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7th March 2020: Musical Misadventures

<Old Stuff>

I was fairly late getting into music, as I didn't pick up my first guitar until I was leaving college in the mid-late 90s. Since then, I've flip-flopped in and out of the subject every few years.

Initially, I started jamming and writing simple songs with my mate Craig, before joining a band called Cruiser with work colleague Chris. The only gigs I've ever played were with Cruiser in 2000 and 2001, unless you count 2 songs Craig and I performed during a Sixth Form Variety Show when I was working at a high school in December 2002, about a year after I left Cruiser.

Over the next couple of years, Craig and I tried recording some of our songs, along with a few jams with the former Cruiser lads, but after this I dropped out of making music for the next 6 or 7 years.

For a few years, starting in 2011, I got the bug again when Chris asked if I wanted to help him work on some of his songs. While we were jamming and recording Chris's stuff, in the background I revisited my own songs, and tried to record some of them to the best of my ability. However, the very long process of recording and mixing those songs, only to have them come out sounding nowhere near as good as I wanted them to, absolutely burnt me out. Soon after their completion, I threw all my music stuff in the loft, where it has remained for nearly 4 years.

When I started writing songs again in the early 2010s, most of my inspiration came from the computer game League Of Legends, which I was playing a lot of at the time. Here are the songs I completed that are based on the game's setting and characters:

Not All Angels
Not All Angels

Written and performed by Stebloke.
Completed October 2014. Updated May 2016.

Youtube link
Soundcloud link

Lyrics:
Never wanted sibling rivalry. Never foresaw such a tragedy. They never paused to explain why, they just ripped her from the sky. Branded fallen for her life, and now it's her purpose to kill again and again at the rift. Shattered wings and immortality. Keeps her hands warm though it's sinfully. Tormented soil, she's breaking waves. She will bind their souls someday. Kinda likes how she behaves, 'Cause now it's her purpose to kill again and again at the rift. Her graceful time was stolen from. All she wanted was some fun. Now exposed, the scars of war. Her world enslaved, it seems so far. Fractured by tyrannic lies. If they'd just seen things through her eyes. Missed the chance for sense to see. She'll never welcome back her kin. When they stripped her chance to soar, they made her seek forbidden lore. Blackest thorns, death on command, in this land of Valoran. Never mind her skin so fair, as all her torment she will share. When it's time she'll spill their blood, because not all angels are good.

The Chosen Two: Diana Vs. Leona
The Chosen Two: Diana Vs. Leona

Written and performed by Stebloke.
Completed May 2016.

Youtube link
Soundcloud link

Lyrics:
CHOSEN OF THE MOON: Let night steal away the sun. By the moon let fools be frozen. Now your end it has begun. Say goodbye to your kind's chosen. Traitors. Miscreants. Fakers. Ignorants. Heed the night. Embrace the dark. Or a crescent blade will still your heart. Power imbued beneath the silver light bathing the ground. Blind to the truth - denying lunar might will bring you down. You say revere the sun but we are lied to. You say it lights the way instead it blinds you. You can't face the scorn, can't save them all, can't stave your fall. It's time to shatter the dawn. CHOSEN OF THE SUN: Rise. Here comes the sun. Skin warmed by the golden rays that show with daybreak. Stand strong behind shield and blade, and glow, radiate. When first light comes show no fear when the heat of battle calls because here comes the sun, to save everyone. Here comes the sun. The night's on the run. Live life upon mountain high and show devotion. Inspire all to stand up and bestow protection. It's poetic - the chosen will clash and the heretic will know.

Crowd Control
Crowd Control

Written and performed by Stebloke.
Completed May 2016.

Youtube link
Soundcloud link

Lyrics:
Initiate. Make a dive for the middle. Pick a mark, get involved, give 'em trouble. Move out to the flank, prep 'em for a gank all the lanes. Bring the hurt floor the carry. Make them wish that they weren't adversaries. Time to hard engage. Time to make 'em rage. Gonna bring the pain. Gonna change the game. Team needs aggression. Objectives first. Foes need a lesson. Prepare the burst. So bring perfection. Set up the show with crowd control. Achieve the goal with crowd control. Rock and roll with crowd control. Retaliate. Make 'em pay for their trouble. They think they're gonna bring the pain? Give 'em double. Gonna stamp around. Gonna shut 'em down on the rift. Play it calm, turn to savage. Gotta counter swift prevent all their damage. Block 'em with a wall. And then stun them all. Gonna lock 'em up. Gonna land a hook. Team needs protecting. With crescendo. Skill interrupting. Weakness exposed. Offense deflecting. Now bring them low with crowd control. Now dominate. Serve them up on an arrow. Tidal wave leaves them all feeling sorrow. And with a nether grasp, put em on their assassinate, apprehend, slow with zephyr. Land a bind, terrify, taunt their effort. See hatred in their eyes. When you pulverize. Gonna score an ace. Gonna wreck their face. Team fight injection. It's time to shine. To bring conclusion. Support divine. Such an obsession. The world will know your crowd control.

