Bat Jaw Inflator

I sat down to do a drawing without any goal in mind and a batman started to materialise, with a mighty impressive jaw which then evolved into this little cartoon. Enjoy...


Deviant Art Profile

I realised that I have been a member of deviantart.com for aaaages yet I hadnt ever loaded any of my images into my profile - so I have just added a bunch of images in there and it least now looks like I do things. Since it is perhaps the premiere artist community on the web it makes sense for me to be a part of it - I am at least trying to do fun creative things and am happy to share.

So check out my profile gallery as it actually makes for a nice way to view the variety of things I have done over recent times and I will slowly add more bits in there as I go...


Tahm Kench Pool Party Concept

I had a desire to draw up a skin concept for League of Legends today. Not having any particular place to start I thought about the skin sets and decided on something for the Pool Party suite - esp as it is insanely hot here at the moment. Next step was to pick a champion and since Tahm Kench is one of my favourites I jotted down a few ideas for him. Relatively quickly the idea of him having ice creams and licking them with his huge tongue felt good, then I had the idea of him being sunburnt a real 'lobster' and that felt like a nice theme that matched him pretty well. Getting sunburnt and licking ice cream should fit many people's memories of being at the pool (or beach) and I liked how this phase of design thinking had gone, just had to realise it in an image.

So into SketchBookPro I went on my SurfaceBook with the idea that this first drawing should just be a concept image, one that conveyed the idea instantly but it needn't be a fully realised skin or anything just yet. I spent a bit of time on rough pencils trying to get the overall shape feeling Kenchy and the pieces in place like the ice cream cones as well as a place in the silhouette for his signature tongue. Then came some quick inks, which I always seem to have to tidy up, so it takes me much longer than it really should. Lastly all the colour, trying to keep it very bright and summerish - esp for his sunburnt lobster skin. Oh and a quick design for his acquired taste in-game icon too...

(I did have to go back and fix up his hands after I had accidentally given him one too many fingers on each hand - oops)

The next level of design would probably incorporate a few more elements in the details, perhaps a ring on his tentacle moustache and a pattern on his board-shorts. Anyhow I am happy with this version anyhow, so here he is...

Pool Party Tahm Kench Skin Concept for League of Legends
"Lobster sunburn, ice cream and not a care in the world"

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EDIT
slightly updated image with a few additions like nicer shorts and the ring


LOL OCE Pixel Art Contest

I have been meaning to try my hand at a League of Legends art event/contest and hey-presto the OCE region has a pixelart contest on right now. I admit I hadnt really done any pixel art so I had fun and got to learn some things along the way.

The details of the contest give everyone the basic rules as well as some tips and the gallery of entries is growing but not big at this stage. I am happy with my entry - let's see how we go. I quite like the more comic-like sketch version as that is more 'me' but that didnt seem to be in the full spirit of the pixelart style...

I opted to use GraphicsGale rather than the web-based pixelart editors or the overkill of Photoshop and that worked out quite well giving me enough control as well as being able to bring in a version of my sketch to work on.

So yes, I started with this sketch done in Sketchbook for a LOL Summoner Icon showing an Epic Poro and a poor Pantheon. I wasnt sure how much detail would end up in a 128x128 res square - but you can see in the final pic that you can get lots in there as long as the primary shapes are strong.

So then after a tiny bit of manipulation to get it down to a 128x128 PNG I brought it into GraphicsGale and proceeded to recreate the pic. In the small amount of playing I did before this I found that Photoshop could quite easily take any image and crunch it down to this small resolution and it would look pretty good. I bet there will be entries in the competition that will be basically that.
Anyhow, my first step was to rebuild the basic shapes using just a few colours and then flesh out the shading until the final result.

Here are the actual 128x128 and a more useful version at 4x that res so you can see things a bit better/bigger.


Netflix Stranger Things

I freely admit to be quite late to the Netflix bandwagon, but now that I am there I am really happy with all the viewing that is to be had, even if the Australian selection is limited. Some of the shows I have been enjoying include Blacklist, Continuum, Daredevil, Orphan Black and a heap of documentaries. But my favourite so far by quite a margin is Stranger Things

The show is compact (just 8 episodes) and sticks to what it is doing without losing focus. The 80s feel is superb and really takes me back while also just giving the show a feel that plays into what it is building for us. The characters are good and the plotlines are worth following - a great piece of tv!

There are 80s cinematic references throughout, but one of the things I liked most was seeing the kids playing Dungeons and Dragons and even using D&D for exposition - super!

Lets finish this little slice of fandom with a look at the wonderful poster by Kyle Lambert who brought this style to life with these characters. He walks us through some of the thinking and process on his Behance page - using ProCreate on his iPad Pro first then finalising everything in Photoshop at higher res.


