Sunday, November 12, 2017

Monday Musings 18

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is Tempting Me To Buy the Switch

My history with the Xenoblade series started with Xenoblade Chronicles for the Wii but never finished it when I got stuck at the part after Sharla becomes part of your party and you have to enter a tower. For some reason, I couldn't find where you're supposed to go. I literally went around and around the tower, and couldn't for the life of me find the entrance. I believe at that time, there were no guides or YouTube videos so I quit the game. I was pretty upset as I loved the story, characters and gameplay.

I then played Xenoblade Chronicles X on the Wii U, as I watched Craddoc play the game and it looked incredible with the skells. XCX was my favorite game of the year, even surpassing Bloodborne because of the characters, mechs, gameplay and all the customization you can do. It took awhile to build up the Laila skell (I call her the Laila Queen) and armor to completely demolish Pharsis, who is the hardest enemy as she regenerates very quickly so you need very fast and high DPS. 

As you can tell from that link, the RPG elements are very intense and detailed. Just being in the mech and having that freedom to fly and fall from great heights is an experience I've never had in any other video game, more so than even the Gravity Rush series. Despite being incredibly huge, the level design is such that there are tons of hills, mountains, huge tree roots that you can get lost in--the world has vertical and horizontal depth and variety, and it's definitely not copy and pasted. The music is lovely, here's the Sylvalum area theme music.

In fact, I'll have to revise my top 10 favorite games list to include XCX.

When Xenoblade Chronicles 2 was featured in the initial Nintendo Switch presentation, it looked really bad in terms of the art direction and game concept, so I was rather upset and not at all interested in it. However, recently, the Nintendo Direct showed gameplay, and the game looks fantastic. If you watch the section where you customize the blades, the amount of choices and leveling is an RPG gamer's dream. I dare say that the level of RPG elements seem to be more in depth than one of my highly anticipated RPGs, Ni No Kuni 2.

At the same time, I'm still holding off on buying the Switch. But, because of this game, I actually might get a Switch if and only if:
  1. They fix all the issues such as the console bending, dock scratching the screen, left joy-con desyncing and so forth.
  2. Drastically reduced price as we're forced to buy a screen protector, memory card and pro controller.
  3. There are ways to back-up your files on a USB thumb drive and/or cloud storage.
  4. Realize that this is the only game I'll get for the system.
The price will have to be very low, as this game may be the only one I want for the system. Therefore, my previous advice on whether you should buy the Switch still holds true--if you REALLY need that one game, buy the Switch only if the above list holds true.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 will be released on December 1.

The How of Happiness Review

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Video Game Shoulds

I've felt a lot of guilt as I'm continuing to play Fortnite instead of Horizon Zero Dawn, taking advantage of the new DLC, The Frozen Wilds. In the back of my mind, I don't want to play it on a 1080p screen, rather, wanting to play it when I save enough money for LG's OLED 4k HDR TV, which will actually come down in price by the time I have enough cash for it! Further with the advent of 4K gaming, LG has patched their last year's models to have faster screen refresh rates, culminating with this current year's model with decent numbers. In other words, I feel that this game deserves to be played on the best TV screen possible.

Additionally, I'm compelled to continue with Fortnite after reading aFrequ's discussion on the Dragon Scorch Ninja, and having not just a new goal to work on, but an exciting one. It's fun to see the progression as I now have evolved Sarah Hotep to 3 stars, which increased her Dragon Slash damage numbers from, at that time 3,666 to now an impressive leap to 7679.2, with doubled AOE! Any time a game has an exciting goal to reach, it's very hard for me to stop the game and move onto the next one.

Coincidentally, I had an interesting discussion with one of my recommended Twitch Streamers, Hilly_ yesterday, about "Video Game Shoulds". The discussion came up as Hilly_ was demonstrating Borderlands 2, a game that he has played and mastered many times over. Indeed, Hilly_ completed a no-death run on hardest difficulty, and I believe it was solo at that.

During yesterday's stream, Hilly_ mentioned that he felt bad that he was demonstrating Borderlands 2 and Bloodborne a lot for his viewers, and for variety, maybe he should move onto other games. He then caught himself, and mentioned that he loves these games so much, and there's a sizable community that want to continue to watch these games, so why not continue in a win-win strategy? Indeed, all of us in his community want to watch these games.

This was a revelation, so I chimed in and said that yes, why move onto another game, when you're having so much fun playing your current one, even though you played it for so many hours and completed it so many times? We feel guilt because most of us have a backlog where we feel we should get around playing, but yet we're playing the same game(s) over and over again.

