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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Just a little something I cooked up since I just finished the first dozen characters for one of my clients. It's nothing really, but I thought he might be able to use it for promotional purposes and the like. Figured I would share it here in case you guys were curious. 

If any of you find yourself curious enough to want to try the game out, it's available on DriveThruRPG:

Tall Tales! Core Rules (Note, this does not contain any of my art, but is required for playing)

Tall Tales! More Classes (Note: This is available as a Pay What You Want product, does contain some of my artwork, and is a supplement to the Core Rules.)

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1/24
 

I recently mentioned that I'm working on my plans for my illustration work. Well, I've put up a pretty big (for me anyway) post over on my site. If you're interested in such things, I welcome any thoughts you have on the subject.

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How much you you charge for a 11 x 14 custom color painting (kinda like the one in your post, but with a girlchild, and visions of roblox, quidditch, cats, minecraft . . .) I'm <redacted> if you wanna talk directly.
Ursula Sadiq 1/24edited
I've copied the email and will send you something shortly. Since I now have it, you may want to edit it out since this is a public post.

Or not. I'm not the boss of you. :) (Just being a touch paranoid on your behalf.)
 

So I just watched a preview for S2 of Runaways. It's a Hulu Originals series based on comic book characters in the Marvel Universe.

I (of course) devoured the first season in the blink of an eye.

S2 is being released Dec. 21st. Which made me think: Are they releasing it right at the holidays in order to slow peoples' consumption of the episodes? I imagine that's a real problem these days. Companies dump all this money, time, and effort into a season of shows and then the consumers go through it in a very short span of time.

That would mean that the buzz / hype / social media blitz that they (the companies involved) might be looking for would last an equally short span of time. Sure, there will be outliers who will talk about the show in 3 months, but they will be just that - outliers.

THAT, in turn, got me thinking - how could you combat that problem? How could you get a longer 'bang' from your buck with a series like this?

The thought that occured to me was that you could build in game design elements. Puzzles (or puzzle clues) within the show that would mean nothing at the time, but then you (the company) could release something pointing people to those clues over time. A Time Released Alternate Reality Game of sorts.

Then, if you make the prize something really worthwhile - say a guest spot in an episode of the following season (which people wouldn't know until after the prize was won, of course) the hype you could get from such an event would be five fold: 1 at the airing of the show 2 during the hunt / release of the puzzle clues 3 when the fan wins the game 4 during the following season and 5 when media reports come out following the guest appearance in the subsequent season.

Sometimes, my ADHD is kinda cool.

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12/1 '18
 

It's a sad day for me. I don't normally care much for talk of celebrities and I often feel there's a 'falseness' to people discussing the deaths of those same celebrities. Maybe that's too harsh. I believe that those people are sad, but I'm always struck by the thought "It's not like you knew them or anything."

And it's true to say that I didn't know Stan. Never had the chance to meet him. But the things he created and the characters and worlds he developed were, in a word, significant in my life.

I've always been a Marvel guy when it came to the Marvel / DC divide. You could fairly easilly argue that Stan was the reason for that. Back at the dawn of the comic book era, people created characters that were like gods. Powers well beyond those of us mere mortals. And then, along came Stan.

When he (and Jack Kirby) created a character named Peter Parker, he made a bridge between we mortals and those gods. Peter had problems that we normal folks face. School work had to be done. He couldn't talk to girls. He was bullied. He was like... me.

Peter faced those challenges. Often, it required making realistic and terrible decisions. He suffered like the rest of us, and often worse than most of us.

But he fought on, and would rise above.

Stan created a new form of mythology. One that we saw ourselves in.

He gave us Hope.

I never met you Stan, but I feel I owe you something I can't even really put into words. So I thank you - as deeply as I can - and I hope I can one day help even one person a fraction of the way you helped me.

Excelsior!

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11/12 '18 10 Comments
I thought of you as soon as Rog told me. RIP Stan Lee.
Karen 11/13 '18
Thanks hon. Yeah, we'll miss him.
Sorry to see him go.