Viking Axe, Spear and More

I must have done this little concept pic for a Vikings children's story after I posted the others, so here is the little guy with Axe and Spear in hand ready to deal with whatever comes even if his arms are super stubby.

Plus here is a concept sketch from a logo idea I was toying with - didnt really work out but playing with the style was fun. Logos can come in all manner of forms, but coming up with something striking but not just a play on the words or a simple geometric form is fun to work on. Having clean lines, something with a nice silhouette but still detailed enough to be a t-shirt or something all play into the thinking for me. I certainly need more practice...


Batman Cartoon and a Movie

I am not sure why I drew this, it just sort of fell into existence while I was doodling on my machine. So I neatened it up a little and made it into a little cartoon of sorts. So here is a squat unimpressed little Batman!

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I guess I could write something at the end of this midget post about the Batman vs Superman movie I finally got to see recently (the extended blu-ray version). There are lots of pieces of the whole that are quite fun and could be really cool. I didn't think the whole hung together at all well though - it is like 20 trailers all cut together from different movies to try and make it into one. There are characters, ideas, shots, sequences and more that each could have been really awesome if they were fleshed out - alas the movie just flits onto the next thing and thus leaves everything unresolved and left wanting...

The gallery shows how stunning the visuals are - good inspiration for many an RPG could come from any one of these pics: http://batmanvsuperman.dccomics.com/gallery.php
And it does make for an epic trailer:


KotPO Logo

Nephews were after a logo for their game group/clan/guild/etc - the Knights of the Pebble Oath! So this is what landed on the page for them (page, screen - you know what I mean). Extra points to those who know the anime reference for the name...

I like how the shading came out on the shoulder pad (I am sure there is a more armour-ish word for that) and in general I like how he looks pretty serious even though he has a little pebble of power. Again, all done in in SketchbookPro on the SurfaceBook.


Yeld Colouring Contest

The final days of the kickstarter for The Magical Land of Yeld tabletop RPG added something fun and community-centric with a colouring competition. A suite of the simply gorgeous artwork inks from Jake Richmond are provided for anyone who might like to try their hand.
This link to the 22 Aug update has all the images people can use to colour their troubles away:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/603898497/the-magical-land-of-yeld/posts/1661513

I took the first image of the sword wielding hero with the belt on her head which I love. But the chainsaw unicorn was too cool to leave out, so I added it in as the shadow - showing the menace that this heroine now needs to deal with...

I used Skechbook Pro on my SurfaceBook for the whole thing, essentially just using the ink tool and a few shades of each colour to keep it simple. It still took a little while to have the shading layers and the details like the paw-print camo pattern etc. Here is the pic, plus the source image below as well.


Kickstarter RPGs

Well this poor blog has been starved of updates yet again through no fault of its own. I have been doing interesting things but have clearly failed to pop in here and post. I was about to write all of that in the third person to absolve myself of some of the guilt, but as I look around the blame does seem to fall to me...

I will post some of the images and such to try and catch up somewhat, but maybe for this post I can just mention a few things which will hopefully get more blogspace to come.

I just want to mention some RPGs, chiefly because they are on kickstarter and some of them are still alive and thus you could dive in and back them - I am sure they are worth it!

Apocalypse World 2E
D Vincent Baker is bringing us a super second edition of the mighty Apocalypse World game and thus engine. There is much to love and the fantasy world version looks wonderful as well.
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/226674021/apocalypse-world-2nd-edition

Unbound
Grant Howitt brings us Unbound with lots of cool world building and mechanics that look like heaps of fun the way they will all come together.
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/gshowitt/unbound-rpg

Magical Land of Yeld
How gorgeous does this game look, not just the artwork, but the logic of the game and its younger heroes.
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/603898497/the-magical-land-of-yeld

Mutant Genlab Alpha
I have this delivered already actually and it looks great, I have only just started to read the book but playing a mutant animal in a post apocalyptic world as part of a huge experiment sounds really fun.
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1192053011/mutant-genlab-alpha

Villains & Vigilantes 3E 
The Mighty Protectors is a long-time-coming third edition of the now venerable Villains and Vigilantes superhero RPG. I remember loving all the points-building from the original and it may be interesting to see what they bring to the table in a third incarnation.
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jeffdee/villains-and-vigilantestm-30-the-mighty-protectors

There of course others that are well worth people's attention - but I cant back everything!!


LoL VI

Latest League of Legends sketch from me is of mighty VI sporting those wonderfully punchy steampunk gauntlets of hers. This was wholly done in Sketchbook Pro again on the SurfaceBook and essentially with just the pencil for the initial sketch then the inking pen for the linework and colours.

I even included a Trevor to keep her company - or is he nervous of a Smite coming his way? It has been quite refreshing just going full-steam ahead on sketches like this. I often find myself double-guessing myself and it can be nice to just dive forward and complete something and learn from that for the next drawing rather than iterating a heap of times on the one.

