body shape studies 3

some people get a lot more extreme with shapes than I do. I’m not necessarily sure that’s a negative for me, but I do want to get more confident in going ‘all out’ than I feel like I currently am. motion in particular can be hard to be to exaggerate proportions.

harder still is making zany bodies fit compositionally in comic panels. I can tweak and pose my ‘comfort zone’ figures a lot easier than some out there designs. i’m sure practice is all that can help this. always trying.

more studies to come in the future, I’m sure.

Nations and shape language

been working on this for a while now. Since there are a variety of people groups and nations in the story, I am doing my best to work on making each nation have shapes (roughly) specific to them. not last airbender level or anything where “this country only wears red clothes”, but still. it’s a hard balance to keep in mind. at the very least, distinct clothing and silhouette elements that represent one nation I’ve been trying to keep separate from other nations.

Up to this point the comic has only covered a single nation, Allano. In hindsight, I probably should have limited the variety of their clothing, but you live and learn. That said, I am consolidating the core ‘essence’ of what the allanos wear and trying to differentiate it with the other groups. i’ve dabbled with the designs of other nations here and there but the past little bit I’ve really been trying to make a concerted effort to make things decently distinct.

In real life of course there is a lot of trends that carry on over the border, but sometimes it is necessary to limit that just so the audience can tell where the heck this character is supposed to be from. at the end of the day it is a loose guide and I won’t lose too much sleep if it isn’t an airtight system.

my main strategy is using designs I like the best on places where I will spend the most time and filling out the rest from there. everything is heavily subject to change as always. I choose to hold off on giving away too many details to avoid spoiling anything interesting later 😉

the flag mafia has a gun to my head send help

i may have a problem.

or maybe it’s only a problem if I address it??

but the might I wielded before was nothing compared to this new dark power I have discovered. behold!

it’s really interesting how many flags are designed to be off-center towards the pole (the “hoist”). it looks odd when viewed as a static image, but when you see them in motion you realize that they actually look centered since the tail of the flag moves more than the rest. try plugging in the bangladesh or french naval flags into the flag waver link above to see what I mean. there are a lot of design considerations like this to factor in that may not be obvious.

I think that’s a big reason why I appreciate flags so much. They are such a good case study of “practical art”, art that exists to communicate a message as quickly, efficiently, and stylistically as possible. a clear advantage of graphic design/art over other communication mediums is how concise it can be. and I also appreciate them for their historical and societal connotations. they are symbols, and symbols are powerful. they are neat, and I appreciate the minutia of the design of good flags. there are a lot of factors that make a good flag good which post people don’t even realize.

mens suits are a proven cure for insomnia

i understand that this blog is becoming a fashion one more with each passing day but what are you gonna do I suppose.

mens suits suck.

they are the same thing over and over again with nearly no variety. in my opinion the design isn’t even that appealing. I understand that something neutral and minimal can be classy in the right circumstance. still, there has got to be some more variety before I lose my mind. at least women in the west can get away with more pizzazz.

man even just tiny little stripes or blocks of color can add a ton. and while I know that is what neckties are for, i have a very deep, personal, and petty vendetta against ties. ties were locked up in the dungeon where they belong for this exercise.

and while I hardly think that “new is always better” in anything, I swear that suits haven’t changed much at all since the colonial period. look at like rembrandt paintings or whoever. what we have today is basically the same thing. featureless black mass of cloth with a few points of contrast around the neck and sleeves.

I’m sure this is heresy to many, but if we had to settle on a design for hundreds of years, couldn’t we have settled on something good?

whatever. I’m not advocating that every business executive needs to start parading around in a tie-dye hippie wonderland, but surely we could play around a little bit with mens’ suits. I understand having a muted main color and simple shapes. start small to aid the easily-startled. but let’s at least get some slight variety in here so I can feel a little less like a bystander from Mr. Roboto.

i’m hardly saying that all of these designs are winners. they are concept doodles like anything else. need to experiment to throw away the bad elements and keep the good. but goodness I feel like even these few designs have more interest than 99% of the suits I’ve seen in my life. and this is just scratching the surface, you could go way more creative than this. I was playing it safe to make something I think a businessman could in theory wear today in an the ocean of peer pressure.

i can only hope that one day western suits can look as good as this.

