SURVIVAL MODE: Characters

Mornin’. There’s one week of summer left here in Utah, and it’s bumming me out.

On a slightly more positive note, you visitors to the site might have seen the new banner to your right (or on the very bottom on mobile). That’s right–my original pitch from a year ago is taking form! The series, a(n unofficial) realistic adaptation of Minecraft, will be called Survival Mode, and the first book will be called The Spawning Years.

I don’t want to spoil too much, but I have to get you interested, now don’t I? Very well. Clockwise from the top-left, this character roster features a villager, a zombie, a bearded Steve, Steve, Alex, and an armored Alex. I’m quite proud of these designs and this new style I’ve worked out, but I’ll have to warn you that not all of these characters even appear in the first book. Our protagonist (who remains nameless for the first book), is, after all, stranded in the wilderness after spontaneously “spawning”. However, each of these fine folk will be introduced in time; I just hope I can do the Minecraft mythos some justice, with all the thought I’ve put into this.

To know if I did any good, well, I’ll need your help! Chapter I is available here or on Tapastic–er, sorry, Tapas. Enjoy!

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FANART: The Eggbuster

Hey everyone! I had planned to alternate between digital and traditional pieces throughout the summer, but I just had to post this, as it’s already on Twitter–and it’s my first piece of fanart in a while!

Of course, this fanart is more obscure than the stuff I’ve done before. It’s of Austin from the YouTube channel The Eggbuster (formerly ThatOneShowFUN). He’s not the most popular YouTuber out there, but he’s really funny and I feel like he puts a lot of effort and heart into his work, so he’s one of my favorites. His most well-known show is called Eggbusters, which is ironically about confirming or busting glitches in video games, not Easter eggs–but if you’re more into Let’s Plays or streaming, he’s got those and more. I highly recommend checking him out if you need a peaceful, fun way to pass the time.

Funnily enough, I found out that he’d colored his hair back to brown shortly after finishing the picture… but I think I’ll just leave it. It looks pretty good, right?

FANART: Tatooine Landscape

Perhaps this won’t exactly reach you on the legendary Fourth of May itself (we’re all past that joke, right?), but I still wanted to pay homage to my favorite film series and probably the greatest franchise of the past 40 years. That’s why, when I was tasked with making a chalk pastel landscape in my drawing class down in Utah, my mind immediately went to Star Wars. And for my first try at something a little more artsy, I think it went pretty well! I’m considering doing more of these landscapes from the galaxy far, far away sometime soon.

I wish I could just close this post without mentioning this, and in fact it makes me uncomfortable just thinking about it… but yes, you haven’t been imagining it. Dustlander Productions has been on hiatus for much, much longer than I anticipated. The annoying thing is, I’ve got ideas for comics, and even a whole stack of new sketches and more artwork I’ve done at school, mostly ready to post. But I’ve lacked a few resources essential to maintaining the website as of recent, including time, energy, sleep, and motivation. Have I mentioned I’m just wrapping up three AP classes? Y’all know I never like to make excuses, but you’re gonna have to wait a bit longer for the next comic. I promise it’ll bring some closure to the hiatus. Thanks!

FANART: Toa Tahu

I’ll answer your question right from the get-go: yes, I did draw a BIONICLE. As a kid, I practically lived and breathed this series–read the comics, collected the toy sets, watched every movie, etc. I’d like to think that BIONICLE’s soundtrack even influenced my music taste (lots of alternative rock–I’ve got a playlist too!). It practically broke my heart when the story of the Toa and Matoran finally ended in 2010, but I’m glad I was there to witness it. BIONICLE ignited a fascination with storytelling and the visual arts in me that I haven’t outgrown since.

Of course, anyone who’s been to their local LEGO store knows that BIONICLE got a serious reboot in 2015. I’m quite happy with how it turned out–as an attempt to share the classic story with a new generation of kids–and though the reboot was cancelled just recently, I’d hate for that to be the end of the beloved series. So many people (including about half of the DeviantArt community) are still devoted to BIONICLE that I don’t think LEGO should be done with it just yet. But what can be done?

As with a few of my other pieces of fanart I’ve drawn over the past year, this whole spiel ties into one of my side projects. Someday, I hope to reintroduce the BIONICLE story to a third generation with more realistically designed characters (placing greater emphasis on their bio-mechanical composition, as I did above). The whole aesthetic would definitely be “darker and grittier”; a possible title could simply be The BIONICLE. It’s all just conceptual right now, but if you have any thoughts, feel free to leave a comment below!

SURVIVAL MODE: The Spawning Years

I’m not the best at drawing realistic figures; I know artists that could certainly exceed my skills in that department. But for this depiction of Minecraft‘s main playable character, Steve, I decided to give it a try. It wasn’t easy, but I did really try to adapt his cubic form to a more natural look (which, I have to say, doesn’t look half bad!). You can even compare it to the lower, more classic version of Steve–one that you might see in the endless YouTube animations out there.

All this probably makes perfect sense, except for the title: “The Spawning Years”? It does sound a little odd, but hear me out. For a while I’ve had the idea to adapt the Minecraft survival storyline into something more, something that people can really enjoy… and no, I’m not referring to the actual Minecraft: Story Mode or even the upcoming movie (which may throw a wrench into my plans). To make a long story short, I’m working on a novel focusing on Steve’s journey through the Minecraft world. Just like the above picture, it’s meant to be hyper-realistic, including every minor detail and featuring an inside look at Steve’s possibly unstable psyche. After all, he’s an amnesiac, who has suddenly “spawned” onto an island where the monsters bear his face and clothes and where he must fight for survival… alone. That makes for an interesting, very personal story.

I’m not even through the first chapter yet, but be sure to look out for more information on The Spawning Years as it comes! I might even set up a separate blog for it. Time will tell.

FANART: Just Another Sans Fanart

Oh August, how I’ve missed you. [SARCASM INTENSIFIES]

I think this post should go without saying; that is, a description isn’t necessary. Since Toby Fox dropped Undertale last September, it’s been a worldwide (or at least Internet-wide) phenomenon. I didn’t hop on the bandwagon right away; I didn’t even get interested in the game until this last spring. And despite the fact that I am literally posting Undertale fanart, I’m not really a part of its fanbase. I sort of like the game for what it is: a delicately-crafted spiritual successor to Earthbound that happened to come out just when people were ready for it. I haven’t even played the game all the way through, but then again, I probably will someday. After all, I did just get around to finally seeing Batman V Superman.

Moving on. Sans is quite the character, and he’s one of my favorites in Undertale. There’s just something about his iconic design and his personality, or the fact that he ends up being so dang hard to kill. I don’t quite buy the theory that he is actually Ness from the Mother series, but hey, it’s fun to think about. You might notice that I tweaked Sans’ design slightly for my take on him–most fanart depicts him with an undershirt, and not exposed ribs. Well, let’s just say that I did that intentionally, and that I did so to differentiate him from all the other fanart of him. (Not like it was on accident or anything.)

I’ll be posting again soon! Keep enjoying the summer while you still can–I know I will! I’ll start by listening to “Megalovania” for perhaps the hundredth time.

FANART: Link as an Old Man

Honestly, summer’s sort of dragging along for me. It’s not nearly as restful or exciting as I’d hoped it would be… but that’s normal, I think.

Enough of that–I’ve got a great sketch for you today! The Internet has been abuzz about the new title in the Legend of Zelda franchise, Breath of the Wild, but I had in fact been working on this sketch for months before that game was even revealed. It’s hard to tell here, but the man above is none other than (arguably) the most important incarnation of Link, the Hero of Time. He’s pushing sixty or seventy, physically–but because he’s done so much time traveling over the years, his mind is well over a hundred years old. And his adventures didn’t stop after Majora’s Mask, either.

Indeed, in my own fanfiction/head canon, no one truly knew where Link went after the events of that game. One might presume he wandered the Lost Woods and fan-named Catacombs for ages, or that he traveled to distant lands and fought evil there. Regardless, the citizens of Hyrule do know one thing: centuries after his first disappearance, he’s back (albeit as an old man) to find the Master Sword and save the land one last time. This would be comparable to Han Solo’s return in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

I almost think it would be cool for this story to make it into a game; not just any game, but an N64-style title (graphics and all) that would complete a so-called “Hero of Time Trilogy”. Seems like a good idea to me–what about you?

FANART: Batkirby V Supermario

I’m short on time again; thankfully, I think this post explains itself.

The funny thing is, I haven’t even seen Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice yet. I know, I know, it’s been out since this March–and no, I’m not planning on seeing the R-rated cut that’s due for release sometime next month. Heck, I felt like I didn’t even need to see it after that second trailer (which pretty much revealed the entire plot). So there’s that bit of information.

Regardless, I did like the concept of the movie before the thousands of lackluster reviews came in. I had hoped it would be good, so I drew this depiction of the titular fight before said letdown. Unless you have a severe lack of pop culture knowledge, the image above should be pretty funny and/or cool (I hope…?). I’ve combined the all-American Superman with the heroic plumber Mario, and merged the dark and brooding Batman with the immensely similar character of Meta Knight (who is actually more like Zorro than anyone else… but I digress). It appears that they’re about to throw down, but you never know… perhaps their battle will instead lead to the formation of a Super Smash League or something.

I’m going to be gone until July 2nd at a church camp focusing on preparation for missionary service (see “3. Mormon“!). However, that doesn’t mean that you readers will be without content! Indeed, I’m about to write up the next post and set it for release on the 1st. I’ll then resume posting the sketches according to my regular schedule.

FANART: Iron Aran

I guess this specific character, a combination of Tony Stark/Iron Man and Samus Aran, arrived at just the right time. I started creating her and similar mashup characters on a hunch after seeing Avengers: Age of Ultron, and I’ve finished her art just as Nintendo wraps us its E3 Digital Event and Treehouse Live presentation!

Even more surprising is the fact that a new Metroid game is in the works for the 3DS… but, unfortunately, it’s not at all what I was expecting. I’m happy to know it’s not just a 3-on-3 Blast Ball game (which was first shown at the Nintendo World Championships 2015), but I’m also getting a bit impatient. I mean, come on. The fans are ready. The Wii U is ready. Reggie’s body is ready. Give us Metroid Prime 4 already! (That, and Zelda Wii U.)