What is thy bidding, my master?

The title of today’s post is a quote from Star Wars (Empire Strikes Back, actually), though I’m just using it here because it seemed appropriate for the body language of today’s sketch:
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Also posted on the He-Man.org fan-art forums. My post is here, the entire thread (including some of my previous sketches) is here.

This is Scare Glow, another of Skeletor’s thugs, who was introduced towards the end of the toyline, arguably after the franchise had “jumped the shark.” He was originally billed as the “Evil Ghost of Skeletor,” though this was never further clarified or confirmed in any official manner. It seems like fans generally agree that he is probably not Skeletor’s ghost, and that works fine for me. As a result, I have changed his title to “Evil Ghost Warrior.”

The drawing itself is actually several months old–after I completed Skeletor, I had a couple of failed attempts at Scare Glow that got as far as inks, but didn’t quite sit right with me… actually, those first few attempts just plain sucked. What you’re looking at is my third attempt, and I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. The pose is meant to convey Scare Glow’s standing as I see it–one of the deadliest and most trusted of Skeletor’s minions. Anyways, this pic had been sitting in my hard-drive half-colored for months, and now here it is.

Before I sign off for the day, an anal retentive point that I want to address–Scare Glow’s weapon is frequently referred to as a scythe, and I’m sorry but that is hands-down, one-hundred percent wrong. A weapon does not automatically become scythe just because it’s wielded by a grim reaper-like character! I should however, clarify that I’m talking about the classic Scare Glow–the Scare Glow for the 200x revamp, actually did carry a scythe. But back to the classic version–I’ve also seen it referred to as a halberd, which is much closer, but still not quite right, because Scare Glow’s weapon lacks a spike at the head and a hook or thorn on the backside of the blade. I thought that it was a glaive, but this too was a mistake, as closer inspection revealed that a glaive’s blade is mounted on the end of the pole, not the side. Further investigation lead me to the lochaber axe, which is pretty close–but again, Scare Glow’s weapon lacked a vital component–a hook at the head of the pole. Finally, my research turned up the bardiche and the voulge–both seem like they could work, but I’m guessing voulge is the way to go.

Do we have any medieval weapons experts who can give us a verdict? Or maybe just a really well versed fantasy RPG fan?

Post Script: Sorry Buffy-fans, THIS isn’t a scythe either–alliteration does not make a scythe a scythe!

DUCK WEEK PART 2: Horduck!

Typical tired Thursday night = early post:

I was watching my She-Ra DVDs, when something about the villain Hordak caught my eye–what’s up with his crazy duck feet? Check out this post on Busta Toon’s blog to see what I’m talking about. Anyways, a hilarious image popped in my head and I came up with this:

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I actually drew this several months ago, just after Christmas, I believe, and had left the colors in mid-progress. But when Super-Munkyboy started an art jam challenging entrants to turn a superhero or villain into animal, vegetable, or mineral, I thought this would be appropriate. I will update with a link when Super-Munkyboy posts the other entries.

The colors on this sucker follow Hordak’s animation model pretty closely. Same with the costume details, with the exception of the obvious, you know… duckification. I’m happy with how the smoke turned out–I’ve been playing around a little with incorporating gradients recently, rather than sticking strictly to two-tone cell-shading.

So originally this was intended to just be an anthropomorphic version of Hordak, but then I got to thinking–given the level of silliness in the old He-Man and She-Ra cartoons, Horduck could easily be incorporated into that universe! And so:

* * *

PROFILE: As a result of his technological and magical enhancements, HORDUCK is capable of shapeshifting in the same manner as Hordak, though his range is more limited. He has enhanced strength and stamina, and possesses thermal vision. Horduck is a classic bully with a Napoleon complex. He sincerely idolizes Hordak, and Hordak, as a result of a huge ego, humors this behavior. However, Horduck and Imp loathe eachother, as Imp percieves (correctly) that Horduck seeks to usurp his position as Hordack’s trusted messenger and protege.

HISTORY: A sickly slave from Hordak’s homeworld, the tiny despot who would become known as Horduck was the subject of experimentation by Modulok. Emerging from the experiments with enhanced powers and strength, he was raised by Shadow Weaver and Hordak, and indoctrinated in the ways of the Horde. Although he constantly claims to be a “Ducktator” of the outer territories of Etheria, in reality he’s merely the officer in command of a small Horde expeditionary force. Currently, he and his squadron are terrorizing a colony of Sagarian Trobbits. The Trobbits however, have allied themselves with the local Twigget population, and a group of Eternian Widgets who’ve found themselves stranded on Etheria.

* * *

Also posted on the He-Man.org fan-art forums. The thread is here.

And so, DUCK WEEK(TM) draws to an epic conclusion! In case you missed it, I did post a Duck-related review on Wednesday–scroll down to check it out. Stay tuned for more Bootleg Sketch Mega-Events(TM) in the near future!

Face it jackpot, you just hit the tiger!

Tired. Posting Early. Please Enjoy:

My previous fan characters, Trakka, Rayn-Ja, Mekorset, and Starburst were all created for re-design challenges. My version of Stridor, could certainly be considered a fan character, but he too was created for a re-design challenge. Malbino was a fully formed character in my head, but the motivation to actually complete his illustration was for the sake of yet another challenge. However, my offering today is particularly nerdy, because it is a fan character, created by me, without any outside prompting whatsoever:

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Also posted on the He-Man.org fan-art forums. The thread is here.

