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

Posts tagged ‘art stuff’

Tuesday Art Day: Elaina

worgen_large

Soo, long time no see, huh? This was an avatar I did over the holidays. It was a gift commission for a Secret Santa exchange. I think it’s the first time I’ve done any lady worgen avatars, so it was fun. It’s for @GGElaina on Twitter and was commissioned by @_anea.

As far as Warcraft goes, I’ll admit to you that I’m in a bit of an odd place. I’m still enjoying the game and raiding with my guildies, though I don’t find I have as much to write about in the blog these days (obviously). The time was I could barely get posts out fast enough. Of course I’ve never been a mage theorycrafter of much note but I usually had something to say. Going casual as a guild has meant some mental readjustments that way. It really meant taking a step back in many regards – there were some days I didn’t do dailies. I don’t use the maximum stat food, preferring to use feasts that the guild makes. As far as I know, that hasn’t hurt our raiding progression, but even our raiding progression isn’t a top priority as such.

We made further schedule readjustments, going from one night (three hours) to two nights again but shortening the raid to a mere two hours each night. It allows for a later start and an earlier end, which is honestly a relief. It makes my days feel less punctuated by World of Warcraft and more like “this is a fun hobby.” If I’m being honest with myself, there was a good chunk of time when WoW was less a hobby than a second job.

At this time last year I wasn’t sure I’d still be playing WoW; Voss and I wanted to stop raiding as much as we had and we were fully aware that Business Time might close up shop as a result. I’m really glad that it didn’t, though, and this reduced schedule and more relaxed approach has suited us very well. There’ve been times when WoW felt like the only thing that was going right. The danger in that, though, is that if you put too much stock in a video game you react disproportionately to probably minor things. At other times I would despair if our progression wasn’t “fast enough,” feeling that it was a reflection on me and that I was letting the guild down by not leading them better. So these days I try to have a healthy balance. WoW is a game I love to play and I’ve made great friends through it. I spend time doing From Draenor With Love each week and that’s more “WoW-related” time, and otherwise I have cut way down.

I didn’t exactly make any new year’s resolutions but if I had to choose one word for this year (as Alas described) it would be purpose. I’m trying to recognize my purpose in many areas of life and not to lose sight of it, and also to have some perspective about goals that may take some time to achieve. Having no control over things makes this more a necessity than a choice! Anyway, I spent about three days over the holidays working on this:

studio

This is my studio space, which is where I do non-digital art. As you can see from the first photo, it’s been pretty difficult to get in there and do anything for the past…oh, I don’t want to say exactly how long. But you can see to the right of the photo that portfolios and drawings are piled foot-deep there. Notice how on the right-hand photo those are mostly gone? I filled five garbage bags with old drawings and other detritus. The space is ready and waiting for me and it feels good. I won’t go into too much personal detail except that the past year has been punctuated, it seems, by illness or medical concerns, doctor’s appointments, ultrasounds and bloodwork. It’s tiring and it’s really interfered with my ability to work. The only thing I managed to be consistent about was From Draenor and my raid schedule, which I’m proud of but it’s not really enough. I also can’t remember the last time I did any art just for myself that wasn’t Warcraft related. I love the Warcraft universe but I also don’t want all my creative endeavors to depend on someone else’s intellectual property. It’s something to think about, anyway.

Don’t write me off your feedreaders just yet, I promise to write here as topics strike. I’m just a bit preoccupied at the moment. I’m starting up a personal blog at another url so that I can write about personal stuff without feeling like I am bombarding an audience who really wants to talk about World of Warcraft. That blog’s not up yet, but I will share the url when it’s ready if anyone is interested. It will likely be a catch-all for my other interests: art, food and cooking/baking, games (other than Warcraft), and also health stuff. I’d be happy to see some familiar faces reading there but I won’t be offended if you don’t. I’ve lost touch with some Warcraft folks over the years especially once they leave the game and it’s sad but expected. Sometimes our friendships can survive the loss of a shared universe and sometimes they can’t. I’m always happy when they do, though!

