Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Blastosie Redesign

Over at, they have a few weekly challenges going on, one of which is Creature Planets, which is moderated by a friend of mine from CCA, Brynn Metheney. I hadn't gotten around to doing a CGHub challenge until last week, when the topic was Pokemon redesign. I was never a huge fan of Pokemon, but I played the original Gameboy game more than zero, and watched the show... a couple of times.... Fine, I can name like fifty Pokemon, easy. Happy?

I decided to go for a gritty reboot of my favorite, old-school Pokemon, Blastoise.

I found some reference photos of turtles and tortoises, and did three quick sketches.

I decided to try and keep Blastoise's basic proportions the same, but make the textures as realistic as possible. I also wanted him to look like a large animal who fought other large animals for a living: Scarred and beat-up and more than a little tired.

So onto the final sketch:

And the final image:

All in all, I had a great time doing this piece, and I sort of really want to do Venusaur and Charizard next. We'll see.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Friday, October 1, 2010

ChoW and some Neuromancer Fanart

Been keeping busy with some more Character of the Week on Concept Art:

The prompt on this one was Night and Day, and everyone else was doing fantasy-type pieces. I imagined the twin children of some despot, taking over the country while he was ill.

Up next is Molly from William Gibson's Neuromancer. I'm not quite finished with this piece yet, but I wanted to get it out there anyway.

The Kanji reads "Assassin". At least, it was the first thing that popped up when I typed "Assassin Kanji" into Google.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Shadowrun on My Mind.... pt. 4

Finished up the Dwarf Rigger, which rounds out both the team and the classes. Going off my limited knowledge of Shadowrun, I think this would be a pretty capable team for most any job.

What to draw next?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Shadowrun on My Mind.... (Also bad guys from Ninja Turtles, apparently...)

So, my ever-astute friend QuizzNathaniel noticed that my Troll 'runner had a more-than passing resemblance to Bebop from Ninja Turtles. The Troll has horns, I began to say, but they both share a mohawk and very eighties-style shades.

See for yourself:

Thankfully, I work digitally, so it took less than five minutes to bring up a new layer, paint over the shades and hair, and have a brand new, and frankly much better-looking Troll:

Now, back to work on the Dwarf....

Shadowrun on My Mind.... pt. 3

I'm on a roll today! Here's the Orc mage:

Next up is the Dwarf rigger.

Shadowrun on My Mind.... pt. 2

The Troll was tricky: There's less of an accepted idea of exactly what the Troll looks like. They're desrobed as huge, strong, horned dudes anywhere from seven to ten feet tall, with almost ape-like proportions. It took a few tries, but I got it done:

This team of 'runners is starting to come together. Up next, female Ork mage.

Side Note: If anything, this Troll is actually on the small side.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Shadowrun on My Mind....

Shadowrun is an old-ish tabletop RPG that I've been aware of for a while now. I have many a fond memory of playing the videogame adaptation on the SNES, and the world has always appealed to me. Take Tolkein's dragons, elves, orks, trolls and dwarfs, put them into William Gibson's "Neuromancer", set the whole thing in Seattle and you get Shadowrun.

I can't actually remember why now, but I've had Shadowrun on my mind something fierce for the last few days. So much so that I've been doing character design images from the Shadowrun universe.

On the left, we have a female elf Technomancer, and on the right we have a male human Street Samurai. I'm planning on doing a Troll Bioware thug, an Ork shaman and a Dwarf rigger, to round out the races/classes. I plan to keep everything greyscale as well.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Character of the Week

I've been reading for...God, like six years now. I'm on my third username, which is my actual name, because I got tired of having a silly nickname and I figured the last thing I wanted to do was to make it harder for people on the Internet to connect me to my art.

Anyway, I haven't had much luck with CA's weekly challenges. I consider it a victory if I can garner a single vote, and that's in comparatively sparsely-contested sections like Industrial Design and Environment of the week. I haven't ever submitted a final image to Character of the Week.

Until now.