Modern media is created with a considerable knowledge of myth and how archetypes work... it is intentional magic, it is Bene Gesserit stuff. So I try never to look down on people for feeling personally connected to characters that were always intended to inspire that. I do sympathize when celebrities want to carve out some privacy, of course.
Thomas Boutell 11/13 '18
I agree when it comes to modern media. And yeah - I couldn't be a celeb in the modern era. I feel so much frustration on their behalf the minute someone turns on Entertainment Tonight in my proximity.
That is a GREAT drawing. You've outdone yourself.
Aww - thanks! I'm sure I will hate it by this time next year, but...
Ray Conrad 11/13 '18
Stan Lee as a member of the Signal Corps of the US Army during World War 2. Yet he hardly ever spoke of his service.
Ray Conrad 11/13 '18
Yeah - there's some good info on his service on his Wikipedia page. I suspect there may be some revisionist history (on his part) but he claims his title was 'playwright'. In any event, he worked with training manuals an even did some cartooning which just seems appropriate.
I love this.
 

I just had a rather fantastic encounter at my local coffee shop (Peet’s). I had settled in to do some catch up work on art stuff. I had just finished a commission for my buddy Krishna. His wife asked his daughter the age old ‘If you could have a super power, what would it be?’ thing. When they heard the result (a modification of Elsa, of course) K commissioned me to draw it up. The result is above.

Anyway - so I’d just finished up the image, and a family came in with a little boy who can’t be older than 8. I noticed the printer paper in front of him with... are those comic panels? And pencil drawings? Why yes. Yes, they are.

”Are you drawing a comic?” I asked.

He was a bit shy with the big hairy stranger, but with a glance at his mom (grandma?) sitting next to him, he said “Yeah.”

”Well that’s awesome! This is what I just finished!” at which point I turned the iPad to face him and clicked the play button on the time lapse video for the image.

His jaw dropped and his mom started Oooh-ing.

We proceeded to have a conversation about art and comics and I introduced them to software he could get for his iPad and of the very concept of ashcan comic books. He’d said that he was doing them and keeping them to himself. I explained that (if he wanted to) ash cans would let him keep the originals and still share copies with his friends.

The whole family seemed delighted.

For a while now, I have been in seventh heaven listening to the sounds of the little boy quietly narrating his comics to himself as he works. Both dialogue and (far better) sound effects keep coming while he’s drawing.

He’s not playing on an iPhone. He doesn’t have his own laptop here. He’s not watching Youtube. He’s drawing. With pencil and pen on paper.

That. Was. Me. When I was a kid, and it’s just so very good to see as an adult.

* * * * *

In case anyone’s curious, this is the text for the commission:

"Here is what M told me she said: "If she could pick any magic power she would pick being the princess of ice and snow mountains and being in control of fire. And she hopes one eye was clear and white and one eye was red and orange"."

And here’s a link to the time lapse video of the process - https://photos.app.goo.gl/YQEXkK1kQEe4DHw47

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9/23 '18 6 Comments
Gaaah! I can't read what M told you she said. It's in different text that doesn't wrap in mobile. I'm in potrait mode now, so it cuts off at

"she said: "I

When I flip my phone to landscape I get a few more characters, but they display off my display. :-)

Wondering if I should submit a bug report, or should I just reload the page requesting the Desktop Version™?
OK, I'm in DesktopMode now, and it shows a teeny bit more of the quote, but it still won't wrap... and it still runs off my window no matter my phone orientation.

(I'm using Chrome.)

Bummer!
Anyway, this interaction with the boy made me SO HAPPY. Go fuzzy guy, go!
Thanks for the heads up. It's because I used the 'preformatted' option to try to differentiate - like quote formatting in a book. I've changed it so you should be able to read it now.

I've also added a bug report for the OPW folks. :)
Oh! Thanks! I was gonna do that-- thanks for taking care of it!

And thanks for re copying/pasting the quote so'z I can read it now. Yay!
Oh, and Maj. Dickason's Blend from Peet's is the coffee of the house here. They make a half-caf version that we buy from Peet's online, and it's pretty awesome seeing the "Roasted on" date be the week prior to me grinding the beans in the kitchen. Damn tasty.

I have Patty to thank for turning us onto that blend. Peets rocks!
 

