Jul 9, 2012

"In the grim darkness of the far future...

...There is only war."

I've been on a pretty serious Warhammer 40,000 kick for the last few weeks.  I've been using my various ideas and free time largely as fodder for practice with digital painting techniques.  I've been trying to familiarize myself with the "start with a bunch of dark blobs, and refine it from there" method of digital painting.  I started with this one...

 ...which turned out rather well, and prompted me to continue experimenting with digital painting techniques.  This one was followed up by a couple of quicker, rougher sketches:  A Space Marine helmet painted in the Ultramarines' colors, and an irate Ork.

Each of those took maybe a half hour to paint.  I'm particularly happy with the Ork.

The most recent of my fully digital paintings is a portrait of one of my "Stonehides" Chaper Space Marines:

This pretty well typifies the sort of dark, painterly look that I'll be trying for with most of my other WH40k character portraits.

Last up is another image of that first character (one of my original characters, Inquisitor Acolyte Scarlet Winter).  This one is somewhat more my traditional style, having been originally sketched in pencil.  I then scanned it and layed down the base colors (charcoal gray, dark metallic brown, very pale skin tone) in Photoshop.  The rest of the coloring and shading was done in MyPaint, the program I used to paint all of the above images.

With this one, I wasn't so much going for a "dark, painterly look" like my Space Marine above, but rather focusing on the interplay between light and dark tones in the image.

So yeah, I've had WH40k on the brain for a while.  On the plus side, as long as I'm doing 40k themed stuff, I can file playing Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine under "research."  It's a win-win!

Cheers, all.

May 31, 2012

The Scrapyard: Starship Design

I realize this post is a day late, but I was busy drawing, so I at least used yesterday well.

As I mentioned last week, this will be a longer post than usual, detailing a number of my incomplete and abandoned starship designs.  In middle school and early high school, I did a lot of starship designs for Novus Imperium, an original sci-fi universe created by my friends and I.  At that time, most of my designs were profile-view images, and as such, many of the ships' shapes were difficult to discern.  In the last few years, the number of ships I've designed has decreased significantly, but those I have completed are of much higher quality.  The following are several designs from the last two years which simply were never completed.

This first one is also the oldest, and is a concept for a small shuttle that would be housed on the underside of my previously designed Cirrus.  The shuttle could be deployed in or out of atmosphere, and be used to land in areas too confined for the corvette-sized Cirrus.  While this version of the design never got past the rough pencil lines, some revised version of it will likely be appearing in the future.

This is lineart for the private freighter Aubree's Bounty, originally conceived as an enormous Lego model by my close friend Kevin.  The Bounty had a rough run-in with pirates a few years back, resulting in the ship's scarred exterior and cobbled-together bridge area.  I'm particularly pleased with how the engines on this one turned out.

You might have to click on this one to see all the little details.  This was a short-lived attempt at displaying a wrecked super-freighter.  These massive ships are several kilometers long when fully laden, though only the command and engine sections are equipped with life support.  Most of the ship's length comes from the cargo spar jutting back from the command section, to which all variety of cargo containers can be attached.

Another ship inspired by Kevin.  This is the linework for a Mygean frigate, based on his "MCS Color of Water."  I tried to take general shape and feel of his original, and give it a distinct aesthetic.  In fact, that's something I've been trying to do across the board, giving each faction's ships a distinct visual look.

Based on the previous ship, I wanted to design something else of Mygean make.  This is an older, decommissioned Mygean cruiser, which has been adapted to act as the flagship of a pirate lord.  To give this a more haphazard look, I took a bit of inspiration from the Reaver ship seen in the first episode of Joss Whedon's Firefly, giving it spines, and big sheets of armor just sort of riveted onto the ship's decaying frame.

So that's what I've got this week.  If nothing else, you've at least gotten a glimpse into the sort of creative dynamic between myself and Kevin.  He is, in many ways, the "Idea Man" behind a lot of Novus Imperium.  Many of my starship designs, especially, use cleaned-up and refined versions of visual aesthetics he's established with his sketches.

As far as character development goes, I'm still stuck on the character of Reina Cloude.  I think I may just keep rolling with doing artwork of her until I'm thoroughly burned out on her design and can finally force myself to work on someone else (such as Reina's close friend/sometimes flirty romantic interest Doc Haplace,  who has received virtually no development art whatsoever).

Anyhow, there'll be more stuff up next week.

Cheers, all.

May 23, 2012

Like Section 9, But Not

Another fairly short post, as I'll be in California for the next few days, away from my lovely computer.