War-Tiger is, of course, just a re-color and slight tweaking of He-Man’s fearless friend, Battle Cat. After I decided to give Faker a similar pet, natural colors seemed like a fitting contrast to Battle Cat’s outlandish pelt. I’m satisfied with the overall results of this illustration–particularly with the way War-Tiger’s color scheme matches Faker (see my version here, if you missed it). Sometime after I came up with this idea, I came across a picture of a bootleg (heh) He-Man toy that came with a yellow tiger Battle Cat in Red Armor–a picture of the item in question is linked in this post. Eventually I’m going to have to come up with a name and backstory for that version too!

* * *

PROFILE: WAR-TIGER is a terran tiger of unusual size, power, and intelligence, as a result of specially prepared treatments administered to him by Skeletor himself. He and Faker apparently share a limited psychic bond, which Skeletor and Evil-Lyn can find no explanation for. Unlike Battle Cat, War-Tiger cannot speak, though it is clear that he can understand Faker’s commands.

HISTORY: When Skeletor’s inner circle travelled to Earth in an attempted negotiation with Carnivor’s Aracnos forces, Faker was separated from his party, and stumbled across an orphaned tiger cub. Faker found his way back to his allies, but the negotiations went poorly, and all-out hostilities were narrowly averted. However, Faker’s skill in combat and empathy for his newfound pet earned the deep respect of Felinor, General of the Aracnos Earth division. Since being brought to Eternia, War-Tiger has been raised to adulthood by Faker, and the pair has clashed several times with Battle Cat and He-Man.

* * *

Stalk Like An Egyptian

Today’s post is a Masters of the Universe fan character created by He-Man.org forum member Patreek. You can read all about Wraptor here (initial creation), here (development and design), and here (posting of final pictures). Four artists were asked to draw up the “final” illustrations of Wraptor, (click on their names to see their versions): Bearshow, Buffalo Bill Man, Super-Munkyboy, and me.

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My version of Wraptor is definitely meant to be in the style of the classic cartoon, while the others are done in the style of the 2002 revamp. I had seen Bearshow’s design already, and Patreek had given me a sneak peek of Buffalo Bill Man’s work-in-progress for reference. Their designs and final renderings were fantastic and done firmly in the style of the recent version of He-Man. Putting Wraptor into “classic” mode really just meant simplifying some costume elements and leaving out the skeletal snake appendages. The colors are heavily influenced by Bearshow’s version, though I simplified and brightened the colors somewhat, to give Wraptor the cartoony feel of the old series. I added the horny ridges on his brow just because I thought it made him look more dinosaur-y, and simplified the whip so that it wouldn’t distract from the snake-bandage-tendril-thingees. The snake-bandages, by the way, are something taken directly from Patreek’s earliest version of the character, and are my favorite thing about the character, along with his perfectly punny name.

Please check out the awesome renditions of Wraptor by the other artists, and definitely read Wraptor’s bio! And thanks to Patreek for inviting me to join in on this!

Fun Fact: Wraptor’s blade is a khopesh!

Accept No Substitutes? ALSO: BONUS WALLPAPER!!!

The subject of today’s mega-nerdy post is Faker.

Faker’s original title was “Evil Robotic He-Man Imposter,” but in Faker’s single appearance in the classic He-Man cartoon, he was identical to He-Man and conjured by Skeletor with magic. Combining the technological and magical origins of Faker, and envisioning my take on the character as something of a cross between a zombie and a Terminator, I gave him the title “Evil Relentless Doppelganger.” Relentless is, of course, a nod to how Terminators are frequently described, and doppelgangers are creatures from folklore and, um, Dungeons and Dragons.

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This one is a little unusual for a few reasons–for one, I don’t usually render shadow with line art, and as you can see, one side of his face is pretty heavily hatched. Also, the way I drew and colored the highlights in his hair is different from the more simplistic way that I usually depict hair. I think it worked out alright.

Some notes on the colors themselves–the power sword is supposed to be a mystical construct, generated by Faker’s battle aura. This was an idea I came up with to explain why Faker’s sword would be bright orange. Faker’s green gem and green eyes are supposed to be a callback to my take on Skeletor–if you refer back, you can see that I colored Skeletor’s gem green as well. The idea is that the gem is not merely for show, and serves some kind of mystical function. Since Faker was always something of a cross between He-Man and Skeletor, perhaps it is through the twin gems that Skeletor imbued part of his essence into Faker. If you look to this week’s earlier post, you can see that I gave Evil-Lyn a green gem and green eyes as well–the idea is that she’s drawing on a similar source of power as Skeletor.

Also posted on the He-Man.org fan-art forums. My post is here, the entire thread (including some of my previous sketches) is here.

I spelled “doppelganger” wrong in the picture. I’m too lazy to change it. I am a bad person.


With today’s post I’ve completed color sketches of Skeletor’s primary cronies, which is something of a mini-landmark achievement for me. I had always intended to try and make a wallpaper out of them, so here it is, dear reader:

click above for 1280 x 1024 (Fullscreen)

click above for 1920 x 1200 (Widescreen)

As my sketches accumulate, you can expect more themed wallpapers in the future. Enjoy, and let me know what you think.

Also posted on the He-Man.org fan-art forums in this thread.

Post Script: In case you missed it, I posted a DVD review on Wednesday. Check it out!

Evil, I’ve come to tell you that she’s evil, most definitely…

It’s Evil-Lyn, Skeletor’s most competent lieutenant. And the only skirt who lives in Snake Mountain. Jury’s out on whether or not she and Skeletor have a thang going on.

