The Road to Phousi Moutain

A lot of photographers swear by taking pictures during that “Magic Hollywood Hour” when the sun is setting so you’ll get the best light, but the light rapidly changes and it gets dark so fast you’ll only get a few pictures. It’s not so hot so there will be lots of people ruining your shots with their selfies, but if you go at noon when it’s super hot you’ll have fantastic light and you’ll be alone.


The temperature was 35 C (95 F if you’re American like me) and I wanted to get to the top fast so a jogged up skipping a step to save time. I thought I had developed myocarditis or irregular heartbeats from the virus and I’ve been super lazy and low on energy for years, but I feel good again after running to the top without getting out of breath or feeling dizzy. The negative effects were thankfully temporary. My dog can totally do this sprint up to the top, but he won’t even try when it’s hot so I left him at home.


I wanted to paint the pagoda on top of the hill so I gathered up what art supplies I could find. I only had black paint so it will have to be a dark painting. I can see it from my door, but it’s very small. I did line up the painting with the actual direction and view of the pagado so anyone who sees the painting will also get their bearings.




I’m not happy with it so I tried photoshopping it. They both are OK, but not what I envisioned. Maybe I’ll ask the landlord for the purple paint and touch it up after it’s dried for a few days. What do you think?

SHELLZ 0RB drop on OpenSea

Shellz Orb drop on OpenSea.gifFour Turtles.pngCool Friends.pngShellzOrb.png

What is Shellz Orb?

Shellz Orb is a brand set in a post-apocalyptic world. We are born through NFTs to expand into all facets of Web3 and media. Since the sellout of our presale on Aug 10, 2022, in just 150 minutes, we’ve entered into a partnership with the Neese Brothers, co-executive producers of the #1 Netflix series Umbrella Academy. This allows us to expand in the entertainment industry via a new animated TV show. The partnership also has the potential to produce Shellz Orb comic books. As a member of Shellz Orb, you get to vote in the OrbStach DAO, funded by 25% of royalties & created to empower community members interested in expanding and utilizing their Shellz Orb IP. THE ORB is building for the future, guided by community, team, partnerships, and opportunities. Will you walk with us?

How did Turtles inherit the Earth?

The turtles had always been the most prepared for this kind of calamity. Their shells provided them with natural armor that shielded their bodies from the blast and radiation, while their slow-moving nature allowed them to outwit any predators who might try to take advantage of the chaos, but now they were something more than just survivors; they had become sentient beings capable of thought, feeling, and understanding. They began to form societies amongst themselves – constructing cities in places like NYC. The planet melted. Society collapsed. Cities cracked in half. People turned into collapsed guts. Animal and marine life cooked in place. Icons of earth turned into blistered shadows. But one animal was more prepared for the cosmic cook than the rest. With the asteroid came a nuclear blast clumped with a radiation burst that splattered out over the earth like a toxic event. What we didn’t know then but will learn now is that the asteroid was made with something cosmically special and would change life on earth forever. The resin and energy trapped deep inside this celestial bomb were about to become the fuel for everything. Turtle brains are some of the most evolved and untouched. When the blast wave swept across the earth and over all beings, the turtles, and their reptilian brains were zapped with the paddles of orb radiation. In tandem, the floating orb resin dust soaked through every pore, infiltrating the deepest DNA of their evolved selves as well. Then it began. Sentience came. And with that – a soul unlocked that had always been deep inside its animal form. So, while the last few humans scurried deep into the air pockets of the earth below, desperate to maintain their race, the turtles thrived as they evolved above. The world — in its ruin– had a new lead species rise from it like a reptilian phoenix.


The Shellz have formed four factions based on their location and their cultural and technological influences: the Nara Faction, the Scavenger Faction, the Cyber Faction, and the Ethereals. The Nara Faction is influenced by the principles of Dokkodo and values honor and respect. They prefer traditional martial arts and primitive weaponry. The Scavenger Faction is based on trade and is known for scavenging the land for metal scraps and resources left behind by human civilization. The Cyber Faction is the most technologically advanced and has been able to harness the advanced weaponry and systems left behind in Cyber City. The Ethereal Shellz is infused with Orb Energy and serves as a reminder of Orb Energy’s presence on the planet. These orbs are highly sought after by collectors due to their rarity, beauty, and connection to the mysterious world of the Shellz.

