Creativity (Or The Lack Thereof) (Pt. 2)

A longer process doesn’t necessarily equate to a better one.

There are countless misconceptions and absurd generalisations that you’ll encounter as an artist. One of the most prevalent is that higher quality materials automatically result in a higher quality piece, which should be true if they’re used correctly, but knowing how to use those materials is important, as is knowing what to use them with. Experience is important. Practice is important. Knowing who you are and what you want to do is important. Some artists are better suited to traditional art, while others are better suited to digital art. There are very few absolutes when creating anything.

Every creative process is as unique as the person creating with it.

That’s why creativity can be so evocative. It doesn’t need to conform, it doesn’t need to appeal to everyone, and it doesn’t need to be aesthetically pleasing. It can be anything that you want it to be. However, having that much freedom is exhausting, as you rarely know how best to proceed.

Or if there even is a best way to proceed. As every artist strives to develop in their own way, but that isn’t easy when you’ve nothing to measure yourself against. Besides that which you’ve created before. But influences and inspirations change as you develop as an artist, and experience affords the confidence to attempt things that you wouldn’t have considered before. Community sites and social media can also skew your progression. Useful as they may be to share your work, user responses aren’t always indicative of how well your work is received. Not that external stimuli is exclusive to the internet. Every second of every day it exists, and being wholly immune to it is impossible. It has affected my progression and it will continue to do so.

One of my most promising attempts.

External stimuli was partly responsible for the lack of creative content on Moggie’s Proclamations in recent months. As I didn’t feel like I was making much progress- if any- with new pieces. Not that completely abandoning every semblance of creativity has helped my progression in the slightest. But I wasn’t enjoying creating traditional pieces, while countless hours with digital pieces had begun to feel stale. Which may seem to contradict what I said in the previous post. But I still feel that extending the creation process for traditional pieces will help, so long as it is extended sensibly.

Not extending it to spend hours on pointless minutiae.

This particular work in progress is the Kulu-Ya-Ku featured in Monster Hunter: World. Originally intended to follow on from the terrifying fluffiness of the Paolumu as part of a series of paintings, which would’ve included other gargantuan creatures from the varied locales of the New World.

That’s still the intention should I ever return to this painting or to Monster Hunter: World. But I doubt that either is likely at this point. I’ve always been particularly fond (and proud) of the attention to detail in the flesh-y skin around the eye, and how the short beige hairs seamlessly grow outwards from their beak. The actual eye (and the tongue) could have been refined, though. They’re not as highly detailed as the rest. But this is a work in progress and it’s likely I was going to address those issues later, as I was in the process of detailing the ridiculous plumage protruding from their head at the time. Those wonderfully colourful feathers swaying in the wind. Ironically, this was one of the few paintings at the time to show actual progression.

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.

Monster Hunter: World, Astera, Kulu-Ya-Ku, Anjanath, and all associated trademarks and devices are owned by Capcom.

Creativity (Or The Lack Thereof) (Pt. 1)

How things were and hopefully will be again.

I’d originally intended for Moggie’s Proclamations to be somewhere I could share and talk about my creative content. However, over the last eighteen months or so, the posts have (somewhat intentionally) become skewed towards gaming content. There are many reasons why I decided to take a break from creating anything new, but I hadn’t anticipated that I’d be away from it for this long. Which is entirely my fault. Regardless of the reasons that I may give and how understandable they may be, trying to attribute blame to something won’t change the widening deficit of new creative content.

I need to actually do something about it.

These posts are the beginning of that. I’ve not really got a way to casually discuss creative content as I do with gaming content in posts such as Crawling Through Dungeons. I’ve not really got a way to discuss the near-endless flow of updates to social media sites and my personal site, either.

Prior to this I would discuss any updates in a consolidated fashion through a post such as Further Integration. Which is still an appropriate approach when a number of significant updates have been completed, but when they’re minor or aesthetic updates I’m less inclined to write a whole post about them. For instance, I’ve recently updated the thumbnails for various creative content posts. I’ve also spent some time updating and standardising the layout of various pages on my personal site. I always assume that I’ll eventually write a post which I can discuss these things in, but I rarely do nowadays. Which means that some updates are never discussed. Or that they’re discussed at a point when they’re no longer relevant.

