Friday, March 14, 2014

Avatar World Art: The Playbooks

Mmm. Wish VenSun had a real album already.

Hey, I'm feeling just on fire with these playbook arts! And one enormous benefit of driving right through them more or less all at the same time is that they look like they have a somewhat consistent style, as opposed to if I'd drawn them across a couple months.

The big deal? I think I might have (almost) every single playbook art done. All eight. You've seen a couple, but I'm gonna put them here as well for completeness.
The Airbender
This is a redrawn and modified variation on the airbender currently inside the main book. I finally feel happy with it.
Fun fact: Under the vectoring, in the original skeleton/sketch, that's a lady. The clothes and vectoring (especially the looseness with which I draw faces) kinda keeps it from showing though, which is a bit unfortunate, as I really do think about trying to introduce variation in body forms through these. As I mentioned recently on Twitter though, the biggest blockage to that isn't even that I don't think or try, it's that I'm still learning this art stuff and, frankly, skinny and leanly-muscular is the easiest to go with because of how anatomy is taught in drawing, and dudes are easier because I can use myself as reference for stuff. I'm trying (though heavier-set body types are a bit easier to justify not having since the easy majority of characters in the game are going to be active athletic types; this is, of course, an excuse, so I'll keep trying anyway) but it's a process.

The Aristocrat
I have stressed a lot over getting the Aristocrat how I want him. I don't actually think I'm done yet! But I like this enough that I wouldn't mind putting it on a playbook. One thing that's pretty important to me is having the art catch them in action, not just idle, which is hard with a guy whose thing is talking to other people. I think this instead catches their nature as two-sided, as the negotiator and the schemer, as the mediator and the backstabber. Plus it doesn't lock him into finery necessarily, which is kinda good - fanciness was a central point of a lot of my early sketches. The hands might be some of the better hands I've vectored for this stuff so far. Oftentimes, hands that looks good in my sketch form, even the inked sketch, don't come out great in the vectors, but these worked just how I wanted.

The Earthbender
You've seen this before. The hands, especially his left, aren't my best by far, but I don't mind them too much. This has grown on me though.
Oh, I should mention the colors on these! It's pretty obvious (at least on my monitor) that the background isn't white, but a light grey. It might be less obvious on some of them, but the black is also actually a dark grey. I just don't like working in solid white and black. The colors aren't consistent though. They are, however, easy to modify, so I'll unify them all up when I'm putting them in the playbooks.

The Firebender
I really wanted something interesting for the firebender, and this did it for me. It took easily a half dozen shots to get the sketch looking good enough to even try vectorizing, and this is actually the second one I vectored - it's just a hard pose! But I like how it went.
This is the heaviest on the jagged-y lines style, being a bit more than the Earthbender.

The Monk
The Monk took a lot of work to try and think of how I wanted him, since "catching him in action" is pretty hard. This idea occurred to me, but this is also a pretty nasty pose to get down. Chances are, if you actually think about the anatomy, it'll fall apart, but it has a convincing impression, and that's all I want. The legs actually turned out better than I thought they would.
The lines are all smooth here! I guess that makes sense - the jagged line style seems a lot more aggressive.

The Scholar
Look at this dumbass, dropping his books everywhere. I think this is one of the more dynamic, story-filled images I've done, but it doesn't exactly paint him in a favorable light... The more I look though, the more I like it. It's the same fella as the original Scholar image, the one that became the MC Section image in the main book right now. Might swap those two around.

The Warrior
This took more fiddling with proportions than I thought it would. It's also one of the only ones where that fiddling occurred digitally, rather than on the sketch. Now though I feel a lot better about it. I had the pose idea a while ago and liked it enough to keep trying it, but it's taken a lot of work in the department. In fact, the gesture is still a little more passive than I'd really like, but I can deal with that given how decently everything turned out. I might fiddle a little more in the face, getting the expression I want. Maybe tilt the upper part of the eyes to put a bit more force into it.
Also, I'm aware of a bit of oddity in the character design here. The armor is generally quite sensible (I think :/ it's definitely not gratuitous in the usual ways, at least), but free long hair isn't all that smart on a warrior, but hey, it looks good and isn't crazy in context of the media anyway. Also, the armor and weapon are pretty damn Samurai, but hey, you can interpret that otherwise if you so desire. It's just a very obviously armor and not clothes, which was the main point.

The Waterbender
 Easily inspired by past waterbender images, I like it. A little more gesture-y rather than defining with the vectors, with pretty much a whole arm and leg entirely implied. Don't ask about the fashion - I haven't decided what she's wearing either. That's why there's so much less detail. The second-most-likely to get a real second take (after the Scholar).

That's a pretty good pile of images, I think. I feel very happy with it and will be satisfied putting them on the playbooks. Of course, I won't know for sure until I actually put them on and see, but I see no reason to think I won't like it. And hopefully you like it too!

(just the Bloodbender and Metalbender left as mandatory ones, though I might have a couple more to do if I want a couple more sub-pbs on top).

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