Hilly_ agreed as he felt that it doesn't make sense to just go to the next game with the attitude, "well I might as well get it over and done with". The point of playing video games is to enjoy the game and immerse yourself in the world. If it becomes a chore where guilt is saying you must finish the backlog, you're not going to enjoy gaming, which is the exact opposite of a hobby's purpose. Further, this is video games, it's not a life or death situation where if you don't work on your backlog, people are going to die and/or suffer.

Likewise, the discussion moved to achievement and trophy hunting, and how we often feel that we must get a particular achievement or trophy, even though they're not fun, but tedious. Again, it makes no sense for you to force yourself to reach a video game goal if it's not fun. Albeit, there are some games that I love so much, that I feel compelled to get a particular trophy, such as Horizon: Zero Dawn, even though it includes completing timed hunting trial missions, and I dislike timed missions. Interestingly, I ended up finding the timed trials kind of fun in the end. So, it was worth it to get a shiny Platinum for this masterpiece of a game as that particular trophy isn't arduous like quite a few achievements and trophies are.

I want to get a Platinum for Demon's Souls, the only Souls game that I never Platinum'd, but then I cringe, as getting that pure bladestone takes dozens of hours farming this one area, that the trophy doesn't seem meaningful like mastering fun hunting trial missions. It doesn't even take skill or any sense of accomplishment to get it, just pure dumb luck.

Conclusion: Play the video game that you want, regardless of how many hours you spent on it and how much backlog you have. I recommend following Hilly_ for his gaming insights and philosophy, as he will soothe your frayed nerves.

The How of Happiness Review

Monday, November 6, 2017

Monday Musings 17--Fortnite Ninja Dragon Tips

Fortnite Hero Choices
I've been feverishly playing Fortnite, wanting to finish the new Halloween Event before Horizon: Zero Dawn's DLC, The Frozen Wilds, comes out, which is tomorrow. The Halloween Event is, uniquely generous to its long-suffering fans, as you can obtain epic and legendary heroes by just finishing various questlines. You also get tons of legendary cosplayer survivors (often even more important than heroes) from just opening up the Halloween Llama Pinatas. Lastly, you get guaranteed legendary weapons. Please be advised, the event ends November 29!

Who are the best heroes? The general consensus on all the most prominent top-tier lists, including WhiteSushi's, are either the Special Forces or Urban Assault soldiers. However, even before the buffing of all heroes, there was one hero that my friends were playing who seemed to mop up trash mobs, covering an area almost as wide as an AirStrike, and could prove better than Mystic Master Grenadier Ramirez that I'm dying to have, as his or her Dragon Slash has a cool down of only 10 seconds, whereas Ramirez's grenades have a cool down of a considerably longer 30 seconds. Further, this ninja has shurikens and smoke bombs that you can use offensively while waiting during your Dragon Slash's cool-down. That ninja is the Dragon Scorch Ninja and, his Halloween variant, Sarah Hotep Dragon Ninja. Note: WhiteSushi's work on weapons is fantastic.

For some reason, Dragon Scorch was considered one of the lower-tiered Ninjas on prominent tier lists, but I was very skeptical after seeing my friends, even before the buff, mop up large trash mobs, so seeing is believing, and academic crunching of the numbers to get to where Dragon Scorch is one of the worst Ninjas simply didn't add up to real-life experiences.

In the meantime, I got the Halloween legendary version, Sarah Hotep Ninja Dragon, and was absolutely delighted, because she has the same exact comical lines as her Outlander counterpart, making fun of wall smashers, taunting them as Ham-Fisted (and I never noticed, but their left fists do look like hams) and Tiny-Footed Wall Puncher (again, never noticing until she made fun of them, but they do have small feet), as well as other sarcastic lines that I mentioned in this post.

Because I didn't have enough Hero experience to level her up, I got her at level 10/10 (1 star) and she was outperforming my legendary Special Forces Ramirez who was level 30/30 (3 stars), precisely because of her ability to mop up large areas and numbers of trash mobs. Although I died as Sarah Hotep a couple of times due to lower health and shield (and rarely die as Ramirez but she's at 3 stars), my combat scores were higher than Ramirez.

I was surprised that I even beat my friend in combat but only one time (he's literally 20 levels lower than me, but always beats me in combat) using Sarah Hotep, albeit, this is unfair as he was using the lackluster Outlander, who has the weakest offense. Of course, if he were using his Dragon Ninja, he would outperform me by multiplier 2 at the very least.