  • Shellz Orb Lore

Who are the artists?

Meet the talented artists behind Shellz Orb, the highest quality, hand-drawn art project ever minted to ETH. 2500 traits and 300Gb of PNGs. Each artist plays a crucial role in maintaining the brand’s high standards for quality and attention to detail. From lead designer Voyager, who is “Adobe 25 under 25” awarded and worked for the popular games “I” and “Magic the Gathering,” to lead animator and world designer Andy J, who has experience with another NFT project called “Rifters,” the team is full of skilled and dedicated individuals. Illustrators and graphic artists Rikki Velez, Pink Pixest, and Izzie bring their artistic talents to the project, while Dasha handles web design and Jack Ford provides audio design. Cinematographer Dexter Wandel rounds out the team with experience working on projects for HBO and Estee Lauder. We invite you to explore their works and get to know the artists behind Shellz Orb.


Shellz Orb:


Hello everyone. I’ve tried participating in past Splinterlands art contests before, but I wanted to create my own character this week. I think the Croc Archer would make a good Epic card with both melee and ranged attacks that shatter magical shielding and causes double damage to magical enemies.Grund.png

After looking through the list of cards, I noticed there was only one crocodilian creature, Grund, so I thought he could use a friend.

The Crocodilian Archers of Praetoria are both rare and ancient. Their raw strength allows them to shoot large steel arrows that no human could ever handle. They are also tipped with dark energy crystals that can shatter magical armor and cause massive damage to magical enemies. Their royal armor and thick skin make them resistant to ranged and melee attacks, but they can be hurt by magic. If they ever find themselves on the frontlines of battle they can also kill with their claws, tail, and deadly jaws.

-Possible Splinterlore

crocodile warrior.jpg

I did a Google search for “crocodile warrior” and really liked this work by Anthony Argentin so I used it for inspiration. It really helped me get the head right, but I went with stumpier arms and legs.


My first sketch was awful, so I crumpled it up and tried again.


I liked the head on my second sketch, but I wasn’t sure what to do with the arms. If this ever got made into a real card I think him pulling for an arrow and then shooting it would make for a cool animation.


I decided on drawing him with an arrow already out so I could show it was tipped with a dark energy crystal.


I had a box of colored pencils that have never been used, so I decided to sharpen them and add color early on.


In my last drawing, I thought I’d just do a bit of penciling and then do all the coloring digitally, but using the colored pencils first was more fun. I also got another drawing to add to my wall.


I really liked this swamp photo by Ray Bilcliff on because I could use the leaves on the bottom to cover the croc’s feet which I was unhappy with while giving it a layered feel. Even though it’s a real photo, I thought it had a bright cartoonish look that would mix well with my croc.


I just used the technical pen tool and the smudge tool in Sketchbook. I smudged each scale from the outside towards the center then went back and drew the dark green lines again.


I added a picture of a dark energy crystal and used the lasso select tool to copy and paste it to the tip of his arrow. I had to smudge out the smaller crystal, but it mixed well with my drawing. The original pencil flames looked fine so I just stuck with that and blurred it a bit.


I had a lot of fun drawing this. I spent a few hours on the pencil drawing, but it took me a few days to finish up the digital part. I don’t know why I chose a square canvas. It made it harder to share as a thumbnail, but I just cropped it to a 5:4 format and it worked fine. Thank you for reading about my Croc Archer today. Have a good one!hiveline.png

The Sacred Unicorn – SPLINTERLANDS art contest #188

Hello everybody. Today I’m happy to share with ya’ll my entry for this week’s Splinterlands art contest of the Sacred Unicorn. I usually participate in the Splinterlands weekly battle challenge, but I was inspired to do some drawing this week too.

I’ve been stuck in the country of Laos 🇱🇦 (It’s next to Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and China.) since one day after my 40th birthday on March 27th, 2020. I had just applied for my work visa when they shut everything down. They said it would be for just two weeks, then two months, now it’s been over two years.


