What is “The Hook and the Disobedience”?

What is The Hook and The Disobedience link that has appeared in the menu? Why are there no updates on the site and what the yotz is Aggie up to?

NNoWriMo-Front

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Craftly – Upcycled Halloween Harvest Lights

Every year when Halloween comes around I itch to try my hand at all the fun cool decorations one might put together. I didn’t grow up with the celebration so it’s still pretty new to me. That being said I’m also not particularly hampered by the black/orange convention. Unlike in any other instances where I am so famously conventional… >.>

Regardless it’s easy to clutter up your home with hundreds of more or less finished decorations so the rule is one new perennial decoration per year.

This yeah it’s all about lights and cat safety!

Harvest-Lights

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EQNext – Account Wide Goodies and a New Round Table

Senior Producer Terry Michaels (@terryjmichaels) and Senior Global Brand Manager Omeed Dariani (@omeeddariani) have put their heads together in another Round Table video discussing the EQNext team’s stance on account wide friends list, indicating that they, along with most of the poll voters would quite like an account wide friends list provided it’s an opt-in thing.
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Drawer Marked Misc – Star Trek Reboot Feels

We finally got around to watching the new Star Trek movies: Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness. Honestly I think our delay was partly my fault. I will admit I hear “James T. Kirk” and my eyes just roll on their own accord. But we’re both Lost fans so we should have watched these in the cinema to support J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof and I’m sorry we didn’t.

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Meet The Artist – CoupleofKooks

Meet the Artist is back. This time interviewing an artist and gamer whose Dragon Age and Elder Scrolls fan art will alternately haunt and charm you and may possibly make you want to boot up Morrowind or DA:O tonight.
Consider yourself warned!

CoupleofKooks-Title-Image

There is a lot more to this artist than his haunting sepia toned fan art. He’s a 31 yo Wing Chun martial artist and competitive tea brewer* from Poland as well as a gamer and board gamer and he’d actually rank Bridge and Backgammon as his favourite games. On top of that he found time to do a lengthy bit of correspondence with me so I could, in good conscience, introduce you guys to his art.

arcane_horror_by_coupleofkooks-d4f4dnn

What else do you do with your time? Are you an architect and paint fan art for fun? Are you a student somewhere or a full-time artist?

For the last couple of years I’ve been working in the film industry as an animator in 2D movies and as a designer in stop motion movies. I also build sets, props and models for puppet films. Painting fan art and fantasy related pictures is fun for me, a method of relaxation and a way of improving my skills with something not work related.

TES: Neloth of House Telvanni

TES: Neloth of House Telvanni

What mediums do you use? Have you always used the same?

I feel best with digital painting, though I’ve discovered this technique just two years ago. Before I was painting with oil pastels, inks and acrylics. I switched to digital because it was much faster and much more comfortable to work with as a designer (making changes is so much easier now…). At the moment I use Photoshop (my favorite version is version 7, yes, the ten-year old one) and a kick-ass Wacom Cintiq tablet.

DA2 First Enchanter by coupleofkooks

DA2 First Enchanter by coupleofkooks

Why is version 7 of Photoshop specifically your favourite?

When I was studying I couldn’t afford a new computer or a new software and it was the only version that I could use back then. I got very comfortable with it over the years and later, when I finally switched to more advanced machine and could try out more recent versions, I learned to appreciate it’s simplicity. To be honest the only tools in Photoshop I use for painting are brush or selection tool and those and the painting engine didn’t change in years, so I’m completely alright with small, light, retro Seven :]

TES: Ancestor's Wrath by coupleofkooks

TES: Ancestor’s Wrath by coupleofkooks

CoupleofKooks is an interesting pseudonym. Do you run your deviantART account with somebody else?

By myself, though you can say there is one more person behind part of the things I publish on this profile. It’s my very good friend, BucklesInTheSun, with whom I write and create the Shades of Red universe. She is responsible for a gigantic part of the story behind almost every picture related to this project.
As for the pseudonym itself – it comes from David Bowie’s song “Kooks”, which I was listening to while creating an account on Deviant Art :]

DA2 Of Love and Other Demons by coupleofkooks

DA2 Of Love and Other Demons by coupleofkooks

(Orsino and Maidievh Hawke – Original Character story by ChristineFury. Read her fan fiction about Orsino and femme Hawke here: “Blood and Faith“)

What made you decide to practice Wing Chun?