Exhibit A: Hero Load Out
I realized that I found my hero, and no longer wanting Mythic Master Grenadier Ramirez as much as I did! Further, this is Sarah who's absolutely hysterical. Since I wanted to see how to maximize her potential, I scoured the internet and came up with aFrequ's reddit posts.

I trust him, on recommended Ninjas, and which heroes to put in your Ninja's support and technical slots, as well as damage numbers and weapon recommendations, as he and his friend were using the two best Ninjas successfully in level 100+ missions. This real-life testing is much more valuable and realistic than the academic exercise of crunching numbers, and "feeling" that the Dragon Scorch is the worst ninja. I also used his Tech Breakpoints for Late Game as reference.

Hero Loadout For Your Dragon: aFrequ found that putting Epic Shuriken Master Llamurai
(Purple) at 4/5 stars in the left slot and Legendary Master Llamurai (Orange) at 5/5 stars in the right slot, as well as beefing up your tech, your Dragon Ninja at 5/5 stars will be viable in highest level missions in Twine (last area of early access). Fortunately, I have both epic and legendary Llamurai's as I was choosing Ninja's, but happily managed to easily land a legendary Urban Assault Soldier during this awesome Halloween Event. Easily in the sense that yes, you have to grind, but no, it's not RNG, being that Epic Game's RNG is such that it's almost impossible to get the ones that you want. See Exhibit A.

However, I noticed that when I switched the Shurikens so the Legendary is on the left, and Epic
Exhibit B: My Hero Load Out
is on the right, the Legendary gave higher ability damage percentage at 20% versus 15%, so my load-out is reversed. See Exhibit B. Note: This is after I revised this post, so my Sarah Hotep is now evolved to 3 stars!

The rationale of using these particular heroes is that aFrequ notices that anyone can get all three of these Ninja heroes as long as you play the Halloween Event, so this is due to practical considerations. Further, by placing the Llamurai's in those two slots, you increase your hero's ability damage modifier (HAD), so Dragon Slash ability can one-shot trash mobs of elemental husks even at level 100+ missions. Exhibit A/B is how your heroes should be arranged.

Of course, you will have the Halloween variants, but they are the exact same as Dragon Scorch and Master Shuriken, just reskins. Interestingly, at the highest level missions, the epic version needs only be evolved up to 4/5 stars, as aFrequ notes that most people don't evolve Epics to 5/5 given the grind to get there, so it makes more sense to max out your Legendary instead.  Obviously, it would be better to have the Epic at 5/5, and ideally both of them being Legendary's at 5/5 each. Again, the appreciation here is that aFrequ is interested in making sure that you can achieve his advised load-outs, which you can through the Halloween event. Indeed, the odds of getting Legendary Llamurai/Shuriken x 2 is pretty minimal.

Exhibit C: Damage Numbers
Damage Numbers: With the two Llamurai's lined up, your HAD stays the same at 2039%. The AD numbers change depending on the level husks. For instance, to 1-shot elemental husks in level 76 missions, your AD should be about 932%. The AD number goes up to around 2493% in level 100 missions. You'll find your HAD and AD numbers by going to your hero menu, click L3 analog stick for All Stats. Scroll down under "Combat" category, and you'll see the numbers for HAD, AD, as well as Energy, Energy Regen Rate, and Max Effective Weapon Level. Exhibit C shows aFrequ's numbers--fortunately your AD doesn't have to be as high as aFrequ's, but it needs to be around 2493% for level 100 missions.

As of this post, my HAD is 654% and AD 491% so I have a ways to go in achieving those numbers (these numbers are when Hotep was either 1 or 2 stars).

Survivor Tech Squad: In addition to leveling up your Dragon, you can boost your AD numbers through the Survivor Tech Squad. aFrequ mentions the importance of your squad survivors, and getting your tech squad members at the highest star ratings possible. I was relieved to find that it's better to put legendary survivors (regardless of mismatch personalities to the lead survivor) than your epic survivors with matched personalities, because when you reach 3 stars, your legendary's put up better numbers than epic with matched personalities. Again, I appreciate his advice as you get TONS of legendary cosplay survivors during the Halloween event, that you can slot them in your tech spots. He also notes that you don't have to worry about having matched abilities. Therefore, just slot any of your legendary survivors in the tech spots, so no more worrying about matching things!

Dragon Slash Final Number: By beefing up your tech squad and placing the correct heroes in your support and tech spots, you should get these hard numbers for your Dragon Slash.

