Sunday, May 13, 2018

Guardian


"Guardian"
(Final Fantasy VIII)

This is a piece that has sat shelved for almost 5 years, now, but recently found again. I had considered starting it over from scratch with actual inked lineart, but decided to finish the piece as is. It was meant to be a sort-of self-gift for my wife and I's wedding, however my inability to complete it until now makes it an early fifth anniversary present.

The lineart of this was done in colored pencil, somewhat color-matching the held colors, akin to what I did (technically later) on my fist Breath of the Wild piece. I believe my original plan for the background is what lead me to walk away from this piece for so long, as I intended to fill the grass with flowers matching the petals blowing around the foreground of the image. In order to finally finish this pic, I ultimately scrapped that concept, as I had no practical way of accomplishing this effect confidently.

May 13, 2018
Prismacolor Markers, colored pencils, chalk pastels, and gel pens
on 11x17" cardstock 

Friday, May 4, 2018

Ties of Sea and Flames


"Ties of Sea and Flames"
(Xenogears)

I had initially planned this for another illustration, but scrapped it and used the concept for these two for itself. The images were drawn and colored separately and put together digitally for the final. Trying to match the poses between the two while maintaining the perspective of the differences in size was interestingly challenging.

Coloring was even more of a trial because, surprise, some of my markers are wearing out, meaning I should replenish soon. So some of the colors are touched up here to keep this from becoming a shelved project. Oddly, this effected Fei way more than Weltall, which had minimal problems with marker dry-out and more just trying to replicate its shades of blues. Thankfully, the new figure announced helped me better understand its color layout, so this should be my most accurate-to-official Weltall illustration yet.

May 4, 2018
Normal pen, Sakura Pigma pens, Prismacolor Markers, colored pencils, and gel pens
on 2 8.5x11" cardstocks 

Compiling and background done digitally via Photoshop Elements 7.0


Individual images of Fei and Weltall.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Doth Thou Desire the Power?


"Doth Thou Desire the Power?"
(Xenogears)

There's not a lot I can say about Grahf that isn't spoiler-territory, but suffice to say he's definitely one of the more sympathetic villains in the massive story of Xenogears. His outfit also stands out a lot, reminiscent of a dark royal jester. It's the type of design that leaves an impression.

To start with the obvious, I was inspired by those variant covers to BOOM! Comics' Power Rangers done by Goñi Montes. And as Grahf is the masked villain of Xenogears (For good reason), it just sorta clicked.
Coloring was interesting given the detail of his outfit. A LOT of details scattered among the ensemble, and the colors were difficult to do in a way that made the focal points pop.
The background - what little there is - was a mix of markers and chalk pastels, but for the final, I did a little blurring to mask the harsh pastel marks that refused to blend.

May 1, 2018
Micron Pen, Sakura Pigma pens, Prismacolor Markers, colored pencils, chalk pastels, and gel pens
on 8.5x11" cardstock 

Background blurring done digitally via Photoshop Elements 7.0

Friday, March 30, 2018

Crisis for the Planet


"Crisis for the Planet"
(Final Fantasy VII)
 
This is a redo of a much older piece. I had it in mind to go back to this one for quite a while, however, the original had a lot of motifs I feel are now rather cliche of me, so I wanted to find a way to make it fresher.
Firstly, I changed the poses held by the two characters, putting Aerith in a prayer stance (which doubles as covering herself, lol), and placed Sephiroth in a powerful outstretched arms pose. It's minor, but adds more dynamics and personality to their presence. I also ditched the Advent Children-esque look for somewhat more classic-faithful models, which I also tried to replicate in the coloring style, mixing markers with colored pencils for a recreation of texture found in Nomura's character illustrations.
Losing the yin/yang motif, I moved the Materias to the sides, being "cupped" by the ends of the central glyph, which to keen eyes is recognized as the symbol used on the title card and opening credits. For the background colors, I wanted the base colors of the materia to start around their locations and swirl into a mix as they approach the opposite, invoking a sort of color wheel look.
As a final touch, I put my signature at both ends so there's no "real" top or bottom to this piece.


March 30, 2018
Micron Pen, Sakura Pigma pens, Prismacolor Markers, colored pencils, and gel pens
on 8.5x11" cardstock 

Paper texture added digitally via Photoshop Elements 7.0

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Champion's Return


"The Champion's Return"
(The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild)
 
Second year in a row I started with a Zelda illustration. Huh.
So, personal time. Since the end of December, I got sick. Like, worse than normal sick. And my ill state got worse within the entirety of January, with the brunt finally tapering off mid-February. During this down time, I hit a nasty artist's block that eventually turned into pure lethargy. Even as my infection dwindled, my energy never really came back. I knew I had to do something to make myself feel better before I slipped into depression, so when my taxes came around, I got a Nintendo Switch, along with... You guessed it, Breath of the Wild.
So, playing the game a second time has been a blast, and during my still-ongoing runthrough of it, I slowly felt the inspiration come back. Much like Link's 100-years of rest, forgetting his goals, I, too, lost sight of my ambitions. This is the manifest of the end of my hiatus.
Maybe not fully, but it's a start.

The bulk of the illustration is my usual traditional means, attempting some risky pen-and-marker mixes to pull off some of the effects I was aiming for, namely for the Guardian's glowing bodies and eyes. The color style's a bit of a mix of trying to emulate some of the official art's rough strokes, mixed with my own more subtle blending.

Then, to kinda suppress the somewhat busy background, I decided to do an overlay akin to the patterned design used on much of BotW's game and materials. I was really worried whether it would be too much, but after messing with the blending and levels, I think I found a nice balance that doesn't overwhelm the image it covers.

For those curious, the un-digitized original can be viewed below.

March 13, 2018
Ball pen, Prismacolor markers, Colored pencils, charcoal pencils, and gel pens
on 8.5x11 cardstock
Digital overlay done in Photoshop Elements.





"The Champion's Return" (Traditional piece)

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

[Dual Balance] Mash


[Dual Balance] Mash 
(Original Character)

Key character illustration for my story "Fated Sword Dual Balance."

Member of Il Inno di Morte, a large spriggan.
Half of his body is composed of natural root and stone, and he carries the ability to shape it and extend it to his will, making him adept at both offense and defense.

December 13, 2017
Sakura Pigma pens, Prismacolor Markers, and gel pens
on 8.5x11" cardstock.

(*faded enlarged version and text added digitally via Photoshop Elements)

Fated Sword Dual Balance ©2017 Studio OZKai

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

[Dual Balance] Switch


[Dual Balance] Switch 
(Original Character)

Key character illustration for my story "Fated Sword Dual Balance."

Member of Il Inno di Morte, a wiry kobald.
Quite insane, his fighting style is difficult to counter due to his swift agility.
He often agitates his fellow comrades with his hair-trigger tongue and actions.

December 12, 2017
Sakura Pigma pens, Prismacolor Markers, and gel pens
on 8.5x11" cardstock.

(*faded enlarged version and text added digitally via Photoshop Elements)

Fated Sword Dual Balance ©2017 Studio OZKai