Obeying the Muse  

Posted by Dristanel in ,

In celebration of six months of Jaded Alt, Windsoar proposed a challenge to her commenters: Do whatever I say. Yep. Quite the taskmaster, that one. Responding to the whip appeal, I am tackling the topic she suggested for me:

When I first visited your website I was absolutely blown away by your theme–the artwork, sidebars and even the fancy script. I know you were also kind enough to donate a beautiful button to A Healadin’s Tear for a blogging contest.

I’d like to know more about the artist! Is it a hobby, a passion, something you learned just to set up your blog? (haha)

I've always maintained I am a much better writer than an artist, but you folks have indulged me with kind words, so I'm posting a bit more. The answer to that question would probably take a lot more explanation, but here's the basic rundown: It is a hobby, one I've dabbled in for years, starting rather young and becoming a bit more serious about improving in high school.

The digital art is my favorite medium, so I'll discuss that mainly, I suppose. I use Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator CS2 - Photoshop is for the majority of the images in this post, Illustrator is what I use for the RSS icons and other vector images. I initially would make a sketch with Col-Erase pencils (love those things, especially the photo blue one) and scan it in, then do more with it in Photoshop. But once I scrounged together the money for a decent tablet (I use a Wacom Graphire 8x8) I started sketching in Photoshop with a custom brush that's set to emulate a fairly hard sketching pencil.

I've tried a lot of different styles and it's difficult for me to say which I like best. They've all ended in some interesting pictures. Cel-shading is fairly easy - I could knock out a portrait for a tabletop game in 3 hours start-to-finish - but I also like the quick, loose lines of speed-painting. And there's a nice sense of completion in a full-on painting that you've spent over 20 hours working on.

My explorations in digital art started when I was playing EQ2. That eventually turned into a modified DnD game, and I made character portraits for most of the main characters. More tabletop campaigns (I think we went through Werewolf, Mage, Shadowrun, DnD... mind-changing GM is mind-changey <.< ) and more portraits later, I decided I really liked making things for friends. Unlike writing, art provides fairly instant gratification, and I could finish a piece without spending days, months, or years writing and proofing.

In 2006 I decided I liked it so much that I would enroll in a Game Art and Design program. I graduate from that in May (yay!) with a Bachelor's, and it's certainly been an interesting ride. I've been exposed to so many different mediums I thought I would hate but have very much enjoyed. Photo manipulations, for one, are an absolute blast. Bringing a ton of stock images together to form a cohesive image with a solid theme is a lot of fun.

Most of my recent 'art' work has been done in 3D Studio Max. I've done everything from creating simple polygon meshes to building a full game level mock-up, complete with textures done in Photoshop. Which, for the record, seems boring but is also a lot of fun. Turning a flat block into a brick wall just by applying a nice texture with appropriate bump and spec maps is an exciting process to me, and something I'd like to explore in the future.

Unfortunately, I've lost my tablet in this mess I call an apartment, or I'd still be sketching and painting. It's good stress relief, and these days I can use every ounce of that, so I may try to dig it out one of these days and fire up the drivers.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 24, 2010 at Wednesday, March 24, 2010 and is filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


So you drew the blood-elf-guy-in-a-waistcoat pic that you have on your about page?

So um, yeah, I promise I'm not creepy...

...but dang that's hot. <3


March 24, 2010 at 8:54 AM

@Pike I did! With the exception of the layout itself, all of the graphics on the blog were done by me. That one was in Illustrator, mainly, using a reference from a catalogue.

March 24, 2010 at 8:58 AM

I admit I love love looking at artwork like on deviant art but I could never produce that type of artwork. I don't have the fortitude, stamina or consistency to work 20+ hours on a painting.

Props to you though! Artists like you create such eye candy for people like me to enjoy =)

March 24, 2010 at 1:44 PM

The first time I saw your waistcoated friend, I knew I was going to love your blog ^^ There's just something about a neighborhood artist that makes life enjoyable.

Thank you for sharing your art history with us! I know it has nothing to do with WoW, but inquiring minds are nosey :P

March 24, 2010 at 2:41 PM

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March 24, 2010 at 2:47 PM

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