Matt Lichtenwalner

Mobile mapper for TomTom - roaming the US and Canada constantly. Maybe a bit of art and/or writing here and there to spice things up.

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So yesterday I posted about about the funny faces I was working on.

Last night I watched a video about digitally painting skin tones. I've seen the video before, but last night I used the heads I'd already sketched and inked and used them to follow along in the video.

And just like that, the bit flipped in my head. From 0 to 1. Suddenly, I get it.

Okay, I've still got a long way to go, but I feel the difference like a dark moonless night to a bright cloudless midday sky. It might not even be recognizable to other folks, but I feel so stupidly different. My digital painting game just took a monster leap forward.

I'm pretty stoked.

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I have to say, I've never seen your work look like this. That lower left face, it really looks like a painting now, not just an illustration. This is crazy! Keep going!! And congrats! <3
Karen Kuhl 1/14edited
Thanks! It really does feel like a big jump forward. :-)
These are good.
Thanks, man!
TRIANGLE MAN TRIANGLE MAN
I am now earwormed. I am not complaining.
Neato!

ETA: one point of that video blew my mind - the colours following blood flow. I'm slapping my head at how fundamental that observation is, and how I've never considered anything more than the structural anatomy for shading. Wow. (Note: I'm no artist. I just play around with stuff.)
Rob 1/14edited
I know, right?! It’s impressive with a sub dural bloodflow does to tone and color.
 

Okay, I just need to squee for a minute.

Yup. Me. Squee.

Not familiar with Richard Whitters' work? Allow me to illucidate:

And on top of all that? I've been following his Twitter account for some time now and he just seems like a genuinely nice guy.

So now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go draw until my brain leaks out of my fingertips.

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12/13 '21 4 Comments
This makes me so happy.
I’m grinning ear to ear for you!!
Anne Mollo 12/14 '21
<3
 

I've long thought it would be a good idea to do my own version of the classic tale of the Three Little Pigs. It would, of course, feature the Wolf as the protagonist and the pigs as the villains. The text would be in line with the traditional version, but the images would show the pigs tormenting the wolf and wrecking their own homes through carelessness.

The lesson to be learned would be "Be careful what you assume when you're not sure who wrote the history books."

Anyway, I did a duckduckgo search for "3 little pigs" today just to see what versions of the tale were readily available online, and stumbled on this video from the Dry Bar with comedian John Branyan. The relevant portion starts at 2:45. Thought it was too good to not share.

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7/25 '21 4 Comments
That was hilarious and brilliant. Thanks for finding and sharing!!
Anne Mollo 7/25 '21
Hey! I'm very very late to the party, but back in the '90s when I was student teaching at the elementary school level, I remember this book being a huge hit with the kids. It's called "The True Story of the Three Little Pigs!" by Jon Scieszka, and it's the story, but told by the wolf. It's been forever since I read it, but I did find this version on YouTube of someone reading it for kids. I didn't listen to the whole thing, but I don't seem to remember it taking the same tack that you want to explore in your version.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ZtUdk2UlT8

Anyway, enjoy-- because you can't have enough big bad wolf stories. :-)
Jill "xtingu" Knapp 10/7 '21edited
Whoa. Looking forward to this - thanks for the heads up!
 

Did a sketch of a drider since we're facing a bunch of them in Brad's campaign. This may make it all the way to finished illustration.

Or I may have a case of the ADHDs. Time will tell.

Heh. Now that I've stepped away from it for a few and I'm looking at it with fresh eyes - it looks like he has a bad toupee on.

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7/13 '21
 

More to come, but I'm kinda diggin this Hulk sketch I did sitting in the Omega Diner while waiting for the weather to clear a bit more.

Gotta say - I'm impressed with how well the Apple Pencil does for 'loose sketching'. I know I've been using it for many years, but I seldom do 'sketching for sketching's sake' with it.

Feels good.

