Monday, 13 February 2012

Starting Silhouettes

Playing around with some shapes from 17th century boats and steam machinery I made these squid/octopus type silhouettes that have turned out to be quite interesting however I feel that they are too mechanical, but it is a start. Possibly adding more organic shapes to the mix would make the silhouettes feel less mechanical.    

The second silhouette reminds me of something from War of the Worlds but the style is also like the Steampunk animated short 'The World of Jasper Morello.' The adventure takes place in a voyage on a ship in the sky instead of the sea even some of the machinery is in the shape of fish. The animation presents the idea that my sea creature could live in the sky if  it was to exist in this world so it is not just limited to the ocean.  

The Kraken - Research and Ideas

After a lot of thinking I have reached the decision to transcribe the Kraken in a Steampunk style. Looking at various texts I have gathered a series of extracts that describe the beasts features, where it lives and its behaviour. 

'Kranken, Legendary sea monster long feared by sailors. Seamen from northern Europe and Scandinavia believed Kraken would think it is a small island. It would then grab the vessel with its tentacles and pull it under the water, devouring all me on board. The Kraken of legend was probably a giant squid. Alfred, Lord Tennyson penned a short poem entitled 'Kraken' in 1830 about the hideous beast.' (The Dictionary of Nautical Literacy By Robert McKenna, 2003)

'The Kraken' By Alfred Tennyson (1830)

Below the thunders of the upper deep;

Far, far beneath in the abysmal sea, 
His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep
The Kraken sleepeth: faintest sunlights flee
About his shadowy sides: above him swell
Huge sponges of millennial growth and height; 
And far away into the sickly light, 
From many a wondrous grot and secret cell
Unnumbered and enormous polypi
Winnow with giant arms the slumbering green.
There hath he lain for ages and will lie
Battening upon huge sea-worms in his sleep,
Until the latter fire shall heat the deep;
Then once by man and angels to be seen,
In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die.

Abysmal - profoundly dreadful 
Millennial - a thousand years worth 
Grot - cave
Polypi - giant squid
Winnow - stir
Latter - final
Battening upon - clutching

Extract from 'Seafaring lore and legend' By Peter D. Jeans (2004)      

From these extracts it is obvious that the creature is carnivorous and feared by most sailors, however I want to give the creature a bit more personality than it being feared beast, to do this I will have to give the character a story and a personality. At the moment I have the idea that the Kraken creature has been made by pirates to scare other sailors, this is where the Steampunk comes into the design. By giving the Kraken a purpose gives the creature more of a story gives it more of an edge. The Kraken being built by pirates could be made from parts of ship wrecks that the pirates have collected and looted. The themes pirates and Steampunk seem to fit well together and the legend of the Kraken lends itself well to pirates, so the combination seems logical but more importantly an opportunity exciting designs :). 

Friday, 10 February 2012

Style Interest - Steampunk

Designing my character I want to use a Steampunk twist on a mythological tale. Looking at other artists work to find inspiration, I have been specifically looking for examples of aquatic/creatures that have been translated into Steampunk.  

Steampunk style shark from 'James and the Giant Peach' (1996)

Steampunk Illustrations

Title:Hall of Souls
Artist: Dieter Joppich
Software: CINEMA 4D, Photoshop

Steampunk Illustrations

Title: Steampunk Goliath

Artist: Cory Jespersen
Software: Photoshop

This last image illustrates the Greek myth of Goliath in a Steampunk style.  

Transcription! Creature/Character Design

From the start of this project I have been sure that I wanted to design a character or creature so I have been making a library of possible ideas. I have been drawn towards aquatic creatures as I find them more fascinating atomically so Im going to be sticking with an aqatic theme.


 A merman like sea spirit originating from mythology of the Soloman Islands and is said to be the wicked part of the person's soul.

 Jormungandr (The Midgard Serpant)

 A creature from Norse Mythology. The Midgard Serpent was cast to the ocean where she grew so huge that with her tail in her mouth she soon encompassed the whole world.  

The Kraken

 Many armed sea creature, there are several variations of the description over history the most common being described as a giant squid or octopus.    

The Leviathan

 A Biblical sea monster referred to in the Old Testament (Psalm 74:13-14; Job 41; Isaiah 27:1). Hebrew for Twisted coiled and is a name generally used for reference to a large sea monster.#


Japanese Folklore tales describe them as 'mythical spirits that roam the surreal landscape in search of good, evil or mischief also known to be an impish prankster that sneaks peeks up kimonos and steal crops.' 

They look like 'shrivelled old-men, with webbed hands and feet, sporting a tortoise shell. Skin colour ranges from green to blue to yellow, and even red. Their face can contain a beaked nose or else look like a monkey. Crowning their head of page-boy style hair is a circular depression filled with water. A kappa covered in hair is known as a Hyosube.' It has a bowl on the top of its head that it fills with water to gain strength, the more full the bowl is the stronger the Kappa is.