Posts Tagged ‘Kaagan-Vas’

BONUS CONTENT: Sketchbook: Kaagan-Vas

October 28, 2010

Back to sketches!

Going forward, I’ll try to pair up Bonus Content sketches with the actual story page that’s posting that week. It won’t always fit exactly, and there is a bit of catch-up to do, but I think it’ll be better and less jarring than it has been to date.

Here we have some alien concepts for the flashback Kaagan-Vas. These scenes are always fun since I get to just come up with a bunch of new and different creatures, but it’s also a bit taxing creatively. When I’m in the groove, I feel like I can come up with some very cool designs, but when I’m not feeling it, it’s very hard to tap into that part of the brain that lets me come up with something new and different.

With this batch, I was feeling pretty under the gun and behind in schedule, so I didn’t get to put as much time into the concepting as I would have liked. But then I figure, for a short flashback sequence, I could probably get away with a little less development time since I’m not sure how much these particular characters will show up again.

BONUS CONTENT: Sketchbook: Kaagan-Vas

November 4, 2010

A few more alien designs for the flashback Kaagan-Vas. Interestingly, when doing these creatures, I had to keep reminding myself to leave areas on the back of the heads/necks for the actual KV symbols. It’s kinda surprising the number of concepts where I started to put horns or other shapes down the spine, only to realize that would interfere with the KV mark.

I did decide that maybe in some cases, aliens with horns back there might file them down or in other ways slightly modify themselves to accommodate the marks, but I ultimately didn’t end up showing any of that. I just settled on aliens with clear necks.

BONUS CONTENT: Sketchbook: Kaagan-Vas Outfit

November 11, 2010

As I mentioned in the Commentary for The Big Snow Job #4, Page 11, the Kaagan-Vas outfits were a bit of a challenge since I wanted a somewhat unified look while still having the flexibility to fit over various alien body shapes. In my head, I was picturing something reminiscent of the Uruk Hai and Sauron’s orc army from The Lord of the Rings movies, which explains the first sketch, which is VERY Uruk Hai-ish. I’ll often do that sort of thing: if I know what the starting point is, I’ll usually draw that first just to get it out of my system and have it on the page so that I can start to veer AWAY from it and not make it too similar.

With the later versions, I started liking the idea of having the outfits themselves cut like very stylized versions of the KV symbol, where the areas of red would mirror the different shapes of the symbol. I worry that it straddles that Project Runway line of being interesting and showy without being too “costume-y,” but ultimately, I think it’s subtle enough as to not be too hokey. But as I said in the other Commentary, it does add a bit more red to the outfits than I originally envisioned.

However, I do like that it solves the problem of giving them a unified and instantly recognizable look from the front, especially since the telltale KV symbol itself (and their chief means of recognition) is only visible from the back, a design problem I only realized waaayyy too late!

Anyway, like I said, I’m not 100% sold on this design due to the amount of red. I think in a large group, it will start to look too uniform-y. So I might tweak it a bit in the future, but for the most part, I do like the concept enough to keep the gist of it.

BONUS CONTENT: Sketchbook: Kaagan-Vas Weapon

November 18, 2010

Here we have sketches for the Kaagan-Vas weapon of choice: the firestaff, as described in the Commentary for The Big Snow Job #4, Page 12. Part blaster rifle, part flame thrower, part stabby-stick, and all fun. I knew going in that it would be a really big and cumbersome weapon, but I also like it for that reason as it enhances the bad-assery of the Kaagan-Vas. Basically, it’s a big, heavy, manly weapon that most others wouldn’t even want to try to pick up, let alone carry around into battle.

The idea was for it to be a heavy weapon that you carry low, somewhere around the waist. So it doesn’t have a gun sight and it’s not used for precise shooting like a sniper rifle. It’s more of a beast meant to inflict maximum carnage and firepower, kinda like the big guns used by Vasquez and Drake in Aliens.

The design of it was pretty tough since I wanted the user interface to fit with how it would actually be employed. Basically, some ways of holding it worked well for the rifle/flamethrower aspect, but then felt awkward with the blade slicing and/or thrusting motions. In the end, I think the secondary grip spanning the two barrels perpendicularly seemed to work best since it can be used to shoot, thrust, and slice with the least amount of awkwardness in any of those actions. And the grip also separates the two barrels a bit since you probably don’t want the flamethrower parts and blaster parts right up on each other.

I find it kinda funny that in one of the sketches, I even added a bludgeon to the back end. Because three weapons in one isn’t quite enough. Sure, you can shoot someone, set him on fire, and cut him up. But what if you really want to beat him down too? Well then your weapon is just lacking a little bit.

Anyway, with all that being said and all the thought that went into the design of the thing, you never actually see the KV firestaffs in any real detail in the sequence! Yay! Time well spent.

BONUS CONTENT: Sketchbook: Kaagan-Vas Rustlers

April 28, 2011

The next several sketchbook pages will focus on the Kaagan-Vas “rustlers.” Since these were major characters (and the very first characters to appear in this story arc!), I put a fair amount of time into designing them. They also took quite a while to nail down because I wanted to go for a Western look without making it look too deliberately Western. Basically, I wanted to get across the cowboy feel on a subconscious level and not really slap you in the face with it.

On this first page, I just spit out a bunch of different alien heads to see which ones would jump out at me. I think it’s pretty clear which two were early favorites and eventually became the designs for Warsaw and Uskulon.

