Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Sketches leading up to the final product

Here are some more studies of characters in the Poster 1-4: At the top left is Velexa Namoon, Falleen; at the bottom is Crovax Brumaxxium, Reiget. The others are Wes Janson in the upper right corner; directly below him is Uan'a (whose full name is really hard for me to remember how to spell! LOL), Bothan; and last but not least, Saline, who gave her life in one of our adventures.

Here are some more studies of characters in the Poster 1-4: At the top is Karnic Foe, Trandoshan; Aria is below him; and Umi and her father Jakmon are on the bottom. The others, such as Raptor Gase on the top right corner and Jobekk Jonn below him are characters from another adventure.

My characters' physical features are all based on real people or other comic book heroes, slightly tweaked. Umi is inspired by Halle Berry; D'Kullia by Angelina Jolie; Crovax was inspired by Thanos. Even some of the creatures in the adventure were inspired from other resources such as D&D or Magic. I try to be inspired or influenced by them and not copy them. I also try to use the imaginations and descriptions of my friends for their specific characters.

For Velexa I sort of went with the guidelines presented to me from various SW source books but I also thought of some statues I had seen before of Egyptian or African origin.

Above is a sketch of Tarc from a b&w drawing from the book Fragments from the Rim (extreme left). Then you see a sketch of UMI ROM, and behind her is her estranged father, JAKMON. My character Umi went on the POSTER I: MACAAB MISSION to retrieve an enzyme from the giant mushrooms in that rain forest (see There was a slight problem though: Ikcin fell from the top of one of the gigantic fungi and Stormtroopers came and stole her away. Our secondary mission became to rescue her. There is a rudimentary sketch of Darth Vader, and D'Kullia (extreme right). D'Kullia was someone recruited from the Alliance to assist us on our mission. Unbeknownst to our characters, Aria and D'Kullia have some very interesting ties.

Lt. Fawn (or Phaun) was a character in the book A Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy; I adapted her a bit (she was just a b&w drawing), but still managed to may her look evil, yet skittish of Darth Vader. On the bottom I was playing with the idea of Ikcin, fallen on a spider web. But I also wanted to intertwine the spider web with the Imperial symbol (that's the one normally seen on an officer's hat). So I rejected that idea, and went with more of a Hulk transformation idea instead. So as you see below, I placed the syringe with the enzyme/sap that we extracted from the mushroom between the transformation. When Ikcin is under extreme stress or threatened, or angered, she can take the form on the right: she turns into what appears to be a larger, bulkier, hairy/furry and horned being. I also played with the idea of a sort of "Charlie's Angels" idea, but the whole idea seemed a but cliche for me, so I scrapped the trio together of Velexa, Umi and D'Kullia, and spread them out more in spacing so I could have them doing different actions. This appealed to me more because it was less static and more like the movie posters that interested me the most.

Umi's father had some unfortunate run-ins with Black Sun, and therefore it also made her own life a lot more interesting than she really needed it to be.

For the Arachnor below, I used the picture from the book The Essential Guide to Alien Species. I did tweak it a bit, and the illustration was black and white, so I added my own colours. I was also playing more with the Jekyll/Hyde of Ikcin and Lt. Fawn with or without her Imperial standard cap.For more info check out A Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy p. 94-95 or

Above is the final idea I had for the spider, at first. In the end I actually kept the web and Imperial symbol the same, but turned the spider around so it was attacking D'Kullia.

Above was the last sketch before I drew the final version. It's very close to the coloured poster. At the top I moved the villians over to the right a bit more and placed the Stormtrooper squadron between Ikcin and the main villians. At the bottom, I added Jakmon's ship: a Nova-Drive 3-Z Light Freighter -- you can see more info in the SW source book STOCK SHIPS or check out this link:
At first I wanted to show Velexa saving D'Kullia from the spider, but I changed my mind. In the final version Velexa is rescuing her little friend she names Vishna from the semi-sentient wolf-apes known in those parts as Forest Brethren. They were using the little sapien as bait for larger prey and were enraged when Velexa saved him. They raided us and stole one of our blasters and made things tense for quite a while! but I spaced out the forest critters a bit more and to create the illusion of more depth, I placed them along a receding line into the background on a branch. I like the finished version of the Forest Brethren, they look a lot more threatening in their postures and facial expressions. I kind of liked how this poster was pretty much divided in two: the Lightside and Darkside of the force pitting against each other made for good tension in the drawing.

Below are sketches for POSTER 2: THE MENDICAR MINES...

