Mages, ten-man raiding, and other things that are awesome.

Tuesday Art Day: Gracie

Gracie_small

The other day I had some spare time and felt like painting, so I did a quick painting of one of my Wildstar characters and then started another of my friend Grace’s character. Hers ended up being a bit more involved and I just finished it today. It’s 7.9″ x 7.9″, watercolour with an undersketch done with watercolour pencils. This was something it had never occurred to me to use them for, and I like it pretty well so far compared to regular pencil. The major downside is that there are sometimes places where you can see the colour of the original pencil (such as her left cheek highlight) and for that it’s less than ideal. But if I’d used regular pencil you’d see the sketch all over, so I don’t know. I think I’ll keep experimenting with it.

Millya

Millya

Hooray! We know when Blizzcon is coming this year! I have an announcement of my own: I’ll be doing another round of badges! So if you missed out last year, now is your chance. My badges are all hand-painted with love on Arches watercolour paper with artist quality paints. Long after you’ve gone home from Blizzcon, you will have an original and unique work of art. The badges have identifying info, but it’s printed separately and removable after all is said and done. Here is what they look like in action:

Also shown: From Draenor With Love stickers.

Also shown: From Draenor With Love stickers.

A few more badge action shots.

A few more badge action shots.

The background will correspond with your class colour unless otherwise indicated. The name badge, as you can see, will be specific to your faction in one of four formats:

jakdf

Alliance – Type 1

sda

Alliance – Type 2

Horde01

Horde – Type 1

asdfs

Horde – Type 2

Ordering Information

Price: $55 USD – includes:

-2 7/8″ x 3 7/8″ watercolour painting of your character to fit in a 3″ x 4″ holder, (shoulders up) with separate name badge printed on heavy cardstock, and a badge holder to keep it all together. (Lanyard is not included).

-quality digital scan of your painting for use as an avatar or just to show your friends

-Regular mail shipping to any location in North America. For shipping outside of that area please add an additional $5 USD.

-This price is for a basic painting of a single character. If you want something more elaborate (including weapons or a pet or etc.) the price will increase by $5 per weapon/etc.

-Bonus: I still have From Draenor With Love stickers from last year and I’ll include a few with every badge painting I ship out.

If you’re interested, follow these steps.

1) Fill out the form below and submit it!
2) I will e-mail to let you know I received your request (please allow 1-2 business days).
3) You will see your name added to this list.
4) Take some reference shots for your image. I can work from the armory but I prefer shots taken in-game. Take them in either the Vale of Eternal Blossoms or Valley of the Four Winds, they have the best lighting. Zoom in on your character’s torso/shoulders/face. These aren’t full body paintings and the more detail I can see the better your painting will be!
5) Send your references in and clearly label the e-mail with your name/character name etc. so I know who they belong to.
6) When I’m ready to start your commission, I’ll send you a Paypal request. Once payment is received I’ll get started! I’ll send you one sketch image to make sure you’re happy with it, and then I’ll finish the painting itself.

Because of the way I do these commissions (I paint several per page of watercolour paper and then cut them out) you won’t receive your painting until I have finished a few more commissions past yours, approximately a few weeks. I promise you will receive them well in advance of Blizzcon, though.

Order Form

Examples

Here are some examples of what folks did with their paintings after the convention was over!

The Godmother created this frame specifically for her painting!

The Godmother created this frame specifically for her painting!

This is Beruthiel's framed painting.

This is Beruthiel’s framed painting.

Below, you can see a gallery of all the badges from 2013.

 

Testimonials

“The part I enjoyed the most about having a custom badge is the effort you put into understanding the character you were painting.  I really feel like it captured the personality of my character, not to mention others I saw.”
-Ari

“I could not be happier with the Blizzcon Badge I ordered from Stacey for Blizzcon 2013. In a digital world where artists have the ability to create a template and simply change faces and colors, Stacey took the time to offer each of her customers a unique, hand-painted, original piece of art in watercolor. Additionally, she went above and beyond by contacting me to specifically talk with me about what type of facial expression I would like to see on my character. Then, during the process of my badge artwork being created, Stacey was very proactive in making sure I could see the progress being made and inviting me to provide feedback throughout.

This was a fantastic experience overall and Stacey’s personal attention to detail shows just how great of an artist she is and how each piece of art she creates means something to her. While wearing my badge at Blizzcon several people recognized it as Stacey’s work and I was proud to be displaying a badge that was attracting attention from others.
I would absolutely order artwork from Stacey again & I highly recommend her to anyone who is interested in having a custom Blizzcon Badge created.”
-Kristy

“I contacted Vid (Stacey) for a BlizzCon badge the last time she offered them. It was my second BlizzCon and I was so jealous of the badges people had custom made so I knew I had to have one. The appeal for me was that I could take my badge home and frame it because it’s actually a little piece of art! The ordering process was easy, and my commission status was always accessible. I had a little hitch in getting my badge to me, but Stacey was very communicable and let me know right away and it got sorted out.

