Sunday, 28 July 2013

Joaquin Driscoll

Alas, it has been over a year since the last Art of Scoundrels post! However, since this is going up on my own art blog, I figured it would be worth a cross-post!

"Continuing from where I left off with Orcha Marstice, here is the long-displaced concept post for the co-lead in my Scoundrels story series, Joaquin Driscoll!

When Orcha was first conceived as an orphaned character who lived on the streets, she was written to befriend an old homeless man named Salty Sam. Sam used to be a pirate, but had fallen on hard times and lost his ship. Orcha, fascinated by him, kept him company every day, talking to him about his time as a pirate. Her optimism and energy, despite her living conditions, reminded him of the better things in life -- and as a result, Sam slowly recovered from his slump, gained a new ship, and gave Orcha a home on that ship, fulfilling her dream to become a pirate. Together with their crew, they sailed around the world and had many an adventure.

I wanted Sam to carry over to Scoundrels, somehow. While Sam was a human in the original tale, the sci-fi setting of Scoundrels opened up infinite possibilities. I wanted him to be an alien. The hunchbacked, ragged qualities of Old Sam lent themselves well to an avian type of creature... and what better bird species to take on the role of a pirate than parrots?

Now, parrots are pretty cute, but Sam was a menacing, grisly old dude. The giant, humanoid parrot idea gained some raptor-like qualities, including a set of razor-sharp teeth, at the cost of true feathered wings. The species was named Ittada (Ittadae, pl.), from the order Psittaciformes.

Yes, seriously.

Orcha was going to be doing some traveling, and she needed a companion. While Sam was quite spry for an old codger, he didn't have the endurance to leave his ship for long periods of time. This necessitated the development of a new character who could cover the role of Orcha's full-time companion -- Sam's young adult son, Joaquin. Sam himself went on to become the character of Heamor Driscoll, Captain of the Driscolli. As Heamor's role turned into the aged "king" of the Driscoll tribe, he gained less menace and more of a "wizened" look, covering himself entirely with a cloak. His design became significantly less "hokey pirate parrot" and more "alien pirate raptor." He has a cool helmet, because that's apparently what signifies one as Captain on an Ittadan vessel.

His final design is a combo of these two. His suit and boots beneath the cloak still have the same design as the latter image.

The task then became to create Joaquin as a younger, stronger, and more mobile version of Heamor. His back was straightened, his chest puffed out, and his colors brightened. The initial concept of Heamor as intimidating and fierce was passed on, thought toned back -- Joaquin is still young, and as such hasn't quite earned his stripes and sharp edges yet. His armor is still shiny and relatively undamaged. I wanted him to look both swashbuckling and militant, a product of his rigid culture, yet personalized in his own unique way.

Initial pass at Joaquin, after several color concepts.
Joaquin and Heamor's capes became a cultural tradition of the species, who lack wings (though didn't always!). It was passed on to the designs of the rest of the surviving Driscolli crew.

Driscolli Crew: Gaien, Chora, Aenita and Tristain (who walks around naked. Not really, he just hasn't been finished yet.) Note that Chora is larger than the males. Aenita is still a juvenile, but as an adult she'd also be larger than both males.
Joaquin's triple-barred plasma pistol, The Upstart. He loves to tinker with it. It... doesn't work very well.
Final design.
Jo went through one more design phase in which he became more simplified, his face became less parrot-shaped, and he gained a pirate sash. I worked on both Orcha and Jo simultaneously, to help them balance one another. They share the same shades of red and blue, as well as one unique item that unifies them specifically as a team.

And that's that for Joaquin! Look out for more Scoundrels design posts down the road!"

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Orcha Marstice

Orcha is a character who has been floating around in my head for eight or nine years as a young, aspiring pirate girl. Until Scoundrels, however, I had never taken the time to fully develop her visually. Her basic appearance has always been the same--short black hair, green eyes, freckles, and that scar--and she'd always been wearing just a plain white shirt and torn trousers. When Scoundrels rolled around, though, I knew I'd have to change her design a bit to include some of that sci-fi vibe. As such, there is a holy TON of concept art for her from the last five months, but I'll show you just the basics of what I went through to get to her final design.

