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

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!

Bloodberry & Rachel

I love commissions that have a story behind them like this one. I’ve done at least one other painting of a couple as a surprise commission. This one was a bit of a last-minute affair and I had to rush to get it done for February 2nd because the couple was getting married! It was commissioned by Rachel as a surprise gift for her husband of their two characters together. I’m told that he was very happy with it. Congratulations again to the two of you and all the best for your life together.

An Epic Secret Santa Gift

So way back in November, I signed up for the Secret Santa gift exchange on Twitter. It was a lot of fun in 2012. I can’t show you what I sent to my Secret Santa this year because it has her actual name on it. I can, however, show you what I received in the mail today…

I made this post with Millya’s paperdoll image in it ages ago. Here’s the image, anyway, if you don’t want to click over there.

milldollpreviewThat’s just a preview size; the full-sized print ready image is linked in the post itself. But you get the idea. I made up a bunch of fun outfits for Millya before transmog even existed as such. Later, when I wanted to use an avatar from the image, I made this one:

twitvatar

Because what mage wouldn’t dress up as Howl if they could? So that’s been my profile picture off and on for a few years now. Little chibi-Howl-Millya. Little did I know that when my Secret Santa present arrived, I would open it up and find THIS:

kia02

Please excuse my terrible photography. I was excited. I took another picture too:

Kia

It is a cross stitched MILLYA. AS HOWL. Be still, my heart! Upon opening the card it was revealed that my Santa was the very talented @Kialesse from Twitter. Needless to say, I love it and I am so impressed. She even had it matted and framed up so that I can pop it right on the wall. I’ll do that as soon as I decide where. I’m thinking pride of place right above my computer monitor so I can look at it often.

So that is the story of the SS gift I consider myself very fortunate to have received. Well worth the wait! Especially after delivery snafus. Apparently UPS put the package on my doorstep last night, but I didn’t know until this morning and poor Kia was freaking out. I’m really glad it was there, it would’ve been too awful if something had happened to it. Who knew they delivered things that late!? Anyway, crisis averted. Draenei delivered. The wrapping paper was even a sort of shiny draenic purple, haha.

Thank you, Kia!

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