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I confess, I am not crazy about how this one turned out. The colors are alright, but the pose is awfully awkward. I actually did a lot of futzing with this in Photoshop, adjusting the position of her arms and literally rearranging her face. The result is better than what I started with, but nothing to write home about. In the plus column, I do think I did a decent job of giving her distinct facial features while keeping her attractive, yet evil-looking.

This was also posted on the He-Man.org fan-art forums. My post is here, the entire thread (including some of my previous sketches) is here.

Pencil-Ninja happened to be having an 80′s cartoon Art Jam over at Deviant Art so I submitted this to him as well. Check out the other entries here.

Fun Fact: Evil-Lyn has white hair–this was first revealed in the episode “Witch and the Warrior.”

Here Comes A New Challenger!!!

A different kind of contest this time around, at the He-Man.org fan-art forums. The challenge this time was to create an original “evil warrior.” This challenge was put out by the awesome action figure customizing group COTU (Customs of the Universe), and they’re actually offering some prizes. Contest thread is here, and my post is here. Semi-final voting thread is here. I didn’t win, but I was one of the runners-up, and COTU generously offered up prize packages of custom Masters of the Universe accessories! Photos to come in a future post.

And, my creation:

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Malbino is constructed from the following parts:

  • Beastman head
  • Skeletor torso and arms
  • Tri-Klops armor
  • Man-E-Faces pelvis
  • Sy-Klone legs
  • Weapons Pack Power Sword

I already had this character pretty fleshed out in my head before I heard about the contest. The original motivation behind creating Malbino is that I wanted to create characters to wield the various accessories from the classic weapons pack. I hadn’t planned on getting around to this sketch for a while, but COTU’s contest seemed like a perfect place to present Malbino. The pose and concept are very similar to my version of Felinor, due to the fact that the existence of each character revolves around a duplicate Power Sword. And the name is, of course, a terrible pun in the great tradition of Masters of the Universe. Whaddaya know, I just happen to have a complete background written up for him:

* * *

PROFILE: MALBINO is a virtually unrivaled master of stealth and the sword. His sole concern in life is furthering his mastery of the blade by annihilating any and all who would be his rivals. As a result, he is unapologetically belligerent, even towards his so-called allies. He is armed with a replica of He-Man’s power sword, forged by the same master sword-maker who created Felinor’s counterfeit blade. It is unknown exactly how many of these forgeries exist. Intense light has been known to blind Malbino temporarily, but due to the fact that he is an expert blind-fighter as well, this knowledge is of little use.

HISTORY: Originally hailing from one of the most remote corners of Eternia, Malbino studied swordplay under the same teacher as his bitter rival, Tri-Klops. He has travelled the world, seeking out and ruthlessly slaying anyone whom he considers a master of the blade. In spite of having carved a bloody path of destruction through the martial world of Eternia, Malbino is little known, largely due to the fact that he has no interest in public glory and rarely leaves witnesses. Having heard that his old rival is engaged in on-going conflict with He-Man, owner of one of the true power swords, Malbino travelled to Snake Mountain to offer his services to Skeletor, determined to kill the opponent that Tri-Klops has failed to defeat. Malbino’s violent and efficient methods earned Skeletor’s respect, and in spite of Tri-Klop’s warnings, Skeletor has made Malbino one of his lieutenants. However, the wandering swordmaster has no real interest in Skeletor’s conflicts, he is merely interested in finding more masters of swordsmanship to vanquish. In addition to He-Man, Malbino has set his sights on She-Ra, and a skirmish with the Aracnos forces introduced him to Felinor, whom he took great interest in, for obvious reasons. Even amongst Skeletor’s other lieutenants, Malbino has made few allies–he has nearly come to blows with Ninjor and Blade on numerous occasions. However, he has also told Tri-Klops this: “Out of respect for our Master, I will kill you last. For now, we are allies.”

* * *

Not the Candy…

(Posting a little bit early for the usual reasons.)

Re-design challenge at the He-Man.org fan-art forums for the second half of March–my post is here and the original thread is here. The voting thread is here. I managed to land first place!

The subject is Starburst She-Ra, an action figure variation of He-Man’s twin sister She-Ra. However, my version has a bit of a twist to it:

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As you can see, rather than drawing a variation on She-Ra, I tweaked the design so that she’s a different character entirely. I’m happy with how the sword and star field turned out, but other than that I feel pretty lukwarm about this one. Only one thing can save this–an elaborate and nerdy background for the character, written by yours truly!

* * *

PROFILE: Stoic and pragmatic, STARBURST is a woman of few words, as a result of her extended isolation in deep space. In spite of her reticent manner and her reluctance to trust others, Starburst is nonetheless a powerful ally to the heroes of both Etheria and Eternia. Her mystical cloak endows her with a number of powers, including super-natural strength and stamina (in the same league as He-Man and She-Ra), as well as flight, and the ability to traverse the cosmos freely. Her sword has a blade cut from a rare type of Etherian gem, and is charged with cosmic energy. The powers of the cloak have also slowed her aging.

HISTORY: Over a century ago, Etheria existed in an age of peace, and Starburst was Light Hope’s champion, watching over the planet, and maintaining the delicate blance of justice. A Cosmic Enforcer came to the planet, seeking Starburst’s aide in battling a marauding space fleet known only as “The Horde.” At Starburst’s request, Light Hope permitted her to leave Etheria, hoping that with her aid, the Horde fleet could be stopped before they reached Etheria.

