Tuesday, February 12, 2008

He-Man Customs art project

This is a personal project that I have been working on for a little bit. I remember when I had the Masters of the Universe toys when I was younger, I would commonly trade out arms and other parts to create new custom characters. It was simple because many parts of the old toys were removable and interchangeable. I took that same idea, but approached it with different artistic skill sets that I had acquired over the years, and its been quite a fun and explorative project.

As a general rule for myself, I only used parts of the original MOTU toy series, combined with somewhat raw materials and found objects. I strictly didn't use any parts from other toy lines. It seemed more fun and creative that way. I also tried to use each one as an excuse to try out new techniques. I have learned a lot in terms of paint/ink washes, and dry brushing, and other random tricks. I've attached a little bit of fiction for each of these characters as well. I hope you like them.

Hideous and frightening in form, this beast is a champion of the great battle arenas. Pitted against man and beast alike, he has yet to be felled in mortal combat. Whether from a lost line of of a once greater species, or some grotesque creation of a dark sorcerer is unknown. The beast does not speak, but appears to understand those that do.

In ages past, for crimes long since forgotten, this monster was shackled and chained in the deepest dungeons. Bloodlines of kings came and gone as it sat undying in the cold and wet darkness. Any remnants of sanity and intelligence long since cracked and broken away from such solitude. In a fit of bestial rage, the prisoner tore it's weakened and rusty bonds away, and escaped once again into the wilds. Hunters traveling the furthest stretches of untamed wilderness tell tales of the chained beast who haunts the forest, feasting on the fleshes of the land.

The idea I had for this next character was of an immortal demon, with tremendous physical constitution. As a ritual, he would carve patterns into his ever healing flesh, and pierce himself with large decorative rings. From these rings he would hang dismembered pieces of victims.

This mechanical man exists as a combination of technology and magic. What little essence of thought and will that could be harnessed by the strange arts gave life to the otherwise cold and dead metal man. Acting as a guardian and service drone for it's creator, this clunky robot wields slow but great strength. A large amount of maintenance is required to prevent rust decay and stiffening of joints.

In the jungle stretches of the far southwest grows an abundant and hugely sustainant plant, the Shucao. Breaking apart it's leaves reveals the nectar inside that has proven to be a miracle medicine salve for the peoples of the lands. Over the centuries, as practice mixed with tradition and superstition, one tribe adopted a brutally sadistic practice for only the highest of it's warriors. Engaging in a ritual that lasts days, the warrior will slowly have the outer layers of his skin peeled off, and his naked body coated in the clear juices of the Shucao. During this practice, the healing plant all but keeps the warrior alive as they endure insufferable pains. It provides a "second skin" that eventually bonds with the flesh itself, offering a coating of unseen protection. Many die, but those that survive are revered highest in the social order, and their will and honor is strengthened by the ordeal. Legends say that a Shucaoan Warrior has never been seen running from battle. Bitter in temperment, Horrific in appearance, and divine on the battlefield, they are also the most compassionate to their peoples. Many take on the spiritual belief that they are stripped of their humanity with their skin, and become a higher manifestation of protection for the community as a whole.

In a failed experiment of sorcery, a hive of overgrown and violent wasps was created. Overtaking their creator, they escaped to the nearby swamp lands. What scattered remnants of magic that coursed through their bodies, and down their bloodlines, gave rise to this sentience of living sap and honey. drawing upon the collective thought of the hive, and attaining a form of consciousness of it's own, this amorphous monstrosity is neither it's own being, or the collective thought of the hive, but a strange combination of the two. Allowing the hive to now travel, this beast slowly lurches through the lands, providing protection and transportation for this cursed wasp colony.

I always loved skeletor, But hated that idea of a skull attached to a muscular man. With this one, I wanted to hide the body, and leave the physical form more to the imagination.

A mighty stone civilization once flourished in the wet jungles of the west. Ceremonial temples and statuary peaked above the forest canopy all throughout the land, like fingers reaching for the heavens above. Scholars say it was their arrogance that angered their gods. Almost over night, flood and famine killed off the men of these tribal kingdoms, and a curse spread throughout the lands.

These days, nary a wanderer will journey to the crumbling overgrown cities of rock. Those that do are often overcome by a madness of the mind upon returning, speaking of nameless horrors and a world covered in darkness. One corollary among many of the tales speaks of creatures part man and part jungle. With glistening yellow skin, that shifts in pattern and color, and thick strong legs that carry these beasts up into the tree heights with hardly an effort. They are as protectors of the lands from man. Keeping sure that his destructive and vain presence never again takes root in the thriving jungles. Whether these are natural protectors, or the long fallen citizens shaped by the anger of their gods, nobody can tell.

This guy was a lot of fun. I found a pile of shattered windshield glass on my bike ride to work, and took home a bag of it.

"There is a deep cave hidden in the foothills. Within it's network grows the deadly Cyrth mineral. It bonds and grows quite hurriedly with any organic surface it comes in contact with. The crystalline dust is sterilized by sunlight, ensuring the danger will not escape the caverns in which it thrives.
There is still the occasional traveler who happens into the subterranean dungeon as means of shelter from the storming weather outside, only to be accosted by the much more dangerous elements inside the caverns. The entrance is filled with the frozen statues of these hapless victims, frozen in time by the mineral's windswept dust."

This guy was a good challenge too. Even as a kid, I always hated how bad the anatomical proportions looked on the original ram-man, so it feels good to make one that looks more accurate.

"The Fisherman"

In the dark kingdoms to the south, tales are spun in late night war tents, by soldiers too frightened and anxious to sleep. Their stories describe a legendary reaver of death, forever locked in an impenetrable armor. The fisherman is so named because of his method of killing. Only cold lifeless eyes, and frothing teeth can be seen inside this monster's helmet, as he furiously hooks and reels in warriors with his sharpened chained grapple, falling upon their reeling bodies and crushing their bones and ripping their flesh apart with his oxen-strength arms.

Alright, White robot dude....

this one worked out pretty cool, in that mekanek's neck was the perfect fit for the cavity inside manefaces' head. (sorry pictures are kinda dark)

Some additions:

And this guy: