Matt Lichtenwalner

Mobile mapper for DMP - 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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A few of the posts at the top of the pile on
  1. was down for a while.
  2. Contacting my web hosting provider for support pretty much always results in "To fix that problem, I would recommend paying $5 more per month so that you get upgraded service on..." and that makes me supremely angry.
  3. So I did a bunch of Googling and some FTPing and then finally, some code editing.
  4. is back online!

Not going to lie - it's been a long since I've done something that felt so outside my wheelhouse. Feels pretty damn good.

Sweet! Yeah, a successful solo debugging can feel pretty damned good. Especially when it's not your own. :)
Excellent! I like this whole new Matt With Extra Confidence added.
Tough, but you should pat yourself on the back because you rock.

You rock even if you rock in the forest and no one is there to hear you.


Some people have a shoe addiction.

I'm addicted to tools. Software. Stuff I can use.

I will spend many hours browsing through options and learning about the capabilities and faults of various tools or programs.

Then, finding the 'right' one, I get super jazzed. I'll proclaim "I'm going to use this for ALL THE THINGS!" and I will believe it. Every time.

Then, after one hot minute genuinely using whatever it is, I'm moving on to the next one. Because I feel like I've done the 80/20, and now it's boring drudgery like everything else.

Yeah. ADHD. Le sigh.


One example of this is Tiddlywiki by Jeremy Ruston. And to be fair to myself, I used this one pretty extensively.

I mean, it really is awesome. A single HTML file that functions as an entire wiki. While I was at BCUS as a tech guy, I filled one with problems and solutions for my team and it got used pretty heavily as a time saver. Someone even caught wind of its usefulness and started one for the Telephony team.

It lost its functionality for a while because of some aspect of more modern browsers, but checking the website, I just saw that someone created a plugin for your browser to use Tiddlywikis in Google Drive! May just have to dust this one off and get using it again…


I was looking for something a bit like a wiki, honestly, and found myself checking out Obsidian and now, recently, Logseq.

I don't foresee myself being a power user of either, but the base elements of Logseq got my attention and I've downloaded it to check it out. It's certainly an impressive app and more so when it's for free.

Mainly, I like that everything is about outlining. It's an 'outliner'. As a side note, that's a term I'd never heard before - didn't realize there's a whole category. I would have just sounded ignorant saying something like "A program which helps you outline." 😏


Point being - I would like to do more writing online. Specifically, on my various websites, Patreon, and... who knows - maybe even do some guest writing spots in exchange for others? Whatever.

If I do that though, I'll need to get better at structure. Pushing myself into outlining seems a good way to do that.

What's more, it's a skill that will help in a snowball / avalanche sense. Some of that increased writing is meant to eventually lead to a book I'm working on for folks to learn to draw. Specifically How to Draw Fantastic Humans. If things go as planned? Eventually followed by How to Draw Fantastic Elves. And Dwarves. And... yadda yadda.

And all of that will require better structure in my writing.

Me use gooder words, but me structure so un good.

The Dismount

I suppose there are far worse addictions. Especially since my tastes tend towards freeware and physical tools. I can't keep many physical tools with me, so that side of things is fairly self limiting.

I've managed to avoid becoming a Linux guy so freeware doesn't generally pile up for me. Mostly.

How about you? What do you spend entirely too much mental, emotional, or financial resources on?

You might like Notion. It's not locally installed freeware (there's a free tier, but I know what you mean by freeware here) but dang it's nice.
Yeah - I keep hearing about it. A lot of RPG folks really seem to like it. I just haven’t sat down with it for a bit yet. Thanks for the heads up!

Today is my friend Thomas Boutell 's birthday. 

It's quite possible, even probable, that no one I know has done more good for more people on the planet. 

As if that weren't enough, he's a good, fun, interesting dude. 

So if you have a minute, please consider wishing him a kind word or three. 

I put my pants on one leg at a time like any other octopus.
While I’m sure that’s true, I’m particularly fond of the fact that this particular octopus is a friend. :)

Another one I'll never get to.

Tag line for a comic series. Or a book. Or something.

"Every man must face his demons, but in this case, they're real."

It's a bit weird, because I do NOT want to imply that non physical demons are any less real, but I was trying to think of a simple, snappy tagline. 