Art is my illicit drug of choice. The more I create, the more I need to make to get off.

Okay, so I put it that way to be a touch provocative, but it's also kinda true. I've been doing more illustration work pretty much every chance I get and I'm still getting further behind. What's more, I want to do more. That's kinda crazy.

ETA: Okay, I think I was going to go deeper into this and then change the post to public, but I've lost the train of thought and figure I should just let folks see it as is for now. I can always comment more later if I get that thought back.

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9/11 '18 6 Comments
Dood, your coloring skills are really getting great!
Thanks beb. All I can see is how very far they have to go, but I'm glad someone is seeing the improvement. ;)
The dimension in the last female figure iteration is wonderful.
The one that's all the way left? The were-panther?

In any event - thanks! I've been working pretty hard on my female forms recently. I want to be able to do 'ideal' but not make that every female character like in bad comic books. Too often, comic artists learn a 'template' (which, of course, is some kind of idealized Olympic athlete which somehow retains breasts and butt cheeks) and just apply that template to every female character ever.

I don't wanna be 'that guy'.
Not the were-panther, the one in the second picture, the one with the big ears.
Ahhh. Gotcha. Technically, that's a he/him, but you can't really tell since he's wearing a poncho. I _was_ also told to make him quite chubby. If you're curious, there's more info on this one in particular (and my process in general) here: http://dragonbones.net/character-portrait-drawing-process-a-step-by-step-demonstration/
 

Sadly, I don't remember much of my dream last night, but I do recall a single scene. I was in someone's house, and there were at least two other people there. I don't think any of us were the owners / renters of the place.

One of the people had to leave but they were terrified of the massive bulldog that lived in the house. So, I approached the animal and coaxed it onto its back for belly rubs. The person who had to leave did so slowly and cautiously, and the dog occassionally gave them the side eye, but overall was happy to have me rubbing its belly.

A fairly unimportant moment of a fairly unimportant dream, but I found it interesting because [warning - potential GoT spoilers for Season 6 ahead] I just watched the episode where one character unshackles two dragons. They did the scene well, and the body language for the dragons is really fantastic. The creators of GoT have done a fantastic job of getting across "wild but very intelligent creature". So much so that I found myself watching for 'tells' in the body language of the creatures as they were being unshackled.

Clearly, the scene had an impact on me because my dream was all about understanding the body language of the bulldog since I only knew them peripherally. 

ETA: Also, this is fantastic.

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9/1 '18 8 Comments
I think you've probably been spending your entire life unconsciously looking for tells from dogs. I mean that in a good way. Maybe the dream was a "yes you were right"confirmation that your sense that GoT got it right was right.

Right?
Sounds about right.

Funny thing is that dog tells are much like dragon tells which are much like human tells. :)
Matt Lichtenwalner 9/1 '18edited
I seem to recall an X-Files episode about human tells and Luke Skywalker, but I might have got that wrong somewhere.
Brian Rapp 9/1 '18
Never watched the X-Files. At least not in any real way. Maybe an episode way back in the past or something.

But you can bet I would watch the hell out of that episode.
OH. OH. OH. I know exactly what you mean. It was an alien who disguised himself as different humans, and once it disguised itself as Luke Skywalker.
#SecretTargaryen
Ray Conrad 9/1 '18
Did you just spoiler me? :(
 

I have SO many questions. I'll start at the top:

