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.

Repeatedly Running Away

Evading the cold embrace of death.

Monster Hunter World is a contradictory collection of enjoyable and frustrating mechanics. I’m going to write a more comprehensive post once I’ve completed the main story, but now that I’ve ascended to the glory that is High Rank I thought I’d share my initial reactions. To be fair, I’ve probably seen the majority of the mechanics now. I’ve also seen some hilarious yet devastating monster behaviour. Like the Tzitzi-Ya-Ku who decided to run to several different locations on the map only to arrive and immediately run to another.

That was an expedition that didn’t go as planned.

Thankfully it was just an expedition, so I didn’t exactly lose anything other than the time invested and a few consumables. I’m rather fond of that particular mechanic, though. I like the fact that the monsters will eventually leave a location rather than wait patiently for their inevitable death. It gives both expeditions and investigations a reason to exist when gathering resources.

That said, I’ve encountered few mechanics which frustrate me more than the main story quests. They seem to be specifically designed for a full group of hunters, but they don’t provide any NPC support if you’re doing the quest alone. Not that the quests are actually that difficult. But they also seem to progress even if you don’t complete the currently required objectives. So you’re either being pushed through several objectives so quickly that you can’t tell what’s going on, or you’re frantically running back and forth trying to load every cannon you can see. It feels as though there should be at least a few NPCs helping you. Especially when the consequences of failure are so catastrophic, and yet you’re literally the only hunter trying to do anything about it.

Only one of these hunters will actually attempt to stop Zorah Magdaros.

Oddly every other quest works as you would expect it should. The assigned quests (not involving Zorah Magdaros) all have introductory encounters, the optional quests are varied and numerous, investigations are an excellent source of everything, and expeditions basically allow you to roam the world freely. In many ways the diversity of the quests really help to bring this entire experience together. It’s also refreshing that the developers acknowledged that you’ll be doing an immense amount of grinding and have provided investigations to allow you do just that.

It’s a much better solution than simply repeating story quests.

The crafting mechanics are quite refreshing, too. Not only can you mark pieces of equipment that you want to craft and you’ll be notified when you have the resources, but being able to craft items automatically removes so much repetition. It’s even better that you’re in control of what should be crafted automatically. These are simple but appreciated considerations.

The inventory management mechanics are so intuitive that I wish every JRPG, RPG, and MMORPG had them. Being able to allocate a set of items to a loadout and then simply refill that loadout after a quest saves so much time. You can even tailor those loadouts to different types of quests. There are so many minor but incredibly clever alterations to conventional mechanics. I was sceptical about Monster Hunter World, but I’ve greatly enjoyed my time with it and now that I’ve reached High Rank I’ve got new opportunities to take advantage of. On the other hand, this is where the intense grinding begins so maybe this is where it will start to wear on me. Either way it’s easily worth the price of admission and quite fun, too!

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie

Hunter’s Notes: Paolumu – 2018 – Digital – click for full view on site!

Even their ears are fluffy!

It just so happened that the brush which I made for specific areas of Older and Wiser became incredibly useful in detailing the fur on their balloon neck. I swear that’s just a coincidence and not some form of precognition. I wish it was some form of precognition. Knowing what’s going to happen in the future would be awesome. Except in all the scenarios where it wouldn’t be, because something bad will happen, but is required to happen, and so you would try to avoid it despite knowing it is unavoidable. That would just be unfortunate.

Fluffy But Terrifying offers insight as to my thoughts while painting this piece.

They’re mostly the same thoughts I have now that the piece is complete. As much as any piece is ever complete. One of the best (and most painful) things about growing as an artist is realising that you’ll never be where you want to be, because the goal keeps changing relative to your current perception of your level of skill. It’s a gnawing feeling that never goes away.

That said, I’m most disappointed with the fur on their balloon neck. Everything else is mostly where I want it to be. As noted in the aforementioned post regarding this piece, the thick painted approach is one that I’m unlikely to use for the next piece. It’s an interesting style but one that isn’t suited to everything. Hence these weird paintings that seem to spontaneously appear and disappear with equal amounts of haste. I’m looking to challenge myself. Which, to be fair, is the entire reason I enjoy my creative efforts in the first place. But there’s no point in always falling back on things I know (or at least feel fairly confident) that I can do. I like painting weird creatures, too. Once I find one it’s almost impossible to avoid painting it.
On the other hand, I’m much happier with my work and rate of progression at the moment. I’m much happier with everything in general. I changed around my personal life substantially since the end of last year, which has led to me doing more things that I like doing and enjoying those things much more than I used to. That’s definitely helped me bring out the best in my painting. The acquisition of the Wacom Intuos Pro has certainly helped, too. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to switch to only digital painting or illustrating.

