On sharing progress and repetition

If you follow me on various social media, you’ll know I take a while to finish art (now anyway — I used to finish art in a day or two before my Very Long Break). You also know I will share pieces in various stages of progress.

Sometimes I feel a little bad that I show a drawing of various stages so many times — I always imagine people are sick of the drawing before I’ve even finished it (of course, maybe it’s just that I’m tired of seeing it over and over heheh!).

That hasn’t actually been the case (and perhaps those who are more interested in just seeing the finished piece simply follow my dA or do as I do and quickly skim social media/blogs and stop when they have time or something grabs their attention).

I’ve asked or mentioned it a few times over the years, and people respond that they like to see the progress. It helps show how I work.

I also love to see the progress and various stages of things being created. In a way, it helps me to study how to do things. And really, it’s no different than many of the costuming blogs/social media I follow, and I adore seeing those in-progress things. They will also sometimes share updates of the garments and items they are making, mentioning any problems or solutions they run into. And perhaps they are documenting some of the steps for a future, all-encompassing entry about the item, or even as a test to see if they want to continue or make changes using certain tools or techniques. I admit I’ve been finding myself scrutinizing how I work, and seeing what I want to change or build even more.

I’ve also been asked a few times to create tutorials for those who are interested in even more detail about what I do or use. Just updating this blog/website can sometimes feel like more of a chore, so taking photos and figuring out how to describe or explain what I do really takes a bit of time (and in some instances, I also have alternate ways of doing things that should be shown). I guess sharing all of the progress helps me at least get a little bit of a hint of explaining, until I can get around to doing a better job. I’m so overwhelmed with all of the art I want to finish and start (and I’ve been feeling the pull to get back to sewing in addition to continuing fan art of Thorin & Co.), there are also many “tutorials” that have been waiting a long time as well.

Plus, although I am a very introverted individual, sharing even a glimpse of what’s on my drawing table on social media has become my way of staying… social.

Regardless of whether or not you document and explain (or even share what you make online), keep having fun with whatever you’re doing. Best Wishes! šŸ™‚

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Thorin Acrylic Painting Progress

Well, I admit I had been working steadily on this project and then… we got sick.

Christopher, myself, and my mother-in-law even, all came down with chest colds. Ugh. Cough-your-head-off, sneezing loudly (and strongly enough to feel like you were pulling muscles), lasting a week or two icky colds.

Being sick and miserable are not how we prefer to spend holidays or vacation time, much less both.

Worse still, all progress on everything came to an absolute halt.

I’m hoping to get progress moving along again though. I had picked up a few supplies I needed, as well as prepping the canvas. I also did a little Photoshop editing on something that had been driving me nuts. I’m hoping I managed to smooth that out a little, even if it’s not completely fixed.

Today, I took the new printout of the Thorin drawing, flipped it over to the backside, grabbed a 6B pencil, and scrawled all over the back behind the drawing. Once that was finished, I taped the printout to the front of the canvas, took something that would stand out (a red Prismacolor pencil), and traced over the printout. I had to carefully go back over a few spots a couple times (with a sharpened point), because the transfer is very light.

The printout of the drawing, taped to the canvas. There is a heavy coating of pencil lead on the backside, so when I traced over the printout lines with a red pencil (so I could see what I’d gone over and how dark), it left a light mark on the canvas.

And light pencil marks are what I want. If you remember the practice color study, the printout was very dark mostly-permanent lines. While I will be touching up the canvas transfer with a pencil to make sure I can see the guidelines and to fix anything that didn’t quite make it, I still want all the pencil lines to stay just visible enough for me to follow while painting, but to be easily covered if I want.

You can see the pencil lead on the back of the printout, and the light transferred drawing on the canvas. I still need to go back over (lightly) some of the marks so I can see during painting, and fix anything that didn’t transfer smoothly. But it is a fairly quick and easy way to get a drawing onto the surface you’ll be finishing.

It’s been a long time since I needed to transfer a drawing to canvas. I used to have these HUGE sheets of thin transfer paper, but the process I used was mostly still the same. Just, no scanners and printers back then like I have now (thank goodness)!