However, the Cosmic Enforcer was in a fact a rogue who had betrayed his order, and he teleported Starburst lightyears away, behind enemy lines. Without Starburst to lead the forces of Etheria, the Horde was able to invade and gain a significant foothold. Light Hope was greatly weakened (a large portion of his power still imbued in Starburst) and could do little to help.

For one hundred years, Starburst has been fighting her way through Horde forces with little or no help, trying to get back to her home planet. In her journeys she has clashed with the legitimate Cosmic Enforcers, and later allied with them, after it was revealed that the Enforcer who betrayed her was a rogue.

Finally, she has returned, and none too soon–with the disappearance of He-Man, and the Horde invasion of Eternia, She-Ra has been desperately needed by Eternia and the Sorceress of Grayskull. With Starburst holding the Etherian front against the Horde, She-Ra has returned to Eternia for the time being. Accustomed to working alone, Starburst is finding it somewhat difficult to adapt to her position as one of the leaders of the Etherian Rebels. Her dedication however, is unquestionable.

* * *

Starburst is just the first in a series of “original” fan-characters based on existing He-Man/She-Ra toys. Look for more in the coming weeks.

SCARCE COCO NIMROD FEZ is an anagram for…

Zodac, Cosmic Enforcer!

(Posted early because I don’t know if I’m going to be sitting in front of my computer when midnight hits. I just might be unconscious with fatigue.)

This He-Man action figure was originally billed as being “evil.” The cartoon, however, made it pretty obvious that he was a neutral figure who leaned very heavily towards the side of good. As far as characterization goes, I take most of my cues from the cartoon, so I’m filing him under the good guys.

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This time, the static pose was actually intentional–meant to emphasize his supposed neutrality. The holographic globe (which is meant to emphasize his cosmic nature) is just something I came up with, as far as I know. It’s possible that my brain pulled it out of the subliminal depths of long forgotten He-Man episodes from my misspent youth. But those episodes won’t be forgotten for long–I do plan on completeing my He-Man DVD collection soon.

The costume tweaks that I made on this design are rather similar to the modifications that I made in my illustration of Tri-Klops–I consolidated the harness from his chest plate with his belt to avoid a redundant-looking double-belt, and I ‘covered’ his neck. The covered neck on Zodac, as with Tri-Klops, is inspired by the 200x version. The rest of the costume is pretty much straight up from the original.

This was posted on the He-Man.org fan-art forums. My post is here, the entire thread (including some of my previous sketches) is here.

For more anagrams:

Mekaneck’s Wife Is Hott!

Re-design challenge at the He-Man.org fan-art forums for the first half of March–my post is here and the original thread is here. The voting thread is here–I snagged a first-place vote… sweet!

The subject today, is the mother of Mekaneck‘s son Philip. I phrase it like that because she is a character who was neither seen nor referenced in the old He-Man cartoon. The only inference of her existence is the existence of Philip. In fact we don’t even know if Philip is Mekaneck’s biological son. But for the sake of my entry, I make the assumption that Philip is the biological son of Mekaneck and this classy lady:

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The design of “Mekorset” is really just based on pre-existing elements. Her armor and goggles are extrapolated from Mekaneck himself, and the rest of the costume elements are swiped from Teela/Evil-Lyn. The club and pistol are weapons from Man-At-Arms and Zodac, respectively, re-colored to match Mekaneck’s club, and modified just slightly. The name “Mekorset” is a contraction of “mechanical” and “corset,” the same way Mekaneck’s name is a contraction of “mechanical” and “neck.” Where Mekaneck has the ability to extend his neck, his better half can extend her midriff. Pretty clever, yes? No? Right.

What you are looking at is essentially the very first drawing I did of this character. I’m pleased with how it turned out–yes, it’s a typical static girl-pose that you would expect from me, but something about her stance is natural and relaxed (well, relatively relaxed, considering that she’s armed to the teeth). And it’s always nice when you get something on the first try.

The colors, on the other hand, are pretty bland, I think. The colors of her uniform follow Mekaneck pretty closely, and she has blonde hair to match her son. The lighting is even less dynamic than usual, but I didn’t want to spend a ton of time on a really obscure character who’s the estranged wife of a second-stringer. How do I know that she’s estranged, you say? I’m glad you asked–read on for some background info, nerdily composed by yours truly!

* * *

PROFILE: In her public life, MEKORSET is a steadfast yet just authority figure, well-loved in the territories that she oversees. In her personal life she is fiercely devoted to her family. She is equipped with a bionic midriff that can extend up to 10 feet–beyond making her a “human periscope” like her husband, she also uses the ability to enhance her hand-to-hand combat abilities. Her goggles provide her with a variety of enhanced visual senses–telescopic vision, nightvision, thermal vision, video recording and transmission etcetera. Her light battle bludgeon is standard issue to Eternian military, but her sidearm is a special model engineered by Man-At-Arms from off-world technology. In close and ranged combat, Mekorset is surpassed by few.

HISTORY: Mekorset and her husband Mekaneck, were both injured when trying to to track their son Philip through a violent storm generated by the evil sorcerer Count Marzo, who had kidnapped Philip. The couple each received bionic prostheses which not only saved their lives, but gave them new powers. However, the loss of their son, compounded with the fact that they had married at a very young age, caused excessive strain on their marriage. Mekorset, as she was now called, became one of the King’s wardens, and transferred to a distant outpost, overseeing some of the King’s territories on the frontier.