Evelynn
Evelynn

A parody of Everlong by the Foo Fighters, written by Dave Grohl.
Evelynn lyrics written by Stebloke.
Performed by Stebloke.
Completed May 2016.

Youtube link

Lyrics:
Shadows, she's sneaking up on through. Evelynn. Delight, she throws herself into. Her prey's up ahead. Rage will be fed. They're damned. Come now. Embrace the agony. Time to feed. Run now, but it won't help to flee. Hate spike through the leg. Soon they'll be dead. They're damned. It's all over. She loves when they scream on cue. There's no escape when she impales them for her pleasure. There's no escaping and her frenzy brings the end. And she won't stop until they're torn in two. They'll find no solace when she lets her fun begin. They're damned. Scream out. It wakes her beast within. Death begins. Ends now she draws their essence in. Ground painted red. Now they are dead. They're damned.

In addition to the songs I wrote about League Of Legends, I also updated and re-recorded two of the songs Craig and I originally wrote in the late 90s and early 2000s. Those two songs are here:

With A View Of A World
With A View Of A World

Written by Stebloke and Craig Williamson.
Performed by Stebloke.
Completed May 2016.

Youtube link
Soundcloud link

Lyrics:
ALIENS: Look at this world, this beautiful world. A miracle. A paradise. But under the sun their damage is done. If only they'd just open their eyes. So they can see their majesty, potentially. All over this world, cries can be heard, littering all of history. Is it too late to rid them of hate, as making a change could set them free? It's theirs to lose, so can we choose? Are they all fools? Will the last hope for this planet come from their own? Will their actions be organic? Will they atone? Will time and space bring their amends? Or will they face their bitter end? Is this the one? What can be done with a view of a world? HUMAN: The stars say so much. What's so wrong? Longing to feel I belong. I fear all hope's in vain. So tired of all this pain, because I can't find peace of mind. I need to leave this world behind. 'Cause I'm crying, trying, needing, bleeding, as I'm watching, waiting for a sign of redemption. I live my life, waiting for an intervention. What can be done with a view of a world?

Fantasy World
Fantasy World

Written and performed by Stebloke.
Completed July 2011. Updated May 2016.

Youtube link
Soundcloud link

Lyrics:
Don't pull me out from where I hide. I'm lost in thought where I confide. I'll dream away, this place I'll stay, until this world decides to pay. My head's full of what should be. A dreamscape home made just for me. Sun shines warm but rays don't burn. And you keep all of what you earn. Living, living, living in a fantasy world, where everyone is happy now. Living, living, living in a fantasy world. People lie chilled on their backs. No politicians feed their crap. Crime is down, dance music's dead. If only this was not my head. I stay at home and dream of you. A dream I know that can't come true. The people out give me a miss, 'cause where I go does not exist.

Chris's Songs

And for completion, here are the recordings of Chris's songs that I played bass on, all on Chris's Youtube channel:

Tangle With The Dead Everlasting Show Us Your Scars Go To Sleep Softly Softly Burn Up Go Go Fantastico

Back when I used to play guitar, most of the time I played along to professional songs, rather than work on my own stuff. Often, I had to work out how to play the songs I liked, as I found a lot of the tabs I found on the internet were completely crap and sounded nothing like the song they were supposed to be. Some of these tabs, I typed up for posterity, and I've decided to re-upload them here.

These tabs are all downloadable pdf files. Right click the tab(s) of your choice, and select the relevant download option.

When We Stand Together, by Nickelback. Tabbed April 2015.

Get Jinxed, from League Of Legends, by Riot Games. Tabbed April 2014. I play my Get Jinxed tab (Youtube).

Collecting Casualties, by Running The Risk. Tabbed March 2014.

Here Comes Vi, from League Of Legends, by Riot Games. Tabbed December 2013. I play my Here Comes Vi tab (Youtube).

Fly On The Wall, by Thunder. Tabbed August 2013.

Burn It To The Ground, by Nickelback. Tabbed October 2011.

Ring Of Fire, by Def Leppard. Tabbed January 2010.

Too Much To Dream, from California Dreams. Tabbed October 2008.

Low Life In High Places, by Thunder. Tabbed September 2007. Note this is the intro only.

Four Letter Word, by Def Leppard. Tabbed August 2007.

24th August 2019: Mixed Media Mayhem

So, this long-neglected hobby finally gets a look in, five years after I last tried to create any kind of artwork. It's not like I have ignored this on purpose though, as I've been thinking about art a lot, and over the last few years I've collected a great many different types of supplies.

