meeks: meeks and lorelei (Default)
[personal profile] meeks
This is a sketch of warsailor Brelig's encounter with a deathfin sea monster, from Without Fail, a new Torn World story by [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith:
Brelig swiped his sickle toward the bleeding eyelid again -- and the deathfin grabbed him by that arm, lifting him high above the ship. The sudden shock of pain frayed his concentration. Brelig swung in the air, blood raining everywhere. Then he pulled himself upward to swing the axe into the deathfin's eye.




cleaned-up sketch:


rough sketch:

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linkbacks: 15

SQUEE!!

Date: 2011-05-14 02:44 am (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
From: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
I love the perspective on this! That is one evil looking sea monster.

Date: 2011-05-14 03:59 am (UTC)
ariestess: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ariestess
Is it wrong that I find the deathfin sea monster cute for some reason? I can't explain why I do, I just do...

Date: 2011-05-14 05:01 am (UTC)
ariestess: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ariestess
LOL! I'm not sure that's it. I think it's just something in the eye...

Date: 2011-05-14 05:23 am (UTC)
ariestess: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ariestess
There is the bleeding dwarf that kind of messes it up. But even the teeth seem cute to me. IDEK. I'm just in a strange mood today, I think...

Hmm...

Date: 2011-05-14 05:50 am (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
From: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Actually, I may be able to articulate this. It was in a splendid site on bioaesthetics which, alas, seems to have vanished into the aether. The basic premise is that rounded shapes invite touch, thus seeming cute and attractive; whereas sharp thornlike shapes repel touch, thus seeming aggressive and repellent.

So, look at the deathfin. The fangs are sharp, yes, but the original example pointed out that teeth don't always determine the result. The eyes are rounded, along with the general shape of the head and then the nose. Since we've got a nose-on view of this deathfin, the alarming arrowhead shape of the head isn't obvious, although if you know it exists then you can see it hinted in the bulge of the cheeks. The end result is cute in a monstrous kind of way.

I am suddenly, vividly reminded of the alligators in "The Rescuers." Brutus and Nero were both cute and creepy:
http://www.connectedconcepts.net/photos/blog1/tgrsp506.jpeg

Then I think about why I like this picture, which has a softer style than some of the Torn World art and in a way that isn't obviously associated with violent adventure scenes ... and I remember reading pirate stories and sea monster stories as a kid that were illustrated a lot like this. So that's what it touches on for me. I like things that are simultaneously cute and dangerous.

I'm not sure if this matches any of your parameters, but it's worth exploring.

Re: Hmm...

Date: 2011-05-14 07:53 am (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
From: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
>>The way I draw definitely tends toward children's book style, and it is strongly influenced by Disney animation (which I'm still a fan of!) so that actually makes a lot of sense.<<

Sooth. I am a fan of Disney art (my partner Doug is a major animation fan too) and I like children's book illustrations. I think something about the combination of cute and creepy touches childhood memories of watching movies or reading books and being really scared in a fun way.

>> Adding more detail might shift it slightly, but my deathfin is definitely safe-for-kids type scary as opposed to the meant-for-adults variety...I'm content with that, so as long as you're happy with it too, we'll let him be a bit cute :) <<

I think it works. The deathfin might get clarified a bit, but doesn't need to be sharpened, if that distinction makes sense. The main detailed I'd refine, given enough audience participation, would be Brelig and the action on the deck of the ship.

I'm also amused that the cannoneer has decided to take another shot at the deathfin now that the neck is well out of the water and in clear range. It wasn't something that Brelig was in any position to notice, but fits with the story as another reason for the deathfin to drop him and scram.
Adding more detail might shift it slightly, but my deathfin is definitely safe-for-kids type scary as opposed to the meant-for-adults variety...I'm content with that, so as long as you're happy with it too, we'll let him be a bit cute :)

Re: If this gets to the next stage...

Date: 2011-05-15 01:14 am (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
From: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
>> I'll probably refine the edges a bit, and maybe add a hint of texture, but the shape will probably stay the same.<<

That sounds good.

>> Yay! I'm glad you liked that little addition <<

I enjoy it when people can extrapolate details from my stories that aren't specified in the text. It lets me know that I've succeeded in giving people a glimpse of another world. *ponder* And you're two-for-two doing that now. Yay!