The challenge this week is Aladdin, the thievin, genie-finding street-rat. I knew vaguely of the character and story apart from the Disney movie, but the first thing that popped into my head was "Future parkour-hacker Aladdin", partly because of this awesome image from my reference folder that I've been itching to use, and partly because Disney Aladdin is the OG parkour master.

I posted this sketch and got the go-ahead for the future setting....

And then I went to work. Here's my work-in-progress image that CA had me make...

And here's the final...

I'm really excited about this contest, and I think that this piece is one of the strongest I've ever made.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

His Majesties Nineteenth Werewolf Regiment, pt. 2

I spent some time working on the clothes that the werewolves wear, and I came up with a jacket design that I'm a lot more pleased with:

I also made an image of the Russian Vampires that the Nineteenth will be facing off against:

I should probably finish writing the thing now...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

His Majesties Nineteenth Werewolf Regiment

I had a dream around a year ago about werewolves, but the only thing I could remember when I woke up was one single line: His Majesties Nineteenth Werewolf Regiment. Maybe it's because I was reading the Termeraire series at the time, which is the Napoleonic Wars with Dragons, but something about old-timey warfare with the added element of Werewolves definitely stuck with me.

Here's the first paragraph I wrote about the Nineteenth:

Word on the boat was that the Russians had brought in a pair of vampire regiments along with the fresh cossacks, hoping to negate the Nineteenth's advantage during the cold nights on the Avoz Front. The full moon was only a few nights away, bringing with it increasing strength and ferocity for the werewolves of His Majesties Nineteenth, but also decreasing cognition and rationality. The bombardment of Taganrog had been going on for more than six hours. In small bunches, out of the way of the sailors of the dropships, the wolf-men discussed the coming battle in quick, barked snatches, their dull ocher coats hanging baggy and un-belted in preparation for nightfall, and the changes it would bring to each each man's body.

You'll have to be a real history nerd to know what war this takes place in without resorting to the Google or the Wikipedia.

Here's the first illustration I did of a member of the Nineteenth:

I think I need to re-do the jacket. It's looking a little too carnival ringleader right now, and less mid-19th century British army. I am however pretty pleased with the head and hands of the wolf-man.

I'll probably do some Russian vampires next.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Fuckin' Chairs, How Do They Work?!?!

So, I made a chair in Maya.

I've been using tutorials on Youtube to re-learn how to use a 3D modeling program, and it's weird how many things are coming back to me. Like at on point, the dude I was listening to/watching said "don't forget to set the group to center pivot!" and I had a flashback of one of my teachers from a few years ago saying the same thing in her distinctive, high-pitched voice and accent.

I'm also remembering the things that screwed me up last time around: Things like how important it is to work in the center of the ground plane. Objects being in the center mean that you can scale and duplicate them easily. If you work all messy like I tend to, duplication is a matter of guesswork and frustration. The really kickass thing about 3D modeling as opposed to digital painting is duplication. You spend hours working on a spaceship engine, for instance, and you spend two seconds duplicating it a half-dozen times when it's done.

This chair is made of stretched cubes, and none of the edges are trimmed to fit properly; they're all just mushed together, so I still have a ways to go. On the plus side, getting to patio chair level skill took me a few weeks last time around, so I guess I'm ahead of the game.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Teaching Myself Maya....

I've been doing some research, and it appears that a certain facility in Autodesk Maya is important in the entertainment design field. So I downloaded a trial version and have been watching tutorial videos on Youtube narrated by a delightful British fellow. That's Stephanie's computer on the left, running the tutorials, and mine on the right, running Maya. In between is a huge container of black pepper, because my "office" is also our dining room table.

I took a 3D modeling class way back when I was still an Industrial Design major, and it while it wasn't Maya, the interface was pretty similar. So the experience so far has been sort of like returning to the home of someone I wasn't really friends with and seeing that they've bought all new furniture.

I'm tagging this "3D Modeling", and in the coming days and weeks I'll be posting the sad, mangled models I can scrounge together, hopefully followed by some models that look at least a little better.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Suddenly, Ninja Turtle out of Nowhere!

I realized the other day that it's been more than a decade since I drew a ninja turtle.

