Campaign art - Sceptre of Fire

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LordBob
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Re: Campaign art - Sceptre of Fire

Post by LordBob »

:hmm: This last version offers an improved anatomy of the legs and wings and could be deemed acceptable for the next step. However, I'm in two minds design-wise :
- Wesnoth dragons are flyers, which does suggest a rather light build and a number of aerial features.
- The firedragon sprite, however, has the extremely heavy build of a ground fighter dragon. And gives off a very nice feeling of raw power.

So yeah, for once I'm tempted to say screw realism and portray a powerful flying anvil. What do you say ? :?:
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Re: Campaign art - Sceptre of Fire

Post by johndh »

I prefer the explanation from the animated film "The Flight of Dragons" :eng: Dragons have an interior chamber filled with hydrogen or another lighter-than-air flammable gas. This makes them lighter than they appear, which explains their ability to fly. A simple spark in the back of the throat allows them to light the gas on fire and exhale it as a breath weapon. Wesnothian dragons (or just drakes?) are vulnerable to piercing weapons, so maybe that's because they're basically big scaly zeppelins according to this explanation. Drakes are said to have an "inner fire" anyway, so that's how I've always interpreted that. :geek:

I wouldn't mind starting a thread in Writer's if anyone wants to further discuss the mechanisms behind draconic flight.
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Re: Campaign art - Sceptre of Fire

Post by zookeeper »

LordBob wrote::hmm: This last version offers an improved anatomy of the legs and wings and could be deemed acceptable for the next step. However, I'm in two minds design-wise :
- Wesnoth dragons are flyers, which does suggest a rather light build and a number of aerial features.
- The firedragon sprite, however, has the extremely heavy build of a ground fighter dragon. And gives off a very nice feeling of raw power.
I'd say the latter, if you need to pick. I think it's fair to consider it to be a heavy creature which can't fly as effortlessly as real flyers like gryphons do, but more like how the heavier drakes do: by hopping and gliding relatively short distances and staying airborne for longer periods only when there's no other choice. I'd imagine they'd take off like an aeroplane and not like a helicopter; while they might be able to just barely take off vertically when really necessary, they'd usually do an accelerating run.

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Re: Campaign art - Sceptre of Fire

Post by thespaceinvader »

LordBob wrote::hmm: This last version offers an improved anatomy of the legs and wings and could be deemed acceptable for the next step. However, I'm in two minds design-wise :
- Wesnoth dragons are flyers, which does suggest a rather light build and a number of aerial features.
- The firedragon sprite, however, has the extremely heavy build of a ground fighter dragon. And gives off a very nice feeling of raw power.

So yeah, for once I'm tempted to say screw realism and portray a powerful flying anvil. What do you say ? :?:
What do I say?
screw realism and portray a powerful flying anvil
;) Let's be honest, there is ABSOLUTELY no way a full-sized dragon could ever fly under the strictures of conventional physics. If you made its wings big enough, they'd be far too large for its muscles to move, and its bones would snap. A wizard did it, so just make it looks as cool as possible - in this case, big and brutish and bulldog-like, like the sprite.

Most of the time, yeah, I'm all for as much realism as possible. But when realism is simply impossible, we might as well ignore it entirely.
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Re: Campaign art - Sceptre of Fire

Post by Djehuty »

I second that.
To me a massive_colossal_thick_impassable_wall_yet_magically_agile_like dragon is the best.
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Re: Campaign art - Sceptre of Fire

Post by Atz »

LordBob wrote:The firedragon sprite, like every wesnoth drake, does have arms and a pair of separate wings. A setting unlike anything nature ever did in vertebrates, I agree, which is why their anatomy has been giving me a headache ever since. :doh:

Though if you take a close look, nearly every dragon fantasy has produced does have an extra pair of ridculously attached arms as wings and no muscle anywhere near big enough to flap them.
What I meant was that most fantasy dragons have their wings more on their back, sitting behind/above the front shoulders, so they're still shaped like a quadruped. It's like the way winged humanoids - including Wesnoth drakes - are still the normal human shape with wings welded to their shoulder blades, rather than having their arms attached halfway down their chest and their wings where the arms normally go. Your traditional dragon is basically a cat with novelty wings strapped on, as far as body shape goes. What you had looked odd because it wasn't shaped like that, but didn't really look like a plausible hexapod either.

...and you can tell realism is a no-go when people are telling you it needs to look more like a winged cat.

We do actually have an established precedent for throwing reality out the window, anyway - there's no way drakes could fly. They are horribly un-aerodynamic, they don't have the right muscles, and they clunk around in heavy armour. And their wings probably aren't big enough.

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Re: Campaign art - Sceptre of Fire

Post by pauxlo »

They are probably using some magic (not necessarily consciously) combined with their wing flapping for flying, similar to the drakes.

