Thursday, 11 June 2015

Fun with ACEOs (1-5).

I bought a hefty amount of ACEOs a little while ago for me to play with. I wanted to have a go at little paintings again - I guess I've missed working on small and quick things after all. I also thought that they'd be great for testing new art materials and practising techniques or new subjects (or old subjects that I'm still crap at). If it goes wrong, I haven't wasted much as the cards are really cheap to buy. Basically, they're for me to play around with. Some will be "finished", some won't. Most are probably just going to be the result of "I want to play with something art-related but I'm not sure what".


Cotman watercolours. Intentionally unnatural colours (that don't come across at all in the photo - that grass is NOT that shade of green). I couldn't be bothered with mixing, I just wanted to play with my new cards. 


Cotman watercolours and Copic Multiliner in Sepia. No sketch lines, no idea what I was doing, done freehand while the next one was taking ages to dry. Turned out to be my favourite so far. 


Cotman watercolour. Playing with more muted tones for a landscape scribble but I didn't really like them. I think I prefer the brighter ones I'm used to. Landscapes remain one of my art nemeses. 


Cotman watercolour. Wanted to play with drawing pansies but then decided to turn this into a waterbrush test. I've never painted with a waterbrush before. Conclusion: detail is impossible, water water everywhere. I had to work with water when I didn't want water, which meant it had to be done in lots of layers (something I don't like doing with watercolour anymore) and the paint ended up thick and flat. For work like this, the waterbrush isn't ideal. I imagine it's more suited to sketching, which is what people use them for, so I'll try it for that soon.


This turned out a lot better than the last eye I tried to paint (and wasted a much smaller piece of paper, too) but I still have so much I need to improve. Eyelashes and eyebrows are really hard to do with the brushes that I have - I may have to dig my sable rigger out when I try these in future.

The only one I signed with paint and a brush is the third one, the rest were done with a Copic Multiliner. I'm not good at signing my name in miniature: 2.5"x3.5" doesn't give you much to work with! They're all a bit warped, as you can see. I did tape them all down, but there's only so much tape you can put on a card that tiny and still have a surface left to paint on.

I'm going to blog these like I did (and should still be doing but shhh) the Instagram photos. Every five ACEOs will be a blog. I have around 200 cards: I'm hoping to see an improvement as I work through them. 

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Video game list - 2015 edition!

Video game list updated for 2015! This year, I'm going to make two changes.

1 - I'm going to add every game bought in 2015 to the list in bold.
2 - I'm going to leave every game completed in 2015 on the list, but cross them out.

My goal for this year is to complete 15 games, but my super ultimate goal is to complete more games than I end up buying (this is never going to happen, ever). This stack is just getting bigger and bigger.

I removed games from the list that I know cannot be truly completed, so games like Guild Wars 2 and The Sims 3 are gone. There are probably more games that can't be completed but I won't find out what they are until I've played them. I've removed the approximate completion times and the years of release because I've made this into a database and that information has gone into that. Then, when I feel like playing a game that's less than 10 hours long, doesn't have any sequels and was recently released, I can ask and the database will provide a list.

I decided against my initial idea to spread out the larger games because I think I'd rather get the smaller ones out the way first just to shorten the list. It's also nice to be able to sink enough time into the larger ones and enjoy them properly. I have my currently-in-progress list, but I'm aiming to get smaller games done once the ones on that are complete. Having Skyrim, Fallout 3 and Final Fantasy VII on there at the same time isn't doing me any favours.

As before, these are all the games that I own that I've either never played at all, never finished or finished years ago and would like to replay because I've bought it on Steam. I'm not keen on playing some of them at all, but I'll see how I get on. In most cases I have special editions, collector's editions or Game of the Year editions, so I have more to get through than just the base game.

Currently in progress
* The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
* Fallout 3
* Final Fantasy VII
* Syberia