Here is another shot of Brezzic Mar; however, D'Kullia has the upper hand. I was originally thinking of her doing a slashing movement with a trail of blood leading back behind her, but I thought the drama just before the kill was better than the act of actual killing.

Above is where David's character Gentry sprang from. Our fellow is much nicer, though, not the type to chop you up for stuffing. He mellowed out even more on the final poster.

Velexa and Tarc are arch-enemies. They have tried to be the other's undoing on more than one occasion. Tarc was inspired by a b&w drawing, I think from the book Fragments from the Rim...

I wanted to figure out the best angle from which to draw Umi when she was hitting the ground with shockwaves all around. Although the effects of the blast were more noticeable from the side, I wasn't sure I could fit her in the space I wanted to from that angle. I think I still pulled off the same effect I wanted from the front view.

Some more drawings above: I really struggled with how I was going to show Tarc crushing Torel Vorne's windpipe with the use of the Force. I decided to have them far apart in the drawing instead of Tarc's victim clinging to his killer's cape. That way I could also throw in the bounty hunters who appeared to allow Tarc's escape. We could not get him; and as his ship left, this view of the bounty hunters appeared as the ship's wake blew dust and sand around them. Just before he left, Tarc threw Velexa a data pad that said BOUNTY: paid in full.

Originally I wanted to add a lot more monsters and characters, but left some out: I could not leave out the idea that shapeshifters were involved in deception (not by their own design; they were being drugged and given chips to control their brains -- to become obedient assassins). The ruins were important because that is where we three ladies all found Force-embued instruments: Umi found a staff; D'Kullia found a helm and breastplate; Velexa found a necklace. I did want to keep Jakmon as more of a centerpiece for the most intense action: him flying out of the mine shaft to try to stop Tarc and Vorne. There were also some creatures that we encountered: if it wasn't for the rock eating creature that tried to eat our skiff, we wouldn't have found out that Ikcin was not really Ikcin -- turns out she was a Shi'ado. Another shapeshifter was actually using the mushroom counteragent against the Imperial truth serum to control or experiment on his own kind. Apparently the enzymes from the mushroom reactived differently with the Shi'ado's body chemistry. The spinewolves lived inside the mines and at one point we weren't sure who was being hunted. Aside from changing placement for what I felt just fit better, I chose to place Tarc on the right lower corner, as though he was going to escape from us off the page into oblivion where we couldn't find him, as he always seems to manage to do!

Below are some sketches I did together of Ikcin (left) and Sabrina (right).

Sabrina's ship, Suntiger, below, was crafted via chop-shop by Keith. It's part tank and part TIE-Fighter. I took photographs of it on different angles until I found the one that seemed to fit best into the poster. It's actually glossier in real-life, but I think I still pulled it off.

Since Crovax is David's character, his vision was of a powerful musculature and bone structure like Thanos. I also went with what little information I could find in the source books, and I believe there was an example of a Reiget in A Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy. On the cover, the Reiget looks a sort of greyish-blue; however in Crovax's case, he was more blue than the usual Reiget, as to how albinos are rare in humans.

Below is a sketch of my version of a Lesser Krayt Dragon: there are a lot more pictures of them around now, but I had a little help from online gaming magazines and The Wildelife of Star Wars.

Below is a comparison between Jabba and Sibarra, and I just went with a paler and cyborged version of Jabba, because I could only find one drawing of him in the Hive of Scum and Villainy source book. Sibarra the Hutt is a Cybernetic Crime Lord. Here is a quote of his description:
"Outcast from Hutt society because he was weak, Sibarra vowed revenge. His highly grotesque, disfigured body was further sent into nightmare status with the addition of a Cybernetic Eye and Arm, Subdermal Plating, and a Cytac’ Shocktail. He is extremely moody with sudden rages spring up from time to time. Sibarra the Hutt has vowed revenge against all Hutts for casting him out. He can be found at times torturing Hutts that he has captured or paid huge bounties for. Sibarra runs the criminal side of the Ace of Sabers. He is a big contributor to the AubroAhntanda Slavery Ring."
David also added the little twist that Sibarra also likes to collect and enslave rare beings, as though they were his very own collectibles. Hence the reason Ikcin was frozen in carbonite, much like Han Solo was for Jabba. Some websites that refer to the Ace of Sabers Casino and its entourage: and and I believe information on him is also available somewhere in a SW source book A Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy. Sibarra works indoors at his Casino, The Ace of Sabers, which you see in Basic in reverse on the lower right corner of the finished poster. Dunan Par’Ell is the fellow in front of the window - he is Sibarra's Security Specialist, apparently Human
"He resigned from the Imperial Military [branch unknown] under mysterious
circumstances after serving over 10 years. While Par’Ell is human, he has
mirror-like pupils that give him a frightening appearance. He never loses his temper. Par’Ell is one of the few surviving supreme adept in the k’Jari martial art. He can always be seen wearing his signature scarlet body cloak over black armor."
As you can see, I missed this last detail, but we can pretend the lighting is so intense that his cape only appears to be silver and his armor only appears to be blue. Heh heh!

