Posted in Webcomics Streaming – A Webcomic Artist’s Review


Streaming’s become the big thing now days. Twitch is well known for its popular gamer streams, and digital artists have been using streams such as LiveStream for years to entertain curious watchers.

I’m not much for getting on a camera or a microphone and making myself look like a doof (which is what would happen if I did that on a stream), and my gaming habits are pretty dull. So I never got into the Twitch streaming much. I did use LiveStream years ago to do some art streams, which were pretty fun for Wayrift folks to get together, watch, listen to music and chat.

LiveStream, however, was always pretty intense on my computer. And it was rather difficult to schedule my art times around streams (I spend hours every week working on art for Wayrift and other projects). So I let the streaming drift off and forgot about it for a while.

Trying Picarto

The other day, I noticed someone talking about Picarto as a streaming site dedicated to digital artists in particular. This caught my interest, so I decided to try it out last night and see what I thought about it.

Picarto provides different streaming tools to choose from – Open Broadcaster and XSplit for Windows. I used XSplit for my exploration into Twitch streaming years ago, so I decided to try Open Broadcaster this time. I had to tweak it a little to add a source and the streaming info provided by Picarto, but I had my stream up and running in short measure.

Al and Syn joined in on my test run. Syn said that she thought the quality of the audio and video was quite good, compared to previous LiveStreams I’d done before. I had no issues with the stream software’s load on my computer. I was able to pop out the chat box into a new browser window and watch the chat on my main monitor while drawing on my Cintiq.

I was impressed that the site allowed you to categorize your stream by art style or art project (I put mine in Comics). People browsing the site can find your active stream pretty easily by looking through the category pages.

The system also allows for followers and subscribers. I haven’t messed with any of that sort of stuff yet, but it seems interesting.

The one negative I had about it was that a free Picarto account didn’t save my streamed video to the site for future watching. However, I did opt to save the video to my computer, and it did so in very good quality. I figure I can always edit the video and put it up on my YouTube account if I want to provide the stream for future viewing. Streams that I saved years ago at LiveStream were eventually purged and lost anyhow.

Aside from that, I’m pleased with the service Picarto offers and do suggest it to other artists who are interested in streaming.

I’m going to continue to stream during my art sessions, and test out a longer stream this weekend. Inking and running a stream at the same is the real test. I’ll see how it holds up on Sunday!

Posted in Blogging

Aywren’s Liebster Award


I woke up today to discover I’ve been nominated by The Mystical Mesmer for the Liebster Award. This is the first time I’ve heard of it, and I’m honored to know that another talented fellow blogger is interested in knowing a little about me. I feel a bit like Eeyore with a “thanks for noticing me” – though said with sincerity and a lot more gusto!

eeyorethanksThe idea behind this award, I’ve learned, is to:

  • Tip your hat with thanks to the blogger who nominated  you.
  • Provide 11 random facts about yourself.
  • Answer the 11 questions the blogger before you asked.
  • Create 11 questions for the next blogger.
  • Nominate 5 bloggers to answer your questions.

While I’ll say again, I’m really honored to be chosen for this, I’m a very shy person. Talking about myself is difficult (I’d rather listen to someone else). But I’m going to try it out and hope I don’t sound too dull. ^^;

11 Random Facts About Me

  1. My net name “Aywren” is a play on my real name “Erin.” It’s pronounced “A Wren,” which is why I use a bird as my avatar!
  2. Because of above, many close friends online and off call me “Wren.”
  3. I work as a technical writer for a software company.
  4. I’m a single gal and a bit of a hermit, who lives happily with one very outlandish flame point Siamese cat.
  5. I knew nothing about computers or the Internet until I went to college. Never had the Internet or a computer before then!
  6. I taught myself to code HTML shortly after I discovered the Internet, mostly because I wanted to create a little webpage for a RP character I played in the old WBS role play chat rooms. I’ve been coding and creating websites ever since.
  7. I run a webcomic called Wayrift. It’s turning 13 years old this month. 🙂
  8. I’ve also taken part in NaNoWriMo for over 10 years, during which I wrote a series of fantasy novels that I self published.
  9. My favorite musicians of all time are the Moody Blues.
  10. Horses are my favorite animal, though I’ve had very little contact with them in my life. I’d love to learn to ride one day.
  11. I taught myself (with a bit of help from Syn) how to build and maintain PCs for fun. Because of this, I ended up working as IT over 7 counties for a non-profit organization during my first job. I was hired to be a writer in support services, and had no formal IT training… but I managed to pull it off. ^^;

 Answering Questions from Mystical Mesmer

1. What are the three major elements of your ideal video game?
Engaging story. Strong character development. Balanced so that casual folks can experience most of what the game has to offer.

2. Big city, suburb, or countryside?
Country all the way.

3. What’s the origin of your blogging name?
Originally, this blog was just “,” which is a domain I’ve been sitting on for over a decade. A Sygnus is a powerful, hybrid being that I created as part of my fantasy writing.
I used this domain as a hub for my creative projects for many years. The last few years, I’ve alternated using it as a writing blog, then back to a landing page, then back into the blog you see now. It’s undergone a lot of change, obviously.
I then decided that the blog needed a new name, so I rebranded as Clean Casuals. I keep going back and forth on whether to move the blog to the (which I own).
4. Aeris lives and you’re hired to retell Final Fantasy 7. What role does she play?
I think she should get the final blow during the battle with Sephiroth. XD
5. What’s your favorite biome?
I tend to like wide open grasslands with hints of mountains out on the horizon. Or a nicely-done forest, where trees don’t get in the way too much.
6. Write a haiku love poem to this morning’s breakfast.
Milk and cottage cheese
White and white in the morning
Is cool in summer
7. What’s your preferred device for reading blogs?
PC with my RSS reader. I get most of my blog updates from Feedly.
8. If you were to start up a video game company, what would you name it?
Nice Try Games
9. Which of the Seven Dwarves would you be and why?
Bashful. I’m super shy! 🙂
10. What form of exercise do you find to be the most effective?
Any that I actually do. I fell off the fitness wagon years ago, and I’m struggling to get back on. I did pick up the P90 training system (not P90X, mind you), and I’m gonna try that out next week.
11. How long is a piece of string?
String doesn’t last long in my house. Not with a curious cat around.

My Questions

  1. If money and time was no object, what would you be doing right now?
  2. What was the name of your first blog?
  3. Are you a morning or night person?
  4. If you could live in any period of history, when would it be?
  5. When did you first play video games, and what was the first game you remember playing?
  6. Name a gift you will never forget.
  7. If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?
  8. Tank, heals, DPS, support, or crowd control?
  9. If you could meet any historical figure, who would you choose and why?
  10. What is one item in a MMO inventory that you should probably throw away, but never will?
  11. Do you have a “main” character that you roll consistently in MMOs?

Folks I Nominate

Sorry if you’ve already been nominated. I’m trying to tag people I know haven’t been!

And any of my co-bloggers who want to try (is that cheating?)

  • Almonihah
  • Tharash
  • Lucek