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The Arkan Archive | Concepts

PostPosted: April 14th, 2019, 1:19 am
by calmcnichols
Heyyo.

Making a comic (surprise surprise) in my own pseudo-historical setting. I will not post links to the comic, I'm NOT trying to plug that, I just really enjoy making concept stuff for it and am not sure where else to show it. I'll probably have some 'trivia' pages inserted here and there in the spaces between chapters but who knows. I don't believe this breaks rules, but if it does I apologize and understand.
anyway. basically one of the main goals of the comic is to make a believable setting with the parameters involved. It's not on earth or even with humans so I have a huge amount of freedom in creating history, culture, society, etc etc i'm sure none of this is new to people.

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for instance, the characters in the world are vaguely alien, human stand-ins in a way. I have some reasons for doing this, such as subverting expectations and seeming more exotic. Some problems with this though is the less human a face is the harder it is for us to tell them apart. I draw faces mildly stylized to help but often it isn't enough. One solution I came up with is pretty fun from not only a lore perspective, but also helps reader clarity.
different families in the comic have different tattoos that are sort of like unique coat of arms. the cultural custom is children get their markings at puberty, with the boys getting the full design. daughters get smaller versions on their necks and backs and such and once (if) they get married they acquire the rest from the design of their husband, symbolizing the unity of the two families. some other cultures view this practice as uncivilized.

basically, fun from a lore perspective, fun to draw, and hopefully helps a lot on the readability front for the reader. pretty happy with the idea overall. :D

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fun to come up with outfit ideas for too. the clothes of this nation are sort of vaguely inspired by mid-asian designs, I sometimes get kind of sick of euro and japanese getting all the attention ;) scanned in pencil and colored digitally, a lot faster that way.

will post more soon. take care all.

Re: The Arkan Archive | Concepts

PostPosted: April 20th, 2019, 5:52 pm
by K-cho
These look cool, I like those outfit concepts!

Re: The Arkan Archive | Concepts

PostPosted: April 21st, 2019, 4:43 pm
by calmcnichols
K-cho wrote:These look cool, I like those outfit concepts!

they're fun to do :mrgreen:

need to think about how the differences in face structure changes how they would practically make outfits. and fashion!

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it can be a bit of a fine line between something theoretically practical but goofy looking to the actual human readers however. not that looks stopped practicality in real life though. like if this species was real or whatever they would probably cover their face in armor a lot more than this for risk of getting their ears cut off or snout broken in a fight but it looks a bit silly in practice. it's still fun to try to make something 'exotically practical' though.

Re: The Arkan Archive | Concepts

PostPosted: April 21st, 2019, 7:14 pm
by eishiya
I think the designs in your comic are great, and I love how much thought you put into them! I haven't commented on the comic itself yet, but I've been enjoying it.

Re: The Arkan Archive | Concepts

PostPosted: April 29th, 2019, 10:59 pm
by calmcnichols
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WORLD MAP (click to enlarge)


So here's the map of the region. I'll probably link it in a more obvious way to the homepage at some point. The scale is a bit vague on purpose but I'll clarify more and update it all publicly as the story goes on. I'll also show borders progressively as the story goes along but it's not really a secret what is where so I may do it earlier.

basically just freehand lines in photoshop with some stroke effects. the mountains are just a brush because I'm a lazy man

Re: The Arkan Archive | Concepts

PostPosted: May 23rd, 2019, 6:04 pm
by calmcnichols
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language and communication (or lack thereof) plays a huge part in the motherland. generally speaking, the languages shown to the reader will be translated in a form that makes sense to the character's POV. in other words, the reader is in the dark to the same degree as the characters are.

each language (there are around 7-12) has its own alphabet that will represent it when the characters don't understand it. there are even different dialects of the same language where two characters may have an extremely difficult time understanding each other (eg creole to scottish) where some letters will appear as english with others as 'unstranslated' to seem like an accent. I use fonts from real life languages courtesy of google noto. It makes more sense to me to use a real life language that has been in use for X centuries instead of some random made up alphabet.

The non-english text is not made to be translated irl by the reader and I'm sure is total nonsense to a native speaker of the real life language. The feeling is more important than what is actually said if you run it through google translate or whatever. And where accents are concerned if I make it sufficiently difficult to understand obviously the reader isn't required to do so in order to understand the story.

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upper text is in the speaker's language as perceived by an outsider. below that is a thick accent trying to sound like the outsider.

Re: The Arkan Archive | Concepts

PostPosted: May 23rd, 2019, 6:56 pm
by eishiya
Making nonsense in real writing systems makes for very confusing reading when you do know the writing system, huhu.
Using real writing systems other than some default also brings up questions of how much the in-world language resembles the one usually associated with that writing system and various cultural baggage. I suspect that might just be an issue for the chronic overthinkers in the audience though, and it should not be an issue for most readers (I suspect many readers would assume the Georgian and Ge'ez scripts are all fake :'D)

I do like the "accented" fonts, as they're very easy to skip over because they look so foreign, but a reader who does notice the resemblance to English word-shapes and takes the time to read them carefully can get that extra context. That said, it's still something I'd consider risky, since some readers feel like they have to read everything that's in the comic in English, so the fonts might become a frustrating experience rather than a fun extra. Just telling a reader "it's optional" once might not be enough.

