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This is the WIP and development thread for the CHOW joint project of CCThrom, Blackcherry, and Arttorney which we like to call "Crumpets and PAIN."
We just started but some thumbnails should show up in here within a few days at the most. Thanks for checking in.
Here's a gratuitous image that I happened to have handy:
Last edited by arttorney; April 3rd, 2009 at 03:08 PM.
Inspiration- a little something old school out of 20,000 Leagues under the Sea
References of steampunkish daily implements and gadgets: http://www.lehmans.com/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hansom_cab
http://www.steamlocomotive.info/ http://www.eraoftheclipperships.com/ http://www.costumes.org/history/100pages/victlinks.htm
Wikipedia steampunk entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steampunk
Last edited by arttorney; April 4th, 2009 at 03:55 PM. Reason: I've added thumbnails & references
Ok guys I've been doing some brainstorming on the characters and I made a start on some designs for 'The Sage'.
The idea I had from the description given was of a very old (wise) man, who due to his age is now confined to a chair due to the fact he can no longer walk. Therefore he now travels round in a mechanical chair which does his walking for him. I thought seen as we were going for a 'Steampunk' theme it could be quite cool. The chair can also fly and the legs fold up when this happens. It's controlled by two levers on his arm-rests and also has a protective cover to shield him when needed.
As for the guy himself, I'm thinking old and somewhat eccentric looking; long beard, wispy hair, likely white with his age. He has a frail bony frame as he barely eats. I've got him with goggles on, and one of the eyes is like enhanced, it can zoom in and out and always moves around scanning stuff so doesn't focus on anything for long. The other eye is covered by a dark lens so no one ever knows where he's looking yet he seems to see everything.
Not quite sure how to work in the non-sleeping thing... maybe it's something to do with his eyes or maybe he's part machine? or what he's searching for, maybe some kind of artifact?
Let me know what you think; Good, bad? Criticisms? Improvements?
Oh I found some good links for steampunk things too:
Also any ideas on what sort of style we're going for in the artwork?
Think I'm going to have a go at the technician next.
Last edited by blackcherry; April 6th, 2009 at 11:36 AM.
Hey Blackcherry, I can't see the images you post, so I'm guessing that you're not using the attachment manager? If not, can you please do so?
A couple more odd links...
A terrific source of recent historical reference... Check out the reprints of "Manufacturer and Builder" starting about halfway through the results pages.
US Library of Congress online... search "steam"
I'm starting with the Hero... since everything else relates back to her. Naturally still just trying out a bunch of looks.
I changed my last post and attached the image so you should be able to see my design idea now.
I like your starting sketches for the hero. Looking good! I really like the top right head sketch and I also like her hair in the profile head sketch. The full bodies clothing sketch is nice too, though I imagine her more in a skirt.
I was thinking due to her having another 'dark side/alter ego' are we going to do two versions of her or? Have you ever seen Heroes the TV show? because her condition sort of reminds me of Nikki. If you haven't seen the show then don't worry.
Also any thoughts on how we're going to tackle this overall?
I'm not sure how we're going to divide up the tasks... I think for now let's get some more ideas on the table before we get to the nuts and bolts of "how".
I'm looking through some of the other sketchbooks, and of course there are a lot of different approaches. One thing they all seem to be doing is setting up a "mood board". So I'm taking a stab at that... as a place to start. Steampunkwise I prefer a less over-the-top approach... something similar-ish to the world as we know it. And I don't think we need to tighten up the whole idea first... I think the concept and backstory can grow out of these initial messing around sketches.
Blackcherry, I like how you've been doing a lot of thinking about the words of the brief... for this week, I'd say keep with more of the same.
Give me some feedback on the mood board... and feel free to make additions or disagree with the direction completely... it's just a starting point.
Wow! You two have been busy. I'm back to California now and have another 4 drawings I did in pencil yesterday. I'll present them later this evening after I get them scanned, etc. I didn't have time to go photograph some of the Victorian houses in Prescott while I was there so I'm glad CC has tossed one of those into his mood board.
I'm still not sure whether I am favoring the western flavor of steampunk or the foggy London town version. That current little thumb of the Protector lugging around a couple of guns certainly wouldn't do in a Victorian drawing room mystery.