These two were the very first pieces of concept art. Orcha is a ragged little kid with a very strong personality, who wears whatever she likes, even if it doesn't quite match or isn't practical. Initially I just wanted to get that "traditional pirate" feeling while giving her a more feminine look, so I gave her a dress, which is just about the least practical thing to fight in. I did play around a bit with the sci-fi elements while keeping traditional pieces like the vest and the headband; at one point she had an entire bodysuit, but it felt too futuristic for her to wear at all times. (I still like it, though--I'm hoping there will be a way to work it into the story at some point.) It always came back to the somewhat silly yet iconic dress. The dress's casual appearance also contrasted well with the big pieces of armor I wanted to incorporate into her design.

I loved the idea of this tiny kid wearing these huge pieces of armor that she keeps as trophies (and that everything she wears is some sort of trophy), but I had difficulty getting the armor NOT to look clunky, especially with the dress and the vest. Since a big part of her fighting style is sneaking and dodging, she needed mobility. I tried different ways of streamlining her silhouette with different vest and armor designs, and even taking the big boots away altogether, but none of them seemed to work very well. The armor designs I had were meant to look like pieces of a naval officer's uniform, but finally I had to sacrifice the idea of her pulling pieces of armor off of an officer for the sake of appearance. The armor became more streamlined and foreign, until the story became that they didn't come from a human species at all, but were in fact of alien design. The dress shrank as well and became a little short on her--she may have been wearing it for years, but she's growing up and can't wear it forever.

After all of that, I've finally arrived at a design and stylization for Orcha that I'm happy with. Other characters have gone through a design process that is similar, but not quite as long and intensive. I'll be back down the road with their designs, as well as the designs of weapons (that sword!), ships and environments you'll see in the first issue. See you soon!

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Adair Major

I knew Scoundrels was going to be something I'd enjoy. Pirates are a topic that I've always enjoyed. Mainly because in terms of the old school pirates, they're completely crazy. No one should enjoy living on water more than land. When I thought of it in terms of sci-fi pirates, my mind went to constantly loving being in the sky more than on land instead. In the current day and age, the term pirate has become very loose. We've all pirated virtual data at one point in time. I went along with that train of thought when creating my scoundrel, Adair. I have this fond side for creating characters that constantly ruin their credibility. I wanted to create a character that abuses his high paying job to get even higher paying valuables. Someone that doesn't care, someone that is fearless where most people give in.

My first attempts came out very animated due to being a full time animation student. I was pleased, but there was some things missing. My overal goal in the start was to create a personality just by features.
There's been constant tweaking in order to reach any sort of final result outfit wise.
In terms of what he does and why it entitles him as a pirate...

I've formulated this universal company that has many branches. Its goal is to have a near complete database of geographical locations and information about them. Information such as what can grow there, what species live there and governmental systems etc. Adair works alone on a team that originates from a very, very cold place. He travels to various planets to gather this information and send it back to the company. His abuse to the company is that each place has things that are valuable to them and he sneaks a little of it for himself and black markets it to gain profit. Weither it be coordinates to something nice and shiny, dirt on people, or physical riches. I feel that a pirate with a full education on both ends gives him a different edge.
Due to my intense work schedule, my progress has been slightly slower than I want it to be. Due to that, I've been trying my best to incorporate Adair into homework. So far so good.
I plan to do more in depth breakdowns and pose tests. Until then, stay cool.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Creating Katris Tikaar

Today, I made it my goal to work on one of the characters we'll be seeing in Ven's story. My plans for him were that he was Ven's major rival in the short story and possibly would be an alien. My main ideas were that he'd be sort of tricky and arrogant.