I finally got my butt in gear a couple of months back, when I stumbled across a mandala tutorial on Youtube. It struck me as something I could try, looking like something that would need a whole lot of patience rather than a whole lot of skill. While that has ended up being true, I gotta admit, a whole lot of skill would have certainly helped, as this thing took hours.

Rather than just create a typical black and white mandala like most of those I found on the internet, I decided to just go colour mad, and use as many of my supplies as possible, just to get some use out of them.
Ball points, fineliners, felt tips, coloured pencils, alcohol markers, permanent markers, highlighters, paint pens, and acrylic paints all went into the image. The only thing I own that I didn't use was my watercolours, as I didn't want the paper to warp.

The plan was always to have different parts of the image to look like they were on different layers, and originally, I was going to try and do this as I was creating the image. However, it turned out I didn't have enough de-saturated and darker colours to make parts of the image look like they were further away. So instead, I scanned it into my computer and tried to create layers of darkness, and it's turned out alright, though not perfect.

Many Layered Many Coloured Mandala Madness

Many Layered Many Coloured Mandala Madness

Overall, I'm pretty happy with it, even though it is a bit messy. I'm hoping I can keep some momentum and try something else arty, but I've still got wargaming stuff to paint and several dozen games to get to trying, and I've not done anything towards those for the last few months.

21st August 2014: Let's Pretend

Why does time go by so very fast? I recently realised that we have passed the ten year anniversary of the end of the Toybitus web-comic, and therefore LLAP-Goch Productions. That is so crazy.
This got me thinking about the web-comic, all those old toys I used, and some of the things that I may have done differently. One character that definitely would have been in it a lot would have been the Decepticon combiner called Monstructor. That dude was made from six little Pretender robots and was totally badass. Me and my bro owned that toy when we were kids, but one day he took it to his mate's house and it never came back. Nowadays, that toy is one of the rarest and is worth a bomb, and I've always been annoyed with myself that I didn't try to get it back when I was a kid. But back then, I didn't really care.

To make a short, boring story even shorter, I fancied paying homage to Monstructor in some way. I also wanted to try line work in PaintTool Sai, and decided to try and re-create an image of one of the Pretender shells. This is the shell of a robot called Icepick, and according to his bio he's actually very cheerful. Hmmm, looks like it.

I have very much cheated creating this image, as I just traced over the original, but I just wanted the practise. I pasted the original into PaintTool Sai, and used the curve tool to create the lines. Then I threw that into Photoshop, and used shape layers to add the colour. I'm happy with how it's turned out, but it would be nothing like this if I'd done it freehand.

Hope he doesn't pick his nose with those things

Hope he doesn't pick his nose with those things

12th August 2014: Blue Ridge Mountains

I recently watched a Youtube tutorial by Ekaterina Smirnova about painting the Blue Ridge Mountains, and as it looked like a good one for a noob I thought I'd give it a go.
Rather than paint along to the tutorial, I decided to try it later in the day from memory, which was pretty fun to do. Definitely made a few errors mixing the paint and didn't get the transitions right, but oh well.
After that I downloaded a program called PaintTool Sai that looks like good software for line work and inking, but I found it has a mode called watercolour, so I tried the picture again using that. Certainly looks better as it was easier to get the colours right, but I didn't get the sky right at all.
And I definitely need more practise drawing tree branches...

Blue Ridge Mountains

Blue Ridge Mountains

10th August 2014: Well, It's A Start

For a long time I've had the desire to try and learn how to create interesting art, and I'm adding this option to my blog in an attempt to push me into it. In this first entry, I'm including the initial artworks I've created using a variety of different techniques. Hopefully as I create and add more there will be at least some indication of progress, but as I want to try as many different kinds of art as possible, I expect the progress in each area will be slow.
Still, it will be better than none at all...

This was the first time in my adult life I actually tried to create some art of any description. It is of a Dark Jedi character from my Star Wars story The Dark Side Of Do'Naar. I'm using this as an indication of my starting skill level for digital artworks:

Dark Jedi Karynna

Dark Jedi Karynna

In 2012 I dabbled a little bit in a program called Daz Studio. This is my one and only attempt so far to create artwork using it. It is a very basic re-creation of Morgana's splash art from League Of Legends. I'm using this as an indication of my starting skill level for CG style artworks:

Morgana

Morgana

This is my first attempt at watercolour, following a tutorial by artist Frank Clarke. I'm using this as an indication of my starting skill level for watercolour artworks:

Path in a forest

Path in a forest

This is my first attempt to create a simple pencil drawing, following a tutorial by artist Mark Crilley. I'm using this as an indication of my starting skill level for pencil sketch artworks:

Armour

Armour

Here I've tried to copy an old photograph from the 1980s of Ty Mawr Caravan Park near Borth in Wales, where my nan and grandad used to have a caravan. I'm using this as an indication of my starting skill level for coloured pencil sketches:

Ty Mawr Caravan Park

Ty Mawr Caravan Park