Friday, April 13, 2012

The Art of the Pantheon, Stage One: Concepts, Post One

The Art of the Pantheon. So what exactly do I mean by that? This is a Bastion art project of mine. After beating Bastion, I was basically just full of intense world speculation. Everything in that game has a name or phrase, but none of it gets fleshed out, so my mind was basically in overdrive thinking about what the rest of the world was like. Looking for something interesting, I walked into the Shrine.
It hit me. 10 gods of the Pantheon. Each one has a small blurb on it, and each of them is really interesting and unique. I had to make art of them. And so I began Art of the Pantheon.

This was maybe a week ago. Last few days haven't been used for it very well, what with my Mass Effect 2 craze. Still, I'm gonna start posting here to try to keep myself motivated to keep it up. Here's some basic info that'll help.
The Gods:
Hense - Goddess of Pain - Pleasure - "They say the Veiled Widow is smiling beneath her robes, her body all scratches and scars."
Acobi - Goddess of Oath and Abandon - "No one bound the Chastened Maid save for herself. Her shackles are her own design."
Lemaign - God of Hope and Despair - "Before each battle, soldiers prayed that the Mason King grant them high morale."
Pyth - God of Commotion and Order - "The Wakeful Bull, patient yet temperamental, adorns the City's walls with his likeness."
Jevel - God of Health and Atrophy - "Half of the Tower Keeper's face is that of a youth in his prime, and the other, an old man."
Yudrig - God of Impulse and Bravery - "The Morning Stallion affects the wishes of all people upon the break of each new day."
Roathus - God of Thirst and Plenty - "The Gorging Host grows ever larger yet remains insatiable, his eyes awash in tears."
Micia - Goddess of Loss and Longing - "The Lorn Mother gave away her heart, and bears the Star of Caelondia."
Olak - God of Chance and Whim - "Alive forever in a single moment, the Carefree Son plays beyond the reach of time."
Garmuth - God of Purpose and Folly - "Despite his lack of senses, the Crippled Duke gives council to the humble and the wise."

So I ended up making some concept sketches. Honestly, I'm not sure what I'm going to evolve most of these images to, and I'm not happy with all of these initial images, but it's a start. Oh, and just so we're clear, none of these is canon at all. I'm making this stuff up, other than those above descriptions and any other quotes I pull up. Other than that, everything is malleable.

So this is Hense, the Veiled Widow, goddess of pleasure and pain. She was actually the last one to be drawn, mostly due to a lack of skill to execute the image. Veils are HARD with just paper and pencil! When I have a greater range of shades and soem transparency to work with it'll probably go better. That, and I hate robes. The cuts and scarring will be more in detail later, and I'm aware that she has quite the chin going on there. Essentially, this one will be mostly redone. Also, I need to throw in a rose motif somewhere, as that's her Idol symbol, but I forgot.


PhotobucketThis is Acobi the goddess who bound herself in oath. She's a sorrowful and self-loathing goddess, forever seeking to bind herself further. She's a patron of paladins and monks everywhere, a symbol of self-discipline and true belief in honor.
As for the drawing, her arms are all wonky, as is the depth, but I'm satisfied with the general direction to go with this. Maybe I'll throw in a lock near the center, that could be neat.


PhotobucketWooo, I like this one! As his Idol symbol is a hammer and he's the Mason King, I wanted a strong guy with some weight to him, with a dwarf-like black beard. I'm very happy with how the face turned out, gave the exact look I wanted. The rest, especially the breastplate, are just okay, but they're window dressing anyway. Not so much Hope or Despair in this one, but lots of soldier/mason look! He may need something special to reveal his deific nature - this is something I really tried to infuse into all of them, something to show that they're truly inhuman, like Hense's super-scarred body, Acobi's endless chains, and Pyth's third eye. Lemaign doesn't have something yet, he looks like he could just be a dude. But I like the drawing a lot.


PhotobucketThe Wakeful Bull has three eyes, two normal and a third in his forehead, and only one is ever closed at a time. His horns stretch up above his head, curving in strange ways. I gave him small ears because I forgot about them until the end and couldn't figure out how to put them on. I'm not a big fan of the nose, but I'm surprisingly okay with the body. It will need some touching up and texturing (as well as some bulking up) but it's general shape has really grown on me, so this one was a happy surprise.
He needed to be somewhat special, because he's one of Caelondia's patron gods. He's their warrior god, symbol of peace, order, and power, and he adorns their walls. I'm considering doing something else with the design to make his visage more powerful and make The Rippling Walls a more imposing construct.


PhotobucketJevel is a lot of things. Jevel's description was the initial inspiration to start doing these, it just sounded really interesting to me. It was the first drawing I did, and I really wanted to get it right. And, well, I did. This is by far my favorite, with Garmuth coming in second and Lemaign in third. Now remember, Jevel is the Tower Keeper (inspiring the squared look of the crown and designs on the shirt), and half of his face is that of a youth in his prime, and the other, an old man. I wanted a seamless yet abrupt transition where it's definitely half and half, but I didn't want it to be like I'd drawn two images and just tried to match them to each other. Honestly, I think I succeeded on all counts. Beneath the neck was an afterthought - the face is what mattered. When it comes to doing more with these images, this is the one I want to do an awesome job on.


