I've been doing tons of drawing the past two weeks to flesh out my design for Captain Blackberry Beard's Ship. I would post some of the dozens of drawings that I did to get to this point but it would probably take me all day to scan all of them and upload them on this site.
First, I researched sail boats and pirate ships and started drawing several different styles. I also found a pirate ship model at a local flea market that aided in this design. My friend Joe Dillon lent me a book on Sail boats and my other friend Chuck Kivlen gave me a motorcycle toy that had a Shark's head on it. These both really helped me out.
The design that I had in my head was a pirate ship that would be built using old powerlines as masts and a robot shark head at the front of the boat. Bluish Purple would be a dominating glowing color that would indicate that the ship is powered by Blackberry Beard's "Purple Electricity".
Next I researched sharks, shark heads and how other artists handled designing a robot shark. The main focus for me was to establish a simple shape for the sharks face and figure out how it's jaw would open and close. This was the most difficult of the whole design and took the most research and drawing.
While I was drawing the shark heads, I started studying different powerlines and began to notice them more when I was driving my car. There were several that I noticed such as simple ones made of wood, huge cylindrical steel ones and other ones composed of intersecting steel beams that formed X's. For the masts of the ship I decided to go with those designs simply because they almost completely simplify a ship's mast and cargo nets that a pirate can climb. Basically, by using the X design, the mast head not only serves as the support for the sails but can also be climbed by the pirates without the use of a cargo net.
As I was designing the entire shape of the boat, I came to a conclusion that the fin on top of the Shark's head can serve another purpose in addition to simply reinforcing that the ship is a shark. Traditionally in old pirate novels, there is always a plank that pirates make their prisoners walk in hopes of having them eaten by sharks. Instead of doing that with my ship, I decided that the purple segments of the fin would extend out toward the center of the ship and create a series of stairs to the top of the fin. When someone walks up the stairs to the top, the curvature of the fin can be a sliding board that Blackberry Beard forces his victims down which would land them directly in front of the shark's face. Then the shark would chomp the victim away.
Monday, March 19, 2018
The initial design process starts with researching robot character designs and skeletons that I know of and creating a drawing based on that research. I immediately thought of the simplified skeleton robots of Mega Man, both Skull Man and Doc Robot. Warhammer 40K's Necron army of Robot Skeletons was also an inspiration in my design process.
Next I started doing various shape designs of possible Skull Designs. Luckily, about a year ago I attended a Still Life Drawing Workshop at AFA Gallery in Scranton, PA, where I remember drawing a fake skull that was part of one of the still life's. My memory of this session aided in quickly constructing these skeletons on the page.
At this point, I was looking more at the Necron Army for body construction of my designs but also utilizing the simple spherical joints from the Mega Mans for the connecting of their robot bodies. I also started gradually adding Pirate attire to my Skeletons. First, adding hat's then researching more and adding some clothing.
I got to a point in the design where I had a very generic Robot Pirate Skeleton and wanted to create more distinct characters from that mold. I started adding sharper edges on their chins to indicate beards, sharp teeth, missing teeth, and indicating hair. Then I started doing tons of research on Pirate costumes, accessories and weapons.
In the final designs, I didn't want to add too much clothes so I modified some of the parts of the legs and arms so they almost look like they are clothing instead of skeleton arms or legs. I also combined traditional Pirate weapons with Power Tools in some of my designs.
Sunday, March 4, 2018
My focus this past week was to design Captain Blackberry Beard's Mechanical BlueJay that sits on his shoulder. The idea is that Captain Blackberry Beard does not want to be like other pirates and have a parrot on his shoulder. He always wanted a bluejay, even though they don't generally live on the high seas. So, he decided to create a robot blue jay.
This was a rather difficult assignment that I gave myself. So I started from square one. What makes a blue jay a blue jay? I looked for references of blue jays and proceeded to draw them. I tried to capture as many details as possible. Elements of importance that I noticed were their pointed head shapes and markings on their wings.
