Oh My Days

I took some time off after Easter as a mental break, but also as a cleaning break. Spring Cleaning I guess? But also I haven’t really had any real breaks from work since last summer. So some time off was overdue.

Plus, the boys were about to start up again in daycare / pre-school. The wife ready to go back to work. Easter was already a four-day long weekend, so I tacked on the week after as holidays. Cleaned the house, cleaned the garage. It was cathartic in a way, but ended up not being a relaxing time off at all. But I didn’t turn the computer on a single time, so that was one positive.

Which means I didn’t draw. I actually hadn’t done any drawing since I finished the last Stranger Than Friendship comic. Which tends to happen for some reason. They take a toll on me creatively more than my other art projects. Plus, obviously, the screen break plays a role. Which got me thinking about getting back into physical art again, and not relying solely on the computer. So I’ve bought myself a toy to try out. Deliver me my Huion LED Lightbox!:

I did some research and its one of the better reviewed options available. And it’s portable. Which is good because I don’t have any spare room on my computer desk.

I think I’ll still do my layouts/sketches on the computer, and then print it out and lightbox it for Pencils, Inks, Watercolour, etc. We’ll see how it goes.

I’ve always had this nagging feeling that I wanted to do my wrestling comic traditionally with pencil and ink, and then just scan for colour and the rest. So now I can give that a go.

// What I’m Drawing

I did a quick cartoon drawing that I’ve had in the back of my head for a while, ever since watching the movie Luca:

Luca is a Disney movie about a fish boy who travels to land. When he’s above water he’s in human form, but underwater he’s more of an underwater mermaid boy. Obviously being a Disney property, he’s a very cartoony character design. But, I always thought it would be funny to do a darker, Tim Burton-ish version. More of a sea monster type.

So I drew this up quick last night and I think this will be my jump-back-into-physical-art attempt. I’ll print the sketch, lightbox the pencil onto watercolour paper, and then finish as a watercolour.

I should have a finished product by my next update, and hopefully keep it from my 3yo toddler who enjoys the movie. Wouldn’t want to spoil that for him…

Besides that I have a few projects cooking:

  • X-Ladies group shot: adding Magik and 1970s Mystique to the group, and then colour
  • Angela – colour
  • Harley Quinn
  • Finish Goblin Queen

And a few projects simmering in my head:

  • Let Me Solo Her (Elven Ring community player 😉 )
  • Deadpool
  • Scarlet Witch (hopefully before the movie comes out)
  • Boba Fett

Also I have the next Stranger Than Friendship webcomic idea, revolving around the popular game Wordle. I actually collaborated with a friend on this one. My idea/plot, but he volunteered to do the script.

// What I’m Playing

Knee deep in Halo Infinite. Half way through the campaign on Legendary; having just finished Mission 8 – Pelican Down and the 2 bosses. I’ve also been grinding through the collectibles as well, so it’s slow going. So far the campaign has been a lot of fun, feels like I’m at the part where its starting to really shine, and has an enjoyable story thus far.

Next week Season 2 of the multiplayer kicks off, so I’ll also be playing around in that. Trying out the new maps and modes, and the new Battle Pass.

In co-op, I’ve been playing Sea of Thieves – Pirates of the Caribbean Adventure. And also Grounded. Slowly expanding our base out a bit and exploring/completing objectives/crafting. We recently finished the Jungle Lab and stumbled across a might scary Spider Tunnel:

At home, my wife has volunteered me as the bug killer/catcher, so I wouldn’t say I’m afraid of spiders or bugs in general. But in-game, regardless of the game, I have a few phobias: Being underwater (very stressful / claustrophobic), and real world creatures, that are bigger than me, in-game. Like the Spiders in Grounded. Especially the Wolf Spiders. They’re just mean. Anyways, this spider web nest was creepy as hell and I was not interested in sticking around.

// What I’m Reading

  • Week of April 13th
  • Nocterra #9
  • King Spawn #9
  • Batman/Catwoman #11
  • Batgirls #5
  • Week of April 20th
  • Batman: The Knight #4
  • Blue & Gold #8
  • Catwoman: lonely City #3
  • Hulk #6
  • The Nice House on the Lake #8
  • The Walking Dead Deluxe #37

//

I think that wraps up the last few weeks. Stay safe.