I needed discipline and order in my life for various personal reasons, and because of some health issues I had to add regular exercises to my daily schedule. I was never good at training by myself so I needed something more social. I gave Wing Chun a try because a friend of mine started practicing it and I thought it will be easier for me if I had some company. At first I was all scared and bruised, then intrigued, now it simply raises the quality of my life. Very much. I am aware how cliché it will sound, but training martial arts is indeed training your own character. Now I added Tai Chi to that to balance this energetic style with something more gentle.

Shades of Red: Fallout by coupleofkooks

Shades of Red: Fallout by coupleofkooks

What video games have caught your interest this past year?

I’m constantly in love with Skyrim, so the most important thing that I’ve played during last year was a Dragonborn add-on. Also I keep playing Morrowind from time to time and the last two of Fallout games, which is my all time favorite series. Looks like Bethesda knows how to keep my interest. For years. And years… :] Aside from those masterpieces I tried out Far Cry 3 which I enjoyed, Hitman: Absolution which was fun and oh so pretty and Assassin’s Creed 3 which bored me to death.

TES Dunmer of Skyrim by Coupleofkooks

Often when The Elder Scrolls games are discussed it seems the art style has fans, haters and few on the fence. What attracts you to it?

I haven’t participate in any serious discussion of that sort, but I myself have mixed opinion about Elder Scrolls art style. Morrowind was, and still is a perfection for me, even though it has obviously aged. But the unique mood and superb visual ideas were what dragged me into Vvardenfell in a first place. The awkward animation and ugly characters is something that quickly disappears and stops bothering in a wonderful world of this game, even if one starts to play it now, in the era of flawless graphics. On the other hand the next part, Oblivion, is a game I’ve had very hard time with. Eventually I learned to like it and I kept it on my HD for few years, but it took me months to get used to awful faces and strange colors. I find this game ugly, simple as that, but it has strong moments that even with the unattractive visuals manage to be quite a show for the eye – Shivering Isles for examples, the best expansion ever published. Skyrim, especially modded, heavily modded, is a game I really like to look at. Lights, weather, auroras – I simply like to spend time in this world.
That’s when it comes to visual side of the Elder Scrolls game series. In general what attracts me most to those games (same goes for the Fallout series) is the open world and the possibility to mod the hell out of it. I love this feeling when You finish the intro / tutorial part and find yourself completely free to do whatever you want and go wherever you want. Even though you’re playing the same game again You can tell a completely different story. Fantastic thing.

TES: Sheogorath by coupleofkooks

TES: Sheogorath by coupleofkooks

How do you feel about the character art changes being planned for The Elder Scrolls Online? And are you going to play when it comes out next Spring?

I don’t like those changes too much. They feel like very general fantasy kind of style, pretty, shiny, generally super-cool, not something specific to the series. Elves for example. I really like the idea for these races in TES series. A little bit ugly, with strong features and facial hair – in ESO they change into I’ve-seen-them-in-all-other-games kind of elves. But yes, I’m going to give it a try.

TES: The Old One by coupleofkooks

TES: The Old One by coupleofkooks

“The Old One” in particular, of your TES pieces, seems to ooze Skyrim; not just because of the dragon silhouette but for that tell-tale white-out from the typical Skyrim weather. What were your thoughts (if you remember) on how to compose this piece and include the snow fall?

Actually the thought was very simple – I wanted to paint a dragon (and Paarthurnax was my favorite) and I wanted to try myself in painting this particular kind of weather. Since I was deeply into painting TES fan art this seemed like an obvious choice.

DAO Archdemon by coupleofkooks

DAO Archdemon by coupleofkooks

It seems you once had a love affair with Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age 2. Given the E3 announcement this year of the third installment, Dragon Age Inquisition, do you think you will be interested in playing? How do you feel in hindsight about the first two games and where BioWare may be taking that story?

As for a Dragon Age series I was more attracted to the fandom than to the game itself. I like how everything is so alive among Dragon Age players. Pictures, fanfics, role playing games – fantastic and very inspiring fandom to be in. As for the games – I don’t really like them that much, though I find some character really intriguing and a lot of costumes and places really, really well designed. The story and the world is interesting enough for me to look forward third part of the series though, I think I would be most happy if BioWare would take us to Tevinter. It’s the place in DA universe I like the most. But from what I’ve heard – no chances for that.


(Video uploaded by IGN)

And while we’re on Dragon Age, like The Elder Scrolls, that’s a unique art style; mature, dark and a little gritty and used. Is it safe to say that’s your kind of style?

Yes, it’s very much safe to say so.