After drawing bluejays I then asked myself about the mechanics of a bird's wings. How are they constructed? What do they look like when they are opened and what do they look like when they close. I looked at several anatomy charts of birds wings and how the feathers are in section both on the outside and the inside of the wing. I did tons of drawing studies of wings like this. I managed to post a few on here.
The final part of the process was the most difficult because it required me to take what I learned about bird's wings and blue jays and create a functional robot model of a blue jay. So, I would have to approach all of the bird's organic anatomy as if it was a metal robot.
I began to do a lot of research into robot designs, specifically Capcom's Mega Man series of simple shaped robot designs. Subconsciously, the head design seems to be a combination of Magneto from X-men's helmet along with the pointed fin design of the Rocketeer's helment. His body basically is Mega Man's Xbuster hand shape. I also looked at several metal sculptures of steampunk and mech blue jays. However, most of these designed that I looked at did not have functioning wings. Either the wings were stationary and closed or they only remained opened.
I was baffled at first with how to handle the wings but after a few days, I came up with the idea to make a hinge attached to the Blue Jay's body that attaches to a metal arm. As you can see from this drawing above, there is a half circle shape attached to the metal arm. when the half circle shape extends outward, the arm gets longer and opens the wings.
I also wasn't sure about how to attach the legs because generally, birds legs would come out of the front of the torso. But, my design choice was to have the legs come out of the sides of the bird so that it can turn sideways and morph into a cannon airplane like the image below.
Sunday, February 11, 2018
I really dedicated a lot of time to create this promo piece for my next story in the Steve Silverado franchise, Swashbuckling Steve Silverado. This illustration was to focus on using two light sources, the moon and the glowing bluish purple light from Blackberry Beard's beard. I also created an animated gif to show how the beard would appear glowing. The point is to show that Blackberry Beard is an electrical powersource that has the capability of charging electronic objects and destroying nature by turning ecosystems into cold electronic environments. His quest is to take over every island on the high seas and turn them into his personal electronic wastelands that he can control.
Thursday, February 1, 2018
Just about a year ago, I attended an Animation Design Workshop in Seattle, Washington called Schoolism Live. There I learned from several professional animation production designers. From Sculpture to Character Design, they explained their processes and what they each find important when designing for video games, television and feature length movies. Chris Sasaki from Pixar was one professional whose presentation greatly informed me about how to approach designing my own characters. What stood out most for me was his attention to the pre-designing researching phase. He advised in the beginning to stay on track that designers should briefly write up a description of the character using simple adjectives and ALWAYS refer to this when in the design process. After establishing who the character is in writing, He says to research costume designs and similar actors or characters that may embody that character. Putting together a "Mood Board" or visual collage of all of these references.
When I started designing Blackberry Beard, I envisioned him as being a lot shorter in stature compared to Steve Silverado. He would always be looking up to him but not be afraid of him. In fact, he would be intimidating Silverado. I also researched some steampunk eye pieces for his bionic eye. My idea for that element would be that it can act as a nautical telescope as well as a microscope to examine his victims up close. For his bionic corkscrew arm, I was thinking about the simplicity of the designs of armor from the Mega Man series. To me the corkscrew hand serves as torture device for his victims. I envisoned it slowly getting longer as it gets closer and closer to it's victim's throat. As I was fleshing him out, I thought of the Characters of Tormund from Game of Thrones and Ganondorf from Zelda. He has a threatning and insane demeanor as well as slicked back hair and beard.
Sunday, July 23, 2017
Saturday, May 27, 2017
These are redesigns of characters and the introduction of a new character for a new Steve Silverado Pirate themed story. Ramsey Longhorn finally gets Steve and Debbie in his clutches, and banishes them to a universe of what seems likes an endless ocean of islands. Captain Blackberry Beard uses his unique Beard to electrically power the high seas and convert barren wastelands into technologically thriving empires that he can control. All in the process, he strips individuals of their land, destroys people's lives and punctures wooden boats a with his corkscrew hand.
Debbie is now cursed as a mermaid, and uses her abilities to swim under the depths of the ocean to rescue victims of Captain Blackberry Beard's reign of terror.
This story focuses on Steve losing his truck, how he will get it all together and what he needs to do to get back to reality with Debbie.