Blog

Restarting the Art Engine 3/3
20th Aug, 2020

I was holding off on writing this, the last part of the series, until I had heard back from the Mental Health Team, as I figure it would be prudent to include their input in sorting myself out. After speaking with them, three months later, they confirmed the other day (2020-07-24) that the team had accepted my referral. Unfortunately, there is a 40-month waiting list, so I will not know if I have ADHD or not for 3.3 years! It’s kind of ironic asking a possible ADHD suffer, not know for our patience, to wait so long. It made me laugh when I read the letter, so I’ll look on the funny side. I’d imagine they have bigger fish to dry with Covid-19. Anyway, this puts a bit of a kibosh on my whole plan to include the professionals. I cannot wait around for three years twiddling my thumbs. I cannot afford to go private, as I’m on universal credit, and getting a regular job is hampered by my ADHD (that I don’t know if I have or not). So any solution is going to be all down to me (there again when isn’t it?). I have to dig myself out of the hole I find myself in and pull myself up by the bootstraps.

So, time to yank on those bootstraps and see what happens. If what I have figured out in these blog posts is true, then I have three areas I need to sum up and get clear in my head; why I failed, the type of job I really want, and what is my mission?

Read the rest of this entry »

Restarting the Art Engine 2/3
13th Jul, 2020

It seems my resistance to doing artwork is far deeper than I first thought. There is still a burning passion for art within, but it’s not unleashed, and I do not know how to unleash it. I can write for hours, and I never have writer’s block. I have hundreds of essays for Sciror. I feel compelled to write, to express my ideas, but it never translates to art. Notwithstanding, my Sciror writings are not translating into articles either. Something is wrong with my process or my aim.

John Blanche

I took my original portfolio, to games day ’97. After blagging my way past security to get into the VIP area, I met John Blanche. A good man. He was kind enough to look through my work, and while the pair of us chatting away, he said (and I paraphrase) that I was “not an illustrator but an artist”. I didn’t think anything of it at the time, but the words stuck in my head. These words came back to haunt me, and later they led to an epiphany, which I’ll get to in a bit. Getting back to the story, He asked me what job I wanted, and I said ‘his’: to have free reign to paint large scale 40K posters. He smiled at my ambition (I assumed he smiled at that), but that job was already taken, and the studio was full. He asked if I could be an illustrator and pointed out the restrictions. Again, the whole artist-illustrator thing went over my head. I was so wrapped up in working for GW I was like the little engine that could; I think I can, I know I can! (Turns out: not so much). Mr Blanche tried to warn me that I was not an illustrator, but I didn’t know any better, and I couldn’t imagine any other options. I was a serious 40K fanboi, and I was all in! With my promise to work hard at illustration, John pointed me to the new start-up publishing imprint of GW, and to tell them he sent me, and that’s how I got my foot in the door with the Black Library.

Read the rest of this entry »

Restarting the Art Engine 1/3
3rd Jul, 2020

This is the first part of an article which runs my issues with creating art. I detail my confusion about the difference between being an artist and an illustrator, there is a bit of pop psychology, and my plans to get back on track. It is a tad long and waffly, and that’s after I’ve drastically cut it down to a ‘mere’ three parts! If you are not an artist or find pop psychology interesting, there is not much for you here, but, if what I write here is correct then maybe something creative will come of it in the future? Time will tell…

The issue

Do you ever wonder why you don’t do the things you know you should do? You would have thought that getting back into art would be easy; start practising again, get in the flow, produce a few pieces, and then contact games companies for work. Easy eh? I’ve done it before, so what’s the problem? Well, it used to be easy. Now, not so much. It’s not that I don’t want to; so why am I not doing it?

When getting to grips with something complex, as your psyche, it’s probably easier to think in analogies. At least in the early stages. We live in stories; it’s how we navigate and orientate ourselves in the world. Once we have a clear narrative of the issue, it’s much easier to figure a solution. To that end, I think of my artistic instincts as ‘an engine’, that is always ticking along in the background, and I rave it up when you want to do some work. Except my engine won’t rev :(

Like most problems to do with modern engines, it probably the electrics: the wiring. So, let’s break open my brain schematics and take a look under the bonnet (hood for my American cousins). Time to reprogram my Electronic Engine Management System, plug in some ideas and see if we can get a connection—time to find a spark.