Exhibit D: Dragon Slash Final Number
Your Dragon Slash should reach around 75,240 damage to one-shot elemental husks in level 100 missions. To find this number, go to your Hero menu and "upgrade/inspect", and look under Perks and see Dragon Slash. It should look like this (Exhibit D). aFrequ's Dragon Slash is an impressive 89522.5. My value is 3,666, but I'm only in Plankerton.

Weapon Loadout: aFrequ recommends Stabworth the IIIrd, as it's the fastest sword in the game for your highest level missions, and Super Shredder for killing the larger and stronger mist monsters. I can vouch for the Super Shredder, as I recall being level 15 or so, being carried by my level 40 friends, doing level 40+ missions, and the Super Shredder was the one weapon that was holding its own, even over the Nocturno. For now, I'm using the Founder's Legendary Masamune for my edged weapon, as it has better rolls than my Stabworth, since I'm not at the highest levels.

Even so, I have a feeling that at highest levels, my Masamune might outperform the Stabworth, as the Masamune has both fire and energy damage as well as high crit chance and other great rolls, whereas my Stabworth has sad mediocre rolls such as improved weapon degradation, and only doing extra damage to enemies when they have status effects. However, if you don't have a sword with good rolls, then I would certainly take aFrequ's advice and use the Stabworth when you reach very high level missions, which I think was also easy to obtain during this Halloween event.

That being said, I'm concerned that Epic Games will nerf Dragon Scorch and Sarah Hotep to the ground. But in preparation for that, I still have Special Forces Ramirez. I also have the Legendary Urban Assault whom I got during this unique and unusually generous event!

Conclusion: Completing the Halloween event is a must as you get guaranteed highest-tier heroes, legendary cosplay survivors and legendary weapons. With further grind, your Dragon Ninja will be viable in the highest-level missions. The event ends November 29.

Thank you aFrequ for all of your hard work and sharing!

The How of Happiness Review

Sunday, November 5, 2017

delinquentMuse Twitch: No-Brainer to Subscribe

Exhibit A: Stitch Prints
I noticed on delinquentMuse's Twitch 's description page that if you're a subscriber of her channel for 24 months, that is when your Muse tattoo icon is filled up, that you're entitled to a handwritten note, a free autographed print, and then a free print every 4 months thereafter. I was excited about this prospect as I have a few more months to go to reach that milestone.

However, during one of Muse's streams when she was playing South Park: The Fractured But Whole, she mentioned that anyone who subscribes to her channel gets a free Butters print. Despite not being a new subscriber (as I thought this was a "promotional event"), I then asked her if I can get a Butters print, as he's the only likeable party member in the game. Not only did Muse apologize, she also said that in addition to the coveted Butters print, she owed me several more prints, and that I can chose amongst her collection. Since Lilo and Stitch is one of my favorite Disney Movies, I requested the two Stitch prints, as displayed in her Disney art page link. One where he's holding up an "I 💗 U" sign, and the other, his sitting pose
Exhibit B: Butters

This week, I received a handwritten note from Muse. I didn't include a picture of it in this post, as Muse's notes are specifically personal and not the generic "Thank You for your Support".  I also received the promised autographed post-card sized prints. I expected only the 2 Stitch prints that I requested from Muse as mentioned above, but I received a total of four Stitch prints, including an adorable Halloween-themed one of both Lilo and Stitch (BFFs), which you can see in the picture. This is "Exhibit A".

Exhibit C: Extra Prints!
In "Exhibit B", the Butters print is also not just adorable, but perfect for any South Park or non-South Park fan. 

The last picture, "Exhibit C" includes the extra 2, which was also unexpected, and included my namesake, Alice In Wonderland.

Of course, I will place these valuable prints in my video game collectibles corner!

Conclusion: The delinquentMuse Twitch stream is more notable for her wonderful, warm, generous, loving presence and community, but I felt that the art prints may sway you all into subscribing as well.

The How of Happiness Review

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Play as Aloy in Monster Hunter: World

I'm very excited to see that you can play as Aloy in Monster Hunter: World, exclusive to the PS4
She's a perfect fit because every time I saw trailers of Horizon: Zero Dawn pre-release, I kept thinking that this is very Monster Hunter but in an open, seamless world. Even the developers mentioned that they were influenced by the revolutionary Monster Hunter series. I note revolutionary as influential games such as the Dark Souls series and Horizon: Zero Dawn have incorporated Monster Hunter's gameplay elements.

