Friday, July 1, 2016

Massive Darkness: Lord Tusk

OK. I will admit it, I was sick when I did this. And I mean physically, not mentally. I had a pretty nasty head-cold and was wacky on the antihistamines and full-on lack of sleep. On top of that I was  away from home so I was sculpting on the fly but luckily I had a little bit of everything I needed to get him done. This guy was on the list GG sent me and was just named as, "Ogre."

Again, free-form sculpting with this one and considering my condition probably more so then normal. I remember I had made the smaller cleaver first, thought it too small, sculpted a bigger one and made it look as though he was leaning on it. Then, somewhere along the way I decided to use the cleaver I already had made and put it in his other hand because... I guess I thought he needed it? Right? I don't know, maybe he throws the smaller one first and uses the bigger two handed... Or maybe he's just that bad ass?

I had started the Cyclops Spear Maiden already but had to leave it at home since it was in no condition to travel so I worked on this guy instead. He was the second to be started for the project but the first to get done (and smallest) and I was sure that once I sent pictures off to the GG crew there was going to be a lot of, "What were you thinking?" comments. I had even began preparing a new armature for a re-sculpt in expectation of them wanting something a bit less over the top but they liked him and requested more. I wouldn't say I was delusional when I sculpted this one but fairly loopy for a while and semi confused with what I did when I got better so if you are wondering why I did it like this, your not the only one. The awesome picture the artist drew of my sculpt made me feel better about it all though.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Massive Darkness: Hellephant (AKA: Kevin)

This guy just got unlocked so here's my post about it: This is another one of my designs and was part of a list of proposed figures for the game that had been sent to me from the GG crew. With only the description of, "3-armed ogre" I had quite the leeway with the design and I'm sure this figure, like several other of the sculpts they let me be creative with, was not at all what the guys at Guillotine Games were expecting.

I had pondered how I wanted to approach it and bounced around with ideas of an ogre with two arms on one side and one big one on the other but I was worried that it would just look like everything else I've sculpted with an extra arm sprouting out of it's armpit. I was suddenly taken by the idea of an elephant-type of creature and immediately remembered issue #4 of Conan the Barbarian where he meets an alien being named Yag-Kosha who was trapped and tortured in a wizards tower. The imagery had stuck with me from early childhood when I used to read my dads comic collection since I thought the idea of an man-elephant was an odd idea for an alien. Then there was Chaugnar Faugn from the Lovecraft Circle of writing that bought up some interesting ideas for inspiration. With that in mind I began sculpting and saw where it took me.

Usually when I get to sculpt like this I can add or discard ideas as I go since I'm not beholden to any artwork. With only a general idea of the overall look I got to have fun with the design and try to create something unique for the game. I didn't want it to look just like an anthropomorphize pachyderm and felt it needed to appear more alien; more like this species had a resemblance to an elephant rather then an elephant that mutated, if that makes sense. The "trunk" became more of a tentacle arm with claws that roughly resembled his hands with the over-sized central claw detail carrying over all three arms. Midway sculpting the face I changed my mind and what were originally going to be tusks became more like mandibles. I also decided to change the idea of teeth and instead sculpted a beak like a squid's, with an extra set of eyes and ears added to the overall strangeness. A spiky back, elongated cranium, freakishly long arms and a squat frame helped to make it look less human.

Something that surprised even me, which is odd since I'm the one sculpting it, the clothes ended up becoming more elegant then a lot of the other roaming creatures in the game (hopefully) giving it a feeling of intelligence and hinting at it's own culture. It has a lack of forged weapons as I had originally thought of him as a monk-type of fighter, (hence the Shaolin style brass rings on his wrists,) but he could also easily be some kind of arcane spell caster... Or both? I didn't know just what the GG crew had planned for the 3-armed ogre but I figure they would find some place to fit it in if they decided to use the sculpt.

So there you have it, love it or hate it, another one of my attempts at creating a new race that breaks away from the Tolkien or D&D tropes of fantasy creatures but not TOO far as I didn't want to alienate people, rather challenge their imaginations. I guess we'll see how it is accepted. Again, the artwork was based off of my sculpt after it was done and my thanks to the artist.

BTW, the nicknames of "Kevin" for this guy and "Bob" for the nightmare Thing were given to them by the GG crew.

Monday, June 27, 2016

GURPS Atomic Horror: 1993

In 1993 Steve Jackson Games released a supplement to their GURPS line of games called "Atomic Horror." This book was to allow players a chance to have adventures in the B-grade movie style of sci-fi genre that were popular during post WWII. For those who don't know the game, GURPS stands for "Generic Universal Roll-Playing System" and was a set of rules flexible enough that could allow game masters and players the freedom to create their own settings with supplement books like this to help out with both specific parameters for the rules and inspirational material for adventures.

Why am I even talking about this? Because this was my first paying job as an artist in a genuine publicized and distributed format. But keep in mind, I was not THE artist of the book. Turns out that David Plunkett (who is THE artist of the book) was a neighbor of mine back in my old home town and at the time he was working on this project. I was a wannabe comic artist and he asked me to help out with meeting his deadline for Steve Jackson Games. He gave me 5 pages that he had roughed-out in pencil that I was to clean-up and detail for him so that he could ink them. I was to get $10 per page and I had about a week to get them done. I accomplished my task and Dave was good to his word and I got $50 for my effort and trust me, I was ecstatic! No joke, I was seriously thrilled just to get to be involved with it. Plus the $50 was a big deal since I was working a minimum wage job at the time which in '92 was something like $4.25 an hour.

I had asked Dave if it was possible to get my name in the book somewhere and he said that he would let the publisher know about my assistance but no promises. About a half-a-year later Dave gave me a free copy of the book when it got released, he was unable to get my name in it but I was still pretty happy about it all. About 2 weeks later I had my first, (of many,) geek-surreal moments when I visited my local hobby shop and saw the book on the new release rack. It was so odd to see something I had worked on right along side all the other gaming books. It's a feeling I still get now whenever I see one of my figures out in the wild or on someones gaming table and I don't think I'll ever get used to it. Not sure I want to either.

A few months ago I was looking through some of my art books I have on my shelves and ran across my old copy of Atomic Horror and for the slightest fraction of a second I couldn't remember why I had this lone GURPS book wedged in there, and suddenly it all came back to me. I opened it up and saw Dave's autograph on the first page and began to think of everything that's happened since then with my vocation and how fluke-ish my life has been in general. Dave's went off in it's own direction too, if you feel up to it stop by his website:

Thanks Dave! And I'm sorry I stuck you with getting Hitler's face right for his moon landing. (P-102)