The nose is much better in that last iteration, squeen. I think the idea is clear though - don't get caught overthinking it, or you'll be forever making minor alterations until you hate the damn thing.
Some sagely advice---know when it's time to walk away. I kept fiddling mainly as a learning exercise. (moving eyebrows, squinting eyes, pushing that nose ALL the way up---gorilla noses are kinda gross, putting reflections in the shield, etc.). I am not joking when I say I haven't drawn much of anything since middle-school. I'm seeing that there is a ton of things I need to learn about anatomy---especially the muscle groups in the arms, legs and back. Learning about lighting through raytracing software has helped, but...
Now he looks determined, like he knows what's coming and he's ready to face it to protect his people. A certain resigned nobility.
, I can't help but see the humanity in this guy. Its like you're trying to draw a flat, cardboard stereotype but you keep accidentally creating something with depth and interest. I'm so much more interested in running this guy than a stereotypical orc.
I honestly can't tell if you are trolling me a bit, or that's a compliment. I'll assume it's the latter and say "thanks". It's not my intent to turn our orc here into sympathetic a character, but if the illustrastion inspires you to do more than just "they attack", that's great. That's actually the whole point of this exercise---all I've ever really drawn before are human faces, so I'm having a very hard time moving away from humanizing monsters (and drawing human proportions). The only other observable source for the inhuman, is animals---hence the learning towards apes for a reference. In the Wikipedia article on the Aliens
xenomorph, it mentions how the artist who created their look removed the eyes to prevent us from relating to them. I'm not trying for a flat stereotype, but instead to evoke a Jung-ian predatory fear from our collective unconscious. It seems a bit of a cheat to evoke fear through angry human expressions. How then? Sadly, my skills are insufficient, and the arrow fall short of its mark.
To my style of play, all monsters are a metaphor for our nightmares. Early humans were once prey. In order to evoke terror from non-men, we need to tap into our primal fear of the wild. Snakes, wolves, large raptors, etc. Orcs in particular (per Tolkien) are containers for our worst human traits. They are cruel, petty, and wantonly destructive to all life---a proxy for our own worst tendencies to indulge our basest animal lusts. Not the worse of sinners (leave that to demons), but vile, indifferent, and self-centered in the way gangs of young men can be. That's the role they fill in the D&D mythos to me.
I once attended a lecture by Kurt Vonnegurt, warning would-be writers to avoid the pitfall of giving us the woeful backstory for their villains. It's a common mistake that ruins many classic bad-guys. The fantasy genre, in particular, needs a foil to play its heroic deeds against. Something irredeemable
. It's critical to let the bad-guys just be bad.
My orcs are also mules. No orc-wives, no orc babies. Just a mixing of wild fey magic corrupting the animal world---a container for the potential for petty evil found in all men. No culture---just self
. All orcs are "half" something. Half-orcs are made by the the degenerate experimenting of evil wizards on men (looking at you Saruman).
I feel that players wanting to play non-humans is an attempt at a cheat-code---they are trying to hijack the eldritch strength of the mysterious wild to augment their PC, and wear its mystic aura like a suit of armor. Inside, they will continue to be unavoidably human, but like a shaman wearing a leopard pelt, they cloak themselves in the mysterious and caper about stupidly. If the hobby enables them, then the already frail otherness
---something so very, very difficult to evoke---is made mundane (once again). The lights are all turned on, and the menacing shadows are revealed to be just your younger brother with a sheet over his head.
I think it looks GREAT!
But I am getting concerned...as I see more art and no news on the actual writings for the Footprints article....Steve and I are going to need time to edit, etc. ya know...Just been in the zone, edited a BUNCH of stuff today for it.
Point taken. I have a habit of working on the most difficult (for me) bits first because I don't know how much time they are going to take, and if left for the end, will usually get cut out by the deadline. It's now time to give some love to the text (and start the final art piece). Next I need to redo the maps, that should break the dam and unleash the creative waters of prose.