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My Blog. My Art. My life.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

12 Months of Dogs of War - January (Stylene)

Right - time to start an idea I've had brewing since last year. I have twelve (main) characters for my Dogs Of War series and as there are twelve months to a year, what better than to combine the two? Each month over the course of this year, I plan to bring drawings of each of these characters, with bios and commentary on their development process.

So let's begin with Stylene Arkon. We've seen her a few times on this blog and a couple of times (thus far) on my YouTube channel. This year actually marks her 18th birthday - it was all the way back in late 1999 (November or December, not entirely sure) when I first designed her. She's come a long way in terms of visual design and it's only as recent as last year that I figured out how I wanted her to look. For quite some time there was something that -just- didn't feel right with her design. I was able to pinpoint it to her fringe and knew a slight redesign was in order. After some conceptualisation I came up with what you see here and feel I have finally reached a design I can settle on.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

My sheepish return to blogging

Erm, hi.

Yes, yes - I know I've been on hiatus with no explanation for several months now. Apologies for not keeping you informed (if anyone actually cares). I've been busy. I've spent most of the year in full time work, spending what remained of my time and energy on my own animation projects. I had nothing left when it came to drawing and updating my blog, even though I wanted to. But anyway, work is done and I'm almost finished with my current animation project, so I have some time again to draw. I have a plan to produce a series of character art over the course of next year, so until then I hope to post a bunch of pics of military hardware from my 'Dogs Of War' series.

Anyway, here is some concept art of the fighter aircraft used by the Universal Alliance (the antagonists in 'Dogs Of War'. I can't remember if I've previously established that or not. Oh well - recap!). Influenced by aircraft such as the F22 Raptor, F35 Lightning II and the F104 Starfighter. It did end up looking maybe a little more similar to the F35 that I would have liked, but hopefully there's enough difference to set it apart. Not that it really matters anyway - I mean the early 1950's jet fighters used by the US and the Russian MiGs of the same era looked similar, as does the Eurofighter Typhoon, Saab Gripen and Dassault Rafale.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Wolf O'Donnell (and some rambling)

I'm on edge.

I recently heard that a Sonic The Hedgehog movie has been given the green light. This adds to the ever-growing list of videogame-to-film adaptations. There's upcoming movies for Ratchet and Clank, Sly Raccoon, Uncharted, The Last of Us (I think that's still in development), Minecraft and Five Night's at Freddy's, just to name a few. With the increase of video game based movies, I'm getting wary again as to the possibility of there being a Starfox movie or animated series. Now, as I'm sure I've mentioned in a previous post, I'd love to see either a film or animated series of Starfox, but only if I have a role in it (preferably running it). I'm an arrogant bastard and I want to be the one to create it. Oh sure, even if someone else makes something, it certainly doesn't stop me from creating an animation of my own, but I want to be both the best AND the first. With the Starfox Zero coming out this year, it could get the attention of a studio. Although, thinking about it, there has been very little in the way of films based on Nintendo IPs. The Mario Bros cartoon series and the live action film are the only examples I can think of (well, yeah, there was also those Zelda cartoons within the Mario Bros series).

Anyway, now that I've finished my Unstable Housewife short, I'm getting back into the Starfox animation I've been planning. It was actually going to be further down the list of projects - I did have one more lined up before I reached Starfox - but have decided to bump it forward as I'm eager to get started and also because the latest game is coming out soon and I feel the timing might be ideal.

Here's a concept image of Wolf O'Donnell. The design is mostly based off the Wolf trophy from Smash Bros Wii U (because I'm lazy), with a few additions of my own. The colours need altering, but I needed to whip something up for the purposes of this post.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Unstable Housewife animation - done!

Ah, finally finished my 'Unstable Housewife' animation. It was good to finally complete it. Took me nine months, working on it here and there after work and on weekends. Since my job also involves animation, it took a lot of effort to muster up the motivation. But it's done, it's out of the way and now I can think about my next project.

Here's the link to the video;

Friday, December 11, 2015

Star Wars fails at War

Well, it's less than a week until the latest unnecessary installment to the Star Wars saga is released in cinemas. So I may as well chip in my own opinions on it, 'cause I'm sure we need another random on the internet talking about a film that hasn't been released yet. Why is it called 'The Force Awakens' anyway? Considering the Force was around heavily in the prequels, and dwindled to almost nothing by the end of the original trilogy, shouldn't it be called 'The Force Reawakens'?

But's that's not what I'm here to complain about, oh no. For me personally, Star Wars Ep 7 has already failed. From what I've gathered from the trailers, it hasn't even gotten the 'war' component right. I mean come on! It's half the franchise's name! Over the years, I have studied a fair bit on military history. While I don't consider myself a master tactician, I do believe I know something about how wars are fought. Anyway, back to the Star Wars Ep7 trailer. So when is Ep7 set? 20? 30 years after the events of Return of the Jedi? In any case, it's been a while. The first problem is that it appears the Imperials are still the enemy. Really? Last time we saw them, they lost the second Death Star, their leader and their capital Star Destroyer (I've forgotten the name of it. Sorry). How do they still have the capacity to fight? Are the Rebels that useless? My other problem is that in the trailer, we see X-Wings and TIE fighters. Now this is dumb, dumb, so fucking dumb, dumb beyond belief. Again, it's 20-30 years after Jedi and both sides are STILL using the same military hardware as before? This is particularly galling for the Empire. Considering how much stuff of theirs has been destroyed in previous movies, why do they persist using the same rubbish that, as we have seen, is inadequate? No! This is not how it's done! War is an arms race, trying to refine and improve your tactics and technology to get an edge over your opponent. Painting the TIES and X-Wings black is not an improvement.

