Aaaand We’re Back…. Now with triple the Aspiration!

So having moved twice in less than two months has taken quite a toll on my free time, thus I apologize for my neglect. But now we’re back, in a place with nice interwebs, so I can pick up where we left off. For starters I have here many sketches from my book which I would like to share; I have been trying to break away from my comfort zone with these sketches, and trying to explore new techniques.

I am also starting a new book project called the Knights of Thimble; a children’s/young adults illustrated novel of Sidhe or “little people” who believe in the myths of humans and their knights in shining armor, so they go to prove that humans exist and all sorts of misadventures ensue. It is still in its development stages, but I will be posting up concepts and illustrations for it here, plus snippets and notes when I can.

I am going to be starting another book project on kickstarter that I would like everyone to keep an eye out for; The God Forge is a story that has been in the works for a really long time, and we are finally getting to the point where it can be edited and then published. So we will be using kickstarter to help with funding that, with lots of incentive packages that should have something for everyone.

On top of that I am starting a new “business” of which there will be a separate introductory post ;D so stay tuned for that.

I also had a massive hard drive crass which resulted in the loss of my thrones I was modeling for the Thrones of Skyrim mod; thus I must remake them, but it should not be too difficult and I can get them set up, packaged and released. If anyone out there in my modding community is willing to help me with some texturing and scripting, it would be appreciated; send me an email or contact me on the BethSoft forums under KeeleeHamomin.

And finally, I have two more Hordes of the Undead posts on the way very shortly; Colour Theory of the Undead, where I will cover undead pallets and dramatic horror lighting, and Undead Gestures which will include different action and non action poses for your undead concepts. I will also be including some of my own concepts I have been working on as examples.

So without further adieu, I have here some first drafts and quick sketches from my sketchbook. Mostly random practice things, but the first is the first character portrait of the main character of Knights of Thimble. More to come on that soon.


Hordes of the Undead: the Morgue

As with living things, the undead have the same basic anatomy. In general of course, there will always be the strange creatures who don’t always follow the rules; in fact the undead is the best subject to bend the rules of proportion and anatomy but if you want your human zombies to be convincing, knowing basic human anatomy is your best place to start.
There are many sources to get started, I personally like medical books and journals like Grey’s Anatomy, of which there are several versions available with illustrations.

Other good references include early wood carvings, some of these show the outer layers of skin being pulled away to reveal internal organs and musculature.

If you have the stomach for it, there are also places you can study the actual human body as it decays both in person and through pictures on sites dedicated to forensic students. These can and will get very gruesome, which is usually what you want to portray with the undead, but only you know your limits on what you can handle.

For your diseased corpses there are many sources for maladies and frightening deformations often with illustrations and medical studies. Other especially disturbing examples can be found in wax sculpture and even preserved remains. Some truly fascinating subjects can be explored in the direction of diseased or deformed corpses. Consider resources llike the Musee Dupruytren, which offers a large collection of medical curiosities.

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These can also be hard to look at but when utilized properly, they can add a sickening level of detail to your walking dead that will surely frighten your viewers. Games like Bioshock have used this particular technique to great success with their splicers and other
denizens of Rapture.


Finally an especially useful tool to any artist is a 3D model of the human skeleton. Not only will this help with your undead, but it is a good reference for any illustrations involving people. There are places which offer posable skeletons, models which have removable muscles, and there are even models which have both. You may also want to get skeletons of various animals as well as several different skulls, there are also places which offer odd skeletons like ones with deformaties, or even creatures like deomons, centaurs or the hulk; all you have to do is look.
The more believable your undead creatures seem, the more disturbing they will be. If it seems like something that may well creep out of the darkness and devour you, you will have succeeded. So, in the name of art, start digging up bodies and study study; if you can perform necromancy you can do movement studies too, all the better. Get out there and research your undead anatomy!

(Disclaimer: Don’t actually dig up bodies to research decomposition; that is vandalism and that is bad. Do not animate said vandalised bodies; that will cause a whole other problem which is also bad and would be avoided if you heed the first warning. Bioshock is a copywrite of Irrational Games.)

Series Preview: Hordes of the Undead

This gallery contains 2 photos.

Shambling corpses, moaning Biaen-sidhe; a mocking disembodied laugh, a rattling breath at your neck.  The undead exist in nearly every culture in countless forms; even our modern culture is full of zombie apocalypses and contorted Japanese ghosts.  An entire genre of video games, survival-horror, was built around the undead.  So as a game artist, knowing […]

Sketchbook Update April 2012

Well, it’s spring which usually means change and new beginnings; there has certainly been a lot of that happening here.  I have completely finished my schooling, and so am now a proud bearer of a Bachelor of Science in Game Art and Design.  It was a long and sometimes difficult journey but it was well worth it.

I feel quite accomplished and have now started my quest for a position in my field of study.  It seems that searching for a great career is, in itself, like a full time job; many nights have been spent applying, researching, drawing and preparing.  I cannot wait for that answer to come back, and I can step into my life.

But with the good, there is the not so good.  My flash drive; my brave and steadfast 8gig Cruzer which carried my entire life within its modest, plastic casing, finally performed its last sync and went to the great gadget drawer in the sky.  In short… it melted.  Literally.  So I have been frantically trying to recover and remake four years worth of documents, paintings and records.  This includes a lot of the work I intended to post here, which has cut my portfolio down considerably.  I can remake these things, but it is taking some time; thus my lack of updates here, which I apologize profusely for.

I will also me moving very shortly, which again, is cutting up my carefully scheduled time.  But well, you know what they say about the best laid plans.  I will be continuing my work here, even if it means staying up till sunrise doodling away.  I have also will be posting up some tutorials very soon, so stay tuned for that.

I just have some first drafts here, more to come.

Images are Norther Hunter (original characters), Wraith King, Quetzl Kobold and details, Hellsteam Character Concepts (Jesibell, Amalia, Tommyknocker, Dr. Kerring), Kingdom Flags, Knights of Truth and Beauty Armor

Above and Beyond Imagination

Self“I reject your reality and substitute my own.” Adam Savage

As an artist I am given free reign on creativity and artistic license to change the world around me into something far more grand and beautiful.  As a game artist, I am able to take that world, and allow others to play with it, to interact with my imagination.  There is nothing more gratifying than to see my art inspire others.

Nor’Athan means above and beyond; my motto when it comes to creativity and imagination.  This blog and portfolio will not only showcase my art, and the worlds I have created, but will serve as a document of my artistic journey.  Here you will find my Concepts and designs, as well as my sketchbook, artistic journal, my creative writing, and mods I have created for other games.

I appreciate constructive critiques on my work, as well as any suggestions.  I will also accept commissions.  Please enjoy my works, and stay tuned for updates.

~Kayla Perisho, Nor’Athan