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.

  • Followed
  • Follows you

Edit biography

One of the themes in my life of late is to try to get as many folks as I can to see the illustration stuff I'm doing. In an era of "you don't see everything from everyone you follow" social media, this is... more challenging than seems reasonable.

I understand that mailing lists are the way to go for that, but the problem with mailing lists are two fold: 1. You have to get people onto them, which many folks are loathe to do. 2. Once they're on your list, many folks ignore / delete the emails because they're 'extra'.

Which isn't to say I'm not going that route. On the contrary. I probably will. I've started to before, but never really finished (see all my previous commentary on ADHD).

Even if / when I DO manage to create a reasonable email list, that still doesn't get around issue 1. The vast majority of the internet using world won't be on it. And dragonbones.net is accessible to pretty much everyone who has access to the web.

Shut up, man. Get to the point.

Okay, okay. Sorry. Verbose Guy here.

I thought I would start doing a monthly summary post on dragonbones about the sketch work that I did the month prior.

It's a good art-news system, it gives folks a taste of what's in the Patreon page if they might be interested, and it keeps dragonbones fresh(ish).

So here's the first one: The Sketchy Stuff from December 2022.

(Dwarf at the top of the page is just something I was noodling on... yesterday? This is at about the 1/2 hour stage.)

MORE
5d
 

Yes, we get it. You made an ebook. 

Sorry - I know you've probably seen me posting about it elsewhere. Thing is, you can have it for free, if you like, and I want as many people to have access to it as possible.

Didn't get anything for your neice for the holidays? Bingo. Grandson's into fantasy / D&D? Sold. They can print the pages out and color them as many times as they like.

I won't tell if you're there coloring alongside them. ;)

Anyway, if you haven't picked up a copy yet, it's available on my site / Gumroad here: 

If you do download / gift / check it out, I would love to hear what you liked or disliked about it! (I'm planning to do more like this in the future, so all feedback helps.)

MORE
12/19 '22
 

Sorry for the late notice, but if any of y'all are around York, PA (or willing to go there) tonight at about 7pm, my buddy Brad and I will be demoing Maze of Minos at Brad's FLGS - The Gamehaven Cafe and Bakery.

We're going to demo the game and I'm going to record the process so I can  practice and take a copy with me on the road and do demos in the various game shops I come across while traveling.

MORE
12/8 '22 3 Comments
Sadly unavailable tonight. All I can find out is that “Ionquest Games is a Pennsylvania Domestic Fictitious Names”. Everything else is still secret, I guess.
Brian Rapp 12/8 '22
OMGOMGOMG GOOD LUCK
Thomas Boutell 12/8 '22
Eeeeeeeeeee! This is soooo exciting!!! Gonna need an update :)
Shannie 12/8 '22
 

Since some of us have been talking about Ye Olde Birdsite, I thought I would make sure y'all saw that there's been a breach, so you might want to reset your passwords and / or add two step authentication if you hadn't already.

You may feel 'done' with the site, but just remember that things can be done in your name if someone gets ahold of your account.

(Okay, I'll stop telling you all things you already know. I just worry about my peeps.)

For reference: (the teaser text is a little misleading - this is a recent breach)


MORE
11/27 '22 5 Comments
The breach consists of a database correlating Twitter handles, email addresses and phone numbers. This sucks, but as breaches go it could be a lot worse. It predates the recent change of ownership from "normal capitalists" to "one totally batshit lone wolf capitalist plus some banks desperately selling off their stake at 60 cents on the dollar."
Thomas Boutell 11/27 '22
Ahhh. So no PW leakage? I should have read further.

Of course, my habit of (securely) resetting my password at the drop of a hat is one I don't mind having.

Also, my longer / more complicated passwords policy as described by my buddy Tom a while back...
Never hurts to change your password periodically.
#truth
Poor Elon. Discovering that he's not really King of The World must be so painful.
 

I've been seeing a lot of talk about how many Twitter users are trying out Mastodon (and others on the Fediverse) but that they find it too difficult to use.

While I realize that the crowd here tend to be a bit more tech savvy than the mean, I was wondering if any of you had that experience?

Rest assured, I won't judge - I'm just curious where the tricky parts are and if I could offer any help. I'm guessing that if any of you had challenges with some or all aspects of Mastodon, there's certain to be others.

So far, I'm finding it really tough to find anyone who will say "I had trouble with x, y, and z aspects." There's just a lot of hand waving and 'generally too complex'.

That's hard to help with.

(Image selected because it's the closest to Mastodon of the things I've done.)

MORE
11/25 '22 10 Comments
I like it. I don’t find it terribly difficult. That being said, let’s let my inner newbie talk a minute.

