Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Steampunk Dragon Ship

Here is one of the action moments in the Story.  Frankenstein is now in the body of the clockwork man he has created and full of deep despair, he is secretly watching over the woman he loves without her knowing during an airship ride.  They come under attack by a pirate dragon craft and, for the first time, he uses the power of the mechanical being he has become to leap from the airship to attack the craft and destroy it.  The man who believed he had become a monster discovers he has power.  I've just finished it and taken down the previous image to replace it with this one with the addition of the burning iron boarding lance about to be shot from the mouth of the dragon.
Steampunk dragon ship

I've included the "making of" slide video for those of you who may want to see a bit more of the art and narrative development process.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Steampunk Frahnknshtyne interview

Hello Friends
Recently I had the great pleasure of meeting and speaking with Bruno Accioly, the gentleman who has created the Conselho Steampunk (the Steampunk Council) in Brazil.  His organization is wonderfully structured to host and encourage the growth of independant chapters and they are doing many exciting Steampunk activities and promoting steampunk thought and ideas.
Bruno invited me to do a Steamcast Interview over skype and that interview is now posted for anyone who would like to hear more about Frahnknshtyne and its ongoing development.  The main interview is in English and subtitled in Portuguese.  You can click on the link below for the interview or click on the post title to go to their site.
Cheers, Kevin

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Steampunk Skull becomes the book cover

The first of the triptych images of the building of the monster's/hero's head is done.  I think it is likely to be the cover for the book.  It has the kind of iconic feel I was looking for.  Just like in the Darth image I did, if you look closely into the reflection in the loupe over the empty eye socket you can see the outline of the good doctor himself.  I felt strongly that the monster has a kind of painstaking artisan beauty to everything about him.  He is only a monster in that he is brought to life but is not human.  I'm also trying something new with this post.  Since this art is complete, I'm adding an MOV file to the post that shows step by step the drawing and painting of the image.  I'd like to know if you find this interesting so if you do, drop me a comment and I'll post more like this as I go.

Check out what the completed mechanical man's face with the tooled leather skin Here and the middle stage of building the creature, the crafting of the muscles and controls Here!

Steampunk Frahnknshtyne cover


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Steampunk Skull

Well, this is "in-progress" and it's finally the first image getting a look at the making of the monster/hero.  I'm doing this as a triptych showing the underlying beautiful handcrafted structure and then adding the leather straps that act as muscles and finally the hand-tooled leather face.

"If sheer artistic application of will and mad obsession alone could bring the device to life, the Doctor Frahnknshtyne's marvelous clockwork being would have sprung from the table the moment its form was completed.  It's hand crafted beauty and subtlety of construction await only two final elements.  The power source, its heart, that will prove to the world that the terrible commerce of Aether can at last come to an end, and a brain that will live forever within this being of perfect craftmanship."

The former of these missing elements is still under desperate development and yet defies reproduction.  It is little more than a curiosity if there is but one.  The latter element will be supplied simply by choosing a worthy, kind and scholarly person whom has been recently deceased.  little does the good doctor know, he will make a far greater contribution to this being's rising than he ever intended.

Stay tuned for completing these images.  I Just replaced the first image with one that I'm under way with the background and the clamping mechanism that holds it on the workbench.  tools to add and other juicy detail coming soon.
PS - I really liked putting the mechanical eye in Darth Vader so I'm doing a very different version of it.

See the finished illustration Here and check out what the completed mechanical man's face looks like Here and take a look at the completed middle image showing the building of the facial muscles made of leather Here!

Steampunk Skull for Frankenstein in progress V2

Steampunk Skull for Frankenstein in progress V1

Friday, December 10, 2010

Steampunk circuit judge and librarian

A key character in the city our hero lives in is the crooked circuit judge who helps entrap indebted souls into being convicted to suffer the fate of the Leathermen.  His eyes glow because his reward is that the super rich kick back Aether to him to feed his habit and to insure they keep a steady flow of conscripted Aether coming in.  I based him on one of my favorite 60's actors Robert Morley (always loved his patrician raptor beak of a nose).  Mister Scribb, the court reporter/librarian, misses nothing that is said in the courtroom because of his amplification device and he records even the whispers heard in the back of the room.  This proves important in the story.  The sound collection horns turn towards sounds in the room like a dog's ears so he's a fun and animated looking character to watch.  He's not a gossip but is a stuttery and fussy man of obsessive detail and duty.
Steampunk judge and librarian

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Meet Lil Steamy

Hi friends,
I took a break from the Frankenstein work to do some rough sketching on a little character I'd been meaning to create just to have some fun commenting on life, absurdity and steampunkery.  I'll be posting one panel bits of Lil Steamy's whistling wisdom from time to time.  Hope you enjoy.
Steampunk "Lil Steamy"

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Steampunk Motorcycle contraption

Our hero needs something powerful and fast on which to get around the city and countryside in the inky blackness of the night.  Here's one of the concepts on "the contraption" (as the press calls it) seen well lit (which it isn't most of the time).  It's noisy, smokey, and weighs nearly a ton.  I wanted to develop this vehicle around the notion of "personal locomotive."  At full speed it can slam through masonry walls like brass knuckles through a sheet of plate glass.  It's in an unfinished state because he was building it when he dies and becomes the monster.  He'll be adding more to it as he needs.  I liked the idea of a locomotive type of drive for a two-wheeled vehicle.  It creates such a flurry of motion and seems even more dangerous/mad.  I've added the final image above the in-progress shot.  Added in  the big iron ram on the front and the rest of the fun steam lines and details.

