Nov 7, 2014

It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad Cyborg

       Well, so much for weekly updates.  After a long trip during the Summer, I just sort of stopped keeping up.  Let's see if I can't at least keep updating weekly for the rest of the year.

      During the last couple weeks, I've been working on a character who I've largely neglected in the past, Gray--an antagonistic counterpart to Reina.  I've needed for several years now to figure out the look of Gray's armor (an by extension, the armor worn by the other KAIROS soldiers).  The following sketch was done based on a series of prior sketches which were so rough as to not warrant posting:

      That sketch did a decent job of capturing the feel that I wanted.  I particular, I'm pleased with the forearm and shin armor.  The rest of it makes for a starting point, if nothing else.

      I decided that it would look pretty interesting if the armor had a jaw-component separate from the rest of the helmet.  While I'm not entirely satisfied with the light-shadow rendering of Gray's face here, I think it still manages to capture some aspect of his character.

      This one is a more developed pen and marker sketch (with digital color) expanding off of the earlier pencil sketch.  It's getting closer to what I want.  I also tried to work out what kind of helmet might attach to that jaw section.

      While discussing the previous sketch, a friend suggested that Gray's swords might have super-heated edges, so I went ahead with that in this action pose.  I also tried to better define the shape of the helmet.  I think it might look similar to the head of the Bladewolf from Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, but I'll have to go back and compare those directly to make certain.

      That charging sketch of Gray inspired me to attempt a corresponding action sketch of Reina in-armor.  I also took the opportunity to start working on Reina's own head-covering.  The basic concept is that the covering is made of flexible/semi-flexible materials similar to the bodysuit.  The fin-like optics system attached to front of the covering can be folded in the middle for more compact stowage.

      Lastly, another study of Reina.  I've been meaning to do a sketch like this for quite a while, showing "where she ends and her prosthetics begin," as one friend described it.

I'm hoping to get back on schedule with the blog, so expect more next Friday!

(Also, I think it's about time I worked up a new background for the blog.)

Jun 27, 2014

Some More Refined Sketches

      My postings lately have been more intermittent that I would like, but then so has been my ability to do personal artwork.  As such, I've only got a couple of sketches this time around, though they are more refined than many of the past works I've posted here.

      The above sketches are largely the result of finding a fluorescent pink highlighter in my desk, and wanting to put it to use.  I'm no stranger to designing feminine mecha, but this is far more "conventionally feminine" then what I'm used to doing.  This got me thinking: wouldn't it be cool if Cartoon Network or a similar channel got someone like Genndy Tartakovsky to create a mecha show aimed at girls?

      This second sketch is the result of having played through Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance.  Who could've guessed that a game about a gray-armored cyborg ninja would inspire me to get back to work on my own gray-armored cyborg ninja?  At any rate, the game's given me a lot of brain-food to mull over, artistically and conceptually.


Jun 6, 2014

Settling Back Into Productivity

      It seems I keep missing posts here on the blog, in no small part thanks to my continued enjoyment of Digital Extremes' Warframe.  In light of that, I've done a few pieces of work based on the game.

      The first is a response to the "Suspicious Shipments" event, which occurred last weekend.  To give a bit of context for those unfamiliar with Warframe, the items being held (or dropped, as it were) by my Ember frame are rare items which were awarded with remarkable frequency during the event.

      Related to that, I really do love my Ember frame.  I've been playing as the more ornate Ember Prime recently, but I find that I ultimately prefer the less fancy look of the standard Ember.  In my own color scheme, of course.  As a reference artist, I usually don't do action poses, but I'm happy with how this one turned out.  I'm debating whether or not to further refine/ink the original lines and do a somewhat more developed version of this:

      Additionally, I've continued the long tradition among Warframe fans by doing a quick reference for how the "Vasto" revolver sidearm might look as a Prime weapon.  The original Vasto can be seen on the wiki for reference.

      Beyond that, and in completely predictable fashion, I'm still doing work on Novus Imperium.  First up is yet another iteration of Reina:

      Perhaps more interesting is that I've finally started doing work on figuring out the engineering of Reina's prosthetic limbs.  None of the below sketches show the prosthetics with their outer casing; this is all internal stuff.  You might need to click for a larger resolution to get all the little details.

1-  The anchor-points for her prosthetics are synthetically grown bone-like components which have been grafted to her truncated humerus' (in the case of her arms) and femurs (in the case of her legs).  The core frame components of her arms are articulated by ball-and-socket joints.  In addition to standard rotation, this allows the forearms to twist in a manner similar to natural arms.

2-  This simply demonstrates the series of myomer bundles layered over the frame which mimic not only the function, but also the positions, of organic muscles.

3-  The core of Reina's lower legs consists of three interleaved components, and her lower legs have a more pronounced curve compared to natural human legs.  The interleaved frame segments allow for a slight degree of flexibility in the "shin" area.  This combined with the exaggerated curve of the shins allows Reina to both absorb and exert a tremendous amount of force through her legs.

4-  The core of each knee joint contains a compact ultra-high-torque servomotor.  These motors are only employed when prolonged and extreme physical exertion is required.  In all other circumstances, the myomer bundle network is more than sufficient to articulate her legs.

      And lastly, I've finally gotten back to doing a bit of work on other NI characters who I've been neglecting, such as freelancer and mercenary Trent Valimund:

       More on him in the future.