My wiring problem maybe ADHD, masked for years due to the pressure of my role as a carer. Though nothing is certain, the mental health team will be getting back to me some time in the future after we had a little chat. In the meantime, I’ve been looking to overcome my barriers to producing art, and counter any potential ADHD to boot (or whatever it turns out to be), I’ve been watching YouTube videos on ADHD and motivation/ focus. The best ones seem to be a rehash of stoicism (habits makes the man) with a few pointless tricks thrown in. However, one video struck me like a bolt of lightning; they suggested using artwork that ties into your goals to inspire, artwork that means something to you. Nothing new there. Then they suggested creating that artwork. I thought ‘I create artwork’, and I shrugged my shoulders as if it was nothing, and then; BANG! For some reason, I didn’t think of my Black Library art; I instantly thought of my old (really old, like 20-year-old) ‘grand project’ for 40K. I felt a sudden compulsion to gaze upon my early works, back to where it all started, my first portfolio that was rejected but got my foot in the door with the Black Library. I wanted to look with fresh eyes at works I’d not seen in decades. Spark found.

Read the rest of this entry »

Early Access
24th Jun, 2020

Imperator-class Titan

Moving forward, I’ll be posting my articles on my Patreon first, and after a delay, I’ll post them my blog. I’ll also hoping to post high-res of art, and maybe some of my development concepts that I don’t post on this website exclusively on Patreon as a little bonus. Failures can be interesting too. I’m doing this for early feedback from my supporters – if I get any! It’s still early days, and I have a long way to go to build up a following, any goodwill I may have had died ten years ago, so I don’t expect anyone to follow for a while. At the moment I’m doing it all for me. There have been so many stops and starts over this last decade. It’s been tough, but I’m getting there. My next post will be about my issues with creating art, as none of my future plans makes sense if I cannot paint again. It always comes back to art. The Titan image is from my first portfolio, some 20+ years ago, so don’t get too excited :P

ADHD?
13th Apr, 2020

My new portrait :P

Time flies. I was expecting a call on 1st April from the mental health team, but no call came. The UK is on lockdown, and while people die, mental health has to take a back seat. Maybe it’s now like the old days, and we have to sort ourselves out? So, I thought I would write about what I am going through. To see if anyone responds – like a message in a bottle, cast out into the sea of the cyberspace. I wonder who’s shore it will wash up on?

Where to start?

Don’t worry. It’s nothing serious. I just have an overactive imagination. Ideas keep popping into my head, and I feel compelled to write them down. All the ideas that have built up in the back of my mind, suppressed over the last 30 years of being a carer, are flooding out. It’s a bit of a mess really. I should post more, but more ideas keep coming and resisting the torrent is futile.

ADHD – maybe.
The reason it may seem like ADHD, is that while researching my creations, I get ‘distracted’ and run down many rabbit holes while taking notes. I don’t see it as a distraction. I see it was more info! This new info is correcting and honing my ideas. I take notes as I watch and read, which I then take and work into current WIP concept blocks, formulating the ideas on the page. Of course, more info breeds more ideas, more ideas link into other ideas, and begat more ideas, and…

Read the rest of this entry »

New home for 1K project
10th Mar, 2020

Well it took a while, but I got there in the end! I’ve separated out the 1000 chapter project onto its own website. It was getting a little neglected, so I brushed it up a bit and made it mobile-friendly. I’ve also updated and simplified the menu on both this website and the 1K project. This new menu further unifies the two websites and makes better use of the index pages.

Loss

While putting the links back in for each and every chapter, I noticed many had disappeared from the net. All told, we lost 119 DIY chapters! The enemies of the Imperium has cost us dear. This is tragic as many of them we really good, some with painted armies, all lost to us. I searched in vain for backups of them on the Wayback Machine. Losing so many concerns me. So, as a precaution, I’ve backed up all Canon and DIY chapters to the Wayback Machine and saved their urls. I’ve also used the backup links to non-Bolter & Chainsword, non-Lexicanum, and non-philipsibbering.com links. Thinking about the future, I’ve discussed the issue with Brother Tyler over on B&C, and hopefully we’ll sort out a solution.

