The hilarious front line in the tragic war against ridiculous female armor
Powdered ShitBrown Dust Brave Nine, Part 2: Granhildr
This is the official illustration of Granhildr (whom we bingo’d in her “awakened” appearance), and she’s a one-winged valkyrie. Apparently she’s as good at making tea as she is at fighting, in a lazy attempt at fleshing out a personality, and I use the term “fleshing out” loosely.
This is definitely not my best work, but there was so little I could work with from the original, save from the shape motifs and colors of the arm armor. I wanted to keep the scale mail aspect of the original, and since I always do a plate armor breastplate, I decided to try something else. Clearly I need more practice at this kind of design.
I was taking so long trying to come up with any ideas that my rendering didn’t come close to the original, but at least she’s no longer suffering from a chafing nightmare.
I’d be interested in redoing this some time in the future. I think I’d want to turn that fur… whatever it is… into a cloak, or big fluffy collar or something, maybe to offset the single wing.
Powdered ShitBrown Dust Brave Nine, Part 1: Frellea
Speaking ofBrown D… I mean Brave Nine, whatever the changes to the game’s name, story and character roster, it still remains a confusing mess, seemingly made only for the sake of its exploitative waifu art. So of course I proposed to Icy that we stream redesigns from it! We’re definitely alright after staring at them for hours 🙃
This character is Frellea, older sister to the backstory comic’s protagonist demigoddess Eda and, I guess, from how well-endowed she is, a very powerful deity. I think, judging by character names (is Frellea a corrupted take on Freya?), they’re Norse mythology-inspired, like Odin’s Sphere’s butt-wing Valkyrie. And of course, literally nothing else about the designs communicates that.
It was SO HARD to decide what should take priority in fixing this mess, but the mix of boobplate and scalemailboobsocks went first. I reshaped her breastplate into something plausible and decided to extend the scalemail into a long-sleeved tunic (though that one’s tight fit is mostly my artistic license).
Next step was to tidy up the messy design composition, including the color scheme. Both me and Icy concluded those huge feathery… trains? tails? were purely decorative, so we got rid of them. I decided to balance out the contrast by making that ribbon white (instead of the shade shade of grey as her hair), reusing redness of the other ribbon (and the feathers) on new pants and, most of all, recoloring her non-mail armor to brass color of her bracers.*
Easily one of my favorite redesigns, but also one of the most work-intensive ones, too. Hope you enjoy it!
PS: *In the comic the helmet and greaves are slightly different metal shade from the rest of armor, so it seems like different artists couldn’t agree on the color. Pic below, for the interested.
SMITE’s standards are below the bottom, so of course while she no longer had gravity-defying metal pasties for a top, it’s still a skin-tight boobplate.
I didn’t go particularly wild with fixes this time. I liked the ornamentation and accessories well enough to leave them be, so the changes are limited to the shape of the breastplate and big blue gambeson under all of it. Thanks to it her pretty necklace suddenly popped out, since color theory is still a thing. ¯_(ツ)_/¯ Blue because it matched her existing color scheme, including those tacky Pict-like tattoos, which are alreadya cliche on many Norse/Viking characters, for some reason.
Not my most creative or labour-heavy redo, but I hope you guys like it!
BattleWrong – We’re sure that Joke hasn’t been done before!
Battlerite’s a bit of a disappointment in its character design. They seem to have cool ideas (for the male characters and Iva), and their art style is cute and colorful… and yet. So why not try to fix some of their more uninspired designs?
To be honest, my desire to redesign Blossom was from my deep-seated frustration with animal-looking characters having a humanoid body shape. Why couldn’t she just be like Puss in Boots from the Shrek movies? Just a deer that stands on her back legs, without breasts and a skinny waist and hips. I realize that she’s a “faun” according to the wiki, which means human/animal hybrid, but the fact that she has both hair and fur on her head/face makes it look like they just slapped some tits on an upright deer. Maybe they were going for something new, but boy did it not work.
I tried to give her more clothes at first, but then decided…. screw it. She’s a deer now. Why does she wear clothes? So in the end, I just gave her a simple poncho. I did want to show off her deer-ness, so I left her shoulders uncovered and gave her upper body some fur, so it’s not weird that she has the same on her face.
I also changed her face to be less Generic Cute Girl.
After I finished the edits, we started making jokes about just Photoshopping a deer head on her instead, so I did that. Got some images of a deer and a birb off the internet, and so Blossom’s True Form came to be. (You can still see the lines from the stock image watermark.)
[She’s beauty, she’s grace, she’ll throw an acorn at your face.]
The result is fairly simple and could probably use some embroidery or patches of different-colored cloth, and some people might say this was an easy cop-out on my part. But I just want her to be a deer, not a deer with boobs; is that too much to ask for?
Thing about Freya’s original design is that I don’t actually find it overall bad – the random bikini top that looks like coconut shells strapped to a choker is the only thing that ruins it. As mentioned back when we bingo’d her pre-update design (with even worse, sideboob-y bikini top!), she looks pretty great from waist down. Also, while far from unique, her face shape is allowed to be a tiny bit more angular… when viewed from certain angles, at least.
(basically it’s Zarya level of safe approach to diversity in female facial features – still conveniently attractive and wears makeup, but allowed to have square-ish jawline, given that you tilt your head and squint)
But since I couldn’t spend 2 hours of stream only painting her a decent top, I decided to build upon what’s there and add some more actually distinct features.
Of course, the boobplate had to go first. Since it bore some resemblance to Angela’s (coincidentally, also character associated with Norsemythology), I decided to base Freya’s new breastplate on my earlier Angela redesign. Also a blue tank top matching her bracer and tassets, for minimal layering. Left her shoulders bare, just gave them a tiny bit more heft.
