My Little Monsters: Cthulhu


 

Some of you might remember the MOAR Monster, it was an original acrylic on canvass painting that I worked on and release several months ago.  It was the first in a series that I have decided to call “My Little Monsters”.

Based on some of my personal feelings, that as I progressed through formal art schooling I lost touch with the “little kid” element and imagination of art and making creatures.  Replacing the void it left with technical skills and rules.  I will never be able to look at a piece of art I did as a kid and not see all the mistakes, but I can work on more creatures with an open mind!

Continuing with the more cartoony theme of MOAR Monster, here is the second sketch which I will soon begin to commit to canvass:

BabyCthulu

 

This time I decided to do a more traditional Victorian Horror monster and used HP Lovecrafts famous “Cthulhu” elder god as the basis, but sketched him as  a baby or hatch-ling.

I will continue to add creatures and monsters and aliens to the My Little Monster Series, I have even considered taking this a slightly more fun route and doing an traditional “A is for Alien” style set of 26 art pieces.  I hope you like this one, keep an eye out for more posts as I work on this one, and eventually the original canvass on sale at my ETSY store!

-TheGrav

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Creature and Character Development: The that Kor’Jorian


The Kor’Jorian are another race of Savaged.  Often modern authors play with the concept of man attempting to become God, and the repercussions of those actions.  From the “Terminator” movie series to Michael Crichton‘s Jurassic Park novels.  This concept is something that fascinates us; as our technology level increase it is a boundary that we flirt with on an almost daily basis.  From cloned sheep to the exponential advancement of computer processors, it is possible (in our minds) that at some point soon man might be able to create life.

This brings up a load of fears, will our creations become us?  Just as we have become gods in creating them?  Will they replace us, as we are seeming to replace our gods?  The Kor’Jorian address this fear in my science fiction world.  In a much different way, as these are not man’s mechanical monsters, nor are they purely mechanical constructs, but what has evolved from a biological creature merging with their technology.

The Jori were a hive race, made up of clusters of semi intelligent multiple cell organisms, each about the size of bacteria.  As the hive clusters grew in size their intelligence level increase exponentially, some of the larger hive groups (about the size of a basket ball) are considered hyper-intelligent.

Their hive clusters often splitting and merging with other clusters allowing an entire population to share the same experience or focus on the same tasks.  In their ancient past the Jori encountered another space faring race, and were forced to defend themselves.  As a race without conventional bodies,and were almost exterminated, before they created their mechanical bodies.  The Kor’Jori were born.

KorjorianHunterKiller

In the Eons since their race was forced to inhabit Mechanical bodies, the Jori have evolved  considerably.  Now longer are the clusters large, their science and technology advanced enough that smaller clusters and even single organisms have expanded their abilities through artificial means.  At times it is hard to distinguish whether there is a even a surviving biological component to some Kor’Jori.

The Kor’Joirans have ruthlessly protected their planets for Eons, forever paranoid that another race will try to subjugate or destroy them.  Often seen as warlike, unfeeling machines, they have little to no contact with other races, and often when they do it is violent in nature.

Look for their spacecraft in my next post.

-TheGrav

 

 

Character and Creature Design: Sage


This is the follow-up post to the Jarn character and creature design post I made last week.  More artwork and design stuff that fits into the Savaged Universe.  The Sage are officially the first race humanity meets as they expand into the stars.  Our first hint that we are not alone in the universe comes when cargo starts to disappear from ships along established trade routes.  The odd thing is it isn’t cargo that is normally considered high value.

Priding themselves as students of galactic history and the only truly advanced civilization of the stars the Sage had taken it onto themselves to collect and catalog as much data as they can.  Some of the most powerful Sage becoming Knowledge pirates that plague the known universe stealing art, books, and historical records, while leaving behind weapons, technology and valued goods.

Here is the first sketch of a Sage I ever did.

sad_knowledgepirate

They were never meant to be a “Galactic Player” when I did this first sketch.  They were supposed to be a henchmen like race, spotty comic relief, an odd idea.  However as I developed the beginnings of the Council of Seven and the Empire, I was forced to comfort the idea that someone had to help humanity take and hold there place in the universe.

The Sage became the first race that humanity allies with, helping to form the backbone of the Empire.  Sage pirate armadas aligning themselves with human naval and exploratory vessels, forming a Navy in the time of crisis as both races fell into open conflict with the Jarn.

SageConcepts

 

Along those lines I worked a few concept sketches of the Sage.  Keeping the idea that they are a small humanoid reptilian race, easily adapted to fighting in tight corner and enclosed spaces.