G325,501
iRogan

A Fellow of Infinite Jest

Happy Anniversary to Me. Stranger Than Friendship turned 5. Pretty big deal, but its a shame that my webcomic site gets neglected so. My last comic was in October when I was playing Surgeon Simulator a lot. I’ve had some new ideas, involving my son and Boomerang Fu but I just haven’t really had the motivation or drive to draw that style. Drawtober took a lot out of me, and then I did a few Spider-Gwens, and then Tracer and Jinx. And the went into the X-Men group. And now DareDevils. I really need to do another webcomic contribution, and then just get back to my Wrestling Comic if I’m ever going to see progress there.

Happy Anniversary Comic #1

It’s hard though, working on creator-owned work. Drawing pin-ups of fancy-posed, established characters is just so easy. It’s like a quick fix. You feel satisfied because you did the work and you have something to show. But it doesn’t last. I tell myself every year that “this will be the year that I do work on my comic consistently”. Like a New Year’s Resolution. But it’s just a New Year Revolution.

//

WHAT I’M DRAWING

Here’s the DareDevils I mentioned. Some WIP pencils before I ink the Hell out of it. Just giving my hand and wrist a break for the moment after too much Halo. Electra’s back arm needs some work. Reposition or repose I don’t know yet. Looks off currently.

//

WHAT I’M PLAYING

Halo. Obviously. But not much else sadly. Didn’t do a co-op night. Just wrapping up the Tenrai:Fracture event in Halo to work on the Samurai armour. Which is done again, for a few weeks. Not sure if there’s any new interim events planned for February or not. So I’ll just keep plugging away at my Battle Pass.

//

WHAT I’M READING (FEB 02/02/2022 Pull List)

  • CrossOver #11
  • Dark Knights of Steel #4
  • Echolands #6
  • Sweet Paprika #7
  • Nocterra #7
  • The Scumbag #12
  • Spawn #326
  • The Walking Dead #32

//

A shorter entry this week, as there wasn’t much exciting to report. Just kind of bummer realizations. Like a sad birthday where you realize you’re one year older, but don’t have anything to show for it.

Anyways.
Be Good.

G317,556
iRogan

Sick Burn

Another year around the sun. It was my birthday. Glad that’s out of the way. Now on to more important matters.

//

What I’m Playing

The Gunk. This was an enjoyable indie game on GamePass. I mentioned I had started playing this just after Christmas and completed it this week. It’s by no means a long game, as I was able to finish it in just under 6 hours. Managed to finish it in three play sessions and 95%’d the achievements in the process. There’s one final one which requires me going back through the game to collect some missing resources and unlocking the last upgrade. Buuuuut I’m not bothered. Gorgeous game though. Simple gameplay design. Reminds me of N64 games of old, in its simplicity, but just soo good looking.

Played some more We Were Here Together with Illestrader in our Co-op nights, as well as some Second Extinction. Just about wrapped up the final campaign mission in Second Extinction. We actually completed it last week, but I was unfortunately dropped in the last quarter of the mission, AS HOST, and my crew was able to finish the mission without me. Lucky them. I’m not really sure what the devs have planned for the game as its still in early access with unlockable achievements. No real incentive to go back once it hits 1.0 release but I’ll have to see what’s added.

And obviously, still playing Halo Infinite almost on a nightly basis. Finished the Cyberpunk Event, and now we’re back into the Fracture Event for the Samurai Armor.

//

What I’m Drawing

I made a bit more progress on the Uncanny X-Force group, with the addition of Rogue. But now the group composition feels unbalanced again. I think I will add Mystique, maybe Magik, and two guys, with the choice of Old Man Logan, Nightcrawler, Archangel, or Gambit. For the total of nine. I’m leaning towards Archangel because I think his wings will be a challenge, and Night Crawler. Plus those two are the Uncanny group anyways. So they fit. Unlike Rogue. But it was fun to draw the 80’s outfit, and the mullet.

And just as a friendly reminder that I CAN draw guys, I took a break from the X group and started working on a DareDevil / Electra pair. Should probabaly have this wrapped up this week, and then I can get back to the X-Group, and make more work for my colourist. Who is me.

//

What I’m Reading

  • Batman/Catwoman – Holiday Special
  • DC vs Vampaires #4
  • Gunslinger Spawn #4
  • The Human Target #4
  • Wonder Girl #7

Saga also returned after a 3 year hiatus, which I’m stoked about. But I collect those as Trades so I’ll have to wait 6 months. Sigh.