May 16, 2014

Warframe Week

      I haven't really done much artwork this week.  I've decided to kick off my break from school by playing quite a lot of Digital Extremes' Warframe.  I think I mentioned this in last week's post, but I think it warrants repeating: the game has exceptional art direction.

      It's rare for me to do fanart, but here's a quick sketch of my Ember Warframe:

      Besides that, I've done a bit of sketching for a fantasy themed character I've had in the works for some years.  It's been a while since I posted any artwork of her online, and her design has undergone some pretty significant changes.  I'm pretty sure that this: [link] is the most recent posted image of her prior to the one below.

      That's all I've got for this week.  I'll probably be dialing back my Warframe playing in the upcoming week, so expect more artwork in future posts this summer.


May 9, 2014

Where Did April Go?

      As far as online postings go, I pretty much missed the entire month of April.  That's not to say that I haven't been doing artwork.  I've simply been swamped with both wrapping up the school semester, as well as having discovered Digital Extremes' Warframe.  The game has incredibly good art direction, and has been quite inspirational.  It prompted me to try my hand at doing some designs based on Warframe:

      There's a fourth Warframe design that I've done some work with, but it's a collaboration and as such I'm not at liberty to toss that artwork up on the blog.  Not yet, anyway.

      As usual, I've still been working on designs for Novus Imperium.  These sketches are long overdue, though I'd rather not spoil the details regarding what exactly they are / how they fit into the universe.  The general idea, aesthetically speaking, was to attempt to create starship designs that are smooth and flowing, but also oriented along 90-degree angles.

      Beyond that, I've naturally still been working on the design of Reina's character.  I think I'm getting extremely close to nailing down the design of her armor.  Below are a series of small ink sketches testing out some poses (the middle sketch has had color applied digitally):

      This next one is just trying to figure out some of the less visible aspects of her design.  It's been long established that Reina's civilian gear includes a layer of body armor underneath her clothing, but I'd never devoted much effort to figure out what it looks like.  This is a start, at any rate:

      This last one is something that's taken far too long.  I've drawn many, many iterations of Reina's armor over the last couple of months, but this is the first version that I've been really happy with:

      I've really not got more to say about that one.  I'm just glad to finally have a design for the armor that I'm pretty much satisfied with.  I'm hoping that I'll burn out on Reina's design soon, so I can move on to some of the many other characters whose designs need my attention.  School's just about wrapped up, so I'm looking forward to getting back to both my own work and commission work over the summer.


Apr 4, 2014

Back in the Swing of Things

      This week I've revisited a couple of alien species in Novus Imperium that haven't been getting enough attention.  This first sketch is just me trying to get a feel for the Reos.  They've been around since the early days of NI, but they've received by far the least attention in terms of development art.

      The Reos have always been somewhat crustacean in appearance, and I've tried to make that more apparent in this sketch than I had previously.  I'm not quite sold on the arms and legs, but I'm very happy with how the head and torso turned out.  I've drawn inspiration from crabs, lobsters and the wonderful giant isopod.  Previous versions of the Reos have had small sub-limbs folded against their torso.  I seem to have forgotten that in doing this sketch.

      This second one has been mentioned on the blog before.  The Corrupted have received more attention than the Reos, but I've still not quite got their look figured out.  As the overall shaping goes, I'm actually fairly pleased with this design.  I am, however, really iffy regarding the color scheme.  In sci-fi, it seems like the color purple has sort of become shorthand for "alien."  I've been playing around with other color schemes, but as yet I've not found a satisfactory alternative.

      And lastly, still more sketching with Reina.  Here I'm testing out a somewhat simpler / cleaner style than how I usually sketch.  I've also been working to clean up the design of her prosthetic arms, particularly the backs of the arms, and how they connect at the biceps and triceps.  I've also been researching anatomy texts to better understand the human musculoskeletal system, and by extension how prosthetics might integrate with it.

      This week's been far more productive art-wise than the last couple.  It's nice to be getting back into the swing of things.


Mar 28, 2014

The Giant Robot Groove

      Recently, I've been trying to get back into mecha design.  It's been a couple years since I last was working on mecha designs on a regular basis.

      One way I've been getting a feel for mecha is in sketching out some designs for a Gundam alternate universe with the fighting set on Mars.  The mecha I posted last week was a tentative design for the same Mars Gundam idea.

      The head on this fist one is just a placeholder.  I'm still working on the actual head design, but I still haven't gotten it quite where I want it.  With these Mars designs, I'm going for a very geometric aesthetic.  The proportions here are a little wonky.  It needs refinement.

      This one's actually from last year, but I never really posted it anywhere.  Basically, this is a rough idea of what I think a Real Grade model of the Nu Gundam from Char's Counterattack might look like.  It's one of my favorite official Gundam designs.  I've always felt that the white/black/gold color scheme is supremely classy.

      I've also been having fun with some fantasy-themed illustrations.

      This last one is something I've never tried before.  Having finished my "Neptune Astray" custom Gundam model, I've been figuring out what my next custom Gunpla project will be.  This is a pre-visualization of what I think I'll be going for.  It combines parts in roughly equal measure from a GN Archer from Gundam 00, as well as a G-Bouncer and Clanche from Gundam AGE.  The proportions and color blocking are based on Reina's armor.