Monday, 4 November 2013

Capitalist Superhero

I have recently developing concept work for my wealthy superhero/ dictator. In response to a traumatic 9/11 style attack, this character uses his capital to invest in surveillance equipment and establishes himself as the protector of the city. I want this venture to represent private military and surveillance groups profiting from the hysteria of 9/11. Perhaps my Capitalist hero could own a private military group contracted to survey the city, intimidate and interrogate its inhabitants. This character will be the embodiment of disaster capitalism and war propaganda, even going as far as setting up false terrorist attacks to further fuel the citizen's submission to his agenda.

I began my development with a mood board. I combined images of the wealthy, with distopian imagery and propaganda posters:

I made notes on the moodboard to help realise some of my initial approaches.

Silhouettes are always a good way to begin when creating characters, as a successful design should possess a recognisable form before the details:

I feel that these approaches look far too authoritative and sinister with the strong rigid forms and Nazi inspired head-ware. After all, I want the citizens of my Manhattan inspired distopia to idolise and worship this figure, and accept him as a symbol of patriotism national identity. 

I next moved on to some facial explorations:

At this stage I wasn't too focused on the age of the character. As you can see my designs range from relatively young to quite old. I ultimately decided on the final design, where I tried to produce a slightly older (mid to late 30s) Patrick Bateman from the American Psycho movie adaptation. On some level I want my audience to recognise this, to help communicate the idea of a successful business man exterior, with a dark fetishised need for control.

After this I began considering cyborg concepts, reflecting militarised figures such as Batman and Iron man. I decided that I wanted my character to glorify the military industrial complex with flashy high tech army and weaponry:

At this stage I felt I was working too polished for this early on in the design process, so I decided to revert back to some rougher silhouettes:

I have started dragging reference images into my work document instead of creating a separate moodboard when developing my ideas. I learned this from concept artist Erik Ryan, and it means I can grab the images quickly and dive in to my sketches, improving my workflow. I used other robot concept art taken from Because of this, I feel my designs look a like generic 'Mech' concepts instead of superhero designs, so I wanted to produce something that combines more of a traditional comic approach.

Working from more interesting real-life reference, I wanted my hero to combine high tech surveillance gear with traditional latex hero approach. I found this interesting night vision goggle design:

I like the huge cyclopse-like camera between the goggles. Reflecting back on my previous designs, I had a running theme of an all seeing eye as a sort of brand logo for my wealthy capitalist hero:

Here, the hero's helmet looks high tech, whereas the rest of the suit is simple and eye catching, using patriotic colours. Perhaps the 'Cyclops' helmet could see through walls, reflecting the open plan city presented in 'Batman: The Dark Knight', where every corner of every office room is visible. In this city, nobody can hide from the scrutinising gaze of the Cyclops (this is a working name that could be subject to change). The helmet is the main focus in this design, so I did a few head studies from different angles. Perhaps I need to include some form of flying mechanism with his suit, as to truly survey the city, he must be able to transcend the metropolitan landscape in a way that civilians cannot. overall, I am happy with this character concept as I feel the presentation is portfolio quality.

With this final piece of concept art at this stage, I wanted to show the 'Cyclops' as the buisness CEO, surveying the city from the confines of his office. I applied a very authoritative pose to the character, making him appear like a bond villain:

In a recent personal tutorial, my tutor and I discussed drawing characters in interesting positions as oppose to the generic t pose. I feel that I achieved this with the seated positions, hands locked together. I also like the strong edge light given from the monitors behind the character. I still need to expand on my concept art for the Cyclops, as well as exploring his nemesis the left wing activist, and also the landscape in which they exist. I also need to further develop the back story of the traumatic event that fuelled the surveillance culture within the western city.

No comments:

Post a Comment