Look at what they did in the original trilogy - In New Hope we saw the standard TIE. In Empire Strikes Back we saw the TIE bomber and in Jedi we saw the TIE interceptor. Now, as far as Star Wars lore goes, maybe all models were always there to begin with, I dunno. But as each film came along, we saw a new type of TIE. This (to me at least) gives the impression that the Empire are coming up with new ships over the timeline of the films. They were developing and improving their technology. Even the Rebels do the same. We see X and Y-Wings in the first movie (of the original trilogy) and by the third they also have the A and B-Wings (huh. I've just realised that X,Y,A and B are also the standard buttons on a video game controller. Sorry, got distracted)

I fear that the new film is making too many call backs to the original trilogy. I hate it when a movie is more 'hey look! It's that thing from the previous movies! Remember that?' rather than expanding and being creative with the franchise.

The original trilogy bollockses up war too. The Battle Of Hoth? Oh that's just woeful! Time for me to rant. Ahem;

I really don't know how the Empire won that fight. They got nothing right. The first misstep was reconnaissance. Why did they send probes to the planet surface? Why not send a high altitude drone? Or an orbital satellite? Both options would have allowed the surveillance of a wider area than a probe at ground level. Plus, something like a satellite may have been harder to detect than probes, which the Rebels detected and were alerted to the possibility of invasion. Then there's the battle itself and the AT-AT. Sigh. This by far is the dumbest bit of military hardware ever created. The AT-AT is incredibly slow (a jogging soldier can outrun one), has next to no maneuverability, has a high centre of gravity and only has guns on the front, leaving it vulnerable to attack from any other angle. I don't know why the Rebels sent out the snowspeeders. Send in Y-Wings! Pummel some proton torpedoes into the side! The high centre of gravity would make them fall over super easy! I also don't get why the AT-AT armour was impenetrable to blaster fire, but suddenly has the integrity of cardboard once the walker gets tripped up. Why couldn't the imperials send in some fighters? They got the walkers down to the surface and under the Rebel's shield somehow, surely they could also send in some low-flying fighters to zip in and destroy the shield generator  much, much faster than those stupid, useless walkers. Plus a speedy assault would have allowed the Empire to capture the base much faster and round up the Rebels before they could escape. This is the other thing - why did the Empire only send one Star Destroyer to Hoth? (was it only one? I can't remember) Why not several? Set up a blockade or something. Maybe it was over-confidence on the part of the Empire. I also don't get why the Rebels didn't also set up some kind of weapon to obliterate the Star Destroyers in conjunction with the ion cannons. I suppose that would result in some kind of prolonged siege. If the Rebels destroyed one Star Destroyer, then the Empire would send more. I guess the Rebels didn't have the resources to deal with it.

Anyway, that's my nerdy nitpicking out of the way for now. I'm sure I will go see the new film, but I'm not expecting much. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Christmas and Stylene

This post serves a bit of a dual-purpose. Not only did I want to make a Christmas themed pic, but this month also marks the sixteenth birthday of my Dogs Of War character Stylene.

It was December 1999 when I first drew her. I don't know the precise date - I kinda wish I had put the date on the drawing at the time. Oh well.

In essence she's remained the same since her conceptualisation. It's just been the smaller details that have changed over the years - eye shape, hairstyle, as well as making her hands and feet brown rather than orange. I'm quite sure there will still be more changes to come - such as her fringe. I know I can come up with something better than that.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Movies done PROPERLY, dammit!

Oh joy! I've heard there is going to be a reboot of the reboot of Ocean's Eleven. I like this. I like this a lot. The Ocean's Eleven trilogy (that is, the first Ocean's Eleven reboot and it's sequels Ocean's Twelve and Ocean's Thirteen) rank amongst my top favourite films. To me, these are how movies should be done for a number of reasons.

I find modern film more and more grating. With the rise of CGI, films have become more of a visual spectacle and a times it feels like they're thinking more about what would make a cool action sequence rather than developing interesting characters and plot. I find the dialogue very bland, particularly in the delivery. Far too many films have their characters deliver lines in a very dry, monotonous tone with no emotional inflection what so ever. You may as well use a text-to-speech program and get the same overall tone. There's just no personality to the dialogue. The writing itself can be pretty bad, too. At times a line of dialogue feels like the screenwriter was trying to come up the most dramatic thing someone could say rather than something someone WOULD say in a given situation. 

Ocean's 11, 12 and 13 are brilliant. Very rarely do lines feel like 'movie' dialogue. Ok, Julia Roberts must not have gotten that memo in Ocean's Eleven, but she did a better job in 12. While I feel Ocean's 12 was the weaker of the three films, with a few awkward moments (but overall still a great film), it contains the best examples of dialogue done right. There are times when characters are in an open discussion, and occasionally they talk over one another, or start to deliver a line only to change tack mid word and say something else. It looks like they are thinking as they speak rather than regurgitating a pre-written line. In Ocean's Thirteen, during the interview between Terry Benedict and Oprah Winfrey, you get the impression that he is on the spot and has to think about what to say on the fly. Still speaking of Ocean's Thirteen, something else they did right was the portrayal of computers. There's a sequence where the security staff at William Bank's casino are running an 'all known associates' search against a suspect. As they enter the data, all we hear is the typing of the keyboard and the hum of the servers in the background. In pretty much ANY film or TV show, everything that we see happening on a computer screen is accompanied by a sound effect. This does not happen. I mean really - look at your own computer how often does doing something within your operating system make a noise? Hardly ever. It's this kind of inaccurate representation compared to the real world that gets on my nerves (as you can see, I'm a picky bastard).

So yes, really, really looking forward to the next Ocean's film. They're going for a female centric cast this time which could be interesting. Steven Soderbergh is back to direct, and George Clooney is on board to assist, so I'm hoping for good things.