I wonder which Champion will appear next??


Sunday Supanova

Due to other commitments I only enjoyed a single day of the Sydney Supanova this year. As always I had a great time with all the cosplay, seminars, merch shopping and more.

The highlights for me this year were:

The Artist Sketchoff
This is perhaps my favourite thing at Supanova every year actually. Having 4 comic masters up there creating something wondrous in 35 minutes is inspiring in every way. This year the audience voting steered the subject to be drawn to a sexy female Swampthing. Art Adams, Joyce Chin, Cully Hamner and Frank Cho then set about creating their pieces while simultaneously trying to answer questions. We get to see their work unfold in real-time on the big screen - loved it!

Writers Impossible Quests Panel
The discussion topic here was questing and more specifically its use in written fiction. Tamora Pierce, Justin Wooley, Alison Goodman and Stephanie 'Hexsteph' Bendixson were inciteful and fun as they explored the tropes, traditions and good use of quests that inspired them, annoyed them and they used in their own work.
I get alot from these panels in terms of narrative and thinking through how these ideas apply to gaming, esp Tabletop Roleplaying. One great takeaway for me was Juston's anecdote regarding the writers of South Park and how stories should be about 'but therefore' rather than 'and then' - which is hugely telling in a successful quest story. They looked at the male/female logic of quests, profecy, stereotypes and good practice for avoiding various pitfalls. Hexsteph was lots of fun as she brought gaming concepts into things as well which was great.

LOL Figures
Lastly, my merchandise 'accident' was a pair of League of Legends figures to go on the shelf - meet Vi and Nauty:


Sunless Scene - Joe's new arm

Our current TRPG (tabletop role playing game) is set in the weird world beneath the surface dominated by the Sunless Sea. Our bad of adventurers recently had an encounter in which Joe caught a cannonball to save an innocent's life with what was left of his mechanical suit. This created a shattered mess of metal, flesh and bone which our ship's renowned surgeon and our best engineer set about repairing. Alas their masterpiece is something of a mystery to all as Joe's powersource was leaking, which caused them to slip into dreamlike memories and forget things in the present.

Anyhow, here is the pic featuring all the PCs which I did in Sketchbook Pro on my SurfaceBook. Below you can see the sketch and ink pass as well for reference. I am really liking bringing these interesting characters to life including little hints of other gaming moments like the 1st Mates Memorbees and the Captain's scorched kisses. There are lots more posts here on the blog with pics and notes from the game if anyone is interested...


The 1st Mate and the Fallen Star

And here is a quick rendition of our final PC, the 1st Mate of our ship, the Fallen Star. For anyone who hasnt spotted all the other posts relating to our current TRPG, The PCs are key members of the motley crew of our ironclad merchant vessel, zipping around the zee leaving trouble in our wake.

You can see my version of our 1st Mate, then a combined pic bringing him together with Joe, Mouse, Doc and the Captain...


Captain and the Doc

I have been working my way slowly through the roster of our current TRPG (Tabletop Role Playing Game) where we are the key staff on a steampunk ship adventuring around the 'neath looking for the motherload source of sunlight so we can make it 'big'.

These two pics show our Captain (with his girl in every port) and the Doc (with his daughter and explorations of unnatural vitality). I really like our 'party', it is full of little hooks and threads that I like seeing come up in the game. The system we are running is a mod of the Atomic Robo version of FATE Core while the pics were done on my Surface Book using Sketchbook Pro.


Mouse and Joe

A few more sketches from our current RPG running a Sunless Sea inspired game running a version of FATE. I have been doing all manner of sketches using the Surface Book and Sketchbook pro and here are a couple more featuring characters from the game.

First here is Joe and one possible vision for his arm which is now a fusion of flesh, bone, metal, cannonball and mutated light. Then we have mouse, our resident engineer who works with the Rats and has a (currently small) addiction to sunlight here in the Neath.


The Deranged Director

Our current RPG game is using FATE (well the Atomic Robo version of FATE) to play in a world inspired by Sunless Sea. You will find other posts here looking at my character Joe Smithereens, the Ironclad Texan. The last session saw us eventually foil the machinations of the Deranged Director, who was manipulating events in order to have the inhabitants of the island live out Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Joe actually caught a cannonball with what is left of his mighty suit at the end which shattered metal, bone and flesh! Saving innocent's lives can be very costly and Joe is going to feel this for a while and will be changed by the events for sure.

For some cool documentation from the mighty GM on the game, logic, mechanics and such please check out his Sunless Fate posts (3 as of writing)!

Anyhow, I really wanted to post up this quick sketch and colour done of our Shakespeare inspired villain. To think we nearly went along with his scheming...