Still, I really hope this will be the last time I have to deal with “drawing” this picture, even though I still need to start painting it. While I do tend to do things the hard or long way ’round, this particular one has been an especially annoyingly repetitive chore. It’s gone through a lot of changes though — from a tiny, barely-there scrawled sketch, to a hopefully soon finished painting. Fingers crossed, anyway…

I’m also reminded that 2015 is coming to an end, and I will need to do my usual recap. I have a feeling I will need to make sure I remember that there were a lot of distractions and changes this year, because the “finished” pile is a lot lower than I wanted.

Maybe that just means 2016 will make me want to get to those unfinished piles a little quicker though!

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A Quick Color Paint Test

I mentioned I plan on adding a little color to my life — or, art hobby — in the future.

I also shared a drawing that was created specifically for that purpose.

This past week was spent digging through old paints and brushes, testing things out, and finally attempting a quick color study.

It’s unfinished, and I have no idea when I’ll start working on the “real” version, but at least I finally got that “oh man, can I get back to this?” nervousness out of the way and just gave it a try.

It’s been a long time

I don’t even want to think about how long it’s been since I last used acrylic paints (much less on a regular basis). I painted often as a teenager, slowly gravitated towards watercolor, and switched more and more to ink throughout adulthood.

I also flat out admit I didn’t really know what I was doing back then, so while I’m happy when something feels “familiar” during the process now, I am also forcing myself to rethink things and relearn tricks and tips.

An amusing bit of info — as an artist, I’m weird about color. I’m not that big on fashion, and have had to make an effort to wear color at all in my wardrobe. Otherwise every piece of clothing I’d own would be black (I prefer how I look in black, and the mix-and-match is so much easier when you’re groggy and in a hurry). When it comes to art, I go a bit color happy. Vibrant. I have no idea why… it’s something I just worked into my art since I’m a stylized artist anyway (I grew up on comic books so maybe that’s why I don’t think too much about colors), but I’m trying to study more realistic color shades. And try to ignore the “OMG lookitthisgorgeousvibrantBLUEwannauseiteverywhere!” šŸ˜‰

As with art (or any hobby) in general, you never stop learning.

Weird paint issues

I had some paint from the last time I tried acrylics, but I was worried they wouldn’t be so great to use. In fact, I have to stir the paint as the liquid separates from the color “paste” that comes out of the tube so I can use it. I’d been given another little acrylic set in a brand I wasn’t familiar with, but they were newer. So I focused on them first.

Starting with good ol’ basic white and burnt sienna, I tried mixing a basic flesh tone. And it was eerily purple-gray. I tried over and over that day with no success, wondering if something slipped in old habits and I was making a vital mistake, but no. It kept turning out a sickish purple-gray that I’d never seen before.

I didn’t kick myself as badly as I might think I’d normally do after a “bad” day with things going wrong (and my usual inevitable self-doubt), and the next day I was determined to mix a better basic flesh tone with extra colors and keep trying. Something nagged at me about the paint from the previous day, and I decided to use my old tube of burnt sienna… and there we go! Much better results! That was even before adding any other colors (like yellow). Apparently there is something wrong with that other paint. I will doublecheck the tube of paint again, but if it keeps giving me the freaky purple results, it’s useless.

That’s a little more like it

Finally achieving normal flesh tones, I decided to grab the watercolor paper printout and start doing a color study. I started the first day, Thursday, messing with the eyes, and moving onto a couple sections of hair. Friday, I had more time to dive in since I was finished checking paints and practicing mixing some colors.

All in a “day’s” work

When I mention drawings take me a day and a half, it’s not really true. If I can’t be interrupted midway (like say, lunch), I will start at a time after that. Say noon or 1pm. My husband usually ends his work day around 4pm, and I like to clean up and scan progress (it helps me see where I might want to make changes, along with allowing us to make in-progress animations if we want). So sometimes I only work a few hours a day, up to about 3pm or so. Rarely do I get much chance to work during the bulk of the day (and with the way my work space is situated, I usually have to wait for late-morning so I have more balanced light).

So this particular color study did not have a lot of time involved. And it didn’t need it, since it not only isn’t finished, it was merely meant as a way to see colors to use or if I needed to buy more.