I approached tweaking her face to create a more believable character. No makeup (which, unfortunately made her blue eyes with orange eyebrows stand out less), more prominent freckles, bigger nose, more sunken cheeks… All to create an image of a warrior who’s more concerned with surviving battles than spending hours in front of the mirror.
I’m rather pleased with the subtle changes to this design and my painting technique in this piece. Hope you guys like it too.
PS: I didn’t know that while doing this redesign, but apparently some genius on Reddit, upon seeing slightly more boob coverage on Freya’s official updated design decided to “fix” her back to her original bikini. (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻
Return of the Sexy SMITE Gentlemen
After the last time we sexyfied SMITE’s male gods, it was time to get back to it. After all, there was such an inequality among the character designs: the men were almost never allowed to be hot! We couldn’t have that.
I decided to go for the easy choice, Hercules (not Heracles, for some reason?), mostly cause I hated almost everything about his original design. Not even from a not-sexy-enough standpoint, just in general. That ugly face, the weird proportions (that lion head is like 4 times bigger than his), even the colors. So I changed all of that crap.
I made his head bigger and made him look younger, more innocent. I took away all of his ugly clothes. There isn’t even a loincloth there. I moved the lion’s head into his hand instead to cover his uh… lion, as it were. I decided to give him a furry little cape in its place on his shoulder so that his beautiful face wouldn’t be literally overshadowed.
In the end, I was trying to shade the lion so that it contrasted against Hercules’ skin, but I should have just made the mane dark brown instead of sticking to the original color scheme. But I think now he’s worthy of his Roman depictions.
The Norse god of mischief was always plenty intriguing, even before Tom Hiddleston made Sexy Loki a thing. So I decided to very unsubtly make it clear with my redesign – by showing as much skin as possible short of making it porn.
In real bikini armor fashion, I got rid of almost all the clothes Loki had other than the sash, loincloth and armoring on his limbs. Made his skin a bit lighter and less sickly colored, because while we’re all for Norse characters being more than just white, it’s less problematic to sexualize a white dude than a man of color. Hope you all like those lovingly rendered muscles, I spent a lot of time painting them!
I also replaced his edgy hood with long fiery red hair, more traditional for the depictions of this character. Another, more subtle touch was the scar on his lips, from the time he was punished by having his mouth sewn shut.
A god who can get himself in and out of almost any trouble by shapeshifting and seducing whoever, including a horse, should really wear his sexuality on his sleeve!
Hel Hath No Fury
From one Hel to another, this week. This particular one is from SMITE, which is a game that lets you play as various deities from different pantheons. This was their interpretation of Hel, who they split into 2 forms instead of keeping to the original mythology, where she was a person who had 2 different-looking halves. Ok, fine. But could they not have made her just a generic white woman? Twice?
So that was my main beef with the original, besides the nonsensical clothes: the lack of any connection to her Norse roots, and her original myth. To briefly describe her game mechanics, which I was also considering while redesigning her: White Bread is a healer/support, and the Jelly Sandwich is a debuffer and does some over-time damage. The player’s able to switch back and forth between them.
In that vein, I decided to make Vanilla Wafer and Blueberry Tart into Old Woman Healer and Undead Monstrosity, respectively.
[Warning: There’s a close-up of her corpse face below the Read More!]
I was sent some lovely reference pictures of traditional Norse clothing, which I used to build the warm, functional clothing for the Old Lady half. I went with a color scheme that would evoke the frosty conditions of Niflheim, the place where her domain was located.
She floats in the game, so I was able to get away with impractically-long skirts.
I also made her a woman of color, because why not? Honestly, the sheer Whiteness of the original just had to change.
The scarf is her dog, Garmr. Since this is her healing half, the dog is nonthreatening (even though I used a wolf scarf for reference, shh).
For her debuffing half, I just took the idea of the fact that in the original myth, half her body looked like a corpse, and went all out with it. And like a corpse, she’s got no tits, cause fatty tissue is the first to go in the decomposing process.
Since she floats, she didn’t need the legs, and the dog becomes an angry knife inspired by traditional Norse knives. In-game, it would be mostly the animated knife that would attack. Over-time damage can be flavored as bleeding from a bite, stuff like that.
So that’s my Hel. I had a lot of fun working on her, especially because we don’t get to work with older ladies a lot, and I got to use a lot of cool references.
Ozzie just gave me the idea of giving each version one eye, since the corpse has 2 and the old lady doesn’t, which would have been a cool idea.
Now if only SMITE would remove their depictions of Hindu dieties, but that’s a rant for another day.
Viking: Battle for Asgard is kind of amazing in that not only does have the promise of this – but if the steam page is to be believed the developers are still, to this day, convinced this is a great adaption of Norse myth and history.
She had a lot of exquisitely ridiculous costumesthroughout time (green is usually her color, corresponding with Loki’s), so I decided to take jab at by far the most WTFiest design, from the Ultimate Marvel continuity.
Now that is an “evil is sexy” trope in full swing! Looks like literal BDSM outfit, only done by someone who never saw real BDSM gear (so E.L. James’s visual artist counterpart?). Art by our “favorite” Frank Cho (first and third image) and David Finch (second image), so the comparison wasn’t really far off.
I’m always upset by Hel(a) being just another smooth-skinned Barbie in Marvel stories, considering how interesting is her appearance as told by Norsemyths she originates from. Half of her body is supposed to be that of a corpse, which disturbed Asgardians enough to give her reign over Hel (or Helheim), the land of those who died inglorious deaths, where other gods won’t have to interact with her.