Vale Monstrum


I am pleased to announce that the Half-Monster Games project I have been illustrating for has transitioned from its working title ‘Though I Walk Through The Valley’ to its new name ‘Vale Monstrum’. Rough mockups of possible logo layouts completed last night and today below. The text at top left is a slightly cleaned up (kerning and fill) version of the same font chosen for titles throughout the game. Let me know which you like.vale-monstrum-logo-mockups1-

‘Great Apes’ my new movement activity game for L has undergone first round mini prototyping. Much more to follow.



After wading through yet more layers of bureaucracy today with two children in tow our car is still not registered in NSW. Green slip and blue slip and tare weight are all sorted but as the car was in N’s maiden name transferring to NSW as well as changing name is apparently to much for the system to deal with in one go. We will try again tomorrow.

Tonight I’m going to attempt to clean up my Chrome bookmarks which are frankly a complete mess of nestled folders and dead links.



As widely anticipated Clinton and Trump won New York. I am disappointed, another climate shrugging*, neoliberal, war monger is not the worst thing that can happen in the US but it is a long way from the radical progressive option that Sanders is pushing. I hope the movement can maintain steam and continue to pull the Clinton camp to the left. But I fear the wave of disillusionment washing through millions of young Americans this evening is going to seriously stymie the chance of meaningful climate action during Clinton or Trumps first term in this, Decade Zero. I say ‘or Trump’s’ for a reason. I don’t think Hillary has this in the bag, in fact when it comes to debates and this elections critical ‘establishment vs outsider’ status she is at a serious disadvantage. It is going to be long months before either nightmare plays out.

Widespread allegations of voter suppression and fraud in parts of New York state are particularly disappointing because it makes this an unclean win and therefore bound to be revisited in the courts.

I finished ‘This Changes Everything‘ today. A must read. I’ll review it at a later date. I am waiting on N to listen to it as well in order to formulate a response that suits us both. For now I am beginning to put my text and graphical skills to work on infographics in preparation for the Double dissolution Australian Federal election now confirmed for July 2nd. Register!


“Stop calling me resilient. I’m not resilient.
Because every time you say, ‘Oh, they’re resilient,’
you can do something else to me.”

-Tracie Washington, New Orleans-based civil rights attorney

This Changes everything. Naomi Klein 2014 p361.


Tue 19th


I’ve found myself increasingly caught up in the candidacy battle going on in the US. Fiery exchanges and the possibility of a non-neoliberal candidate keep me coming back to the politics subreddits. With the New York primary happening tonight local time. It seems up to 60000 democrat voters have mysteriously disappeared from the electoral roll in Brooklyn and many more in wider New York state have had their affiliations mysteriously changed topping it off the Clinton campaign has been accused of violating campaign finance rules.

In local politics it seems more and more likely that our present government of ‘moron flavoured biscuits‘ may actually lose their ridiculous will they, wont they, oh they will, Double Dissolution on July 2nd. The Turnbull government has flailed and flip flopped on decisions big and small and clearly appears to have no coherent strategy for tackling the ridiculously long (74 Day) election campaign they just bought themselves.



Made some solid progress on the Castle card last night. Still tons of elements to deal with but a substantial improvement from the flat image it has been for weeks.



Invented a movement activity game with N while driving this afternoon. We were trying to think of fun ways to develop L’s coordination and instruction following abilities. We came up with a board game involving actions that I think I will call either ‘Monkey See, Monkey Do’ or ‘Great Apes’. Going to prototype it tomorrow.

Tonight I’m taking a break from the castle to have a go at some logo sketching as we appear to have settled on a name for the game. Hush hush until settled but sketches maybe forthcoming tomorrow.



Wed 6th


Straight into ‘Career of Evil‘ and hooked. Disappointed that the supporting female Robin is being put in jeopardy but it was bound to happen again eventually.

Also tried two episodes of season one of ‘Agents of Shield‘ as N was feeling out of the loop on L’s present obsession. Now I had heard that season one was a bit dodgy prior to the big Hydra reveal in ‘Captain America 2‘ but oh my goodness that was bad. I felt embarrassed for everyone involved in its production watching that poorly scripted, terribly choreographed, cliched mess unfold. We being suckers for punishment are going to try jumping ahead and giving it another chance before giving up on the idea completely.


Another leg for the sawhorses cut this evening and another sketch card close to completed last night. I realise I haven’t been sharing progress her very much, I just not happy enough with sketch level work to put it on public display without finished work accompanying.