Time to fix that:

Before I started this, I looked at a bunch of pictures of regular, non-ninja turtles. I learned something important: Turtles are freaky looking. They run the gamut from sort of weird looking to tremendously horrific. So it stands to reason that a mutant combination of a turtle and a dude would look equally horrific.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Welcome to the Mobile Infantry! 7

I finished the weapons.*

*Nearly. I still need to figure out how the bomb launcher on the y-rack works..

Friday, March 26, 2010

Welcome to the Mobile Infantry! 6

I spent some time on the part which I've been dreading since I started this project: The actual weapons that an M.I carries into battle.

I went through the first chapter, (the best described of the three battle sequences in the book), and wrote down every instance of weapon use:

"tossed a bomb"

"(atomic rocket launch.) Carries a total of four"

"y-rack lauches two bombs"

"hand flamer in left hand(which implies that there is one on the right, too.)"

"scatter fire pills"

"sets y-rack to automatic, launches a pair of bombs every jump"

"reloads y-rack"

"heavy flamer off back, knife beam on wall"

"squaker-bomb on belt"

And that's it. There's no mention of any kind of rifle or cannon at all, just bombs thrown by hand, bombs launched automatically by the suit, three(!) flamers, and a nuclear bazooka. Everything finally clicked when I read this line on page three, one I've probably read dozens of times:

This is just a raid, not a battle. It is a demonstration of firepower and frightfulness. Our mission is to let the enemy know that we could have destroyed their city-but didn't-but that they aren't safe even though we refrain from total bombing. You'll take no prisoners. You'll kill only when you can't help it. But the entire area we hit is to be smashed. I don't want to see any of you loafers back aboard here with unexpended bombs. Get me?

There's no need for a cannon because that's not the kind of job the Mobile Infantry is there to do (explode things and set things on fire). Which means that their equipment is modular, and that they can be outfitted for different missions quickly and easily.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Welcome to the Mobile Infantry! 5

I just finished the rear-view armor. Next comes the weaponry and then finally all the ammo pouches and pockets and stuff.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Friday, March 12, 2010

One last thing....

Did an updated version of the Forever War piece:

Welcome to the Mobile Infantry! 3

I did some more work on the M.I. suit.

And just for fun, here's some earlier sketches of the suit:

Welcome to the Mobile Infantry! 2

Started from scratch on the M.I. powered Armor:

I'm waaaay more excited with this one. This is the null configuration, which is only the pseudo-musculature, the frame, and the jump-jets.

I'm going to render this out fully, front and back, and then do the armor configuration, and then finally the full kit.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Welcome to the Mobile Infantry!

Did a bit more work on the M.I. Armor. Still haven't started on the back view yet.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Welcome to the Mobile Infantry!

I figured that since I was already thinking about powered armor, I might as well go ahead and design the gold-standard of powered armor, the Mobile Infantryman's suit from Starship Troopers.

This isn't to say that I've never tried to design this suit before. Oh no, I've tried plenty of times. The problem is that the MI Armor is has a lot of shit tacked on. Going by the first chapter, we see four atomic rockets, grenades, fire-pills, a beam-knife, a Y-rack that automatically launches ordinance every time the suit lands from a jump, and multiple different-sized flame throwers. Weapons are "unslung", there's a specific line later about how letting go of your rocket launcher causes it to "snap back into place'', and I haven't even mentioned the jump jets yet!

The only description in the text about the suit's appearance is "looks like a steel gorilla," and later a line saying that the helmet in particular looks like a "hydrocephalic gorilla". Using all of that and ample reference of modern military forces, I've got this:

I been focusing on the basic design of the suit so far, but I'm going to have to figure out where other weapons attach and how. Also, I'm going to do a shot from behind, to show off the jump jets and weapon attachments.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Forever War Fighting Suits Through the Ages

Maj. Mandella, 2458

Got this one finished after a few starts and stops. Figuring out the legs really got things moving.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Maj. Mandella, 2458

And so we arrive at the last fighting suit in the series, the one Mandella wears on his final campaign, more than four-hundred years after his first.

I also did a little bit of touch-up on the Lt. suit, mostly just secondary highlighting and a name-tag on the helmet.

