Monday, February 28, 2011

Desert Cloak Foil Step-By-Step

I have a thing for robots adorned with cloth. Exia Repair. Break Blade Golems. Guymelefs. Anything with a cape or cloak or tattered bits of tapestry hanging about. This piece started with a cape. I want to use this post to chronicle the journey from start to finish in a step-by-step fashion. It's interesting

Here's the first sketch (digital). You can see that he (someone should draw a female Foil) started out with a really foppish pose, with flared wrists and what was originally going to be a knife in his right hand. He's sporting a very Spawn-like cloak with lots of little ribbons.

In this second version I started blocking in the cloak in two layers: one for the top, and one for the darker back/inside layer. I put both layers underneath the lines so I could use them for a painting guide. I then made a third layer, above the lines, onto which I started painting in the details of the cloak.


For the third pass, you can see that work on the cloak has progressed. I even did a rough color/shading test of the arms and legs, to get a feel for the body proportions/shape and overall look. I added some buttons that are used to pin down clumps of cloth at various points.


In the fourth pass, things have changed quite dramatically. I decided to redraw and repose the arms and legs. The Foil is now primarily white in color (I like white mecha). Also, it looks like I was planning on having the left arm be a giant claw-arm, hidden under the cloak. The shading here is a little more crisp, but at this point I was still unsure where the piece would end up.


The fifth version is the only time the image was in landscape mode, in order to accommodate what would have been a large sword. The right and left arms have been reposed and redrawn once again. Major progress has been made on the cloak. The buttons are now white, and I decided to add some tears/bullet holes in the cloth to make it look worn and ragged. Also gone is the "belt" around the waist. The painted legs are of a completely new design, and for awhile I was entertaining the idea of split toes and pointed hips. Elements of the final joint and armor design are starting to become apparent.


Sixth version. Nearing the finish line! Major refinements to arm and legs, with final details becoming apparent. Left shoulder area, where the cloak gathers, has been reworked and pulled outwards a bit for better overall balance and to fill out the upper body. I decided on two simple headband-style ribbons. The pose is very "Robo-Hamlet," no?


Final version. Okay, I decided to roll with the "Robo-Hamlet" idea! Now I'm really interested in what the rest of that "trophy" Foil looks like. Hrmm... I decided to keep the markings simple, with just two orange bands around the "nosecone." The right arm has some added details, and the left arm makes a reappearance. Final touchups + ground shadow and he's ready to show off the spoils of victory!

Thanks for reading!

-Nick (NIDARAM)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

TKP FOIL line art: Ileman-Loch Aetarius and Auaris SOMR

Here we have another pair of line work presentations for Theos KE Polemos combat FOILs. Both of these designs began as a small thumbnail rough. The thumbs would then be blown up in CS3 to, roughly, an 8 1/2 x 11 page size in order to do a quick grayscale print. These would get light boxed for a more detailed and refined version. Once I have a design refined to where I want it, it goes back to CS3 for digital ink cleanups and color. The digital ink clean ups are what we have below (sans the gradient color field added here for a more pleasing presentation then simple black line art on white background). 

Most of my concept and design work begins as small thumbs in this manner. Thumbs are often one of the best ways to go as they force you to focus on form and silhouette rather than detail. Although concepts can be done, as large illustrations, right off it's often problematic as it tends to compel one to try to fill in empty space with detail. This can often result in losing form or boxing yourself into a corner so it's, typically, best to design in small thumbnail illos in order to rough out the silhouette before going to a more refined illustration. That said, there really is no best way to do anything, whatever works for you IS the way. This is simply the way I've found to be most effective and it's widely used, pretty much, for that simple reason. At the end of the day if you get the results you want, you must be doing something right so just keep it fun and the work will follow. I'll continue go into more detail as to my approach to designing the Theos material as the blog marched forward.

Ileman-Loch Aetarius:



Ileman-Loch Auaris SOMR:



Also I want to give a shout out and a big thanks to Don Suratos (who runs the rather cool modeling blog DC23) for his feature of the newly relaunched Vulne Pro blog. We really appreciate the kind words and support and, are more than happy, to send some compliments back. If you dig Mecha and sci-fi modeling, by all means drop in on his blog, there's a LOT of great stuff to explore there. Thanks again Don!

 I'll have some more FOIL line art soon, along with a first look at the line work of a rather epic Östlund (genocidalpenguin)/Majestic (VulnePro) collab FOIL. More and more we'll be posting new stuff here so stay tuned. 

Cheers!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Theos combat FOILs line art and the spirit of old school

As I had noted in previous posts we intend to publish more and more peeks at art, on the blog, that hasn't gone up in any of our Deviant galleries. We plan to share peeks at process, roughs, and work like those below; classic model sheet line art. With this posting I thought I'd explain, in a bit of detail, why I have approached the presentation of the Theos KE Polemos art in the manner I have.