I love my badge because Stacey managed to capture “who” my character is while injecting a little bit of me as well. I had so many compliments on my badge and it was a joy to tell people where I got it. It was really wonderful seeing other people with the same style because then we had a connection and something to chat about while waiting in line.”
-Kal

Contact

I’m really looking forward to doing more of these paintings this year. They were really rewarding to do last year and I loved them all. If anything here isn’t clear or you have questions for me, you can reach me via twitter or e-mail puggingpally AT gmail dot com. Thanks for your interest and support in my work!

Okay, it’s not Tuesday any more. But have some paintings anyway. I’ve been painting more than anything lately, on top of doing From Draenor With Love. To be perfectly honest, life has been pretty overwhelming in the past while and I have been taking a breather from most things, only doing art for myself or as gifts. I thought that leaping back into doing a lot of commission work would help me bounce back from layoffs at WI, but it turns out that wasn’t the case. I may take a few months off from official “work” to just focus on my health and personal stuff. I appreciate the patience of folks who have inquired about art or etc.

Meantime, here are some draenei. I posted them on Tumblr already, but here they are for anyone who missed them there. I wanted to just do some draenei that were a little outside the usual. I was free painting (no sketch beforehand).

draenei01

Not Millya. Similar-ish I guess, though.

draenei04

Random dude draenei. I’ve been trying to get better at male draenei in general.

draenei02

Old lady draenei. We know draenei DO age at least in appearance, sometimes, after a really long time. At least, Velen doesn’t look like a spring chicken. This draenei has seen more than she really wanted to.

draenei03Probably my favourite of this bunch. She’s so happy.

Finally (but certainly not least) I did a painting for my friend Sara’s birthday. Unlike the previous ones, this one had a sketch first. It ends up looking like a fairly different style. Although obviously I also spent a bit more time on it than the quick, freepaint ones.Probably about two hours total, which is still not bad.

serrinnewatermark

I’m going to be in Seattle this time next week, meeting some new folks, some friends-from-before folks, and hopefully having some therapeutic art time. I’m also planning a collaboration with Loreli (LoreliAoD on Twitter). She’s going to do some pencils and I am going to paint them! And I will either bring or do a sketch for her while I’m there and she’s going to colour it digitally. It’s going to be fun, I am excited.

A birthday surprise

Rades and I use a system with Google Docs to coordinate the script for From Draenor With Love. I had already known for probably months that he wanted to have a page wherein Rades gives Vid a pink sky golem as a birthday present. Based on the trajectory of the story he decided to do it early in March, specifically because “It fits since it is around your birthday, too!”

I was a little suspicious. But I mean, I didn’t want to assume anything. And he admitted that he actually hadn’t been planning anything up until a few weeks beforehand. That’s when he realized that he had a lot of materials lying around that he’d been faithfully making on Rades each day, and also that he could give a mount to my Horde character and have it useable on any of my characters.

So when I saw in the FDWL script that he’d written “LOG IN ON VID ON DRENDEN AND CHECK YOUR MAIL” under the “refs” section for that page, haha, well…

This was waiting for me:

skygolem01

Of course, it can’t be actually pink (alas!) But it was still such a great surprise. It’s been an interesting trip, working on FDWL, to go from being friends with someone to self-directed colleagues and really almost coworkers. Rades and I have met in person twice but we talk pretty much every day via chat (and once a week with voice chat to plan the week’s strip). Of the two of us, I am probably the hardest to work with because I get frustrated more easily. Rades could best be described as “extremely mild with the conviction of a rock.” I don’t know if I’ve ever seen him angry, though I’ve definitely seen “firm.”

We both pour a lot of ourselves into FDWL. While the visible writing is his and the visible art is mine, he has a great deal of input into the art and I often weigh in on the script as well. The best and worst part about working with Rades is his exacting perfectionism, which is also the only conflict we ever have. Often times to me something looks “good enough” and he always pushes me to make it better. It’s a rare person who will do that, and I’m grateful to him for it (even if I don’t always sound grateful, haha). I’m really fortunate to have a friend who I can create something like this with, and also who has stuck by me through some pretty difficult times on a personal level. Basically when you find a friend like that you should stick to that person like a blood elf’s hair gel and make sure not to let go!

Thanks for the surprise birthday gift, Rades, and for everything else too.

vidandvoss

Click for larger version.

Often on Tuesdays (for maintenance time) I’ll post some art I’ve been working on. This is something I did for myself last week (ie not a commission). I think it is actually the first time I’ve ever drawn Vid and her father, Vosskah, together. I figure that since the two of them are both really physical by nature that the way they relate to each other is sometimes roughhousing. So he’s giving her a noogie. Their roughhousing sounds like a blacksmith’s shop rolling downhill.

Millya, of course, doesn’t understand this at all and just leaves them to it.

As far as the drawing itself, I was trying out my new Copic markers. I was hoping I could possibly use them for From Draenor. I don’t think they’ll work really well for it, though, and I’ll probably stick to my ink and brush for now. I might use them to add finer details, but the problem is that when I erased my pencils underneath the Copics, the marker itself faded significantly. It’s a bit disappointing. I might do something more with this image like add colour digitally, etc. If I do I’ll post it again.

