Metroid Metal Muppets

Chances are you know at least two of the words in the title.  If you are what I would call a "cool dude," you know all three.

I was just at Magfest, a huge celebration of geekery, gaming and music.  Between getting my face melted off, some of the Metroid Metal forum members got together for a Secret Santa gift exchange.  For my match, I decided to get more creative.  

I created the above poster and printed it at 16x20.  It depicts the Metroid Metal band members as muppets.  I had the idea for months ahead of time, but the impending gift exchange inspired me to finish it.  It took 15-20 hours in photoshop.  The more I worked on it, the more I learned just how much in common attendees of Magfest and similar events have with the Muppets.  We're all a little weird, we're all a band of misfits.

It was a great success as a gift and as a creative excercise.  He was able to get it signed by the band and everyone loved it!

If you do not know about Metroid Metal, you are wasting time by not clicking this link.  The whole VGM scene is amazing and I was happy to celebrate being a geek with some of the coolest geeks I know.

Strago Magus

In a rare turn of events, I'm doing an art post two days in a row; and not only that, it's another piece of Fan Art!  I don't know why I resisted fan art for so many years.  It's a lot of fun to draw when the character is already designed for you.

This is Strago Magus, who is my favorite character in my favorite Final Fantasy game.  Final Fantasy VI had the best character designs, in my opinion.  It represents the last of Amano's great Final Fantasy work, before part VII and Nomura ushered in an era of belts and spiky hair.  Puffy pants, curly-toed shoes, ornate capes and the all-important muscle shirt complete Strago's look. He looks spry for a blue mage of 70 years of age.

I also attempted a faux-watercolor look in photoshop, which was a lot of fun to do.  I hope to do more Final Fantasy VI art using this style in the future!

The Duel

I drew some arts.  I will color it and add a background at some point.  I was inspired to draw a duel between Harry Potter and Voldemort.

The last of the Harry Potter movies comes out this week.  I'm a huge fan of the books, and the last few movies have been extremely good.  It'll be sad to see the saga come to a close, but I hope this really is it.  I don't want to see "Hogwarts High", a teen drama about magically inclined teenagers dealing with the most mysterious magic of all: Love.  Seriously, no.

Goodnight, sweet prince.

The Enemy's Gate is Down

The above "fan art" depicts a very iconic scene from the book Ender's Game. Six hours in photoshop.  Once Again I leave backgrounds for hte last, and it shows.  But I always imagined this room/scene being very very sparse - just Ender, a holographic console and a terminal.

I'm a huge fan of the book Ender's Game. I didn't read it until I was 25, and i was immediately drawn into the visceral action, the intrigue and suspense that culminates in the twist toward the end of the book.  If you like sci-fi and are even moderately interested in reading Ender's Game, go read it now.  If you don't care about Sci Fi, just quit reading this post since I'm going to nerd out for the rest of it.

I just finished Children of the Mind, which is the latest book, chronoligically, taking place 3,000 years after the original book.  What's interesting is it took me 5 years to get into the mindset to enjoy the original sequels to Ender's Game, which, starting with Speaker for the Dead, take a decidedly philosophical turn; a definite contrast to the action and intrigue of Ender's Game.

For the past six months I've been listening to the entire series via Audible.  It made trips to the gym, doing dishes and folding laundry that much more enjoyable.  The Ender books are the best produced audio books I've ever listened to, and I really recommend them.  It's the next best thing to a movie, with different characters voiced by different narrators (really "actors" is the better term) at times.

In addition to the original four Ender books released from 1985-1996, there are five full novels in the Enderverse released in the last 10 years.  The took place between the original Ender's game and Speaker for the Dead.  I had the ability to read them all in chronological order, so I did.  Consult wikipedia if you want to do the same.

The last chronological book (the one I just recently finished), Children of the Mind, was a very good read/listen.  The plot took a very interesting turn and presents -- and attempts to answer -- interesting questions, such as whether Artificial Intelligence is life, what it is to have a "soul", what happens when you die, etc.  That's quite a philosophical arc, going from a little boy in a battle school to a story about the very nature of the universe.

The author, Orson Scott Card, has political views that I vehemently disagree with, and he tends to get a little preachy in his storytelling, but I did genuinely enjoy them for their imagination and the very thoroughly realized characters.  And for getting through the sluggish parts (some of them tend to drag on with pages and pages of dialog), listening is the way to go.

I'm not sure, but I think seeing the story unfold this way (chronoligical rather than the order in which they were written) made it much more enjoyable, and I hope this will especially be true when Card releases the book that ties the Shadow Series and the Ender series together and ties the loose threads.

When I finished up Children of the Mind this past weekend, I got inspired to create the art you see above.

Son of a Brain


Samus Aran fighting the mysterious Mother Brain.Taking a break from the usual photography on my blog, here is a digital painting I've been working on for the past week or so. I really like how it turned out, very close to what I imagined in my head. Of course I know I have a lot of things I could have improved on, and there are lots of things I could have done if I took more time on it. But, at about 16 hours of work, I was just about tired of this piece by the time I called it finished.

This is another Fan Art for Metroid. I did another hi-res interpretation of Samus Aran a couple of years ago, and this is my attempt at a more complicated scene featuring the sci-fi bounty-huntress battling Mother Brain.

