Hello, I’m back again to give the final update on my canon project that I have been working on for the past few weeks. It has been quite a journey through all of the development, one I enjoyed immensely. It was a project that not only called on some of my more polished artistic skills, but also helped my development in all of my artistic skills.
Looking strictly at my design choices for this project, the first thing I will mention is my line weight. Normally when I create a reference of any kind I keep the line weight extremely even. I do this because I believe that a character reference, especially one that is for personal use, would get muddled or cover up details that may be important to show. However, for this project I looked at this reference as if I would be presenting this character on a project for use. In this scenario, even lines make for a very boring and “dead” character that may not catch someone’s eye in a competitive environment. By creating various line weights, it creates more visual interest and adds more life to them as well. This is also why I added basic shading as well, another thing that I generally do not add to a base reference.
Moving on to my color choices, I wanted to stick mainly with cool colors within the clothing, believing that this would help bring focus to his face as which would be in contrast due to his warm colored skin and hair. While the browns break this rule of cool colors, I kept them quite dull as to not interfere with the main warm focus while simultaneously bringing some color balance between warm and cold. Between this color choice and the arrows on the shirt, the viewer’s eyes are brought up to the facial area. This was done due to the fact that I like to think that someone’s face is main part of them, as you can tell a lot about someone by facial expressions. That and I think that looking someone in the face shows mutual respect in some ways. Going back to color though, I chose blue as an accent color due to light blue and yellow are the colors that represent the main god worshiped in the story. As a worshiper, I wanted to sprinkle in those colors to help accent his believe in context of the story. In my previous update, I explained more in detail the color choices of the shirt and their symbolism in the story.
Finally, moving onto design choices, I wanted this character to wear something that would be considered comfy, thus a poofy shirt and jeans. Aside from this I looked at what would be practical in his home environment. This let to me adding gloves, knife sling and a pouch to help emphasize his outdoor living. His boots have spikes in the front, their main purpose is to help with climbing up cliffs and other steep slopes, something quite common in his home environment. Looking at his religious and magical imagery, I designed him some feather earrings to help solidify the importance of the sky god in his life. I also gave him many magic runes around on his body, each one serving a different magical purpose that are explained in the story. These are also blue to show their connection to the god and each one contains at least one sign that represents their god.
All in all, this project has helped me grow in ways that I didn’t even think about. As I mentioned in a previous post, drawing my character on mark presented a challenge I had not ever put myself up to and really helped me in thinking about my character in more that one way. Also, in my major this is a really important skill as one must be able to keep a character accurate in all the scenes they are presented in when placed into an animation. If not, the character begins to lose their own identity as they change between your scenes, which is not good unless intended. Along with this, character design in general is really important, whether it be for a film, animation or video game. Learning and developing these skills now will definitely give me an edge in future projects. In the end, not only was this a great project but it was also really fun to do. I know that what I learned here will affect not only how I do things for my on personal projects, but projects for my developing career as an animator as well.
On the continent of Gruehenia, in the far north there is a region commonly referred to as “the unknown” by many. Given this title due to it being difficult to explore and navigate through due to extreme weather in the area, many consider it to be uninhabitable thanks to its “randomized” weather. However, this is not the case as once you pass a certain latitude you can find the hidden country of Estrial. The country’s geography is at a higher elevation as compared to the southern civilizations with many cliffs and canyons. Along with this, the weather is calm within the country’s borders as compared to what many believe it be in the southern part of Gruehenia. The citizens of Estrial consider the strange weather that borders their land to the south, something they call the “ring of storms”, a form of protection created by their god Luremis. Believing that Luremis is a sky god, the citizens worship him in thanks for the protection from intruders and perform rituals to obtain his power to help keep their standard of living. By performing these rituals for Luremis, a citizen can borrow his power in the form of magic and runes. These rituals can be anything from finding a specific item or performing a dance, however all rituals require at least one item known as a Relic. The number of Relics needed increases with the amount of power desired, as the rocks themselves contain Luremis’ essence. Relics, which are easily identified as stones that float, are believed to have once been part of Luremis’ floating fortress, which on occasion will drop these stones for the believers below. Once the ritual is completed and the magic from the stones harvested, the citizen can create a rune or spell. These spells are kept on rocks or other inanimate objects until they are needed, when they are then transferred and imprinted onto the person wishing to use it. The reason for keeping them on other objects when not is use is since, when imprinted on a living thing they become active and require constant replenishment for the power used. This drains the user of their spiritual strength immensely over time so it is very rare for a citizen to constantly have many runes on them, especially a powerful one. The average citizen can have around 3 to 5 lower level runes on them at all times without suffering large scale fatigue. It is commonplace to find citizens with “good fortune” runes along with runes to help with their jobs and tasks.
Of course, long ago it was decided that it would be beneficial to contact the outside world for better technology and the sharing of knowledge. However, the people of Estrial did not want to compromise their security, thus anyone who travels plat the Ring of Storms for the country, goes under the guise of being traveling merchants or treasure hunters. After obtaining sufficient knowledge, they return to share with the rest of the country.
Despite the protection of Ring of Storms, which keeps any foreign technology with ill intent from entering, there are still domestic problems they must worry about. On occasion, they have one or members of society who break the laws repeatedly and become power hungry. These people are cast away from the country and are no long allowed to perform rituals. These people either leave, desperate for a new life in the southern countries or become rogues, surviving off the land and what they steal. Since they have lost their ability to make them, they often target Estrialian travelers for their runes, making the carrying of inactive runes dangerous outside the city’s borders. Along with these rogues, it is not uncommon for runaway outlaws and thieves who are desperate to get away from the southern countries to try and pass through the Ring of Storms. On occasion they are successful, where they are then recruited by the rogues from Estrial. These groups cause trouble for the Estrialian people, thus of the royal guard was created. Tasked with protecting the peace and law of the country, they are one of the few groups of people who will live outside the city walls and almost always have attack runes active on them. When stationed within the city, their focus is mainly to help the citizens and moderate and squabbles, while when they are stationed outside the city, they protect the farmland and defend against rogue attacks. They also can be hired by the citizens who have jobs that require leaving the city, such as scavengers and traveling merchants.