Re: Hmm...

Date: 2011-05-14 05:48 pm (UTC)
ariestess: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ariestess
Yeah, that might actually be on the right track! LOL! Tho I was probably thinking more of Ursula's eels from The Little Mermaid, or possibly even Sir Hiss from Robin Hood.

Re: Hmm...

Date: 2011-05-14 06:28 pm (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
From: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Hee! It was the teeth sticking out that made me think of Brutus and Nero. Now that you mention it, though, the rounded nose reminds me of Sir Hiss!

*laugh* And now I've got "Sir John the Worst" running through my head...

Re: Hmm...

Date: 2011-05-14 06:36 pm (UTC)
ariestess: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ariestess
LOL! I love Sir Hiss! I'd almost mentioned Kaa from The Jungle Book, but he's not quite right. And it doesn't matter that Kaa and Sir Hiss are basically the same snake...

Re: Hmm...

Date: 2011-05-14 06:47 pm (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
From: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
No, you're right, they're very different characters and I think that does come through in the art even though it's subtle. The deathfin reminds me of Sir Hiss, but not of Kaa.

Here's a great nose-on view of Sir Hiss:
http://www.cornel1801.com/disney/Robin_Hood/Sir_Hiss.jpg
... and you can see the similarity in the round nose and cheeks, and the skinny neck.

Kaa is pointier, with his eyes higher:
http://vinylmationkingdom.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/kaa.png

The really cool thing is that, while there are similarities, the deathfin is no more a copy of either than they are like each other. They're just using a similar school of art with some of the same underlying principles.

Re: Hmm...

Date: 2011-05-14 07:07 pm (UTC)
ariestess: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ariestess
*nods* Exactly. There's no copying or identicality [is that even a word?] between any of them, including the deathfin, but there definitely are similarities, at least in my brain.

Re: Hmm...

Date: 2011-05-14 10:24 pm (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
From: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Yeah. I like poking at art to see what makes it work.

Re: Hmm...

Date: 2011-05-15 01:18 am (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
From: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
I'm really enjoying the discussion too. I like talking about art, especially when the artist is good with composition and details. Although I'm not good at drawing, I've read a number of art books and articles; it's fun to learn how things work.

Ellen's latest sketch on the Muse Fusion page has started a discussion about body proportion when drawing dwarves (something you nailed in this picture) because it's different from standard human proportion. I actually went out and looked up some references for how many "heads" high various figures should be.

Re: Hmm...

Date: 2011-05-15 03:13 am (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
From: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Sooth. Both art books and writing books are like that for me. There are always subtleties to add.

I particularly like art books that focus on anatomy because that can help with descriptions or with designing new species. I spent a lot of time looking at different dinosaurs, large sea animals, and mythical beasts when I went to design Torn World's food web. I wanted the sea monsters to be biologically plausible, exciting in stories, and photogenic.

If this gets to the next stage...

Date: 2011-05-14 05:14 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
...here are a few aspects you might consider for refinement:

1)Currently, the people on deck aren't tall enough to see over the rails of the ship. I realize that many of the crew aren't "giants", but since this is one of *their* ships, the structure should account for their reduced height;

2)Also in terms of proportion, that's an awfully wide deck for a sail-powered ship. Either narrow the deck, broaden the sails (and possibly add some evidence of rigging), or some combination of the two for a more plausible wind-powered craft.

3)This last one may be something I need to take up with Elizabeth rather than you, but here goes -- my sense of what happened in reading the scene was that Brelig repeatedly struck at the same eye. If that's a correct interpretation, his position in the deathfin's mouth needs to be shifted somewhat to the left to make the already-injured eye a viable target. OTOH, Elizabeth could simply add a word or two to indicate that Brelig's last blow was directed toward the "other" or "uninjured" eye of the monster.

Other than all of that , *love* the overall composition and use of perspective. You've done a great job of capturing Brelig's dwarvish proportions!

[From Elizabeth's "my_partner_doug" on LJ, who has no Dreamwidth account]

Yes...

Date: 2011-05-15 01:27 am (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
From: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
I agree with the first two points.

