Well, after running here and there to find a scanner big enough, I finally managed to get her up in a good image which is post-worthy as a final piece. So enjoy her allure while you excuse me, since I have a date with a castaway 😉
As the first piece for 2013, I thought of starting off with ‘The Dancer’. Despite the rather plain name, this had been a piece that had been ‘marinating’ for quite a while. The first idea for the artwork sparked when I listened to the song ‘The Dance of Sarasvati’ by the well known Japanese composer and musician, Kitaro. Being a very visual person, the images stuck with me, and i tried sketching several poses while I traveled.
At last, I came up with the image which you get to see here. I won’t dub the figure here as ‘Sarasvati’, but she is a dancer in the rhythm of my pencils..! Come next week, I will be finishing the piece, and while that happens enjoy the WIP ( the two at the end has some Photoshop effects i just dropped in for fun.) Apologies for the rather poor image quality, just had to make do it with the camera in hand while I was working!
If you are interested in the music that inspired this, take a listen.
Back in 2006, I came across a refreshing and interesting, medieval style, first person action RPG; Dark Messiah of Might and Magic. After many hours of gaming which consisted of kicking guards downstairs, decapitating orcs, and hurling bolts of ice and fire, I was left wondering when would this little known developer, Arkane Studios, come up with their next game. The answer came in 2012 with the saving grace of Betehsda Softworks, intriguingly titled ‘Dishonored’.
Even with a seemingly cliche start where the ruler of the realm is murdered and you become the fall guy who has to take on on a quest to clear your name, the game becomes an impressive adventure soon enough. The late Victorian style setting of the game, complete with guardsmen in pointy hats and lordly manor houses, combines the thief-like stealth mechanics with first person dynamic combat in a very thrilling manner. Add to it the fun and rewards of free exploration and the possibility of multiple paths for a specific goal of your mission, and you get a refreshing combination of pseudo-openness, great style and inventive game-play.
The game puts you in the shoes of Corvo Attano, once the Lord Protector of late Empress Jessamine, now living the life of an assassin in the shadows. Good old Corvo is on a quest of vengeance to clear his name and bring the Empress’s murderers to justice by any means; after all, he’s still the ‘Queen’s man’. To add to the mayhem, your hunting ground, the city of Dunwall is is being overrun by a plague of rats and lawlessness, and the guardsmen are imposing martial law. Helping you stay alive and stalk your prey in the dark city is an assortment of interesting characters including the genius inventor Piero, and the enigmatic Outsider whose mark you will bear, along with an assortment of devious traps, firearms, and mystic powers which you can improve on using whalebone runes found during your deadly adventures. The city of Dunwall is quite distracting when you are in mission as well; new rewards and goodies lying hidden in rat infested dark alleys is too damn tempting. And I do have a hunch there will be some plague mutants or such creeps lurking about further into the game. To add to the fun, you can find blueprints of more exotic and arcane equipment which Piero can tinker for you, lying all over the city. The game also has a ‘Chaos system’ which will determine how the game world will change according to your general behavior as an assassin, so watch out how you handle the mission.
When it comes to interface and interaction, the game cruises along smoothly like a shiny new beamer. You control either hand by the click of a mouse, and the weapons and powers which are equipped can be changed by a handy wheel menu that pops up easy. Items which you can pick up into your inventory or that you can manipulate; be it a severed head, an empty bottle, a switch or a key on someone’s belt, is simply highlighted as you look around for easy pick up. Your journal is also there to help, keeping tabs on all notes, briefings and mission clues. Using your deadly assassin’s powers is seemingly easy as well; just point and click what is equipped. Rat swarms in sewers and alleys present an interesting mechanic, where you can toss corpses or enemies at them as a distraction as you evade their deadly hunger. Later on, you also gain the ability to control rats and see through their eye as the game progresses. Add a neat death’s head mask with crystal lenses to the mix, and your dark steam-punk adventure is set to begin. The game runs on Unreal Engine 3, so getting it to run even on an average detail setting is not a hassle.
In a nutshell ‘Dishonored’ is a fresh take on a rather old picture, presented it in a cool way to keep you in the edge of the seat. Behaving and feeling rather like a steam-punk Deus-ex, ‘Dishonored’ brings about an interesting adventure of darkness, shadows and mystery in the fashion Arkane did with its first great hit. As action-RPG gaming goes, ‘Dishonored’ is set to be an interesting highlight in a gaming scene dominated by the usual high tech settings with flashy guns, proving yet again that swordplay and magic in a first person game can still feel alive and entertaining. For steam-punk fans, and those who likes sneaking around and stalking enemies from the darkness using swords and sorcery, with player-choice impact to boot, this game is a must-play wonder!
A sketch I did while travelling by train got flesh out a little time later. Enjoy!
(The beast ‘Crag Drake’ don’t have a particular place in the mythos right now, but lets see where it can come in later.)
Back in the day when Icewind Dale was open to us adventurers, there came to Targos a half-orc from the northern wild reaches of Faerun; K’nari Ironsong of the Black Lion tribe, who found the agrarian and trading lifestyle of her clansmen unappealing. K’nari left Beorunna’s Well after her 15th birthday, which led her to the Ten Towns region and the adventures that awaited, inns that needed a good brawl, and the many demons, dragons, wyrms, drow, illithid, kobolds, giants, posh men in tin suits etc. that needed a kiss…from her axe of course.
OK. In fact, the name was given to a character I actually used to play and finish Icewind Dale 2 with. A half orc without the ‘staple ugliness’ of face including the fangs, warts, crooked teeth and whatnot is not something that’s usually seen around when it comes to fantasy art. Well, that may not be every nerd’s cup of tea, but its my glass o’ wine!
Your job is the worst possible excuse, I think, that you can give when you are asked why you haven’t been at your pens and pencils. Worst in the sense, it stares at you in the face giving you ‘that look’, making you think why are you doing that job in the first place! Anyway, rants aside I have been sparing a few moments for myself and the crazy creations for some time now, and I am having a few interesting ideas on the board to take up as I FORCE myself to have time set aside for them. That being said, I thought of posting a couple of new quickies that I managed to jot down during the past few days.
The first one is a quick sketch done while i was waiting for a concert to start; the idea of a summoned great serpent rising out of the sea just flashed through my head, which I put down then and there, to be filled in with watercolours later. This one i have set aside to be detailed later using some digital media. The other is the result of a lazy afternoon spent thinking of Africa and all its lost wonder, a character that I would like to title as an ‘Afro-amazon’, presently I am fleshing that character out in more detail, along with a fantastic ‘pseudo-african’ setting; as I like to put it, so await to see how it will grow out. 🙂