Still need lots of practice

I didn’t get to do as much work as I hoped however — I ran out of the flesh tone, and would not allow myself to mix more. I definitely need to get something to slow down the drying process (something I love and hate about acrylics — it’s great that I don’t have to wait too long before painting over a layer, but very annoying that the mixed paint on my palette will dry out before I’m finished). I also need to restock some basics I’ll run out of quickly, like white.

I also worked thinly on a lot of the layers, but even while piling the paint up I discovered the printed out guidelines were too dark on this particular study. So attempting to cover those lines and put more detail in areas was useless. Especially as I ran out of the flesh tone mix.

I’ll never be a photorealistic artist — I’m stylized, and I am happier working without that much focus. I have plenty more to learn and push myself to pick up, however.

Lots more work to do

The drawing itself still needs a bit of work before I transfer it to the final canvas to be painted. There are some slight errors that are driving me a bit batty, and a few more decisions I’ll want to make (background color? No background color? Which color or effects?).

The unfinished and quick (only spent a few hours on it) color paint study. I ran out of paint and didn’t want to waste more, so it really is a bit rough. At least it let me know that, in a pinch for something simple like this, I can most likely make do with what few supplies I have. For now, anyway.

I also have a feeling I will probably gravitate more towards watercolor and gouache. I kept wanting to use the paint more like that (probably habit after all the ink washes I’ve been doing the past few years), and I also kept finding myself second-guessing whether or not I should change my mind and skip the acrylic/canvas and continue with watercolor paper and paints. Of course, I’m a little better off currently with what acrylic supplies I have. I need to completely update my watercolor and gouache. There are always other pieces, so I need to focus. Acrylic it is.

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Future sketch for practice painting

So around the end of October/beginning of November, I started working on a sketch for a future project.

I had a little alone time, when my husband was out for a while, so I grabbed my sketchbook and did some very light, scrawled/loose sketching in blue pencil. One in particular stood out to me and I considered using that. My husband was immediately drawn to it as well without my pointing it out, so I decided to run with it.

The sketch was about 3.5″ x 3.5″ and as I said, very light and loosely scrawled. A lot of my thumbnails and artistic notes are things only I could make out or understand. So I not only needed to enlarge (and lengthen from a square to a portrait-sized rectangle), but also work in the detail better.

I scanned the image and did my usual trick of playing with the color/hue and contrast, then enlarged it to fit on an 8.5″ x 11″ sheet of paper. It was a cluttered and “noisy” image with paper shadows everywhere, making it hard to see the sketchlines or create more in regular pencil, so I grabbed a thin and thick Sharpie marker and scrawled more definite lines. I then scanned that, and printed it out to my usual 11″ x 14″ size.

It was still cluttered and also had many errors, so I used my lightbox and transferred it to a clean sheet of paper and fixed the lines and cleaned up the mess better using a blue pencil, then went over those lines with 4B and F pencils.

Not only transferring lines in blue pencil to a fresh sheet of paper, but turning the lightbox off and completely redrawing parts to fix them.

This is what I ended up with:


Thorin pencil guidelines (possiblefuture painting) by cfgriffith on DeviantArt

That seems like a lot of work, and I admit it was a little extra than I would have normally done.

I’ve been feeling a lot more out of sorts lately — I have things on my mind, and after finishing my last drawing I started getting a bit hard on myself. Too much pressure. So I tried loosening up, not allowing myself to get bent out of shape over errors or sloppy work. There was a bit of fighting (after the Sharpie sketching stage, I was really starting to hate the image), but then I finally settled in, relaxed, and enjoyed the process.

I kept the lines very basic and simple. I haven’t painted (acrylic) regularly in a very long time, and I’d like to get back to painting again (I would also work in watercolor and gouache and miss those too). I was curious to see if I could get my printer to work with some watercolor paper I had, and was shocked it fed it through without jamming.

The scanned pencil sketch printed out on artists watercolor paper (not normally meant for printers). It’s been so long since I last painted in acrylics, I wanted to practice technique without wasting time transferring to a scrap sheet, or skipping ahead and potentially risking a canvas when I’m not feeling up to it yet for various reasons.

So now I have something to play with and practice technique again, and figure out colors. I hope to eventually transfer to an actual canvas for the “real” thing when I’m ready. I’m just not sure when that will be. I need to figure out what paints and brushes I have and can use (and what needs to be thrown away), and restock more stuff. That’s why I’ve stuck mostly to ink and black and white art — a lot of the old supplies aren’t in working condition anymore.

My drawing table is starting to get covered in projects at various stages — one needing to be framed, another needs to be continued, and the last one has just been started. I need to stay focused better, I think. šŸ˜‰

So I still need to get a portfolio and some frames for finished art, and start tackling the ever-growing pile of in-progress art.

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I’m now on Instagram

I have a new social media I’m on — Instagram. It’s taken me a while, since I already am on Twitter and Flickr. I take so many fun in-progress photos and I had started posting random/miscellaneous “fun” photos on Twitter… plus, my husband is there too (along with many other folks I know). I guess I decided to join in the fun.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t use my normal name, so I used my initials, part of Thorin’s name, and (at least for now) a profile photo most would recognize.

As mentioned, I’m sure I’ll share in-progress images (mostly fan art related for now, but when I eventually get back to sewing and costuming I will share those as well), and I’ve been wanting to take more pics while I’m out such as hiking or canoeing. So I’m sure there will be a little variety. Or, perhaps I may not even use it as much as IĀ  use others. You never know.

As far as art goes, I’ve been in another “doing nothing” phase. I just haven’t been in the mood to do anything hobby-wise. I would love to get back to this drawing eventually, however (I apologize if there is an error or it causes scrolling issues — still getting used to using it):

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Dragon Sickness Thorin Drawing

It took me a little while, but I finally finished another drawing!

This one ended up being a lot more complex than I originally planned. I knew I wanted to do a little more than just a quick finished study-like drawing, but then I started contemplating “how should I finish this section? And how will that affect the next one?”

So, while it took longer than I wanted to finish it, that turned out to be a good thing. It gave me a chance to decide all those things that I think put it over the top for me.

There are still plenty of mistakes and “shouldn’t have done it that way” errors, but for me personally, if I can overlook those mistakes and be happy with a drawing… that’s what matters most. And I like it quite a bit. Which for me, is saying a lot since I’m always very hard on myself (I’ve already been looking back at many of my past drawings and wishing I’d done things differently or had been a little stronger). Ah well… this will always happen, no matter how much I practice. Always has, always will!

But this one will be added to my personal favorites, and I’m hoping to frame and hang it soon.

From the dA drawing page:

I LOVED Richard’s portrayal of the dragon sickness, and I wanted to capture that look while he wandered around Erebor looking for the Arkenstone (and believing one of his own Company must have stolen it and kept it from him). I wanted to make the viewer feel like one of the Company, wandering around discouraged, coming around a corner, and then looking up to see Thorin glaring at them as he lurks around the treasure like a mad ghost. Quickly now! Back to work! You probably don’t want him getting too close and asking if you’ve found it yet…

I decided to take my time with this and try a lot of different things — in some ways, I think my inked drawings are becoming more like paintings, as well as using things other than ink. Since I work in B&W, I want to find ways to still have parts of the image stand out over others so they don’t turn into a muddy blur. It can be difficult for me to work on backgrounds especially, but the streaky effect ended up working in my favor for damaged Erebor.

Drawn on 8.5×11 drawing paper as a blue pencil sketch, then regular pencil to darken lines. Enlarged and transferred to 11×14 Bristol using a lightbox and blue pencil.Ā  Inked using Black Magic ink, Winsor & Newton series 7 brushes (#1, #2, and #3), as well as Micron pens (#’s 005, 01, 03, 08) and a Faber-Castell pen (M). Finished using Black Magic ink as ink wash, as well as black pencil, and Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bombay white India ink. Scanned, then only slightly adjusted contrast — for once, I didn’t mind the effect of the scanner slightly washing out the spot blacks.

Original sketch (lines turned to grayscale and darkened to show on scan) here: cfgriffith.deviantart.com/art/ā€¦
The sketch, ready for transfer to Bristol by lightbox and blue pencil: cfgriffith.tumblr.com/post/126ā€¦

Special thank you to my friend DarqueJackal , whose wonderful comments over the past couple years on various drawings inspired me to take my time and do a lot more with this drawing than I might have normally done.