I've recently been doing some work on a character who plays a fairly important role in parts of the Novus Imperium storyline I've been developing, but who until now has received fairly little attention in terms of artwork: Captain Jerid Bannon.  He is a member of "Green Team," an elite group of Karic special forces operatives with police cross-training, tasked with protecting Karic from internal threats (I had initially come up with this description a couple months back.  Immediately after typing it out, I realized that if you replace "Karic" with "Japan" in that sentence I basically just described Ghost in the Shell's "Section 9."  Appropriate, since they fill similar roles).

My latest design for the good captain:

I've tried to improve on his original helmet/face designs (originals can be seen here: Link).  The new helmet especially looks more aggressive.

That's about all I've got at the moment., though readers of this blog do get a sneak-preview of this year's updated reference of my character Reina Cloude, showcasing a new digital inking style:

It's still in the middle stages, obviously.  The full reference will of course be a full-body front and back multiview, with a background.

Previous references:

Stay tuned next Wednesday, as I'll be doing a special extra-long entry on starship design.

Until then, cheerio!

May 2, 2012

Further Explorations in Body Armor

Short post this week.

I've been expanding on some of the sketches I posted last week, both figuratively and literally, as I used blown-up versions of my sketches as the basis for this.

Just a nice, high-detail redraw of the back of Reina's armor.  I'm pretty much sold on how the upper back looks.  The hips could still use refining.  I've been doodling more ideas for the front of the armor, but the stomach section is still giving me a lot of trouble.

I'll likely have a bit more to show for next week's post.

Until then, good day, all.

Apr 23, 2012

Getting to Know My Spacy People

Do you know what happens when I get side-tracked?  I forget to update my blog for a month-and-a-half, that's what.  Yes, a number of factors contributed to this unplanned hiatus, chief among them being model kits, Star Wars: The Clone Wars-themed artwork, and Skyrim.

But if you're anything like me, you don't read this blog for my words, you read it for the pretty pictures, so let's get to it.

First up, a study sheet of my character Reina Cloude, set in the original universe of Novus Imperium.  You may already be somewhat familiar with her, as she's been the subject of a previous post, and she occupies the background of my blog, come to think of it.  In fact, the little icon that appears on the tab you've opened this blog in is a little painting of her eye.  She's been the focus of a whole lot of development over the last couple years.

1-  This was just me getting warmed up.  I think I'm finally starting to get a grasp on how the various shapes of her torso fit together.

2-  Similar to the above, I've drawn Reina's face more times than I care to count, but that's an essential part of the development process.  I have to give her a defined look, and I have to get acquainted with every little detail to ensure that she has a consistent appearance.

3-  Finally trying out some ideas for the back of her civilian outfit.  I wanted to give it a slightly more sci-fi feel than the previous studies and sketches I'd done.

4&5-  I've been trying to figure out her armor's design for a while now.  It's a huge challenge, trying to make the armor look substantial enough to protect her, but still keep it light-weight and flexible enough for a stealth character like Reina.  I'm liking where it's going with the back and chest, but I can't seem to work out exactly how I want the stomach section to look.  It'll get there eventually.

Next up is a character who's been in the works for as long as Reina, but who I've only in the last two years rally made a lot of progress with: Timberwolfe, an ex-military freelancer who acts as a sort of adoptive father to Reina.  He's a Saldean, and alien species created by my close friend Kevin.  Externally, Saldeans are extremely similar to Humans.  Most of the differences are internal, the details of which I'll get into at some later date.  Suffice to say, their home planet of Saldea is a high-gravity world, and Saldeans are heavily muscled to counteract this.  On a Karic-like (Earth-like, basically) world, a Saldean is likely to be able to perform "impossible" feats of strength.

1&2-  A couple of head studies.  Similar to Reina above, this was primarily just to help myself get acquainted with the various details of his face.

3-  This may be the first image I've ever drawn of Timberwolfe without him wearing a bandanna, headband, or skull-cap.  I decided to extend that scar running up from his jawline through his eyebrow, up his forehead and over into his hair.  The scars on his head and shoulder are a couple of nasty souvaniers from the mission that ended his black-ops career and resulted in his going freelance.

Alternately:  "Timberwolfe, a proud member of the Solid Snake Hair Club for Men."

4&5-  Unlike Reina, Timberwolfe's armor has fallen into place without too much trouble.  There's still plenty of room for improvement, but I'm really happy with where it's going.  I've got sort of a blend of Metal Gear Solid 4 and Mass Effect influences going on with my current armor designs.  Also worth noting: his physique.  I'm trying to have his appearance show that he is obviously very strong, but also trim enough that he can really move when he needs to; vaulting over obstacles and leaping wide gaps when he needs to.

