Back from Hiatus

I’m finally coming back to this project after what turned out to be an extended hiatus.  I ended up stepping away after burning out for a bit, and tried a few other projects.  Luckily, some of those projects were other quick figures which provided some better direction for this figure.

BladeDesignMost recently, I spent some time prototyping the arm blade.  This is probably the single most redesigned piece of the entire figure.  I posted some concept art a while back thinking I had a design I liked, but just days after it went up, I had my doubts about it.  I went all the way back to the idea stage.  I realized I was being way too safe with my design, and was worried anything really cool would be difficult to make.  But, if it’s worth doing, might as well do it right or not at all.  What I do have still isn’t finished, but it’s heading in the right direction.  I’m picturing something where the whole forearm spreads out into this big, intimidating blade display.  It’s difficult to get everything packed into such a small form, but I’m getting there.  I know how most of it needs to work.  Really the issue now is trying to reduce the number of moving parts and create the most efficient mechanism I can.

Design Updates

The rest of the design has been changing slightly.  Every time I draw Orchid Mantis in my sketchbook, I tweak the suit in one direction or another.  And I like it a little more each time.  There haven’t been any major changes or anything, but I’d say enough to warrant some new concept art to follow.  Most of it is better shape designs on the armor pieces.


Recent sketch with newer (better?) shapes and armor pieces.

Some Reflection

After burning out on this project for so long, I felt the need to examine why it took me so long to pick it back up again.  I think for entirely too long, I’ve been relying on motivation alone to get me through this project.  I had been lucky enough to be motivated about finishing this for months, which is a rare feat for me.  I typically burn out on a project after a week or two and want to move on to something else, so I thought I had this one locked down.  It may have taken longer than normal, but the burnout was inevitable.  I wanted to try a few other things to get the creative juices flowing again, and so I did, and naturally got wrapped up in those things.

I think the issue is that the majority of the creative work on this project is done.  Now comes the tedious part where I just have to sit down and make it.  That can burn someone like me out fast, especially when you try to force yourself to spend a whole day doing as much as you can.  So I’m trying a new schedule.  Two hours a day, then do something else creative.  Every day.  Each day I open the file, I give myself one task, rather than trying to do a little bit of everything and end up doing nothing.  This week I’m finishing the hip joint, one piece at a time.  Next week, probably the rest of the leg.  Slow and steady.  Motivation started this project, but discipline is what will finish it.



Concept in progress

Not a whole lot to post yet, as I’m still in the process of getting all the concept work finished for this character.  I’m liking where it’s heading so far.  I thought the main concept was done about a week ago, but after coming back to it, I started making some changes that I think really helped.

Looking back through my sketchbooks, I started to see how much this project had been building up, even before I officially started working on it.  Just pages and pages of ideas, designs, diagrams and quick sketches.  So I’m not going into this thing with a blank canvas, and I’ve had a pretty good idea of what I wanted for a while.  But when you sit down to really flesh something like this out, you start to realize just how much you still haven’t figured out.  When doing the concept work, I feel like I tend to get the first 80% of the design done pretty quickly, and all my time after that is spent sorting out the smaller details.

When I was getting started with this whole thing, I scanned all the pages in my sketchbook that related to this project.  While not everything below was done as part of the Orchid Mantis project, it all contributed in some way, guiding me to the final design I’m working on now.  This collage is more or less a timeline of my ideas, with the newest on top and the very first sketches I did a few years ago at the bottom.  I always find it insightful to see the progression of ideas, and if you’re reading this, maybe you will too.



Over two years worth of ideas and exploration