Sketchbook Pro

I am lucky enough to be experimenting with a beefy Microsoft Surface Book and while I was using Photoshop for drawing and sketching before, I thought I might give Autodesk's Sketchbook Pro a go instead. First, there are quirks with this fancy piece of hardware that might have a flow-on effect into my SBP experience, but now that MS have had a few months, many of the larger issues have been resolved for me. Hmmm, not sure that is completely true, but I am using this as my primary machine for everything and enjoying the ride despite the niggles.

So, Sketchbook Pro is proving to be a fun little piece of software with enough tools to do some nice little pieces with good speed and it runs well with or without the GPU base attached. It doesnt even seem to need the gruntier GPU as the intel one is more than enough acceleration for the rotating etc etc. Sometimes I notice the drawing not keeping up with me, but that might have just meant I needed a restart as usually it runs beautifully.

These League of Legends drawings were done on the couch using the 'pencil' for the base sketch, then just the Inking pen for both the linework and the colouring (on another layer). I could have gone more complex and detailed with things, but I kind of liked the simplicity of this approach. I am really happy with how Tahm Kench and TF turned out as both were quick and have a bit of character to them. Maybe I will have to try some other styles out to push Sketchbook Pro further, but for an initial foray I am liking the hardware and software...


Viking Concepts

Here are some fun concept sketches/drawings for a Viking story. I hope to be doing some illustrations like these for a children's story being written by some special people to be revealed soon enough. You can see some of the elements to feature in the story here and there, but these were just as much about getting the style down.
These were all done completely within Sketchbook Pro on the Surface Book. Each one took me a few hours actually - I will probably get faster as I go along. Sketchbook Pro is quite good, it has a few quirks I am getting to terms with, but has a decent pen and touch interface I am quite liking.


Joe Smithereens and the Suit

I really like the character, party and world creation parts of games using systems like FATE. With our Fallen London inspired game starting we are in the throws of forging characters that will crew our ironclad-like boat through the Zea. Our 'party' are the officers of the ship which will hopefully include some interesting NPCs as well on our hunt for the Sunlight Well.

Here are some pics of the prototype suit that Joe wears and has a 'close' relationship with. Plus some other concept sketches to go with those in earlier posts. Then there is the current FATE build for him which will come together hopefully before the first adventure session.

Joe Smithereens

(work in progress)

ASPECTS

Munitionist in the Suit (concept)
Smithereens Co needs saving (Gunnery Officer)
FightTime = ShowTime (Dangerous)
Vicky is Precious to Me (The Suit)
I have the Red Temptress’ Sunlight (Omega)

THE STORY SO FAR

Smithereens Engineering is in serious trouble.
Joe's father was working on plans for a combat suit.
An industrial Accident claimed his life along with employees and other relatives.
Joe has a real talent for working with explosives and power sources.
He designs a sunlight power core for the suit.
The company is failing and in great debt to bad and powerful people.
The suit could save everything if only they had the sunlight.
Joe's kid brother is approached by the Red Temptress (devil).
She offers him the sunlight for his soul.
Joe is mighty upset but the devil is gone.
He chooses to use the sunlight to complete the suit first - save the family then Corki.
A few failed experiments later and most of the sunlight is gone.
Can’t demonstrate all the capabilities of the suit, need lots more sunlight for that.
Looking for a source of sunlight he is approached to work on the The Fallen Star.
Intent is to find enough sunlight to showcase the suit to save the family business.
Intent is then to buy back Corki's soul or get it back by force using this power.
What if using the suit takes him further from his goal of getting Corki's soul back?
What if this mission won’t accomplish this aim either?
How far will he go to get Corki's soul?

Gentleman's 3 Piece Armada Suit - Prototype (Vicky)

Function: Mechanised Combat Suit
Flaw: Experimental Prototype
__Hmm I thought I fixed that
__I havent tested this yet, but let's give it a go
__Well I had to make do with what I could find
__Oooh that is getting a big hot
__I am sure it will stop doing that in a sec
__No, it isnt designed to do that, but it doesn’t seem dangerous
Features:
_Honourable Yet Imposing Visage
_Hydraulic Armour
__Ironclad Plate
__Blazing Shield ***
_Ballistics
__Duelling Shooter
__Barrage Cannon ***
_Fisticuffs
__Queensbury Hammer
__Incendiary Piledriver ***
_Bits & Bobs
__Search Light
__Smoke Venter
__Air Filter
__Broadcast Speaker
__Floatation Bladder
_Q Division (experimental buttons - single use, assuming they are connected)
__Detonate In 3 2 1 … ***
__I'm A Rocket ***
__Eject ***
__Seal Me In ***
__Flamer ***
__Unleash the Sun ***
*** Wonky or Untested Features
__Uses up stored Sunlight
__Will result in some definite complication

Now to work out the mechanical effects, Weapon 2, Armour 2 etc