This charming chap tumbled onto my electronic sketchbook a while ago. The sketch arose as part of a stream of consciousness exercise I was running on a page to help me come up with some ideas for a story. As I doodled on, the concept for my upcoming book took form in my mind. A little cross-disciplinary creativity can work wonders for generating ideas.
I illustrated the image above back in 2009 as an entry to the “Be the Hero!” Game Career Guide challenge . I did it rather quickly, but am still quite pleased with the image, as I used it as an opportunity to try some new techniques with a Wacom stylus and Photoshop. The entry didn’t get picked up, so I may re-post it later for reference’s sake, but I did end up posting the picture on conceptart.org. I forgot about the image up until recently, when I was cleaning some files up in my computer in an attempt to speed my aging beast up.
I smiled as I remembered that in 2012, John Scalzi published Redshirts, a novel where one of a starship’s intrepid security staff decides that dying for the captain isn’t for him. As I sat there and thought about it, there certainly is some similarity in the concepts between the story and my image above. I started looking around the internet to see whether anyone else had caught on to the idea. I found that in 2011, a youtube channel called Star Trek Online: Rise of the Redshirts saw the light of day. The similarity between the titles does catch the eye. There is now a very cool game in development called Redshirt by the Tiniest Shark. There are certainly some similarities in the general layout and theme between the two images.
I am certainly not arrogant enough to believe that I am solely responsible for the ideas these highly creative people have developed. After all, if I had an idea, there is a high likelihood that someone else may have had the same idea before or after me with no external help whatsoever. In fact, I drew on inspiration from other short stories about the Redshirts always getting whacked to come up with my game pitch and illustration. There are only so many ways to illustrate a game cover, and there are some narrative illustration short hand techniques and tips of the hat that tend to ensure that there will be some similarity in imagery for science fiction posters. However, I do like to believe that the picture I tossed out without a second thought on the internet kicked off some spark in imaginations I’ve never met and ultimately served to enrich each of us. Like a stone cast in the pond, the ripples of inspiration can travel far and wide, touching distant and unseen shores.
So share your ideas. You never know how or who they’ll help.
A while ago, I decided to challenge myself to design a simple, high-contrast logo for an imaginary company in under an hour.
The result: Kwäpo, a play on the word “crapeau”, or toad.
Two major questions remain: what exactly would a toad company be selling, and can the name be used in English?
I’ll let you decide.
Good grief! I pulled my Wacom tablet out for the first time in an eternity. The last time I’d used it was for texturing some 3D models so very long ago. The last time I’ve used it for any sort of illustration was even longer.
It felt good to let the stylus flow a bit. I guess I should find the time to keep this up, since this reminded me that drawing is lots of fun, and is a great way to blow steam off from a long day churning through reams of paperwork.
Maybe I’ll revisit this chap some time to see how I can tweak the concept to make it more interesting.
A small clipping of an in-book illustration produced by Arthur Corod for my first story project.