I was born in the year 20XX and sent back into the past via space capsule to prevent Judgement Day. I think they sent me back too early, because nothing is really happening yet. So, until I get the call, I'm usually just sitting around, readin' comics, playin' videogames, and drawrin' pictures.
- To get the power-up and save the princess. Will settle for steady job with decent healthcare plan.
I love video games. I've played them for as long as I can remember, and despite what your cabal news networks might like you to believe, I think it's made me a better person. A million different titles from a thousand different studios from a hundred different countries mean that a lot of ideas get thrown on the collective table. They have inspired me, and in doing so, have made me a better artist.
Three days ago, I tasked myself with proving it with the following criteria;
1. List your favorite childhood, 16-bit era games.
2. Narrow the list to six (a well rounded number).
3. Interpret the games on the list artistically and uniquely.
4. Do not repeat artistic styles between the six pieces.
The results are as follow. Good, bad, ugly. As always, click on RED to see the full-sized pieces.
Streets of Rage 2 was the first game I bought with my actual money, as I remember. Not growing up in a particularly rich household, it was something I earned. I do love Final Fight and Double Dragon, but I'm not sure there has ever been a better brawler released. When crafting this piece, I tried to go for a 'street' feel, mixed with some flavor of Japanese Manga. The mixture creates a most unfortunate scenario for Galsia, a generic thug that has appeared in all three Streets of Rage games.
I probably don't need to explain why this holds a special place in my heart. It's quite simply the best side-scrolling shooter ever crafted. Years later, it's unique characters and imaginative level designs still set a bar that few games even come close to reaching. When I set out to bring these characters to life, I focused on the concept that the names of all the characters are based on colors - Gunstar Red, Gunstar Blue, Pinky Roader, etc. Using that logic, I set out to create a piece that was primarily defined by the bright color elements.
I don't really play sports games, but I always found the Mutant League games fascinating. I remember pouring over the trading cards that came with an issue of Gamepro, completely enraptured by the art. I also remember being terrified of the magazine add, which showcased a severed arm and head... that just technically made it past the touchdown line with football intact. This is the only piece that is almost straight-up photoshop. I wanted to try to maybe capture some that creepiness that I felt as a kid with that magazine ad.
We had Mario, and we had Sonic, but it wasn't until Earthworm Jim that we had an actual CHARACTER in videogames. Every frame of animation defined Jim's personality in a time before cutscenes and true voice acting were available to do the heavy lifting, some would say that EWJ still pulls ahead in charm despite the lower tech. I'm one of them. I wanted to tap into that cartoon energy, but acknowledge the handrawn work. So, we get angular lines with rough finish overtop that makes the piece look like an animation test. I also went with a fairly flat look on Jim's face - I figured that an earthworm with the sudden gain of arms and legs might be a little confused, pretty much at all times.
The sheer volume of quarters I plunked into this arcade cabinet could have put me through college twice over, at the expense of all the fun. Simple, arcadey action. Nothing like it. When I begin to visualize the concept on this one, I hovered over a few different ideas; the wanted posters, some of the bosses. Ultimately, it was the visual of your cowboy of choice booking ass across the backs of stampeding steer that I kept coming back to. Additionally, when doing the research on the piece, I came across the text present in it - the actual text used in the game. I found it so hilariously forward that it sealed the deal. Special thanks goes to Krow for the suggestion of the game.
I loved Mario, but Sonic blew my face off. I remember standing in a Sam's Club, watching a demo of the game being played on a large television. The colors, the sounds, the speed, it was like sending my brain through a worm tunnel to some far off galaxy. I finally got the game and system for my birthday some time later, and was hooked. It was the first game I ever woke up early to play BEFORE going to school. I knew I wanted to do something Sonic-related, but wasn't sure what. I didn't want to do something stereotypical. I got stuck on Robotnik, because I found it so interesting that he was the only human being present in the original Genesis-era games. Additionally, he was the very definition of evil. In a world of cute Hedgehogs and Foxes, there was a depth there to mine. So, I made Robotnik the ugliest of humanity. Pimples, drool, foodstains, he's grease and oil and darkness incarnate.
Well, you made it to the end of thos (very) wordy artblog. I hope you enjoyed it, I certainly did. These pieces were not just good practice, or good portfolio, they were trips back to my childhood. I think that made the brush move just a little bit smoother... a little bit more magically. Videogames. Is there anything they can't do?