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?
- Since this is an "odd" numbered entry, this counts as a variant piece as assets were reused (similar to Slow Your Beast Roll CE and Bearhug (Mech Zangeif).
- First of the New Challenger entries to be in a horizontal layout
- Although I directly wanted to reuse many of the assets (to play on the reuse of assets in Street Fighter II), I wanted there to be subtle differences. Thus, the blue drop shadow is slightly different in the two pieces, and Ken has shading in his hair whereas Ryu does not.
- I was having a huge issue getting the Hadoken pose down correctly, so I actually worked directly over the sprites used in Street Fighter II.
Next entree (whenever it drops), will be a singular one (next variant will likely be Vega). Out of the remaining Super Street Fighter II cast, who would you like to see next?
Man, oh man. Hello there. Been awhile, hasn't it? Seems so. Miss me? I sure missed you. Isn't it awesome when life gets so busy you can barely find "me time", which for yours truly translates directly into "art time"? Yeah, that's so awesome.
Anyway, enough bitchy chit chat! We're here for doodles! (remember to click the RED for big)
First up is Gilgamesh, as requested by Krow. Having only played through Final Fantasy VII completely, and being rather unfamiliar with the other installments in the series, I wasn't that familiar with this character. So, that explains why it's not an exact 1:1 of the true design. I sort of went a little wild and crazy, playing up the cloak and angles.
This one is called Are We Red?. I wanted to do something really odd and layered. So, I did. Please feel free to print multiple copies of this out and paste it all over the bathroom for your roommate to come home to.
Ugh. Okay, first of all, yes, Dexter is an awesome show. Absolutely love it. So, when I decided to try my hand at developing a promotional poster, it was a surefire go. Only I kind of hate how this came out. There's something good there... just not what I wanted. This is probably going to be v 1.0, and normally I wouldn't even post something that I don't really like, but I spent too goddamn much time on this just to have it sit on my hard drive. C'est La Vie, yes?
Ever since it began development, comic nerds have been curious about TIm Burton's Superman Lives project. Burton, having come off of making two successful Batman films, was instructed to reintroduce Superman to the modern populous in grand fashion. The entire production was shrouded in a cloak of secrecy, and it wasn't until years later when Kevin Smith, who had been contracted to write the film, performed "And Evening With Kevin Smith" that we got a small glimpse into the insanity that brought the film down before it ever really begin. Said insanity involved polar bears and a giant spider, as a means of reference. And that was it, as far as information went.
I present, Nicolas Cage in the Superman costume. Also known as the best/worst thing ever.
Fake? Maybe. But dear lord, I truly hope not. The thought of Cage walking around in that suit, looking like a life-sized action figure is a pretty strong candidate for my new favorite.
You're all very welcome. Eyebleach is to the left.
Earlier today I blogged about how I hadn't been able to art it up. Well, I guess Stella Got Her Groove Back. Or something. I made myself do a jam session tonight, and was quite surprised to see a small theme emerge at the end of the doodle tunnel. Beauty in the eye of the beholder and all o' that.
So I've been busy. And by busy, I mean biz-zay. Art stuff hasn't necessarily fallen completely by the wayside, but my priorities have been reduced to a few specific projects. When this particular fun-party blows over, I'm really hoping to focus on a few pieces that will rock the socks, so to speak. That being said, I got the blog itch, and I'm going to scratch it with an old school Scattershot Thoughts approach. Bare with me. Or bear with me, if you will. Rawrr.
1. First and foremost, I know there are some requests that have gone unfulfilled. See above. I'll try to get to them as soon as possible, but I just wanted to give the heads-up that I haven't forgotten about them. Apologies, et al.
2. I just finished Mass Effect last night, after oh, a couple of years of putting it off. It took dedication to really get into it, but once you get past the initial couple of hours (Post-Citadel, to be specific), the game really takes off. I played as a Renegade Adept, and found it to be a pretty great mix for success. Problems were solved either by A) Being a dick, or B) Being a dick and telepathically throwing an enemy across the room. Once I got into the exploration aspect of the game, I became sort of obsessed with hitting every possible side-mission. I didn't get to do all of them, which will probably result in a second playthrough ( I liked it that much). Couple of issues; 1) the MAKO controls SUCK. They seriously need to fix that in the sequel. 2) Too easy to break the flow of the game. I did some of the planets out of order, which resulted in breaking up what should have been an epic three hour storyline run across the span of an entire playthrough. Also, please fix the loading times next game out. Thx.
3. I recently read Ian Flemming's complete James Bond short story collection. This has resulted in a rekindled obsession for all things old-school Bond. I really wish there was another game akin to From Russia With Love that played up the 60's world of espionage. Only, you know, better. I would absolutely love to see a 60's-era Bond FPS that combines elements from the Connery/Moore run. Blofeld, Jaws, Scaramanga, SPECTRE, etc. Like Goldeneye: Rogue Agent, only, again, better.
4. Finally saw District 9. There's not much that can be said besides between that and Moon, this has been a fantastic summer for Sci-Fi. Blomkamp is too good for Halo. Give him a Half-Life movie and let him roll.
5. Speaking of badmouthing der Haloes, I can't stop watching "We are ODST". That does not mean I'll be buying the game. Oh God, no. I got burned on Halo 3 thanks to the "Believe" campaign, and as the saying goes, fool me once... well, fuck Halo.