Big Trouble in Little Lava World…

Well maybe it is Big Trouble in Big Lava World, but I have yet to really decide anything else about this world, where it is, how big it is, or what it might look like!  Aren’t I about as masterful at foreshadowing, as a danger sign!?!

Last time I posted I had made some progress toward the finished piece, looking at adding textures and colours that I felt accented the work, as well as beginning to look a bit at the more defining details.  Originally I had sketched the Lava Creature with a rider, but by my second digital revision I tossed this out completely and simply added a figure for size comparison.  I decided, around the time I was finishing the colour step on the creature, that I was going to come back and look at that figure in greater detail, rather than leaving it as a ghost like hint.

I take inspiration from all over, as I work, and as I began work on this guy I looked to my favorite genre of modern entertainment: Post-Apocalyptic. (That looks wrong, and reading it out loud sounds a bit funny, but I am sure it works… )  I referred to  screenshots from: Mad Max, Fallout, Wastelander Weekend, The ‘California Love’ music video and finally some of the custom costumes I have created to fit into the genre.

I jumped into Photoshop, setting my brush to black/grey and started to slap as many ideas down as I could.  After a few hours, I set to the figure himself.  I normally find this to be an very important step when using a template.  It acts to loosen your wrist, as well as sharpening the hand eye coordination you need when not looking at your hands while sketching.

Lava Creature Rider

The version on the right is the original I worked on, but for some reason I just couldn’t get to a place where I was happy with the way he was coming out.  So I scrapped him, after about a dozen erases, and went back to the drawing board so to speak.  This time I took a walk with the dog, and then loaded up a Netflix video and just let my hand do the work.

The figure on the left is what I got.  More inspirations came as I worked, a bit taken from Star Wars, Modern Warfare, and Warhammer 40k, to name a few.  I also cut the figures from the original piece, careful to leave a copy figure for sizing behind, so I could work on it without the larger distraction of the background piece.

Final Figure

This is the guy I will fully develop.

Ash wastes and Lava flows are extremely hot and a lot of toxic material swirls around so I started with a face mask, goggles and a bandanna.  Originally I had tried a Puritan styled hat, but it didn’t fit at all so… Next, with all that around his mouth/head I added a headset, and antenna both to provide him with communications and act as a GPS repeater.  Next came the staff with the ball, this is meant to be a lighting prod, much like the much longer one I had before, I shortened it.  I did this for two reasons; it can now be used as a melee weapon, and it also is easier to use in riding as it much less prone to get in the riders way.

Long sleeves, and pants, which I worked into full coverage, not the most flattering but practical.  The armor on the upper chest and stomach are built up and layered, hinting at greater protection as well as hidden equipment that may be used to keep the rider cool, or going in the right direction.  Gloves that belt down tight to keep toxins out, knee-pads and armored boots to do the same, as well as provide some extra armor.

Finally I added to pieces to give this rider his own injection of character, the pistol with its side mounted power-pack, and the tabard that hangs from his utility belt.   The pistol was added to hint at the rougher “Frontier” life these men may lead, where the tabard hints at the culture they may be from.  Dyed into the fabric is this man’s Clan symbol.

From this rough piece I will start to decide values a bit more, as well as deciding on a limited range of colours.  I will have to tread a fine line of making this figure look finished, without turning him into a focus of the final painting.

As always, stay tuned!



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