Kiddos

kiddos!

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kids exist. and in the same space as adults, no less! shocking.

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i find kids a little bit more limited of a canvas to experiment with body shapes compared to adults, but it is still possible to make some fun designs. while i believe in both nurture and nature to a degree, i find people often underestimate the role of nature. the ‘child is the father of the man’ so to speak, in my experience your temperament as a child can be easily seen when you reach maturity. i hope to show those personalities in the comic. even one infant is so different from another. i don’t think that you can necessarily be anything you want to be. I do wholeheartedly believe that you can be what you were created to be 🙂

as usual, shown above are some main characters, some minor characters, some background, and some that I probably won’t use.

feel good. had a very productive week or two. finished the opening of ch4

Gulf phenotypes and ethnicities

thought i’d share something i was playing around with.

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getting the look of different ethnicities of the region where I want them. at the end of the day, this is at most a glorified easter egg. I will not expect readers to be able to judge where a non-human character is from in a made up world by their face (and I am not that consistent or patient to make it exact every time anyway).

mainly playing around with shapes that I think are fun. trying to apply some logic with facial feature patterns varying based on climate, one people group conquering another, etc. at the end of the day i’m not gonna stress to much about making it super duper consistent and I imagine that different ethnic groups would blend together over time anyway.

with geography factored in:

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Allano is the nation seen in the comic so far, and in the recent past were a branch of the ethnically and politically related Avato, looking similar as a result. I could say more ideas that I have but I’d rather let it play out for now. everything is of course subject to change anyway. 🙂 any questions or feedback help me out a lot. take care all

Character concepts 3 – armor


(click to view larger)

some armor design concepts. on the whole metal is rarely used in Motherland due to a variety of factors, but the majority of regions have access to substitute materials. these alien ‘resin’ compounds are mass-produced from several species of wildlife and have no true real world analogue, though most have properties somewhere in the realm of rubber, chitin, ceramic, and polymer. among a myriad of other uses, they are used to make armor and weapons. it’s a big goal of mine to have some crazy setting weirdness and still try to make designs that make sense. I’m heavily basing armor and weapon designs off of real life ones since they actually work instead of hypothetically work.

pretty much all of the armor shown here would be ‘elite’ models that would be very expensive to create and own. common soldiers and guards would make do with much less. chainmail doesn’t really exist per se due to the tensile properties of resin, the city guards in ch 1 were using scaled or spined hauberks which is much cheaper than plate armor but still fairly effective. many of the (wealthier) renes shown were using plate armor which was inspired by the designs of real life armenian cataphracts, the manicas in particular. i just think they look cool.

Character concepts 2 – helmets

this is close enough to a character concept in my opinion.

it can be pretty tough sometimes but it’s always fun to have to design clothes and armor and such with non-human parameters. Of course the motherlanders aren’t that different from humans but it’s enough. One of my mains goals with this story and setting is to create things that are realistically exotic but could still conceivably exist within the setting. it’s not high fantasy, so I’m really trying to make designs and such that would believably be created by the people there with their resources and technology.

For instance, very little wood or metal is used in the Motherland world. it’s too rare or hard to shape with their resources. Much of the armor used by soldiers and such is a type of molded resin, along with kevlar-like hauberks made out of durable fibers from the local ecosystem. A wide variety of construction methods and designs exist in this era, influenced by cost and efficiency, and of course, looks. Rich people can afford more expensive and efficient protection than your average town guard. armor evolved in real life to counter the weapons of the day and vice versa, and here is no different. That said, the evolution of their technology can be anachronistic at times compared to our own history.

I really want to try to make things that are realistic-looking while still looking cool or at least interesting. A helmet in real life is designed to protect your face first and foremost above looks (with some less than “cool” results for the sake of efficiency), and boy do these characters have a lot of face to protect. a mask that totally covered their entire snout and ears would be very protective and practical, but looks real goofy as a result. It’s a challenge to find designs that do enough of both practicality and aesthetics, but that’s the fun in it.