The idea is that his internal problems create / spawn tangible monsterous creatures. Perhaps based on the 7 Deadly Sins.

So he has to fight them on two battlefields - in his mind and with his body. 

Seems like it could be a lot of fun. 

Maybe I'll do some daydreaming / sketch / concept work on it if I get some time. 

That could be your hook. He says, “in my case they’re real.” By the end of the series, he realizes that everyone’s demons are real.
Oh, I kinda _love_ this.

Okay, y'all are probably sick of seeing that dragon's head at this point, but it kinda started something for me.

I've been really enjoying this super simple (technically speaking) technique. I do a very fast, rough 'pencil sketch', create a new layer, and just use a single ink brush which varies widely in line weight based on pressure applied to the stylus.

What that does: It makes it really easy for me to 'intentionally make mistakes'. Or as Bob Ross would say: "Happy little accidents." That, in turn, creates a kind of bold detail work. Lots of visual texture where my stuff is usually so very steryl in its cleanliness.

Also, these look like they would make for amazing stickers - which are also available on the site.

So I'm going to do some more. I'm trying to stick primarily to 'the heads of creatures of known types'. Dragon, bugbear, and I cheated a little with the goblin.

What kind of creature would you like to see next? Bonus if it's a type that live a VERY long time so I can use lots of lines to make it look 'grizzled and old'.

Ents live quite a while. And they've lots of fiddly bits if you like lines.
The Ents would object to being drawn quickly, of course. But you don't have to tell them.
I won’t tell if you won’t.
Love it! Yes.
It just occurred to me...I don't know that I've ever seen you draw a wizard? Wizards can be old and grizzled.
True, on all counts! Consider it added to the list!

Working on my first instructional ebook. How to Draw Fantastic Humans.

The idea is to follow it up later with How to Draw Fantastic Elves, then Dwarves, etc..

If you've ever wanted to learn how to draw people, I would deeply and sincerely appreciate any questions you might have so that I can address them in the book.

Please and thank you!

Hands: how do I even
I'm on the job!
Starting in on this. Is there anything specific you’re wondering about?
There will be text to go with these, obviously, but for now, I’m working on the illustrations.

Are these helping to make sense of hands at all?
Holy crap yes!!! This is all considerably more thorough than I expected from this book. Way past beginner's/simple. But in a good way. But also could reaaaaallly split this up I think into multiple books.
Eyes: how to make them look normal, and more or less the same size, and eyes. Young eyes, old eyes. Squinty, wide-eyed, surprized, narrowed, loving, contented, laughing, angry...
Good call - I planned to do something about eyes in general, but I really appreciate the clarity on finer points, and I will be sure to add them!
Ooooh this is exciting!
Maintaining proper proportions of parts while the figure is in motion. I'm thinking back to a drawing I did in school of a soccer player kicking a ball towards the viewer....had the worst time getting the kicking leg to look right.
Ohhh. That’s a tricky one. Perspective and foreshortening are both challenging on their own, but together, they grow exponentially harder. I do plan to at least start into them in the book though, so I’ll let you know when I have something.
Oh that's a good point. Maybe doing a beginner's book would be good and then you can get into the finer points in a second edition since people like to learn one chunk at a time...?
Or, in our modern era, I could create a ‘living book’ that grows over time. 😏
I like it. Though ya may lose some revenue there as you won't have repeat customers on the same topic.

I've seen people do a similar thing for courses though that helps you get something out fast.

Beginner's version: First incarnation sells for a lower price, and ya get feedback to find out what else people want. Then as you add more from their suggestions or questions, it sells for more, but the OG's get the additional content. Win Win for everyone.

Then the Intermediate book, same thing, etc.

So you're at the public pool. You finally managed to learn to keep your head above water all by yourself.

Then, you get splashed a lot and when you look around, you realize that you're in a pool where olympic athletes come to do their laps. You're surrounded by them.

Then someone comes along and says "Guess what folks, we figured out individual motor boats. No need to know how to swim anymore!"

Makes it kinda hard to keep your head above the water.

* * * * *

In case it's not abundantly clear - I'm kinda burning out. I'm still plugging along, but my heart's not really in it. There's a tremendous sense of "What's the point?"

Anyway - the image(s) up top are what I did today on my day off (rain).

