Posts Tagged ‘Sketchbook’

BONUS CONTENT: Sketchbook: Preegans

May 6, 2010

As you might guess, I did a lot of concept design work for The Big Snow Job. I’ll be posting images from my sketchbook in batches, breaking up the batches with other Bonus Content every now and then. This first group of sketches goes back to the first issue of the story arc.

Here we have the Preegans, the double-crossing bug aliens that first show up in The Big Snow Job #1,  Page 4. I wanted them to be small and insectoid but had a bit of trouble settling on something that didn’t look like just another typical alien bug. Once I sketched the roach/beetle-looking guy with the 90-degree bend between the torso and abdomen, that was it. I liked that the hunched-over back made them look a bit sneaky, while the round bellies kept them looking comical.

I figured I’d do a few quick facial expression tests too since I knew they’d have to look pathetic when pleading their case to Roka, and I wanted to make sure I’d be able to capture that in the art.

BONUS CONTENT: Sketchbook: Preegan Gear

May 13, 2010

As I mentioned in the post for The Big Snow Job #1, Page 7, I wanted the Preegan henchmen to have a Western bandito look, so I gave them crisscrossing ammo belts across the torso. But to make the outfit a little more interesting, instead of just being two ammo loops going diagonally across the torso, it’s one continuous belt, that goes around the back of the neck, crisscrossing in the front, and then attaching to the waist belt in the back.

Here I also did a few sketches of the Preegan oversized gun to figure out how it would work for four-armed usage. For all the thought that went into them, the guns ended up barely showing up at all in the actual sequence, which is kind of a bummer. But at least they’re already designed, so if the Preegans ever show up again, that concepting work will be done. Hurray for recycling!

BONUS CONTENT: Sketchbook: Root Beetle

May 20, 2010

It’s funny how I can nail the look of a complicated piece of machinery like the Preegan gun in just a  couple sketches, but then something like a beetle can take so many different attempts. Ugh. Anyway, the root beetles first appear on The Big Snow Job #1, Page 7 and it took a little while to settle on something I thought looked believably alien.

Most of the early sketch attempts looked a bit too similar to insects that actually exist in real life. Given the sheer wackiness of Mother Nature, I’m sure the beetle I finally settled on resembles something in real life too, but as of now, I’m not aware of it. It will probably be discovered in the depths of the Amazon some day. Or tomorrow in my pantry, at which point I’ll go hoarse from all the shrieking.

Note to self: the final beetle design would also look pretty cool as a space ship…

BONUS CONTENT: Sketchbook: Roka, Bocce

May 27, 2010

So here we have the costume designs I did for Roka as he appears on The Big Snow Job #1, Page 4 at the Arqq-Olem port. Basically, I just wanted to continue the long sleeve shirt and vest look that was established in the first story arc, since that seems to be his signature style.

Roka’s gun satchel was something I thought up for the first arc, although I never ended up drawing it. So I figured the opening port scene in Snow Job would be a good place to introduce it. I like that it’s something he can easily put on when he needs to be armed, but he can just as easily take it off if he’s on the ship and doesn’t need it. Since it’s the biggest gun of the entire crew, it would probably be a bit clunkier to sit around in than, say, Cember’s pistols.

Bocce’s outfit is the same from Bad Goods, but I needed to concept his energy cast and crutch, not that you end up seeing the crutch all that much in the actual story. I wanted to keep the crutch fairly simple and not over-design it. So it’s basically just a cool sci-fi crutch that can telescope to varying lengths or retract completely into a more compact shape.

Additional commentary about the outfits can be found in the posting for The Big Snow Job #1, Page 14.

BONUS CONTENT: Sketchbook: Cember, Sky

June 3, 2010

Here are the sketches I did for the Cember and Sky Arqq-Olem outfits. For Cember, I kept going with variations of his established look of split, 2-piece tops and skirts. This time around, I added some pattern embellishments to his outfits. While I like the solid blue outfit he wore in Bad Goods, the little bits of patterning just add that extra bit of flash that suits his character. So I’ll probably do more of that going forward.