Traditional pieces will still be likely to appear.

I’ve just got quite a few pieces that I’d like to revisit which I think I can make a better attempt at now. To Ink a Deathclaw comes to mind. That would be interesting both because the thick painted approach would likely suit it quite well, and it would be one of the few digital attempts that has line work. Or I might just get rid of the line work with the finished attempt.

I’m not entirely sure if I’ll paint other beasts in Monster Hunter World. Some are kind of messy with indistinguishable details and others don’t really appeal to me, but I won’t say it isn’t a possibility. I might tackle one of their dragons. Both literally (if I happen to purchase the PC release) and figuratively. I might just paint a dragon because I feel like painting one. In either case, I’m quite happy with this piece and I think it fits with what I want my creative efforts (and my personal site as a result) to be. I’m also quite happy that I’ve been working on all sorts of things recently and I’ve still found time to start three paintings and finish two of them. The third is a secret. A secret which might need to be approached in a different way for me to be happy with it.

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, Paolumu, Anjanath, and all associated trademarks and devices are owned by Capcom.

Fluffy But Terrifying

The cycle of fluffiness continues.

I’d also argue that the Paolumu is anything but terrifying. Quite adorable, in fact. But they are giant flying beasts that would more than likely swallow you whole if they got the chance… so maybe they are slightly terrifying. But, again, quite adorable, as their primary way to show aggression is to inflate their balloon neck. Which looks ridiculous and is not at all terrifying- unless you’re scared of balloons- in which case feel free to change your trousers at any time. I’m mostly fond of them due to their original design and their unique (and rather interesting) anatomy.

They’re also a great candidate to test my new brushes on.

I reckon you could make some rather nice brushes from their fur, too. In what could only be described as an entirely spontaneous decision I started to paint this majestic winged creature. I do that sometimes. In fact, some of my best work has been entirely spontaneous. Sometimes it’s nice to not stress every aspect of the painting and just focus on actually painting it.

I was also wondering how my new brushes would perform with a new piece. I’ve modified my existing set to include sharper, more precise, and more accurate brushes for those crisp lines. I’ve also added more texture to the flat brush I use often. I’m finding that these new brushes give me more freedom in some ways, more precision in others, and that they encourage more consistent blending. I’ve spent more time adjusting opacity with this piece, too. These are all things that are only possible due to my increasing confidence with digital approaches. I’m also no longer having to fight with the hardware, brushes, and canvas sizing to get the results I want. It’s about as close as I can get to mimicking traditional approaches but with digital tools.

Don’t make me puffy. You wouldn’t like me when I’m puffy.

I feel I’ve been bolder in my choice of colours for this piece. Not as bold as I’d like to be- but that will come with confidence. I’m also learning a lot about how best to approach layering colour and defining areas of an illustration or painting, which I could translate to traditional approaches. I’m quite excited to see how different my traditional work will be now. I don’t necessarily feel that either will get weaker as a result of focusing on one or the other. I feel as though they can only improve now. I just need to remember the limitations of each material.

I also miss ink. It allows me to add so many tiny (perhaps unnecessary) details.

I don’t know if this is an approach that I’ll continue to use in the future. I tend to think that each painting or illustration is unique, and, as such, requires a unique approach. I do want to have some consistency between pieces, though. Not having that consistency has caused me problems in the past. But I don’t know if this thick painted style is one I’d like to pursue for every piece.

I rather like how Older and Wiser has its own unique qualities and this piece is starting to develop its own unique qualities in kind. I’m also proud of the progress I’ve made in such a short time with digital painting. I’m far from where I would like to be, but, again, these things will come in time and with confidence. There’s no sense in rushing things. I also don’t know if the next piece you see from me will be the result of traditional or digital approaches. I’ve not felt this positive about my creative efforts in a long time. It’s refreshing- and exciting- and gives me hope for the future pieces I’ll produce. We may even see a few more from Monster Hunter World, too. They’ve got some incredibly colourful, meticulously designed, and anatomically interesting beasts.

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.

Monster Hunter World, Astera, Paolumu, Anjanath, and all associated trademarks and devices are owned by Capcom.