Saturday, February 5, 2011

Updated Race Designs: Vulpin and Felis

It's been almost two weeks, time for another update!

After spending some time updating the Lutren clothing and armor and making it look more cohesive with Lutren culture, Rachel and I set about defining new looks for the other major races of the Four Kingdoms. While some things are still being tweaked, I thought I'd share some of the in-progress designs Rachel and I are examining.

For the desert-dwelling Vulpin, Rachel's first order of business was to do away with the concept of a "woodland" fox as the basis for their design, instead drawing more inspiration from the kit fox and other desert-dwelling species. The newer design sports a wider face, with eyes, nose, and mouth being relatively close together in the center, and larger ears set high up on their heads.

The end result, I think, makes them look less like a caricature of the usual fox-type characters you see these days, and helps to establish them as their own race free of the usual stereotypes one normally associates with a "fox" character.

The clothing and armor for the Vulpin pulled inspiration from a number of sources, from your prototypical Saracen warrior to the Ottomans. A number of these elements came together to form the basis of the Vulpin "look".

The other race I'll show today is the Felis - the cat-like race that hails from the kingdom of Kishar on the eastern coasts. While the Felis are celebrated explorers, scientists and navigators (natural curiosity, you see), they also have a rather impressive army, and that required some imposing armor detailing.

One thing Rachel did here that I really like is emphasize the eyes - feline eyes are very striking, and creating a helmet design that isolates them from the rest of the face makes for a very unsettling look that would strike fear into any opponent.

The armor designs take some pages from Viking designs, and have hints of the Roman Centurians as well. These will be updated to include some more interesting visual layers on the torso/legs so it's not dominated by a single texture, but overall I'm quite pleased with the first stages of this armor update.

The original Felis scholars wore robes that would have seemed at home in the Roman Senate, but the plain white just wasn't very interesting - so Rachel took a stab at a new design - one that hinted at self-importance and vanity, as these scholars think quite highly of themselves. The new design uses the Felis color scheme as well.

For reference, these are the other color schemes for the races in "Beyond the Western Deep":

Each one has their own dominant colors, so even if you don't see anything but a little blob of colors, you'll know which kingdom that blob of colors belongs to.

These new race designs are quite important right off the bat, as the comic opens on a massive cityscape, showing many races milling about the Felis city of Gair. This requires core outfit design for the various races to be solidified so we can make sure their representations in the first few panels match their appearances later on in the comic as well.

In our next couple posts, we'll go into more of the updated character designs, including those for the Tamian, Ermehn, Polcan, and Canid races.

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