I hope you all had a great holiday and so far a good new year. I hope I’ll have more to share with you soon.

p.s. Due to the departure of a few good Business Time friends, we’re currently looking to recruit a ranged DPS, preferably a hunter or warlock. Hunter is the highest priority because right now we have ZERO and all that mail agility gear just rots. So if you are a hunter or an exceptional ranged DPS of any kind and you’re interested in a home for “semi-retired hardcore raiders,” check us out. Our thing is we still have minimum play standards to avoid frustrations that can sometimes accompany very casual raiding, but if you’re looking to push much hardmode progression we’re a bit over that. We just like to be casually awesome, kill some internet Mogu and have a few laughs. We raid two nights a week as mentioned, two of either Monday, Wed, or Thursday from 6:30-8:30 PST. Each week we look at signups and determine the days, so some weeks it’s M/Thurs and other weeks M/Wed and on a rare week Wed/Thurs (we try to avoid that).

Tuesday Art Day: Arbalest and Sophye

First: I know it isn’t Tuesday, but I couldn’t finish this yesterday and I didn’t want to rush it.

I am really excited to share this particular art day project because I’ve had to keep it under my hat since September! This was a special commission from Kirby (who was referred to me on Twitter). He wanted two figurines for the top of his friends’ wedding cake. I can’t remember who suggested me because they had seen the figurines I have done before. (See: Shaedre, Millya). For many reasons this was a much more complicated project than those – they had to be wearing specific clothing, and they also had to stand on their own!

I wish I’d taken more in-progress photos; I do have the preliminary sketch that I did though. I was surprised that the final figures ended up looking similarly to this sketch. I really presented it as a rough just to get some idea of proportions.

This was the image that I had in my head and that I sent to Kirby before I started working on it. I wanted everything to be ready to go before I actually began work because once you start working with clay (even the type that doesn’t dry out) it tends to be an all-consuming project taking over an entire desk and house. In this photo you can see a bit of my working area; note the thin scraps of clay and how they retain their shape without “sticking” to each other. Also you can see the box of 60 travel wipes – I used ALL of them. Travel wipes are amazing for working with clay. You can use them to clean your hands in-between colours, and also to wipe down the work area. I read this tip randomly on a clay website and it was invaluable.

Sophye, before baking!

Unlike my previous figures, these ones had to be able to stand on their own and were a fair bit bigger. Because of that, I knew they would need an armature inside. Arbalest (the groom) has a wire armature wrapped in aluminum foil that makes the shape of his legs, torso, arms, head, and horns. Sophye (the bride) was a little different. Because I knew her dress was basically cone shaped, I simply rolled and shaped a piece of aluminum foil into a cone. The reason this is done is because it makes the final figures lighter, stronger, and ensures that the clay bakes evenly. It also keeps the price manageable, because otherwise you’d have a solid block of clay.

I used a different type of clay, Staedtler Fimo instead of the Sculpey III I had used for my previous projects. I was really happy with the Fimo and will be using it again. I found that it held detail much better than the Sculpey. The feel of it is a bit more plastic-ey, but it was perfect for rolling out sheets of clay and retaining its shape. The black in particular gave me trouble, for some reason it felt softer than the other clays and tended to almost feel like it was melting in my hands. I think the only available Fimo black may have been Fimo “Soft” and I’m not sure I would use it again for a larger project such as the groom’s tux/body.

Here you can see the detail of the bride’s dress pretty well including the folds I was able to make in the “fabric.” I don’t think that would have been possible with Sculpey at all, as I found it much stickier.

For this project I also invested in a dedicated clay “pasta” machine to roll out sheets of clay. It was a huge lifesaver and I don’t regret it at all! Especially the bride’s dress required uniform amounts of clay and the Fimo was perfect at holding a “fold” as I was working with it. What I did was figure out the approximate length of “fabric” needed to wrap around the dress. I’d roll out the clay, use my blade to slice it straight and then just built from the bottom up. After the bottom of the dress was done I worked on the torso (I did the head separately, it also has a ball of aluminum foil inside) and later added the details like the roses.

Overall, the bride was much easier to sculpt than the groom. His stature and the Tauren legs made him much trickier. When I finished the majority of his body (his head was also sculpted separately) he couldn’t really stand on his own, even with the wire skeleton in his legs. I changed the configuration of his tail so that it provided an extra support. This “tripod” arrangement keeps him upright! The tail is also built around a thick piece of wire and is probably a little thicker than an actual Tauren tail would be, simply of necessity.

I couldn’t resist taking a few fun photos of the two of them once they were finished.

The bride had a slight mishap in baking unfortunately, her bouquet slipped right out of her hands. Fortunately I was hovering over the oven anxiously and I caught it in time to pull the bouquet off of her and bake it next to her instead. Super glue works really well with polymer clays and I knew I could attach it after the fact. The bouquet may have needed some internal structure itself to lighten it up, I’m not sure, but lesson learned!

After both sculptures were baked, I spent some time glazing parts of them (and attaching/reattaching other parts). Having learned from the bride, I baked the boutonniere separately and attached it with glue after. I glazed Arbalest’s hooves, the lapel of his jacket, his nose ring, the leaves of all the flowers, and Sophye’s hair attachments. I toyed with the idea of glazing their eyes but ultimately decided against it in case it made them look creepy. I might experiment with this when I make another figurine for myself, but it’s not something I wanted to mess with considering I was under time constraints and didn’t want to mess these guys up.

Arbalest and Sophye

I’m not sure that either of these photos shows all the little details like the tiny white buttons on Arbalest’s shirt (I poked four holes in each of them!) but I guess it gives some idea. You can click to view any of these larger.

Here you can see how his tail holds him up, and also his bow tie, because bow ties are cool…

Finally, I have one photo from the wedding itself graciously taken for me by Kirby. It turns out that they were a bit big for the cake so as Kirby put it, they went plainstriding. I’m not sure if they were a surprise for the bride and groom (I think so, though) but it looks like they had flowers already planned for the top anyway so it’s okay. I think even if I’d made them half the size they still would’ve been pretty big for the top so this worked out!

I learned quite a bit from this, including how much work such figures would be (I hadn’t paid attention when I made them for myself). Sculpting each figure took about ten hours for a total of twenty, post production stuff was probably five between the two of them. Or, if you prefer, nearly two complete seasons of Buffy and a bit of extra where I wasn’t watching anything at all.

Thanks to Kirby for the opportunity to make these! It sounds as if the “real” Arbalest and Sophye liked them and I had a blast making them. If you have any questions about something I forgot to mention, don’t hesitate to ask me in the comments.

Tuesday Art Day: Kumineko

An avatar done as an inclusion to a larger commission I’ve been working on for a friend for wayy too long. I was able to get this to him because this stuff is fast, unlike big commissions. I’m more or less always able to sneak a few avatar commissions in alongside larger ones, because they can be done in bits and pieces when I need a break from focusing on something larger. He wanted a cute rendition of his feral druid!

Tuesday Art Day: Kinnavieve and Shianti

This is a pair of avatars I did for the inestimable Ratters of Needs More Rage fame. It is Ratters’ character Kinnavieve (who I’m sure you all know) and his wife Julie’s character, Shianti. He asked me to make them so that they could go together and would be looking at each other, like so. Accordingly I did the background in one long piece and then pasted it behind them. They do also exist as separate avatars, though.

I was happy with them! More importantly, I think that Ratters and his wife were happy with them as well. Ratters just recently hung up his (Warcraft) blogging hat, you should go and read his last few posts. Bring tissues though.

Tuesday Art Day: Matty

These were done for Matty over at Sugar & Blood – she wanted two portraits! Here’s the first one, an avatar.

Matty! If you are a reader of her blog you may spot something I added after we’d discussed the image.

The second one was a watercolour, and I was trying something a little different with it – I tweeted progress pics at fairly regular intervals.

Just getting started! (I’d laid the first wash the night before and then let it dry). You can also see my lightbox, tracing paper, etc.

Starting on the background and the lighter areas. You can be a little bit sloppy with washes if they fall where shadows are going to be, but when it comes to colours like yellow you have to be pretty careful not to muddy them up.

You can see that I realized the handle of the right axe had been wrong – well, technically it’s the pommel that was wrong. I had to try to cover it up, you can still see it a bit here but I think in the final painting it was covered pretty well. I’ve also added a wash to her gloves, most of which will be covered after. With watercolour you really need to think in sequential layers – so I’m always asking myself “What will this need to look like after, and what needs to get done first?”

And that’s it! This was an actual scan of the painting, rather than a photo taken on my phone like the others.

So those are two of the commissions I’ve recently finished! Matty also has them on her blog both here and here. I think she was happy with them, and that’s the most important thing for me! My commission dance card is pretty full at the moment, but please remember if you want to be added to the list, do e-mail me; it’s puggingpally AT gmail DOT com! It’s the easiest way for me to make sure you don’t get lost in the comments.  You can see my commission entry for more info.

Tuesday Art Day: Avatars

First off, thanks to everyone who contacted or linked to me regarding the previous commissions post. If you have contacted me and not heard back (and there are a few people I haven’t gotten to yet because I got a bit inundated and this week is shaping up to be a doozy) thank you for your patience. I’ve added a commission status page; so if your name is on the list I have received your inquiry/info and you will hear back from me soon! I’ll update the list as I progress.

That stuff aside, this IS a Tuesday Art day post and so here is some art.

This is the first avatar I did (in this batch, of course, I have done them before). It was commissioned by Itanya for her other guild leader (I’m not jealous, I swear), an orc resto shaman named Ghaar.

And here is a second avatar I managed to do last week before the weekend, for LeGameJunkie. This one was fun because it wasn’t a WoW character, rather she wanted herself (from photos) reinterpreted as an elf.

It really wasn’t too hard to do, she had a face well-suited to being an elf (and the bright red hair that she had in the picture didn’t hurt, either!)

So there are some avatars for you, now if you’ll excuse me I have From Draenor With Love to finish and then many e-mails and more art to do (huzzah!)

Hoard of the Rings

A month ago, in the culmination of an epic year of decluttering and cleaning, I hired a maid to come to our house for one day. A bunch of folks were coming for a pot luck before the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo, Rades was going to be staying with us, and the peace of mind that someone else would come and do all the hard work was worth it for me. So I planned to be out of the house for the day (with the dog in tow) and went over to my parents’. Before we left, I said to Voss, “What should I do about my wedding rings? They are the only thing I own that’s really irreplaceable. I think I’ll take them with me just in case.”

The next part is a bit fuzzy. I think he said, “There’s no need to do that, just hide them somewhere,” I might have said, “Okay, you’re right,” or I might have said, “Nah, I will just bring them with me.” You see, the thing is, I can’t actually wear my rings right now. In the eight years since my engagement ring was made, I have gained a bit of weight (which I think is pretty common). So I kept the rings in a jewelery box, occasionally taking them out to see if they fit any better (recently I could get them past my knuckle, so they really did almost fit again). Little did I know, that by trying to keep them safe I’d somehow manage to lose them. The problem is that I can’t remember exactly the events of that day. Did I take them in my purse? (They aren’t there, or in any other purses I own). Did I hide them cleverly someplace? I’ve torn the house apart looking. I emptied my sock drawer. I unfolded each and every sock just in case I’d tucked them into a sock. I’ve looked in teapots, bowls, taken all my clothes out of all my drawers, dumped the contents of my night table drawer onto the bed and sorted through it. I looked in Voss’ backpack and cleaned out the hall closet in case it was with my mittens, hats, shoes or jackets. You can see where this is going.

Voss was never for a moment upset at me, because as soon as I realized I couldn’t find the rings I started panicking, and looking, and panicking, and looking some more. It’s been three days now and I am not any closer to finding them than I was. These rings were indescribably precious to me. When Voss proposed he didn’t buy a ring because he knew that my tastes were unpredictable and probably not like his own. We went jewelry shopping together. I tried on so many rings my finger was sore afterwards, and not a one of them felt right to me. So we went to a goldsmith and she and I designed this ring. It is white gold with a vibrant blue star sapphire and a fluid design. Initially I hadn’t intended to get a wedding band, but I later changed my mind and the goldsmith designed one of those for me, too. I chose the stone for all of the things it symbolizes – truth, fidelity and clarity of mind. My ring was like a little piece of something intangible that was just mine with Voss and I. I can’t believe that I lost something so important to me. I’ve been pretty much inconsolable since, passing from the loudly upset/angry phase into a dull funk that made me withdraw from everyone. I just want it back, but I’m starting to come to terms with the fact that this might not happen.

Unfortunately, it’s a pretty large unplanned expense. But I figured I have two options: keep whining and feeling sorry for myself about it, or shut up and start working harder to save up and replace it. The goldsmith who made the original is still in business, and I have pretty detailed photographs of it. I think she should be able to reproduce it. If there’s a lesson for me to take away from this, it’s pretty simple: I held onto my ring without wearing it for YEARS without having it sized to fit. People had told me I shouldn’t have it sized because I’d lose weight and it would be too big, or it would fundamentally change the ring itself and it wouldn’t look the same. That scared me, so I just kept it in a box. If I had my rings in my hand, I wouldn’t wait. I would go to the jeweler TODAY and have it sized to fit me the way I am now. I wouldn’t wait for that magical day when they would fit again. As a friend pointed out, the difference between a ring fitting and not fitting is miniscule. It’s millimeters. I let myself feel miserable because the rings didn’t fit (which made me feel awful about myself), but more than that, I didn’t get to enjoy something I truly love, something that is meaningful to me. So I’m not going to wait around and hope I can get my rings back (although I’m going to keep looking). I am going to do what I can to have a replacement made, one that fits me. I truly believe if I’d been wearing my rings, I wouldn’t have lost them. They were made vulnerable because of their tentative status as ‘non-rings,’ waiting for the day when I would put them on again, and because of that they slipped through my fingers.

This is the part where you come in. I don’t usually solicit or even advertise my art services on the blog, but this is a pretty strong impetus to start. Now, I’m not asking for charity from anyone. I’ve always done custom avatars and other commissioned artwork at this price. I’m just increasing my reach, and if I can make more art than I have been doing, I hope that I can reach my (possibly lofty) goal of 100 custom avatars (or other art) in the next few months. Again, as I said, this isn’t charity. And who knows, maybe my rings are not lost forever, and if I find them you will still have my gratitude, and some art that you like. So it’s really win/win for both of us. Here is what I have to offer you.

Custom Avatars

$30 CAD

-One avatar (600 x 600 pixels) in full-colour of a character of your choice from any franchise; World of Warcraft, SWTOR, LOTRO, Diablo, etc. Original characters are also welcome! Heck, nobody has ever wanted it but there’s no reason you couldn’t have a cartoon version of you, the really original character. (Your true ‘main.’)

Watercolour Postcards

$40 CAD + shipping

-One character of your choice rendered on a 4 x 6″ watercolour postcard, as shown in the postcards below (more characters would cost more, please contact me for more detailed quotes). A miniature piece of art to frame and put on your wall!

Note that these don’t have to be character specific. I’m also completely open to an image of an actual person, pet, or child. I might make them draenei blue, though. (I’m kidding).

Black and White Sketches or Avatars

$15 CAD

-One avatar (600 x 600) or sketch of a single character (more characters would cost more, please contact me for more detailed quotes). A great option if you want some art or an avatar of your character on a budget. These can be lineart with very minimal (black and white) shading, or simply lineart, or something more stylized.

Full-Body Character Commissions (With or without backgrounds, digital or watercolour)

I prefer to quote these individually as they vary depending on complexity, background and number of characters. I am available for these types of commissions but they take longer and are naturally costlier than any of the options above. If you are interested in a larger commission, do fill out the form below and contact me to discuss details. Examples of these are not shown here, but you can see many of them by viewing the “Art” category of the blog.

How it works: If you’re interested in commissioning me for any of the above, please fill out and e-mail the following to puggingpally@gmail.com. Note, I have a section for more RP type info which may not be relevant to all people, feel free to leave it blank if it doesn’t apply to you, but I often find that even non-RPers have some idea about what their character is like!

Once I’ve received your information, I’ll add your name to a “first come, first served” style of list to be published on another page here on the blog. When I’m ready to start on your commission, I’ll send a Paypal request to your provided e-mail address. When I’ve received your payment in full, I’ll start working on your image! I’ll send you at least one sketch and you’ll have the opportunity to request minor changes. You can expect to have your image in twenty-one business days from the time I begin provided you answer me quickly if I have any questions. For watercolours, please allow additional time for delivery.

Character Commission Form

Commission type: Colour avatar, watercolour image, black and white avatar or sketch (choose one)

Please note: for watercolour images include your mailing address so that I can calculate shipping. I’ll assume you want “normal” shipping and not any rushed type.

Character Name:
Race:
Class/Spec:

Physical Description: Skin, hair, eyes, any other defining features. Particularly helpful if including any details which may differ from “in-game” models or screenshots. Write as much as you like.

Weapons/Armour or Clothing: Please be specific (e.g. item names) especially if you would like the character to be wearing clothing/armour that differs from armory profiles.

Personality Description: Whatever you care to share about the character’s quirks, history, etc.

Suggested Expression: Facial expression or general mood of the image.

Suggested Pose: Less relevant for a bust-style image but you can indicate a preference here for straight on, ¾ profile image, or profile image.

Desired Background: What colour background would you like? If you’d prefer a specific background (Nagrand, any area in Star Wars) please include a reference image for this as well.

Miscellaneous: Anything not covered by the previous topics that you think I should know.

Screenshots and references: Please include a minimum of two screenshots of the character; one close-up of character’s face and a second showing from the torso up or full-body for full-body drawings. Screenshots should be taken with a fairly plain background in good lighting (Sides of buildings work well for this and areas/zones where the lighting is fairly neutral. Think Stormwind/Dalaran, not Icecrown). If your character is using an in-game area as your preferred background, you can include a screenshot taken there.

Thanks for reading and your consideration, and if you so choose, thanks for your interest in my art!

Tuesday Art Day: Caption This

I have to really resist not adding my own text in here, but I thought this would be kind of funny. I’ve been feeling sketchy lately, and going to visit Malfurion for Childrens’ Week sparked this idea. I obviously have some notions as to what they might be saying, now I want to hear what YOU think. It’s a contest of sorts but I don’t know if there will be prizes, apart from the delight of putting words in Malfurion and Tyrande’s mouths. Click the image to see a larger version!

Tuesday Art Day: Millya

A weekly tradition that I’d let fall by the wayside a little. I’ve been feeling lately that in-between From Draenor and my other work, I really want to draw with tools that aren’t digital. Unfortunately, my studio looks like a bomb went off and I haven’t seen the top of my drafting desk in years. Anyway, that can’t prevent me from doing small sketches in charcoal and other media until I can get things cleaned up, such as this one. I’ll admit to doing a bit of digital touching up before uploading, although it was mostly in the vein of trying to recover detail I felt was lost in the scan. I feel like Manalicious should have some kind of slogan related to my draenei. “A draenei a day…?” No, I don’t even know, honestly. But it’s always fun to draw my characters. Especially since Voss tends to quiz me about it.

“Oh, what are you drawing there?”

“Millya.”

“Oh. And who is your MAIN?”

“Millya.”

“Good. You better keep answering that question correctly!”

(That might sound harsh, but he does have good historical reason for keeping me on the straight and narrow in this regard).

Tuesday Art Day: Nima

Here’s a Tuesday Art Day that is not necessarily WoW-related, if you’ll forgive me! This is my glacially leveling SWTOR sage, Nima. Like all of my “main” characters, she is blue and has Freckles. Well, she’s sort of a turquoise. But the freckles are essential. The blue thing is the punchline of a recent From Draenor With Love – I like things and people that are blue with a disproportionate love. I don’t know why, but it’s always been true!

I haven’t really been playing SWTOR very much, when I have a hankering to play a game lately I’ve logged into WoW, but I’m sure we’ll pick it up again soon. It’s been an enjoyable game for the two of us leveling together, the story is quite engaging. The few instances we’ve done have been fun. Nima herself is pretty awesome, Voss said she is stuck-up but I don’t see that. In a world where Twi’lek are often exploited (and even slaves) she has to work especially hard at making it pretty clear that there’s no price in the galaxy that is worth her integrity. Also, she will throw a droid in your face. DROID TO THE FACE. So she’s straightforward, no-nonsense and a bit of a hardass. She trusts the Force, and that’s pretty much it.

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