Friday, 25 March 2016

Fantasy Week, Part 5

Wanted to end this fantasy week with something different, so here's some really weird creatures: humans.

There are many different types of magic, and many different levels. These people are considered the lowest level of the most basic type. Once mockingly referred to as 'Flakes', these people have since proudly adopted the term as their own.

Whereas magic is used by most serious people as way to understand the world, explore the world, save it or conquer it, these people employ their magic as a way to avoid work. They know basic spells but to truly survive they substitute their lack of power with tricks, fast talk or running away. Wizards and dark lords, despite being locked in an eternal battle of good vs evil, generally find each other less annoying than a Flake. We shall discuss 3 of them.

Gallius Freeborne is a slut. He has some skill with light and levitation, enough to impress certain ladies out of their pants. If he's really desperate, it can impress a few men too. He moves quickly on from each person he takes advantage of, learning early on in his "career" that his deficiences as a person become obvious after a couple of weeks. There are rumours that he's seduced royalty a few times, and that the man may be privately frustrated at his ability to consistantly rise so high only to fall again so quickly.

Shereni's magic forces her to move on quickly from one band of treasure hunters to the other. She provides protection to the band from wild threats: floating up with her red hair brimming like fire, she is able to scare off animals and thieves alike - but that's all she does. There is no destructive magic that follows this powerful display. Over time, she developed a second trick. If another magic person threatens her or her band, she is able to make that person believe they are even more powerful than they are. So powerful in fact, that Shernei and her band suddenly seem irrelevant. This allows them to sneak away whilst their attacker is distracted by the power to remake the universe in their image. By the time that person realises they've been fooled and they are actually just playing in mud, Shereni and her band are long gone. Those who have worked with Shereni claim her ability to appear as both powerful and irrelevant make it difficult for the girl to judge her own worth.

Brunfor just wants to be left alone, until he runs out of food of course, at which point he'll turn up at your house or business havening performed a chore in an unhelpful manner. "I killed all the rats in your basement" he once told a barman in front of all his customers, who had been hoping to keep the rats a secret. "I washed your guard dogs." he told the governor, having somehow used so much soap and water the dogs shrunk to half their size. "I cleaned your garden." He told an old lady, who found all the flowers picked out and her bird house in the bin. Brunfor is rewarded with food and lots of it, to delay his return for as long as possible. It's easier than trying to fight him. Spaces are always set for him at large birthdays or weddings, not because he's invited, but because he'll show up anyway. To his credit he tries to bring gifts, such as two snakes tied together to make a heart. Or he'll just bring a really, really big rock. Brunfor himself believes in minimalism. The only things he owns are his magic wand and a pair of tough boots. After some persuasion, he eventually wore pants.

This was fun, haven't written creatively in a while. Maybe I'll get more into it. Thanks for looking and if you read anything, thanks for that too. See you again soon!

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Fantasy Week, Part 4

  • The Mallex Tribe tribe have survived so many attacks that modern civilisation no longer tries. Over the centuries people have tried shooting them, only for the bullets to embed themselves harmlessly in Mallex skin. Tribe members would show off bullets to each other like jewellery. Then people tried poisoning their food, only for the tribe to eat more of it. Finally they tried bribing them shiney gems, which the tribe crushed in their hands. Since then, civilisation has kept its distance.
  • A resident of the jungle, Mistacube isn't known to many people. Those that do know him suspect he's an alien probe, as he spends most of his time cataloguing information about the planet. They also believe he crashed here rather than landed, as most of the information is wrong. For example, he believes apes evolved from humans rather than the other way around and keeps offering people bananas in order to speed the process along. Whilst Mistacube is friendly and always willing to help, he is a burden to others lost in the jungle. One such person built shelter to keep warm at night, to which Mistacube reasoned he would be more warm if he lit the shelter on fire. The light did attract a search party at least, who were able to take the man's smokey corpse home.
  • A Spinner feeds on whatever happens to be above it. A blast of fire shoots out of the hole on its head, into birds, hanging fruit, bee hives... and then the cooked food drops into it. Spinners digest the food by spinning wildly through the jungle, the spikes on its side cutting through whatever is in its way. Sometimes Spinners crash into each other, which is a wonderful sight - if you're standing somewhere safe.
  • Moss Heads are a popular 'living stone' creature due to the many styles of moss that grow on their heads, from mohicans to mutton chops. The hole in their chest appears to be a sign of maturity, whilst their wooden legs make a musical clip clop sound as they walk.
  • Hexflame Scamps are, like most Scamps, a nuiscance. They twirl into existence and run around your house giggling, leaving scorching footprints everywhere. They like to ruin books and documents too, picking them up and pretending to read them by speaking out loud in their nonsense high-pitched language as the paper turns to cinders in their hands. They can be calmed if you read to them however.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Fantasy Week, Part 3