BONUS CONTENT: Sketchbook: Kaagan-Vas Rustlers

May 5, 2011

More sketches for the Kaagan-Vas rustlers, this time focusing on a few body concepts. The concept in the upper left eventually became that of Warsaw, which you’ll see more of in the next sketchbook page…

BONUS CONTENT: Sketchbook: Warsaw

May 12, 2011

The Kaagan-Vas leader, Warsaw, was a lot of fun to design. With the very first full-body sketch, I pretty much had the basic look down, and then it just took a few refinement passes to really nail the design down. He may be one of my favorite alien designs to date. I like the hermit crab shell on his back, even though you never actually see it in the story itself due to the clothing.

Speaking of the clothes, back on The Big Snow Job #2, Page 20, I talked a bit about the Western influence I wanted in the rustler outfits. The cowboy duster look came about pretty easily for Warsaw. Actually, all of the rustler outfits were somewhat easy to design. The hats were the killers. As you can see in this sketchbook page, I tried to go with variations of the cowboy hat early on for Warsaw, but they just weren’t working. They just seemed too glaringly cowboy-ish in an almost comical way, like he should always be saying, “Howdy, pardner!” So I eventually scrapped the idea and came up with a different type of hat altogether.

Next up…Uskulon.

BONUS CONTENT: Sketchbook: Uskulon

May 19, 2011

As with Warsaw, the body design for Uskulon flowed pretty easily. And also like Warsaw, you don’t really get to see much of Uskulon’s actual body in the story since he’s covered in his rustler outfit throughout. But if you ever wondered what he looked like naked, as I’m sure you have, now you know.

With Uskulon’s early outfit designs, I started with some more basic snow jacket looks, but they weren’t terribly distinctive and didn’t have any of the cowboy/Southwestern look that I wanted. A few iterations later, I settled on the 2-tiered, banded poncho look, which worked much better. The hat again proved to be the biggest challenge. Given the snowy conditions, I really wanted all of the rustlers to have big brims on their hats to shield their eyes from the elements, and it was tough designing wide-brim hats that did not look incredibly stupid.

More on Uskulon on the next page…

BONUS CONTENT: Sketchbook: Baso

May 26, 2011

With this page, I finally settled on Uskulon’s hat, which I based very loosely on an asian rice paddy hat. I thought that would make for a fairly simple, wide-brim hat, and unlike all the previous hat concepts, it actually seemed to work with his poncho look. I then added the straps to the back since I figured those would be nice neck protection from the elements. But the real reason for the straps is that I needed to make sure both Warsaw and Uskulon always had their necks and the backs of their heads completely covered so you wouldn’t see the Kaagan-Vas tattoos.

One last note on Uskulon: you’ll notice in all these sketches that I originally had footwear for his tentacle feet. As with Cember, I did give some thought to whether walking on snow directly would be a bit harsh or if they should have foot coverings. In the end, I decided that the foot coverings just looked a bit too silly. And I also figure with different aliens, maybe they have different physiologies, so they aren’t affected by extreme conditions the same way we would be. There are seals and walruses and penguins after all, who walk around naked all the time on snow. But then if someone gave them foot coverings, maybe they’d be grateful.

Moving on to Baso, with my first design, I gave him a duster similar in style to Warsaw’s. But then I realized that he needed something bigger and looser to hide the big gun he’s be carrying during the story. So I added a poncho similar in style to Uskulon’s. I also gave him a nose ring to (a) differentiate him facially from other Ulon Dosi characters, and (b) to give him some sort of accessory that shows his cultural break from Ulon Dosi tradition.

BONUS CONTENT: Sketchbook: Kaagan-Vas Rustlers

June 2, 2011

And here we have the final versions of all three Kaagan-Vas rustlers. I wanted to give Baso a hat to make him stand out from other Ulon Dosi and to also match the other rustlers. Obviously, his doesn’t have any  neck covering though since he doesn’t have a KV tattoo that needed to be concealed.

With Warsaw, I finalized the look of his hat and also added some pattern detailing to his outfit to match Baso’s poncho pattern. With Uskulon, I ditched the lower body coverings and changed his hat. Ultimately, when I got around to actually drawing the story pages, I changed his hat one last time on the fly. I decided that this one was a bit too similar to Warsaw’s and I wanted them to be a little more different. So I went back to the rice paddy look.

BONUS CONTENT: Sketchbook: Kaagan-Vas Tattoo

June 9, 2011

This page shows the various concepts I did to come up with the Kaagan-Vas tattoo. I pretty much covered the thought process back on The Big Snow Job #3, Page 9. Basically, I wanted something that would be easy to draw, fairly aggressive and tribal looking, and something evocative of a pirate ship Jolly Roger skull and crossbones. I have to say I’m very happy with the design I came up with, and if anyone out there is in the market for a nice back-of-the-head tattoo, I’d highly recommend going with a Kaagan-Vas mark. 🙂

Kickstarter Rewards: Character Cards

February 23, 2013

Here are all of the 4″ x 6″ Character Cards that will be available as part of the Runners: The Big Snow Job Kickstarter campaign. There will be 8 total, with each one featuring a pair of characters. Lower tier rewards will come with one random Character Card (which makes for a decent bookmark), but all mid-level and higher rewards will come with a complete set.