Wonder Girl concludes, which is fine. The series was ok, and I like the intro of Yara Flor, and it will continue in another spin off series, but I wont follow it.

DC/Vampires is also a very fun read. I love the art of Otto Schmidt as its so loose but clean, and he works his colours so well. It’s truly impressive how easy the art is to read with his simplistic style. And the story has been gripping with so many twists.

//

I think that wraps up the week that was. I have a few things on my to-do list still that I will try to find time for. Gallery first on the list. But I also do want to get a compilation video put together of the Marital Madness gameplay nights with my wife. Every 2nd Tuesday on her Twitch channel. Twitch.tv/cro0kedj. Currently playing It Takes Two, and we just finished Chapter 6.

Til’ next time.

G316,506
-iRogan

Stalemate is Victory

Games

I finished Middle-Earth: Shadow of War and I have a few things to say.

  1. I hated the ending(s?)
  2. Two of the achievements made me very angry.
  3. I hesitate to return to the game for the DLC story expansion.

Lets start with the ending(s?). It ended with a stalemate of sorts, for me. At the end of the Eltariel campaign, there is a disagreement between you and Calebrimbor. Your ghostly host stabs you in the back, which for me was a true surprise moment, and joins forces with Eltariel. She takes the ring and together they go on to confront Sauron. Shelob saves you, luckily, from dying, and you become Undead. You raise an Undead army of your own, to confront the Witch-King in Minas Morgul.

Then, you switch, unexpectedly, and now you’re playing as Calebrimbor. You fight, defeat, and then betray Eltariel and merge with Sauron.

So there is like a stalemate, with Calebrimbor merged with Sauron in one tower, and the undead ranger at the other tower. All for the sake of balance. I understand that there’s more to the game with DLC, and the Siege Missions, but the two final boss fights just felt really sudden and un-original.

That also brings me to the two final achievements I got in the game. Both of which would have you think you would unlock through progression.

Forged By War – Unlock all Player Skills.

I had unlocked all the skills, and each skill also has 2-3 alts that you can unlock and assign or switch. I figured I’d have unlocked the achievement as soon as I unlocked the main sets of skills but it never did. Then I figured probably all the alts had to be unlocked as well, but that was a HUGE grind. But at the end of the game, this actually unlocked once I became Undead. With no real explanation.

The Stuff of Legend – Equip a full Legendary Gear set as Talion.

I unlocked this as soon as I got to play as Calebrimbor, in the final boss battle. The gear sets are locked behind collectibles and challenged, and boss frights. There’s 9 different gear sets, and 6 items per set. I had unlocked an assortment across all the sets, but as soon as I played as Calebrimbor, in the final boss fight, it unlocked automatically. So not only did I not have to work to unlock/find a full gear set throughout the game, but I didn’t even equip it as Talion. The game just did it for me as Calebrimbor.

I’ve decided to just leave the game as is. At least for now.

Will I come back to it some day to clean up some achievements and play the story expansions. Maybe.

Did I do that for the first one? No.

This week Forza Horizons 5 releases, so get ready to see lots of car photos. Ha. No Seriously. Also It Takes Two is available on the gamepass, and I’d like to play through that with the Wife.

Art

I’ve made a bit more progress with my final Drawtober piece. Flats/base colours. Super slow going, as I’ve been struggling with the background.

I have one idea which has her in the foreground on the top of some cliffs, and the background, cliffs and ocean. Open, airy, scenic. This would require quite a bit of work and rendering, and I’m not really sure I have it in me.

Another idea is simpler, black background with a light source in the center, and just a textured, reflective floor. Like inside a temple or something

What I’m Reading

So I’ve been thinking more about what I wanted to do for a comic section, and one thing I will start showcasing is my weekly pull list. I read a combination of Image, DC, and Marvel. In that order. Primarily single issues, and a few trades, if that was how my collection started with that book. I used to collect exclusively trades for years, but my shelves became very full, so going back to single issues, and boxes. Plus its adds more variety to me week, and they’re easier to consume weekly.