I think I'll continue to play as my usual multiracial character (Monster Hunter as a series does a superb job with character creation, allowing for diverse racial groups), but it's very exciting if I ever chance upon other hunters who are Aloy!

The other thing that excites me is that the mainline Monster Hunter games will continue to release on PC, PS4 and XBox, given this exclusivity. Further, it doesn't make sense to scrap the engine and blueprint, which takes years to develop, to then come up with different engines and assets to go back to Nintendo, so future Monster Hunter games will continue to improve in graphics and AI.

I also have the feeling that Capcom will continue to make portable Monster Hunter games for the Switch, using the past engine/assets used for the 3DS, given the huge Japanese market for portable Monster Hunter gaming.

What are your thoughts about this exclusivity? Will you play as Aloy? 

The How of Happiness Review

Monday, October 30, 2017

Monday Musings 16

How to Avoid Pay To Progress/Play/Win in Fortnite
TL/DR is at the very bottom.

If you Google "Fortnite pay to play or win" not only would you see players of the game complaining about this model, but even respected game journalists mentioning the toxic pay to play and win structure of this game, and how the game is ruined because you have to pay to make any sort of progression.

As I wrote in a previous post, I was so impressed by my friend who is only one level above me, with really crap heroes and weapons (where I had high-tier ones), but nevertheless performing better than me in both building and combat. I wanted to craft her better weapons, since I have some of the top-tier weapons with very good rolls such as increased critical chance and energy damage.

The issue was that I managed to only get enough silver ore from another friend to even make these weapons in the first place, and not on my own, as it was hard for me to obtain silver ore in-game.  I had 48 at that time, down from 99 which he gave me as I had to constantly use silver ore to make weapons. Each of my top-tier weapons cost a whopping 11 silver ore.

Because of this issue, she then dropped me two stacks of silver ore (?!?), which comes out to 198! My jaw dropped. I asked her how is she able to give me 2 stacks, in a rather nonchalant way???!!.  She said she had 5 plus stacks (?!?). Not only that, the same friend who gave me the initial first stack had 5 plus stacks of even the more rare malachite (?!?), plus he has been stockpiling scores of malachite rocket launchers, that have very powerful AOE but low durability, so these are very resource-intensive weapons.

My friend explained that she would use the traps and weapons that she'd find in crates and chests (I tend to recycle weapons since they're always of lower quality), and only making her own weapons if she runs out. Therefore, she rarely uses silver ore and holds onto them, collecting the impressive 5 plus stacks. It never occurred to me to use these weapons since with my skill-set, I really need the best.

Talking with her, I discovered that Fortnite really isn't pay to progress, play or win if you're patient and good enough with the game. I agree the progression is excruciatingly slow even for me who enjoys grinding, and I wonder if even I could progress with only the standard edition, where you only get the minimum tools. I think I can do it and here's how I can, by following my friend's strategy.

I can see myself having to play only level 1 missions for up to two weeks before I find some sort of competence in both navigating the building menu (which is a bit clunky) and shooting. Whereas, I believe I was mid-way through the first area due to getting all the best items after only 2 weeks of playing due to having the best stuff. Further, using my friend's model, I will have to do a lot of grinding to find weapons, and only making weapons as the last resort, so I will be stuck at level 1 for the first 2 or so weeks.

Then, after gaining some competence, I will progress to level 5 missions, also taking 2 weeks further honing my skills. Interestingly, I would have stockpiled a lot of the rare items that are hard to find initially, such as active powercells, rotating gizmos, and even copper ore. They become almost ubiquitous at later stages of the game, but in the level 1 and 5 missions, they are hard to come by. During the first area in Stonewood, you don't really need traps, so that would further save on materials.

In addition to improving my skill set, I will slowly grind out hero and survivor experience to beef up my common to rare main hero and survivors, as the survivors help with increasing your defense and offense more than getting skills. But I will be stuck at level 5 for quite some time for maybe 2 weeks, and then level 9, and so forth.

If I were smarter, and didn't buy into the limited/ultimate editions and v-bucks, this Monday Musings may have been about how I finally made it to Plankerton, the second area, and further tips on how to progress without paying.

Indeed, I would like to experiment with this, to see if anyone can achieve what my friends achieved, that is at my very inexperienced skill set. I believe almost all players of Fortnite would have way more experience with shooters than me, so by following my friend's methods, I can safely conclude that you don't really need to buy anything, as you don't need the best items in the game to start out with.