  • The pleasing smell of a Sad Face is always ruined by its sad face. Some botanists say we shouldn't assume plants have human charateristics, a mistake made before with the aggressivley poisonous 'Happy Face', whilst others say it's sad because it's a fragrant plant with no nose. One botanist succesfuly grew a Sad Face that had a nose, but it was allergic to itself, earning itself the name 'Sadder Face'.
  • The Venus Fly Track was a popular house pet for a brief period due to its enthusiasm for chasing down and eating flies or spiders, until people soon realised it caused far more damage than the bugs did. Venus Fly Tracks will try to attract a mate by picking their own petals and making beds out of them.
  • Dragon Flowers are a rare sighting. Usually a botanist would follow the fragrance of a Dragon Flower to find one, though the Dragon Flower may have become aware of this tactic as most fragrance trails now lead over cliffs.
  • Face Plants are incredibly friendly, but incredibly stupid creatures that continuously collide into things with their heads. Their fierce loyalty is met with apathy amongst the rest of the plant kingdom. Whilst such behaviour may be reminiscent of dogs, you must never forget that they're plants. If you throw a stick, it will attack you for desecration of trees.
  • Rustle, which may be one of a kind, has adapted to camouflage far better than other big cats by becoming foliage rather than resembling it. Rangers suggest being wary of any bush with a nose.
  • This final creature has come to be known as Soulbark. Made of unidentified wood and leaves, it drifts through the forest with small glowing lights orbiting the empty space where a head would be. Facial expressions have been seen within the lights, some smiling, some crying, all talking to themselves in a gentle chime of unquiet that is sometimes heard long before the Soulbark is seen. Most believe it captures the souls of those that died in the forest, which is why travellers consider the sight of it an omen and immediately return home. Although in that sense it may be trying to help people, sending them home before they get hurt, acting as caretaker for those that didn't heed its warning.
More tomorrow, see you then!

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Fantasy Week, Part 2

The theme for this one was 'triangles', 'cos I wanted to challange myself by drawing a shape unnatural to nature - so long as you don't consider mountains, certain plants, fins, the human torso and really a whole bunch of other things I'd forgetten. Never listen to me about shapes.

  • The Triangel is a ghastly spirit, revered by the Cult of Pythans. There's dispute over whether there are three of them, or if it's one creature that consumed another two. It's attack does something to the mind that incapacitates people for hours, which survivors describe as ‘a sudden lack of understanding about everything'.
  • Drill-Bots are a defunct tool of the company Datt's Mine Unlimited. Drill-Bots would mine for materials and then, rather than deliver it to the company, use the material to build more Drill-Bots. The machines have since gone AWOL, promoting the company to offers rewards to each one destroyed. The best way to do this, they advise, is to drop an explosive down a hole the bot is digging. As few are willing to climb down the narrow burning hole afterward, the company has yet to pay out a single coin.
  • This hefty feline is given the affectionate name of Red Tabby Tubbs and is a popular figure in the various ale houses he frequents. He often finds work as ‘hired muscle’ for wandering adventurers, though his trusting nature can sometimes land him in with a bad crowd. The locals have a song about him that goes:
Red Tabby Tubbs,
Can be found round the pubs,
he’s tough with a heart of silk,
when you need someone tough,
one drink gets him up,
but he’ll want something stronger than milk.
  • Little Pricks get their name from the fact they don’t show their spikes until someone attempts to flick/kick/tread on them. Warrior tribes test their recruits by making them capture one of these bugs to remove all its spikes. Many are against this practice, though it’s never been made clear whether they think it’s cruel to the bug or the recruits.
  • Pyramites rise out of the sand and attack anyone nearby. It was believed they were guarding ancient tombs until someone cracked open a Pyramite and found a piece of treasure inside, suggesting Pyramites are ‘mini tombs’, each storing an item of the deceased’s wealth and protecting it as necessary. When this story first broke, many traveled to the desert ready to crack open some Pyramites themselves, mocking the ancient civilisation for storing their treasure in a breakable floating object instead of burying it out of sight. When heads, hands and other mummified corpse parts dropped out of defeated Pyramites to attack treasure hunters, the laughter soon stopped.

