commissioned me to design him a sci-fi version of my female Livahk character
, to be named Mirabel Lilac, and here she is. The specifics were minimal beyond that, which was very nice- it was a little taste of my dream of being one of those really iconic artists like Akira Toriyama who have a style and people come to them because they want that style. Here's a few specifics, now do what you are naturally inclined to do. Yep, that'd be the life.
Anyway, she was requested to wear armor of some sort, have weapons like a spear or arm-mounted gun, and maybe a cybernetic eye. (Speaking of which, I totally forgot to add the gun to her leftt arm. D'oh!) If you've followed my work much, you know I don't really do much sci-fi stuff, it's never really been my genre of choice. I prefer my flashy fantasy stuff to be magical and innate, not technology-based, and aside from Jedi, "natural" cool powers are fairly rare in science fiction. And overall, the level of fantastic wacky impossible stuff is just lower, and what fun is that? Plus, as a genre overall, I associate sci-fi more with drab, grey, ugly realism, which is so obviously not my cup of tea. Still, that's just why I don't naturally lean toward that stuff, doesn't mean I hate it, and if a person's paying me for some sci-fi, and didn't specify I had to make it drab and gritty, great! So I went ahead and designed the sort of colorful stylized designs I wish were in sci-fi more. First off, it strikes me as odd that there seems to be less fabric in the advanced space future, I'd think that it could continue to advance as much as anything else. Yet it seems generally minimal short of ultra-form-fitting body suits, often weirdly drab and low-tech if fabric figures in much at all aside from that. So I knew I had to throw in some brightly colored drapery. Of course, since that alone is pretty anti-sci-fi, and she was supposed to be armored, I figured classic futuristic white armor underneath would help balance things out. Plus, the one futuristic techy aesthetic I do like is the dark stuff with smooth white plastic/ceramic/whatever casing over it. As for the other colors, I didn't want things to be TOO white, and I wanted to unify her with the design she was based on to some small extent. She's in the advanced space future, but she's still a Livahk.
As for personality, she was specified as a mercenary with honor, having a generally calm nature, and haunted by something, thus having bags under her eyes as if she slept poorly. I wrestled with how much to draw the bags into the default neutral model sheet faces, and I suppose, maybe I under-did it in the end. She has the calm low-key look, but not so much the haggard. For the expressions, I decided to push them well beyond the default, because even if she has a default low emotional energy level, that doesn't mean she has to be one-dimensional. Plus, I really don't draw enough expressions since I seem to design characters more than I ever actually do anything with them. Just so many fairly neutral default expressions to go with model sheets. (Though I did check out some of my favorite art books and felt better when I noticed how limited the emotional range was in typical design sketches for any given character. Darkstalkers sketches and illustrations, for example, seem to have about two expressions per character. And since that was the first thing I saw when I was a newly hatched baby duck, I believe it's my mommy and emulate it in all ways.) So even if she usually has that calm look, on the rare occasion she's really happy or shocked, there you go. And of course even her hair and ears emote, because I love that old-fashioned cartoony style and think it is sorely missing these days. Again, everything should be more like Darkstalkers, with its wacky animations.
Regarding her weaponry, I really like polearms, so giving her a spear or more specifically, probably a glaive, was a-okay by me. To make it look techy I added some extra bits, I figure that it charges up or something for extra cutting power. Probably glows with some cool energy effect. What with those advanced space materials, you need some extra oomph in you slashamabobs. And again, she was supposed to get an arm-mounted gun on the left arm, I even sketched it out roughly, but forgot. Now personally, I always found them a bit silly, because they'd be really hard to aim accurately. But, since this is cybernetic implant level technology, it seems to me that a cybernetic eye could integrate with the aiming system on the arm gun and iron all that out. The user could switch to seeing what a gun-mounted camera sees at will, or mark targets with the eye and let the software do the fine adjustments to make sure that's exactly what the gun hits. Either way, that's totally how the thing I forgot to finalize would work. But that's just my thoughts, the commissioner said he planned to write stories about her and who knows what he'll specify.
Miscellaneous things: The color samples are broken up into sections, those being spear colors, body colors, and clothing colors, in that order. There is a little redundancy, so the palette isn't quite as bloated as it appears. The commissioner specified direct front/side/back views, and no offense to him, but man, I forgot how much I dislike doing those. For some reason, diagonals feel so much more right. And easier. And as usual, everything was done in Photoshop.
And finally, if you like what you see and have money to spend, send me a note or something. I'm up for just about anything if the price is right.