I also have a new post up with another motorcycle design. Check it out if you get the chance.
I've recently just modeled and updated the design from this post and put up the images too!
Steampunk motorcycle contraption final

Steampunk Motorcycle Contraption in progress

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Steampunk Medusa

As promised, here's the latest character sketch in the story development.  She's one of the bad guys/girls in this world.  Her name is Maydusa and she's over 200 years old (excuse the different spelling on the image title as it makes it easier for folks to search the picture).  She's kept herself in this child form by using the exotic Aether rig on her head to sap the Aether (life force) of man or beast she can manage to lure on to her estate.  She needs a lot of life force to remain a child and you see her in the image not fully regenerated.  The way the rig works leaves the poor victim literally petrified as you can see on the broken cat in the image.
Steampunk Medusa feeding
A a few in-progress shots:
Line work for Maydusa and cat

Testing ideas for light and color

completing grey scale painting

Friday, November 26, 2010

Steampunk Boxing fight

Well, it's finally done.  It's our hero, before he dies and becomes the monster, fighting Golath, the enormous boxer who has been doping on "Aether Milk."  He's owned by one of the ultra rich and is supposedly unbeatable but our inventor KO's him with his fighting contraption. Unfortunately for him, there will be consequences.  This is the moment of triumph as the woman he loves and wishes to propose to looks on.  I've put a few of the development stages below for those who like to see the process.
Steampunk fight against Golath

Here's some of the development sketches and a close up.

Steampunk knock out of Golath close up
Rough grey layout

Quick blacks and Greys

Refine Grey scale ready for color

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Steampunk Darth Vader

Well, here's a non-sequitor for the blog.  I got asked what would Darth Vader look like in my steampunk illustration style and thought that might be a fun one day project.  It has nothing to do with the Frankenstein work but I found it fun to do none the less.  I wanted to show the tortured man trapped in the technology and wanted to reflect his rank in the detail of the helmet.  Luke is reflected in one lens.  Now back to Frankenstein.
Steampunk Darth Vader

Here's a few of the in-progress shots showing starting with the line sketch, blocking in two tone blacks and greys and then adding the shine and detail.  The color and toning layers are the final pass above.

Rough sketch

Adding two tones of grey

Refining greyscale, detail and shine

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Steampunk portrait of an Aether Kill

The painting of Lacette the Aether Assassin and owner of the Aether Rifle from an earlier post, is finally done.  It's an homage to those shots taken in Africa when a big game animal is taken down.  I've added some of the in-progress shots under the final for anyone who wants to see the process I go through building up a painting.
Lacette: Portrait of an Aether Kill
And a few close ups for the detail:

And here's the in-progress shots.  These don't include the layout roughs but focus on the act of making the painting.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Steampunk Aether Rifle ammunition

Nearly done.  Have just added the Aether round for the gun.  It's a devilish ordinance in that it has no gunpowder that propels it.  Once the scope finds you and locks you in it's sight, your very life energy, your Aether, pulls it to you like the negative lightning bolt that flies up to clouds in the nano-second before before it guides the lightning to ground.  The sound of the gun firing is like playing a gunshot in reverse.
Steampunk Aether Assasin's rifle

Steampunk Aether seeking bullet

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Steampunk Aether Rifle adding detail

The rifle is coming along.  For me and for what I'm doing with Frahnknshtyne, the visuals need to have a kind of grounded reality while delivering high fantasy and a sense of hand craft.  I'm working to steer clear of anime influenced shapes and instead am dipping deep into pre and post industrial world culture.  The background is temporary and the vignette of the ammunition isn't yet in place.  I'm toying with putting the owner of the gun, a beautiful but scarred brilliant woman turned assassin, in ghosted into the background using the rifle.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Leatherman almost done

So here it is.  Didn't like the goofy shoes and thought bare feet really finished him off.  Adjusted values, some proportions and added some of the finer rigging.
Sentenced to a life as a leatherman

Monday, October 18, 2010

Steampunk has barely been tapped

I've always been a huge fan of the steampunk aesthetic. It encompasses such a wide range from victorian proper constructs quaintly puttering along to grungy and industrial contraptions and a whole lot more. I'm in the process of rethinking the Frankenstein myth and Steampunk is where I'm drawing inspiration from.

I'm not going to go into the details of the story in this blog but focus more on the art exploration and finding the visual notes and forms that bring out the narrative.

For this project, I'm looking for a metal-heavy, sooty look with forms and shapes that aren't just barrels and brass but suggest a more profound alternate industrially based technology that has reached a high level of functionality and power but isn't plastic and electronic nor wood and horses. There's two levels of technology in this story. One that is almost magical in it's ability to make things move and another that is much less sophisticated. This "steamier" technology is still created by the same folks who make the amazing technology but is purposely dumbed down to keep control of the larger population.

As this development organically progresses I'll bring out characters, places, world structure and eventually moments from the story. I hope you all enjoy some of what's on the blog and I would love to hear any thoughts or feedback you have.

I'd also like to say a special thanks to Shanth Enjeti, Nick jainschigg and my wife Gail. No one could ask for three better sounding boards and a great mixture of knowledgable and practiced art and illustration feedback and inspiration. it's good to have friends and family who push you beyond your comfort zone some times.

Big Airships need docking help from Air Tugs
Lost his arms in first struggle with the monster
Relentless hunters of the night streets
Some constructs must fall
As evening falls they descend to play
"Grounders" are not allowed to have airships
Before the accident