Ever have a piece you just fight with? This was one of those pieces. It's my third entry in my creature folk series, Fire and Fury. The basic idea was for a villainous character who explodes with anger. The rough idea was to combine a Korean tiger with a Korean warrior with a good dose of anger.
If you've ever seen a Korean Tiger painting, you can hopefully see where the idea came from. They're savage, fierce, and the teeth on them are amazing. I wanted a beast full of fury who used his claws to tear apart his opponents.
The original idea had a mix of bone and fur. His stripes were going to be of iron or bone protruding from his flesh with fire pouring from around his body. There are several weak points in this piece. The pose is bland, despite his mighty roar. The perspective being off is another weakness, and I'm honestly not sure how I messed up so badly on that. He also appears squat.
Version 2 gave him greater life. I fixed the perspective issue, and began to go ahead with the idea. I still wasn't quite sure about what to do about his midsection, but I knew I wanted it to be wreathed in flame, along with the ends of the armor which hangs on the head, arms, and legs.
I abandoned the external flame for a more internal solution. His rage is what fuels him and bursts forth from his body and scars. I kept the ends of his armor as bone, added scale to help bring him more in line with traditional Korean armor, and solidified his stripes into larger groups of bone.
Flame flows from his scars, and bullet holes allow fire to escape. The bullet hole idea came from the zombie drama Kingdom. One of the main characters is thought to have been a tiger exterminator and he is one of the few people who can use a gun well. The angry spirits of tigers who have been killed by the exterminators coming back in fury sounded like a cool idea.
I also removed some fire from his chest and decided to show a bit more of what his head armor looked like. I thought it seemed too disjointed and the idea didn't come across.
I knew what I wanted to do for color. His bone armor would be the stripes, his scale would be white. Later I also changed his hands and boots to white. I thought it would look too boring otherwise.
I added a sash in the middle to be a bit more faithful to the armor design. The fur around the arms is for cohesion.
Fire pours from his wounds and midsection. It allows me to show that he is consumed by rage and allows me to be a bit more faithful to the design of the original armor.
Some extra details in the final piece. If you've seen my files, you know I like to keep my work clean. Folders contain every layer and bit of information for a particular section. This file did not end up this way.
I think next time I would like to not feel as if I needed to hold so closely to the original design, or find more creative ways around it. I also think that although I had a basic idea early on, I want to have something more fleshed out and a working story before getting so far into the design. He fought me every step, but now it is time to head on to take what I learned and head to the next challenge.