When I was young there was a comic shop, called Comic Kingdom that used to be on 7 mile and Gratiot Ave. in Detroit. I, actually, don't remember how we found it but my Father would take me there, on weekends, so I could sort through the impressive collection of Macross, Dougram, Orguss, and Gundam kits, at least it was the fact they carried such kits that led me there (my Father bought me a bunch of the Revell Robotech kits the X-mas of 84 and I was hooked). However, it wasn't the kits as much as the discovery that this little Comic shop also carried anime art books and magazines, straight from Japan. Back then it was just really cool animation to my eyes, something new and exciting. They were doing things I had never seen before with the medium of animation and for a young artist the idea of such creative freedom with "moving drawings" was immensely impressionable.

I remember always being excited to see previews in the magazines or getting the actual artbooks of these fantastic films soon to hit theaters in Japan, films like; 'The Wings of Honneamise Royal Space Force', 'Akira', 'Castle in the Sky Laputa', and 'Venus Wars' (this was during the late 80s so that does indeed make me very old school). All films that STILL to this day I find as impressive as when I first saw these previews in Animedia, Animage, or Newtype. It was always seeing those previews of screen caps, background art, or cool peeks at model sheets and such that sparked my imagination. Even more impressionable was the fact that the cool fellow who ran that section of the shop, Bill Sikoro (not sure if I have his last name right but I do wish to extend my thanks for encouraging a young upstart to follow his dream of making his own works) would have showings of these films as they got them on Laser Disc, and, usually, it was within a month or so after release. I saw Akira on LD, like right after it came out in Japan. So all this stuff really inspired me to both strike out on my own creative ventures, but more importantly to pursue my own original creative voice. Seeing all the imagination in those films, back then, ingrained a drive in me to settle for no less than my own original vision and I've had no interest in aping anyone else's work since. I find it FAR more rewarding to strive for something I haven't seen while honoring the works and genres that inspired me in my youth.

Well, many, many years later and I'm producing my own work with that spirit in mind. My approach to presenting much of the Theos art has been designed to evoke those days of seeing all those previews for some anime film, or project, that just grabbed you with wonder, or some cool box art for a plastic/resin kit.. Back then you wanted to see it because it looked wild, imaginative, thoughtful in execution, or just plain cool... impressions I sense less and less in current anime offerings (though there are still some impressive works produced to be sure). The TKP art is presented in a manner to, hopefully, achieve that same sense of wonder, like seeing those previews, back then, before the internet and the tidal wave of media we have today. The FOIL art has especially been tailored toward a sense of seeing some old school box art for a cool resin or plastic mech that would catch your eye. Seeing as how I've had a few people tell me the art gave them that impression it seems I've succeeded in evoking that vibe. Eventually we'll need those FOIL kits in our hands for real, but for now we have the art to inspire that path forward.

Below are the line art works for the Nal-Farbute and the Strumgeist 5th Gen EVO. These line art presentations will go up here first, then later to DA and Pixiv.




Comments are welcome and feel free to stay a spell. More of these to follow soon!

          Cheers!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

'And the Signal' Process

More and more we plan to post peeks at work in process or material like this where it's a peek at the process throughout to completion. I planned to post this on Deviant, way back when I completed 'And the Signal', but I got sidetracked by other stuff and simply forgot I made this set of progression images. This isn't a comprehensive tutorial type of piece, simply a peek at some of the stages.













With these image art shots I have always tried to both experiment with new ideas and maintain my own personal style. A good deal of Theos KE Polemos is very much film noir, in the classic sense, so it's always been a blast to work on atmospheric scenes such as this and the previously posted update of 'Blood Wake'.  There's more material waiting in the wings, stay tuned.

Return to posting at Pixiv

I've returned to posting work at Pixiv, which is sort of, Japan's version of Deviant Art. Nick Maradin and I had stated posting there in November of 2008 but hadn't kept up due to other work. I've wanted to get back to posting there again so, in the last few days I've been posting up some of the Theos work that never made it up there.  Being a lot of that work never went up on Pixiv I have a lot to post every now and then.  I'll also be posting work for Karl Östlund (genocidalpenguin) on his behalf. 


Vulne Pro on Pixiv


The reasoning for posting there certainly isn't any Japanophile kind of mentality (my view of the creators over there was always peer respect not a view through fan obsessed goggles) as it's simply to expose the work to an audience obviously far more familiar with the troupes and genre they, more or less, created in the first place. Seeing as how we have a very different take for how we plan to approach the notion of mecha it's of interest to post there.

Monday, February 07, 2011

New TKP FOIL post and updates to old TKP Image art pieces

It's about time to gradually get this little blog a cookin' again. With things calming down a tad I have bit more time to get to working on art again. I'll be getting to a lot of backlog work and older pieces so there will be a lot pending. I recently uploaded to DA a long delayed collaboration piece with Charles Liu (N'vos Tessai FOIL), and two updated versions of older TKP image art illos; ORO TDS Station and Blood Wake (below).

Updated 2011 version:

Original 2008 version:


There's a lot of work to get to and, over time, we plan to post a lot of work here that's not featured on any of our respective Deviant galleries so stay tuned, there's more to come!