However, for non-gamers (i.e. I have almost no skills in shooters so I'm basically a newbie going into the game), can we  succeed in progressing without paying? If I'm able to do it, then that's proof that literally anyone can do this all for free, that is once Fortnite is released as a free game in 2018.

Unfortunately, you only have 1 save file per console, so if I were to experiment with this, I'm going to wait for the free access in 2018 and play on the Xbox. I think it would be an interesting exercise, and I might do just that, hoping that there will be a good pool of players in the Xbox Fortnite Community. As I'm playing on the PS4, I can COOP with all PS4 players and my friends who play on PC, so there's a large pool of players to draw into. XBox, strangely, doesn't have cross-COOP with PC players, despite both being Microsoft products.

TL/DR: Play the levels over and over again primarily to scrounge for weapons that you will use, and only make your own if you truly run out.

With the experience gained from grinding missions, slowly increase your main hero's and survivor's stats for more viability. When you find better heroes and/or survivors, you can either add them in your collection book to get resources, or recycle to get most of the experience back.

Anyone with any reasonable experience with shooters can progress smoothly (though slowly), and those who don't have much experience such as me, will have to go at an even slower pace for practice, as we'll be stuck with common to rare heroes and weapons and have to rely more on skill.

The How of Happiness Review

Saturday, October 28, 2017

My Experience With Art

As you know, one of my featured Twitch streamers is delinquentMuse, who is offering, if you subscribe to her channel, one of her prints of Butters from South Park. Considering her art is incredible and gorgeous, I feel that this is a steal. Excited that I'm going to get some of her artwork, I have been thinking about my experiences with art, which leads me to this post.

Growing up, my Mom used to take us to the free art and science museums in Boston rather frequently. I remember the modern art wing. I wondered why the Jackson Pollock painting is on display because it looked like scribbles. Also, Kline that looked like calligraphy, and I was like, just read a Chinese newspaper, it's the same thing. I'm sure I saw one of Picasso's periods (perhaps the Blue Period?) where the paintings were not photo-realistic, and I wondered if he knew how to draw. I then went home, and was surprised that Picasso was capable of drawing very realistically.

Fast forward to college, and one of the classes I took was taught by an internationally renowned professor, specializing in Picasso. Her classes got highest ratings, so everyone takes her class. One of her lectures made me laugh as she noted how modern art is so accessible that even babies would hug a Picasso statue. Babies tend to be so curious that they end up hugging and touching everything so that doesn't mean that a statue is intrinsically loved, so that made me laugh. She then said that children intuitively understand modern art, whereas when I was that age, I was more like "wtf is that?". 

However, due to her passionate teaching style, I do find Modern Art fascinating. My favorite period is the Abstract Expressionists, especially Kandinsky and Rothko. Her passion spilled over to my wanting to finally learn how to draw. As I'm very left-brained, my drawings are stick-figures. Since Edwards' Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain has reached a lot of acclaim, I decided to borrow the book.

The first exercise was to draw a picture right-side up. It was very bad, because as a left-brained person, I drew what I thought was the concept of the picture. The next exercise is to draw it upside down, and just copy the lines on the paper. It worked! Although the proportions were off and not "perfection" it looked like the drawing.

The next exercise I believe is drawing your hand and to focus on the lines and not what the concept of a hand looks like. The interesting part of this exercise is that I noticed that my palms had what seemed like an infinite amount of lines, so I didn't know if I should draw all of them, or should I exclude some of the minor lines, but then which ones? Even so, it looked like a hand and was impressive for someone who previously can only draw stick figures, albeit the fingers were out of proportion and was 2-dimensional.

I then came to the awareness that since it was so easy for me, who doesn't have an artistic bone in her body, to pick up drawing something photo-realistically in under 1 hour, drawing realistically is one of the easiest aspects of drawing, but the harder aspects are what lines do you put in to make the artwork aesthetically pleasing? So, of course the Abstract Expressionists can draw realistically, but they did something way more impressive by bringing something new to the table.

A great artist is able to find out which things to include and not include, and I just don't get where this talent comes from, so alien and foreign it is to me. It's pretty incredible that with art, you're faced with infinite possibilities, so it's in fact impressive that the Abstract Expressionists are able to come up with something new and fresh, but also compelling. I mean, where do you start when you're faced with a blank piece of paper?

At any rate, the next step of the book I couldn't master, and that's learning how to draw with correct proportions, so I stopped at that part of the book. 

I'm curious about your experiences with art, so please feel free to discuss.

Monday Musings 18

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is Tempting Me To Buy the Switch My history with the Xenoblade series started with Xenoblade Chronicles for the ...