Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Karol Week 13: Army/ Armour

Unfortunately, for this part of the story I haven't had as much time for exploration as I had for other designs in previous weeks. Because of that in that week I had to come up with quite defined idea in my head before putting pencil down to the paper. 

I decided to design an armour for the army that the king and prince are fighting against in the war. As the reason behind this war wasn't revealed in the story I decided to come up with one, as it is always a good idea to have some background story for a design. In my vision the antagonist army is a bunch of pagan, barbaric tribes that don't want to be placed under the command of the king.

As this was the last thing that we were working on, and most of my drawings for this project was quite stylized, just for fun I decided to try something different. I took the three pencil sketches from left and then using photo-bashing technique I turned them in to the more realistic drawings.

After doing some helmets sketches it was time to think about the rest of the armour. I imagined those warriors as primitive but powerful berserks with leather armours covering only parts of their bodies.  


Karol Week 12: Princess

The princess was the only female character that we were designing for this project, so I wanted to explore as many interesting ideas as possible, before choosing the final one. Usually the best way to go about it is to start witch a lot of silhouettes, so that's what I did first.

The castle that I came up with in previous weeks, was the one that she would live in, so as I incorporated some Asian architecture elements to it I decided that it would be a good idea to look at some Asian fashion and hairstyles while designing the princess.

After that I explored some ideas further in my sketchbook and in coloured Photoshop sketches. At this point I started to focus more on her character rather than just on the visual appearance.  In the story she asks the prince to take his cap off and when he refuses she just grabs and pulls it off his head against his will. Because of that I imagined her to be a bit childish and spoiled teenage girl who is used to getting anything what she desires. I wanted to display that by showing her in vibrant coloured fancy robes, disinterested in her new pet, already thinking about what she wants to ask her daddy for next.

And here's the final piece. I'm quite happy with how it turned out, as I managed to capture what I had in my mind while reading the story.   

Karol Week 10 & 11 - Travels

I really enjoyed working on this part of the story, as it allowed us to show more of our vision of Iron John's world. In my vision it was full of strange lands, rich in artefacts and reminiscence of ancient civilizations. I tried to capture that in the pencil sketches by showing a lot of broken statues, crushed pillars and abandoned ruins.  

After that I moved to photoshop. Again, in those sketches I wanted to show something of an epic scale, however I still couldn't decided what would that be? Maybe humongous statue of some sort of ancient god?

 forgotten by time place of religious ceremony?

or maybe not exactly abandoned temple?

As I couldn't decide, for my final I chose to focus more on the prince's means of travel, as opposed to places he's visited. I like the idea of prince travelling on back of a strange animal, which I explored a bit in my pencil sketches before. I still wanted this piece to show the epic scale of this world and how bizarre it is, so the animal itself had to be humongous. I asked myself 'what would be the most ridiculous creature to ride on?' And then I thought 'why not a gigantic, purple, bird-eating slug?'

Monday, 18 May 2015

Karol Week 8 and 9: The Prince

Even though the story is called 'Iron John',  the hairy wildman is not the main character of it. He obviously is important to the plot, however, the hero who's paths we follow throughout the whole story isn't him, but the prince, so he's more likely to be called the main protagonist. Because of his importance we decided to spend two weeks on designing him.

I started with these pencil sketches first. At the beginning I only planned on designing the prince from the point in the story, where he was a little boy living in the castle. However, as I went on creating more and more of these sketches I decided that it would be much more interesting to design him from before and then after he run off to the forest with Iron John.

In my final I wanted to focus on showing how life in the forest have changed him. For me the best way to do it was to play with contrasts. Being tired of wearing tight aristocratic garments that royal parents always required him to put on, now the prince wears loose-fitting, baggy clothes. Once playing with a ball, now he's more interested in sharp blades.

As it took me a bit less than two weeks to come up with this final I decided to spent rest of this time to refine my Iron John final, trying to emphasize the connection between these two characters.

Karol Week 7: The Castle

Just like in case of the kings from week one, we decided to design one of castles appearing in the story each. Naturally, I drew the one that my king would live in. As I designed him as a bulky and robust men I wanted my castle to reflect those qualities, to make it easier to associate this place with his character.

I started with these  sketches, concentrating more on big shapes, thinking about the general structure:

 After that I moved to sketchbook and tried out some different ideas. It was clear to me that in order to design building that would fit Iron John's world, that I had in my mind, I had to make it look a bit strange and out of our world.