When I sat down to finally work on the design, I went through a lot of ideas. I knew I wanted a humanoid figure that was lean and quick. I wondered if I should use an animal as a basis for my design, and what sort. First, I tried experimenting with the idea of an arctic fox, but that didn't sit right in my head. Eventually, I settled down and loosely sketched out some basic body proportions, settling to work on sort of 'pushing and pulling' at a human form.

The overall idea I began to develop was that of a semi-reptilian/aquatic form. The design draws inspiration from lizards, largely, as well as things like Bioware's Mass Effect series, or even the Zora race from The Legend of Zelda. The body markings are reminiscent of facepaint or simplified tribal tattoos, and they vary from person to person.

Further ideas developed as I went, and I've considered that they may be an exlusively male race. They are terrestrial beings, but they can also function underwater, and have a set of internal gills.

Then, I went on to clothing. The general idea was something sneaky and futuristic. I wanted him to look prepared, and generally have a high contrast with Ven's look. Clothing tended to cut along the basic shapes I made in the Koroh anatomy. Katris' gauntlets consist of a thick, hard outer plate which remains open on the inside of the arm, allowing for flexibility of movement. Not visible is the leather lining inside them, with straps to secure them snugly to the forearm.

In regards to naming, I chose to derive names from words. Koroh comes from 'corona' (Latin - crown). Katris Tikaar is derived from 'cicatrice' (French - scar) and 'tikari' (Finnish - dagger).

I think that about covers everything so far in the development of Katris and the Koroh race. I'll see you another time with some more information on Ven's story and concepts!

Prey Valiance Character Design.

I created Scoundrels out of an unquenched thrist I've had for many years to work collaboratively on a comic. I really wanted to share in the experience of creation with other creative minds and find a way to allow those creative minds almost limitless possibily- to encourage true passion and imagination. So far, Scoundrels has been a lot of fun, each take on the premise is unique and I hope future readers will really enjoy what each of us are working to deliver.

To agree with what John has stated in the previous post, the creation of these characters boils down to your own interpretation of what a Pirate is. In my case I was shooting quite low, I was aiming for exactly what your minds eye might conjure. I wanted to create a swashbuckling scallywag, I wanted a character that lived for the moment with that dangerous glint in their eye.

Prey is actually a character that pre-dates my idea for Scoundrels. She was a side character created to support a previous story I had entitled "The Journey". My idea was to have a few different stories all with similar elements, all with characters embarking on a Journey but in totally different time periods. In the end, further exploration into Journey led me to something far more interesting than I had intended and I'm planning on doing something special with that later this year. Prey still loudly thrashed around my head as an idea I needed to use; a female Han Solo, loveable Rogue, stowing away on ships across the universe with her trusty space-monkey pet.

Preys design originally was influenced by a few inspirations; Aurra Sing of Star Wars expanded universe, Lightning from Final Fantasy XIII, Han Solo and Jack Sparrow. At the time of conception, I felt that perhaps approaching the design in a 'realistic' manner may give me some kind of design insight I may not be able to achieve when working within the limitations of my simplistic style, I then translated those design choices into my style for the very last pre-scoundrels Prey image.(below)

Once I had placed the narrative elements together, to create the premise of Scoundrels- I turned my attention to adapting Prey into this retro Sci-Fi world. Part of the brief for Scoundrels was that fashion in this universe was very much a throwback to the 18th Century, very classic Pirate-y attire with Sci-Fi twists. Obviously, this is very flexible but I personally wanted to stick quite close to that, looking directly to reference for many of my characters and for the update of Prey herself.

My first pass was to capture the essence of what this character is about. Originally I had wanted to create a character much like Han Solo, a character that dances the line between Good and Evil but that ultimately sides with Good. Prey is a pirate and actually one of the fiercest of our group, so I quickly established that I needed to push that element and create a character with a harder edge and a much more dangerous presence. These are the aspects that helped me to craft her story much more vividly and her costume and character design itself was then easy to layer with context.

