For the sake of artistic therapy i'm uploading some of the illustrative failures of 2010. It feels cathartic to air out this dirty laundry. These images fell appart on my, or just didn't excite me enough to continue them.
It actually feels good to get them out. It's like purging.
My favorite graphic novel of all time is Mike Mignola's Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. I love the big, red headed northerner, Fafhrd. This isn't specifically him, but I was definitely thinking of him as I drew it. Experimenting with simplicity. I keep flipping between two mindsets. I want to create a million quick images, then I want to creat a handful of super-rendered images. In the end i'm sure i'll settle on the million and quick end of the spectrum.
This image was just posted, so I figured I'd put it up here as well. It's the first concept of mine from Dragon Age II to be released. There a lot of incredibly talented people working on this project, and I think everyone is going to be impressed.
Maleficent from Disney's Sleeping Beauty is the best villain ever. She's deadly, cruel and beautiful (without dressing like a tart, so you can take her seriously). I've always been a little fascinated by her so for fun I thought i'd explore some ideas about her past. Her 16th birthday, and overlooking her freshly conquored territory.
My brother suggested I read the full history of Sauron. It was fascinating, his story is so complex and tragic. I wanted to draw a version of him in his mostly-human form, forging the One Ring. I wanted to making him look like an angel or demi-god in human form, beautiful but scary. His costume is meant to reflect elements of his full armor in the movie (that design was just too awesome to ignore). It's also meant to be somewhat androgynous, as it's a handy way to show that a character is beyond human gender considerations. His arms are coated in ash from the forging process, but that's also a nod to his admiration of Morgoth, who's hands were permanently burnt when he stole the Silmarils. His eyes are like the Great Eye, to keep this design connected to his final form on Middle Earth.
We watched Reboot religiously when we were kids. We recorded episodes and watched them over and over again. I was recently reminded of the series, so I went back and watched through all of it again. Say what you will about the dated graphics, they knew how to tell a story.
Maybe the third beer was having an effect, or maybe I was just hit with a wave of sentimentality, but I started drawing my versions of these now iconic characters. I got so into it I stayed up scrawling under a single lamp until I crashed at 3am.
What I wanted to do was draw the characters using some of the knowledge I’ve gained over the years as a concept artist. I’ve noticed some unfortunate trends in the industry that I feel are my duty to oppose. Reboot is an excellent subject for study because they had some very strong designs to start with. They knew they were working within certain technical limitations and they found a design language that suited it perfectly. Bold graphic shapes, appealing material contrast, etc... We no longer face many of those limitations. My major concept was:
Redesign the characters to enhance their role in the narrative, while maintaining the strong, simple graphic language.
My goals for each were as follows (from left to right):
Enzo – Chaotic good. He’s young, energetic, and undisciplined. Shirt un-tucked, hair a mess. He was raised by his sister after his scientist-father died (he still refuses to take off his father’s lab coat). He craves action and adventure, and rarely touches the ground. The kneepads come in handy frequently.
Mouse – Chaotic neutral. She’s a mercenary with special talents. She’s a hacker, an escape artist, an infiltrator. While she’s learned to look out for number one, Bob’s natural charisma is making it hard for her to resist caring for his cause. I made her smaller, like a mouse. The hood helps her seem more guarded, more thief-like. She’s a little harder to trust. In the show she has vibrant orange hair. Since I don’t know why the did that (stylistic whim?) I decided to make it a darker version of her skin like Dot and Enzo. I put the orange in her hoodie instead.
Bob – Chaotic good. Guardians are like a military organization. Bob is a young member, spontaneous, reckless, and a radical thinker. His charm has been his best asset, though his guardian key tool “Glitch” comes in at a close second. I put him in a uniform, but he’s not too particular about regulation. I made Glitch a full glove because in tough situations it is Bob’s right hand. Literal, thy name is Matt.
Dot – Lawful good. She’s an intelligent, ambitious woman. A business owner, forced to step into the role of mother to her younger brother Enzo. Ever since she saw her father die in a lab accident, she has tried to control as many aspects of life as possible. She’s always three steps ahead of everyone else, which makes her a brilliant strategist, but she is definitely at odds with
Bob’s seemingly careless attitude. I wanted her to dress as cleanly and sharply as possible. Her hair is pressed down. She’s trying to keep everything in order.
Megabyte – Lawful evil. The viral strategist. He plots, he schemes, he watches his diabolical plans unfold from his tower fortress. While he is physically capable, he prefers not to get his hands dirty. He’s still an imposing figure, but I toned his bulk down a little, gave him a regal (rather than animalistic) pose. I love the hip-sphere, and his head fins. Those two elements were too good to loose. Megabyte has always been a favorite of mine so I couldn’t change those elements. For him and Hexadecimal I came up with a reverse fade color scheme. Blue and red, but inverted for each. They share the same genes, but they are worlds apart. Again, literal, but to me those designs end up giving the most payoff.
Hexadecimal – Chaotic evil. Megabyte’s viral sister. She represents destruction, havoc, anarchy. Life and death are just as good, as far as she’s concerned. I made her crown more twisted, and gave her some of Megabyte’s anatomy (they are related, after all).
I saw "how to train your dragon" and loved it. Some of the flight scenes were exhilarating, like those all-too-rare flying dreams. This is an attempt to get some of that feeling of vertigo and exhilaration in an image. Might try a few more versions later.
I used to draw Lord of the Rings characters a lot. Then the movies came out and fullfilled every artistic question I had. I haven't drawn anything from it since. Knowing that a Pixar version of John Carter of Mars is coming, I figure I might as well get my drawings out now.