In terms of jobs, the country is open to free choice of profession, along with the ability to change if you find out it is not for you. The jobs are fairly standard of what you would find in any city, with the major differences being in the royal guard, priests and scavenger jobs. The royal guard, which was discussed previously acts as the police and protectors of the country. The Priests are generally the most knowledgeable about Luremis and the rune. They are tasked with leading rituals and discovering new spells that can be used by the people of Estrial. Finally, scavengers are sent outside the city walls to locate more castle rocks or anything that could be of importance. They often scavenge around the remains of technology that get destroyed when the southern nations try to pass through the Ring of Storms. Being a scavenger is one of less popular jobs due to the dangers from being attacked by rogues and working so closely to the Ring of Storms. Often scavengers will work in parties of four or five for protection.
Of the few citizens who choose to be scavengers there is one named Tyler Mantilyra. Born into a group of rogues, he was essentially used as bait or as a trap to catch unsuspecting travelers off guard until the age of 5. At this age, during a raid on the royal city of Estrial, he was captured by some royal guards who hoped to use him as leverage over his family. In the end, Tyler’s family simply took what they had stolen at that point and left, fully expecting the guards to simply kill Tyler. Seeing as taking Tyler as a hostage didn’t work and realizing just how horribly Tyler had been treated, one of the guards named Rem Mantilyra decided to raise him.
This, overall was not the most popular opinion among many citizens. To help appease some of the discomfort from this adoption, Rem moved outside the city limits and kept Tyler’s social contact to a minimum in the early years of raising him. As time went on and the citizens realized that Tyler was not a bad kid, these social interactions increased, leading to almost no contact with others to with practically daily visits into the city. Although, the lack of social contact at the beginning did make Tyler into what one could call a “social potato” which leads to a lot of awkwardness due to Tyler’s introvert like tendencies and upbringing. He constantly apologizes and seems to be on the verge of tears whenever he speaks with someone he is uncomfortable with or someone raises their voice. Other than this he tries to be friendly and polite despite his awkwardness. So, while Tyler has been accepted into Estrial society now, he much prefers to be by himself most of the time with a few exceptions, one of which being Rem. Thus, when it came to picking a job, Tyler choose to become a scavenger. However, unlike the other scavengers he performs all of his duties by himself, only accompanied by Rem on some occasions.
Since he works by himself, it is necessary for Tyler to have a variety of runes on his person at all times. In terms of magic and runes, Tyler is an anomaly when compared to the other citizens. Since he spent a lot of time by himself while Rem was away at work, Tyler would often study and perform rituals to make his own runes. At first, this was completely normal and fine to Rem as he believed it would bring about a deeper appreciation and understanding of their magic if Tyler worked with it. However, it got to the point where Tyler had an extremely in-depth understanding of how it worked and was beginning to write new rituals and runes. Rem realized that Tyler may have been going overboard as he was beginning to have a better understanding of magic and runes than the priests did. After talking about it with Tyler though, he realized that discovering new rituals could be helpful as long as Tyler didn’t do anything too dangerous. In his free time, Tyler perfects his new runes and writes books on them and their uses for the rest of society to learn for themselves.
To continue off his abnormal streak, when transferring runes to oneself, most of the time a citizen has about 3 to 5 runes on them at a time due to the spiritual and physical strain. However, due understanding of runes being deeper than that of an average person and his need for them due to his job, Tyler has developed an interesting technique. Since carrying around a bunch of rocks just so he can use magic is both dangerous and inconvenient, Tyler generally has anywhere between 15 to 20 runes imprinted on him at any given time. While this would cause extreme stress and pain on any other person, Tyler’s understanding of runes and the fact that he wrote most of them, has led him to being able to find ways of editing or changing the rune structure so they cause less stress on his spiritual strength when not in use. He calls it the standby mode which is created by the altering the rune structure and adjusting his spiritual energy in very finite and controlled ways. He is the only one to have mastered this technique due to the level of control needed, hence why it is not widely used throughout the city. Normally, runes glow and emit energy simply by being imprinted on a person, with them glowing brighter when in actual use, however in standby mode, they do not glow but simply appear as tattoos, most commonly in shades of blue.
The major runes that Tyler always has imprinted are one that enhances his sight, which acts as extremely good and adjustable binoculars, one that helps his breathing at higher elevations, another one for good luck, two that enhance his grip, one on both wrists which are great for climbing up cliffs, a rune that creates a powerful air slash which is used to keep aggressive creatures or people at a distance (literally just blows them away), and five which all work together in a gliding/flying spell. The last five are his most complicated rune structure, one for the actual gliding/ flying and four more for control in each direction of movement while airborne. The gliding/ flying spell is a work in progress and at the moment is more a gliding than flying. He needs some equipment to help with his aerodynamics, which his cloak has been designed to help with this, and he also has be at a high altitude with favorable weather for take off. After he gets airborne he uses his directorial runes to aim his movement and help him safely land. Worst case scenario he can use an air slash spell at the ground if he is coming in too hot to slow him down. All in all, the main problem really is just getting airborne as once he is in the air he can control his altitude. The remaining 6 to 11 runes change base on the tasks for that day.