  • As Seen on TV - Really? Someone paid good money to put this on television? Ever? This was clearly a rack toy - just hanging from a pegboard somewhere. For $0.79. Even when this was in stores, that couldn't have been a big profit margin.
  • Who is the Woman? - I don't recognize the character at all. Now, I know that there are many out there who have an encyclopedic knowledge of the Marvel universe, but I've got a little geek cred. I don't think I've ever seen her before. Is she a villain? Is she working with Cap? Is she at least wearing a bikini bottom that is conveniently covered by the bill of that plastic duck?
  • Pink / Blue Ducks - The only reason to have your targets colored pink and blue that I can come up with is to make them masculine / feminine. That's pretty sexist of me, but "it was a different time" and I can't seem to come up with anything else. Which begs the question: Why in all the holy REDACTED would you care what sex your plastic duck targets are?!
  • 3 4 3 - Why would you 'weight' the targets like this? 1, 2, 3 I could understand. 10, 15, 20 - sure. But 3, 4, 3? Pretty sure these folks were on something, or they're sending a message from the past to a sleeper cell that...
  • Larami Corp of Hong Kong - Larami Corp is familiar. Didn't know they were right here in PHL. Of course, the toy itself was made in... Hong Kong? I'm trying to envision how much they would have to save on the manufacturing to still make a profit after shipping it to the other side of the planet and only charge an end price of $0.79.
  • Oh So Cap or at Least American - Anyone else find it amusing that there is absolutely nothing Captain America about the gun, or the darts, or the targets. Just the cardboard backing which promptly gets thrown out when the kid opens the toy to play with it.
  • 2 Darts / 3 Targets - Just noticed this. Editted the post to add it in. This seems... inefficient. It also makes me think: there are two pink targets, but only one blue. Is there a correlation? But why is the blue more valuable? Is that another sexist thing?

It really was a 'different era'...

Oh, and I originally found this here.

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8/31 '18 5 Comments
One of the tumblr notes says that is Whiteshade. Also, I hate trying to decipher tumblr's format. I'm never on there, though, so...
Karen 8/31 '18
Wow. I'm just impressed that someone actually commented on Tumblr.
That seemed like a strange name, so I did some research and discovered that it was apparently a comment on the packaging's unusual pigmentation for "Nightshade", an evil scientist in Captain America's world.
Brian Rapp 9/1 '18
Yeah - I did a (very brief) Google search and found nothing on Whiteshade, but also found Nightshade and wondered if that was just a... typo? Well, not exactly, but in that direction.
Beaten to the punch on the identification of the villain. Yeah, the '70's. It was a strange decade.

http://marvel.wikia.com/wiki/Nightshade
Ray Conrad 9/1 '18
 

So I had a random idea in the wee hours this morning and thought I would jot it down. These are the notes I wrote down to remember the concept. I just thought you guys might enjoy seeing what pops into my brain before I imbibe enough coffee to kill a mortal man.

I'm not sure what I will do with it (if anything) - this probably falls under that heading of 'too many ideas, too little time'. That said, I could see doing this as:

  • Just a collection of sketches / drawings / digital paintings that I expound on in the blog posts I make about them.
  • An illustrated short story. (Note: this seems like a concept I should do. A lot.)
  • If all my other stuff suddenly, magically gets done, a book. When people talk about writing to market, this seems like exactly what they mean - the nexus of the author's interests and what seems to be 'currently hot' in the market. (My understanding is that Post Apoc is hugely popular right now. Kinda the 'zombies' of 2018.)

The genre of 'post apocalyptic fantasy' is probably already a thing (how could it not be?!) but I hadn't ever heard of it. That was a big part of why this concept came spewing out of me so fast - figuring out how to connect the dots was exciting.

*****

  • Our hero is a half orc who lives in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest. (See drawing above.)
  • Mother (human) taught him to avoid humans - explained that they would never leave him alone if they learned of his existence.
  • Hiroshima nukes opened a rift to the Fae Realms. Humans didn't know it. The fae took many years to reveal themselves and when they did, it didn't go well. War ensued.
  • World note: Tech doesn't work (think EMP) - something done by the Fae to counter the nukes. Thus, you know, post apoc.
  • Humans move into our hero's territory - why? (Zombies?)
  • Fae are returning to the world after having fled the war back to their realms of origin - why? Migration because something is happening in their world? (Holy Hell, has this been done to death, but also, it works.) Does this cause them to create zombies to 'clean house' before moving to our world?
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8/3 '18 2 Comments
Or they opened a rift to Mordor at the exact moment the Ring was destroyed...
Brian Rapp 8/3 '18
Nice!
 

Okay, I have a canine problem.

You all know that I love dogs way more than most humans probably should. It's kinda a thing. And it's fun or even cute most of the time, but...