This set of photos from Thatcherite Glasgow slums has shown up all over my feed and has a couple of striking pictures.






Progress day

Creative Day

Children and their mother went to the farm.

I Drew until my wrist ached, that’s not a euphemism.

Whichever damn fool past self had the idea of drawing a castle with curved crenelations needs a slapping.

castle progress 2

Finished paving under the washing line today. Feels like it has been weeks since I started that job and I’m very glad to have it done.

I also attached another panel of chicken wire to the seemingly never complete chook tractor. There remains a couple of areas of wiring still to do as well as a ramp and door to the roost and the matter of attaching the replacement wheels, which as I’ve mentioned before will require welding.

A new photoshere to show off the transformation we have made in the garden. Buggers still wont embed properly despite my best efforts.


I have returned some attention to Witcher 3 now that I again have a computer able to play it without melting. It really is the most extraordinarily well written game I’ve played in a long time. As an example last night I began the sequence described here.  I may explore a little farther this evening.





Jubilation and merriment the passports have finally arrived!

We almost bought tickets on the spot, only really restraining ourselves thanks to transfer wait times between banks.There is much final debating about routes and timetables underway but we will likely be locked in within coming days. Currently still favouring Qantas & BA flights via Japan and over the pole. I was going to hyperlink the word Japan with this, but it seems they’ll be closed during our visit anyway. Oh woe and misery.

I have secured the next four days as day relief at the local Catholic. Tomorrow for a year 3/4, Wednesday with Kindergarten and Thursday, Friday with a 5/6 class. This in addition to at least one client for tutoring everyday. Pretty thrilled to have work flowing again.


Distracted myself for half an hour this morning beginning an illustration of a Canteloupe as I have always pictured them, globe like and proud with horns and hoofs. the rest of the day got in the way, this evening I’m back at the tablet and focused on the castle. Cutting this post short so I can get some painting done and have an early night.


A ‘Greats of Science’ pixel art combo fighter is in the works. I can’t hardly wait to spend ten frustrating minutes with it.


Reviews & Catchup

Took the day off yesterday to play, eat and relax with family. Watched a film, ate chocolate, continued our culinary adventures following this cookbook.

Yesterday it was north indian eggs at lunch and amazing meatloaf for dinner.

No art whatsoever.

This evening I have a few hours to devote to the castle terrain card which is presenting a not insignificant challenge.



N and I clocked this game over two nights.

It is a rather enjoyable game certainly worth devoting an evening or two to. At times quite suspenseful the plot is driven by an engaging dialog based mode of story exposition. Very much like an interactive audiobook coupled with exploring an altogether very pretty digital natural environment. Good and unusual first person adventure games seem to be becoming a bit of a thing and I’m glad of it. 

Both N and I were left guessing how things would wrap up until the end. Both of us feel that despite the large variety of responses available at certain points, the story almost certainly remains the same no matter how you play it and replay value for anything other than environment exploration and photography is limited. I have already praised the aesthetics in this game but I will say that the lack of tonal variation in the caves and some forest areas subtracts for the beauty and realism. As does the overuse of repeated terrain elements used to signify scrambles, absails, ledges and balance points. In fairness this is an indie game and the achievement with a small team is pretty extraordinary.

Pacing is the one other area I felt could have worked on. Throughout the game we were constantly driven from place to place. Occasionally even forced in to fast travel to achieve this. At times this feels right, there are things to do, the pressure is on. However the nature of the job our avatar has taken on is deeply quiet and contemplative and we are never really given a taste of that. At no time are we given a chance to just sit in the tower and be lookout, even though it would chafe to be so ‘bored’ in a game it seems a missed opportunity. The fact that we never get to use the cool fire pinpointing map setup in the centre of our tower is another missed opportunity.

There is a camera in game, it has limited shots and when introduced it is kind of implied that you may want to save them for important evidence. This is not the case you are really supposed to be snap happy and get your photos printed on whim at the end. My pics are not really worth using so I’ve borrowed another’s.



Image by Steam user ‘Your Favorite Pussy’ C/o this article




Ant Man

We watched Ant Man last night which although silly, predictable, Marvel superhero pulp was very entertaining.
I was particularly enamoured of the social gossip story telling method in which the tale as related by one actor has who speaks all parts which the actors mime along to. It is used twice to great effect in the film. They play a bit fast and loose with scale in order keep things visible and they mix well know misconceptions of atomic structure in with some very clever visuals when Ant Man inevitably is forced to go subatomic.