Tried a new technique. Someone pointed out in one of the videos I watched that there's no real reason to stick to the old process of a. pencils, b. inks, c. color flats, and d. rendering because that was designed for the comics of old based on physical limitations created by the printing process. So if you're working digitally...

So I went straight from 'pencils' to 'painting'. Dunno. There's some good texture in there, but I think I should have spent more time on the figure's silhouette. The arms get a bit confusing.

The pose was based a little on the third one below - all of which I did yesterday just to be 'putting pen to paper'.

I hate to say this because I think I know what the answer is, but what if you drew with actual pencil/pen/paper or stopped using digital media for, say, a week?
I know, there’s a limited amount of stuff you can carry around with you. I get a lot of enjoyment out of the tactile part of art and crafts: writing in a notebook with a good pen, doodling with a pencil on paper, knitting with different kinds of yarn. Maybe this would help you find some enjoyment in it again.
It's funny you should mention that...

I just made myself a little 'traditional media art kit' that I keep in the car. it's another man-purse (I'm a bag whore) with the following things in it (if my memory covers everything):
* moleskine sketchbook
* small pack of watercolors (2 different packs) with brushes
* pencils
* ink pens (fineline)
* kneeded eraser
* a couple of card games
* a watercolor postcards pad (paint your postcard, then tear it out, apply postage and send)

I too get a lot out of traditional media work. It _feels good_ to do.

Two problems I have:
1. I KEEP trying to tape the page with two fingers and 'undo' the last stroke I made. I can't tell you how many times I do this. I really am a trained monkey.
2. It feels SO inefficient now. It's silly, but this actually bothers me down deep. There's a part of my brain that's constantly whispering: "We could do that faster. That wouldn't be an issue if... You know, that would take as long if..."

That's not to say it's without value. I really will try to do more, but it's a convenience thing on top of everything else.

If I stop to grab a bite, which of the two bags will I grab? The one with traditional media? (Cumbersome, no art in it to show folks who ask, can only do one thing) Or the iPad bag (with ALL my art in it, games to play while I'm eating, etc...)
Is it because of the pressure of trying to make a go of it? Figuring out how to sell, etc?
I know that can sometimes take the joy out of a thing...or is it the A.I. situation alone?
Yes to both.

And more.
I’ve been in a similar state of disheartened frustration myself lately. This is the advice my brain barfed out this evening. It may or may not make as much sense as I’d like it to.

Doug Adams said the answer to life, the universe, & everything is 42.

That's likely true. But I think all the answers can more easily be found in The Princess Bride (though towels are helpful in most any situation…).

When one has a solid direction & is aware of the terrors, one can move with effortless ease through the fireswamp. Without the awareness & direction, one spends the majority of their time fighting off R.O.U.S., half drowning in the lightning sand, whilst repeatedly falling victim to fire spurts.

Is that the definition of living there quite comfortably for some time?


That’s just surviving out of sheer will, determination, & an intense distaste for Humperdink.

But that doesn’t allow time for thinking things through clearly, or thoroughly. Or the brainpower to ask pertinent questions like…

"What are our assets?" and "What are our liabilities?"

Take some time. Do some stuff you enjoy. Do your art for the sheer love/fun of it.

Fuck Humperdink (don’t literally fuck Humperdink…he looks like a super selfish lay…just let go of the pressure).

That’ll give ya the opportunity to assess what the assets and liabilities are.

Which generally brings clarity and direction.

So creativity can burn brightly.

Like a holocaust cloak.

And then all ya gotta do is lay around in bed admiring perfect breasts & making a few brilliant verbal stabs at that stupid Humperdink.

And Voila! Ya got the Princess.

Yes, and, yes, I wholeheartedly get it. I once was in a situation where I had to revise a play I wrote for the Philly Fringe by a specific deadline and my computer DIED. I had to rewrite by hand on paper. This was 2003 or so. Nobody had smartphones. I had to rewrite it by hand, then take it to my parents’ house and type it really fast and send it to the director.
The slow, tiring process of writing it made me think my way through what I wanted to say and use as few words as possible.

My point is, the slow process will make you learn what AI never will.
Too true. And I really do need to 'disconnect' more often than I currently do - that's for damn sure.
I just looked through the list of stuff in your non-digital art bag and I love it so much I had to buy watercolor postcards.
I overthink my visual art because I worry about wasting art supplies but then I don’t improve because I don’t practice. Unused art supplies are a bigger waste.