1000chapters.com

Solar Punk
29th Jan, 2020

While working on backstory for Sciror I thought I’d take a closer look at Solar Punk. I notice the tv trope for Solar Punk includes my Ecoria as a “dark subversion” of the trope. This is only partially true. While the current 40K incarnation of the Ecoria is pretty grimdark and degenerated, it did not start off that way. Once is was beautiful, people liked them, and that is the direction stage 1 Ecoria is headed (and the reason I’m checking the trope). In the beginning the concept was very much aligned with what we see of Solar Punk. I then noticed the tv trope page also lists my Ecoria as an “unbuilt trope“. It says that my Ecoria predates the Solar Punk Manifesto of 2014 which caused a storm. I had a quick butchers as Wikipedia, and I notice it says the early ideas of Solar punk can be traced back to 2008. Which sounds a little later than when I was first talking about such things. I was curious if I really did predate the trope, so I looked it up, and this is what I found;

Read the rest of this entry »

Moving 1000 chapter project
26th Jan, 2020

I’m moving the project to its own address, and it’s taking a little longer to process all the chapters than I’d planned. Initially, I thought I’d bang this out in no time, and get back to Sow and Sciror. Since the last time I checked the list, which was a while ago, many chapters have disappeared from the internet never to be seen again. For the Imperium it’s been an absolute slaughter (check this B&C post for an update of the carnage). This a shame as many chapters had been created by dedicated space marine fans exploring the 40K lore, some very inventive and creative, and pleasure to read. To counter this loss of 40K cultural history, I trying to reclaim the missing from the Wayback Machine (WM). Not much luck as most were obscure and were never crawled. To guard this heritage for the future I’m making new WM backups of all the processed chapters, but WM is a little flaky, and every now and then it grinds to complete stop. I’m trying to process around 50 a day. I’ll post an update when the change over is finished.

Update: new home

Psyonics in Sciror and SoW
10th Jan, 2020

Design notes on using Wizards, Psykers, and other Magic-Users within the Sciror setting, and how the Spheres of War ruleset deals with these powerful beings. I’ll not be covering the rules for using these powerful characters. Instead, I’ll be discussing the underlying meta.

Within Sciror, all those who can use any form of ‘psionic’ or ‘magical’ power are said to be ‘psytient’ and has ‘psytience’ (the next step in sentience) . This term is used from a god’s eye view of the Sciror settings, including the fantasy setting of Twistasy. There are many different types of Psytient beings; Wizards, Sorcerer, Mage, Demon, Avatar, etc. Collectively these powerful beings are called ‘psycrats’. All humans are Psytient, but not all humans are psycrats. Psycrats are not ‘aristocrats’ as ‘aristo-‘ means ‘best’, and psycrats are not all the best of us, but they do have power.

Terms used; Infinity is the magical power of creation. Psyonics is how a person controls that power. Psytient is the state of being for one who can use Psyonics. Matter conjured or manipulated through psyonics has sub-atomic particles within it called psyons. A living supernatural being created by psytients is called a ‘psyant‘ (like ‘servant’) and is often controlled by the psytient that created it, but may lack psytience itself, or even sentience. An area affected by a psionic manifestation, where reality is distorted or remade, is a psycosm.

Psyonics is derived from ‘psychic’ and is closely related to that power. Normally psyonics are very low powered, as there is a lack of Infinity to drive the psytient’s powers. The noun for a human being that is psytient is ‘human’, as all humans are psytient, so it is built in! 

Read the rest of this entry »

Fragment 1 – Tactical v0.2b
5th Dec, 2019

Tactical Fragment 1 v0.2

After having a chat with Bolter & Chainsword veteran Brother Tyler (you’ll have to log in to see this profile), I’ve revised the first draft of Fragment 1 for the Tactical Sphere. The discussion we had can be found at the end of draft v0.1f (reproduced from our PMs, with his permission). This second draft addresses a number of issues, with a reworked combat loop, clarifications, and more specific language as to what this game is all about (putting in reference to 28mm miniatures!). All changes from the first Fragment are marked in red.

Download now; sow-tactical-frag1-v0.2b.pdf

A Fragment: is a bite-sized chunk of rules, usually a single sheet of A4, that is easy for new players to run through and digest. It is not a complete game, more an illustration or example of the core concepts, to ground the players. Later Fragments build upon the first. This first Fragment deals with the basic structure of the turn, movement, and combat within the Tactical Sphere. It is very simple and not a complete game! When all the Tactical Fragments are complete, I’ll collect them all together into a single Tactical Sphere Rulebook. This will be offered as a free PDF, and a paid for Print on Demand and ePub books. If you wish to support this endeavour see Connect.

Aim: Introducing new Reapers to Spheres of War. Reapers is the name for SoW Players, a play on words derived from the tag line ‘as you SoW so shall your reap”. The first Fragment covers the basic structure of SoW, giving a rough overview of the system, and how it fits together. It is a foundational block, upon which all the later rules are built. Later Fragments further define the system, adding detail.