I always thought it would look best to have Ikcin in the center of the drawing, since she was integral to the plot. At this point, Velexa had wanted to seek out someone she had felt a keen sense of familiarity: that somehow she knew they had a lot in common -- so we sought out Crovax on Tatooine. At the time he was errand-boy for Jabba, and we gleaned some valuable information from Jabba about Sibarra the Hutt. Sibarra had recently acquired a Formassan, and the description he gave left no doubt that it was our Ikcin. So we left from there with Crovax "Bruiser" Brummaxium in tow, and headed to Nar Shada where Sibarra and his kind festered.

POSTER III: RECRUITING CROVAX & RESCUING IKCIN - Originally there were more characters involved that I wished to display in the poster. Again, I had to cut back a certain amount. In the orginal sketch I included more of Tatooine. We were attacked by the Krayt on the way to Jabba's, but then also chased by Tusken Raiders. I also rearranged the order of things on the page because I wanted to reinforce the idea that the characters went from above the ground, where it was all sunny and hot on Tatooine, to the Labyrinth that we had to mince our way through (yeah, like Indiana Jones on Meth) was deep underground on Nar Shada, a completely sterile and overdeveloped, overpopulated planet. There was also a Bounty Hunter that came to find us, but fortunately he was on our side at the time: apparently Uan'A, our little Bothan buddy, was getting worried about us and hired him to track us down. Vallikor En-Vahdi was very impressive to look at, but again, I would have either had to draw him extra teensy or leave someone else out of the drawing. The Jawas, truthfully, had some sort of significance, but for the life of me, I can't remember what. Additionally there was a slightly modified Protocol Droid (who turned out to be someone else entirely, we found out later) assisting us with information before we left the Rebel Base, and a Bothan who assisted us in tracking down the feature character in the fourth and final poster: Karnic Foe, the Trandoshan.

On the fourth poster you will see a computer schematic of a Kazellis Light Freighter. See also --- and I have plenty of sketches and drawings of Karnic and Aria, as they are older characters that were developed earlier than Umi and Crovax.

You can see the helmet in Karnic's hand: this is his new guise. After this adventure he went into hiding to raise his last remaining son in seclusion. The sketches above are the colour, but for the poster, David wanted the mask to look a little more silver or reflective instead of matt black.

Karnic Foe can be a ferocious ally: I was inspired from the picture below.

The final poster is a lot more simplified than what you see below, in the sketch. Again, CT3P0 and Uan'a the Bothan had such minor roles in the actual adventure (they do have MUCH more significant roles in other adventures) that I left them out. The characters with the highest importance were left in the poster as well as the symbol of the helmet and the ship schematic. Karnic was, at first appearance, killed: the Kazellis Light Freighter was bequeathed to Aria. Then, later, and only known to Crovax, Umi, Velexa and Aria, they found out it was not him who had been killed, but it was Karnic's brother who was dying from a disease that would have killed him anyway. Karnic's brother had wanted to die with honour, so he chose to sacrifice himself. Naturally, the killer was Tarc, and the participants were from the Trandoshan Hit Squad. Karnic had ties to this group and was framed for Tarc's crimes, and Tarc was the one who killed him. I wanted the group of four friends to be in the poster, but their expressions and their size emphasize that they were powerless to stop Karnic (they thought) from being killed. I also liked how the helmet, the ship and the Rebel Alliance symbol seem to act as a protective buffer to Tarc and his henchmen. You can see a slight echo with the shapes of the Rebel Alliance crest and the Kazellis Light Freighter.

I wanted POSTER 4: DEATH OF A HERO? to be the darkest of them all, but still wanted a hint of hope showing through the shadows: a bit of subtle ambiguity, as it were. There is a bit of sunshine peeking through clouds on the left, but does this indicate a ray of hope or that the sun is setting on our hero's life? There is an area of light at the top right hand side of the poster, but again, the darkeness in the foreground makes hope recede back again. The darkeness stretches diagonally across from the top left corner down to the bottom right, yet Karnic looks as ready as ever to fight another day. The Alliance crest is present, but it appears to have been used as a weapon or to be bleeding. Ah, dualism!

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