Speaking of tags, you'll notice I've begun to tag things!! I'll keep doing that until I forget to...

Pvt. Mandella, 1997

Got the suit I started yesterday finished. I'm really pleased with how it turned out, and I'm going to start on the last suit in the series right away.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Pvt. Mandella, 1997

I decided that my first version of the fighting suit looked far too complex to be the one which Mandella would have fought in at the beginning of his military career, particularly compared to the suit I just finished, which would have been the second iteration.

So I went back to the drawing board with it, first re-reading the relevant sections of the book and then pawing through my vast reference files. I've been working on this all morning:

It feels much bulkier and cruder, which is exactly what I was going for. My two main pieces of reference were spacesuits and modern ballistic vests. When I finish it and the third suit (the one that Mandella wears as a Major in 2458,) I'll put them on a single image.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Lt. Mandella, 2024, part 4

That colored up a lot faster than I expected it to.

Lt. Mandella, 2024, part 3

Finally got the greyscale drawing finished.

The way I've been working for a while now is to do a completely rendered greyscale drawing before even thinking about color. I get all the problems of proportion, value and design figured out before worrying about color. The color layer comes next, right above the greyscale layer and set to "multiply". You can see that in-process above. Once the color layer is down, then I start on the highlight layer.

I've also been experimenting with the layer setting "soft light recently", yielding mixed results.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Lt. Mandella, 2024, pt. 2

Spent some more time on the suit I was working on yesterday. Spent too much time trying to make the legs work before finally erasing them and starting over.

Hopefully I can get this one finished soon.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Lt. Mandella, 2024

Instead of focusing on armament details, I started doing the second fighting suit instead. This one is described as much more complex than the previous iterations, and has sixteen instant-amputation and cauterization rings in case the suit gets damaged. Trade a limb for a life.

I should have it finished soon.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Forever War Fighting Suits

I mentioned earlier how I'm re-reading Forever War and drawing some of the stuff described in it, and I forgot how much fun it was to do this kind of concept work.

The other really cool thing about this project is how much more stuff there is to do: The huge warships Mandella and the rest of the Army fly around in , the dropships, and the Taurens themselves. Triply-cool is the fact that there are three separate time periods, so I get to draw the fighting suits as they evolve through the war over the course of a few hundred years.

I think I'll do a detail of the laser finger next, or maybe the grenade launcher that Mandella is occasionally equipped with....

Monday, February 15, 2010

Frickin' Laser Beams!

I've got lasers on the brain. To be fair, this isn't particularly noteworthy: I've had lasers and spaceships and death-helicopters and power-armor on the brain for going on fifteen years now. But the laser stuff has been coalescing recently, and I'm trying to paint a picture of what a future war with actual lasers would actually look like.

Even partially-realistic depiction of lasers in science fiction is the exception, not the rule. For the most part, laser weapons are treated like modern-day battle rifles, only they shoot lasers instead of bullets. I'm re-reading Forever War, and Haldeman seems to have actually did his research(okay, not so much with the finger-lasers on the fighting suits, but they get a pass for being so damn cool) The bases that the army builds are ringed by giga-watt laser cannons slaved to a targeting computer, which handles defensive use automatically.

Sounds simple, but it opens up a whole new dimension for future war scenarios. Check out this clip, and imagine that instead of a manipulator hand, there's a frickin' laser on it!

After you watch that, you can imagine this guy in action:

The idea would be that the robot arms would be controlled by an A.I., sort of like a fucked up robot Master Blaster. They would melt rockets out of the sky before they could do any damage. The actual soldier becomes more like a destruction facilitator.

Hopefully more Forever War tomorrow.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Cool Quotes, part 1 of hella...

"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt."

-Betrand Russell*

*Probably. I mean, the Internet says so, but the Internet will also tell you that there's a song by The Who called Teenage Wasteland....

Where to Start?

So, here we are. Should have probably done this a while ago, but..... you know.

Look to this space to see stuff I'm working on, links to stuff I think are cool, you know, bloggy shit.

To get the ball rolling, here's the first in a series of pieces of inspired by Joe Haldeman's Forever War. More to come....