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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I did a little experimental thread over on my Twitter stream. I wanted to encourage a couple of things - namely audience interaction and I wanted to provide them an actual reason to share the thread.

Simply put: I provided a series of polls for folks to vote on to determine how I constructed a monster.

Here's a link to the thread in case you're curious.

The results to the first poll (bipedal or quadrapedal) was:

The second poll was what kind of terrain the creature spends its time in. The audience chose subterranean so I added digging claws and narrowed the torso to make the creature more wedge shaped.

The third poll was how many heads the creature has. Crowd said 2.

And the fourth and final poll was what kind of tail to give it (or to give it none). The crowd picked a long straight tail with a club end.

After the final poll, I finished the tail and posted it and then felt like I should go ahead and paint it. Since I was already in an experimental mode, I took the sketch, blurred it a bit, and then mixed the sketch lines in with the digital paint layers. The final results are at the top of the post.

Here's the process video if you enjoy that.

I really need to get back to the work for my Patreon page, but this was an excellent little experiment and I plan to do it again in the near future.

This is the character I'm currently working on for Patreon:

That was clever twittering.
Thank you sir! I rather thought so.

The key, to my way of thinking, is to actually give people a reason to be invested rather than mindlessly echoing "Please like and subscribe and share with your friends BECAUSE REASONS."
And what are you calling the crowd-sourced beastie?
Rob 8/14
I like it!

Though here's a question - should it get two names given the two heads?

Also, do they read as different personalities?
Currently open for discussion, and taking suggestions!

Still doing the heads thing. Here we have 36-40 and they be gerblins!

In case you're curious about the pseudo random geometric shapes I started this batch with, you're in luck - here they are:

If you would like to see the rest, they're in a thread over on the Twitterz.

Not So Traditional Media

So I won't be in town, but my family is having a get together this Sunday. There's going to be some festivities for the youngins' thanks to my folks. Slip 'n Slide, water balloon toss, etc.

And speaking of tossing water balloons, my folks asked if I would create a target to put down in the yard so they can launch balloons at it from the deck.

My Dad got the idea that it would be good to use Tyvek since it's all white so the image would stand out. Tyvek isn't exactly the best surface to work on, but I couldn't argue with the contrast idea and he has a bunch extra so it was free, and it's durable, so... Sharpies worked to lay in lines:

Then, because this is clearly a "use what you've got handy" kind of project, we used a pair of random latex based house paints (watered down to various levels) that they had on hand and some overly large brushes to paint it. This was a little extra trying BECAUSE TYVEK.

But also, I was having fun doing something stupid and calling it art. So:

Certainly not the greatest work I've ever done, but it was fun, and hopefully the kids will get a kick out of chucking stuff at it. :)

Also, it kinda looks like a goblin head. I think I've got goblins on the brain lately.

And just like that, I notice the horns coming in at odd angles into the eyebrows. Apparently the sun was getting to me as I worked on this outdoors.

I'll never be able to NOT see how b0rked this is ever again.
I wouldn't argue with dragon horns. I might throw water balloons at them.
Thanks. That IS what it's for, after all. :)
Clearly, it’s due to swelling of his occipital ridge from that time he tried to eat a day care center outside of Jackson, Mississippi, and seven four-year-olds rolled a refrigerator directly into his head.
Can’t fool me.
That is a terrific water balloon target.
Thanks, chica. Hoping the kids feel the same way!

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!