More mood setting:
Last edited by arttorney; April 6th, 2009 at 08:38 PM.
I tend to agree that we can spend a week or so throwing out our ideas. It's very easy to blow it by getting locked into specific ideas too soon. Let's see where our mind takes us. I think the area where we can get the most wacky or over the top is the Sage character, because the brief specifically calls for the sage to be an outsider. This one I thumbnailed was supposed to be a bit of a Native American influence since I kind of gave her a Navajo looking dress but left off the squash blossom necklace and topped her off with a kind of Mexican or Guatemalan looking hat. I suppose somebody could get a lot more "outsider" than that. The Technician has some potential to be carrying some unusual gadgets but is otherwise probably kind of normal (or she wouldn't have gotten hired in the first place).
I went for a circa 1850s U.S. look on these below thumbs. The Rabble Rouser is dressed in a manner I saw on a portrait of Cornelius Vanderbilt. The Technician is dressed in a costume modeled after an outfit for a female tween out of 1840s France (on the theory that holding on to youthful patterns of dress might be one way a tom boy of that time might have defied dress conventions). The Shadow is dressed after the manner of Stephen Douglas in a portrait I found of him and the Hero is dressed in a dress an adult female might have worn in 1840s France.
I am not against putting the Hero in a less girly outfit. Laura Bullion, then girlfriend of Ben Kilpatrick (The Tall Texan), probably participated in the Great Northern Train Robbery dressed as a man. Not everybody back then dressed or lived in a sterotypical goody two shoes manner.
I'll probably try another round of the six in a more Spanish American War/Edwardian vein this week.
Last edited by arttorney; April 6th, 2009 at 10:09 PM.
Thanks Arttorney, yeah right now I've got at least 3 directions going here... as you said there's the foggy London-town, the American old west, and a less well defined military/industrial Steamboy/Castle in the Air thing.
But for now, I'm all for just throwing everything against the wall...
The Industrial/air/steamboy/military form is something I was thinking about exploring in my Edwardian round of characters. I had already thought about putting the Shadow in a confederate uniform but I went another way.
Blackcherry's sage is totally in that neighborhood, though I agree that the chair flying by steam powered helicopter blade is quite a stretch. I think it is totally plausible that he has a balloon thing that he can deploy with a button and then an air screw propels him around in different directions. Their understanding of balloons was pretty advanced by that period. The same furnace that makes the steam could make the hot air for the balloon.
Airships are pretty cool, and would give us a chance to bust out some goggles, chronometers, and compasses.
Thanks for the mood board CC that was useful. I love Howl's Moving Castle and I favour the more crazy gadgets in the images. I'm personally leaning towards the more Industrial/air/steamboyfor the designs, I think that might be an interesting way to go with it and should allow us to be a bit more original and eccentric.
Arttourney, I think you're right about the Sage and Technician being the ones with the most wacky designs, maybe that's why I've gone for them first, lol. Though my Sage idea probably does need toning down a bit. I like the idea of the maybe him being able to launch his chair with some form of balloon. I think the chair itself could do with some refining too but its just an initial design.
I like your costume designs so far. I've been looking at some 'steampunk' style costumes that people have made and theres some really interesting ones, so I think we should use reference but maybe develop them too for some originality. Also if we do go the whole industrial/steamboy direction then being able to add some gadgets would be cool.
Anyways, here's some sketches I've done for the technician. Not as crazy as my sage. I've got her at around 19, tom boyish, very intelligent, maybe a bit geeky, boyish figure. I've styled her clothing to be more boyish, and i've gone easy on the gadgets, though I have added a magnifying lens eye piece for when she works
I was thinking though, due to her love for methods of transport and machinery that maybe she would have developed some make shift wings? If we do go down the whole industrial avenue, i think that might work well.
Cool. Just to mix things up a bit, I've decided to crank out a series of rough thumbs of Boxer Rebellion types. Here is The Protector as a practitioner of Thirteen Tai Chi Sword and an attempt at the hero.
Technician with a wagon wheel and a sage chopping
Shadow, in a semi official looking costume and a rabble rouser playing a bit of dominos
Last edited by arttorney; April 7th, 2009 at 08:57 PM.