First you choose an instance on which to make your account. Some say it doesn’t matter. Others say you should choose one that represents your interests, because of the local timeline. Someone points out the federated timeline includes content from many instances. But oh, the first friend says, only content that someone on your instance is following, so you’ll never get everything. A third friend says “this is all beside the point if you use the official iOS app, it doesn’t even support the local and federated timelines, because they are ridiculous firehoses of information.”

You’re nervous now. This isn’t as simple as signing up for twitter.

Then friend one says, “oh of course you shouldn’t pick an instance with bad moderation policies.” You nod. That sounds bad for sure. “Or an instance where people don’t use content warnings for everything. Or an instance that allows cops to join.” Wait. What? You know why people have issues with the police and you share those concerns, but your cousin is a cop and you can’t quite picture banning her from the local Twitter-equivalent outright. Maybe they don’t mean banning private accounts for cops? How would they even know? This sounds complicated and you need to examine your feelings.

“The guy who made the official app is a jerk for taking away those timelines.” “Nah, they were impractical.” “The local timeline is great on a small instance about your interests.” “Just search for hashtags. That always works.” “Yes, but (vague gesture) it only knows about stuff other instance users are following, because something something something federation.”

Finally friend four says “geez guys, you’re scaring friend zero.” He turns to you and says, “Go to joinmastodon.org and there’s a little quiz to help you pick an instance. Them just use it like it’s twitter. You’ll have a pretty good time.” You nod and swallow and give it a go. A month later you’re contributing to a Patreon for the upkeep of your chosen instance, and you’re vaguely aware you should consider volunteering as a moderator. A friend asks about Mastodon. You try to be friend four, but you have thoughts you’re bursting to share.

Finally you say: “look, I know it sounds like a lot, but Twitter has all these problems too. They just hid them under a pile of money until the money ran out and a crazy billionaire took over and made it a hellscape. Mastodon is run by the people for the people. That’s good, right? Just give it a go. You can change instances later if you want to.”

Your friend takes the plunge, or doesn’t. You go back to looking at cat pictures. Mastodon has an excellent Caturday participation rate.
Thomas Boutell 11/26 '22
>>> "Finally you say: “look, I know it sounds like a lot, but Twitter has all these problems too. They just hid them under a pile of money until the money ran out and a crazy billionaire took over and made it a hellscape. Mastodon is run by the people for the people. That’s good, right? Just give it a go. You can change instances later if you want to.”"

Sounds like you and I are thinking the same way about it.

I think I have a kind of flexibility that most folks don't. A decade of bouncing from 'home' to 'home' in anywhere from a single day to a month at a shot has left me with a "nothing is permanent, so stay agile" mindset.

That's just not reasonable for most everyone, and I think it's skewing my view of this.

I also think it (Mastodon / Fediverse) requires continued effort from people in a way that any service with an algorithm feeding you content doesn't. You have to find all of your people. They won't be presented to you.

That might sound condescending, but I sincerely don't mean it that way. Social media already asks a lot of us. Working to find out tribe is a not insubstantial addition to that.

Still, I kinda want to do a stripped down slide deck / video explainer with Friend Four's perspective. Something simple to help folks who are struggling, but curious.
I've not looked at any alternatives yet; I'm happy to see this clown show through to its inevitably hilarious end, and I'm really not using Twitter for anything meaningful, so there's nothing to replace. But I'm watching this post for its wealth of insight and info. Mostly I just wanted to chime in to say I want that beastie in every game I'm ever in from now on. What's its taxonomy?
Rob 11/26 '22
Yeah, I'm still on Twitter too. I haven't seen any issues directly and personally. Politics, sure. And Musk's willingness to give a the Cheetoh his account back (regardless of the fact that apparently he didn't want it?) is a pretty big red flag, but...

I just saw enough chatter about Mastodon that I thought it warranted a look, and I'm really glad I did.

As to the beastie: it's just my version of a 'hollyphant' ( https://forgottenrealms.fandom.com/wiki/Hollyphant ). That entry actually mentions one based on a Mastodon, but I hadn't seen that before. So when I saw 'winged elephant', I thought "I can do better!"

This was long before I knew that Mastodon existed. 😅
Why didn't Saruman just take the flying mastodon to Caradhras and finish off the fellowship in person?
Brian Rapp 11/26 '22edited
Right?! Would have made those movies so. much. faster.
I very, very much enjoyed my self-curated Twitter echo chamber of news, information, Canadian #lawtwitter, and oddball stuff that would be peculiarly to my sole interests. By the end, I was able to use it essentially like Google reader from back in the day to find content and keep track of people I wanted to stay in touch with. Twitter was also a huge timesink of workday distraction for me.

Mastodon looks like it would not measure up to my Twitter experience (in particular, the multiple server concept doesn't sound like the one-stop shopping experience I had with Twitter), while at the same time it would also be hitting me up for money and even more time, whether going to different servers to find content/people, or as a volunteer to improve the experience. Not for me, I'm afraid.
Michele Grant 11/26 '22
>>>"I very, very much enjoyed my self-curated Twitter echo chamber of..."

Me too. I've encountered a LOT of venom from folks when I mentioned that Twitter was my social media of choice. "Isn't that just a cess pool of crappy politics and bullying?!"

But I wasn't seeing that. Like yourself, I just spent some time and effort being careful with what and how often I interacted, and I was finding it quite fruitful. Still am, if I'm honest.

As I see it, Twitter has one thing that is both better and worse than Mastodon: the algorithm fountain of content.

It's better because once we've done the work of cultivating the who and what of our interactions to a point where it 'understands' us, we don't have to keep working at finding new and interesting stuff. The algorithm takes over and we can (for the most part) kick our feet up and just enjoy.

The down side is that doing so hands over control of what we see. It's always frustrated me that even after I say "I want to see posts that opadit makes." I might very well NOT see a certain post.

I know some sites are better about this than others. I can do notifications. (I loathe notifications.) And it might be no better on Mastodon once I have a large enough collection of folks I'm following. But for now, I kinda love that everything friends post, I will see.

It's also possible that the rough edges on the Fediverse are actually a big part of why I like it this far. There's something Web 1.0 - feeling about it. I get that sense of stumbling on something cool that I found by looking.

Arguably, that's a rabbit hole that I shouldn't go down if I want to stay productive, but I can't deny that it's pleasurable.

*shrug*

I'm sincerely not trying to sway people into something that they don't want to do, and I REALLY appreciate that you gave me specific elements that aren't for you. It helps me understand what (at least some) folks are not loving about it.
I didn't have any issues, but I created an account a couple years ago and saw it as exploratory and an addition to my other accounts rather than "the ship is sinking the ship is sinking how do life boats work?"
Chris Herdt 11/26 '22
Yeah. I'm (mostly) feeling that way myself - but now. I mean, I have a definite sense that the ship is sinking and I even feel that loss pretty intensely since it's my social media platform of choice. Enough so that I made a meme. But (and I'm guessing here) maybe I just appreciate that these are systems that we're not paying for - at least in the traditional sense - and we just accept that they MUST be part of our lives.

I kinda like the exploring. Finding cool new stuff is what the net is all about to me. Guess I'm showing my age there.
 

Thinking about doing NaNoWriMo this year, but I'm behind on the very tail end of Inktober and want to finish that first.

And really, this year, Thanksgiving is going to be the 'big' holiday since Trina, Ben, and the boys will be in town then and not for Christmas.

But with all of that said, I know I can 'win', and I kinda want that.

I first attempted NaNo in 2008, and it was a rough attempt. I mean, I started at least a week late (though memory says more) and with tremendous support from Jill "xtingu" Knappstill almost crossed the finish line.

So it's kinda stuck in my craw ever since.

I've only made half hearted attempts in subsequent years.

I think that, as I'm writing this, I'm 'talking myself into it'.

Well, I guess I better get my Inktober images finished. I've got a lot to get done in the next 24 hours.

It will almost be something fantasy or urban fantasy based, but what do you think I should write about?

MORE
10/31 '22 3 Comments
I'm predisposed to terseness, so 50,000 words in a month seems extremely difficult, but I had fun with my "planet" series which postulates a society and extrapolates from a few of its features. If you have a novel's worth of story in you, putting it in an invented setting like that can be a bonus.
Brian Rapp 10/31 '22
I dig it.

I think I want to go a little more 'traditionally novelesque', but don't have anything in mind. I'm considering doing it almost like a form of roleplaying, but if I'm going to do that, I need to come up with a strategy that will keep me from outlining - at least in depth outlining.

Hmmm...
I loved that series. By contrast, I met the nanowrimo victory conditions once, but it was unreadable garbage. Finish things that resonate for you.
Thomas Boutell 10/31 '22
 

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:

MORE
8/13 '22 7 Comments
That was clever twittering.
Thomas Boutell 8/14 '22
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 '22
Jack.
I like it!

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

Also, do they read as different personalities?
Matt Lichtenwalner 8/14 '22edited
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.

MORE
7/19 '22 6 Comments
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.
Brian Rapp 7/19 '22
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!