Thorin Suffering From Dragon Sickness by cfgriffith on DeviantArt

Since it did take me so long to finish, I ended up with a lot of in-progress scans throughout the process (I do this to help me spot anything I forget or help me decide how to finish something). My sweet husband offered to take all the images and put them together into an animated gif. It’s not a step-by-step or tutorial, and I will move around the drawing working on different spots to either give my eyes a break from tiny details or letting sections dry before adding more. We just thought it was neat to see the progression.

You can see the animated progress image here on this page.

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Celebrating Even the Tiniest Possibilities

You may remember I had mentioned back in mid-May that I was waiting excitedly for (hopefully) good news. Originally, I was supposed to hear by late July/early August, but it was pushed back another month.

I’m sad to report, that the “good news” I hoped for did not happen.

But the odd part of this disappointment: there is still plenty to be happy and proud about.

I had been contacted by the company who makes the documentaries that are included on the Extended Editions of The Hobbit trilogy movies. They had done a search through many, many, many images online, looking for just the right paintings and drawings to help illustrate their documentary. They came across my King Thror and Carc the Raven drawing I did in 2013, and asked me if I would be willing to let them potentially use it in their film.

The thing is, they understandably seek out permission before the actual pieces are made, to make things easier (and I imagine it does occasionally happen that an artist does not want to be included). Of course, over time, a LOT of edits and changes occur to polish the finished piece. Not only does the flow and information have to work together properly, but if something needs to be cut to allow time for another section, it gets cut.

Sadly, I received word that my piece did not make the final cut.

Of course I am very disappointed, but at the same time I am reminding myself that this was not a proposal I submitted. My drawing was picked out of a vast sea of wonderful art and for even the briefest moment, it allowed me to be a part of a fandom (however remotely) that inspired me to start drawing again.

Who knows? Perhaps if more documentaries for Middle Earth are made, I might still have a chance to be considered again. šŸ˜‰

And while I may not have made it all the way to the final cut, I can still look at this drawing (and all the others I have framed and hanging on our walls) and think of more memories, excitement, and fun… all put down on paper with a bit of ink or pencil.

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Another Thorin in-progress sketch

Two days in a row? I didn’t even plan on it… at least I’m working to get some of the jumbled images in my head and out of the way so perhaps I can focus a little better soon.

Or at least a step closer, anyway…

I didn’t have lots of time on Monday (the finished inked piece was on Sunday — I’m blogging a day behind), so I couldn’t do much more than getting the basic rough sketch down. I still have some work left to do on it before my usual transferring/finishing, but I do hope to finish it in ink. The information from the dA page:

I finished a quick experimental/practice ink drawing yesterday and was supposed to be working on non-art things today… but I couldn’t get this image out of my head. He demanded to be “heard” and has been one of the things on my mind lately. So I quickly did this to get it down on paper for more attention later.

Sketched on 8.5 x 11 paper in blue pencil, scanned in color, hue/contrast adjusted, then changed to B&W to make it more easily viewed. Hoping to darken up any details for another scanning, enlarging to my usual 11 x 14 Bristol for inking. Not sure when I’ll be able to get to it, but hopefully soon.

 


Mad Thorin Searching the Treasury Sketch1 by cfgriffith on DeviantArt

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Getting back to art and inking

It’s been a little while since I’ve drawn anything. I wanted to, but I was trying to get some things taken care of (such as working on my website and writing some blog entries), some “real life” things, and I’ve just been feeling too distracted.

I’ve also been putting a lot of pressure on myself, and with my health these last several years (shaky hands, eyes that get tired too quickly, fibro etc), I only have so much time I can work before I end up potentially ruining my project by pushing myself to continue. So time is precious to me — how to pick just one thing, when my mind has so many ideas?

There were so many rattling around in my head, I couldn’t pick anything. Honestly, it was like having messed up vision as corny as it sounds. Too many images and ideas led to foggy details, clumsy confused hands, and the inability to even get started. To put it clearly, I simply was not in the mood and knew better than to try.

