Hello! I’m still working very hard on redesigning my WEAPON Combat League characters. And yes, I gave up on Inktober, quite early on. It didn’t interest me; working on these character designs does. I have increased the count significantly since the last post, and I now have four complete teams done with more characters in progress. A total of 13 characters have been completed and I’m in the midst of another one that I’ll likely finish and add to the collection today.
I posted a journal on my deviantART page asking friends there what they thought of WEAPON Combat League. To be honest, even at my somewhat advanced age, I sometimes feel self conscious about my idea. There was a time when storytelling and character development were the bread and butter of my art, but for some reason that fell by the wayside a bit as my “Random Practice Babes” took over. I think it was simply a matter of desiring instant gratification.
Not that good art didn’t come from those practices…some of them are among my most liked and shared works of art to date. But ultimately, they are exactly what I describe them to be: random practice. I allowed them to define my art instead of supplement it. I kept telling myself a great character design will come out of these practices and I’ll have something new to focus on, while simultaneously denying something that, while not nearly as popular among my followers and friends, means more to me than anything else, evidenced by the fact that I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
That thing is WEAPON Combat League.
It doesn’t have the sex appeal of my RPBs, and admittedly, it doesn’t have as many characters of color as it perhaps should. But the story I wrote, the universe I created, the mythos I built, the character relationships I’ve put together, these combine to create my proudest work. Now, others might think it’s garbage, and watching my Instagram follower count fall off a cliff after I post WCL character images doesn’t help.
However, the feedback from my friends and watchers told a different story. It wasn’t all fluff either. There was critique and there was praise. But mostly what I’ve come to learn is that I have to stop second-guessing myself. I have got to stop allowing myself to believe my art only has value if I draw a scantily-clad black female barbarian in a fantasy setting with twin moons. I’m not going to stop doing that on occasion, but I have to treat RPBs as they are…as practice and as breaks from my other work. Maybe one day they will be something more, but not yet.
My wife believes that WCL stays alive in my heart because I’m ‘pregnant’ with the idea. Nothing else can be fully formed until it’s given a chance to live, or perhaps to die. I can’t leave it unfinished, so WCL is getting my focus for a while longer. For real this time. I’ve said it before, but this time I mean it. That rings hollow, so I’m just going to have to keep working to prove it. I have to keep telling myself, if I believe in this idea, it’s time to act like it.
WCL will only grow when I go beyond posting pictures of the characters floating in the ether posing. I need to resume telling the story and building the IP.
To that end, my main objective is to build a WCL Compendium book, as mentioned in my previous post. I also want to make some nice merch out of the characters. Of course, the main goal is to focus on telling the story in comic form, and that will come. Making the Compendium is important for long term growth of the franchise. Each character clearly illustrated, their powers defined and their strength levels shown in the PARTS graph (in the lower right of each character image) will ease draw them repeatedly and consistently. This will also help as I pursue other projects such as games and figurines, which are part of my long term plans.
For now, you can get your hands on a pinup of the Striker Team on various pieces of merchandise through my Redbubble store (including a background-less option). The other teams will come in due time. I’ve already prepared images of the Hunter, Polaris and Trident (formerly Triad) team, and the other four will be done soon, likely before the end of the month.
But don’t worry, I’m not done drawing RPBs. Every now and then I feel the need to draw a pretty girl that’s outside of my normal work. They make for great diversions for a short while. Here’s a recent one that my followers kind of liked: