[PROCESS] BIRTH - Part 2
Mike Huddleston: When Mike del Mundo turned in his design for the Healer it told me everything about this story and what my designs needed to do.
Often when Mike and I design a story together it's because the story is pretty big and there's a lot to do, or we've got an artist waiting to start drawing and we need to get designs turned around pretty quickly.
Once a script gets handed to us, we skim it, list off the needed elements and split up the work. Sometimes one of us has an immediate idea for a concept and will ask if it's okay to take that character or location, but usually we end up with a random list of things to draw and only later when we're digging into the script do we really get an idea of what we're making.
Mike turned his concept for the Healer in first and it was amazing. Sitting in an Institute cell, the Healer was brightly colored, made of big geometric shapes complete with outlandish design flourishes. A giant golden heart and a beak- it's beautiful!
Seeing this character made the entire script snap into shape for me. This magic user is the big design statement for this piece. She's the character out of her element, she's the one moving the plot along, she has the special abilities to solve the crisis here- this is our main character and all the other designs should either support or contrast her role in the story.
Parzo, the Institute man. The first thing that jumped out at me about this character was that he pulled a gun and point blank killed someone. He was also able to get high risk prisoners out of jail and walk them right through security. This suggested to me that either Parzo was a part of the Institute's intelligence services and he himself had a mysterious power base, OR he was a guard or guard captain and he worked at this facility. Talking with the team I discovered that the guards that Mike had designed for another story were also present here, so it was an easy choice to make Parzo a captain of the High Guard.
Once I realized that the Healer was the main visual statement of the story I decided everyone else should be normal. Boring even... but very science-y. Next to everyone else I wanted the Healer to feel like she arrived from a different universe.
The perfect thing about the High Guard was that their palette was very calm and subdued and I could expand Parzo's costume to make it more traditionally militaristic and recognizable.
I regret I didn't get a chance to design more for Parzo's wife, Ala. Her role in the story mostly is her ordeal giving birth and I knew Vanessa's storytelling would dictate how that was shown. If I had time, I would have liked to design a couple outfits for her to wear after. Hopefully we'll get a chance to revisit these characters.
Hey, it's not a hospital, but I'm back with hospital staff! For me the most important thing about these nurses, again, was that they have a strong contrast with the magic Healer. These nurses should feel like health care workers from a peak technological civilization. Advanced but recognizable in their gloves, face shields and foot coverings. The lady with the tank on her back though... with the hoses connected to wrist gauntlets... who knows what this does. I have no idea what this lady’s job is, but I hoped it felt weird and futuristic.
To put an exclamation point on how technologically advanced the Institute is I fleshed out the nursing team with two robots. The first of these robots we saw briefly in our Crime story, but this time he's back with a larger, multi-armed, partner. I have no idea what this big robot does during a delivery but I'm sure he can grab towels or something?
One place I could stretch a little in the design was the cell used to hold the Healer. I knew immediately it couldn't be a traditional cell with cement walls and steel bars, it needed to feel exotic.
I ended up with a black void and a geometric cell floating in mid air. It felt important that the cell should be in contact with nothing- like the Institute wants to isolate this character in every possible way. Also I wanted the situation around the cell to feel like a prototype. It's not common for the Institute to hold a prisoner like this. Cameras, lights, various sensors, antennas, etc. Plus a chair set up in front of a spotlight. This is an "undisclosed location". It should feel ad hoc, and menacing.
We had a couple props to design for this story and the first was the gun Parzo uses to kill the Healer. I don't have a lot of process notes here, I just wanted to design a ray gun. I'm not sure if this gun is standard issue for High Guard, if it's an antique handed down in Parzo's family, or if it's a gun with unique capabilities that made it effective against a magic user. We'll see!
Yep, I designed a bird. Over the past couple weeks I think this is the third animal species I've designed for one of our stories and two of them have been like this bird- just incidental details. I've had a lot of fun working on these animals though and I'm hoping one of the things we make in the future is a book cataloging the different species from the three worlds- like a 3W3M flora and fauna sourcebook.
And that's it for this story. A really fun group of concepts to put together and another great collaboration with Mike del Mundo. Let me know below if you guys have any comments or questions!
3W3M Flora and Fauna source book, in a "Codex Seraphinianus"-type style, written all in Kreska. Take my money.
I second the Decorum HC comment by Zadakeem. The new book is beautiful. I might buy a second just to keep one in the plastic.
Will these process posts be in the big graphic novel? What content is cut off in it? :)
Mr. Huddleston, I just got the decorum HC and man...I loved the art in the individual comics but this thing all collected blows me away! By far some of my favorite comics art of all time.