SageNavalRating

 

This later sketch is much closer to my final vision.  I have added fighting claws to the Sage’s feet, made them much slighter of frame and worked the basic ideas of the Imperial Navies uniform into this sketch.  I also added the saber to give the Naval Rating a colonial era look and feel.

Space Combat isn’t like modern warfare.  Often tight corridor combat deciding the outcome of a naval clash, opening volleys normally ending in brutal close quarters combat.

I had to make another decision this time about what their ships and technology looked like… More about that next time!

-TheGrav

Creature and Character Design


What does Creature and Character Design mean?  Why are they used?  What purpose do the serve?  When you sit down to pitch an idea, depending on the team involved or the complexity, sometimes it is better to have a formed presentation before you sell the idea in 15 words or less.  In the case of City 7, I wrote the entire script, formed the production team, and then we took another 3 months to go over and rewrite everything.  And that was before we looked for a location, spoke to any actors, or filmed a a single episode of our webcast.

Though most of them have now been lost to time and the filing cabinet that holds all things dealing with the film.  One of the steps that existed in tandem, with this process, consisted of cutting out photos of military uniforms and generating sketches of what our actors costumes would be.  Then we did the same process for our zombies!  Once the film schedule was decided upon by the production crew, I then had to form a make-up/costuming team, and another set of sketches/photos/magazine cuttings were generated.

Most of this is normal, every team goes through this.  Even for an episode of the most trite teenage drama.  The high school sports team’s uniforms have to be designed, and the main characters don’t just show up in what they had in the closet that morning.  Someone designs how they will look before each episode.  Even in a show like Supernatural or The Walking Dead, where the characters wear the same things every episode, those props were designed.

However at times the creative process has to go a step further.  A sci-fi television show, horror movies, and video games normally have concept artists.  This is a guy, like me, who sits in at the meetings and hear the more off the wall ideas, and then has to translate them into art work so everyone not on the creative team has a chance to get the idea.  These art works are then used by everyone else to make the film/show/game feel the way the production team wants it too.

A big part of any creative process that involves an element of fantasy is the Creature and Character Design.  Most of my personal Creature and Character design centers around the Savaged Universe.  A science fiction world/universe that I have written several short stories in, and am currently attempting to unify into one book.  I use this type of illustration and concept art to decide on what my aliens and main characters look like, so I can get the rough idea out of my head and take a look at them on paper.  It helps when it comes time to describe them to the reader.

On the fringe of the Human Empire, during the turbulent times of expansion, exploration and colonization we run into two other struggling empires, the Sage and the Jarn.  Naturally the language, social etiquette and racial differences are great enough that wars and conflicts arise.  However in both cases these first two alien species become some of humanities earliest and strongest allies.  We are going to look at both this week, starting with the Jarn.

The Jarn were originally “Space Orcs”, literally.  My only idea was they were savage brutes with green skin that crawled out of a Tolkien novel, into a space shuttle and then went on a smashing spree.  Then they became more than just savage and mindless creatures tossed in from another genre to satisfy the need for conflict.  They became an developed race, that somehow got their act together long enough to make it off their home world, and develop a small fledgling empire.  An empire that later, after a few wars, would join humanity and the sage in creating something larger.

EarlyJarnConcept

This is an early concept, I was still going with the “orc” base model.  Big muscle clad brutes that lived and died for war.  At the time,  the Jarn were a race that was brought to their knees by the Sage and Humans in a war that lasted almost a hundred years, and saw the death of most of a solar system, they just had to be more than I was giving them credit for.  I mixed in the idea of honor and pride, then a feudalistic society where dueling and single combat were often used to settle disputes between Jarn tribes.  I came up with this mix of Japanese and Native American cultures, a mix that would allow a society to advance into the space-age.

The Jarn were reborn, still brutes and giants, still more likely to get into a bar fight over a spilled drink than to talk about their feelings.  But focused and honor bound, intelligent and ambitious.  In fact even as I reworked how they looked, and how their society functioned, I reworked how they became part of the Empire.  The Jarn Wars were ended by a Peace Treaty, where each side saw the damage the war was creating.  However the Jarn Civil Wars were born in the same event.  Half the Jarn tribes siding with the Human and Sage Empire, while the other half declared war, and fought a retreating battle into what has become “Wild Space”.

Jarn

Still brutish, their bodies reflecting life-times of war, their technology bulky and inelegant.  But they had their own look, something that didn’t make them just “Space Orcs” anymore.

I still have yet to tackle what their spacecraft look like!  If you wold like to know more about the Savaged Universe check out my other blog:  One Hundred 

-TheGrav