This is the climactic battle of the NES game, Metroid. It's fun trying to interpret 8-bit art, since there is usually so much left to the imagination. This is the best screenshot I could find that closely matches the battle I depict above:

There are things I'm always trying to improve on with digital painting, I know I'm an novice. Obviousy, I take a cartoony style and apply semi-realistic lighting to it, but I still struggle with finding a nice balance between cartoony and realistic, especially when it comes to the lighting. Either my line art falls flat or my coloring and shading doesn't read as three dimensional.

However, I think I am getting better at minimizing my brushstrokes and I am very pleased with how Samus and Mother Brain turned out, as seen in these 100% detail cutouts:


Finally put Samus in a scene. Of course, by the end I was so sick of it I just kind of rushed the background elements. But, I like it.

You could also call this "attack of the gaussian blur".

I wonder what Samus is thinking? "Oh man, I can totally jump that high!" Y'know, because she could. Easily. She's just adding drama to the moment by looking thoughtfully at the Energy Tank...

Anyway, I'm spent for now.

Samus in Technicolor

I managed to paint in Samus' colors. Beware, this is a png with transparency, so if you're running an older version of IE it may not look as intended.

I'm struggling with what scene to put her in. I'm thinking either the pink areas of Ridley's hideout or in Kraid's hideout. Either way, I'm going to work in an Energy Tank. I'm not sure if a dead enemy (that she presumably just shot) should be included as well.

Part of the problem with drawing the character without context is putting her into context or scene and making it look like she belongs there. You have to worry about perspective, lighting, and scale.

Kain and Cecil

Final Fantasy IV (relased in 1991 in the US as Final Fantasy II) really fundamentally changed the way I looked at games. At 11 years old, the story of Final Fantasy IV surpassed anything I had ever known.

At its core, the story of Final Fantasy IV is one of redemption. Cecil, the main character, quite literally goes through a transformation when he sheds his past. Kain, arguably the best character EVAR, falls victim to his own insecurities and jealousy, making a perfect pawn for Golbez.

By the end, even the "bad guy" redeems himself after a revelation about his past.

Besides the morals of the story, there were a lot of ingredients present in more serious dramas like characters making real sacrifices for love or for their cause, and love that is found, lost, found again and tangled up with other people.

Kain is a badass, so I did my best to do him justice. Here is some uncolored line art. I will clean it up a bit and color it when I have time. I think it turned out pretty good. If you don't know, Kain is a "Dragoon Knight", a character class in Final Fantasy lore that is able to jump literally dozens of feet in the air, piercing their enemy from above with a large spear.

I'm a little less happy with Cecil's line art. First of all the pose is boooring. It's also very thick, because I was playing around with line widths. Cecil becomes a Paladin after he sheds his dark past. He always bears guilt for the sins of his past, but more than makes up for it by saving the whole damn world.

I would also like to draw Rydia summoning Leviathan. I just can't draw women very well...

Well, comment away.

Completing the Trifecta

The third (and maybe final?) Megaman painting:

Click for a larger version.

The colors are more muted, and I like the "green screen" Dr. Wily logo in the background. I strove for details, even though I sort of gave up on the background. Anything I tried adding detracted from the foreground. I like to think of this as Megaman's first real challenge, hence the expression on his face.

Please, post any comments or critiques.

Megaman 2 Homage, or, Megaman 3 Homage gets a buddy

Well, I am going to bed way past my bedtime, but this is the result of two evenings' work:

Click to make bigger, etc.

It's a painting of the first Dr. Wily Castle boss from Megaman 2. That dragon scared the crap out of me as a kid, the way he came out of nowhere while you were making very precarious jumps through the end of the level. He is badass for taking up just about half the screen, and for being one of the most detailed NES sprites ever. I will post the reference screen shot later for those not in the know.

I like this one a bit better than the Snake Man one. I'm not perfectly happy with the dragon, but I figure I had to end the madness. It was taxing.

I might continue the Megaman trend and do the Yellow Devil from Megaman 1 next.

Megaman 3 Homage

Well, it's been a LONG time since I've made a post. Hope you like it:

Definitely click for the full version. In total, this took about 6 hours in photoshop. I would like to make a whole series of NES scene-recreations and print them out to adorn my office. It is great practice and gives me an excuse to apply my style on reference material that is low-res and abstract enough to give me suitable creative license.

Any suggestions for scenes? A few I have thought of:

  1. The dragon-boss from Megaman 2 (Dr. Wily Stage 1)
  2. Zero-Suit Samus in the original Metroid (probably somewhere colorful like Kraid's hideout (the green section) or Ridley's hideout (the pink sections)
  3. Air Fortress (any scene in the exploratory sections)

Leave your ideas in the comments!



Sorry for the hiatus. Work has been sucking me dry. But, when I'm not working I've been playing some N. Here's some fan-art, inspired by old Activision Atari 2600 box-art.

Click for a larger version. What do you think? I actually had more fun doing this than I have been playing N lately. Stupid 29-3 is eating me alive. I'm going to hear the sounds of missiles launching in my sleep.

Samus Aran

It's Samus! Sorry for the sporadic posts. Work has taken over lately. This was inked with a Sharpie on paper, then scanned, reduced to pure black and white, and colored in Photoshop.

I was tired of the uneven lines of my digital inks. I obviously need practice. And, as this picture shows, I also need some schooling on drawing 3d forms and shading them to give them better volume. But I really like how the tone of the colors came out in this one.

Sorry for the rushed background. Beats a gray background, I suppose.