All good things

tcg_10

I can talk about this here now because the news is public: due to budget cuts, WoW Insider has had to let much of their feature and columnist staff go. That includes me and all of my columnist friends at the site. I’m glad that many people will still be writing there, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t sad on my own behalf.

Writing for WoW Insider has been a great experience for me. I was able to write for a much wider audience as well as having to be much more critical when it came to my writing in terms of both content and length. Voss says I’m long-winded, which is probably not untrue. I tend to get rambling and then before I know it I’ve written three essays instead of one. Staying within the word constraints (1000-1500) was a great exercise in restraint for me. It’s forced me to be more concise and also to make calls about what is really necessary and what isn’t.

I’ve also had to reconsider the rambling structure of what I write. Overall, I think it’s made me a stronger writer and I’m incredibly grateful for that experience. Of course, another effect of writing there was that Manalicious suffered in terms of updates and I do regret that. Between the pressures of updating a weekly comic, a personal blog and a bi-weekly article about mages, this place has collected a bit of dust.

The future

Now that I will not be spending the time writing for WI, I intend to redirect that passion back into this site. I’ll be posting much more regularly as well as possibly overhauling the layout and updating some things. (My least favourite part of maintaining a blog, if I’m being honest with you. I’m not very technical).

But the fact of the matter is that I still want a venue to talk about mages, my favourite class and the thing that really keeps me logging into World of Warcraft along with the awesome people in my guild. I will, of course, still write about the old standbys here too: whatever is going on with Business Time (still recruiting, by the way) as well as art and personal anecdotes where applicable. I also talk about baking things. This isn’t WI and it has a much smaller audience and is part personal blog as well. I may also post fiction from time to time, though I’ll be tagging it so people can skip it if they like. I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.

On a related note, as I’m losing a bit of my income I would like to step it up with the business side of art – commissions, etc. I’ll have more info about that for you soon. I’d love to do another set of Blizzcon badges for anyone who is planning to go this year. Those were so much fun and I loved doing them!

In terms of what am I going to actually be writing about: I have my third article about challenge modes more or less written. It didn’t fit well within the word limits and is mostly my personal notes about each CM, but I think it’ll fit very nicely here. I’m also eagerly awaiting news about our talent changes that is bound to drop anytime now. Celestalon’s hinting has me in great suspense!

So if this is your first time dropping by Manalicious, hello, welcome, have a cookie, pull up a chair. Things are a little more conversational here and I try to respond to comments when I can. I also have a strict “don’t be a jerk” comment policy and I will lay the ban down on someone really quickly if they come here and get out of line. Be polite and you are welcome. I’m Canadian, after all. To folks who’ve been reading here for years, even when content was a bit sparse, thank you. Without you I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to write for WI at all and I am so glad that I did.

cake

Here is a picture of the cake I baked the day that I heard The News about the layoffs. It’s this yellow cake recipe that Sally (Sarah Pine from WI) gave me. What’s brilliant about it is that it’s an old-fashioned, one bowl affair. You sift the dry ingredients into the bowl and then just toss in the milk and butter and let it mix. I set a timer and let the stand mixer go to town on this bad boy. The end result was delicious, very flavorful and moist. I frosted it with a chocolate sour cream frosting from another recipe book I had. It was the perfect cake for a bad news day. Here’s hoping that things will start looking up from here on out, though, and best of luck to my former and current colleagues at WoW Insider. It was fun working with you. I wish we could have some cake and beverages in person. Instead, just know that I raise my glass to you all!

A funny thing happened during raid last night. See, I haven’t finished leveling Anglers rep yet. I know, I’m really far behind. I just got so burned out on dailies. I’m doing it now. But I don’t have the waterstrider mount. When our raid gets to the part of Siege of Orgrimmar where Jaina gets all portal-happy, they all jump off the boat and run for shore instead of waiting for her.

I get it – nobody likes to wait for a mage’s portal. Ingrates! You’d think that because Voss plays a death knight I’d be assured of getting Path of Frost – nope. He never waits. So yesterday I jump off along with them, hoping I’ll be in time, only to land sadly and flounder in the water.

“No one ever waits for me!” I cried piteously. Our shaman turned around, came back and cast water walking on me. He is my only friend.

But Rhidach said, “Don’t you have that MAGE thing? That ice berg?”

“The what now?”

“You don’t KNOW about it?”

“Know about what?!”

“It’s an iceberg like the fishing raft. The one you shout at to make it go faster.”

“Get out of town, that does not exist!”

“I WILL BET YOU FIVE GOLD THAT IT DOES.”

And he was right. If you are Revered with the Anglers, you can purchase Bipsi’s Bobbing Berg for a mere 777 gold. “Save a tree, conjure a raft!”

Important to note: If you are not a mage, you cannot conjure the ice to make this raft. You won’t see it as a purchasable option from the quartermaster. You must use the more pedestrian wooden option.

AHH iceberg raft!

AHH iceberg raft!

I can’t even be annoyed at Rhidach for costing me 5 gold, since if he hadn’t, I wouldn’t have a way to go across the water as well as a really cool new mage only trick. I guess it costs 782 gold if your profiteering guild mate has to tell you about it first!

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