Here's what got me thinking about the boxer rebellion. This is the Protector as a bare knuckle era prize fighter.
Note to team: I'm pushing out what I can as fast as I can because I must do actual work much of today, tomorrow, and Friday. During the weekend I will be having to hang out with family over in Arizona. I might be able to do a few more thumbnails in traditional media over there but wouldn't post them until Monday at the earliest. We will eventually need to decide when we should call it on the brainstorming. That will entail thinking about how long it takes to do things. If we are going to stick to the original plan, then we are talking about a couple of days of mailing time thrown in the mix even if we use Fed Ex or Express Mail. I could probably ink six characters and get them scanned & sent in about three days if I applied myself and didn't mind a little loss of sleep. I have about three day job deadlines and a hearing to do in that last week of April. If we go all digital, things change up a bit, but look at my thumbnails. In digital I can't be trusted with much more than the margins and labeling.
Last edited by arttorney; April 8th, 2009 at 11:19 AM.
Assuming we go with the original plan... and depending on what kind of surface you like to ink with, here's a trick that has worked for me in the past. If I send you pencils as a digital file, you can print them out on any paper you can jam through your printer. For example, I sometimes print my pencils out on watercolor paper and then work over that.
However we work though, you're probably still going to have to send digital files to Blackcherry. This is due at the end of April isn't it? Actually... not good. Hmmm... means pencils should be done next week, along with taxes, plus my wife is on spring break... not a good time for getting artwork done. Well, I'll have to figure something out.
Taxes too. Yeah, that's the kind of stuff that got me worried. Well, we still got a couple of days this week to firm up the hows and wherefors. I can run regular Strathmore drawing paper through the printers I have and possibly a piece of 70 lb watercolor paper would go through, but bristol is out of the question. There are a lot of ways this can go, though. If we go digital, I get my best results on big old documents, 2500 pixels or more on a side (and dense). Otherwise I always seem to get these commodore 64 looking drawings. It's probably a no-brainer, but I am known to be the sort of blockhead who still needs to figure these things out the hard way.
Generally I ink on smooth bristol but I can manage on regular drawing paper. It just means no ink washes and careful not to poke the point of the nib through the paper.
If we go that way, I will want to know if the .jpeg file format will be acceptable to blackcherry (or .bmp). I can save a bunch of other ways but those are the two I usually use. (.png is also available.) My scanner generally gets 9" x 12" sheets as jpegs sized 2548 x 3510. For blackcherry: 9" x 12" is approximately A4 and I already know CCThrom is comfortable penciling at that size.
Last edited by arttorney; April 8th, 2009 at 02:54 PM. Reason: print & scan info for teammates
I'm a little confused here about what the plan is. I didn't realise we all had designated roles after the brainstorming stage. Do we? and what's mine if we do? I don't mind doing some digital colouring but it's not really my strong point and I don't know if I could manage all six characters in the time scale along with other things I've got going on this month. I wouldn't mind doing a bit of drawing/designing too, that would be cool. Anyway let me know!
Well, that's kind of why we are now talking about this. CCThrom and I had been talking about how to work this with our respective strengths before when we were not sure if we would have another teammate. He is a much more sure hand at penciling than I am and I am set up to ink pretty fast if need be. We both have ways to color. When you came aboard, an element of uncertainty was introduced so we need to re-decide what everybody will do. Your designs have a lot of a sense of whimsy to them while CCThrom and I are more inclined toward down to Earth characters. If we each do two of the characters we will need to decide on a common motif, such as a color scheme or a secret society tattoo they all have, etc. so our various characters are obviously all in the same set. I am prepared to go either with the assembly line approach or the dividing up the characters approach. I think it is easier to make the characters have a uniform style of presentation through the assembly line approach, but that takes the fun out of it for a lot of people. If we go the way of dividing up the characters, then who wants to do which characters? I suspect, to a certain extent blackcherry (who I can see on here but who might not see this edit unless she refreshes) has already thrown her hat in the ring for the sage and technician characters. CCThrom has clearly put a lot of though into the Hero. I felt most comfortable working with the Shadow, personally. Maybe there is a clear way to divide these characters but we would still have to decide how to make sure they present as a unified set of characters.Anyway. I'll do it however people want. Just tell me by next Tuesday or Wednesday if I have to make two entire characters because it will take me a couple of weeks to do that reasonably well.