I live in the wonderful town of Luang Prabang which is a UNESCO world heritage site so I don’t have any complaints, but I’ve also been unemployed for quite a while. I was a teacher for a long time, but I started working at a hotel in 2018 and I decided that hospitality was what I wanted to do, then BOOM, Covid-19 came along. I was in the military when I was young, but I got out in 2015 so my GI Bill benefits expired a while ago, but I saw an email from the VA (The Veterans’ Administration) that I could get some job retraining so I took them up on their offer. Most of the jobs were for things like hospital work, welding, truck driving, and other technical jobs, but I noticed that they had a certificate in digital illustration so I chose that.

Most of my classes were about Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. I felt that my teachers were just shills for Adobe and for buying a MacBook. Since Laos went lockdown crazy, I couldn’t find a new computer if I wanted to. I also only had an income of $285 for my disability compensation from the VA, so there was no chance in hell I was ever going to afford a brand new computer anyways. It took me a while, but I figured out how to get both programs to work on Linux on my piece of junk old PC with a little help from the Pirate Bay. I wouldn’t recommend it though. It was a total pain in the neck and I could only get 2012 or 2015 versions to work. Overall, I feel disappointed in my learning experience. Online classes just plain suck. I need to be IN the classroom. I need to be able to raise my hand and ask the teacher for help. I will NEVER take an online course as long as I live.

first sketch.jpg

One thing I did find useful from my course was my teacher saying that most digital artists still use good old paper and pencil to get started and then scan to Photoshop so that’s what I did. Since the whole NFT market is crashing I wanted to make fun of some of the other NFT projects I have tried but didn’t care for like CryptoKittiesAxie Infinity, or NBA Top Shot.

my battle.png

The Sacred Unicorn may no longer be the best card for using in Life battles, but it’s still my favorite card so I thought I’d do a few rough sketches and see how it went, but I was happy with the first try and just kept on going with it…

1.jpg2.jpg3.jpgWall of Art.jpg

I felt it was time to move from pencil to Photoshop so I added my pencil drawing to my wall of inspiration. If I ever become a famous NFT artist, I’ll mail someone the original pencil drawings. (That’s a big IF right?)


I went to Pexels and did a search for: SKY BACKGROUND and really liked the photo by Oleg Magni. I later got so frustrated with Photoshop that I gave up, quit, and decided it just wasn’t going to work out. I really miss my iPad and the wonderful program of ProCreate so I did a Google search for an alternative and came up with SketchBook. It took me all week to get used to it and to draw the Sacred Unicorn but I absolutely love SketchBook now.

my pen.jpg

Another problem I had was that NOBODY in Luang Prabang sells or has even heard of a stylus so I had to make my own. You can read my post: DIY: Make your own STYLUS pen at home if you want or need to do the same.


Now that I had my trusty DIY stylus and a good digital art program it was time to get crackin. I tried making the NBA ball in Photoshop, then in Illustrator, then in the Linux versions of Gimp and Inkscape but found it too difficult. The only thing I did with Photoshop was put the pencil drawing over the background image, but if I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t have used Photoshop at all and just saved the background image as exactly that in the layers menu in SketchBook. I could probably draw this whole picture all over again in a day if I had to re-do it, but I had fun drawing it which is something I haven’t felt in a long time and I also learned a lot from my mistakes so it’s all good.


If I had been better at using layers, I would have had a much easier time doing this, but I’ll do my next drawing much faster and smarter.

predictive stroke.jpg

I absolutely love the predictive stroke tool in SketchBook and how you can adjust the level of AI-assisted drawing from 1 to 5. It was a better experience than using either Photoshop or Procreate in my opinion.Sacred Unicorn (1).png

Here is the original Sacred Unicorn image from Splinterlands. I used the eye drop tool and the undo tool about a million times. I used the eye drop tool to get the colors right from the kitty, axie, and unicorn, but I’m proud to have drawn this image myself without any tracing. I used to just put an A4 piece of paper over the original Splinterlands art, do a rough trace, then pencil and ink my drawing. Although it is good practice for getting your shading and inking down, it’s still cheating, right? Thanks for reading about my original drawing today. I’m looking forward to doing another sketch. Which Splinterlands card should I use for inspiration next?


Get in the game!

PENCIL: Muscle and Anatomy Study

How is everybody doing? I’d like to share my pencil sketches of the human muscle system with you today. Last week I shared my skeleton study and now it’s time to add some flesh to those bones!


