Monday, November 26, 2012

Hida Kaiji - Process

Back in October I shared with you my contribution to the Legends of the Five: Rings Seeds of Decay expansion. Today I have for you the process that went into those three cards. I am grouping all three into a single post because they all centered around one single character, the Hida Kaiji. I was tasted with designing Kaiji as well as depicting him in several exciting activities. As will all my work I started with some concepts and loose thumbnails. Here are the concepts...

Hida Kaiji - concepts
© 2012 Alderac Entertainment Group

They wanted a part man, part monster, part oni who is still retaining his humanity and is still a samurai. I don't recall if the description specifically stated he was asymmetrical and oddly put together, but I knew he had to be depicted in this manor. Anytime I can put one huge arm onto something I am happy! I do know he was to be represented as a 20 foot giant, something akin to a medieval Japanese Incredible Hulk. From the beginning I was leaning toward option "A" and the ADs agreed. Since Kaiji was going to be doing a lot of activities I went ahead and sent in some very rough thumbnails with descriptions of what I had in mind...

Hida Kaiji - rough thumbnails
© 2012 Alderac Entertainment Group

The thumbnails and notes were really straight forward... standing and looking fierce, jumping from the wall, fighting a giant oni. There were a couple of minor notes to keep in mind moving forward and I moved forward with taking my reference photos and working out all the details with the more fleshed out thumbnails...

Hida Kaiji - thumbnails
© 2012 Alderac Entertainment Group

The thumbnails were all approved and I moved forward with the final drawings. The drawings were all approved and I pressed forward on the final paintings. I have grouped the drawings and the painting processes together for each card. For the character card of Hida Kaiji I envisioned him standing triumphant on the battlefield surrounded by the mutilated corpse of some giant horror he just destroyed. His normally sized companion directs him to the next target in the distance. This is how the final drawing turned out...

Hida Kaiji - drawing
© 2012 Alderac Entertainment Group

With the painting I was a little lost with what I wanted to do. I had to include a lot of information (my own fault) and it need to set a mood for the character and be interesting. Very early on when I was working up my under painting I saw the sky being bright and blue... that quickly changed as the piece started coming together. I realized the sky needed to be more of a sun set (has the battle waged all day?) and fires needed to glow in the distance. There needed to be a back glow as well as the frontal light. The piece built up as usual and came together without trouble once the sky and lighting were figured out...

Hida Kaiji - process
© 2012 Alderac Entertainment Group

Ruthless Onslaught was a pretty straight forward piece. Kaiji is leaping from the wall to the battle below. Shooting the reference for this was interesting. Here is the final drawing for the piece...

Ruthless Onslaught - drawing
© 2012 Alderac Entertainment Group

I again wanted an interesting sky and looked at a lot of images of skies till I found several to reference from. I liked the front/back lighting of the first Kaiji piece and brought it into this one as well. A bright light aiming up at Kaiji as the sky glows behind. Is this realistic? No idea, thought it looked good and worked well for this card. Here is the process progression...

Ruthless Onslaught - process
© 2012 Alderac Entertainment Group

Finally the up close and personal fighting portrait. I wanted to depict that moment where Kaiji snaps the neck of the Oni he is fighting... not sure if it reads... but that is what I was going for. Here is the final drawing...

Determined Challenge - drawing
© 2012 Alderac Entertainment Group

I wonder if I should have twisted the Oni's head more... or painted in the word "SNAP" next to the neck... or not worry about it and just be happy that a huge mutant is fighting a giant Japanese devil. Of the three pieces this painting came together the quickest and was done before I knew it. When I was done this was also my least favorite of the three. Now that a year has come and gone and I have held all three in card form... there is something about the final card that I find more successful then the other three. I can not put my finger on what it is though. I am VERY happy with how all three turned out in card form, they are a little darker, the details pull together, and there is a tightness to the paintings that I think really improves the images. All of these things really helped the Determined Challenge. Here is the process progression...

Determined Challenge - process
© 2012 Alderac Entertainment Group

Here are the final paintings one last time so that you can see how they turned out...

Hida Kaiji
© 2012 Alderac Entertainment Group

Ruthless Onslaught
© 2012 Alderac Entertainment Group

Determined Challenge
© 2012 Alderac Entertainment Group

That is all for another exciting Monday on the blog, see you back here on Wednesday! Until then...

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