It fails Bechdel though not completely

I’m pleased it included bullet ants and I think this film probably explains why so many people have now heard of the Schmidt sting pain index.




Hot Lazy Saturday

Hot here today.

We hid inside, planned a swim but didn’t make it.

Made some progress on a card and completed some paper work.

Played with the boys and made short lived paper wigs.

Continuing gaming with N this evening.

We are a couple of hours into Firewatch and thus far it is pretty gripping.


Click beetle. Live. Approximately 25mm. #coleoptera #insect #beetle #macro

A photo posted by @liatach on

Scrivener & Classcraft

First adult tutoring client meeting today as well as the first confirmed days locked in at the local Catholic school… Late next month.

Still I’m happy to have confirmed work on the horizon.

Experimenting with Scrivener on the basis of a favoured authors recommendation. So far I’m in love with the corkboard and tab systems it uses. Great for layout and tracking ideas through drafts.

Planning on a a little gaming time with N tonight so keeping this very brief.

Speaking of gaming a bigger more exciting rival to Class Dojo has just arrived. I have used various elements of its design with a number of classes and I have a list of in class achievements and rewards suitable for a program like this somewhere. Kind of wishing I had my own class to test this on.

Here is a referral link:

Using that gets you 2 months of premium. Which otherwise costs nearly US$100 a year (ouch) I will also get a month, currently useless to me. It seems to have a pretty well featured free mode, but they are definitely going to push you to purchase.

Peter Pan and the Red Pill Right

So we watched the first half hour of the 1953 Peter Pan which has frankly amazing amounts of overt sexism and racism. This got me thinking about the bizarre and alarming reactions so called Men’s Rights Activists (MRA) have had to films, games and books over the past year or so. I pictured the comical scenario in which guided by misplaced nostalgia Peter Pan was re-released to the big screen and the gigantic kerfuffle which would inevitably result between RedPill keyboard warriors and true believer Gender Feminists. This got me thinking about The Blank Slate(PDF Chapter link) again and I even began mentally composing a long form piece of the curious similarity between the two extremes in gender politics.

But… then N tagged out of a contested bedtime. Our beautiful progeny fought sleep until well past nine and all my aspirations beyond making art crumbled.

Speaking of my beautiful progeny. My firstborn A has been accepted into Law at Griffith!
Unfortunately not his first preference but a very good law school all the same. He may find he can transfer into his first preference with relative ease later if he still wants too.

L has finished 10 days of swimming lessons with huge gains in confidence and comfort in the water. He was uncomfortable getting his nose wet at the start. As he has taken a shine to the coach we are planning on getting him another 5 half hour 1 on 1 lessons over the coming month.


F has started expanding his vocabulary dramatically in the last week. This morning he said ‘Pterodactyl’ while playing with the toy.

We made minimal progress outside today as we spent most of the day at the farm for a family lunch. I have managed to knock out two cards though colouring on both and a revisit of yesterdays will happen tonight and tomorrow.

Fangs, which has taken more than its fair share of drafting, reference from bear teeth used in the end.


And now in colour! Not helped by my Wacom tablet drivers mysteriously malfunctioning. There are a couple of fixes to try but after trying one with no luck I persevered as is rather than get involved with restarts and reinstalls.



First lake terrain card.




Game On

Today I play tested a number of very interesting board game and card game concepts and agreed to be the principal illustrator for one in particular.

You can expect to see a fair bit of concept art relating to that project here over coming months.

The creator and I have made a written agreement with broad terms to recognise our good faith negotiations with each other, we have allowed time to make sure the creative relationship will work and have divided expected responsibilities and expectations.  One of the key terms of our agreement is to seek a much more official contract before money or intellectual property is formally exchanged.  So I’m now on the hunt for a suitable contract, something like this one, to use without engaging the services of an IP lawyer at this already extremely expensive moment of my life.

If anyone knows a good IP lawyer I have a couple of things I would like to run by them. At my own expense of course.

Incidentally I’ve never been particularly huge on board games but I’ve been so surrounded by people who are and for so many years that a certain amount of passion for them seems to have rubbed off on me.  I know enough to say if you have not experienced board games other than Cluedo and Monopoly you owe it to yourself to try one of the new generation of games that are actually fun.

Rough concept forest tile. My pen ran dry and I am struggling to keep eyes open so I’m not going to refill and continue I’m foing to bed.



By agreement I am going to try and channel a bit of the style of the indomitable Mike Mignola into my work.

With a quick hue shift to reduce the contrast some.