In the aftermath of Mekaneck discovering and rescuing Philip from Count Marzo, Mekorset has reunited with her son and her estranged spouse. By decree of King Randor and Queen Marlena, Mekorset was transferred to an outpost closer to the Eternian capitol (roughly half a day’s ride on a Stridor unit) where she remains one of the King’s most trusted Wardens. Mekaneck, who still serves as a special agent in the reconaissance division of the Royal Guard, now lives with his wife and son at the outpost. Mekorset and Mekaneck are currently seeing a marriage counselor, and seem to be well on their way to rebuilding their family. Their son Philip recently became a junior recruit in the Royal Guard.

* * *

Further Tangential Fan Speculation Regarding Mekaneck’s Family: Some folks on the forums pointed out that another Philip who showed up might be the same Philip as Mechaneck’s son, though no reference is made to corroborate this.

Also: Yes, I realize this is all ridiculous, but as you ought to have guessed, I have unsurpassed affection for nerdy and obscure things. IT’S JUST WHO I AM… O_O

Don’t Go In There–It’s A Trap (Jaw)!

The subject of today’s mega-nerdy post is Trap Jaw, another henchman of Skeletor, described on as “Evil and Armed For Combat.” (Unfortunately, Wikipedia lives up to its reputation for inaccuracy in this instance–”Trap Jaw” is not hyphenated. Shameful.)

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“Evil and armed for combat” is all good and fine, but as you can see, I changed Trap Jaw’s blurb to “Evil Master of Arms.” I prefer it because it’s a title rather than a description, plus it has a pun in there, which is always good for a He-Man character (Trap Jaw has a prosthetic arm with interchangable attachments, for those of you who don’t know).

The pose gave me quite a bit of trouble this time around… this is actually my third go at Trap Jaw. I got as far as starting inks on the two previous attempts, but they were really very awkward. I ended up with a pretty static pose (a trap that I fall into frequently), but since the goal of this sketch blog is completion, speed, and productivity rather than perfection, I was willing to make the sacrifice. Better to finish it off and move on to the next one!

The details of the drawing are pretty faithful to the toy. In fact–not being an owner of the original Trap Jaw action figure, I never realized that his left arm is almost completely armored. However, my obsessive internet search for reference rectified this oversight. I’m pretty surprised that I have not previously come across any Trap Jaw art depicting him with an armored arm. The tubes and wires coming from the blaster on his prosthetic arm were completely fabricated by me.

I took more creative liberty with the colors than I usually do–burgundy has more of a presence in his color scheme as a nod to the cartoon, but I scaled it back just a little bit, so that there wouldn’t be large masses of one uninterrupted color.

This was posted on the He-Man.org fan-art forums. My post is here, the entire thread (including some of my previous sketches) is here.

A (Humanoid Robotic) Horse Is A Horse, Of Course, Of Course…

Re-design challenge at the He-Man.org fan-art forums for the second half of February–my post is here and the original thread is here. The voting thread is here–I placed second.

The subject is Stridor, “Heroic Armored War Horse.”

The original Stridor toy is a solid, straightforward design without much room for improvement. My solution for the re-design challenge was to instead give him a completely new humanoid transformation. Actually, it’s not too much of a transformation–he pretty much just stands up on his hind legs, and his articulated hands pop out; a few other things shift around, but nothing too complex. To accommodate his humanoid mode, the tail gun is now mounted on the hip, and a protective shield guards what would otherwise be a vulnerable belly. The jousting lance is my addition as well. Color-wise, I stayed pretty faithful to the original–a notable addition being the coppery orange that I used for his joints:

click above for larger view

What’s that? You’re just not getting a feel for my interpretation of the character? The artwork is okay but you wish I had come up with some background info to flesh out and explain my re-design? Well, here ya go:

* * *

PROFILE: On the battlefield STRIDOR is a courageous leader, a shrewd strategist, and a firece fighter. Off the battlefield he is gentle and easy-going. In horse mode he is the size of a large armored war horse, and in humanoid mode, he stands almost twice as tall as a man. His ranged weapons include dual heavy laser cannons, and a rapid-fire hip blaster. His primary weapon in close combat is a heavy jousting lance.

HISTORY: The Stridor Project began in Man-At-Arms’ laboratory as a simple experiment in robotics and simulated AI. His goal was to create a robotic mount with the equivalent of a horse’s IQ, for military use. The Stridor prototype was field-tested by Teela, Captain of the Royal Guard, and over time Man-At-Arms gradually improved on Stridor’s design and programming. The Stridor prototype became the template for a mass-production model that would completely mechanize the Royal Armored Cavalry.

When the Eternian capital found themselves under seige by an army of centaur-like cyborgs–conquerors from the remote planet Equestris–Man-At-Arms engineered an alternate humanoid transformation for the original Stridor prototype, so that he could more efficiently battle this new threat. With casualties running high, and few human soldiers available, Stridor went into battle with his robotic bretheren, a so-called “unmanned cavalry,” and drove the gladiators of Equestris off of Eternia.

However, it soon became apparent to Man-At-Arms that the original Stridor prototype had developed sentience, as a result of the continued improvements to his programming. Faced with a crisis of conscience, Man-At-Arms could only grant Stridor his freedom, rather than forcing him to serve in the Royal army.

For several months, Stridor travelled the lands of Eternia, pondering his place in the world. But when the armies of Equestris returned to Eternia for vengeance, Stridor knew where he belonged. He raced back to the capital and again, lead his robotic bretheren to victory (with some help from He-Man). Stridor was heavily decorated for his heroism, and asked to be reinstated in the Royal Armored Cavalry, under one condition–that the other Stridor models be given humanoid forms and the freedom to choose their path as they developed sentience. King Randor and Man-At-Arms gladly agreed.

Stridor was made Commander of the Armored Cavalry, and he has come to regard Man-At-Arms as his father, and Teela as his sister. Eventually, all of the Stridor models developed sentience, and were granted humanoid forms and freedom, and have chosen individual names for themselves. To this day, you can see Stridor’s descendants mingling with the other denizens of the lands of Eternia. Most have opted to serve the kingdom, but more than a few have chosen a path of their own.

* * *

In Case You Were Wondering:

  • The cyborgs from Equestris are a reference to the Micronaut toy Centaurus.
  • Stridor, is not a reference to this.

"Uno Gato Muy Peligroso" o "Uno Blog Post Muy Nerdoso"

Yet another re-design challenge at the He-Man.org fan-art forums–my post is here and the original thread is here. The voting thread is here–I placed second.

The subject this time around is part of a line of Argentinian toys called Fuerza-T. These action figures used old He-Man molds (licensed by Mattel, as far as I know), with mixed and matched body parts and accessories, and new color schemes to make each figure appear unique. While they are not officially He-Man toys, Fuerza-T action figures are still of interest to enlightened He-Man enthusiasts. I am one of those enthusiasts.

Felinor is a member of the evil Aracnos faction. His hobbies include drinking the blood of his enemies. His dislikes include the rival villain group Escorpius, and the heroes known collectively as Fuerza-T. The toy version of Felinor is constructed from Mer-Man’s head, Beast Man’s body, Skeletor’s armor, and He-Man’s power sword. My version diverges from this a little, for the sake of making Felinor appear a little more unique:

click above for larger view

This one came together pretty quickly–for whatever reason, I was able to quickly pick colors that I was satisfied with, which I usually find difficult and time-consuming. The key for me was adding more cold colors to accompany the white face and turquoise brow of the original color scheme. His chest and shoulder armor were modified to resemble the Aracnos symbol, and the studded arm bracers are taken from the official illustration of Felinor. I added the nose, the tail, the scaley feet and hands, and the cat’s eye motif (A lot of the other fan-interpretations of Felinor include a cat’s eye motif as well). The cape is my addition too–inspired by the hood-like collar in the original illustration. Despite the wisdom of the Incredibles, I just think everyone is cooler with a cape. And as a nod to Felinor’s allegiance to the Aracnos, his cape has eight points, just as a spider has eight legs.

Man… posting a drawing of an obscure Argentinian action figure with a metafictional lineage that connects back to three of He-Man’s greatest foes just doesn’t seem geeky enough. What could I do to really geek this up? I KNOW. Since very little is known about him, I could write a little background material for this crazy cat (get it? cause he’s a cat)…

* * *

FELINOR is fiercely loyal to Carnivor, ruthless leader of the Aracnos faction. His golden sword was created by a master sword-maker, in a mortal attempt to mimic the divinely forged perfection of He-Man’s power sword. The sword-maker’s intentions were not sinister, but Felinor cast a spell to corrupt the blade, and the cursed sword now shares Felinor’s hunger for blood. To further bolster his strength, Felinor encrusted his power sword’s hilt with an enchanted gem. This gem is another counterfeit–copied from an artifact from the nearby planet Thundera (the gem on his breastplate is simply decorative). In spite of all this, Felinor’s power sword still does not match that of He-Man or She-Ra’s true power swords. It is rumored that the mysterious sword-maker escaped and disappeared, and was even able to forge more power-sword imitations. the existence of these swords has not been confirmed.

Most recently, Carnivor has discovered the existence of planet Earth, and has sent Felinor and a subterranean attack force to perform reconnaissance and prepare the planet for invasion.

* * *

I coined Felinor’s title of “Evil Nocturnal Champion” myself, but in light of the profile I just whipped up, I wonder if “Evil Copy Cat” would have been more appropriate?

Did I use "whom" correctly in this post?

This illustration was for another re-design challenge at the He-Man.org fan-art forums. The parameters of this contest were a little different–instead of re-designing existing characters from the He-Man/She-Ra canon, the goal this time was to redesign an unused concept drawing from the He-Man toyline. The concept drawing in question depicted two different versions of an unnamed female ranger-type character. The two concepts looked distinct enough that I thought each one deserved a full-fledged character design. My post is here, the whole thread (including the original concept drawing) is here. Voting thread is here–I placed third.
click above for larger view

You may or may not notice, but the inks on this sketch are much cleaner than anything else I’ve posted so far. This is the result of a few factors:

  1. My natural tendency towards the anal-retentive style that I have referred to in the past (ironically, drawing loosely requires more conscious effort on my part).
  2. The relatively small size of the original pencil sketch, prohibiting a certain degree of looseness.
  3. Female subject matter–whom, if drawn with an excess of sketch lines, can begin to appear harsh even if that is not the intended result.
  4. More design work than usual–the more I have to design a character’s costume elements, etcetera, the tighter I pencil. The tighter I pencil, the tighter I ink.
The coloring this time around was a bit difficult for me. Because I had no pre-existing colors to go off of, I went through several different color schemes before settling on what you see here. The trick was that the image needed to capture the bright, saturated, primary colors that I associate with the style of the He-Man universe. My first few attempts were done in subdued earth tones and olive-greens that were more befitting forest rangers in the “real” world. However, the result was that my redesigns simply looked like generic Dungeons and Dragons types rather than characters that looked like they specifically belonged in He-Man’s world. With that in mind, I adjusted the colors to try and capture the cartoony feel of He-Man as best I could. I think Trakka’s color scheme is more of a success than Rayn-Ja’s.

