[PROCESS] VALLARS - PART 2
We’re fast approaching the launch of our first ongoing series, THE VALLARS, with art by the fantastic Jason Howard. To celebrate this, all month we’ll be posting behind-the-scenes advance looks at the project, starting with our post from Mike Huddleston and now part 2 with Mike del Mundo.
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Mike del Mundo: Hello gang! I’m back with another process post. This time we’re going into Part 2 of The Vallars process. If you haven’t already read part 1 by Mike Huddleston, here’s the link.
The designs are beautiful and Mike will familiarize you with the family and the whole “space race” influence behind these designs.
Also, the talented Jason Howard has absolutely been bringing his A-Game with this story. The pages are so kinetic and the storytelling is just perfect. Salute to you, Jason! It’s a pleasure seeing these designs come to life.
As Mike mentioned, our ground level inspiration was the “Space Race” era so stuff like the Jetsons and Popular Mechanics Mag were part of our mood board. It also helped to keep the designs somewhat in the same time period since we were designing a family. The way me and Mike work is we would split the characters and go on our way to do our own thing on it so it helped to kind of have something similar to work off of.
Okay, starting off with the main character of the story, “Young Tajo”.
One of my favourite designs to work on. My main focus here was to keep him somewhat simple and to let the colours stand out. For this part I wanted to show you all a visual of how my screen looks when I work on these designs. It’s pretty much a mess of references images, inspirations, and the sketches. So you’ll see what went into the Tajo’s design.
The silhouette of the helmet went through a bunch of changes as well. I wanted to go for a mix of a Vintage Space helmet but have the shape different enough so that it would give Tajo his own identity. I basically mixed the looks of a Vintage Space helmet and a Smurf Hat. It actually worked out since it ended up looking like a head lamp which was needed in the story. Any nicknames for this hat in the comments would be encouraged!
Ok, these Space Ghost/Zombies were hella fun to draw. The main description for them are that they’re the former denizens of the town Tajo is in, a space zombie horde of Ancient Scientists and inventors. So for their looks, I went for the tech and fashions of Ancient Greek Scientists. Lots of Robes, ponchos, capes, ancient slides, slippers, chinelas, definitely no sneakers, so lots of FEET! I also wanted to give hints of what these dudes were up to, what they were trying to invent. Were they experimenting on themselves or one another? I really wanted to go for a “weird science” approach like they kinda went mad during those times and to leave enough questions and imagery for the imagination to run wild. My favorite part these designs were the use of Science Stuff as weapons like a broken test tube as a sharp object or a vintage telescope as a baseball bat. All part of the fun!
One of the best parts of working with the 3W3M crew is getting their take on these designs. Three heads are better then one and in this case, it really helped. I was in a predicament on deciding whether or not I should go with Boots or No Boots. So I went to the guys to see what they thought and the cool part is, we got the 3W3M subscribers involved as well. So Aro’s Shoe design was definitely decided on by the community. Thanks gang! It’s really awesome when we all come together to figure out something as small as a boot.
So here’s something I don’t believe I’ve talked about through these process posts. In a lot of my designs, I almost have different layers of clothing that I’ll switch back and forth with a variety of characters I’m working on. So in this instance, I’ll have Aro and the Institute judge (which you’ll see below) opened on the same file, and I’ll actually be designing them simlutaneously to see what works with each design. Pretty much playing dress-up with mannequins. So you’ll see in the process that some things belonged to Aro and ended becoming part of the design for the Judge. Just a cool way to figure out looks and stuff.
“Smart, thoughtful, and maybe a little easier for Young Tajo to approach than Aro? Casting wise:
maybe 2000-ish Chow Yun-Fat?”
That was the description for the Institute Judge which really helped with the beginning looks of him. I’ve always loved Chow Yun-Fat movies so it was a pleasure using him as a model.
He went through a lot of dress-up changes and it’s a bit hard to explain the process here as it was a lot of editing so I’ve provided the sketches and past designs to give you an idea of how the process went. I briefly explained it above. Sometimes I just keep adding on and stepping back and deleting until it’s really just a feeling of “yup, that’s the one”. Trust your gut I guess.
What I was conscious of was the colours. He had to be smart and thoughtful, basically a nice guy so I wanted the colours to be inviting. A more pastel approach.
And that’s a wrap. Hope you enjoyed!
For the hat - “PEYO” (creator of the Smurfs). It could stand for Protective Electric Youth bOnnet (apologies, I couldn’t come up with a cleaner fit for “O”).