For the third, yes, Brelig is supposed to be swinging at the same injured eye again. If you look closely, you'll see that he wouldn't be able to reach the other eye anyway, which is accurate given the respective sizes of warwailor and deathfin. So it needs to be the injured eye on the same side he's hanging from. I believe that tweaking his arm position slightly, to make it look like he's farther back in the deathfin's mouth, should fix this.

Re: If this gets to the next stage...

Date: 2011-05-15 06:58 am (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
From: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Okay, research is a forte of mine, and I can extrapolate what kinds of ship would be reasonable.

It's medium size: It doesn't need to be as fast as a small messenger nor as big as a cargo boat. It's a cruise ship, sort of historic style: not as huge and fancy as modern ones, but a nice ship with some private cabins and a lounge. So it needs both open deck space and rooming space. It needs to be versatile, and it's in water where they're not hurting for wind: It has a moderate amount of sail, 2 or 3 masts, probably with both square and lateen (triangular) sails. It carries tourists and will be attacked by monsters: It needs safety railings all around, which will be visible, and moderate weaponry (not all which need be visible). Also the waters around Farpoint town are shallow: they do need to mind their draft, so the ship won't ride as low in the water as some of the big ocean ships can.

This site gives a nice overview of ship types:
http://www.thepirateking.com/ships/ship_types.htm
Notice there's a lot of variety and not much standardization. As long as we don't make a big goof the results should be plausible. The closest ones were caravel, carrack, galleon (all related).

I'm leaning towards galleon: a sleek, elegant ship that can move briskly and defend itself. It has raised decking aft, and often fore (don't go too high there, it adds drag), good for cabin and recreational space for tourists.

Good line art of a medium galleon & other ships:
http://www.keyshistory.org/SS-Sp-Sail-ships.html

Excellent overhead view of a galleon, though it's narrower than a cruise ship would probably be; broaden the middle of this one slightly and it's a great reference:
http://img.brothersoft.com/screenshots/softimage/g/galleon_3d_screensaver-11823-1234427318.jpeg

The smaller of these is good too:
http://i84.photobucket.com/albums/k3/Wolfshanze/Games/GermGalleon1.png

This one is too big and the sails are all square, but it's the only photo I could find of a real galleon with her sails unfurled:
http://img2.allvoices.com/thumbs/event/609/480/64359885-spanish-galleon.jpg

These should give you an idea of the target range. Like I said, there's wiggle room in the design.

This cutaway shows the inside structure:
http://www.boundingmain.com/images/ships/galleon_sm1.gif

Re: If this gets to the next stage...

Date: 2011-05-17 01:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] xjenavivex.livejournal.com
I have a question for you as well. Do deathfins have nostrils? I am currently working on a sketch of one under water. I know that it has a snakelike head. I think this sketch does a great job with that. I just don't know about nostrils since it has gills.

Re: If this gets to the next stage...

Date: 2011-05-17 05:30 am (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
From: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
A deathfin breathes air. So it doesn't have gills, and does have nostrils.

I think that [personal profile] meeks did a good job of rendering this sea monster, allowing for her soft-edged style and the unusual perspective. It's enough to get an idea of the critter, and a terrific story illustration, though it doesn't show the whole body like we'd need for a scientific sketch. I'd really like to see what other artists will do with it.

I've got your email address; I'll send you my rough draft of the deathfin entry. I don't think Ellen has had time to edit that one yet.

Yay Deathfin!

Date: 2011-05-19 01:46 am (UTC)
wyld_dandelyon: (Default)
From: [personal profile] wyld_dandelyon
I have to agree that the people on the deck are too small. Given the angle, which shows very little of the boat, fixing that could well be all you need to do to change the apparent size of the boat.

It might be cool to show one "giant" person along with the "normal sized" dwarves, assuming, of course, that there's at least one giant member of the crew in this story.

I think the main thing that I'd like to see in the finished drawing is a sense of the shininess of water, both the water in the ocean and the drops falling from the critter.

Re: Yay Deathfin!

Date: 2011-05-19 04:44 am (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
From: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
>> It might be cool to show one "giant" person along with the "normal sized" dwarves, assuming, of course, that there's at least one giant member of the crew in this story. <<

Yes, there are people of various sizes among crew and passengers, although the two named warsailors are both normal-sized Duurludirj. Mirulani, a carnal worker, is a giant woman.

>>I think the main thing that I'd like to see in the finished drawing is a sense of the shininess of water, both the water in the ocean and the drops falling from the critter.<<

That's a good idea too.

Date: 2011-05-14 03:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ellenmillion.livejournal.com
Awesome!!! Great sense of height and danger! (I wouldn't want to mess with EITHER of them.)

Date: 2011-05-14 04:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] meeksp.livejournal.com
Glad you like it :) I'll be submitting it to Torn World if I get enough comments to do a cleaned-up version, and we're already halfway there!

Date: 2011-05-17 12:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] xjenavivex.livejournal.com
I know others have commented on the perspective. Sorry to be a repeat but it really is striking. I've been meaning to come and say something. It is exciting to see how this is unfolding. I really hope you will be submitting it.

Linked!

Date: 2011-05-18 11:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
I posted links (to the LJ and DW pages) for this sketch on Torn World's "Works in Progress" forum, in hopes of getting more comments so it can be refined and submitted.

Re: Linked!

Date: 2011-05-19 05:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] meeksp.livejournal.com
Thank you! Looks like it worked :)

Re: Linked!

Date: 2011-05-19 05:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
Yes, I think there are two new commenters. Yay!

The story is already approved, so if you get the sketch updated and submitted, there may be time to post both together this month as part of the sea monster fest. That should get you some extra eyeballs too.

Re: Linked!

Date: 2011-05-19 05:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] meeksp.livejournal.com
That would be good...I'll try to get it in this weekend :)

Re: Linked!

Date: 2011-05-19 06:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
Okay, great. If you let [livejournal.com profile] ellenmillion know what you have planned for this piece, she can take that into consideration in scheduling the story (and perhaps the nonfiction article about deathfins).

Superb!

Date: 2011-05-19 01:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] haunted-blood.livejournal.com
I love the dimensions, the depth you get of how high the monster is. It is truly frightening! I especially like the teeth!

Wow!

Date: 2011-05-22 07:11 am (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
From: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
The updated sketch looks so exciting. The ship is much more detailed and so is Brelig. The deathfin has an amazing malevolent glare in its remaining eye!

Date: 2011-05-22 04:32 pm (UTC)
ariestess: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ariestess
Oooooers... Definitely not so cute this time around. LOL! Very nicely done!

Yay!

Date: 2011-05-25 06:56 pm (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
From: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
My story "Without Fail" is now up on Torn World, along with its illustration. Thanks everso for the terrific art!
http://www.tornworld.net/storypageview.php?id=284

Date: 2011-05-23 03:31 pm (UTC)
kelkyag: notched triangle signature mark in light blue on yellow (Default)
From: [personal profile] kelkyag
Ooooh, looking good! The harpoon in flight and the damaged eye, especially.

Date: 2011-07-29 03:29 am (UTC)
aldersprig: (Mermaid 2)
From: [personal profile] aldersprig
That EYE! Wow, that really pops out now!

O_O

Date: 2011-07-29 07:50 am (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
From: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
That nose-wrinkling looks amazing. Also the one good eye almost seems to glow against the shading now. You should post this update over on Torn World.

Question

Date: 2011-07-23 10:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
I'm uploading your sketches into a scrapbook on my LiveJournal, so that I'll have them all in one place for people to browse conveniently. I've got the before-and-after and detail images of "Unfolding Wings." But I realized that I forgot to save the early version of "Without Fail" -- and now I can only find the thumbnail, not the full-size of the original sketch. It would be nice to have the larger version of the sketch available from the thumbnail, because I like being able to flip back and forth to compare what changed. It's one of the cool things about your project.

Re: Question

Date: 2011-07-26 05:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] meeksp.livejournal.com
Whups, missed this one...You've probably figured this out, by now, but if you right-click on the thumbnail to save it, you'll actually get the full-sized sketch - only the display dimensions have been changed.

Re: Question

Date: 2011-07-26 05:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
Oh, yay! Thanks for letting me know.

This is the gallery page for your sketches, if you want to see what I wrote about them.
http://pics.livejournal.com/ysabetwordsmith/gallery/00118spk

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