Her outfit is a haphazard collection of various mis-matching parts. I wanted to make the point that Pirates are rebels, they don't conform to rules or regulations, they don't fall in line like everyone else. I felt it was vastly important for a character like Prey to look exactly like that, to look like she makes her own rules. These are the reasons for the bold clothing choices and the hair that sticks out a mile away, cut in various random lengths as if to intentionally draw more attention.

I saw Pirate in her context, being a quite Punk-like vibe, an in your face display of fearless attitude. This also influnces her choice of clothing, with her attire being comprised of various questionable backgrounds and most of it stolen. I wanted to suggest that maybe Prey just changed this outfit as she went along, I like the thought that her jacket was probably just pulled off the body of a man she killed in battle, that she liked the look of it and took it for herself. And again, working contextual suggestion throughout- I wanted to imply a question about why her jacket is sleeveless but never quite explain it. I like to think she was caught once, trapped under something perhaps and had to tear the arm from the jacket to escape. I like to imagine her outfit is something that three years ago, wouldn't look the same.

The other aspect of her design, born out of the exploration into her character for Scoundrels was the importance of her fire-arm. Prey is a character that doesn't have much self-respect or look after her own well-being terribly well, instead I wanted her to manifest her softer, loving and caring feelings towards this object. Of significant value to her and a part of her for most of her life, I wanted her gun to look like it had been through a lot but that it had been well cared for.

Inspiration for the gun was drawn directly from the Musket Pistols of the 18th Century, to fuse it with Science fiction, I 'gutted' the mechanisms and created a plasma-ammunition system in its stead, it's customized with various decorative plates and armour and fitted with a target aiming system under the barrell. Again, this is a design element that I imagine she has 'built' up over the years and three years ago, might look like a completely different gun.

Prey is a Pirate with little to no navigating or pilot skills, she can't helm a vessel and she's not much good for anything else onboard a ship. Her only redeeming skill is her marksmanship, she is a dead-eye shot and extremely valuable and dangerous for that reason.

Closing her design, I wanted to create a readable character. She wears her life on her sleeve and doesn't have much in the way of attempts to disguise it. Through the story and my visual representation of her, I can create body language to further communicate her personality but I hope I have succeeded in some ways to explain it in one single read of seeing the character.

Her pet, Fester is a character that has been around since the beginning too- way back before putting pencil to paper I wanted Prey to have a parrot or a bird, that quickly changed to a monkey and then in turn once I knew I wanted Sci-Fi; Space Monkey. Fester is of the "Ki-Ti" species, who were nearly hunted to extinction due to their curiousity for tampering with technology, branding them 'Gremlins'.

I purposely don't want to define the exact details of how they met, other than they have been in eachothers company for a long time. I feel it's important to understanding Preys mentality, to never look to the past, to barely explore her history as she is a character that lives and dies for the moment and only ever looks forward.

Fester is inspired primarily by spider-monkeys and lemurs, with some features of cats. He moves quite like a lizard and has a tongue that is quite similar to a snakes. He was tremendous fun to design because he's not too far removed from what we can recognise but yet he's alien enough to not allow us to put a finger on it. He's a vastly intelligent creature but incapable of speech, I wanted Prey and Fester to share an unspoken bond of understanding- much like how Ash in Pokemon seemed to understand what Pikachu was saying despite the language barrier.

Lastly, I like to do an excercise in design for most of my characters, breaking down their essential elements into a very simple form. The idea being that a strong character design can not only be broken down to its basics easily, but can be instantly recognisable from those basics too. I often use LEGO to help me achieve this test;

Thanks for reading, see you on the Horizion!

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Scoundrels- "On the Edge" Design post.