Last edited by arttorney; April 9th, 2009 at 12:00 PM.
I will post more sketches shortly...
As Arttorney explained, between the two of us it was pretty clear how the workflow would happen... since I'm very comfortable with pencilling and he prefers inks. Color was always a bit up in the air... I'm capable of doing it, but it's not my strong point, and I'm not fast.
So with the addition of a third person, we have a few choices...
A) we can stick with the assembly-line approach, which means Blackcherry pretty much gets stuck with colors.
B) we modify the assembly line a bit... maybe Blackcherry and I split the color responsibilities.
C) we each take responsibility for 2 characters beginning-to-end. The main issue I have with this one, is that our 3 styles are pretty distinct from each other and consistency will be a problem.
Edit... and thanks for another option!
D) Blackcherry and I split the drawing part and Arttorney colors.
Last edited by CCThrom; April 9th, 2009 at 04:05 PM.
Or, you two could draw and I color as a possibility. As long as I got lines to stay inside of, I can paint by numbers with the GIMP, Painter Essentials, or Photoshop Elements OK. There would still be some issues reconciling your two drawing styles.
Before I get to the sketchies... I just want to go on record as saying that overall I'd prefer to do some variation on the assembly line approach for consistency's sake... but I'm open to working out any sort of compromise. Let me know what you guys prefer. Frankly though I worry about consistency, as far as "life" goes it might be easier for me to work on 2 characters start-to-finish... since I wouldn't have to start immediately next week!
Broken up by character... my idea is they travel in a big zeppelin airship...
One more basic idea for Hero. She's a great pilot, and flies one of the 2 small reconnaissance planes.
Protector... looks like the archetypal aviator-hero, but not the sharpest tool in the shed. He's the helmsman. I like Arttorney's idea for a bare-knuckles fighter too!
Shadow... kinda slouchy and scruffy... also pilots a small plane, could be almost as good a flyer as Hero if he were more conscientious.
I liked Blackcherry's Sage, but thought he ran the risk of being too "techy". I thought of him as being more mystic... having been in full Lotus so long he can't unhook his legs any more... moves around on a flying carpet. Then a more middle-approach... brought back the hot air balloon, which is fueled by his own ooh... mystic powers...
Technician keeps the airship running... I based her very much on Blackcherry's concept mixed with Rosie the Riveter. I'm not as good with the steampunk-y bits and bobs though.
Finally the Rabble Rouser... I saw as a kind of Bohemian self-professed radical. Someone dramatic and full of grand political/philosophical ideals but little real knowledge. He doesn't fly and hasn't got a role on the airship really... so he appointed himself "lookout".
Whew - ok... take the weekend to think it over and post more stuff if you like... by early next week we should get down to making decisions on the characters and how we're going to break down the tasks.
Blackcherry - IF you and I do the drawing, I'm competent but slow with inks... I'm also good at matching other styles so I'm sure we could find a place to meet in the middle.
I just wanted to say, you two are giving your thumbs tons of personality, and that is what puts the "character" in characters. For a late addition to the mood board: Here is Jake Kilrain, who went 72 rounds (!!!!!) with John L. Sullivan before his corner finally threw in the towel. (Kilrain wanted to go more BTW)
Ok I just caught up on the forum about the whole assembly line thing. Having two characters each would probably work well for all of us but I don't think it would have the best outcome because of the consistency issue so I personally don't think we should go that way if we want all the characters to fit together well at the end.
I'd be happy to split the drawing with you CC and I'd also be more than happy to split the colouring too. My inking is ok but I wouldn't say i'm great at it, depends what sort of look we'd want. Also I can try and adapt my style to suit the look you guys want to take with the art.
I take it after easter weekend we're going to make some decisions to advance with?
Love the sketches CC, I'm going to get some more done tomorrow and the weekend, i've been really busy today and yesterday so haven't had chance to get much done. I'll throw my ideas in too and then we can look at what we've got.