This week’s pull list:

Batman Reptilian #5
Crossover #9
The Me You Love in the Dark #4
Radiant Black #9
Spawn #323
The Walking Dead Deluxe #26
Mirka Andolfo’s Sweet Paprika #4
Wonder Girl #4
(not pictured) Dark Knights of Steel #1
(not pictured) The Human Target #1

Going forward, this section will be dedicated to Wednesdays, as that’s comic book day, and will help break up the week.

And speaking of trades, I currently have 130!!! unread trade paperback/graphic novels on my shelf. Plus about 20 large format collections, like omnibuses/collected versions. So I’m going to challenge myself to start picking away at this huge backlog. Like a weekly challenge to read 7 in a week. Sunday – Saturday. And at the end of the week, maybe include it in my Wednesday post, my read list, and if I succeeded or not :p.

See you then.

Be Good.
iRogan
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Updates and Changes – forever more

It’s been a couple minutes hasn’t it? Where did I leave you? I guess a few things have transpired since we last talked. Let us catch up.

I’ve been fine. I’ve been heavily invested in a few different activities over the past few months. I completed Shadow of the Colossus. Still a great game; as good as I remember it being back when I played it on the PS2. Controls just as clunky, but still a fun ride.

I picked up the Last Guardian on the PS4 and I’ve been spending a little bit of time in that – not as much as I’d like as I’ve been suffering from what feels like motion sickness while playing it. I don’t know if this has to do with frame rate or the colours and brightness, but at certain points in the game it just feels off. This has restricted me to only playing roughly 30 minutes per sitting and then forcing me to take a break. I’ve heard that the game does play smoother on the PS4 Pro, so it may well just be a weird frame-rate issue that my brain has a hard time processing. I’ll also be picking up Horizon: Zero Dawn soon, as I would love to dive into that game.

I picked up Watch Dogs 2, and thoroughly completed that game. And I mean thoroughly. Every side mission, 99% of the achievements – I didn’t dabble too much in the online functions so there is still one more locked away. I have the season pass too, so I’m waiting on some upcoming story content which is around the corner.

I picked up some smaller games as well recently, in Feist and Candleman. Feist was just OK; it is similar to Limbo but with a more vibrant colour palette. You play a little furry monster and have to scramble and jump across the levels, avoiding traps and other monsters trying to kill you. You can pick up sticks and rocks to defend yourself. I found the controls to be a little slow on the response, and the game overall was fairly short. The bulk of the achievements involve completing each level without dying, and completing the level under a specific par time. Candleman is a puzzle-platformer where you play as a candle in dark lit levels, and you need to find your way to the end of each room, lighting other candles along way, while ensuring your wax does not run out. It is a gorgeous game with beautiful lighting effects. Easy, fun game, with easy, generous achievements.

In the co-op land, with Illestrader, we’ve wrapped up Gears of War 4 and are currently plugging away in Astroneer (Early Preview) and Borderlands The Pre-Sequel. We’ll be picking up Ghost Recon Wildlands in the next few weeks. I do occasionally stream on Twitch, so you can catch me there/here: www.twitch.com/irogans.

I’m currently playing Deus Ex Mankind Divided, and after that I have Mafia III, Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, Quantum Break and Far Cry Primal queued up.


On a completely non-gaming front, after Christmas, as an investment in my art, I purchased a Huion 22″ graphics pen monitor. I’ve always been interested in the Wacom Cintiq monitors, but could never justify the price point. So I went searching for alternatives, and came across the Huion. I love it so far, and it works well with all the applications I use, and for a fraction of the price. I even started up my long-desired webcomic – Stranger Than Friendship.

Its a comic about myself, and my best friend Illestrader, the games we play, and life in general. It’s been fun to do so far. Still in its infancy, however, I am trying to go for a once-per-week update schedule. I haven’t invested a whole lot of time into the website yet. I’m waiting till I have a little bit more of an archive before I start pushing it, and creating a domain. All things for this year.

I’ve added some photos of my recent work to the Arts gallery, and thats listed under the Stranger Than Friendship menu item now. I also started re-working on my Large Borderlands piece. Re-inking and re-colouring. Should be fun on my new tablet monitor.

16142767_10154721907645255_5799417350454611333_n

I drew this for #Camuary, in January

I think that pretty much sums up everything over the past few months. With the webcomic now, some of my time each week is dedicated that that, but I do wish to keep this side separate, and talk about games. Just gotta find the time to do everything.

-iRogan