Well, we've all had that experience where we're traveling and we see someone that we're just sure is Soandso from Suchandsuch. Only it's not. It's just someone who resembles that person. And they look enough like that person that you immediately felt a kind of bond with them (or animosity depending on how you feel about Miss or Mr. Soandso).

Well, I recently saw a tweet by Cherie Priest about an opinion her dog was displaying with their face.

I felt an immediate bond with the dog.

From a tweet.

Because (I eventually realized) it's features are a bit of an amalgam of several dogs I've known and been fond of over the years.

Yeah. I have a problem.

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7/30 '18 21 Comments
I am convinced that I have seen every Delaware license plate before. This is funny but it's not a joke. I really do think this. I know it's irrational because I can't have seen all 50.
Thomas Boutell 7/31 '18
What about the black ones?
There are some good images.google.com results available to round out the collection. (I had no idea that there were 50!)
Dogs are never the problem. Unless you are a hot dog or a cookie.
True statement(s)!
omg. Watching his eyes dart back and forth from side to side while his head remained 'motionless'. Such a good derg!
Wow, I remember Cherie and Aric from... 15(?) years ago. I've missed so much, apparently.
Karen 7/31 '18
In truth, I haven't seen / read anything from her since the LJ days. I think Lindsay and someone else liked the tweet, which apparently was enough to bring it to my feed.

...which is a long way to say "me too".
Yeah, I retweeted the tweet because I follow instructions.

They moved from Chattanooga, TN to Seattle, her books became popular, she was Seattle's reigning Queen of Steampunk (she didn't like that title), then they wanted to buy a house so they moved back to Chattanooga, then things changed with Aric's job again, so now they're back in Seattle.
Heh. Shame. I should have looked them up while I was out there. Not that she would have any idea who _I_ am, but still.
Same. Too far removed, but LJ gave us all that sense of knowing each other, so I miss them but don't really know them. It's such an odd feeling.
Karen 8/2 '18
Right? I feel that a little here on OPW, but it's a significantly smaller crowd. I do have folks who I haven't met IRL here, but LJ seemed to distort things for me. I'm betting some of it had to do with the age I was when I was using it...

Which is to say "Probably wouldn't be as big a deal now since I'm an old bastard."
For what it's worth:
her books became popular enough that she has to protect herself from stalkers. so she is hard to get in touch with. BUT, someone with a name very similar to hers is a Jarnsaxa Rising supporter.
I did see what I thought was her name on the supporter page. (Oh yes, I really did stalk your website when you put it up. It was a fun night.)

I figured she got notoriety and thus less approachable, and I was not close enough to keep up a regular chat relationship with her, so it's nice to hear about them!
Karen 8/2 '18
Here is a story you may appreciate.
When we did the Indiegogo campaign, our original budget was $3K. We needed $70 to hit $1K before the campaign ended, with something like 48 hours to go. Cherie has over 20K Twitter followers. Jill got Rodney Anonymous to tweet about it. I sent Cherie an email asking her to tweet about it. I said it was because we were so close to $1K, I wouldn’t ask her otherwise, etc. I begged in as dignified a manner as I could. By then, I didn’t care about making $3K, but if we made $1K, I could pay each actor $50 (instead of the $200 each that’s the going rate for this kind of work). She said, in a very nice way, “I get asked to tweet about this kind of thing literally all the time, and I have a general policy of saying no, because if you say yes once, you have to say it for everyone, BUT, in your case, it’s a horse of a different color.”
She tweeted in support of the podcast and the campaign
AND
donated the last $70.
BOOM.
Lindsay Harris-Friel 8/3 '18edited
I had no reason to dislike her previously, but she just made beaucoup points in my book.
You are correct, I really appreciated that story. :)
Karen 8/10 '18
Well, once upon a time in a galaxy far, far away (so, like, high school), I had a boyfriend who had a mom who had a cat who looked EXACTLY like Ernest Borgnine, I mean, it's like they were TWINS, and now I can't see Ernest Borgnine (not that I see him all that often, hardly ever, actually) without seeing that cat.
Rachael 8/23 '18
Re: “once upon a time... so, like high school” = you just made big points, for the record.

Re: cat like Ernest Borgnine - I could absolutely see that. :)
:-)
Rachael 8/27 '18