Thursday, March 23, 2006

Legends of Steel

This will be of interest to very few of you, but hey, it's what's going on in the "nerd" part of my life so it's fair game.

A friend of mine whom I only know online, Jeff Mejia, is working on a new Role-Playing Game (RPG) he's calling "Legends of Steel". At some point I'll write a post explaing what an RPG is and why I like them, but for now just know that it's basically "Dungeons & Dragons". Hey, I said this was a nerd thing!

If you're interested in that sort of thing, click the link below. Otherwise, thanks for stopping by and you should probably just mosey on down the information superhighway. Check back later, though, for an exciting tale I like to call "Annie vs. The Horse Trailer" that'll probably be more up your alley.

Since my thing is drawing, I've been working on illustrations for some of the "sample characters" Jeff is going to be including in the game. Here they are, along with the art direction I was given by Jeff.

Note that you can click on the small thumbnail image for a larger version.

Character Name: Anteus
Profession: Gladiator
Age: 30
Sex: male
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 220

Anteus is a large framed, muscular, bald headed man. Like that big Russian wrestler in the Olympics a few years ago.

He has made a name for himself in the fighting pits and has graduated to the arenas of the land. Unlike most gladiators Anteus is a Freeman. His favorite forms of combat are boxing and wrestling where his prodigious strength can be best displayed. Despite his size he is lightning quick.

Character Name: Talon Ironhawk
Profession: Warrior (dispossesed prince)
Age: 19
Sex: male
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 168

Talon is a handsome young man, with a slim build, wavy brown hair, and steel grey eyes. Caucasian but tans well. He dresses in the fashion of a young Blade, and sports a saber as his weapon of preference.

Character Name: Talena
Profession: Pirate/Brigand
Age: 22
Sex: Female

Jeff didn't give me any art direction in words for this character, but he did use the HeroMachine to create an image of what he wanted her to look like. Here is that image:

One of the things I found interesting about the Talena sketch is to compare how much nicer a truly custom illustration is than a HeroMachine-generated one. The constraints on a paper-doll-like application like HeroMachine are significant -- the body has to be in kind of an unnatural pose, you can't vary head or hand placement, etc. etc. Plus I did those drawings a number of years ago, and I'm a lot more skillful now.

Finally, I am in the middle of working on another Legends of Steel character, Brother Stern, but we're still discussing the right mix of features. I need to uncurl his beard and adjust the hairstyle, and add his holy symbol to his breastplate.

Character Name: Brother Stern
Profession: Priest of Heldar
Age: 50
Sex: Male
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 290

Black guy, Black and grey hair, full beard, built like a bear, broken nose, he wields a huge (possibly magical) axe that he calls "Red Pilgrim" he wears chain mail armor over a studded leather vest.

So that's three and a half drawings down, and three and a half left to go. It's been fun doing these, I feel like I am finally starting to settle into a style of drawing that's comfortable and gives results I like. My "inking" is getting a lot stronger, and I'm paying a lot more attention to what I used to think of as "boring details" like belt buckles, stitching on clothing, etc. The color work has gone a lot better than usual, too.

Quitting World of Warcraft has definitely spurred me to get back into a more active creative role and I am very thankful for that. I also appreciate Jeff Mejia letting me horn in on his baby. Keep up the good work, Jeff!

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