Also, he does have a real name, I just haven't figured out what it is yet.  "Timberwolfe" is simply his old black-ops call sign.

Also Also, here's some shameless self-promotion:  I'm currently taking commissions, for information, you can check Here.

So there it is.  My apologies for neglecting my readers (all three of them).  But I'm getting back into the groove, so expect weekly updates, at least.

Cheers, all.

Mar 3, 2012

Tanks: Just Add Legs

I've been doing a bit of mecha sketching the last few days.  Specifically, I've been working on establishing a look for Karic's military mecha (check the "Space Punks" blog entry from a while back to get and idea of what Karic is).

First up is a design based on something I'd experimented with in Lego form a few years back:  The Riot Mech.

"In the past, Karic experimented with all manner of vehicles for riot suppression; they had used cars, trucks, and even hovering platforms, but nothing has proven quite so effective as the riot mech.  Something about it lumbering  along on four legs simply has a profound psychological effect on mobs.  Additionally, its wide, four legged frame makes it virtually impossible to overturn."

On the military side of things, I've also done a pretty detailed sketch of a Karic heavy mech.  I'd estimate it stands roughly nine meters in height.  I've left the second chaingun pod off so you can see the cab section.

The heavy mech is essentially one step heavier than Karic's main battle tanks.  The standard armament is a pair of chaingun pods attached to the mech's shoulder-mounts.  It also has a set of descent thrusters built into the legs.  Officially, these thrusters are meant to slow the mech's descent during air-drops.  Some pilots, however, have perfected the art of firing the thrusters in unison with a "jump" motion in the legs.  Because of this, skillful pilots are able to use the descent thrusters instead as jump-jets.  The heavy mech has a crew of two: a driver who sits in the "hips" section, and a gunner who occupies the head.

I'm slowly working towards a consistent aesthetic for Karic's military/paramilitary tech.  It's getting there.

Bonus!  Here's a little freighter I doodled a while back:

I may do more with that design at some point in the future.

Feb 16, 2012

Building a Better Cyborg

For a little more than four years now, I've had in development an original character named Reina Cloude.  For those who are unaware, she's a character set in Novus Imperium, an original sci-fi universe initially created by several friends and I, and now largely maintained and expanded by myself and my close friend Kevin.

Sometime shortly after I began developing Reina, I was with some friends over at Kevin's place and we decided to watch Serenity.  During some of the expository segments on River's past, Kevin suggested that maybe Reina should also be the result of some government project.  From that point onward, Reina has slowly been accumulating more and more cybernetic bits.

It started with nothing more than a Ghost in the Shell-ish data port on the back of her neck, and her bizarre eyes being her only outwardly visible augmentations.

A couple years ago, I decided that she would also have prosthetic joints in her elbows and knees.  Originally, they were blocky metal joints with a bundle of nerves and blood vessels running through their cores.  The only sketch that exists of this early version is a quick reference done while brainstorming ideas for civilian clothing.

Early last year, then, I went and reworked the design of the prosthetics with some inspiration from Liquid Ocelot's arm as it appears in Metal Gear Solid 4.  This was certainly more elegant than the previous design, and even managed to look fairly plausible (despite that I got the musculature all wrong.  Oh well).  The design featured synthetic muscles grafted into her natural musculature creating that subtle gradient.

Later last year, while at another friend's house, I got to see Deus Ex: Human Revolution in action for the first time.  Naturally, I was blown away by the level of detail in the various prosthetics (and really just technology in general) in the game, and decided it was time for Reina to get some more artificial bits.

And then, come Christmastime, I finally got my hands on Deus Ex: HR (the "Augmented Edition" in fact.  It came with a book of concept art! Yay!).  So sometime around a couple weeks ago, the realization finally struck me that having only the joints of the elbows and knees be artificial, while interesting, was hugely, ridiculously impractical.  So I said, sure, screw it, and decided to have her limbs be fully prosthetic from the joints down.

That design is pretty close to what I'm after.  It's worth noting that I'd had the idea for blades stored in the arms prior to getting Human Revolution, but I'd filed the idea away, as Reina's arms were still mostly natural at the time.  I tried to limit the amount of direct Deus Ex inspiration to the segment above and behind the elbow.  I'm still trying to figure a more elegant way to have the prosthetics attach to her natural musculature, as I'm not totally sold on how that bit looks right now.

So hopefully this was at least an interesting read, if not too terribly informative.  I've also been trying to refine Reina's general-purpose outfit with some digital painting today.  The most notable additions are black knee-segments on her cargo pants, and a white stripe down either side of her tank top.