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7/11 '21 7 Comments
The sketch lines almost make him look like he’s vibrating! It’s fantastic!
Shannie 7/11 '21
Thanks! He is definitely 'high energy'.
I like it! Not sure why.
Thanks! It's messy, but it's fun. :)
Sweet!
Rob 7/12 '21
Thanks!
Nice! Reminds me of a college art class I took. I have a very physical/tactile memory of the loose charcoal sketching we did of nude models. Looking at your Bulky Hulk reminds me of how that felt all over again. It was such a freeing sensation, all the quick, energetic strokes—I marvel at how you've achieved this electronically!
Anne Mollo 7/13 '21
 

Did some sketching in a physical sketchbook for the first time in a bajillion years. This one is of a fairly traditional halfling, hairfoot, or 'hobbit' (if you're not concerned with copyright). I did this one for comparison and as the 'default' for people to reference. 

Then, next, I did a rough concept sketch of a sub race that my buddy Brad and I are working on that we are tentatively calling 'dustlings'.

It took me wayyy too long to realize that I'd recreated a jacked version of Smeagol / Golum from the Hobbit / LOTR.

Back to the (literal) drawing board. 

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6/2 '21 8 Comments
I dunno, it's okay? Gollum's a scrawny, craven little thief. Your guys look like they work for a living. Less agrarian, more hunter/gatherer kinda thing.
Thanks! I did some more putzing around and come up with something I'm at least a _little_ more satisfied with.

Still, glad to know this very was functional. :)
Swole-um
rone 6/2 '21
Yeah. Didn't mean to take it that far, but sometimes I get carried away. That's what I get for learning to draw by looking at superhero comics for decades. :P
YAY FOR PHYSICAL MEDIA!!!
Yeah. I imagine it really IS a little like if I was to get on a bicycle right about now...
"Art is theft."
Anne Mollo 6/2 '21
#truestory
 

There's some events unfolding in my regular D&D group which mean that my character may soon be 'kidnapped' (sorta) and removed from the story. I'm in cahoots with my DM and I'm helping to build a pretty intriquing storyline with him. My character is... a major element, and I'm all in.

So with my character being away, my DM said I could play a new character, or an old character - whatever I like. I elected to bring back the first character I played with my current game group (and really, the first character I've played in 5e).

He's a half orc barbarian berserker named Wulfric. The character type (right down to his half orc-ness) is nothing shy of a cliche and I'm fully okay with that. I chose him in order to 'simplify' things for my first time learning 5e.

But here's the thing - he kinda grew on me.

What's more, I kept encountering moments when I felt like I could play Wulfric to the hilt, and it felt goooood.

Moments like when our group was fighting a collection of enemies and one of them had an imp as a familiar. It kept vanishing, attacking us, and then vanishing again. Wulfric reached out and grabbed it by the leg when it appeared (I rolled a nat 20, if memory serves) and he proceeded to beat the Imp's master with his own familiar!

I'm reworking an image I did of Wulfric back when I was first playing him. I'll add it to this post when it's done, but in the meantime, here's the original version (up top).

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4/11 '21 2 Comments
I've always found that attacking enemies with their own comrades is a fine way to break their morale. Go get 'em, Wulfric!
Rob 4/12 '21
Indeed. If there's one thing Wulfric is good for, it's breaking the morale of your enemies. He just kinda has a way about him.
 

The Big Picture

Okay, so I won't bore you with all the details, but one part of my plan to take over the world is through selling t-shirts on Amazon.

There's no money in this. Not really.

I still want to do it.

When you start out, you can only have a maximum of 10 designs at a time. You can swap them out, but no more than ten at once.

I have a TON of ideas that I would like to make, but there's a catch. You only get more 'slots' once you've sold something like 1 or more of each of those initial 10 designs.

My Idea

As far as I know, there's no rule against selling those initial designs at your cost. I'm okay not making any money on those.

So I thought I would offer this up to my friends and family: I'll design a shirt based on your specification, upload the design, and sell it to you and my cost (Amazon's 'base' price). The benefit to me is moving past that initial stage more quickly. The benefit to you is a t-shirt that you want at about as low a rate as you can get (I think it's something like $13.)

How You Take Part

Just comment below (or email me) with your idea and I'll get to work.

