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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Did some drawing tonight. My newest character in a new D&D campaign we're playing just over the summer. We're a troupe of bards.

My character (Quinn) is an eloquence bard, and he's a changeling. Think of him as the face of the group.

Anyway, I started drawing him previously, but hit that point where I just decided that I hated everything about that version so I started over tonight.

So far, I'm a bit happier about it.

Of course, by next week...

"It's a nice day to start again!"
Oooh, you’re right.
Heh. Yeah, I kinda thought the same while I was working on him. It wasn't intentional, but I'm kinda glad it shows that way. :)

So I (finally) got a new theme for

It's cleaner looking, I think it's faster, and after a discussion with our beloved Thomas Boutell I did the work necessary to get all my graphics converted from PNG over to WEBP for (again) speed.

Anyway - have a look and (please) let me know what you think!

It's so speedy!
Rob 3/17
Excellent news - thanks!
I like the clarity!
Thanks! It does feel more… bold. I kinda dig that.
"He also spends entirely too much time on his computer and referring to himself in the third person."

When Karen read this, she felt this in her soul.
Heh. Yeah. I was just thinking that I need to update the About page. I wrote that _many_ years ago and did so in a way that was kinda a dodge. Meaning: I had NO idea how to write an artist’s statement. Not that I’m much better today, but I at least have some clue.

So the old (current) version just feels like it doesn’t actually say anything ‘real’ about me, and I would assume that’s disappointing to folks who actually go to the About page.
Just reread your comment and realized just HOW long ago I wrote that. It was long ago enough that I point out that I’m on my computer. Not my phone.
Iz verrah fassst!

Okay, this is perhaps me being a little grumpy, but here's the thing: physics is a real thing.

When you are trying to get somewhere - especially a small somewhere like an elevator or the entryway to a restaurant - and you encounter an *ahem* non-petite individual like myself? Let us out before you try to squeeze your narrow ass in.

I've encountered this my entire life, and I find it absolutely maddening.

On more than one occasion, it has taken everything I had to not loudly proclaim "If you would let my fat ass out instead of cramming your way in, there will be more room for you inside!"

It seems SO obvious to me.

(For the record - yes, I realize people are caught up in their own worlds / issues and they clearly aren't thinking about the physical spaces around them. They're 'focused on something else'. I don't care. This makes me... angry. And you don't want non-petite people angry, I promise.)

We have exactly this problem everywhere we go. Solidarity.
I find this so unsettlingly rude when people do this! I have had my child on my front in a front pack - further increasing my size - and had people try to squeeze in past us as we unloaded. Her Majesty, in particular, was a kicker. She would swing out and thunk anyone who got close with those sparkly little size 2's.

Not my proudest moment, but it was privately a little satisfying.

I have to confess - that brought me some serious joy just picturing it.
I'm trying to avoid writing The Longest Possible Angry Rant about this topic.
When Ted and I go through doors and other narrow, crowded spaces, I tend to say, a little bit too loudly, "Ted, you have to let other people go out before you can go in," in the hopes that people will get the hint and get out of the way. ted will just barrel on through and plow right over people. And, people get in his way and expect him to stop for them, because, you know, big guy. he doesn't know how big he is.

When the world finally ends, the inciting incident will be a misunderstanding in the vestibule of a Wawa during morning rush hour.
Oh, I do love me some quality passive aggressiveness when used for the forces of Good!
Houser has no empathy for this rant, of course.
None whatsoever, I’m sure.

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.

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!
I am now earwormed. I am not complaining.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. :)
Rob 7/12 '21
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. 

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. :)
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
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

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).

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.