I think we should ban the use of the phrase "game changer" and related buzz words.

If I hear one more YouTuber talk about how this shade of yellow is a TOTAL GAME CHANGER or how the nuance of this tiny adjustment to something someone else has been doing for years "totally changes everything" I'm going to have to crush someone under my foot, and since I am not in the presence of said YouTuber - because, YouTube - that means some poor schlub is going to receive a significant dose of violence not meant for them.

I think that it would be perfectly reasonable, for example, to laugh out loud and point directly at the next person you hear say "this is a game changer". And keep laughing until they leave the room or start crying.

It's obnoxious, and it's one of those things that isn't going to change because no one will do something like what I described above.

Harumph, and get off my lawn!*

[editor's note: On the off chance that you're reading this and don't know me IRL, let me be clear: I am NOT actually advocating for violence or even actual shaming someone. I'm just being grumpy and venting about something I find utterly ridiculous and annoying.]

*That shouldn't really be a problem because I don't have a lawn. 😜

Whoa. Check that out - emoticons italicize?!

Yes. There are actually things that are game changers. Due to the fact that they actually change things significantly, they happen super rarely.

Of course, if someone just grabbed all the components to a board game I was playing and replaced them with some other game, I might be inclined to violence [okay, sternly worded confusion] rather than just conceding their accurate fulfilment of the phrase.
I wholeheartedly agree. Say what you mean, don’t use buzzwords.
I honestly think it’s a kind of laziness. I don’t think that they are consciously thinking “I’ll say ‘game changer’ because that’s impactful.” I think it’s more a subconscious ‘herd mentality’ thing.

And THAT is really what’s at the core of my irritation. I dislike the “I’m just one of the Many.”

Please, people. Be weird. Let your freak flag fly. Be yourself.
When a word or phrase is overused, it becomes meaningless. Business buzzwords annoy me because they fill air without conveying useful information. The company I work for wants us to "build our own brand" internally (it's a huge company). WTF does that mean? Insta my outfits?

Two of my "brands" are Lucky Brand jeans and Trident gum so ... I am a good day for Poseidon. Neptune if you're derivative.

Buzzwords can buzz off!

[and if you are thinking of Chris Tucker as Ruby Rod in the 5th Element, that's about right ...]

I'm also thinking of our own Chris and his efforts a while back to replace the word 'literally' (in its legitimate usage) with the word 'figuratively' - just to fuck with people and make a point of how ridiculous the current usage of 'literally' in the vernacular du jour is.

I kinda want to go back to that.

And maybe do something similar with all these business buzz terms.
I'm literally, epically laughing my ass off right now. 😘

So belief in something creates a god (or goddess or...) of that thing. Even a small amount of faith - by billions of people - adds up.

Goddess of Footwear.

God of the Monsters Under the Bed.

Goddess of Walks in the Park.

God of Brunch.

You get the idea.

I'd love to collect a series of short stories by authors more skilled than myself for a compendium where I illustrate each god(dess).

I could imagine short stories on everything from their daily existence to their creation to the indirect effects of their existence on the rest of us.

Diversity in both the sorts of gods as well as the types of stories would be the point. My art would be the only consistent thing throughout the book, because I think there needs to be a visual consistency to avoid being distracting.

Consider this Creative Idea Number 734098450893278 that I won't ever be able to get to. :(

Anyway - the image up top is the latest Twitter thing I'm doing. The place is a cess pool, and keeps glitching for me, but my little corner seems (relatively) unaffected, so I keep going. Seems like it is (overall) circling the drain though.

If any of you would like to play, I made a template that prints out to 8.5 x 11 with light lines so you can use paper and pencils/pens:

I used to make offerings to the Goddess of Parking Spaces by tossing pennies underneath a car I'd just parked, thanking her for the parking space.

I told Edmundson about this. He said, "Oh, yeah, the goddess of parking spaces is totally legit, her name is Squat. Chris Adams and I used to drive around West Philly, looking for parking, and he'd have his head out the window, shouting, "A juicy lamb for SQUAT!"
Oh that’s fantastic! Just the sort of thing that should go into The Book That Shan’t Be!