Guidelines:

  1. Can't use licensed stuff. If I draw Mickey Mouse, Disney will sue me into oblivion.
  2. Can't be foul (blatant bad language or graphic violence is not what I'm looking to do). Comic book violence or @&*#$! works as bad language.
  3. Please don't suggest stuff if you're not interested in buying a single shirt (or more) at the cheapest rate I can give you. It will just eat up my time, and you're not going to benefit from it anyway.

Anyone interested?

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8/24 '20 16 Comments
I'm interested but I have no clue on a design.
Karen Kuhl 8/29 '20
Rog would most likely want to help, too.
Karen Kuhl 8/29 '20
We should chat - perhaps on Monday?
Yes!
Karen Kuhl 8/31 '20
THAT'S NOT A DRAGON.

Edited: Oh! There was a whole post there I didn't see! Lemme give it some thought...
Rob 8/25 '20edited
Absolutely!

Out of curiosity - what dragon did you mean?
Oh, I just meant that it was dragon month and the image had no dragon. My backhanded way of encouraging your dragon project.
Rob 8/25 '20
Ahhh! Thank you! I haven't forgotten. I'm just being Captain ADHD. I _will_ get back to it though because I want to use them for another side project after I finish them all.

(But srsly - thanks for the poke.)
Don’t use Amazon! TeePublic is much better, I promise you!
TeePublic’s prices seem steep. Tell your friends not to pay full price. You’re not trying to make a living here, you’re trying to get your art out into the world and visible, right? Your goal is more sales, not more money. Cripes, a family member of a FB friend that I barely know bought 5 of Ted’s t-shirts in one swoop when they were on sale.
Get on the TeePublic text message list for designers. I think there’s a designer forum, too. They let you know before TeePublic has a sale. Tell your friends to get on the mailing list so they know when a sale is coming up. Take your best art and re-mix it for holidays: back to school, Halloween, Christmas, Festivus, whatever. But for fuck’s sake, don’t let Bezos have a cent off of your content.
I already have a (large) list of ideas forming. Many of them are for Halloween since that's the next big holiday.
Think about what you wear when you want to make a statement, lately. For example, I have a shirt that I got from TeePublic that’s an orange, black and white design of a typewriter with a woman’s hands on the keyboard. It’s really pretty. I wear it when I have to deal with people that want to impress without trying too hard.

Don’t underestimate the coffee mug market, and because of the way TeePublic lays them out, you’ll want to make a separate design for that.
I will definitely be doing things in addition to tees, but I have to get to step 1 first. I'm all about the MVP. You know me. :P
This won't be an 'either / or' thing for me. Most of these sites don't require exclusivity, so I'll be uploading my 'real' designs to all of them. I just came up with this as a means to get past A's requirements at the lower levels.
Contacted at dragonbones.net.
Brian Rapp 8/25 '20
Got it! I'll reply via email to clarify things, but then I'll get on it!
 

So I have managed to get very behind on #Smaugust already. The normal process to sketch, ink, and color a single character (or dragon) takes me a pretty consistant 3 hours. I speed up in some ways, but then I get nitpicky and add complexity etc which slows me down. So the magic number these days seems to be that - 3 hours.

Doing that every day is... very tough. Especially on days when I'm working long hours for TomTom.

So to allow myself to catch up, I've dropped back to just simple sketches. I still plan to finish them later, but I want to stay current in ordetr to keep myself motivated.

I managed to get caught up last night with this new philosophy, and I thought I would share.

Above is the Quetzalcoatl - day 5. While not a dragon in the traditional sense, it was on the list, so I thought "Why not?" Also, while I feel pretty comfortable with my limited Spanish, and have always felt very comfortable with the names of obscure mythological creatures, this one just evades my brain. Every time I want to reference it, I wind up looking it up. That's just... unusual.

Day 6 - Spider Dragon. I had fun dreaming up the anatomy of this one. It uses it's spinnerets to weave 'wings' of web onto it's hind most legs. It does this to blow victims into its webs, trapping them. On the minus side, I didn't merge dragon and spider very well - it mostly just seems like a monsterous spider.

