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After looking at the designs I had for Gali, I realized she didn't really look the way I wanted her to; she looked too much like a girl instead of a woman and her outfits just looked kind of bland and generic. Plus, I wanted to give her body and face more diverse features- part of what I want to improve on is adding more exaggerated features so everyone won't look cookie-cutter. I also really wanted to try incorporating the old lore of the Bionicle universe into The Halfway, especially tribal values. In this piece, I wanted to flesh out the connection between masks, heart lights, and the metallic spine a bit more, since they are all connected to each other in this universe. Basically, because of major catastrophic events from the past, everyone needed to have a metallic spine and "heart light" (status gauge) implanted into their bodies: In short, the machine acts as a barrier between the person and the liquid they need to function (Energized Protodermis), allowing it to be transferred into the body without destroying it. This keeps the person healthy since without it extreme symptoms of deprivation begin to show: extremely dry, cracked, and scaly red skin, glazed over eyes, difficulty thinking clearly, and strong feelings of exhaustion, pain, and discomfort. Without proper levels of EP, the masks they wear will not mould to the face and their power (if any) won't work. Masks can be taken off for a brief amount of time, but since they help regulate EP to the face, the person will begin feeling weak and their face will turn ashen in colour, eventually leading them to pass out in extreme cases. The heart light acts as a gauge, it's colour of light indicating how much EP is left in the body and when it's time for a "refill". The colour can range from bright yellow (fullest) to dark red (lowest), with various shades of yellow, orange, and red in between. Once the light starts turning orange, the symptoms of deprivation start to show little by little, often starting with itchy skin. Keeping the heart light yellow is part of the Great Spirit's Way, and is part of the duty of every Matoran. *** Overall, I'm really happy with how this one turned out, as Gali has a lot more of the cultural flavour that I wanted her to have, especially with her tattoos. The Ga-Matoran highly value purity as one of their principles, which is represented by the white tattoos they have on their bodies. Primarily, the tattoos are done around their heart light and metallic spine, but some Matoran have them on their arms, legs, and torsos as well. Originally it was supposed to be a reminder to have a pure heart in devotion to the Great Spirit and his Way, but devolved into a "I'm better than you" competition between Ga-Matoran to see whose heart light was "purist". No one is quite sure why the tattoos were chosen to be white instead of yellow, since yellow is generally the colour of light and purity on the island. But keeping with tradition, they still use white anyways. **I know it's a lot of info at once. Please let me know if you'd like it in smaller doses and I'll try to break it down to make it more digestible.
I realized with the last few posts I had made, I gave you guys HUGE info dumps about the characters and their background, and after seeing other info dump post on the internet, I'm SOO sorry I just loaded everything on you at once! Please forgive me DX From now on, all the large details will be placed either on my Patreon site (which is free to read) or in my journal on Deviant Art. I change the style again, since I really want to emphasize the size and shape differences between each character. I think what really helped me flesh out how I wanted Gali to look was thinking more in terms of "feeling" rather than just straight esthetics or tribal design - especially when it came to incorporating her personality, temperament, and element (water) into how she looks. I think this was the most challenging part of her redesign- shaping her overall design based on these elements- and her body type. And Gali is a curvy lady! (with like, no boobs.) So I decided to look into how to dress for pear-shaped bodies, focusing more on details on the top half of her body rather than the bottom. I've also added some shell armour for her (since she is still a Toa after all!), including a conch arm shield and shell shoulder guard. Normally I'd be posting with her mask on, but I wanted you to see what her face looks like before I slap that sucker on there. The mask picture will be posed in DA my journal for now.
I originally wanted to draw Hahli and Macku together in order to contrast how different they are, but I ran out of space with what I wanted to do. (Maybe in a different piece later on ) Anywho, I wanted to experiment by drawing Hahli in a more dynamic pose instead of just standing there with her Kohlii stick. I've mostly just drawn figure profiles from this point, and I knew I wouldn't be able to branch out artistically unless I tried to do something new and different (which was kind of intimidating at first). But now that I've started to get a feel for it, I'm very excited to be showing more character and personality through body language. And for Hahli, I wanted to show that she is very sporty and athletic, but also still very pretty and fashionable without being dainty. She has an aggressive and competitive streak for sure, but it usually only shows itself in the arena.
Gali picking berries, coloured grass and tree bark (tannin) for dyes in the Ko-Koro moonlight. *** After a total of two months from sketch to finish, I'm very happy to how this piece turned out; I think this is the longest and hardest I've ever worked on a piece of art. This was my first attempt at a complete background and my first time using SAI paint as my design software. I think the hardest parts for me out of everything were designing the shape of the basket (I hate that stupid basket!) and trying to add shadow and texture to the mountains/snow. This piece started out as just a costume design for Gali's cold-weather clothing, but as I was doing more and more research into Ko-Koro for the story aspect of The Halfway, I noticed from both the depictions from the map of Mata Nui, (and from fan drawings of the region from Deviant Art), Ko-Koro was almost always shown to be a barren, frozen, wasteland. And while I did love and appreciate seeing more scenery from Ko-Koro, and the ruggedness and harshness of the land, part of me was thinking: "There has to be more to Ko-Koro than just snow-covered rocks" Thinking about the map reminded me of the Canadian Rockies, which looking down to earth from space, just looks like snow-covered rocks. But having lived and worked in the Rockies before, I've come to see just how beautiful and awe-inspiring the entire area is; with crystal turquoise-blue water, lush evergreen forests, and majestic sedimentary mountains, the view from any time of day is absolutely breathtaking. So, this year being such a major milestone for Canada (Happy 150th Birthday, Canada!), I was inspired to model a background after one of Canada's most iconic and well-loved places: Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Alberta. The idea for the dark, star-lit sky came from the bright, radiantly clear night skies of Banff and Jasper National Park (Jasper being a Dark Sky Preserve). I wanted to show that there is more to Ko-Koro (and it's inhabitants) than what others might expect. Yes, the Ko-Matoran do like to keep to themselves, but a large part of what keeps them home is the strong connection they feel to their land- with all the rugged, untamed, and overwhelming beauty it contains. And as always, feedback is always welcome and appreciated. Cheers!