Cheers, all.

Feb 1, 2012

"The Corrupted"

A few months back, my good friend Kevin and I decided that our original sci-fi universe "Novus Imperium" needed a new hostile alien species.  I don't wish to disclose all of their backstory as of yet, but suffice to say that they're an alien species which has been "corrupted" by an ancient, long-forgotten piece of technology, hence their name.

While brainstorming, Kevin and I agreed that they ought to be mammalian, with a vaguely humanoid structure, but "unsettling" in some way.  This is the sketch that resulted from that description:

While their design isn't completely finalized, this at least gave me something to base my concept designs around.  The next step, naturally, was to try to get a feel for their armor.  The Corrupted's technology is in many ways a less sophisticated adaption of the technology used by the ancient Seraphim, who appear to have colonized many of the Terravon Galaxy's worlds hundreds of thousands of years ago.  In short: "low-rent Seraphim tech."  While their technology pales in comparison to the original Seraphim technology on which it is based, it is still far in advance of the rest of the galaxy.

With that in mind, I produced this rough concept of a Corrupted infantry unit:

Once again, not perfectly true to the intent, but as a rough concept that's not the aim.  It's about hammering out the kinks in the design and figuring out what works and what doesn't.

Over the last few days, then, I've produced a few sketches based on that helmet you see up there.  Variations on that theme, if you will.

1-  A more refined version of the standard infantry helmet seen on the rough armor concept.  Sketched in my pocket-sketchbook while sitting in a parking lot.  Of the several versions of the helmet I'd drawn up to this point, this was the first to feature the power-tube things hanging down from it.

2-  This is probably my least favorite of the bunch.  While I like the overall shape of it, the individual pieces of it don't really fit together.  It doesn't look like it would really work in three dimensions.

3-  Most definitely my favorite of these designs, this is some kind of commander's variant helmet, outfitted with an advanced target acquisition suite.  I'm still playing around with the color scheme, but for now, I'm going with a sort of pale iridescent material for the majority of their armor plating, with the face bowl section being matte-white.

The Corrupted are certainly the least-developed species in Novus Imperium, as they're also the newest.  You can expect more concepts for these guys at some point down the road.


Jan 24, 2012

Space Punks!

On the city-planet Karic, below it's gleaming skyscrapers and suspended parks and gardens, lies the Undercity.  This is where Karic's downtrodden masses reside, forming the backbone of the most powerful empire in the galaxy.

Over the last couple days, I've done a number of quick ink sketches, trying to get a feel for the denizens of the Undercity.

1-  This was the first of the batch, and certainly the weakest, stylistically.  Just getting myself warmed up.

2-  This man could be a factory foreman, or maybe an ex-military gun-for-hire.  Either way, everything about this man's posture and appearance says: "Son, I am disappoint."

3-  This girl looks like she can handle herself, and almost certainly has no reservations about punching out anyone who makes a move on her.  In short, those boots were made for curb-stomping.

4-  As soon as I had this guy's face sketched out, I knew I wanted him to have a cool, slick demeanor.  He's  far and away my favorite of the bunch.

5&6-  Just a couple of close-up studies of 3 and 4 above.

7-  Abstract geometric and industrial tattoo designs are in vogue among the Undercity dwellers.

So yeah, this is a pretty good example of the format you can expect from this blog.  Once I get all settled in, I'll probably slow my pace to two or three posts per week.

Good day, all.

Jan 23, 2012

Well, This is New.

Hello all, whether you be friends, acquaintances or just people who ran across this blog by accident.

I'm Geoff.  I'm an artist.  Not the "artsy" kind of artist, mind you.  I'm a draftsman, and I specialize in designing characters, technology and set pieces, primarily of the sci-fi persuasion, but I do enjoy a spot of fantasy every so often.

I'm currently taking a semester off from my college education to hone my drawing ability, as well as improving my digital art skills, and generally just trying to get my act together.

I post most of my finished works to my DeviantArt account, but I produce a far greater number of works than is reflected there.  I sketch on a constant basis, and produce heaps of line art that never makes it to the coloring stage; sometimes the lines never even get finished.  Despite that, there are a lot of these unfinished works that I feel are still worth a peek, but just not quite up to par with my "finished" works.

So I suppose this blog will be a new experience for me.  I look forward to getting stuff posted here, and in this setting, I may be inclined to give more background information on the works than I might otherwise.

And so, I conclude this first post with a digitally-colored sketch of a terrifying, moderately cute, and most certainly unstable cyborg, Reina Cloude.