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Re: Campaign art - Sceptre of Fire

Post by Sgt. Groovy »

Let's be honest, there is ABSOLUTELY no way a full-sized dragon could ever fly under the strictures of conventional physics.
Yet there are airplanes much bigger which do fly. The problem is that normal living tissue cannot provide enough thrust and structural integrity to pull it off. But if dragons are magical creatures, the magic can make their bones harder and muscles stronger. Even then, they should look like reasonably realistic flying animals, that is, something that could fly if it was much smaller, not a T. rex with chicken wings.

Also, in general the proportions of the sprites aren't realistic, the sprites tend to be much stubbier and thicker than the things they represent really are. To keep with the artistic convention, the dragon portrait should look slicker and more serpentine than the sprite.
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Re: Campaign art - Sceptre of Fire

Post by LordBob »

I don't know. Part of the trouble, I guess, is that deep within I'm really in love with our sprite and would very much like to achieve a portrait that gives off the same feeling of brute strength...Something truly aerial dragons severely lack. Blah, all this is giving me a headache. :doh: So I'll drop it for now and get back to it once the rest of the cast is fully portrayed.

I've modified Rugnur's arm according to comments, and done his face.
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Re: Campaign art - Sceptre of Fire

Post by Reepurr »

I can see an actual elbow now, so that's me satisfied. :)
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Re: Campaign art - Sceptre of Fire

Post by homunculus »

Reepurr wrote:I can see an actual elbow now, so that's me satisfied. :)
i am happy for you, because i cannot shake a slight feeling that, assuming that
1) the upper arms are equal length,
2) the glove would be flexible enough to follow the direction of the wrist rather than the palm of the hand,
the arm seems to have either an extra joint (winr) or is curved because it is soft (winr) or else i would say ouch.
the new elbow is just some fold of hanging chainmail imho.
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actually in this case it is not really disturbing, and borders on 'maybe'.

this comment is rather because i remember having noticed such thing in several portraits (and i am quite sure i will keep seeing it in the future).
it is as if the hand was drawn as a curve in a sketch.
or maybe the artist was afraid that all the tissue wouldn't fit otherwise.

(lol, maybe i should make a post some day where i make a collection of the typical things i notice, like dislocated yaws, stereographic projections, disconnected shoulders).
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Re: Campaign art - Sceptre of Fire

Post by Sapient »

homunculus - I think the shape of the glove and the hanging weight of the chainmail might be throwing off your perception. Follow just the top edge of the arm/glove and you will see that your line does not match it. Still, there may be something off about the symmetry of his arms-- it may just be a trick of the perspective but it looks like one arm is slightly shorter than the other (probably not noticeable enough to be concerned about it though).

The face does look nice and I am impressed as always with Lord Bob's skill at drawing armor. Thanks for sharing those cool dragon sketches too.

I used to draw dragons all the time and that was one of my favorite things to doodle. There are many kinds of dragons and they come in all shapes and sizes, western/eastern, sky/sea, etc.
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Re: Campaign art - Sceptre of Fire

Post by homunculus »

Sapient wrote:homunculus - I think the shape of the glove and the hanging weight of the chainmail might be throwing off your perception. Follow just the top edge of the arm/glove and you will see that your line does not match it. Still, there may be something off about the symmetry of his arms-- it may just be a trick of the perspective but it looks like one arm is slightly shorter than the other (probably not noticeable enough to be concerned about it though).[...]
homunculus wrote:actually in this case it is not really disturbing, and borders on 'maybe'.
yes, they say that when you want something to be noticed, put it in the beginning or in the end, not in the middle, and i violated that rule.

i was sort of looking at the line of the glove on the arm below the palm that is closer to the body, and at the arm curving so much outward in the middle.
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Re: Campaign art - Sceptre of Fire

Post by Dixie »

I think the arm is fine - the chainmail fold isn't actually its elbow, but just a fold. The elbow would be somewhere behind the arm, in perspective, as Sapient points. Try holding the pose: your arm wouldn't be parallel to your body, it is uncomfortable, it would rather be at an angle, the elbow outward.

As for the dragon, I'd vouch for a massive one for a general portrait, regardless of physics. But maybe, as you said some pages back this particular dragon might be wimpier than some others, this one might go for more aerodynamics etc. ?

Anyway, as others have said, plenty of awesome stuff in here, keep it up :)
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Re: Campaign art - Sceptre of Fire

Post by TheCripple »

Two points.
The dragon: The massive powerful beast idea works fine, but right now it is just a hair too barrel chested. It looks as if it has a massive rib cage and a rather small abdomen, and tucking in the chest even a little creates a somewhat sleeker effect, but also creates the appearance of size throughout.

Rugnur: The arm is completely fine, just not tucked against his chest, which makes no sense anyways. That said, the axe head is still bigger than it should be, and significantly so. If the bottom edge is left almost as is, and the top edge is put on a flatter line which has only a slight and very gradual curve over the last half the axe works beautifully, while still exaggerated it is believable. Tweaking the edge of that axe could require changing the bottom edge by shaving the last bit of line off.

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