Monday, May 2, 2011

The Who and Why Behind the What Woulds

The most recent set I've been posting on Etsy--the last one will go up today--is my What Would ____ Do? print and badge set. This set features video game characters from a variety of different genres and systems. I'm thinking of adding 4 characters to this set over the summer; if there's anyone you'd like to see, let me know and I'll consider it. Anyways, this post is a little about the inspiration, thoughts, and design process for each character in the set. I apologize in advance because this one's a little long, but I wanted to put all 12 in a single post rather than drag it out.

Black Mage: Do I really need justification for why this character is in the set? I love Final Fantasy, especially the earlier ones, so I couldn't resist the chance to draw yet another version of Black Mage from Final Fantasy I (this is the 3rd completed piece of art, not including the Black Mage cross stitch I did a few years back). I've tried to make each version a little different; for this one, I covered the face in black bandages. Also, the other versions were full chibis; this is the first one I've done in my 3/4 chibi style--dubbed by Fev at Anime USA in 2008 because they're not quite full chibis, but they aren't quite a regular anime syle either.

Etna: I have only played the first little bit of Disgaea, and I loved her character in the opening scene where she's waking up Laharl. Also, the set needed more ladies, and I was really trying to avoid making 90% of the set Final Fantasy (yes, I really am obsessed with that game series). Our original character list only had 2 girls in it (Yuna and GlaDOS). I'd love some good recommendations for 1-2 more awesome video game ladies for the next 4 I do.

Felicia: Felicia is really just in the set to be another girl--as mentioned above, we didn't have many of those in the original list. Although Felicia is a little more slinky than what I usually draw, I tried to keep it PG (not sure if G rating is possible with that little amount of clothing). Random: I have a fun picture from Otakon 2001 where my oldest son (1 at the time) was dressed as Artemis from Sailor Moon. In the picture he is playing around on the floor with a girl dressed as Felicia--he was wearing more fur than she was I think. XD

GlaDOS: With this design, I wanted to give GlaDOS a humanoid design because I felt it would be more interesting to design and draw than a more impersonal machine. I made her into a cyborg type character to keep with her roots as a machine. Her voice always reminded me a little of a small girl, so that's what I had in mind when I designed the dress. I really wanted to make her feminine and evil and cute and a little creepy all at the same time. I think I succeeded.

Kratos: I honestly only drew Kratos for the sheer challenge of seeing if I could make this guy cute. I was pleased with the outcome. XD Really though, my initial response when Kratos's name came up in the brain-storming session we had for this set was that there's no way I could do that--some characters just don't look right in my style. However, my style has been gradually changing, and I think he would have looked pretty bad in my original 3/4 chibi style--my major arcana for the anime tarot set is a prime example of my old style. In any case though, I like challenges; that's how I grow as an artist. =)

Lara Croft: Another girl. =D I remember playing Tomb Raider the first Christmas after it came out (the first one for the Play Station). I liked it, I think, mostly because I'm naturally biased toward games that have female protagonists (even if they're purposely designed disproportionately so as to attract a large male player audience). Incidentally, this was the first character I drew for this set; I sat down to draw something else, and this was the result. =P

Leon: I wanted someone from the Resident Evil series. My husband and I debated a while over which character to draw. Once we chose Leon, we also argued over whether to draw the Leon from 2 or 4... obviously 4 won. XD My favorite part of the description for this one is the first line--a reference to Zombieland, the only zombie movie I can say I've honestly enjoyed watching.

Mario: This was for all those people offended because I left Mario out of the Noir set. I also liked some of the answers we came up with to the What Would Mario Do? question. =P Mario has a mushroom addiction, and I like mushrooms, so that's why I drew him with the mushroom. This was one of the ones where we had to edit down the choices for the text that would appear on the final print. I think we had to discard half of the points we'd come up with.

Master Chief: Like Kratos, I wanted to do this design just to see if I could make him cute. My husband and our friend, Kevin, are responsible for giving me the idea of drawing Master Chief with kitties. Once that idea got in my head, it was one of those things that just had to happen. This character was a real challenge to draw; I think it was probably one of the most difficult for me--not the most, but close to it.

Sam and Max: This one was the most difficult to do. I had a particularly hard time getting Sam to look like Sam in my style. I ended up keeping the skinnier design that fit with the standard frame shape I use for my 3/4 chibis because every time I added weight to him, it looked like I was just copying the original character design. So, although I realize Sam is supposed to be bulkier and that his frame is part of the character archetype he's based on, I chose not to include it. In general, whenever I do fanart pieces, I try my best to make it clear that it is my art in my style. These guys are in the set because they're just plain fun.

Solid Snake: It was suggested that I should draw this guy in a box, I felt it would be too cliche to do so. Since I haven't personally played any of the Metal Gear games--they're just not my kind of thing--I had some trouble coming up with a suitable pose for him. Credit goes to my husband for the one I ended up with. He wanted me to draw him sneaking along a wall coming up on a hallway--this is why this is one of the only designs in this set with a background. In hindsight, I can thinking of several poses I think I would have liked better and may not have needed the background. That's hindsight however, and I make a point of not touching designs once they're finished (I could drive myself crazy going back and re-editing things)--I make exceptions for typos. =P There was one on the original print version for Snake.

Yuna: Anyone who knows me might wonder how this character ended up in this set; I despise Yuna (and most of the characters in FF 10--there's nothing like a disappointed obsessed fan, right?). She was on my list of characters I would never ever ever draw (right next to Sasuke and half the rest of the cast from Naruto). My husband and our friends managed to change my mind. She's the only one that has any really degrading text, but I found it funny enough to make it worth drawing her. XD I especially like: "Whatever you tell her to." because we all know Yuna has no spine or ability to make intelligent decisions on her own. I also liked "Honor the dead by dancing on their corpses." I did compromise slightly on the design; I did not draw her in the kimono outfit from X, and instead used her base design for X-2. As much as I dislike Yuna and FF X in general, I kind of liked X-2... ok I mostly just liked the artbook for X-2. XD I liked the different designs they made for the different job classes--purely from a cosplayer's standpoint.

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