Re: The Arkan Archive | Concepts

PostPosted: May 23rd, 2019, 8:16 pm
by calmcnichols
i agree. the goal is to use scripts so obscure to the audience so hopefully almost no one will recognize them. or dead languages like ogham. I'm not completely settled on which alphabets I want to use.

as for the readers being confused on whether they need to read or not read untranslated text, I will try my best to be clear to the reader in the context of the story what is required and what isn't. Like if someone says something unintelligible the reader will be able to tell by the character's reaction that he doesn't know what is being said either. it won't necessarily be a freqently happening thing either. I'll make it clear.

but yea good points.

Re: The Arkan Archive | Concepts

PostPosted: May 23rd, 2019, 9:15 pm
by eishiya
Using dead scripts sounds like a better idea to me than using modern ones like in the samples, since you're much less likely to run into someone who knows them. Some, such as the Indus Valley script, are undeciphered so you can use them completely "risk-free", while still having the benefit of a "natural" writing system. One possible downside to such scripts is they're all so old that they're only known from carvings/inscriptions, and don't really match the drawn/written look of a comic font, but neither does your "Native" text so maybe that's not a problem :D Another concern with ancient scripts is many of them are from a time when writing was either young or simply not widely-practiced, and they have a lot of the same awkwardness that a constructed script would have, they don't have centuries of scribal laziness refinement the way most modern scripts do.

(I'm mostly thinking out loud, I can shush if it's not useful!)

Re: The Arkan Archive | Concepts

PostPosted: May 24th, 2019, 11:21 am
by Seven Rain
This is some rad stuff, (I like the art you posted in that other thread of your's as well!) and I admire your dedication to worldbuilding. As someone who's addicted to it but struggles with a lot of intricacies of it sometimes, I'm always blown away by people who put as much effort into it as you do.

Re: The Arkan Archive | Concepts

PostPosted: May 31st, 2019, 9:37 pm
by calmcnichols
some more font stuff

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more or less the final alphabets. Imperial Aramaic (extinct) and Kaithi (mostly extinct) will be likely seen the most. the Rene and Avato languages are the main ones used in the story, even by other nations who speak other languages natively. they are basically the greek or english of their day.

in the days before industrialization, women deserved some major props for their work especially when they had to carry loads themselves. in many places around the world they still do, and carrying supplies on their heads still is a common way to do this. I feel like this isn't shown much in western media really even if it was common in the west too in ye olden days.
looks pretty rad too

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(pothead lol)

apparently you can carry over 60% of your body weight on your head if you're used to it. the more you know

Re: The Arkan Archive | Concepts

PostPosted: June 2nd, 2019, 2:05 pm
by Dilly
The amount of detail you are putting into these creatures and the world is absolutely amazing! It really makes things more believable. Your art style is so strong too, seeing behind the scenes is adding a lot to be appreciated in the actual comic.

Re: The Arkan Archive | Concepts

PostPosted: June 10th, 2019, 5:10 pm
by calmcnichols
thanks. :) I went and edited the end of the last chapter of the comic to add some bonus lore stuff for the casual reader. Will do that at the end of chapters from now on. Again, not trying to advertise the comic, just trying to help more people see the backstory and behind the scenes stuff than might otherwise.

another update to the map. I've known where all the nation locations are for a long time now but hadn't really shown the audience yet. it's not really a secret i guess so here you go

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(click for a bigger version)

gray areas represent areas where the borders are not agreed upon by the parties. or rebellions.

Thus far only Allano has been seen in the story. Bluefield (the city in ch 1) is very close to the Rene border. Rabant, Avato, and Deltani will be featured heavily but all the nations have some impact on each other. Deltani in particular is a bit of a hotbed as it is unhappily an 'autonomous' vassal of Avato and is constantly at odds with the Kavans and their stranglehold on naval trade. Avato is also at odds with Kavan and Otigo and is irate that the Otigos cannot (or will not) keep their border skirmishes between tribes from spilling into Avato territory. And Rene is setting their sights on what it perceives as easy targets to the north such as Allano and is rightfully feared by neighboring nations. Rene is also huge and by far the most powerful nation shown but you only see a fraction of it. As this story is from the perspective of characters in the Arkan states, Rene often will appear as an unknowable threat even if they may not be so different in actuality.

the region shown is usually referred to as 'the gulf' or 'Eowa' and is fairly close to the equatorial axis. time will tell what the rest of the world looks like :)

for those interested, I post some lore stuff like this occasionally to help flesh out the universe a bit.

Re: The Arkan Archive | Concepts

PostPosted: June 18th, 2019, 2:42 am
by calmcnichols
playing with some vaguely aztec influenced stuff but most of it's made up. when or will it show up? who knows ;)

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Re: The Arkan Archive | Concepts

PostPosted: June 20th, 2019, 1:33 pm
by calmcnichols
achondroplasia dwarf doodles cause why not

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takes all kinds man