work. Unless your HDD explodes. Then you’ve probably got bigger problems.

Now with grass, a dirt path, and mushrooms.

Now with grass, a dirt path, and mushrooms.

Given that I started without any real rhyme or reason as to where this piece was going that’s an incredibly helpful feature. I’m also taking more advantage of layers than I would usually. I find these are, again, one of the benefits of digital art, and so should be utilised like any other inherent benefit of using a particular material.

That said, I knew I wanted to feature at least one or two trees. I’d also be looking more at the textures/shapes rather than the minor details as I continued to develop the piece. This is particularly evident with the grass and the leaves on the trees, where, individually, the detail is lacking. But they look like what they should. Took a leaf (pun perhaps intended) out of the book of the acrylic painting I’ve been doing. Worked from dark to light, rather than the reverse, and added shadows/darker areas in first.

This is completely opposite to what I’d do with watercolour (my usual painting material).

Now with a huge foreground tree to provide cooling shade.

Now with a huge foreground tree to provide cooling shade.

So I had to learn a little along the way as there as no part of this that came naturally. In fact, it’s a really tiring piece to work on as I’m always having to focus so hard on everything as it’s backwards compared to my usual technique(s). However, it’s getting easier as time goes on. While I’m not finished yet, I do believe that I’ll be cleaning up the fence and adding detailing on the barks of the trees. Then it should be finished. This could be subject to change, though. I never really know where this piece is going as I haven’t really got any ideas in mind for it. It’ll be what it’ll be. Which, in the broadest sense, would be a great addition to the site.

I’m not entirely confident about my abilities with digital painting just yet. But it’s getting there. I also wouldn’t be opposed to a few more pieces like this making their way onto the site and/or Moggie @ WordPress. In the end, this entire thing is just one huge journey through things I enjoy and things I’d like to do.

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.