For Sky, the first few sketches here were a bit too dull, “girly,” or fancy. I do kinda like the back skirt of #3 though, so maybe that outfit (or some variation of it) will show up in the future. But for the most part, I really like the banded jumpsuit that I ultimately settled on. It’s a fun outfit to draw, what with all the piping, so I’m pretty sure it’ll be showing up again on a semi-regular basis. I really like the headband as well. Not sure where that came from, but it definitely adds a youthful, cute look to her. That’ll probably stick around too.

Additional commentary about the outfits can be found in the posting for The Big Snow Job #1, Page 14.

BONUS CONTENT: Sketchbook: Ril

June 10, 2010

I designed Ril’s port outfit to have some slight stylistic similarities to his Bad Goods outfit. In this case, I like that the top has a crossover flap that wraps all the way around the back and clasps onto the front again on the opposite side. It just seemed like a cool look that was a bit different from the norm. Probably not the most practical thing in the world, but then fashion rarely is, I guess.

With Ril’s gun, I like that it’s a bit odd in proportion, with its oversized, thick stubby barrel. I’m not a huge fan of trying to make every weapon look “badass,” so I intentionally try to keep some weapons non-flashy. I was pretty happy with all three rifle sketches, but I ultimately settled on the bottom left one, again because it had the most unusual proportions of the three.

I haven’t decided yet if the pistol on this page is Ril’s signature gun or if it’s just one of many different handguns he’ll carry on different jobs. I imagine him to be a bit of a gun collector, so it would make sense for him to use a wide variety of weapons over the course of the series. I guess we’ll just see how lazy I am during the design phase of the upcoming arcs…

Additional commentary about the outfits can be found in the posting for The Big Snow Job #1, Page 14.

BONUS CONTENT: Sketchbook: Free Kespa

June 17, 2010

Here we have some sketches I did for Free Kespa, the run-down space station that Roka and company go to in The Big Snow Job #1, Page 15 to meet with Dhama Hes about a job. I knew I wanted the station to have three prongs to it, radiating from a central hub, so the design went fairly quickly.

I thought it might make sense to have the central hub be the main docking area for ships just looking for light supplies or a bit of R&R. I imagined the prongs to be the equivalent of granaries or depots, where major restocking supplies would be kept for larger ships in need of more goods. I’m guessing at this point, those depots have been long since emptied and converted into ramshackle slums and shady businesses.

There’s probably a Starbucks there too.

BONUS CONTENT: Sketchbook: Dhama Hes

June 24, 2010

The design for Dhama Hes (The Big Snow Job #1, Page 18) was a lot of fun as I wanted him to be very alien and creepy. So I played with some odd proportions (like the very high waist such that he practically has no torso) and weird textures (like the knobby hand palms and mass of thin tentacles for the lower body). And there was something about the spinal ridge on his back shell that was kinda unnerving to me, since it had the appearance of exposed vertebrae.

Looking at the sketches again now, I apparently meant to do some sort of spotted pattern on portions of the upper body shell and arms. Whoops. That’s the problem with leaving some things out at the pencil and ink stage. There’s a good chance I might forget to do those details when I actually get to the coloring stage many months later. Oh well.

BONUS CONTENT: Sketchbook: Snow Ponchos

July 29, 2010

With this Bonus Feature, I’ll be returning to my Sketchbook concept designs for a bit, this time focusing on all of the snow outfits for the main cast.

In the Commentary for The Big Snow Job #2, Page 7 I mention the thought process behind the ponchos. Basically, I wanted all the individual snow outfits to be colorful, but some of the crew would also wear white ponchos or cloaks for part of the story since they would want to blend in with the snowy environment while following the rustlers.

I thought it would be fun to do a camouflage pattern on Roka and Ril’s ponchos, but ultimately, it made more sense to just keep them plain white. I always meant for Cember’s to be a bit different, since I figured he’d have his own, more stylish cloak, complete with puffballs!