I decided Sunday, while my husband was out recording a podcast and I was catching up on a few loads of laundry and tidying up the kitchen, to force myself to sit down at the drawing table. I sketched a quick study of Thorin, making him a bit dark and broody, and then I decided to turn it into a bit of an inking practice.Ā  I went a bit dark and even heavy handed with the inking itself. No timid “well, maybe a little texture lines here… hmmm… yeah, let’s see if I can hide that” techniques. It was “glob it on, go go go!” and I was determined to get not only the drawing done and online before my husband got home, but all the chores that were in-progress as well. Ha!

So here is the sketch I scanned before I inked it. This was drawn in blue pencil first, then I scanned in color, adjusted the contrast a bit and turned it into B&W to be more easily seen:

And here is the final inked version posted on deviantART:


Thorin Dark Shadow Ink by cfgriffith on DeviantArt

The information also included on the dA page:

I’ve been busy with other things for the past couple of months and haven’t drawn one bit. My husband was out for the day recording a podcast and I decided to do a bit of a quick drawing for fun and to get back into it (it’s always so hard for me when I get out of regular practice, no matter how badly I want to draw something — plus, I’ve had so much on my mind, it’s difficult to focus or pick just one thing). I wanted to do something a little dark, and decided to ink it as well.

Drawn on Strathmore drawing paper (the image would fit on an 8.5 x 11 sheet), sketched first in blue pencil, then inked with a Winsor & Newton series 7 brush (#2) using Higgins Black Magic Ink. Extra shading and details added lightly with black pencil.

While there are aspects I wish I’d done a little differently, it was still in many ways a successful little experiment. I do like how the hair on the right side (his left) turned out, and his eyebrows. I was a little vague in the description — a lot of the different markings that look like texture in the hair and beard are not black pencil (those are much lighter shadings on the skin, fur, and most of his eyes), but dry brushed ink.

Practice is a good thing, especially when it’s been so long. I want very much to get back to my most recent drawing of Thorin with a goat (seen below), but I refuse to even go near it until I feel much more focused. Soon, I hope!


Thorin and Pack Goat Traveling 1 by cfgriffith on DeviantArt

Thanks for looking, and hope all is well with your goals and projects!

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LOTRO Character Intro: F

And here is the last of the LOTRO character introductions! You can find the list so far at this LOTRO page I created to hold most of the main entries as I write them.

My original plan was to cover a couple characters with this entry. My friend actually has quite a handful of characters, as she has been playing for several years, but I mainly only interact with two of them (and of the two, only one on a regular basis — although I have hopes to eventually catch up to the other one with L the Elf Hunter).

I unfortunately lost a large portion of screencaps from the past year when my laptop crashed on me, before I could back them up (hopefully I can retrieve them eventually… so many memories). I thought I had at least one screenshot of the other character I have quested with on my new computer, but apparently not.

And besides, I do like how I’m keeping one character-per-entry. So we’ll start with the main one (and fortunately, my husband had a few from the times he’s quested with us).

Meet F, the Dwarf! We like Dwarves, can you tell?

Yup! Another Dwarf! And another Champion at that! I think he is built on the red tree trait, like B, but I’m not positive.

Unlike the other characters I’ve mentioned, F has started focusing on two-handed weapons, and I admit I enjoy watching him fight. My dwarf, Th, makes weapons and gets a real kick out of keeping F’s arsenal updated with as many awesome weapons as he can. Sometimes it’s a warhammer, and last I saw him, it was a big sword. I’d love to see him with an axe or something else awesome like that!

He also uses a bow, something else Th tries to keep him updated with (but of course, there are always Skirmish Camps that sell weapons and other items, when you need something more specific really quickly).

This is one of my favorite screenshots (thanks to Christopher for grabbing it!). Such fun memories you can make, when you game with others. šŸ™‚

Another typical Dwarf, but loads of character

As far as personality, F can be a grumpy dwarf, looking down (errr, or is that up?) his nose at non-dwarves. Like Th, he gets tired quickly of anyone demanding he prove himself to them, or do their petty chores. He and Th will sometimes people-watch, and whisper snarky little comments about the elves, humans, and hobbits that wander past them. They’ve been known to spend a lot of time just looking at items in a location and discussing them thoughtfully, or talk about what’s to come.

I very much enjoy how my friend roleplays, and it’s been fun to see the differences between her dwarf and some of her other characters. Even when we’re rushed, it’s not just about run-and-clobber. I’ve mentioned before, we’re telling a story with our own characters. To me, that’s the best part about being able to game in an online world like this!

Taking a moment, before moving on and getting into more fights.

On occasion, our three dwarves will quest together (Th, B, and F), but that’s especially hard to do schedule-wise. And I think my husband likes me having friend-time on my own in the game. I’d also like to think F and Th work together as a good pair most of the time (especially now that I’m not getting as dizzy or blinded with wonky old laptop settings messing up my view, or really choppy play).

Of course, mistakes happen, and that’s why I like gaming with my friend — she knows I’m still a newbie at this, and is incredibly patient with me.

Hey, this place looks inviting. Right?

“Down, down, down, to Goblin Town”… ugh, yes that song got stuck in my head when we were running around there.

Dividing and distributing all the loot we picked up from the bad guys, before logging off.

Encouragement and courage

It takes time, as with anything, to get used to doing things with more confidence. Practice, knowledge, but also that nudge to just try something. Silly as it is to admit that something might be “scary” to try in the game, but yes… sometimes I would be too afraid to just dive in.

Playing with my friend, I’ve quickly gotten over that. Instead of reacting to her “want to try this?” with a hesitant “uhmmmm… sure?” and cringing nervously, I now quickly reply with a hearty “let’s go!”

And yeah, sometimes we fail. Oh so miserably. But we enjoy the ride nonetheless!

Another favorite screencap of mine. šŸ™‚

Taking a break before continuing on with the “bash the bad guys, and do even more tasks for strangers” thing.

And sometimes? We are just outright goofy and really play up the whole “dwarves are better than you, fool!” goofiness (okay, quietly… we would never be rude to anyone in-game, of course).

“Hey you! Bring us gold, ale, and a footstool!” šŸ˜‰

We got tired of this guy telling us what to do to earn his respect, so we pulled up our own “thrones” and claimed a spot of respect after running a chunk of his errands.

Crafting

I don’t have any screenshots of F crafting — it’s something we usually do on our own time.

I do believe F is an armorer. This means he can prospect for ore like two of my characters, but instead of weapons, his focus is on heavy armor. Crafting usually comes in threes (and I’ve probably been listing us all as only a branch, and not the full vocation name — it’s been a while since I’ve bothered to look things up), so I think the third thing would be a tailor like my character L does.

Our fearless leader!

In LOTRO, you can create and join groups called kinships. Ours is understandably small and private and thankfully, while I have been asked if I wanted to join one or two kinships when I first started out before joining ours, no one has asked me about ours — I’d feel bad turning them down, but we’re not currently looking for new members. It’s an easy way to keep in touch as well as have a huge house (the largest house available, the kinship house).

Just a side note about kinships and even character names: you can people watch in LOTRO, and I have such a blast seeing what folks name their characters and kinships. There have been many times I’ve had a good laugh about it. Sometimes they even go all-out and wear outfits or use accessories that really play up the names too! Anyway…

When each of our characters entered into the kinship, it wasn’t just a simple click addition! We roleplayed and had a little fun with it, with F marching around, looking our characters up and down, questioning them about what skills they had and why they were interested. Saluting, and then having a toast once the addition happened! Yet another fun angle to “the story” we’re working through.

Yay! Christopher had a screenshot of our friend F walking in and discovering us during a prank. We all had a good laugh over the silliness (and what else could you do with a table covered in ale mugs?).

Having a chat in the kinhouse with our leader, F.

Current location

F is currently working his way through the Eregion quests with Th (I think near Gwingris is where we left off… about to head to Echad Eregion?). While Th is excited about the prospects of entering the great dwarven ancestral kingdom of Moria, he refuses to leave F behind if at all possible. It’s just too much fun pounding on the bad guys with his buddy to go solo!

F visiting B’s new house. Thanks for reading!

Thanks for reading! This should be the last of the LOTRO-related posts for a little while, at least. I just wanted to get these down and out of the way for when I do regular blog entries relating to the subject, and while that was a lot of “people” to get to know, the main focus of course will mostly just be on me and my experiences with playing LOTRO. It’s just helpful to explain sometimes who the others are that might show up in my screenshots on occasion. After all, they are taking the journey through Middle Earth with me! šŸ˜‰

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