The point of this exercise was to practice drawing the muscle system so I cheated a bit by taping some A4 paper to my TV and traced the contour lines of this guy running.


If you’d like to do the same, you can print out this contour drawing, tape some paper to your TV and trace over my tracing, or sketch the contour lines of some other person.


I did a Google image search for “side view of arm muscles”, “inside view of leg muscles”, and “inside view of arm muscles” for reference. Leonardo Da Vinci had dissected over 30 dead bodies to gain his understanding of human anatomy. Thank God we don’t have to do the same. Only doctors will get every muscle exactly right so don’t worry about getting everything 100% perfect. You just want to practice thinking about the human figure under the skin.


I remember trying to get all fit and ripped at the gym when I was young, but the skin really hides a lot of the muscles. I didn’t realize until doing this sketch that the ab muscles need to be separated a bit.


If you don’t want to be a cheating tracer like me, but still need some help getting your contour lines correct, you can draw a grid over your subject and then the same grid for your drawing.


Thanks for reading about my muscle sketches today. I hope that you found this useful or entertaining. Have a great day and never quit drawing!

Paintings from Luang Prabang, Laos

If you ever visit Luang Prabang, Laos I recommend Lexaku Art Gallery by the intersection across from Dara Market. It’s also next to Chaleunphone Restaurant which serves the best-tasting food for the price.

ถ้าคุณมีโอกาสเยี่ยม ຫຼວງພະບາງ ฉันแนะนำ Lexaku Art Gallery มันอยู่ที่สี่แยกตรงกันข้ามกับตลาดดาราและติดกับร้านอาหารโปรดของฉัน Chaleunphone Restaurant


Each painting sells for about $300 and captures the beauty of the local traditions and lifestyle of Luang Prabang.

ภาพขายได้ในราคาประมาณ 300 เหรียญสหรัฐฯ และแสดงความงามของประเพณีและวิถีชีวิตของหลวงพระบาง


Here is the entrance. There are many more paintings to admire. These are just the ones we liked or could get a good shot of without too much reflection. The staff is friendly, speaks English, and won’t mind if you take pictures of every painting in the gallery.

ส่วนนี้คือหน้าร้าน Lexaku Art Gallery มีรูปวาดที่สวยมากพนักงานสามารถพูดภาษาอังกฤษได้และเขาไม่ได้ว่าอะไรถ้าเราจะถ่ายรูป


This is a lovely painting of the sunset behind the Mekong River, but it also reminds me of Mount Doom from Lord of the Rings.

ฉันชอบรูปภาพที่มีพระอาทิตย์ตกที่แม่น้ำโขงแต่มันทำให้ฉันนึกถึง Mount Doom ของ Lord of the Rings ด้วย


This painting looks like a road you might see in Zelda or Genshin Impact.

รูปนี้ดูเหมือนเล่นเกม Zelda และ Genshin Impact


This Hmong lady looks, boss. She’s probably wondering why the farmers above aren’t working harder and who’s going to get her more to smoke.

ผู้หญิง ມົ້ງ คนนี้หน้าเหมือนเขาเป็นหัวหน้าและเขาคงสงสัยทำไมพวกชาวนาขี้เกียจจังและใครจะซื้อยาสูบให้เขาอีก


There were many horses back in the day when they were used for transportation and Calverley, but I can’t remember the last time I saw one. Have you ever ridden a horse?



You can wake up and give an offering to the monks every morning at 5 am.



I saved my favorite painting for last. I love how this painting captures the look of wisdom on this young monk’s face. Thank you for checking out Lexaku Art Gallery in Luang Prabang with me today.

ฉันชอบรูปนี้ที่สุดเพราะว่าเณรองค์นี้ดูเหมือนอายุน้อยแต่เป็นคนที่มีความรู้เยอะขอบใจที่ดู Lexaku Art Gallery กับฉันวันนี้ในหลวงพระบาง


Lexaku’s Facebook:

Lao Phone:

Big Tree Cafe by the Mekong River in Luang Prabang

This is a great place for coffee, food, hanging out with friends, or having a meeting. It is located along the Mekong River in Ban Vat Nong on the peninsula of the heritage part of Luang Prabang, Laos.

cool car.jpg

It’s another beautiful day in Luang Prabang and another opportunity to explore a new restaurant. While riding around town today, I decided to post about a cute little restaurant and cafe that I’ve always passed by, but never entered for some reason. That was a mistake because I missed out on years of great meals and atmosphere with wonderful local art.