Day 7 - Crystal Dragon. Yeah, this one feels rushed even though it took me more time than some of the other 'catch up' dragons. Referenced a number of different crystals, and saw way more internet woo-woo than I would have prefered, but I feel like this is... something. Not my favorite of these drakes, that's for certain. Maybe color will improve my thoughts on it.

Day 8 - Elemental Dragon. I like this guy (gal?). I thought 'nothing thin will work with fire/lava, so everything must be blunt'. So I didn't add wings, and its face seems a bit... pug like to me. I kinda dig it. I suspect colors will really make this one significantly better.

Day 9 - Western Dragon. I sorta copped out on this one. I went with 'western' as opposed to 'eastern'. A stylistic / anatomy based theme rather than trying to do something to imply 'wild west'. The latter would have been harder, and arguably more fun, but getting caught up was my focus, and I have a bit of a plan for these later and a wild west theme wouldn't have worked as well for that.

That does it for catch up. Today's theme (Day 10) is 'Brutish'. I suspect this one will be fun to do.

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8/9 '20 4 Comments
I think it's a wise choice to do simple sketches now and then go back and make changes later. besides, these aren't bad.

Western dragon. hmm. I think you made the right choice with stylistic/anatomy based. This looks very Tolkien. I like what you've done here. I'm thinking of like, Scandinavian images of dragons as opposed to Chinese images of dragons, and maybe it would be worth looking at lizards and bats that are common to the American West.
Lindsay Harris Friel 8/10 '20edited
Exactly right re: western dragons. I almost think of it as "Not eastern" which is kinda lame, but I feel like eastern countries have a more consistent sense of 'dragon-ness' than everyone else. So 'western' gets everything else lumped into it that doesn't fall under 'eastern'.

Which, I'm sad to say, feels a little like calling someone 'asian' except that no one can point a finger and say I'm wrong because dragons don't actually exist. So ummm... there's that.
I like the facial expression on the Crystal Dragon. She calms me.
Or he. Men too can be calming.
Thank you. I thought peaceful/relaxing would be appropriate. (S)he has to chill long enough for crystals to grow, so...
 

Some of you may be familiar with Inktober - where there's a list of art prompts for the month of October and the challenge is to create art every day from those prompts in ink. I've done it a few times and 'won' (succeeded) once.

Now I'm doing Smaugust. It appears to be far less popular, but given that I'm the owner of dragonbones.net, I figured I would give it a go. Of course, I have a bunch of other stuff on my plate, and shouldn't really be spending my limited time on a meme, but what the hell. I have an idea that might make it worthwhile (beyond the pleasure of doing it / the experience of 'stretching' a bit).

Anyway, I may a post thread over on Twitter where I'll be posting them every day. I'll probably do actual posts with info on how I made the different illustrations etc on my Patreon page and/or dragonbones.net. That said, I figured I would put the first few up here for you to get a feel for the challenge and what I'm currently doing with it.

Day 1 - the Aquatic Dragon

Day 2 - the Tribal Dragon

I may re-do this one later. I'm thinking about creating an ebook after the month is completed with a write up for each of the dragons to be used in TTRPGs, but this wouldn't make for a good creature as is. Of course, maybe it will be a magic tattoo or something... I guess time will tell.

Day 3 - the Subterranean Dragon

Day 4 - the Wolf Dragon

I went a little 'on the nose' with this one, but I just kinda wanted to.

I used the guy all the way on the right for reference from this pic. Obviously, I stretched him out and didn't stick with it very much. Perhaps it's better to say I used him as a starting point.

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8/4 '20 5 Comments
OMG OMG OMG!!! Eeeee!!!! I want to see the tribal dragon colored, or more of the tribal markings in black. I love the Wolf dragon.
Beeble will like this meme a LOT!
I'm already super behind (of course). More soon!
I love the aquatic dragon!
Awww - thanks! I'm already looking at each of these and seeing nothing but the flaws.

It really doesn't take long, dammit.
Don't think like that. Move on to the next day's drawing, and then go back and revise.