Alright, I think I've mentioned it before but I work as a pixel artist, mostly as an animator o and off as gigs come for about 10 years.
Most of my work has been making one or two animations for a character and then move on.
Right now, we're starting work on a game and I have been given a chance to tackle a bit the concept art side, and I could potentially handle the concept work and the art direction of this game (just me and another artist at most working on this, small inde thing)
this will not be so much a portfolio review, I'm more of asking for guidance on constructing a world for a game, since although I'm well aware what little life drawing I've done is not nearly enough and there's a long way to go before I dominate perspective and many other topics, but right now I'm concerned with the needs of this project in which there's a topdown perspective-less view and the characters are very deformed, so these skills are not paramount.
This is not one of those "work for me and I'll pay you if we ever do make any money back projects", this is a project with an inde developer who has already a few dungeon titles under his belt and I am being paid for my animation work...how the concept venture goes is yet to be seen =)
this is more than early phase for the project
we have a hero
and a monster
not designed by me. The monster's walk was inspired by a stork, but from feedback I'm not entirely sure it has succeded, does it look like a cartoony sneaky walk?
the story will not have a complicated plot, the hero leaves his town for his adventures and when he comes back it's been turned into monster land. game is topdown with souls-ish difficulty. Still, I would like to create a deep visual backdrop for this...just because I have the opportunity.
of course when imagining a nightmarish hell place I namedropped Zdzizlaw Beksinski right away :lol specifically this piece
The concept so far is that this is a hellish spot in a typical anime jrpg ambience,
there would be full on zdzislaw areas and separate, more common anime jrpg areas with threatening monsters.
Right now I'm trying to think of a base for anime-ish menacing monsters that still have some visual connection to a zdzislaw horror world.
my general idea for this is monsters based on actual theatrical expressions and mythical monsters, machine and building decoration mostly of medieval and renaissance era, with maybe some greek statue influences for the faces of some imponent enemies. My justification would be a sort of superconscience that was summoned and was hit emotionally by the collective subconscious of the time, and transformed the hero's hometown into the horrific satire of what it percieved that collective subconscious to be.
there are of course different areas, but I would not want to go the morallistic way and make them based on the seven sins, or to make it gamey and have ice area fire area, etc. I want to make it feel real and lived in, so ideally I would like for it to be a caricature of 16th century ideologies done by making themed monsters out of each different aspect of society, making each of these aspects one different area. This of course...would imply an understanding of 14th to 16th century and before that I dont have, I'm not sure how deep to study this. any reccomendations of a quick read that gets me up to date on untold horrors of the rise of europe? :p
After thinking of this I realize this whole idea of reasembles vampiric devolution of the clans, I did not do that willingly and would like to set the look apart, I guess I am just naturally attracted to the idea of using creature design to make visual allegories for the psyche.
Also, I know this reasembles Barlowe's inferno...the reason I dont reference him is that I only know what's on the net of the inferno and also that he is so prevalent already in gaming, dont really want to make a 2D Dante's Inferno.
So far I've looked at venetian masquerade and della comedia info, I think they're good horrific caricatures and enjoy the gargoyle-ish rendering. Also some greek theathre masks http://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/video ... f-commediahttp://delpiano.com/carnival/html/bauta.html
Gargoyles/church grims, "automata" and "wonder machines" of the era like astrolabes, orreries (chronoplasts? now I know where that imagery came from =p ) and other engravings of alchemical concepts and devices, all of which feature a much less function oriented conception of machines than we do, and use decoration and faces everywhere to give them a sense of character
works like "A description of the nature of four-footed beasts" or "monstrorum historia" which casually feature a manticore next to a deer, as well as depicting animals that are now familiar to us in completely alien ways, making them look like chimeras (actually I would love to know of more examples of this, I remember seeing scorpions with faces but I cant seem to find em now)
Something I mean to get into is the design of some restraining tools used for torture and early surgery tools, and plain old medieval armor. I think the idea that knights torture themselves by wearing this big hulky thing could be an interesting thing to explore by mixing armor with torture device.
in all of this, I see a commonality. Both organic and inert subjects that are imagined often are simply a smorgashboard of parts with little to no coherence in their construction.
Real machines and living beings both will be rendered with swirly features and stone-like features, making the living organism seem like statues and the inert objects acquire a sort of animism.
All of this speaks to me of the wierd misconstructed notion of reality which is likely related to the atrocities of the time. This is why I thought of the idea of a foreign superconscience being sort of traumatized by the collective subconscious as the origin of this monster world.
monsters should look like an incoherent sum of different parts, they are threatening but they shouldnt have the slick look of functionality of a panther or an aerodynamic machine. I want each of them to have unique sillouethe and be hybrids of contraption/animal/vegetable/monster/theater character (maybe not all at the same time). Also they cant be overly detailed like it's standard in 3D cause I still have to animate em frame by frame heh.
My task right now is to make a design for a humanoid monster with a build similar to that of the hero which you will encounter in all the levels and a mask similar to the monster that has been made. This humanoid will have many different attack animations, imagine an enemy with as many classes weapons and behaviors as our limited budget and pixelart will allow.
Evidently all this research is overkill, I feel like I have lost focus, possibly because my actual task is simple and the in-game context for all these ideas and visual refferences simply isnt there yet, I think it's good that I've got a sense of the aesthetic but I am disappointed with what I've created, I feel like it might fit the anime-ish bill but isnt rich or unique enough.
What I did was based on the Bauta, since it was a mask that crossed classes and was often used to hide the identity of someone engaging in inmoral behavior I thought it was fitting for an ubiquitous humanoid enemy.
I am having a little trouble keeping my design anime enough that it stays fitting as a anime enemy counterpart to the anime hero, while still having an interesting sillouethe fitting for a memorable signature enemy (like maybe G&G firebrand or the Slaugh) and reflects this concept I have of misconcieved medieval/early renaissance subconscious, specially since this enemy would be common to the most anime ish areas and also those that are have some horrific elements
Dan, I have the impression that you are pleased whenever you're presented with interesting ideas and worldbuilding concepts, that's why I dared to do this at all, but do tell me if you find any of this inappropiate. I would post all of the sketches I've done (I can post more if they become relevant) but I am a little insecure about how much I've already shown, the person who hired me has always been pretty free about how we share information and there's not NDAs of any sort PLUS none of this is approved so it might not even show up at all. Still, I think it's implied that not too much should be revealed to the public at large...I just couldnt resist the chance of maaaaybe getting some kind of feedback from you =)