Even though I’ve had the pleasure of living in Luang Prabang for over three years now, I can still get lost and discover its hidden gems. Maybe it’s because of all of the green vegetation or maybe it’s the lack of recognizable street names, but I always feel like I’m stuck in one of those hard to escape haunted forests you’d find in the Zelda video games. Big Tree Cafe & Restaurant is on the same side of the river as this famous temple, just farther down the street.


This time I’ll park my bike and actually go inside for a change. I don’t know why Treks don’t usually have a kickstand. Maybe it seems childish to some riders, but I miss having one. It’ll just get stolen eventually, so there’s no use in adjusting it or getting attached to it. It was hot so getting some shade and good food was just what I needed.


Keng, the restaurant manager, was friendly, spoke English well, and was nice enough to pose for this picture at the entrance.


I was the only customer, but I can’t complain. It gave me the opportunity to look around at the lovely local art on display.


The owner of Big Tree is Korean so they have Korean food down and their Lao and western food are some of the best in town, but not too pricy. I feel the choice of green paint and colorful birds, as well as funny meme signs, are an effective good mood generator.

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Plumeria or frangipani is a beautiful fragment flowering tree I see a lot of here in Luang Prabang. I don’t know enough about plants to know if this is a native plant here or if it was imported back in the day when this was a French colony.


There are so many NFT artists and dealers making a killing these days. Most of it is very Photoshop-looking. I wonder how well this unique Siamese art would work out? At least it’s something new and fresh injected into the world of NFTs. I really haven’t figured out how to get started with the NFT world. It seems most sites require you to be an artistic star on Instagram before they let you in.


I really enjoyed my Luang Prabang salad, Dark Beerlao, and the complimentary water. The salad dressing was so tasty that I added a whole new bowl halfway.


I’m pleased to see that Food Panda, the delivery service here, has Big Tree Cafe. I’ll surely be ordering more breakfast, lunch,


And spaghetti. Thank you for reading. If you get the chance to visit I hope you drop by. Have a great day!
Big Tree Cafe
67 Ban Vat Nong
Luang Prabang, Laos

DRAWING: One-Point and Two-Point Perspective

One of the first skills you will want to practice if you want to make realistic-looking sketches is perspective drawing. Making accurate 3D illusions on a 2D surface was first done by Filippo Brunelleschi in the early 1400s. His technique, which we will practice here, was an important step in adding depth to Renaissance paintings.

last supper.jpgLast Supper by Leonardo da Vinci

One-Point Perspectiveone point eye.jpg

Draw a line that represents eye level and choose a vanishing point. You don’t have to put it at the center of the paper, but it’s easier if you are just getting started. Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper has the eye level and vanishing point where Jesus is.

one point square.jpg
Now draw a square or rectangle.

one point first box.jpg
Lightly draw the lines of perspective from the four corners of your square or rectangle to the vanishing point then decide how far into the distance your now 3D shape will go. Remember to keep the lines parallel to the original square or rectangle shape.

one point lines.jpg

Add a one-inch border and a bunch of shapes. Try adding Tetris-like shapes such as L or T shapes. You can show the hidden edges by drawing dashed lines.

one point erase.jpg

Remember to sketch lightly because you will want to erase all of the lines of perspective and the eye-level line later.

one point final.jpg

When you’re done you should have something that looks something or hopefully better than this.

Two-Point Perspective


This time you will have two vanishing points on the eye-level line which should be out of the border at the very edges of your paper.


Draw a random verticle line then extend the edges to the two vanishing points. Drawing in two-point perspective is actually easier than in one-point perspective because you only need to draw one line then let the edges extend to the vanishing points.


You will know your 3D shape is accurate if your hidden edges all lineup. The back hidden verticle edge should be parallel to the original line you originally drew in the front.


Add a bunch of shapes. You can add the hidden edges or dashed lines to some of the shapes or erase them in the end. Try to have different shapes and some overlapping to add depth.


And that is how you draw rectangular shapes in one-point and two-point perspectives. Thank you for reading. Have a nice day. Now get drawing!