I like your idea for the sage too, I think mine probably is techy for the look you're leaning towards. I might do a bit of a re-work on him taking into account your idea and see what happens. I really like your design for the hero though. I imagined the protector a bit different I think it's because when I though steampunk i leant more towards the whole Wild Wild West and crazy gadgets approach. I also love the rable rouster, it's not quite how i saw him but i think it's a great take on it and i think working them all into being aboard an airship is a good idea too.
Anyway I'll post some more over the next few days! Hope you guys have a good Easter!
You have a great Easter too. All this talk of flying gave me another idea about how the Sage could fly. This is kind of a joke about an old TV show. I think the chair Sage as he is currently developing is much cooler.
I'm sure we will find a way to work out roles just fine, and this thread is our chain of evidence about how involved everybody is in the process. We are gelling toward some good ideas.
I meet clients in AZ about ten AM Monday Mountain/Pacific time so I can probably go on the internet about 11 or 12 to weigh in if there is a discussion about directions on Monday. Then I would drive back to CA and the permanent internet connection, so I am fine to come to final decisions on Tuesday if that proves to be the day.
OK. I 'll check in again tomorrow in the hopes of seeing blackcherry's new drawings.
So far, I like CCThrom's second version of the hero the best. That one that I made is not dressed in a practical manner for adventuring but I think the aviator costume makes for a good combination of businesslike and attractive. I'm not sure about that aviator Protector because I just keep thinking about Monty Python for some reason. CCThrom's Shadow looks great. My Shadow was the only one of mine that I really liked, but he looks mildly creepy like he is Edgar Allen Poe's opium dealer or something. I think the shadow is going to be a fun character whichever way we go on that one. CCThrom's Rabble Rouser= awesome for rabble rousing but doesn't scream out to me as much about the gambling aspects. I couldn't really say how to fix that though. Rosie the riveter is cute. She looks like she would be the funnest one to hang out with, and might even have a still on board. On my Technician, I took the "people are not important" part too far and made her look pretty closed off. That's not necessarily consistent with "wears her heart on her sleeve."
The sage- I like the oldness aspects of blackcherry's sage and things like his pipe. The goggles might help a lot with the whole "don't really know where he is looking" thing. His drawback is that he doesn't necessarily look like he is some kind of foreigner. CCThrom's Sage has the foreigner thing going on, but we have to make sure he doesn't turn out to be too much of a cliche.
My sage's- well you kind of have to wonder how on Earth they ended up traveling with the rest of the group. There is no link that suggests itself the way the English looking Protector and East Indian looking Sage that CCThrom made seem to fit.
Here are my designs for all the characters for you to have a look at.
The Line Up: I did this so I'd have an idea of how i saw the characters in relation to each other before i tackled them all separately.
I think the protector should be the biggest of them all. The others I just drew as I saw fit.
Heroine: I really like CC's heroine more than mine, but thought i'd have a go anyway. I experimented with some different clothing ideas and I think she should have goggles if she's to be a pilot. Also with her kind of having this whole alter-ego thing I think she should have some additional sketches for when this 'dark' part is in control? I'm not sure where you guys want to go with that.
Technician: I think mine looks a bit TOO young here but I was just trying to put across that she's short and young looking. I also think she needs to have more gadgets but you get the idea.
Shadow: I was going for a moody/broody look for him with a dark feel. If he knew the heroine at a time before she remembers maybe he's a bit of a shady character? Also Wasn't sure whether to go with a long jacket or not.
Sage: I reworked my previous design a bit so he's not so 'techy' and did a quick design sketch for a developed method of transport for him. I also gave him a walking stick so he can actually walk but not without aid.
Protector: - I saw a well build, muscular guy with a rugged appearance. Very protective of the heroine, Strong and able. A manual labour kind of guy. He'd probably have some sort of big weapon too.
Rable Rouser: I liked CC's design for him, but it wasn't quite how i pictured him. I was going for a kind of comical character who comes across as a bit of a show off. I've dressed him quite well, I like the top hat. I think he looks like someone who could be a gambler.
Let me know what you guys think of them. Also as a side note, I think maybe they could all do with a few more stempunk style gadgets/accessories.
CC put some cool guns in the mood board we can give the hero. besides the possibility of pocketwatches or compasses, here are a few period gadgets we can give people to be holding:
Last edited by arttorney; April 14th, 2009 at 12:36 PM.