Team ChOW - Team InsertNameHere - Sekino, vibhas_virwani, Bendragon and Yoitisi

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    Arrow Team ChOW - Team InsertNameHere - Sekino, vibhas_virwani, Bendragon and Yoitisi

    This sketchbook is going to be the log for team InsertNameHere, a place where we can post and discuss the work we've done or are going to do for the Team ChOW. Feel free to post your comments or critiques though

    I'll update this first post with the results and progress as we go along, to keep a good overview of where we are and were we are going. For the moment, it'll only contain the planning so far though:

    Planning & Deadlines

    Monday April 5: Section A: Topic/Timeframe/Style done and updated.

    Sunday April 12: Section B: Ideas done and updated.
    Monday April 13: Selection made of best ideas so far, start with working them out into more finished concepts.

    Sunday April 19: Section C: Concepts done and updated.
    Monday April 20: Selection of concepts, finishing them to final design and start on final rendering.

    Tuesday April 30: Section D: Finals done and updated, as well as posted in the finals thread.

    Process & Steps

    A: Topic/Timeframe/Style:

    This section will contain several parts that will help us to stay focused as a group and to inspire ourselves.

    1. The choice we made for the style and timeframe our characters will operate in: Arabian Pilgrimage/Caravan - Futuristic

    2. Visual style guide: Moodboards, collages, inspiring art, colorcharts and the like.

    3. Additional write up to explore the characters as given in the brief a bit more in depth, linking them together with each other and the world they walk around in.

    B: Ideas

    1. After finishing the initial style guides and write up, it's time to get some ideas out there. Thumbnails, doodles and sketches, anything to put our minds on paper goes.

    2. Choice of the most promising and/or popular ones. The style guides will be used to judge the ideas too, so if all your ideas fall outside this range you haven't paid enough attention, but if all your ideas fall safely inside this range you might not have looked far enough.

    3. Before moving on we'll evaluate on any changes and on cohesiveness of the whole range.

    C: Concepts

    1. After the evaluation, our next step is to combine the earlier ideas into more finalized concepts. Adding new ideas might be necessary too though. Again, starting out with rough sketches at first might be a good idea.

    2. End result of this phase might be ortho's for each character and maybe a start at the final rendering of the characters.

    3. Evaluating concepts to check if they all match up with each other. Only small changes are made at this point, before going into making a rendering out of each of them.

    D: Finals

    1. Start on the final rendering of each character. This is where it gets tricky, since we’re all working in a different style as artists, and also on a different level, so we might have to figure something out for this. On all the previous steps I don’t think painting skill doesn’t really matter (in fact, I think it’ll benefit us that we’re working in different styles since it means more inspiration and ideas for us all), but for the final rendering we might need to figure something out.

    2. Posting of the WIPs and Finals in the finals thread of the team ChOW.

    Who does what

    Sunday April 5 - Yoitisi: Additional write-up of the characters, more in depth story and link with our chosen background/world.
    Monday April 6 - All: Moodboards and inspiration that forms the visual guide and backbone of our style, as well as the first sketches to explore the topic.

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    Last edited by yoitisi; April 6th, 2009 at 07:43 AM.
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    The following is a sort of write up for this project. It's pretty rough and far from done yet, but I hope it'll help us guide our steps bit better and provide us with inspiration. Any comments or crits are welcome, anything can change at this point anyway

    --------------------------------------------------------------

    Background Information

    The background story

    Set against a background of the great crusades in space, a small group of wanderers sets off to an old city on a far off desert planet to seek answers.

    The universe

    Several key aspects of the universe we’re working in:

    It’s a sci-fi setting in a universe that is a mix of traditional architecture and culture and advanced technology. Not all advances in science are being embraced though, and many traditionalists try to regain some of their ancient culture and hide or abandon products that are designed to sustain their health and life. Mostly though, the technology is mixed with the ancient traditions and ways of life.

