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 😉

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.

Flags 3

got pretty hung up on stylized comets and planets with rings on this one.

when doing comic concept I always try to do most of it in B&W. I didn’t used to but I learned my lesson. things always manage to look different in color.

I really like this batch overall. just some tweaks here and there. i think most of them would be fairly striking even in B&W. I found the Good Flag, Bad Flag pamphlet to be a good resource. it breaks down flag design and why things work and other things don’t in an understandable way to the layman. i am by no means an expert on flags, but hopefully i have enough design experience to make something striking and poignant (or at least recognize when a design isn’t).

on a side note, i wish my state flag (Kansas) could be one of these. or something like it. or just something that isn’t the flag we have at the moment. it’s just so bad. along with the like 20 other state flags that look just like it. none of them stand out, and you can’t even see what’s on the seal at a distance. in my opinion many badly need a redesign.

with these two designs at least they would be fitting for kansas with kansas-y colors (sunset, sky, fields, clouds). simple and distinct. the mostly unknown state banner is fine too, we could always use that. a man can dream I suppose.

Flag content

like the last post about flags, a lot of these are ripoffs of real-life flags. also like last time, it helps to weed out generic ideas in favor of something that hopefully will have more legs. just playing around as always.

the goal of a lot of these is to make something distinct but still have competent flag design. it can be pretty hard to make a design that is simple and distinct. it can be hard to keep it from getting too cluttered or busy. i see why many flag designs have (what i feel are) too many elements. it can be pretty tempting. but it is also for good reason that most real-world flags air on the side of minimalism, even the incredibly old ones. keep in mind that you also need to recognize a flag at any size, what if you are on the border of enemy territory and see a flag in the far distance. It is only a millimeter in size relative to you. I hope you will be able to tell if it belongs to friend or foe.

also for these flags in particular it’s important to keep in mind how these look in B&W. pretty useless to come up with some crazy colorful pattern when the comic is monochrome. it’s not really that big of a deal, because I believe that the pattern of a flag is much more important than the colors anyway. it’s like its silhouette.

a need to DANCE!!!

i dance about as well as a large tree but i do find it pretty interesting.

body language is of course important to me and dancing obviously opens up a lot of fun opportunities. it’s also just how some people [and cultures] celebrate and praise even if I don’t. it helps me understand others even if it’s just in small ways.

tails fulfill a similar function to dancing skirts in real life. in artistic terms they assist the line of action.

The true foreigner

Who is the true foreigner among you? Is it the one who looks or talks or acts differently from you? Or is it the one to whom you relate or do not relate? Or perhaps still, is it your enemy?

Who deserves your care or love or tolerance? Is it only those who cannot defend themselves? Or is no distinction made between those who can and those who cannot?

I see many define those who need the most lifting up as those who are the most vulnerable. Those who by appearance or circumstance or what have you have limited ability to resist the manipulations of others. Fair enough. They definitely need help.

However, a thought. I’ve heard it said once that “The past is a foreign country. People do things differently over there.” And it definitely is true in my experience. What on earth were my ancestors thinking? How could they have possibly done X, Y or Z? How could they have let such injustice go unpunished, or even worse, inflict it upon others? Surely they could not have had the same values as mine. Were they even human with the horrors they inflicted upon others and the seemingly alien degree of their thoughts?

Yes. Of course they were.

It grieves me to see that many so-called proponents of tolerance do not tolerate those who truly cannot defend themselves, namely, those in the past.

Do you only tolerate those who agree with you? Is that real tolerance?

Get em outta here!

there are times when I need to think about mechanisms that may exist in the background of the comic, but are not focused on heavily.

I admit that prisons and legal systems are not a topic that I know a ton about, especially in regards to cultures or times of which I have limited understanding. for most cases like these, I tend to just gloss over them in the story. work to your strengths. and the anthology nature of the stories mean I can flit between different tales without having to commit too much to areas outside of my ‘expertise’. That said, it’s still a fun thought exercise to play with relatively unknown topics (for me) to see if I can figure out how things would work. I try to look at history to see what people actually did, and I try to use common sense. How successful will I be? I guess we’ll see!

though i doubt prisons in motherland are anywhere close to the industry that they are in many places in real life, i also doubt they are rare. probably still rarer, because in most places in the gulf they would just make prisoners into slaves or execute them instead. that way they would either be free labor or permanently out of your hair, a much more pragmatic solution. an exception would be political prisoners, who you could use for leverage or ransom (in the case of a powerful individual, a hefty sum). of course i’m sure the law isn’t going to be just executing any joe schmoe who commits a petty misdemeanor but I doubt prisoners in this world have a lot of rights. if you owe someone, they are gonna try to get their payment – likely often seizure of property or person (indentured servitude, which has been very common throughout history). if by necessity the debt necessitates prison, so be it. or so I would assume.

I’ve heard things about ancient roman prisons like they more or less only existed to hold people for trial. I’ve heard that some of the prisons were in absolute darkness and many who were kept there indefinitely went blind. is any of this true? It is hard to say, no one alive today was there. it is difficult to trust scholarly analysis at face value because humans make mistakes and often manufacture facts from theories. human nature doesn’t change however, and there are constants that I think can be gleaned from any subject.

like anything, I’ll have to learn more about it. or just see how well I can skirt around the issue in the comic 😉

At a glance

I find silhouettes and shapes just as important as detail. Silhouettes can be tough for me to integrate into the background and still make it look good. always learning.

I find a lot of these have interesting shapes which can help differentiate characters. the types of clothes a character wears is just as important as their body shape and body language, since it helps the audience recognize them. it is their ‘brand’, if you will. it also makes certain poses more or less difficult to draw. 😉

what are half of these outfits? i have no idea. the story of my life: we can take it further.

The Burn of Her Javelin

Farning hymn of war, -0y. Translated by Adtne of Kwawha.

Black sky! They cry.
Black moon! They cry.
For we are the ones who wrestled the rings
And we are the ones who tackle the beast.

Gaze upon the walls of Farning and despair!
Cower under the fury of our arrows!
Those serpents cry in fear of our strength,
Cry out, like a woman in labor.

The flame burns bright into the night,
The songs sound long.
None can best the greatest of men,
None can sing our song.

The Maiden looks upon her city and smiles,
Like a mother looks upon her sleeping child.
She’ll let no harm come to him,
And any who try will face the burn of her javelin!


Under her care we grow strong,
Shoot up fast like the crops of spring.
Grow nourished like the crops of summer,
To bring great pride upon the harvest.

Like the dew we’ll appear suddenly on our foes.
They shall be drenched in blood.
Her war mask shall shine red.
The harvested will harvest the world.

The might of the greatest of men
Will blow like a hurricane
Will flood like the Mandara
Will uproot like the quake.

Tremble, enemies. wail!
Every limb will be broken by the sword,
Or yoke,
Or plow!

We have been delivered,
but you cannot say the same!

Despite its popularity, great debate surrounds this song. Many Allanos hold it as unduly influenced by Rabanti notions, and view it as heretical and dangerous to their faith to view Oraq as ‘protecting’ any anchor of the mortal realm. The lyrics are set to the traditional Allano tune of Indina. For an attempted translation in the spirit rather than the letter, please see addendum

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