Wednesday, 25 July 2012

TMNT The Foot

(It's funny 'cause I typed that wrong and it originally said "The Foof". Sounds like an all types of awesome supervillain!)

Legend has it The Foot were founded when two friends, Hamato and Oroku, killed a demonic dragon plagueing the countryside. They were trained in the mystic traditions of the ninja by the Tengu, mystic crow-men who speak to the wind and first taught men swordplay. Ninja love their legends and, while true or not, the Ashi ('foot') Clan have always been run by the elders of the Hamato and Oroku families, each wielding one of the twin Tengu Swords, ninjato with bone hilts (said to be carved from the bones of that dragon).
Today, The Foot ninja are soldiers of a private army, having fielded in Eastern Europe, South America and the Middle East. AshiCorp is a security contractor who has recently moved into the US. They run the security at TCRIs New York facility; another company shrouded in mystery.
Design-wise I wanted to go for a 'practical ninja' look. Urban combat, body armour, thermal lenses. They use ninjato and silenced small arms. Experts in infiltration and counter-surveilance.  21st Century Ninja. Genuine 'Future Soldiers': this is Oroku Saki's vision.

Monday, 23 July 2012

TMNT Casey Jones

Casey has always been my favourite. I like it that he's a bit of a nutter. He has no glorious origin story; he just teaches himself lots of martial arts and goes out and beats up criminals. Design-wise, he doesn't need much doing: just a bit of a cooler mask, hood, darker clothes, all to give a bit more menace. His fighting style will be various bits if boxing, kung fu, karate, thai boxing mixed with some good stick skills; kali, escrima, etc. He'll be pretty fast, pretty vicious.

In our story his night patrols to combat the rise in organised crime on the streets bring him into conflict with The Foot and Raphael. He is the super of April's building and has a crush on her so watches over her and protects her when The Foot try to silence her. He teams up with the four turtle brothers to help take down the army of ninja and stop the evil alien Krang from destroying the city.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

TMNT Michelangelo

Mikey loves his brothers: that's what defines him. He just wants everyone to get along and as the youngest, he idolizes his brothers (from a design perspective, this means he takes visual cues from the other three- leo's cloth is copied in his tshirt, donnie's bandana style, raph's pouches). He works hard to keep all the brothers together and communicating. He trains with Leo, he talks tech with Donnie (he's hacked his own xbox and can build a pc) and plays beat 'em ups with Raph. Once a week he gets the bros together to watch kung fu movies and play Tekken or Street Fighter (this used to be a Friday night deal but Raph is out patrolling almost every night over the weekend now).
He plays online games for money, competing in tournaments and farming MMO characters. His love of pizza is unrivaled.
In combat he fights with one set of nunchaku. Using two, while it looks flashy, severely limits the range of techniques which you can employ and pretty much eliminates any grappling moves. He employs traditional taijutsu but embelishes it with moments of flair from Bruce Lee movies and old Shaw Brothers flicks. He always likes to fight to a soundtrack, using his custom-built shell-pod (TM).
He is very easy-going and friendly, but if you threaten or harm his family he has the capacity to explode even worse than Raphael.

Monday, 16 July 2012

TMNT Donatello

I've always thought of Donnie as the spiritual heart of the four brothers. He's the calm at the eye of the storm. Because of this I wanted him to have a certain priestly quality to his design.
I put in some shinto prayer flags on his belt and used the shoulder straps to give him a bit of a yamabushi look.
Rather than worshipping the spirits of places he devotes himself to the working of machines. He creates and maintains all of the brothers' weapons and gear, acid-etching their custom weapons (he did etch Raph's first few pairs of sai but has stopped now as he keeps throwing them at people and dropping them).
He has also constructed a massive hydro generator complex making them self sufficient and has hacked together a city-wide private communications network and routes high speed, uncapped broadband from Wall Street. He also does a lot of online gambling, working the odds exactly and always coming out winning; it's just maths to him. This keeps the family solvent and covers all their expenditures.
He prefers the staff as it is one of the most basic, fundamental of weapons (as my two year old said recently: "It's just a stick, daddy.") and allows him to implement a great degree of physics into his fighting. He uses his environment and his opponent as factors in his style more than the others do. To him, fighting is just a different type of maths.