Trying to come up with something original and unique for my final piece I mixed a silhouette of an old Japanese castle with some medieval European architecture. Instead of focusing just on the castle itself I wanted to show the environment in which it was built. I also played with the weather to enhance the mood of the piece.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Week 13 - Army/ Armour

The armour had to be more imposing and intimidating than the army Karol was designing in order to have contrast between the two of them. While Karol went for a more tribal appearance, I went more towards royalty or godlike. I made the silhouettes as big and imposing as I could without it looking to cluttered or ridiculous.
I liked the idea of having animal features in the armour. I particularly liked the idea of having a large headpiece on the torso and having quite a brutish appearance.
I mixed and mashed the shapes I liked the most and after some feedback I was told to push the silhouette even more. I also felt it was important to have some orthographical drawings in my portfolio.

I added some base colour to assist myself when it came to doing a rendered piece.

Here is a base sketch for the final where I also experimented with the weapons the army might have.

In the story, Iron John calls forth an army from the forest in order to help the Prince defeat his enemies. Maybe there an ancient race that fell in battle many years ago and now the forest has grown around them? Maybe they once belonged to Iron John? When designing the armour I designed it around the proportions of Iron John. I wanted to give the impression that you couldn't tell if the armour was human or something else. It was also going to be enchanted by Iron John's magic, making it come to life.

Week 12 - Princess

It was important to me that the Princess contrasted the Prince somewhat in design. Similar to my travels piece, I thought a more Steampunk/ industrial look would be fitting.

As the story progresses, we learn that the Princess has a love of flowers especially those brought to her by the Prince. Having that industrial feel I thought it might be cool if plant life was more of a luxury in the great industrial city. Maybe plant life struggles to grow except in the Royal Garden? Perhaps the flowers brought to the Princess require a pod to survive for example.
Below are some exploration sketches.

I tried to include floral motifs into her dress. I wanted the dress to have a metallic feel to it but at the same time it was wearable. One designer I was particularly inspired by was Jean Paul Gaultier.
I tried to combine a mixture of both modern fashion as well as influences of dresses from the 19th Century cowboy era.

I played with contrasting areas of flowing fabric with more metallic surfaces. I was attempting to establish a balance between graceful and immobile. It was important she had a sleek, elegant appearance in contrast to the Prince after his time spent in the forest.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Week 10 and 11 - Travels

This topic took 2 weeks rather than the usual one, the reason being some job opportunities opened up and I felt it necessary to apply.

According to the story the Prince "left the forest, and walked by beaten and unbeaten paths ever onwards until at length he reached a great city." This opened up so many possibilities.
Did the Prince find ancient ruins on snowy mountain tops? Maybe he wandered through massive jungles with outlandish plant life?

In my thumbnails I wanted to show both the travels and the great city. These could be natural landscapes or could have more man-made structures in them.
I wanted the great city to contrast the castle the Prince was born in. I felt a more steampunk/ industrial feeling was appropriate. 

Looking at my portfolio regularly, I could see that it was lacking in some colour.

The bottom right thumbnail was one of my preferences.
I made a conscious effort to add a variety of colours into my thumbnails to see what would work well together.
For my final image, I wanted to attempt a portrait environment rather than a landscape. I wanted the great city to contrast the castle the Prince was born in and I felt a more steampunk/ industrial feeling was appropriate. I wanted to create something monumental that would dwarf the characters. In order to emphasise this, I wanted to go for more of a portrait environment.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Finn Week 8 and 9: The Prince

As the Prince was the protagonist from the story we felt it would be important to spend a second week on designing him. This would allow us to produce the two versions of him in the story. The first, is when he lives in the safety of the castle and the second is after Iron John has taken him into the forest.
We set up our Pinterest board and gathered as much reference as we possibly could.
I felt he had to be opposite to the King in his stance and general design. The King has almost a downward feeling. His horns curve downwards, he has a weight on his shoulders, he is slightly hunched over, his facial expression is somewhat negative and a majority of what he wears has downward vertical lines. I tried to give the impression that he is closed off from the world around him.
For the Prince, I tried to reverse this. His horns should curve upwards and his posture should have more of a curve to it.

Royalty is a big part of the story so I thought the use of crowns and intricate head pieces would be a good way of having some consistency in my designs. For the Prince, I wanted it to develop as he does throughout the story.

