Monday, May 21, 2012

IMC 2012 - preliminary sketching 1

The Illustration Master Class 2012 is finally just around the corner! We've all received a selection of assignments from which to choose, and my pick was an illustration for the book "Old Man's War" by John Scalzi. Here's the project brief:

Old Man's War
Military SF book cover.

This is  series of books in which older people (men and women) can exchange their old bodies for enhanced young bodies. The catch, they are then obligated to two years fighting an incredible dangerous war on far off planets. And while they are now strong and young, they are also green. Show a male lead fighting an alien creature. You can show other troops as well, remember there are both male ad female infantrymen.

They wear thin self-healing battle armor. It is described as a leotard but feel free to cheat that a bit to make it look more interesting. They also have belts and packs with hightech versions of what you would expect a soldier t have — knifes, tents, etc.

They are fighting the Consu, a bug-like alien. They walk on two legs, have arms, but they also have large slicing, curved, razors coming our from above their arms.

This will give you a lot of background.'s_War

If anyone wants to read the book, feel free to sketch other scenes.

I chose this one because it sounds like an interesting story and I like the concept of a bug-like alien, and I've always been fascinated with the organic machine-like body forms of insects and their various functions.

So I started on some sketches this week:

This is my first attempt at what the Consu alien might look like. I probably spent too much time on this one, because I don't think it's really the body shape I want. But it's not a bad start, I think. I thought it would be a good idea to try some rough silhouettes.

Some of the heads were recycled from a "Machinimal" concept I was working on some time ago. I thought they might be useful for this illustration as a general "bug" type head. I don't really want to take the concept much further without letting the client (i.e. instructors) review it, so I got to work on the main character...

I know the character's armor is described as a leotard, but I'm not crazy about going that way. I've also never been a fan of the "superhero spandex" look. I like my costumes to have some weight. After getting a few of these down I started on some composition thumbnails...

Note: these are VERY loose and rough marker sketches. At this point I'm really just trying to define the fore, mid and back ground planes using a warm 30%, 50%, and 70% gray to see what makes an interesting composition. My 70% gray was running out of ink so I tried some digital thumbnails...

These all start as a grayscale sketch. I like being able to transform and copy stuff independently in Photoshop. Once I had each composition where I wanted it I added some color layers with the blending mode set to Overlay. This is to help establish the mood. It's a battle scene, so I'm thinking lots of reds and yellows. I figure I can mix and match color schemes, but hopefully this will be enough to get me started at IMC. I don't want to get too detailed right from the start; I know that my sketches are going to get heavily critiqued and the less I have to re-draw the better.

I can't wait for this workshop! This is going to be fun. I hope my oil painting skills are up to the task.

1 comment:

G said...

wow, this is impressive!

what software were you using for the costuming, etc?

and did you say you are using traditional painting mediums for your final during IMC week?