Monday, 9 July 2012

TMNT Raphael

For those interested here's a little bit of the process involved for these:
I usually start by doodling a very rough layout on some paper in black biro. Nothing fancy, just a4 copy paper, usually folded in half or quatered to fit in my pocket. I like biro as it's fast and easy. The thumbnail will usually be about 2" in size- just a small one to get fhe gesture and anatomy right. Details and such can be fixed in the final piece.
Then I take a snap on my phone (htc desire) and open it in sketchbook mobile. Dropping the layer's opacity down I add another on top and set to multiply. I then draw with a small black brush. This is done on the phone with nature's greatest stylus: my finger. Each stroke usually has to be done 2 or 3 times and this stage really breeds patience, especially as I usually do this on the metro on the way to/from work.
I then drop the opacity of the linework down, delete the reference layer, drop a layer underneath and put in the colour flats.
On another layer above I put in the chunky shadows, nice and fast with a chisel-tipped marker brush. This opacity gets dropped down too.
Over it all I add a scratchy texture with the  opacity dropped right down, put on the text and add a grainy border in pixlromatic.

Raph is the angriest of all the brothers (and also the shortest- coincidence?), frustrated that his existence is nothing more than an accident. Master Splinter insists that there are no accidents.
Raph constantly clashes with Leo over everything, they are too alike but refuse to acknowledge it.
When someone trains in martial arts they always hit a point where they think they are invincible and need to constantly seek out combat in which to prove themselves. Getting past that point is a major breakthrough where you discover that you are only now ready to truly begin learning. Raphael, however is stuck with his rage and unable to move on. He patrols the night alone, striking out as a vigilante. The rise in vigilantism has caused the NYPD to form a special task force. It is on one of his patrols that Raph first violently encounters Casey Jones and later saves April O'Neil from The Foot, confirming their presence in the city.

When considering how to coreograph the combat I was first struck by the apparent dichotomy of Raph's choice of weapons: the sai. Why would a violently aggressive fighter choose a defensive weapon? As a tool to get in close to an armed opponent. He'll drop them when he doesn't need them. He has knives strapped to him to quickdraw in different close combat situations. The turtles have no pockets so make use of pouches and webbing.
Raphael keeps track of his kills by carving them on his shell.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

TMNT Leonardo

With all of the talk about the new Turtles movie I've gotten quite excited. I know people are moaning about it already but I know a couple of people working on it and I have faith that it'll be awesome.
Turtles had quite a big impact on my life so it holds a special place in my heart. I used to buy the original comics with my pocket money from the comic shop in town. I drew and coloured an A3 poster which I kept on my bedroom wall for years. I had done a couple of years of judo when the cartoon came out and it inspired me to keep going and to search out more. By the time the movie came out I was in high school and had made friends with a lot of new guys: through them I found different styles to learn and eventually I found a dojo who would teach me ninjutsu. This had the most profound impact on my life.
As a result I would like to see the Turtles done justice, so, short of working on the movie myself (hi, Mr Bay, please PM me!) I have decided that if at least I can get my vision out there than I have done myself justice.

All that crap said, I'll start getting my versions of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles up for you all to see.

First we have Leonardo, the leader of the crew. He is a devoted son and faithful student. Like his brother, Raph, he is filled with rage and angst but he buries himself in his studies, training harder than all his brothers to keep himself under control. As a boy he read Musashi's Go No Rin Sho every day (who didn't) and became a firm follower of the Ni Ten Ichi Ryu sword style. Recently he has begun to mature and found himself profoundly affected by Yagyu Munenori's Life-giving Sword, seeing it as the true Ninja way to perfection of sword and spirit. Of all the brothers he is the most versed in traditional teachings and is trained to the highest level in all aspects of the ninja.