PhotobucketThe other animal of the Pantheon, I had a problem doing a pencil sketch of Yudrig. I couldn't decide what was deific about it, it just seemed to be a plain normal horse. My eventual decision was to make him glow with light in some areas (originally the whole skin, but that was axed for making him too plain. Eventually, mane was decided and then my bro suggested I add the eyes too). Unfortunately, glowing like that isn't suited to a pencil drawing really. This one will need to come through on the digital side. I'm generally happy with the shapes though, except I think the eye is slightly oddly formed, but in general I'm happy with the lines.


PhotobucketOh man, Roathus. The second to last one to be done, I really struggled with his concept. I had a couple ideas. The first was an enormously fat man, endlessly stuffing his face while weeping, but I deemed this unsuitable for a god; it seemed more like a personification of Gluttony. My next idea was to have him eating endlessly but remaining utterly emaciated. This was also a bit too gross for a god, and didn't cover the "grows ever larger" bit. In the end, my bro came to the rescure with the idea of him being a living tree like the Ents from Lord of the Rings. I switched it up and made him more like the Maku Tree, or like Tret from Golden Sun. His gaping maw swallows anything, and he eternally grows. The picture doesn't show the tears in his eyes very well - that was an oversight on my part, not a concept flaw.


PhotobucketMicia needed to be special. She's an enormous influence on the game, but it's all subtle. She is the patron of Caelondia, and bearer of their star. She is frequently reffered to by characters like Rucks and Zulf, and Mother is more or less a replacement for God. She needed to be a strong design to fill these roles.
Something struck me about her description: her domains are both negative, Loss and Longing. She's a dark, sad goddess. I made a couple of design choices from all of it. First, her hair is white. I felt that it tied in with both Rucks and the Kid's white hair, which was pointed out as special. "Having his mother's white hair didn't do him any favors" is a paraphrase of a line about the Kid in one of the Who Knows Where bits - while I know they didn't intend it to reference the god, I think the idea that his family was made fun of for having the white hair of the sad goddess is a cool idea. Another thing I wanted was for her face to be visibly aged but her body to be that of a young maiden, the idea being that worry, longing, sadness, and tearing her heart out has prematurely aged her.
The outfit is more or less a placeholder - I want to show that she's placed the Star of Caelondia where her heart used to be, but I couldn't figure out how to draw it. Disregard the body. This drawing is much more about the concept than the specific execution. I think I also might want to reference Olak somewhere, and you'll see why...


PhotobucketThis is Olak. I caught a small pattern that I'd like to think was fully intentional, but likely wasn't. Olak is the Carefree Son, who left time itself to live forever in youth and fun. Micia is the Lorn Mother, who lost something long ago and has been longing for it for eternity. Olak is the only god with two positive domains, Chance and Whim. Micia is the only goddess with two negative domains, loss and longing. See where I'm going with this? I like the idea that Olak is the lost son of Micia, who left her alone for all time for his own happiness.
So what's up with his design? I had two ideas. The first was to have him as a small child, a toddler, happy to the last. This idea ended up vetoed in my mind though. This one won out for the things I could do with it. Olak is dressed in brilliant colors and wild patterns, much like the designs the Ura wear but even more crazy. My idea is that Olak is the one who colored the world, who breathed vibrance and animation into the land. He was carefree and bright-eyed. I'm not so solid on his face, and the card suits on the pants there is just to remind me that he needs to be about Chance too. The rest of the design I very much like. I want to work in Micia though, a memento of her, or perhaps the Caelondian star.


PhotobucketMy second favorite next to Jevel. My idea is that Garmuth only appears in mirrors. The wise and humble who revere Garmuth carry mirrors with them always, and in their spare moments they pull out their mirrors and reflect upon themselves and the world, looking to Garmuth to grant them the wisdom they need. On the rarest days of legend, Garmuth himself appeared in mirrors tot he wisest of men, a head with no face and a body with no limbs. He imparts wisdom through simple understanding, and though he cannot see, hear, smell, taste, or touch, he knows all.
The mirror is directly taken from his idol, though I added the bands of light over him to make sure it looked reflective. I'm aware that I want a little heavy on the shadows by the cheeks, and that I gave him ears - he's not supposed to have ears. Otherwise, I'm extremely pleased with him. He's one of the cooler ones in my mind.

So that's the Pantheon. I will probably redo Hense entirely, and everyone else needs revisions and new thoughts, and then I can go on to figure out what to do with these next. Cheers!

Oh yes, and it turns out I've already tried something just for fun.
So, this is Jevel. I took the drawing and tried some painting over it. I'm a novice digital painter, but I kinda like it. It's messy, but a good start I think. The top is the original paintover, the second is a color edit for a much paler skin, and the third is a color edit done with the posterize function to color reduce it. It integrated things in some fun ways - the right side is heavier on the red, the left on the green. It's much too messy to use, but I like the thoughts in it.

So, until the next time! Please, give me some feedback on this!
End Recording,

EDIT: Did a little reformatting; now the images are alongside their text, not above it! Learning how to use this blog a bit better.

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