Here’s a brief profile that I whipped up for the two of them (oh, and the cheesy names were completely created by me):

* * *

TRAKKA (an Eternian “human”) and RAYN-JA (of the Tree People) are expert foresters and sworn sisters. They patrol the wilderness ranging between the Eternian capital and the ancient home of the Tree People, guiding travellers and merchants, apprehending poachers, and negotiating disputes between various forest-dwelling tribes. TRAKKA’s skills in archery are unparalleled by any villains that the Horde or the Snakemen have to offer–only Skeletor’s henchman Ninjor has ever equalled TRAKKA’s deadly aim. RAYN-JA uses her MOON STAFF to channel potent druidic powers that allow her to shape and communicate with the wilderness. They frequently ally with Moss Man, and the matching hunting knives that they carry were given to them by King Randor in honor of their heroic deeds.

* * *

That Dude is a Beast, Man!

His name is Beast Man
Fierce Minion of Skeletor
Savage Orange Rage

click above for larger view

I’m pretty happy with how this turned out–just don’t try examining his musculature–it’s an anatomical mess! Action pose is a little awkward, but better than my Mer-Man or Tri-Klops, I think. As usual, I tweaked the colors a little bit, where I thought it was logical to do so–the biggest change being that I made his arm-pads gold instead of red. I have no idea if there is any precedent for his whip to be made of energy, but the idea of coloring a plain black whip seemed BO-RING. I do know that the villain Blade had an energy whip in the live action Masters of the Universe movie. (+4 geek points)

As usual, this was posted on the He-Man.org fan-art forums. My post is here, the entire thread (including some of my previous sketches) is here.

TERRIBLE TITLE: If At First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try, Tri-Klops Again…

A few quick notes–

  1. For anyone who did not notice, I put up a bonus post on Wednesday night. Check it out–it features more J.Ho art as well as some non-J.Ho art!
  2. For those who don’t care about He-Man (who are you people?)–please keep checking back–I have several pieces coming up that have nothing to do with He-Man, and at least two that don’t even have anything to do with cartoons. Really!
  3. There was an issue with the line-spacing in my posts, where I was getting single-spacing and double-spacing at seemingly random intervals. I have fixed it, and conformed all posts to single-spacing. If you have a strong preference for double-spacing please let me know.

Okay, enough with the small talk–today’s entry is Tri-Klops, another evil minion of Skeletor:

click above for larger view

This was kind of an odd one–I started with a really messy sketch, which was so heavy with blue pencil that i couldn’t go over it with ink to tighten it. I was able to do a slightly-refined-but-still-very-messy ink sketch over that. I scanned that in, and tried inking it in Photoshop, but that was too clean compared to the other sketchy He-Man pics that I’ve been drawing. So I cleaned the scanned ink sketch a bit (but obviously retained a level of sketchyness to be consistent with my other drawings), and merged that with the “too clean” Photoshop “inks” to get the final line art. That whole process didn’t take as long as I might have made it sound, maybe an hour or so. The coloring of Tri-Klops was basically uneventful.

This pose is a little more dynamic than the others I’ve posted so far… still a bit awkward, but for the time it took me, I’m basically okay with it. As usual, I took a few liberties in depicting the costume details and colors. I merged the harness of his armor with his belt, because I felt that the design on the original toy was a bit redundant, and I made the green parts of his armor more olive, because I felt this matched the orange better. In a nod to the 200x design, I “covered” his neck. I also changed the colors of his sword, but I’m not sure how I feel about the result.

As for the title “Evil All-Seeing Swordmaster,” well, I’m kind of freestyling there. The original tag for the action figure was “Evil and Sees Everything.” Skeletor is a “Lord of Destruction,” and Merman is an “Ocean Warlord”… all Tri-Klops gets is the same description that I would use to describe a nosy neighbor? Not very intimidating. So anyways, I tried combining what is known about the character to create a more menacing title, while trying to stay within the style of the original toys.

As usual, this was posted on the He-Man.org fan-art forums. My post is here, the entire thread (including my Skeletor sketch) is here.

BONUS POST: Double Bonus + Extra Bonus!!!

This illustration was for the second re-design challenge that I entered at the He-Man.org fan-art forums, during the second half of December. My post is here, the whole thread is here, and the voting thread is here. After the results were tallied, I tied for first!

Double Trouble is a character from the She-Ra toyline that never appeared in the cartoon. She-Ra and her allies in the Rebellion were at constant war with the evil Horde, a totalitarian regime that dominated most of the planet Etheria. Double Trouble’s action figure was billed as a “Glamorous Double Agent,” and her action feature was switching her face from good (smiling) to evil (grimacing). And really, I think that’s all kids need to know about morality:

smiling = good

click above for larger view

Inspiration struck when I was looking at pictures of the Double Trouble toy–I noticed that the crest on her helmet, and the symbol on her chest, both had vaguely the same silhouette as the emblem of the Horde (a skull with bat wings). So, rather than having the “evil” version of Double Trouble just grimacing, I designed a complete Horde disguise for her.