I remember when you cost a penny, but now you are a must-have NFT if you want victory in your Splinterlands battles. While you may not have any attack power or magic abilities, you save the day very often. Thank you for your selfless sacrifice and sorry for eating so many of your brothers and sisters. All y’all are quite tasty and nutritious though.


For this Splinterlands art contest, I experimented with sketches using open, closed, and divided negative space.

Open Negative Space

Negative space or the empty space around your subject is usually ignored but is an important part of any drawing. For my open negative space drawing, I put the Furious Chicken in the middle of the artboard, small, and in front of the text. When using open negative space neither the text nor subject should touch the borders.

Closed Negative Space

I thought a black background would work for my closed negative space drawing. When using closed negative space, the text or subject should not be fully in frame and will touch our come in from the edges.

Divided Negative Space

I feel that the divided negative space drawing came out best hence it is the thumbnail of this post. I divided the artboard with a brown branch which divided the sky and ground. I felt the green ground would complement the red “Furious” well.


Thank you for reading about my use of negative space today. I hope I explained the three types of negative space well. I started off with a pencil, then inked my sketches and used Inkscape for the digital drawings.

My computer is a total piece of junk I bought at Walmart for $99 back in 2017. It can only run for about an hour before it overheats and freezes up even though I made my room completely air-tight with painter’s tape and crank the air conditioning up on full blast in turbo mode. I have always despised Microsoft and Bill Gates and haven’t touched an X-box or any Windows operating system since 2007. The first thing I do to any computer I own (and sometimes to the great distress of my coworkers with company machines) is completely wipe Windows and install Linux Mint. I never understood why people continue to use crap like Microsoft when Linux is better, faster, and completely FREE. I guess people like being slaves to creeps like Gates.

I got into an argument with a big-ass retired British Sergeant Major back in 2019. He was so mad a me that he punched me down to the floor and kept punching me in the head. It took three people to take him off me. He then took my computer and ripped it in half tearing away the screen in true WWE drama. It still works if I connect an HDMI cable to a TV, so fuck you sir!

I tried using a bootleg copy of Adobe Illustrator I downloaded from the Pirate Bay, but since I’m running it through Wine, I couldn’t save my work for some reason, so I tried using Inkscape for the first time. Inkscape runs fine on my machine but takes some getting used to compared with Illustrator. If you can’t get Adobe Illustrator to work on your PC then Inkscape is a great and FREE alternative.

DRAWING: Getting Started with Contour Lines

Are you a new artist just getting started or want to try something new? If so, then I recommend doing a still-life sketch of something focusing on just the contour lines. This means that you ignore the shading and draw like we did when we were kids.


For this sketch, all you really need is a pencil or pen, some paper, and a subject. I used some 3M painter’s tape to secure the A4 paper to my clipboard so I could focus on my drawing and not worry about the paper, but it isn’t necessary. I also enjoyed some strawberry-flavored Korean rice wine, Soju, and a bottle of Pepsi. Why does Pepsi taste so much better from a glass bottle?

Blind Contour Sketch


For my first sketch, I focused on the plant 100% and only looked a the paper once to place the pencil. It is important you only look at the subject and feel the surface of the paper while you slowly draw the lines. It’s not going to look great. In fact, it will look like something you drew in grade school, but it’s good practice.

Semi Blind Contour Sketch

semi blind.JPG

For the next sketch try to focus on the subject 95% of the time only glancing at your drawing for a bit. The only times I briefly looked at my paper and pencil was when I was making sure the lines were right.

Look All You Want Sketch


You still don’t want to spend too much time on this sketch, but you can look at your paper and pencil all you want. See how much better the third drawing is? I was able to focus on the pointy parts and details of the plastic this time.

The only thing I had to take these pictures was a crappy old iPhone 5, but I lit up my room as best I could. I then used the auto-enhance and auto-crop feature in Google Photos. Still not happy with the results, I adjusted the levels, brightness, and hue in Adobe Photoshop to tweak the pictures a bit more. I constantly make grammar mistakes and typos in my blog, so I always highlight the words and have the AI extension, Readme, read the words back to me. Listening to my post always shows mistakes I’ve made that proofreading doesn’t.