Greetings! I'm glad to be on board this project, while at the same time shaking in fear at the prospect of working with these talented chaps. As for my project, I was really excited on the idea of having piracy mean whatever I wanted it to. For me, Pirates are really over-glamorized (In a good way,) because people forget, Pirates are not good guys. With that Idea in mind, I wanted to explore how these guys might work. I thought about the modern pirate, and how they pray on weak cargo and passenger ships off the coast of Africa, taking whatever they can get, and most of the time leaving the crew alive. With the idea of them operating waters they know are common routes to large yield ships, I knew this was gonna be a good source material. The pirates in my story, are of course, still somewhat likable (I mean common, why go all out evil here with protagonists?) but they are still falling short of a good creme egg. They operate and attack incoming cargo ships from their routes as they fall in orbit, waiting for the next big hit. They work in an area that is hard to keep track of by self defense systems, between space and the safety of the planets lower atmosphere.

That's the basic gist of my story, so as far as building my team, I drew on my background and some of my personal aesthetics from pirate tradition to make things nice and refreshing. For the Main Character, Cpt. Maria "La Reina" Cruz, I wanted to draw from the Caribbean tradition of pirates, where I can induce some of my Latin flavor (Yeah I-got-some-shut-up.) I then decided, since this was the future, I imagine that we probably had gone into other planets into our solar system and terraformed them into livable conditions. I then thought, since Mars was really the closest and easiest one to get to, that it would be the first one, but since the culture of man had advanced so far, that we had gone beyond our solar system. Making planets such as Mars, probably not exotic. I imagine the poorer countries of the world had eventually left Earth, and gone into Mars due to it's cheaper cost to live. I also Imagined that Mars, was a lot like how it seems now, a hot and vast desert planet. Even with Terra forming, many have a hard time making living. Forcing many people to get into tribes, and small villages and towns to make sure they had enough materials to survive. Maria is from one of these tribes, which existed as a marauding pirate and nomadic tribe. The rest of her past, I will leave to my story. Her Design was mainly inspired by that of the old Howard Pyle school of pirates, as well as a bit of Jack Sparrow and some Classic Punk style (With just a bit of predator int here.)

Now for the rest of the Team, I will just say a bit. Izzie (The Lizzard Man) is a former K'chikar Slave from his home planet K'chik. In his planet, they honor the ways of battle, and a culture of Battle Clans, and War Chieftains prevails their life. Those that fall into deep debt, or dishonor, are forced into slavery, where their sense of sight, smell, and speech, are bound within an iron mask, leaving them vulnerable, and only able to do very few tasks. Those that do survive are rare, and probably were able to brave through their chains, and rise against their former captors. "Trooper" as they call him, was once an accomplished space Marine with the Human United Coalition. Infamous for their tenacity, he was one of a few of their special forces, in charge of taking out high pay load target space ships. He then turned Mercenary, when his Marine life went south, and has ever since, been working with Maria at the helm. Izzie's Design, was influenced by horned lizards, some like the Horned Gecko. Troopers design was much more obvious, being that of giant biker dudes, like the kind that you see at big tough biker gangs.

Their primary Transport, is a large Ship, called "La Muerte Roja", or "The red death." It flies between the clouds, waiting for a chance to strike, and when it does, it delivers their small portable crafts. The main design element, was that of Harley Davidson, giant metal bikes.

And I have one more design for y'all. The design of some rather unfortunate Pilots. The design was primarily influenced by the armor design in Dead space, as well as motor bike and high altitude pressure suits.

Thanks for listening to my mad ramblings, and Hope to post some more juicy morsels for you all in the next coming weeks.


Saturday, 21 January 2012

Ven Kingsley - Character Design Concepts

Heyo, guys! Here's the color concept for Ven. For a while, I was working on her vest design in particular, and finally settled on this. I debated various cuts and fasteners, probably way more than I should've. I think it was always part of my mental images to include a long, black coat. I'll have pictures of her without a coat in the future, but for now, I'll mention that she's got rolled up sleeves and some woven bracelets on her left wrist.

At the end is a sketch I did of Ven before creating this sheet and finalizing her design.