I actually really like the bottom design quite a bit. I imagined it as a solid piece down the front and back, about shoulder width. A connected piece on top would then form flaps over the arms. It seems pretty practical to me in that in most normal body positions, the arm flaps are down, giving the wearer the same coverage as a standard poncho. But it allows for a greater degree of arm mobility since it’s not all one single piece that would keep the arms “trapped” underneath since the arm flaps could move independently of the main body covering. And that seemed like something that would come in handy for an action-prone crew.

Not sure why I didn’t go with that design in the end. Maybe I just wanted something a little simpler since (a) it’d be easier to draw, and (b) because I could also see Roka just having the most basic snow ponchos lying around. Nothing fancy. But I like the design enough that I might use it at some point.

BONUS CONTENT: Sketchbook: Roka Snow Outfit

August 5, 2010

BONUS CONTENT: Sketchbook: Cember Snow Outfit

August 12, 2010

For Cember’s snow outfit, I did like the idea of the radiating flaps on the bottom (sketch #2) since they seemed reminiscent of his lower body tentacles, but ultimately, the design just felt a bit too busy. The final design feels more streamlined while still being fashionable, as per Cember’s aesthetic.

And here we have the final design for Cember’s snow cloak as well, which ended up being shortened into a half-cloak. More like a poncho, really. Again, that just seemed a bit more fashionable for Cember than a full length cloak like Roka and Ril’s. The blue clasp and puffballs added that last little bit of flair. Because with Cember, it’s all about the flair.

Additional notes can be found in the commentary for The Big Snow Job #2, Page 4.

BONUS CONTENT: Sketchbook: Ril, Bennesaud Snow Outfit

August 19, 2010

I settled on Ril’s outfit pretty easily (I love when that happens!). Different textures are important to me in terms of adding variety to outfits, so for Ril, I thought a fine vertical ribbed pattern would be a nice way to make his outfit visually different. And, as mentioned earlier, that ribbed look was also derived from his hat, which had already been established in the flashback sequence from Bad Goods.

For Bennesaud, I wanted to give him a little something for this story arc in the form of a belt of pouches. I very briefly considered a bandolier across the torso, but quickly decided that that would be too Chewbacca. I always liked the look of military pouches across the stomach, so that pretty quickly became Bennesaud’s look.

To make Bennesaud’s belt a little more visually interesting (to me, at least), I made the pouches different sizes, so there’s one big pouch on the back, three small ones in the front, and three medium-sized ones on either side. The idea with the really big pouch is that maybe Bennesaud keeps Cember’s snow cloak in there for him since Cember doesn’t have his own bag in this arc. Not really sure the cloak would all fit in there, but that was the intent.

Additional notes for Ril can be found in the commentary for The Big Snow Job #2, Page 1.

Additional notes for Bennesaud can be found in the commentary for The Big Snow Job #2, Page 4.

BONUS CONTENT: Sketchbook: Sky Snow Outfit

August 26, 2010

Early on, I toyed with the idea of Sky having a snow cloak/poncho like everyone else, but eventually I abandoned the idea since her outfit is mostly white anyway, so she didn’t really need the camouflage. I also considered a form-fitting hood but realized the exposed long hair was a bit more feminine, which suited the look of her character more. Plus, long hair is something I can draw blowing to the side to convey windy weather, if need be.

I mentioned in the previous post that I like to use different textures, and that also applied to the fur in the snow outfits, which I wanted to be slightly different between characters. So Sky and Cember have very fine fur in their detailing, while Roka’s hat trim and coat collar are a longer, shaggier fur. For the record, the short fur is much easier to draw. I’m just saying.

Additional notes can be found in the commentary for The Big Snow Job #2, Page 4.

BONUS CONTENT: Sketchbook: Bocce Snow Outfit

September 2, 2010

It’s nice when you have an established look for a character since subsequent outfits can just draw inspiration from that look. That was certainly the case with Bocce, whose snow outfit was heavily derived from the look of his regular outfit.

I think I pretty much covered Bocce’s outfit in the commentary for The Big Snow Job #2, Page 2.

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.