This here thread is for my concept art project The House Of Sand. For my illustration major at the Columbus College of Art and Design, one of our classes involves creating a concept art project with a story, multiple characters, environment designs, and what have you. For mine I chose to follow the story of a coven of Kantus and other locust soldiers after they wash up on the shores of the deadlands, chronicling their formation of a savage Locust tribe. As I work on the project I'll be posting new progress on it every week, adding new stuff onto the thread as I go.
Throughout all the Gears games, I've always loved the Locust costumes, architecture, weapons, and creatures. Each game I kept looking forward to what new locust would appear and what new aspects of their culture I'd get to see (Gears 2 was a real treat, getting to go into the hollow and see the breathtaking cathedral-like architecture). When I saw the teasers for the Savage Locust in Gears 3, that really got my imagination going, and i couldn't stop thinking about what their tribes might be like.
First off, here's a couple of designs I've got for the project so far. All images are also on my DeviantArt page with some additional description http://ectmonster.deviantart.com/gallery/35969035
My first set of drawings were comparisons between the heads of three different Locust soldier breeds, the Drone, Theron, and Kantus.
One of the main things I was looking forward to doing was creating new armor and outfits for the Locust while keeping myself within the boundaries of their established sense of design. First I cooked up a rough sketch of a Kantus, sans armor, then copied it and drew multiple armor designs over them. There's more of these to come, and though not all of them will make it to my final project, I never know what bits and pieces of them I might use later.
Lastly, I tried inventing a new kind of Savage Locust, the Ambusher. I had an idea to make Locust soldiers that wore the hides of tickers built into their armor. My theory was that they would hide underground among roving packs of wild tickers, with only the upper armor sticking out of the sand. Fooling traveling Stranded and COG into thinking they're just burrowing tickers until it's too late! Once I'd made a Drone, I of course had to go a step further and make a Theron version too.
full-color versions of the 2 ambushers
Week 2: 3/19/12
Here's a new batch of concepts for week 2. The first two are some quick environment sketches. Fast renderings like these are good practice for later landscapes, and help brainstorm settings for the characters.
This one is a quick idea for a mining area, maybe for creating new tunnels or scavenging for precious metals.
I've always been fascinated by the fact that the locust have their own religious beliefs, centered around the Trinity of Worms. Since the main character of my story is a Kantus monk, I imagined he'd have built some makeshift shrine to the trinity, desperately trying to re-create the ones they once worshipped in the Hollow. I included an assortment of skulls and a bowl of collected blood to show that groundwalker sacrifice was still very much in practice.
I wanted to design a new type of Locust warbeast, the equivalent of a hunting dog. I wanted something wolf-like that could be fast and powerful, but had kind of an exotic body shape like a hyena or a cat. This page shows a bunch of rough preliminary sketches. Whenever I design a creature I try to play with as many variations as possible, even if I don't end up using a lot of them, I can always find bits and pieces to use in other concepts later.
Once I'd brainstormed a bunch of ideas for the Locust hunting hounds, I came up with two versions I liked. This one, the "Rough-back", was designed to be something of a relative to the Ticker, though much larger and more aggressive. I imagined it would attack by charging with the spike on its chin, or raking enemies with its claws.
This creature, which I nicknamed the "Heckler" was meant to be Sera's equivalent of a Hyena. I gave him tendrils to snatch up prey, as well as fleshy flaps that could close around the face to protect the eyes and mouth from the sandstorms in the deadlands. I imagined these creatures would cackle like hyenas and be fearsome enemies for any COG that might stumble on them in the desert.
Week 3: 3/26/12
My two additions this week are key characters in the short story I've built my designs around.
The first is Kiiml, the main character of the story. Once a devout Kantus monk in the Hollow, he has transformed into an even deadlier warrior in order to survive in the savage deadlands. Eager to heal his fellow soldiers as well as wade into battle himself, he has swiftly risen through the ranks. Now that many of the queen's edicts of the hollow can no longer be followed, might makes right in the savage Locust's tribes. Though loyal to his superiors, he hopes someday rule the tribe himself, and waits for the correct opportunity to dethrone the elder monk.
Color version(added 4/2/12)
The second addition is another new type of Locust I created, the Hushed Kantus. Though Kantus are defined by their ability to perform their "Call" or reviving scream, those who lose this ability through injury or old age will commit ritual suicide to rid themselves of shame. Kantus born without the ability to perform the Call are slaughtered at birth, as they are unable to fulfill the role of their caste. These Kantus are known as The Hushed. The elder monk of the House of Sand tribe fathers several Hushed Kantus and orders them destroyed, but Kiiml protests as the castes of the Hollow no longer matter, and that the tribe could use them as soldiers. This confrontation is what forces Kiiml to challenge the elder monk for leadership of the House of Sand.
I imagined that though the Hushed cannot heal fellow Locust, they instead train in stealth and martial combat, wielding weapons not normally used by the Kantus. The COG nickname them Ghost Kantus because of their bleached-leather robes and damaged voices.
Color version (added 4/2/12)
Week 4: 4/2/12
This week I added color versions of Kiiml and the Hushed Kantus, as well as a new environment.
In the House of Sand tribe, rank and power are decided through feats of strength and martial skill, and many Locust challenge each other to single combat in an area known as The Pit. Whether it is to prove their worth to the tribe, settle violent disputes, or compete for the right to breed with the tribe's Berserker, most battles in The Pit end in death.
Once again I drew a rough, quick pen sketch of the environment. This time I refrained from rendering in marker, adding shading digitally instead so I could try different light sources.
Another advantage of coloring digitally allows me to try different color schemes for the environment, and experiment with different atmospheres (times of day, moods, etc.)
Week 5: 4/9/12
This week, while in the process of finishing up some more finished scenes and character studies, I decided to unwind and do some more brainstorming. When I get stuck, it really helps to just draw up as many ideas as possible and see what useful material I can come up with. In my sketchbook I fooled around with a bunch of ideas for Drone helmets, some more advanced (heavy armor), some more savage (wood and bone).
Though most of these will never get used, generating as many ideas as possible gives me a bigger pool of material to draw from when creating later stuff. Over the years I've learned that when it comes to concept art, the client will never wish you'd given them less to choose from
Week 6: 4/20/12
This week I put the finishing touches on one of the scenes from the story I created. It depicts Kiiml, one of the Kantus monks, emerging victorious over the elder monk after challenging him to single combat in the pit. With no weapons but their own hands and the remains of previous fallen combatants, duels in the pit are brutal conflicts that the entire tribe watches with great excitement. Drones, Theron, and countless other savage locust abandon their usual duties to enjoy the gruesome spectacle of the pit fights, caring little who wins or loses as long as blood is shed.
Week 7: 4/26/12
Here's another new Locust type I created, which I like to call the Theron Duelist.
I remember seeing early videos of beast mode before gears 3 came out that showed an armor kantus dual-wielding boltok pistols, and thought it might be cool to elaborate and make a class of soldier along those lines. I imagined the Duelists to be a specialized class of Theron, perhaps slimmer in build than their torque-bow/cleaver wielding cousins. Their speed and dead-eye precision with boltoks makes them formidable opponents, a much faster enemy than the COG are used to seeing. Design-wise he was a lot of fun to come up with, especially the baggy armored leather pants, inspired by ratty ronin outfits from old Kurosawa movies.
The semester's about to end, so things are getting pretty hectic, but I'll keep adding more designs soon!