Friday, July 1, 2011

Do the Monster Mash

So.... I'm behind on my schedule. Not too far behind, but the schedule is pretty demanding, so being even a little behind is not so good. However I am still plugging away! I haven't been able to do morning paintings this week because... I've been going insane. Also I've been trying to catch up on the aforementioned portfolio schedule, so I decided to break from the 2 hours paintings for the week. Class has been pretty demanding, but I don't think I can afford to let my personal goals slide. Oil painting is a good skill with a lot that translates to digital painting, but working to strengthen my core skill set is still most important to me. After all, going to graduate school is just silly if I don't use what I'm learning to improve the skills I need to succeed in the industry.

The past few days I've been focusing on doing monsters. I started with a lot of thumbs and pencil drawings. I haven't scanned them all, but I went through what I had and selected one that I thought had most potential. Before I started I made a list of things I think are frightening. I thought about things that I would be scared of in a game sense, but also things that frighten me on a personal level. Things I came up with included:

Things that are unnaturally fast.
Things that are difficult to see.
Things that want to eat you more than kill you.
Things that were human but have been warped unnaturally.

I think on a base level the reason we see monsters in games with human characteristics stems from more than just the idea that it's easy to rig things with identical base meshes. (Ok that is probably part of it too) It stems from a fear of what is inside of us, of what we could become in a nightmare scenario. You look at say, a zombie - not everything that makes zombies scary is the fact that they're gross or out for your brain, it's also that it could be you. If things were different you could be on the receiving end of that shotgun. It's things like this that I believe touch the base emotions inside all of us.

Here is my starting sketch:

I went more for the warped human than the unnaturally fast in this monster. I did keep the idea that it wants to eat you, and my original vision was that it would be wreathed in an paranormal darkness. there are human aspects, but it's definitely been messed with, like it was half eaten and infected with disease. The weird thing about monsters is that everything about them in my mind is supposed to be horrifying, so when making one I had to focus on making sure everything tied together with that theme.

It's unfair to go further without giving some credit to Colin Fix. I've been inspired by his work and there is no way I can deny that seeing his paintings has influenced what I did here. I went for flesh tone, but bleached out, like it's dead and been in the dark for too long. I went towards blue on the "human" side to further push that feeling. One side is less mangled and more power based, the other side is all gore and about brute force.

Getting into more detail now. I pushed the bright colors because 1) I think gore is messy and the brighter it is the more jarring the impact and 2) I think there are just too many monochrome monsters out there that are all browns and greens. Also I'm working to make the flesh more translucent on the left side.

I added eyes, if you can call them that... they are supposed to be sort of dark membrane sacks. I'm not perfectly pleased how they came out, but they look all right. I also started adding actual gore to show that he eats people and he uses the clawed right hand to do it.

Not perfectly sure if this is finished, I think I will definitely come back to it. I added a smoky shroud to it to give the sense that it floats through unnatural means. I see the left hand as having some sort of power, probably which it uses to incapacitate prey. Still I don't like how much it obscures the hand, there needs to be a better way to depict this. Also I want to come back to make the right side more sinewy, I feel like there is too much brightness on some of the boils so it's drawing attention to them and making it look like bubble gum balls or something :) But there are aspects to this that I'm proud of for sure. Considering that I haven't done monsters up to this point it was a good first attempt. I will keep working.