One big challenge for me I realised as soon as I started this task was that drawing children is extremely hard to do! Their facial proportions are quite different from that of an adults. This proved to be a great learning experience. Below are some sketches as well as some head studies where I played with hair styles.

With a general idea of what I had in mind I got to work on some clothing iterations. I tried looking at what makes an iconic video game character. Link from the Legend of Zelda and Ico from Shaow of the Colossus stood out to me the most. Their design is simple and their silouhettes are instantly recognizable. I figured to much noise would kill my design. Elements of the King had to show as well such as fur, clothing colour and the crown.

After establishing the young Prince I tried pushing the silhouette for the older Prince. I wanted him to have a wild appearance after living with iron John in the forest for some time.
Parts of Iron John had to reflect in the second phase of the Prince's character development as well. I used things like colour, tribal elements and his staff to show the influence of what living with Iron John has on the Prince. In the story the prince's hair falls into a magic pool and turns his hair gold so I had to make sure this reflected in the design. After some silhouettes I could see they were becoming a bit too noisy and I would have to simplify them down.

 The progression of the Prince's head piece was going to be very important as well.

The big challenge for me here was upgrading the Prince's armour appearance with out adding too much detail. I also tried to add upward curving motif's in the character such as his crown, curved horns and his curved weapon.

During this 2 week period I also completed my second pass on the Huntsman. I made sure elements of my early sketches made it into the design. The big thing here was to make the design fit more within the world I had envisioned compared to my previous attempt. I like to think I've achieved this.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Karol Week 5 & 6: Iron John and Refinements

Week 5:

In week 5 we designed the eponymous character - Iron John.

In the story the huntsman finds Iron John hiding in the forest. He gathers more men and together they capture this gigantic wild man and then drag him to the castle where he's imprisoned. After some time spent in a cage on the courtyard he manages to trick a little prince into opening it and he escapes. However, seeing the boy scared to tears of what he has done and of possible consequences, Iron John takes him with back to the forest and he takes care of the boy.

Since I've read the story for the first time I've imagined Iron John as an emphatic gentle giant misunderstood and oppressed by people scared of his monstrous appearance. Even though some people have vanished in the forest where he have lived it's never said that he was responsible of those disappearances.

I started with some rough silhouettes, trying out different shapes and proportions. I didn't really have any presuppositions, just wanted to make sure that he appears big and hairy.  

After that I took my explorations further into the sketchbook. I focused mostly on different heads and faces ideas as I knew that I wanted the rest of him to be something between a bear and gorilla body.

I chose some heads that I liked and I attached some bodies to them. The bottom left one was a pretty good representation of what I had in mind so I chose that one for my final image:

Week 6:

In week 6 we decided to take a break from doing new designs and go back and polish some pieces from previous weeks. I made some minor changes to most of my finals, but there's only one big change worth mentioning - the King. As we go along creating new designs, the vision of the Iron John's world in my head gets clearer every week. It's going in a bit different way than I expected in the beginning of the project. Therefore, the king I created in the first week didn't really fit this vision anymore, so I decided to redesign and paint it again from scratch.

I still wanted to show the king as a warrior but time I put some more work into his armour and weapon design. I'm happy with how it turned out and I believe that this version fits the general idea of the world better. 

Karol Week 4: Wild Animals

For the week 4 we decided to design animals that could live in the forest. In the story they are mentioned only once, in the opening paragraph: 'Once upon a time there lived a King who had a great forest near his palace, full of all kinds of wild animals.' The creatures were clearly not important part of the story, however we decided to draw them anyway, just to challenge our creature design abilities. Beside, this broad description left a lot of creative freedom for our interpretations, so we simply couldn't resist.

I started the design process with some rough sketches. The forest that I came up with in the second week was a wet, swampy place, so from the very beginning I knew that I wanted my creature to be some kind of amphibian or reptile. I explored different head and body shapes and sizes.

After that I pushed some of those ideas further in Photoshop. In the sketches below I tried to merge together some real life reptiles with features of different types of animals.

The one that I felt that stood out was the rat-turtle kind of creature in the middle of the page. I decided to make some more variations on how that creature could look but ultimately I got back to the first one and I used this idea for my final image:

I could easily imagine this creature to inhabit the forest I designed the other week; using its sharp claws to climb the gigantic trees and it's beak to catch small mammals.