DUCK WEEK PART 1: Blathering Blatherskite!

Welcome to the very first Bootleg Sketch Mega-Event(TM): that’s right, it’s Duck Week(TM)! What does that mean? It means that I’ll be drawing ducks this week. Yes, that’s right, ducks.

Pencil-Ninja was having a Disney-themed jam over at Deviant Art, and around the same time, old buddy Gavin added in the comments section, “enough with the He-Man! … [I'm] jonesing for a Disney Afternoon something or other…” On the one hand, the words “enough” and “He-Man” don’t make any sense to my brain at all–but on the other hand, I too “jones” for the golden age of the Disney Afternoon. And so, to kill two proverbial birds with one stone, I set my sketch-sights on Fenton Crackshell AKA Gizmo Duck, a later addition to the cast of Ducktales:

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I stuck with my own style and I changed a few details here and there, but this is still a pretty straightforward interpretation. Incidentally, if it’s not obvious, Gizmo Duck is supposed to be screeching to a halt. I’m happy with my color selections, though the shading, such as it is, is very basic. The background color was a last minute addition to distinguish Gizmo Duck’s white armor from the white background.

Check out the other entries in Pencil-Ninja’s jam at this link, and stay tuned for more DUCK WEEK(TM), including a bonus review on Wednesday and another Duck-Sketch on Friday, right here, on this very Blog! BELIEVE IT!

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.

BUT THAT’S NOT ALL

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:

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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!

REVIEW: Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children

Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (Available on DVD)

This review is not timely by any means, but I enjoyed Advent Children enough that I thought it merited a review. To quickly summarize, Advent Children is a direct to video computer-animated movie that acts as a sequel to the Playstation game Final Fantasy VII (FF7). I’m familiar with the basic story of FF7, but have never played through the game due to the fact that I lack sticktuitiveness, and therefore am a poor candidate for completeing RPGs. But even so, I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. I wasn’t crazy about the character model for the main character, Cloud, at first, but it had grown on me by the end. The animation is very smooth for the most part (a definite improvement over Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within), but the movements of background characters can be a bit marionette-like at times. Advent Children has a lot of atmosphere, and plenty of action (I guess some would say too much–but not me). The battles gleefully defy the laws of physics, and are truly epic in scope.

Verdict: Awesome. My only caveat is this–Advent Children is not for those who dislike anime or “wire-fu” martial arts movies. Granted, there are no wires, but the wildly exagerrated aerial fights certainly draw inspiration from the wire-assisted gravity-defying stunts of martial arts movies. In other words–if you hate the general awesomeness of anime and kung fu movies to begin with, don’t come back crying that it was melodramatic and the fights were unrealistic!

For More Awesome Martial Arts Battles: Kung Fu Hustle. ‘Nuff said!

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.”

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OMG! LOOK WHO’S RUNNING TO THE RING!

For Rick’s character design blog–the assignment was a wrestler. Mine is a cross between a sumo wrestler and a pro-wrestler:

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Tight pencils (in my less often seen anal-retentive style) with the usual Photoshop colors. I was afraid this was going to be another bland one, but I ended up being happy with how it turned out. Or maybe I just like the color blue? The pose is a little static (he’s supposed to be poised to make a powerful sumo palm-strike) and the hands are a bit clunky, but I think I did a decent job with giving a sense of this dude’s volume.

FIRST ATTACK… 500 POINTS!

Here’s a little something I whipped up for Super-Munkyboy‘s Art Jam over at Deviant Art. The subject was Samurai Jack versus Shredder. Check out the other entries here.

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As you can see, I drew Jack in my own style, rather than matching the look of the show, and I was a little pressed for time, so I “cleverly” figured out a way to avoid drawing Shredder (except for his arm, obviously). I think it more or less works, though I really feel like my recent stuff has been suffering from a certain degree of blandness. I think I need to try something completely new to shake things up here.

Post Script: Oh yes, and for those who did not make the deduction, I started a Deviant Art (DA) account which you can find linked on the sidebar. But if you don’t want to move your eyeballs 15 degrees, just click here. Anything I post on my DA account will show up here as well, but you may be interested in going to my page to check out my Favorites, so you can see other people’s art that I’ve been drooling over recently.

Post Post Script: And if you scroll down to the post just below this and read the comments, you can see that me and a few of my regular commentors are having a grand old time! Check Mark’s Hale’s blog for more.

Post Post Post Script: Last one, promise–I caught up on replying to comments, all the way back to the Bumblebee post!

BONUS POST: Nothing To Do With Anything…

Every now and then, I’m going to feel compelled to make an extraneous post that has nothing to do with anything. I promise these posts won’t interfere with my regular Tuesday/Friday sketch posts…

Okay, so the the 2008 Olympics are going to take place in Beijing. Anyone who knows me knows that sports are the last thing in the world that I care about. I mean, I like watching martial arts, archery, boxing, wrestling, and fencing, but that’s all stuff that can be used for ass-kicking, so it’s cool.

I’m straying from my point here–what caught my attention is that apparently the mascots for the 2008 Summer Games are THE BEST MASCOTS EVER:

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While not a fan of sports, I am a fan of awesome character design, and these little dudes (and dudettes) definitely fit the bill in that category. As a broad generalization, I would say that most mascots are designed in a manner that is technically competent but super bland. However, these “Fuwa” (as they are collectively called) combine sharp, modern design, with select traditional cultural elements, to create a striking and unique feel. The Fuwa could easily pass for characters from Wind Waker–a video game with art direction that was under-appreciated and ahead of its time.

But wait, there’s more–if you take a look at the official site, on the right-hand side there are icons of the Fuwa pertaining to each event of the Olympics! I thought these were really cute, so I saved them and posted some on my friends’ Myspace pages where relevant–basketball for Vinny, swimming for Annie, etcetera. But then, a genius idea sprang into my head… Revised Caption + Photoshop = HILARIOUS REMIX!

A little something for wrestling fans Josh and Charles:

And something for my Dungeons and Dragons homeboy Jacob:

While I had run out of friends to send fitting remixes to, I had not run out of hi-larious captions and a desire to procrastinate and absolutely ensure that I never accomplish anything productive ever, and so, more were born:



Last but not least, my personal favorite (a gold star to anyone who knows the quote):

In case anyone is interested, the original Chinese text is intact on all images except for “Dual Wield” and “PWNED.”

I realize probably no one finds this obscure crap as funny as I do, but nonetheless, enjoy, send ‘em to your friends, and make your own, if you feel the holy spirit compelling you to. In fact, if you do make your own, post them in the comments!

For more on the Fuwa (and believe me, you want to know more–the red one is basically a fire elemental):

The antelope is my favorite.

Bear With Me For A Moment…

Posted early from an undisclosed remote location. I GOTS THE COMPUTER PROBLEMS!

Sometimes I get an IM first thing in the morning from Kevin, and he says something like, “I need you to draw Lawyerbear real quick,” without offering any further explanation. Frankly, no further explanation was needed:

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I’m proud to say that the black and white version of this sketch was the very first illustration of Lawyerbear. You can see it here.

Proof that Kevin is Lawyerbear’s daddy is here.

Be Lawyerbear’s internet predator/fakefriend here.

And most importantly, visit the official site for more Lawyerbear art: www.lawyerbear.org