Full list
* 3 Stars of Destiny
* A Bird Story
* Aetherion
* Age of Empires II, Age of Empires III
* Akane the Kunoichi
* Alan Wake
* Alien Breed 2: Assault
* Always Sometimes Monsters
* Amnesia: The Dark Descent
* Anodyne
* Another World
* Assassin's Creed III, Assassin's Creed: Liberation, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
* Avatar
* Aveyond: Lord of Twilight, Aveyond: Gates of Night, Aveyond: The Darkthrop Prophecy
* Awesomenauts 
* Banished
* Bastion
* Batman: Arkham City
* The Binding of Isaac
* Bioshock, Bioshock 2, Bioshock Infinite
* The Book of Legends
* Borderlands, Borderlands 2
* The Bridge
* Burnout Paradise
* Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
* Castle Crashers
* Cave Story
* Chantelise
* Child of Light 
* Chaos on Deponia, Goodbye Deponia
* Chip's Challenge 1
* Cogs
* Commandos 2: Men of Courage, Commandos 3: Destination Berlin
* Cook, Serve, Delicious!
* Dark Souls
* Dead Island
* Deadly Sin, Deadly Sin 2
* Dead Space, Dead Space 2
* Deus Ex, Deus Ex: Invisible War, Deus Ex: Human Revolution
* Dishonored
* Divine Divinity, Beyond Divinity, Divinity II
* Don't Starve
* Dragon Age: Origins
* Dreamscape
* Dust: An Elysian Tail
* Ecco the Dolphin, Ecco: The Tides of Time 
* Edolie
* The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
* Eldritch
* Fable: The Lost Chapters
* Fable 3
* Fallout, Fallout 2, Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas
* Far Cry, Far Cry 2, Far Cry 3
* Farming Simulator 2013
* Fez
* Final Fantasy I, Final Fantasy II, Final Fantasy III, Final Fantasy IV, Final Fantasy IV: The After Years, Final Fantasy V, Final Fantasy VI, Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy VIII, Final Fantasy IX, Final Fantasy X, Final Fantasy X-2, Final Fantasy XII, Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings, Final Fantasy XIII, Final Fantasy XIII-2
* Golden Axe, Golden Axe II, Golden Axe III
* Gone Home
* Grand Theft Auto 1, 2, 3, 4, Episodes from Liberty City, San Andreas, Vice City
* Greyfox
* Gun
* Half-Life 2
* Half Minute Hero: Super Mega Neo Climax Ultimate Boy, Half Minute Hero: The Second Coming
* Hitman: Absolution
* Homework Salesman
* Hotline Miami
* The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing
* In Search of Immortality
* Just Cause 2
* Killing Floor
* Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts II, Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days
* Labyrinthine Dreams
* La-Mulana
* Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris
* Last Dream
* Legionwood: The Tale of Two Swords, Legionwood 2: Rise of the Eternal's Realm
* Lego Batman
* Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4, Lego Harry Potter: Years 5-7
* Lego The Hobbit
* Lego Lord of the Rings
* Limbo
* Machinarium
* Magicka
* Mark of the Ninja
* Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2
* Metro 2033, Metro 2033 Redux, Metro: Last Light, Metro: Last Light Redux
* Microsoft Flight Simulater X
* Millennium - A New Hope, Millennium 2: Take Me Higher, Millennium 3: Cry Wolf, Millennium 4: Beyond Sunset, Millennium 5: The Battle of the Millennium
* Mirror's Edge
* Monaco
* Murdered: Soul Suspect
* Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit
* Nether
* Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna) 
* Nihilumbra
* The Novelist
* Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee, Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus, Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee, Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath
* One Way Heroics
* PixelJunk Eden
* Pixel Piracy
* Portal 2
* Prince of Persia, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones, Prince of Persia: The Warrior Within, Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands
* Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale
* The Reconstruction, Reconstruction Zero: I Miss the Sunrise
* Resident Evil 5, Resident Evil 6
* Reus
* Shadowgrounds, Shadowgrounds: Survivor
* Shelter
* Sid Meier's Civilization V
* Sign Motion
* The Sims: Medieval
* Skyborn
* Sniper Elite V2
* Spec Ops: The Line
* Spelunky
* Spiral Knights
* Splinter Cell: Blacklist
* Spoiler Alert
* Spyro: A Hero's Tail
* Squishy the Suicidal Pig
* Star Stealing Prince
* SteamWorld Dig
* Super Meat Boy
* The Swapper
* Sweet Lily Dreams
* Syberia, Syberia 2
* System Shock 2
* Terraria
* Thief Gold, Thief II, Thief: Deadly Shadows, Thief
* Thomas Was Alone
* Tomb Raider I, Tomb Raider II, Tomb Raider III, Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation, Tomb Raider: Chronicles, Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness, Tomb Raider: Legend, Tomb Raider: Anniversary, Tomb Raider: Underworld
* Torchlight II
* Transistor
* Trine 2
* Valdis Story: Abyssal City
* Valkyria Chronicles
* Vessel
* Visions and Voices
* The Walking Dead: Season 2
* Whisper of a Rose
* The Witcher, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
* Worms Armageddon
* Worms Reloaded
* XCOM: Enemy Unknown
* Ys II, Ys: Origin, Ys: The Oath in Felghana

Completed but with less than 100% achievements:
* Braid
* Deponia
* Game Dev Tycoon
* Papers, Please
* Portal
* Tomb Raider
* Torchlight
* Trine
* Ys I

Monday, 9 February 2015

Paintbox woes and homemade solutions.