Monday, 21 March 2016

Fantasy Week, Part 1

When this blog began in 2012 I decided to share several fantasy drawings I had lying around in one week, creatively referring to this as 'Fantasy Week'. I did this at least once a year since then, and only just noticed. I've invented a tradition, like Jesus Christ or some other mighty holy figure it is perfectly reasonable to compare myself to.

Each time, the style of the theme changes slightly. First it was fully realised illustrations, then improvised illustrations (later coloured), and most recently: pages upon pages of random creatures. Descriptions of those creatures were vague, such as 'I drew this bat because I had space on the page' and 'angry cyclops guy'. In my defence I'm pretty sure only 3 people read the stuff I write, two of those being government agents looking for secret terrorist messages and the other just me doing a spell check (down with teh west).

This year will feature more random creatures as it's one of my favourite things to draw. There'll be one page a week which will give me time to do my other favourite thing: writing. So here we go! This is Fantasy Week, 2016!

  • A Nutskull is a vicious little mammal that will throw the nuts it's collected at any animal or human it sees. They will keep going until the entire collection is gone, and then hiss at you as if it was your fault. The acorn shell Nutskulls wear on their head protect it from nuts thrown back in revenge, an act which the Nutskull thinks its terribly unfair. Some people deliberately search for Nutskull trees, wearing padded clothes and a basket, in order to collect the nuts thrown. It's enjoyable taste comes from spiteing the mammal rather than the nut itself.

  • The Copy Cap is a mushroom that hasn’t had an original idea in its entire existence. Admittedly, most mushrooms don’t have ideas at all. But this particular mushroom’s tendency to copy the attributes of plant life around it makes its lack of original thinking more appalling.

  • Fox Bears are cunningly lazy. Varies incidents have been recorded, such as a Fox Bear that won a cave from a rival predator by blocking the entrance with a large boulder. After 2 days the predator escaped and fled, too weak and hungry to fight. Other incidents include a Fox Bear waiting by a hunter's rabbit trap so that it could eat the rabbit before the hunter arrived. One Fox Bear purposefully got caught itself, intending to eat the hunter.

  • Categorists argue that Laughing Spiders should be renamed 'Squeak Bugs', as its four legs disqualify it as an arachnid and its high pitched, recurring cry cannot be determined to be laughter. Others counter this with the fact that you can remove a Laughing Spider from your house by telling it a bad joke.

  • Marlon Winguard patrols a valley that is popular among hikers, lending aid to those that run low on supplies or get lost. He expects no reward for his efforts but always greatful to those who give it. Those who try to take advantage of his hospitality, to disover what he knows of its secrets or treasures, may find themselves abandoned without mercy.

  • Many say Crystal Slugs are beautiful. You must always remind them that it's the crystals that are beautiful. The crystals imbedded in its back are accompanied by levitating crystals just above it, both seemingly impossible to remove. Killing the slug only disintegrates the crystals. Many have attempted to follow this creature to find the origin of the crystals, but everyone loses patience following a slug.

More tomorrow, see you then!

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Girl Sketches

It used to be a struggle for me to draw women. They'd always come out looking like men in drag. Probably because I'd just add lipstick and eyelashes to a face. Eventually I figured out rounder heads make characters appear more feminine, but that just led to an archetype. I wanted to be able to depict more differences between women than their hairstyles. So a while ago I did a series of sketches to improve my ability, and what better time to share them than International Women's Day?

Some drawings were referenced, some will be made up. This was the first batch I did and as you'll see through the rest of these, I mostly avoided the cliché of eyelashes and lipstick. I don't actually think there's anything wrong with doing that, I mean shit, women wear make-up... but I don't depict the lips and eyelashes on my male characters so personally I feel I should be able to depict girls without them too.

This last page is the one I like the most out of these head sketches, and that proves for me how important it is to regularly sketch.

Here I moved onto figures, using reference for most of them.

I have to admit, I'm really pleased with these. Practice is so important. I think the reason some artists may be averse to it is because we all want to make a good 'final image' rather than spend time and energy on smaller, unimportant things. But I'm probably prouder of these drawings than some of the bigger stuff I've done.

Also we might be averse to practice because it takes time away from playing games and shit.

Happy International Women's day! Let's end with a classic comic from The Infamous Five.