Power creep: inked and blocking

Here’s a peek at my progress on that pic of the main Sonic characters being awesome.
(On second thought, Tails is awesome now, too. I ought to put him in, except it’d mess up my composition.)

Anyway, it took me two hours to ink the characters, which means tracing over all the sketches with hard black lines.

Then I just flood-fill them with their basic colors. Looks like a coloring book right now, doesn’t it? Just wait until it’s shaded. It’ll have dimension then. But for now, you can see what my Sonic art looks like before I’ve put in the cool shadings and backgrounds. Pretty unremarkable.

Extreme lightning

If you don’t regularly visit Extreme Instability, then you should. This guy is a storm chaser, and most importantly, a storm photographer/video recorder. He’s captured some really awesome stuff and sells his DVDs.

Anyway, he has a really awesome sequence of photos on his blog of chasing lightning that was striking the local radio towers.

Go to the site and look at them. You totally won’t regret it. This isn’t even the best one. It’s very helpful if you’re trying to draw lightning, and need some really good reference material.

Sonic characters of awesome

Decided to work on this sketch some more.

I decided that if Shadow was going to be awesome, then so would some of my other characters.

Then I realized that these characters have a serious case of power creep. They’re all getting stronger and stronger and more and more wicked awesome.

The trouble is, the character relationships that keep developing keep a damper on all that power. Sure, Knuckles could blow up the planet if he wanted, and Sonic could probably not only punch a hole straight through it, but yank it around the galaxy if he tried. And Shadow is immortal and has a serious chip on his shoulder about it, while Mecha can basically do anything, assuming his cobbled-together body can stand up to it.

But they all have relationships with other characters. Sonic, Knuckles and perhaps Mecha would never use their excessive powers for evil, because it would hurt their loved ones. (What if they thought it was something good that turned out bad? Hmm. Now there’s a fun story in the making.)

But Shadow has nothing left to lose. He sees himself as everyone’s pawn, and he’s out to prove that he is not only no longer a pawn, but a mastermind in his own right. And that makes him the most dangerous of them all.

World of Warcraft reminiscence

I play this game called World of Warcraft.

I was gotten into it by my sister, who begged me and begged me to play after one of my brothers got her into it. I warned her that I would get really badly addicted to it.

And I did.

Mind you, this was back in the days of what they call Vanilla WoW, where the level cap was still 60 and the quest chains were long, boring grinds of killing dozens and dozens of things.

I think what captured me was my first experiences with the world. I have high hopes for the expansion coming out, because I’m hoping it reworks the old content into something new and exciting again.

Here are some of the things I found exciting or creepy when I first started playing.

I rolled a troll rogue as my very first character. The main reason being that rogues looked easy to play, and trolls get to ride raptors.

By the time I reached level 15ish and was running around this zone called the Barrens (think African savanna), my dad and younger brothers were all playing, too. So we offered each other tips, or good gear or weapons that we found, and basically learned to play the game.

Out in the Barrens, most of the monsters you meet (otherwise known as mobs) are fairly reasonable things, like lions, zebras, giraffes, raptors and tallstriders.

So I was questing out around this one oasis, and spotted a big cave. I went inside, and almost got slaughtered by the elite raptors standing just inside. I send a chat message to one of my brothers who was on at the time. “What is the Wailing Caverns?”

“Oh, don’t go in there. That’s a dungeon.”

Now you tell me.

So as I played, I gradually began to collect quests for the Wailing Caverns. I tried to sneak in a couple of times, but the monsters got me every time. You just needed a group to survive, it seemed.

Finally, one Sunday morning, my Dad, brothers and me got together and went inside the Wailing Caverns.

It’s interesting in there. Like a jungle inside a cave. And there was weird stuff.

See these slime things? Once you get their health down, they split off into another slime, and you have to kill it again. Which royally creeped me out. I hadn’t seen any other monsters remotely like that before.

Then there’s these humans in there who turn into giant snakes in the middle of combat.

I stood on a pile of dead snakes and slimes, looking at them and going, “What in the heck are these things?”

And my Dad said, “Welcome to the Wailing Caverns!”

We didn’t make it all the way through. We spent five hours, got lost, then called it a day. It’s really a horribly-designed dungeon. But it was one of my formative Warcraft experiences, because it creeped me out and intrigued me at the same time.

Another of those formative experiences happened round about the same time. I got sick of the hot, yellow Barrens, and hopped a zeppelin to some place called Tirisfal Glades. That sounded nice and cool.

Turns out it’s where the undead start out. It was dark and gloomy and foresty, and everything is undead. You have zombie humans and zombie gnolls and zombie dogs and zombie bats. Zombie zombie zombie.

I played quite a few quests in Tirisfal Glades, but after a while it got depressing. The quests were so sad and morbid. “Oh, please go kill my zombie son and husband so we can bury them!”

“Oh, my hands are so cold as the Plague takes me over! Can you get me stuff to make mittens?”

Yeah. After a while I couldn’t take it anymore, so I wandered off into the zone next door, a slightly brighter place called Silverpine Forest.

Silverpine was very pretty. Except for these broken lampposts.

As you got into the real zombie-centers, it got creepier and creepier. No NPCs. No quests. No towns. Just creepy pine forest and wolves and zombies.

I went back to the Barrens to warm up.

But I remembered it. You see, positive or negative, the undead zones had elicited an emotional response in me. I didn’t care much for the undead, but now I felt sorry for them.

Later on I moved to the Alliance, but I still have a deep affection for the Horde, because it was my first Warcraft experience. If I had started Alliance, I don’t think I would have liked it nearly as much.

Shadow being awesome

I set out to draw something Sonic-related last night, and this is all I came up with.

I’ve discovered that I can’t actually draw Sonic characters unless I’m also writing a story with them. Right now my interests have been leaning more toward finishing STC, so pictures of that have been running through my mind’s eye.

Kelty, I’ll get your first pic finished and to you very soon! I only have to finish the glass in his hands now. 🙂

DA’s Muro

Deviantart has this free art program dealy that runs in a browser. It’s called Muro, and it’s about the weirdest thing I’ve ever touched.

It doesn’t seem to work on raster principles (i.e. pixels). Everything the tools produce seem to be vector-based. But you never get any nodes or points to work with.

My first attempt looked like this. I didn’t know that you could click over to Pro without having to pay for it.

Click to enlarge

Kind of crappy, because I couldn’t make the tools stay in the lines. Speaking of lines, see the “grass” in the background? That’s just a tool that sprays lines all over the place as you move your cursor.

My second attempt at using it wasn’t too bad.


Click to enlarge.

I just used the one tool that kind of does these weird geometric lines that follow your cursor movement, and used that to build the forms in my dragon’s face. I also was able to use layers and things this time, which made it somewhat easier to use.

Anyway, Muro is so bizarre that I keep thinking of new things to do in it.