DA2 No Compromise by coupleofkooks

DA2 No Compromise by coupleofkooks

Which game releases are you keeping an eye on for the future?

Fallout 4. Really. I know no announcements have been made yet, and it’s not really certain the game will be in production, but I really, really look forward for even the smallest info about this particular title. Also S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2. No idea if this one is even planned but I would really like to visit Zone again. As for non-postapocalyptic games? Another TES title – always.

DA2 Have Confidence by coupleofkooks

DA2 Have Confidence by coupleofkooks

A huge thank you goes to CoupleofKooks for answering all my never-ending questions of the past few months! This post may have been a long time coming, CoupleofKooks, but I’m proud to have your art displayed on my site!

If you want to immerse yourself in more of CoupleofKooks mellow parchments and shocking reds, visit his (on occasion quite steamy!) galleries at: coupleofkooks.deviantart.com.

Tag the comment box below – we’d love to hear your thoughts on CoupleofKooks’ art and opinions!

* (Actually he tells me he already brews the perfect tea so no competition really. I just wanted to be dramatic  ~Aggie)

Craftly – Glass and Stone Outdoor Lights

We wanted to make something special for Ark’s sister, for her birthday, and I got the idea for a set of tea light holders for their new deck. It would have to be at least 5 or 6 sources of lights to accommodate the broad deck and something fairly sturdy so they can set them on the floor or the railing or leave them out for days.

Ark had been talking about up-cycling glass jars using a simple technique for “breaking” glass evenly to take the threads off. Then a few weeks ago his mum took us out for drinks and the bar had storm glass candles with mixed coloured and natural pearl gravel.

Over the next few weeks we located and appropriated some gravel locally >.>. Which I scrubbed and scrubbed and finally soaked in vinegar solution. After sorting all the darkest pebbles out for painting the remaining gravel was very pale, uniform and pretty.

First I tested to see how close to the rim of the glass the tealights could be before wind would blow them out.

I eyeballed how much coloured gravel would go per natural gravel for the glasses and started painting the dark pebbles with acrylics, in 3 hues of 4 select colours: Purple, Aqua, Pink and a neutral sand/camel. I actually started on some bright orange ones too with little pumpkin faces on them, but I didn’t finish them.

Milo promptly curled up next to the shiny lights of course. Really should give that cat a string of lights for Christmas.

Meanwhile Ark experimented with different flammable liquids with very little success, trying first with nail polish remover as the original guide has said and moving on to different varieties of alcohol. But none of them would burn the floss wound around the glasses. It wasn’t until we picked up some rubbing alcohol that he was able to set the floss on fire. It was a very singular sound when the glasses cracked after being doused in ice water. Unmistakably glass breaking but very controlled sounding and we should mention that the break wont’ be super straight nor does it follow the thread. It will be above the thread in a more or less wavy line and the edges are sharp! Thankfully we only had one cutting accident and then Ark broke out his man toys with a miniature sanding machine and smoothed out the sharp edges.

Edges still aren’t super straight but they won’t hurt anyone now.

With the finished glass sizes finally I could measure out precisely how much natural and coloured gravel I would need per glass and how much in total. Which meant painting twice as much gravel as I already had prepared – two days before we were set to have the present over of course.

Then I pre-mixed the purple variety (because I happened to have picked up some purple embroidery floss for burning off the top of the jars.

Crappy one-handed photography! \ o /

Decided on a triple bow of the pretty dark purple string for an embellishment:

And voilá:

The extra gravel colours were in the little box

SOE Live EQNext videos – A Collection

It seems that no amount of directories in my bookmarks will make it so I can actually find the one link I’m looking for, in any sort of timely fashion. I thought I might collect the latest group of links I keep wanting to revisit in a nice, graphic manner:

The reveal and all the panels of EQNext at this years SOE Live.

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Visiting w/ The Netophiles

This week I was invited onto The Netophiles podcast to talk about guilds – the good, the bad and to exchange some old war stories.

Netophiles-Podcast

As always, Frank Sanchez and Kristen Fuller, which some of you may recall as community managers for Star Wars: The Old Republic back in the day, are great fun to hang out with and I hope you enjoy the podcast which you can find here.

Desktop Fantasies – Armies of the Fallen by Scott Richard

It is time for something new and dramatic to light up your desktop and inspire your week and dramatic is where Scott Richard excels. What do you say to dressing up your desktop in a blood-red Coruscant?

Armies-of-the-Fallen-Matte-by-Scott-Richards-WMA-detail

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