    Although science is more advanced than our contemporary world, spiritually little has changed. That is to say, there are several major religions that can be compared to earth’s religions like Christianity and the Islam. After a long period of relative peace, several false or real prophets have stood up amongst the races that inhabit this galaxy, and the inevitable wars and crusades are now tearing Empires, Kingdoms and Republics apart. Parts of the galaxy remain neutral but every culture or planet is being involved in one way or another.

    Traveling through space is done with hyperdrives and wormhole generators, the latter being almost instantaneously but very expensive, the first slower but relatively cheap. Trade is booming what with the crusades going on and all, though traveling and especially tourism are getting harder.

    Pilgrimage and travelling

    A pilgrimage is usually a group of people or individuals traveling from different places in the world/galaxy/planet to a holy place for prayers/redemption/sacrifice/etc. For some it is a once in a lifetime religious experience, for others it’s a safe place or a place to find answers.

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    Caravanserai

    Although the planet this story takes place is mostly devoid of life, there are several small villages and settlements of humans that for some reason got stuck on the planet after spending all their money on the pilgrimage, or losing by being robbed or giving it away freely. Since the first seekers of wisdom came to the planet at least a millennia ago, there are also several families and tribes that could be called native now. They thrive on what little the planet offers in terms of food and shelter, and of what the pilgrims bring them.

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    The Holy City

    Build on a desert/rocky planet (not unlike Mars) somewhere in the outlying regions of space by an ancient civilization. Although the original builders are long gone, deep within the city they left behind several captured alien life forms that seem to float between dimensions in their crystalline cages. Much like the Oracle of Delphi, they provide wisdom and counsel to all who dare ask them – at a price. They play an important role in a couple of religions.

    The city is self-regulatory and has it’s own government, which consists of several heads of churches and religious people. Almost everyone who made the journey through the desert can enter the city, but there are strict rules for who can or cannot visit the oracles. It can take years to actually get access them.

    The city is well away from any spaceport and any sort of air traveling close to it is prohibited, so any pilgrim that manages to land on the spaceport on the other side of the planet has to travel there by animal or land bound vehicles.

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    --------------------------------------------------------------

    Characters

    This section will hold the additional write up and inspirations for the six characters we're supposed to design, in an attempt to link them all together in a little story as well as visually.

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    The Hero

    Female – Age 23
    Arabian features – Dark hair, tanned skin but most notable are her eyes (she doesn’t really fit into her environment, but she adapts quickly).

    Practically dressed, the only traces of her former self are the marking on her body and the Djinn inside her that bursts out of her when she’s in stress or danger. She carries a bunch of personal items to remind her of her new friends and places she’s been though, in case she loses her memory again. Misses something (her ‘lamp’) but doesn’t know what it is she’s missing.

    She’s a Djinn but is not aware of this. By some kind of accident or something she got pushed out of her dimension and into a human body with which she/it shares a merged personality, thereby loosing all her memories but not her powers (it is definitely a she, though for djinns this might be a bit different so I call it an ‘it’ in djinn form and a ‘she’ in human form)

    Her second personality is the -not necessarily evil but very protective of the hero itself and desperate to get back to its own dimension- djinn inside her, fully aware of its powers and able to use them in times of stress and danger. Hero is only dimly aware of its presence inside her, but its presence in her has left visible marks on her body that change depending on her mood (she covers them up to hide them?).

    Hero started out on the journey to the Holy City in an attempt to find her memory again (urged on by the Protector who is deeply religious and believes she’ll find it there). She herself isn’t all too sure she actually wants to know, but after several ‘accidents’ happened in the months after she recovered she had to flee her original home anyway, so now she’s traveling with the others for a couple of months already, picking up friends here and there.

    - Female, between 20 - 30. Has no memory of anything beyond a year before present.
    - Stubborn to a fault, but unswervingly loyal to those she cares about, convinced that she could lose her memory of them at any time she makes the most of every moment.
    - Has a tendency to say things before she thinks about them.
    - Rumored to have a second personality that can remember everything from before, a 'dark' side, as it were, with totally different personality traits. **
    - A quick learner, but unlikely to pay attention unless something immediately catches her interest.
    - Searching for her past but ultimately easily caught up in the present and the worries of others, tending to think of other people before herself.
    - Found (to her horror) that she is more than capable of handling herself in a fight, and likely capable of killing.

    The Shadow

    Male – Age 27
    European – light skin and light hair, otherwise indistinguishable (he doesn’t really ‘fit’ into the surroundings)

    Smartly dressed though nothing too outlandish. Carries a range of weapons but nothing heavy or overly specialized – practical stuff. Holds on to his old ‘lamp’ still, although he’s trying to hide it as much as possible.

    The Shadow is in fact a Djinn who remembers who he was before he got stuck in a body in our dimension. He’s an escapist, he ran from his old life only to find that his new life (and the world he is now stuck in) is not much different. He does not regret it however, which sort of bothers him because he still feels like he betrayed his kind. Since he consciously cut all bonds with his old life, he is now a mere human. He does however age very slowly, and has been around in our galaxy for quite a while now, even though he still looks to be in his late 20’s.

    His motivation to join on the pilgrimage to the Holy City is to find a way back to his own dimension. That’s what he keeps telling himself though, but in reality he is just lost and looking for answers and a direction in life (the journey is both postponing actually having to think about it and a way for him to grow and learn).

    He recognizes the Hero as being a Djinn too, although he’s not totally sure how she got here, why she lost her memory and why she still seems to have her powers as a djinn while he himself does not. She intrigues him and slowly he starts to like her, though he is careful not to show that. He is also the only one who knows how to deal with her bad ‘djinn’ side.

    - Male, between 20 - 30 (should be around Hero's age).
    - The only person that the hero has any memory of, beyond the last year (though she can only remember his face), and the only person who might know who she is. He pretends he doesn't know, or refuses to say.
    - Seemingly self-absorbed but actually self-destructive, has a tendency to take out his insecurities as malicious remarks on other people.
    - Isn't well liked, but doesn't care, or pretends he doesn't.
    - Doesn't seem to have any friends except the hero, who he would do anything for, though of course he would never say that. However, though he seems to actively despise the rest of her friends, he cares for them more than he admits.
    - Whether he is helping the hero find her memory, or actively hindering her, is unclear. She believes he is helping her. He doesn't necessarily believe that it would help her to find it.
    - Often disappears for long periods.

    The Protector

    Android
    Humanoid – though visibly a robot and not a human. Does wear clothes to protect itself from dust and sand.

    The Protector is in fact a deeply religious robot (not programmed, the Protector became religious after witnessing events it could not explain). However, it is not an extremist in any way. Generally believes in the ‘good’ inside everything that lives in this universe. Its faith is strong but simple, although it can appreciate anyone else’s opinion.

    It’s on its way to the Holy City simply because he feels it should go as his religion demands. Although it encountered all kinds of negative reactions to its religious behavior from humans and aliens alike, it is determined to make it there and will not be blinded or confused in its goals by others.

    - Male or Female, between 25 - 50, well-built
    - Found the Hero directly after she had lost her memory, and managed to piece her back together.
    - Strong and loyal, but prone to worry. Decided to take hero under wing, and began to notice the very strange energies* and events that surrounded her.
    - Completely distrusts the Shadow and the Sage and believes they are actively working against the Hero's interests, but defers to the Hero's opinion and trust of them.
    - Strengths lie in activities done with the hands - higher concepts either are not a concern, or are too hard to think about in depth.
    - Honest and blunt, so sometimes seems unkind, but never means it.
    - Sometimes wonders if accidentally stepped in way too deep into something never meant to be approached.

    The Sage

    Female – Age 12
    Arabian – She’s dressed like a native from a (slightly poor) village on the planet of Ahkra. Her gender is hard to guess because of her age and ancestry.

    Her Efreet-ancestry shows through in her features and build. When angry her Efreet nature tends to gain the upper hand. She’s a practical enough child and knows all she needs to know about surviving in the desert of Ahkra, but spends a lot of time meditating and often forgets her surroundings.

    The Sage is the daughter of an Efreet and a human, born on Ahkra in a village far away from both the spaceport and the Holy City. Being 12 years of age she is now ready for her journey to the Holy City on the other side of the planet. However, chance or something deeper and more sinister brought her to the place where the Hero landed on Ahkra first so she decided to join their group.

    Having an Efreet for a father, she has the ability to see beyond this plane of existence and glimpse other dimensions. Wise beyond her years in spiritual matters, but her social skills have suffered from it since the other people in her village never really accepted her. She’s also prone to act like a child of 12 sometimes and can be difficult to deal with.

    - Male or Female, any age
    - Does not come from the same country* as hero. Came from far away to find something, and claims that the hero will lead her to it, though will not say what it is - even whether it is a physical object* or a higher plane*.
    - Often seems to be looking through the person that he/she is speaking to, and just as frequently stares off into space.
    - Seems to disappear whenever trouble starts, but has saved the hero and her companion multiple times to threats that they were completely oblivious/unaware of.
    - Eats very little and sleeps less, and makes very little noise when he/she walks.

    The Technician

    Female – Age 26
    Arabian/Moroccan features – Suffered from a growth disorder and has robotic supplements to her body.

    Outfit loaded with an eclectic mix of adornments, tools and electronic artifacts, some of which communicate with different dimensions or each other. She’s always cheerful and seemingly naive, but this is mostly because she usually pays little attention to the outside world.

    Because of a genetic growth disorder, the technician's body is somewhat misshapen. While her body was slower and weaker than other kids, her mind grew quick and sharp as she occupied her agile hands with exploring any machine or system she could find and pick apart.

    She met the Hero and Protector off-world before they reached Ahkra, but decided to come along and see what secret artifacts the Holy City might hold. She never regretted it since, because on her home planet she had no friends or family left anymore thanks to her misshapen body and interest in artifacts rather than people.

    - Female, 18 - 28
    - Completely in tune with anything mechanical*. Takes things apart / dissects things with disturbing regularity, and while can usually put them back together again sometimes forgets to do so, to the dismay of her friends whose objects* she 'borrows'.
    - Fascinated by all methods of transport*, and has an amazingly large memory for all vehicles* and machines* but not for people or places (they are just not important!)
    - Initially hired for one-off job by the Hero and the Protector, but took an instant liking to them and convinced them of her usefulness.
    - Not very good in rough situations like fights, prefers cold logic of puzzles, as her size tends to work against her. However, pressed into a corner, she can make her technical* knowledge work to her advantage in place of physical prowess.
    - wears her heart on her sleeve and is often very cheerful, but takes some blows very hard (a friend getting hurt, etc). Sometimes flighty.

    The Rabble-Rouser

    Male – Age 27
    Could be from anywhere, mixed ancestors – Fancies elaborate clothes, but they’re usually deceivingly practical too. Everything is surface; he tries not to show his inner self in any way.

    A trickster and prankster at heart, his carelessness gets him into trouble every time. His lucky nature has never failed him though, which is why he never bothered to become more careful and responsible. On the surface cheerful and charming, there’s a dark and somber inner self that he does not show to anyone.

    The rabble-rouser has always been lucky in life, which might have made him rich but also rather lonely and sarcastic. He is rather careless and trusts his luck a little too much. He makes money and wealth just as soon as he spends it, mostly on booze and women.

    He ended up on Ahkra with a freighter that is now held at the spaceport on grounds of smuggling. His gambling has made him several enemies within the spaceport city, so he flees along with the Hero and her group.

    Has a vague notion of going to the Oracles in the Holy City to find a way of getting rid of his extreme luck.

    - Male, 20 - 30 (should be around Hero's age)
    - Met Hero + crew rather accidentally and they helped out of a bit of trouble (which he had gotten himself into and was almost entirely his fault).
    - Developed instant infatuation with Hero + told her that he would help her find her memory. Infatuation may or may not be sincere. Hero does not return it.
    - Tends to bring trouble with him, or create it when he gets there, as he grates people's nerves.
    - Charming and seemingly hollow, but in select instances with the Shadow has shown that he's invested more in the quest than one would think - though perhaps not for the apparent reasons.
    - Has good luck with gambling to match his bad luck with people, and never is wont for money - it tends to find him as easily as he finds it.
    - Has an excellent memory for faces as well as for numbers.
    - Well-groomed, but not as flamboyant as one might expect - unless it is on purpose as part of a bluff.

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    Disclaimer: Images shown are not copyrighted by me or any of my team and are used for inspirational sources only

    Last edited by yoitisi; April 7th, 2009 at 10:39 AM.
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    (Sorry for being so organized guys, having way too much fun with this already )
    "Sorry"?? Dude, it's awesome. I was just about to ask how we'd make the team's sketchbook and here it is, with new paint smell! Efficiency rules

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    Good work starting it all up Yoitisi! Ive been thinking about the theme we decided upon and it made me think about the Orientalism art movement. It might be inspiring to look at some of their paintings (Jean-Leon Gerome is a popular Orientalist painter).

    http://www.orientalist-art.org.uk/

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    Sweet, Yoitisi! Just saw your update and I'm pleased to see how similar the moodboard I'd put together for my own sketching fits the one you put up; we're on the same track -

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    I really dig the hero and shadow's description as well: The djinn idea is fantastic and fits the mood perfectly IMO! I'm currently working mainly on my ideas for the technician and sage. Hopefully, I can upload something tonight. If not, by tomorrow afternoon...

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    Great !! the idea is much clearer to me too now great write-ups man !!

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    Fantastic write up! Glad we worked out an awesome topic. I just noticed the Protector's backstory being posted up... But these are a few thumbnails I did, just playing with shapes and trying to work out some silhouettes that could distinguish the characters. Anyway, feel free to crit the hell out of these.
    Something I also think might be helpful is if we did a few research drawings. Well, thats just how I work. I find it helpful to do small studies of the subjects I draw. Nothing big, it just helps me to observe the shades and reoccuring themes in the subject. We got quite a bit of Arabian references but we still need to add those futuristic elements to it.
    Anyway.....

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    Cool stuff Bendragon, just go along with these I'd say. Might be good to wrap them all up at the end of the week by putting them all in a single image (or several together at least), would make it easier to judge them. As for crits, I think it's more important to try and get as many ideas out as we can before the end of the week rather than starting to crit already so just do more! Good call on naming them too btw

    As for my write up and reference images, I'm just making it up as I go along so if you guys rather see something different for a specific character just let me know. Feel free to explore the characters outside the write up too, it's a continuous process so if a cool idea comes up in the sketches we can add them to the description and vice versa. For example, if one of us makes a sketch for the protector that is not a robot but looks better than any android we come up with, we could change it back anytime. It's more a sort of guideline.

    I think at the end of this week we'll have a better understanding of where we want to go so we can put a final decision on the write up and characters by then I guess. Also, I'll see if I can add Sekino's moodboard in the first posts as well as some more futuristic refs.

    Edit: Actually, I think the refs I put up so far lean a little too much towards a certain type of realism etc so expect some updates soon!

    Last edited by yoitisi; April 6th, 2009 at 09:50 AM.
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    Cheers Yoitisi! Ive got a few more... Do point out if you think any of the characters fit better into a different character's description Right now, lets just go nutzzzzzzz!!!

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    nice works !

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    Great starts guys! I'm really digging the theme as well as the streamlining ability of yoitisi

    Here's to wishing you guys good luck <cheers!> :3

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    Niiice, Bendragon! I dig all the accessories and costumes, so far!

    See, you know how to make an actual sketch... I'm killing myself over here trying to not go overboard and get lost in the colouring Getting better at streamlining as I go...

    I came up with a description/sketch for the Technician, but it's just something that popped in my mind since the beginning, therefore totally optional:

    Technician- Female – Age 26
    Arabian/African features – Very short and chubby but delicate hands. Cheerful face.

    Outfit loaded with an eclectic mix of adornments, tools and electronic features.

    Because of a genetic bone disorder, the technician's growth was somewhat stunted. While her body was slower and weaker than the other childrens', her mind grew quick and sharp as she occupied her agile hands with exploring any machine or system she could find and pick apart.

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    Sage sketch-

    I needed to get that image out of my head; that of a very young and mysterious sage. Now that that's done, I can explore other interpretations

    I was thinking either an arabic-looking boy with strange eye colour or a slightly alien-like kid (I went with the former in this case). I pictured more mystical accessories as well but already spent too much time on the sketch

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    I also noticed the Protector's description. Again, awesome choice! Coming back with more ASAP

    Cheers, all!

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    Sekino: Hehe yeh you might want to drop some of the rendering in favor of speed. Right now we're looking for quantity, later on we can start working things out more. Cool stuff though, I'll see if I can work some of the suggestions into the characters. I like the idea of the Technician having some sort of growth disorder that forced her to find help in mechanical stuff

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    Yup, dont worry about making the sketches pretty just yet The sketches you've done so far are looking good Sekino. I just think atm they are still grounded in our world. It would be nice to have something that will communicate to us that they are a part of a futuristic place, though you dont have to go overboard.
    I also thought about a strange kid as the Sage. One which you may not be able to tell what gender he is and it's existence is a complete mystery. Speaking in riddles (or just nonsense) and rarely answers questions directly.
    I remember your idea for the technician having growth disorders, so in my thumbnails I doodled some extra robotic limbs that he may have built to make life a little easier.

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    Ok the write up is mostly done now, though I'll go over it a few more times to connect everything a bit better. Might also explain the Djinn and Efreet parts a bit better, as well as how everyone met up with each other

    At least all the characters are now sort of defined, time for more thumbnails and sketches!

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    Nice one! I came up with some more ideas for the Technician... Since civilization can sometimes be hard to come across in the desert world, it is generally unsafe to be traveling without a personnel proficient with the handling of machinery. A stranded caravan could be lost forever. Technicians usually end their work with one company when they reach the next civilization and they pick up a new personnel, but this technician has decided to tag along for just a bit longer. Other than the acceptance the group gives her, she is very intrigued by the religious robot and wonders how such a fine machine works!?!?!

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    A couple more sketches, for the Hero and the Shadow.

    I want to add more futuristic elements while not getting it too 'Star Wars' looking (unless we decide it's the feel we'd want). I try to keep the ethnic, 'desert-land' feel. But I'm still playing with it, so more later

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    Cool stuff so far :]

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    Here's another Hero sketch (I like it better than my last one). BTW, I've checked out a few team CHOW SB's and the post-apocalyptic/cybernetic style is well in use. We might want to be cautious with that

    Cheers!

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    *EDIT*

    Might be good to wrap them all up at the end of the week by putting them all in a single image
    (Facepalm) Why did I not comprehend this until now??? I'll stop littering now

    Last edited by Sekino; April 9th, 2009 at 01:05 PM.
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    Looking good Sekino! Regarding the cyberpunk thing... I think we'll need to show somehow that these guys are not still from an advanced technological future but yeah, maybe more subtle and more thought out. Like they could have traditional Arabian attire thats mixed with modern materials? Or equipments that can help them survive longer in the desert like in Dune?
    Hopefully I can get more done today and I'll post em up ere shortly...

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    Here is another thumbnail of the hero. I added a bit of a long cape-like robe on one side. The sage is based on a Gerome painting (the last image). I didnt quite know what the thing was on his head so I thought it would be different to have it as some mechanical device attached to his head For some reason, I was quite fond of drawing this character with a shisha pipe. He has it on wheels following him around.
    Also, I was drawing another idea for the technician... I was struggling a bit so I'll tackle it tomorrow but I'll talk through my idea anyway... I was going to try giving her a remote controlled seat that flies her around and caries all her tools too. I went to look up dentist chairs and found these for reference.
    Anyway Im off to bed... Good night

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