The Horde version (left) of Double Trouble is armed with a gargoyle-crossbow thingee, which I assume is standard issue for high ranking Horde officers, because almost all of the Horde action figures came with one. I darkened the green on her uniform so it would be a bit more “military” and added in some red and black to emphasize the Horde theme (for those who do not know, red and black are more or less the colors of the Horde). The end result is sort of christmas-looking, but that was just a coincidence!

The Rebellion version (right) has just has a few tweaks from the original–I added some green on the shoulder pads, and made her bracers and choker silver to match her boots and the accents on her helmet. I’ve never been a fan of the sheer tutus that many of the She-Ra figures had, so instead I made the “skirt” part of a tunic.

BUUUT, that’s not all

click above to view Super-Munkyboy’s Deviant Art post

Mad props to forum member Super-Munkyboy, who drew a chibi version of my Double Trouble re-design–he even modernized the costume to match up to the more intricate character designs of the 200x He-Man cartoon! (The character on the right-hand side is a Horde villain named Vultak) Super-Munkyboy’s post on He-Man.org is HERE, and his deviant art page is HERE–check it out, he’s taken “chibi” to a whole new level!

No, it’s not a sketch of Ethel Merman…

… it’s a sketch of Mer-Man–Ocean Warlord, and minion of Skeletor! As usual, this was posted on the He-Man.org fan-art forums. My post is here, the entire thread (including my Skeletor sketch) is here.
click above for larger view
Of my posts so far, this sketch is probably the… sketchiest. The pose is ten kinds of awkward, and the body is just a shade too squat, even by the uber-buffed standards of He-Man action figures. On the other hand, the face turned out the way I wanted it too, and I’m pretty satisfied with the colors… Well, they can’t all be winners.

That’s about all I have to say about that. So now, to fill space as my system experiences a catastrophic crash from a carb and sugar high brought on by my dark lord, Jack In The Box, I will list the sinister contents of my disastrous lunch:

  1. Steak and Cheddar Ciabatta Sandwich (roughly the size of a premature baby)
  2. Miniature trough full of Cheese and Bacon Potato Wedges
  3. Large Order of Curly Fries (I only finished two-thirds of it)
  4. A bucket full of Orange Fanta.
It should go without saying that I skipped dinner.

For more on Ethel Merman:

This Post Needs A Funny Title

Yet another illustration entered into a re-design challenge at He-Man.org. My post on the fan-art forums is here, and the entire thread can be found here. The voting thread is here–I managed to snag third place again.
The subject this time is a character named Sea Hawk from the She-Ra cartoon. He appeared in a handful of episodes, and was the love interest of She-Ra (lucky bastard!). Sea Hawk was a swashbuckling pirate modelled after Errol Flynn, and named after one of Flynn’s movies.

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This interpretation is based on a later appearance of the character where he inherits a few special artifacts and temporarily takes on a masked identity to fight evil, like the Scarlet Pimpernel. I just made some minor tweaks on the costume to push the superhero aspect of Sea Hawk’s masked persona. Actually, if you ignore the color scheme, this looks sort of like a cross between Green Arrow and Robin (Tim Drake’s original costume).

It just occurred to me that this post is uncharacteristically humorless. I think lack of sleep has finally caught up to me… LOOK AT THE MONKEY!!!


Surprise! A Nerdy Fan-Art on a Friday Afternoon!

For the uninitiated, this is kind of a complicated one. In the She-Ra cartoon, the bad guys were a totalitarian regime known as “The Horde,” and they were lead by a cyborg-ish guy with a skull-like face named Hordak. Skeletor, incidentally, was originally Hordak’s apprentice, but I digress. Hordak’s boss was an entity named “Horde Prime,” who was also supposedly Hordak’s brother. The only pieces of Horde Prime that were ever seen by the viewers were two glowing eyes and his gargantuan metallic hand (whether armored or robotic, we don’t know). And the only reference to his appearance mentions that he has two heads. Aside from the cartoon, there are also one or two minor and completely contradictory appearances of Horde Prime in the UK comic books.

All in all, this has lead to a lot of discussions amongst He-Man/She-Ra fans about the nature and appearance of Horde Prime. Here is my interpretation:

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A lot of hardcore He-Man/She-Ra fans don’t like Horde Prime, because he takes away from the impact of Hordak, who was always billed within the toys as the leader of the Horde. The strongest argument of opponents of Horde Prime is this:

If Horde Prime was the leader of the Horde, then why was Hordak’s face on the emblem of the Horde?

And this is what got my geeky little brain rolling. The basic assumption that I make in my illustration is this: it is not Hordak’s face on the Horde emblem. For my version, the armor was based on the UK comic book version, while the hand was based on the cartoon depiction. His head and face are, of course, based on the Horde symbol (or by retro-continuity, the basis for the Horde Symbol). As for the secondary head, I just wanted to give him his extra head in an unexpected way. Oh, and I assume that Horde Prime is, like Hordak, a shapeshifter, so the secondary head can retract and morph back into an eyeball. I view Horde Prime as Hordak’s brother, who started out roughly-human sized like Hordak–over time, his shapeshifting abilities developed further, and eventually he was able to use his powers to increase his size.

The discussion thread about Horde Prime on the He-Man.org art forums is here, and my post is here.

For more on Horde Prime: