Always Go Her Way

First of all, Happy New Year everybody! (I don’t care if we’re passed the New Year’s cut-off.)

I made this cartoon for this year’s Valentine’s Day. The idea behind it doesn’t need any explanation, I’m sure — so let’s skip that.

cupid ffs

But I can tell you this that I wanted to make something with use of shades of gray alone because I feel the reliance on colors can become a “crutch.” And since I tend to rely a lot on colors alone, I wanted to train myself more in adding tone and spotting blacks.

I must say, I kinda like the end result, so maybe I’ll continue in this style. (But that’s a big maybe.)

So what else can you expect from me this year? Well, I can show you some character designs soon for some (mini) comics I’m working on. And I may find myself working again on some black metal band art — for an actual Norwegian black band even — no, really! — sometime within the next few weeks!

If anything else interesting pops up, you’ll be the first to know!

Advertisements

When Super Mario Meets Dark Souls

Some time ago, I did a course through CalArts on video game character design. The course homework assignments had us course participants peer review each other’s work, which went well until we had to take an existing, established video game character and put it, as it were, in another game universe. Here problems arose because to no surprise — people have strong emotional feelings about characters they have spent hours of their life playing as or with.

So when I decided to take everyone’s favorite Italian plumber, Mario, and give him the Dark Souls treatment by turning him hollow and handing him a battle axe (see below) — some had harsh words for my final rendition, basically all boiling down to, it’s too cartoony to be “inspired by Dark Souls.” To me though, that was no big deal — it so happened this is just my style.

mariioooo (1)

What did bother me, however, was that there was something off about the construction of the character: there’s too much “camouflaging” of extremities, the eyebrows lack texture, the head sits ill on the romp, and the belt doesn’t compliment the roundness of the belly. But I couldn’t be bothered starting anew … until a few days ago.

You see, I’m currently in the process of redoing some oldies but “goldies,” just to compare them side-by-side — to see if and how much I’ve managed to improve. Below you can see the new version of my medieval fantasy Mario. Is it an improvement over the original? I’ll let you judge for yourself.

Mario13

Destined for Death (Metal)

I can finally reveal the cover I illustrated for Dauthuz‘ first full-length album — in all its original black-and-white glory and goriness.
Dauthuz, skull, tshirt, album cover, death metal, old school

Mind you, this version — the one I prefer and give you here — differs signifcantly from the definitive cover art, as can be seen on their website.

I don’t want to throw anyone under the bus. The band couldn’t get behind the design as originally intended by me, and so they had some changes made (by someone else than me). I don’t like it — but there’s no pleasing everyone, and that’s just the way is. So I’m not going to complain or throw a fit. But I do feel a need to explain what I feel has gotten lost in the final design.

For starters, gone now is the simple triangular composition, and with it the tight negative space surrounding the skull and corpses; gone now the eye in the right socket, and with it a centrifugal focal point. On that last note, the focal potential of the center skull is even further undermined by the bright candy red color scheme of the background — an area that due to its radiance, now “pops” to the foreground.

And it’s not just the layout that took a hit. Subtle references to some of my favorite artists and bands are no longer there anymore. Take the eye, for instance. It was meant to be a design nod to Mark Riddick, one of the industry’s greats, whose work has been of great influence to me. Now it’s just a gaping hole, void of any reference.

Oh well, it is as it is. But it does make me think about how I want to go about things in the future. And, well, I still got a solid portfolio piece out of it, which also counts for something.

The album titled by the way, Destined by Death will be out in November.