The first painting of Paintcember (let's face it, there weren't many more after that) officially killed the idea of the 24-pan box for me. Rattle rattle rattle rattle rattle.


Unfortunately, the box I want doesn't exist and while I could probably design one, I have no idea where I'd go to get it made. Every box I can find for sale has something wrong with it.

I've been looking up homemade boxes on the Internet and trying to come up with ideas. I figure the only way I'll get a box that I like is if I make one, but I'm not great at making plastic boxes or ceramic palettes. I want a removable palette with a good amount of wells, so I'd either have to buy one and then build around it or somehow magically find one that fitted. I do have a wooden box, but it's quite large and really more suited towards tube paint (like everything else). Getting things for pan paints to fit inside the box would be a nightmare.


The only other option that I had was to modify the rattle monster box. I could glue the pans in place, but I need to be able to remove them for cleaning. I also need to be able to replace the pans when they run out because I don't have many paint tubes (I know using tubes to refill empty pans is in the long run is far more economical, but since I bought so many sets on my quest for The Perfect Paintbox, I now have more paint pans than brain cells) and I like to change my palettes around quite a bit. I could fit metal plates into the box and attach magnets to the pans but that's a lot of work, as well as permanent, so it's a last resort. Also, then the pans may no longer fit in the box, which is useless. The plate and magnets would have to be super thin. So. White-tack to the rescue. I took two little pieces, stuck them to the bottom of each pan and stuck them down. Thus, the rattle monster was defeated. As a bonus to this, it now looks really neat!

Yes, it still closes with the brush there.

However, I quite liked the idea of making my own paintbox, after seeing so many videos about them while I was trying to figure out what to do. I own a decent amount of the six limited edition Winsor & Newton paints and they have nowhere to live once I start using them. If I open them and squeeze them out onto a palette and don't use everything that I squeezed out, then what? They're LIMITED EDITION, dammit!

For studio work, I bought a metal box with space for 12HP/6WP. I hate metal boxes. I really, really hate metal boxes. They're awful for mixing watercolours and I don't understand why they're so popular, but the metal box was my only option for a box that fitted pans in it (seriously, giant crater in the market, why do you even exist?). The six paints have six empty whole pans to live in and an unfortunately metal box, but as it's for studio work, I can just use one of my porcelain palettes and ignore the metal ones. The box itself is actually REALLY well made, compact, in perfect condition and I love that it fits either half pans or whole pans or a mixture of the two. It's just... metal. It fits two half pans as well as the six whole pans though, so I can have a half pan of white gouache and another colour in there too.

At least my da Vinci brush has a home now.

I'd still hate to take that metal box anywhere. They scratch fairly easily and I'd probably destroy it in a week. Useless metal palettes plus size also means that it would be a waste of space. I certainly don't need six whole pans just for painting outdoors. Instead, I bought a 1oz black "survival" tin and some empty half pans. I can carry the plastic folding palette that I always take out with me anyway and mix colours on that. I can fit some items in the box as well as the paints (the metal mini Winsor & Newton brushes fit in there but my da Vinci one doesn't), and a tiny pencil case for any extras won't hurt to carry (I have some super slim and small ones and they're perfect for things like this).

This box fits in the palm of my hand. Paintboxes don't really come much smaller than this. (EDIT: Yes they do! I found one online in America that's the size of a business card and fits 14 pans in it - I'll do another blog post when I have paints for it!)

I'm going to put more tack down to stop the paintbrush rattling around.

The box fits one whole pan and six half pans quite comfortably. Because I use blue the most, I bought the most of it before shops sold out, so that will have the whole pan and the other five colours can go in the half pans. The spare half pan can be used for white gouache or another colour. I stuck them down with the white-tack again and they haven't moved at all, so there's that. A lot of people I saw on YouTube glued their pans down but all manner of outdoor muck ends up in my paintbox while I'm out and I'd rather it wasn't permanent. 

Another idea is to use the tin you get with a Derwent 6-pack of pencils. I have four of these tins (in use currently though) and they'd be perfect for a more "complete" outdoor kit. They fit 13 Winsor & Newton half pans across the length, as well as a paintbrush and a pencil. You could probably cram another row of half pans in there as well. So that's an idea for when I use up one of the tins, if I decide that I want more space. They're quite small and don't weigh a great deal.

The studio box for the limited edition paints does have a purpose: I've been putting together my own mini studio space in my room over January/February! I have a desk and a chair for the desk and my table easel can live on top and I have somewhere to work at last! I'm currently going through my supplies and deciding what gets to live in the desk drawers and what goes into storage boxes, but when I'm done with that I might do another post to show what I have in there. The desk drawers are luckily quite deep and can hold a lot of art supplies!