Hibiki

Click on the picture for the full resolution (3525×1625px). 'The Last Blade 2' is a licensed trademark of SNK Corp.

No commercial usage can be done without the agreement of SNK Corp.

Here is a fan art of my favorite character from the old 2D fight game The Last Blade 2 released by SNK in 1998 when I was 17 years old. Her name is Hibiki Takane: daughter of a famed swordsmith and I painted her holding her saber draped into a fabric while walking into a garden. The Last Blade series art-direction, beautiful design, flat colors saturated, dynamic animation, polished painterly backgrounds and musics had certainly a strong influence on my general taste for art because I kept playing it and thinking about it through the years. That's probably because I can feel in it the love for a high quality anime 2D art style. Maybe this specific art-direction was even a survival choice for the series at a period in time when 3D fight games started to be the new standard and 2D was called to disappear. Twenty years later, I'm glad this had never really happened and 2D is still around! You can still play this old title on one of the many adaptations it has for consoles (even modern) or via on Steam.

A thought about fan art

You might be surprised to read that I painted a fan art because I rarely do fan-arts: I know the legal issues that can rise dealing with them and also I'm deeply disgusted by the artists who do only fan art to accumulate a big audience over the social-medias (the professional-fan-artists as I like to call them). Making only fan arts is a lucrative way to attract donations from fandoms and it became over the last ten years the sad norm of digital painting. Before that, we had mostly original contents around and it wasn't necessary to write a stupid hashtag like #OC to describe "Original Character". So, you can easily understand that I'm not happy about how grew the art community on Internet regarding fan art... But while I painted this artwork, I decided to reconsider and think positive about fan art. It's a great way to connect with other fan of the series through hashtags and praising a masterpiece that deserve it if the fan art is done sincerely and not to jump on the band-wagon of a trend. I should even practice that more often. It helps at studying something else and connect with the universe of the original creators and in fine enjoy the source even more.

Episode 32 preproduction

But why spending time on a fan-art?.. It's part of my graphical research on the preproduction of episode 32: it helps me at testing my comic workflow and breathe another air outside Pepper&Carrot. My recent experiments with the canvas texture have not convinced me for the art-direction of Pepper&Carrot episode 31 "The Fight"; it was hard to manage and I'm not satisfied fully by the visual it produces inside the context of comic episode (it's fine for illustrations). A most recent experiment with the artwork The Winter (a girl reading on the back of a dragon) also failed on this research: pseudo-realistic shading is fine for classic high fantasy style illustration, but 'meh' on Pepper&Carrot too. When I write a Pepper&Carrot story, I have something else appearing in mind; a more stylized world where I can hold a saturated color over flat areas only to emphasis the 2D shapes while keeping a painterly and anime with advanced modeling design. That's how I came back to study the art-direction of the game The Last Blades and producing a fan art was a good way to check if I could create a workflow to prioritize a color palette over the modeling and the drawing. I'll detail that later in a tutorial if I adopt this technique for a longer period: it's too fresh to teach it.




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7 comments

link Châu   - Reply

Copyright law is very corrupt. That game is more than 20+ years old, why it no join public domain? Because company buy long copyright and expand it's control/right but NO responsibility for balance. When that game join public domain 95 year after SNK publish it (1998+95+1 = 2095), 99% original fans dead or too old make their own version of game, if game survive to that time (if it survive, probably because 'private' save it). Copyright IS not about creativity, about monopoly/control/against competition and welfare for owners (and their lazy relative like Gershwin family). Want creativity keep copyright 5 years or less, or very increase fair use.

Now way around this problem for David, use art Last Blade art STYLE and create new character. Extra: current company is NOT SNK create that game in 1998, it is different company buy bankrupt SNK. Copyright not protect company from bad business manager.

link Châu   - Reply

Sorry, bad math, public domain year is 2094

link David REVOY Author, - Reply

Hehe, that's true. I wonder if copyright law would evolve if the average life of human could be extended thanks to science to 200 or 300 year old xD Waiting 2094 to fork the 90s could work xD

link Gonzalo   - Reply

I honestly have to agree with your take on fan-art.
While I'm not trying to suggest that fan-art isn't a "valid" form of art or anything, I don't have any doubt that it can be very harmful for the artist. I know quite a few people whose work becomes derivative because they barely draw anything besides fan-art.

link David REVOY Author, - Reply

True, not being able to draw anything beside fan-art is a real risk for a new generation of artist; but it is also very human. Following the fashion, ideas and mimic the taste of the majority to feel normal is something that always existed and one of the most powerful force of the crowd. One need to be wired differently in a way to resist of that type unstoppable gravity. That really make me think about how proprietary imagination behaves (with a long stretch) like proprietary software; except the data this time is written on brains. The thing could also be reversed and observed from the POV of software being something cultural where choosing a O.S. and tools could be cultural or representative of a social group xD

link Joel Rolon   - Reply

Hi. I have had this question for some time. I guess here's the right place to ask. I know you used to play video games and you got a lot of inspiration from them but, do you play video games now? If so, what platform do you use to play them?

link David REVOY Author, - Reply

Hey Joel! late answer, I play less than 3h per month, but last things I played: "A short hike" on itch.io (part of Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality) and it was sooo good (my next one is "Celeste"). Run fine under Linux. I also play abandonware on FreeDOS, eg. finishing Doom classic during confinement. I'm now doing progress into Lemmings :-)

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