Choose Your Team

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Probably the toughest part of this project was figuring out how to arrange the cast of characters. My original plan many years ago was to have specific character match ups from Capcom characters versus SNK characters (i.e. Ryu vs. Kyo or M. Bison vs. Geese Howard). Even back then, the SNK characters easily outnumbered Capcom. Taken strictly from fighting games, SNK still outnumbers Capcom to this day. I also didn’t want to make one side look stronger. That logistical issue quickly put a halt to my first attempt at the illustration.

When I decided to retry the project, I realized that including other game franchises from both companies would create some interesting juxtapositions. It won’t seem so strange considering that the various crossover games like Marvel vs. Capcom and Tatsunoko vs. Capcom set the standard of including characters outside of the fighting game genre. And so I added more characters to the roster. After doing a headcount of both sides, their numbers are now closer to even.

The next factor to consider was the size range of characters. Mega Man is shorter than the average person while Geon is the size of a skyscraper. That size disparity can make the perspective angles problematic. I decided to keep things simple by having the larger characters located towards the back and the shorter characters closer to the front.

So then how will the characters be arranged? Will the Capcom side be one half and the SNK side on the other? Do I group characters together based on the game franchise they came from? Should the heroes fight the villains?

The idea came to me one night to just create some type of systemic arrangement similar to a Venn diagram. I realized that plenty of characters would be unknown to the casual observer and I wanted them to be identifiable. Characters would be grouped in such a way that analyzing the juxtaposition across various directions would form some type of pattern. For example, the characters from feudal Japan would be in one area while modern soldier types would be in another. Boss characters, like Orochi, would be surrounded by subordinates, like Goenitz and Vice. After that, things started to fall into place. I feel that the categorizations I came up with will make for an interesting image for both casual viewers and hardcore game aficionados. Here’s an early draft of the character groupings I created. The final illustration should make things much more clear.

Posted by Batalla at 7:04 PM 0 comments  

Select Game Type

Sunday, March 21, 2010

I spent the day going around various businesses to get some price estimates for how much this project is going to cost me. Despite my poker face in front of the clerks, I was kicking myself at each price announcement. Mind you, this is on top of the expenses I already spent on art supplies and research material. As much as I want to maximize the dimensions of the illustration I’m working on (approximately 5 feet long and 4 feet high), it might be better to scale it down to a more modest size (40 inches long and 30 inches high). The picture just needs to be big enough so that viewers can potentially identify any character they see on it.

I was originally going to color the characters with markers. However, after seeing the price tag on the set I would need and considering my intermediate skills with markers, I decided that Photoshop would be a better option. I’ve almost finalized the layout of the illustration on thumbnails. I’m trying to be mindful of similarly colored characters overlapping with each other. Initial sketching should begin tomorrow.

As for framing, I’m going to the Frame Store near my house. They had the best options and time table out of all the places I visited. The Frame Store clerk there certainly knew what she was talking about. I probably kept the conversation going longer than it should, but I was entranced with what she had to say. I’m probably going to come back there several more times just to chat. I’d certainly like to hear her opinion on types of glass. And frame color. And frame design. And anything else I could possibly come up with off the top of my head.

Anyways, with the recent announcement of King of Fighters XIII, I realize there might be additional new SNK characters. If pictures of them don’t surface within the next week, then I won’t include them. I’ll save it for a future version of this project many years from now. I already have 800 other characters to worry about.

Posted by Batalla at 10:14 PM 0 comments  

Character Select

Friday, March 19, 2010

So I’ve been doing a lot of research this past week and I managed to “narrow” down the roster of characters I plan to include in the illustration.

The Capcom side will include characters from the Street Fighter, Darkstalkers, Rival Schools, Saturday Night Slam Masters, Red Earth, Onimusha, Star Gladiator, Power Stone, Final Fight, Tech Romancer, Cyberbots, and Sengoku Basara franchises. Capcom characters that appeared in games like Marvel vs. Capcom and Tatsunoko vs. Capcom will be included. I won’t be including characters from Capcom games based on existing properties like JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure and Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple. Those characters, along with ones coming from Marvel and Tatsunoko were clearly not created or commissioned by Capcom. There are some gray areas such as the characters Arika created for the Street Fighter EX series. Theses characters will be included.

The SNK side will include characters from the King of Fighters, Fatal Fury, Art of Fighting, Last Blade, Samurai Shodown, Ninja Master’s, Aggressors of Dark Kombat, Savage Reign, World Heroes, King of the Monsters, 3 Count Bout, Buriki One, Rage of the Dragons, and Fighter’s History franchises. The criteria for characters owned by SNK are even murkier than Capcom’s. This is due to SNK’s rocky financial and licensing history with other companies. Years ago, I wasn’t sure whether to include ADK properties like World Heroes. Since that time, SNK bought ADK’s intellectual properties, solving that problem. UPL created 3 Count Bout but the company is no longer in business. I feel those characters make a nice counterpoint to Capcom’s Saturday Night Slam Masters characters. I’m including Noise Factory’s Rage of the Dragons as a counterpoint to Capcom’s Final Fight characters. I won’t be including the Power Instinct characters since that franchise began and still has strong connections with Atlus.

Over thinking which characters properly belong to which companies was one of the reasons that I originally quit working on this project. I’ve decided to include the characters I feel properly represent both companies. Plus, I’m the one that’s drawing this. I include who I want to include. The important thing is that all selectable characters from each of these games will be represented in the illustration. They will be accompanied by other characters that have important associations with the selectable characters. That roster alone amounts to over 650 characters! I’ll also be including non-fighting game characters from both companies just to add some more flavor and spice to this jam-packed soup. Now I just have to decide what versions of these characters to use.

Posted by Batalla at 2:51 PM 0 comments  

Insert Credit

Monday, March 15, 2010

It’s been way too long since I’ve committed to creating some artwork. Now that several of my friends are organizing the PIXELDRIP gallery for the Underground Tournament League, it seems like a good chance to get back into the groove. The piece that I plan on submitting is a project that I’ve had on the backburner for quite some time: an illustration of all the Capcom fighting game characters going against all the SNK fighting game characters.

It’s a straightforward concept that I originally planned on doing during freshman year at UCSB. I was practicing for a Capcom vs. SNK 2 tournament when I started wishing that certain characters from both companies had made the cut into the game. I figured I would create a drawing so that dream matches between characters could take place in some form.

I compiled a list of the characters and started doing some research on their designs and personalities. That’s when the logistical issues started to hit me. There were hundreds of characters and attempting to fit them all in one scene would be a nightmare. How would they be interacting? How would they match up with other characters? How would the picture be composed? More and more schoolwork started to catch up with me and I quickly forgot about the project. That was 2003.

It’s now seven years later and I feel I have it in me to actually complete this project. I’ve gotten better as an artist. I’ve studied more examples of densely packed group shots, specifically those drawn by George Perez. I have a better understanding and appreciation for the characters that would be appearing in the illustration. Of course, dozens of characters have been added to the Capcom and SNK rosters as well.

I’m choosing to document this process over the next month because it’s one of the bigger projects, figuratively and literally, I’ve worked on to this point in time. Also, it should keep me on some type of schedule if I plan to submit by the April 15th deadline. I have about a month to finish this.

This entire week will be dedicated to character studies, sketching and preliminary layouts. The next week will focus on sketching. The week after that will be inking and cleanup. The week after will be coloring. The final week will be submission and framing. I’ll be updating this blog pretty frequently with sketches, snapshots, and even video.

Posted by Batalla at 5:21 PM 0 comments