An ever-evolving conceptual approach.

These posts are not intended (nor designed) to contradict Material Studies posts. Which will still serve their original purpose of discussing works in progress or any unusual approaches that I’ve taken with different materials. Hence their name. But they could include creative content that I’ve not shared on Moggie’s Proclamations before, as this one does, and could illustrate (pun intended) my development as an artist, or highlight something that I like which doesn’t fit on my personal site. As is the purpose of this particular sketch. I’ve never been able to successfully refine the concept, but I like it.

So much so that I’ve been trying to refine it for nine years.

I’ll likely attempt it again once I’ve relearned that which I’ve forgotten in the last eighteen months. Not that I feel that I’ve regressed too far. Much of what I do seems to be habitual, which makes it difficult to forget how to do it. But that also makes it even more difficult to adjust old habits.

It is through that adjustment that I’m hoping to share pieces that better represent what I’m trying to accomplish. I’ve been thinking that I’ll need to alter the creation process with traditional pieces, as these are currently at a distinct disadvantage to digital pieces. But a lengthened process could result in more mistakes. So it’s not entirely without risk- which is understandable- as everything that you create represents who you were at the moment you created it. Lengthening that process adds unknown variables. Which could be advantageous, as it could allow for the creation of more complex pieces. But it’s a start. One that I haven’t had in the last eighteen months as my motivation waned and my technique dulled through disuse.

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.

Further Integration

The decision was finally made.

I’ve always been bothered that certain creative content (especially that of Material Studies) was never available on my personal site. This was mostly due to not knowing where best to fit them into the existing layout, but also because Moggie’s Proclamations lacked integration with the site in any meaningful way. While it has always been available via a social media icon it isn’t necessarily present elsewhere. Which is more or less what the recent updates to the site have aimed to rectify, as they’re now inescapably linked. I’ve even removed the WordPress social media icon from the site. Opting instead for a text link.

Which, hopefully, is just as identifiable as the social media icon.

The Instagram social media icon is still there, though. The solitary social media site that I actually frequent. Not that I’ve been nearly as active there as I would’ve liked, but that’s the only reasonable outcome when the flow of creative content stops almost entirely and you’ve shared nothing new in over a year. That said, I’m still working on things.

Hence the recent focus on Moggie’s Proclamations. I’ve taken the time to update both the Creative and Gaming pages, which resulted in a new layout and improved categorisation that better reflects the diversity of content available on the blog. I’m eager to start writing posts more regularly again, too. Not that we’ve been short of content in September. But none of that is creative content. Which is the (for lack of a better word) problem, but that extends further than just the blog to myself. I need to make the time for my creative pursuits. I need to have the ideas and the motivation for them. I’ve been taking some time out purposefully as, due to certain things that happened last year, I lost my way, but I’m ready to find my way again.

I’ll upload a new piece any day now. Just you wait.

As with all of the updates I’ve ever made they’re not entirely finished. They’ll never be entirely finished. As both the site and Moggie’s Proclamations are perpetual works in progress, and will change as I change. But this is the happiest I’ve ever been with everything that I do. It’s also the best and most accurate representation of what I do that I’ve ever had. Which, when you consider how long the site has been in existence, and the number of iterations it has been through, it’s not really surprising. If you keep changing things you’ll eventually happen upon the layout, design, or content that best represents your intentions.

I’ve also been updating some of the older content on the blog.

As before these updates are simply alterations to presentation and the original content remains (mostly) intact. It’s staggering to think that there are nearly three-hundred posts on Moggie’s Proclamations now, which illustrates the amount of content there is to work through and why these updates are implemented over several weeks.

It would take me a few days to read through all of the content available on the blog. Let alone update it. But I’ve grown accustomed to this process, and I’ll often be updating something without being entirely aware that I’m doing it. Editing a few tags or categories here or there certainly helps to eventually standardise them all. Adding new posts to pages eventually builds a comprehensive library. I guess that’s the funny thing about Moggie’s Proclamations. I’ve always enjoyed working on it, which means it’s never felt particularly laborious posting new (or updating older) content. With that said, if you notice that anything looks different, or isn’t where you remembered it was, I probably tweaked something for some reason or another.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

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.

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.