His panda student's heartbreaking cry reverberated down the stone shaft to the old master's ears. Face turned upwards, he could see the light of Tigress's lantern fade away as he was plunged into darkness. The only light left was the fiery red glow beneath him from the flames of the Mongshou's molten rock body, accompanied by its roars and shrieks that rumbled up the rock walls of the shaft as it too careened down into the blackness.
Shifu closed his eyes as soon as the lantern light and the cry of Po's voice faded away. Only time could tell if they were truly ready to go on without him. He hated to let go now, as much as any of them. True, the Five were entirely capable of holding their own and exceeding in battle, and expert enough to be training their own students. But Po...He was still practically a cub. If push came to shove, he was the Dragon Warrior. Surely, he would always pull through, especially with the Five at his side. But at the same time, Shifu knew from experience what it was like to feel so unprepared with such pressure at such a young age, and how horrible it could feel to face it in light of losing someone close...
And Tigress...his own daughter...
His sky-blue eyes opened once more to peer up into the darkness. What was done was done... His students, his children were safe...and he wasn't done yet. He may have been careening down this dismal stone shaft in pursuit of a savage behemoth composed of stone and fire, down towards what very easily may be both of their deaths. But as long as he was here, as long as he had the strength and will and a single breath still in his body, this fight was not over. For him, at a fall of this magnitude, it would take a miracle for him to survive whatever waited for him at the bottom. But as it was formed of solid rock, the Mongshou could just as easily survive and bounce back from this brutal fall and would most likely try to get in the caves again to defend its mountain. Meaning that it wouldn't have any trouble at all in catching up with and killing Po and the Five.
Not even over my dead body, you won't...
Gritting his teeth, the red panda forced himself into a head-first dive down the pit, pinning his arms to his sides so he shot like a stream-lined missile towards his foe.
Squinting and scowling past the sharp blasts of heat pelting against his face, he managed to spot the brief silhouette of Oogway's staff against the Mongshou's flames, somehow withstanding them as it seemed to make its own streamlined dive to lead the Grandmaster. The heat of the monster's flames rippled at Shifu viciously, sullying his snow-white fur with patches of black ash. Yet he kept his eyes set with burning ferocity on his target. His robes rippling in the blasts of hot air, he stretched a scorched arm out for his master's staff - his staff - his sole companion in this, his one last fight...
OYYY. XD This one took a while. I'm still not sure if I'm comfortable with how it looks... Especially the soot on Shifu's fur. It seemed necessary, but it was hard to make it look right.
So some of you may be confused by the little blurb I wrote with this. Well, in my "Lord of the Scrolls" story, my KFP/Lord of the Rings crossover that you see a poster of on my profile page, I basically have Shifu sharing the roles of both Gandalf and Aragorn. And in my version, the Balrog is named the "Mongshou". I watched the beginning of The Two Towers the other day, and I saw that scene where Gandalf just dives head-first with sword-in-hand to battle the Balrog, even when their falling to their deaths. O_O That's a "battle to the end" attitude if I ever saw one. And for some reason I really wanted to draw Shifu in such an intense pose. Cause, you know, he has the potential to be as epic as Gandalf. XD If only Dreamworks would work with it. So until then, here ya go.
On a side note, I did my share of listening to some real "kick-butt" songs during the making of this. My favorite, though, was this little gem by various artists.
Well, I won't back down No, I won't back down You can stand me up at the gates of hell, but I Won't back down
Gonna stand my ground Won't be turned around And I'll keep this world from draggin' me down Gonna stand my ground And I won't back down
Yeah. I listened to that song, repeating those lines in my head while drawing Shifu there.
Me: Everybody now!- Everyone: YOU SUCK! Me: ... I was going to say "aww!", but I guess not. -_-*
Anyway... this is just one of a few little copic doodles which I decided to sketch up when I was feeling less that cheery one evening.
Long story, short: after Tai Lung's defeat, Master Shifu was finally granted the inner peace that he had longed for for twenty years. Now free from the chains of self-restriction; never wanting to show any emotion other than anger, he is now able to cleanse his soul of the inner demons. Now all the memories; the turn of his student – his son – from a pleasant little cub to a raging leopard, the descending of his beloved master, and many other painful recollections are released in the form of tears. Seeing his master weeping silently, Po decides to offer him what little comfort he can. And what better way to do that than with a bear hug?
"Failure...? You think not being able to sell some chimes or keep some lousy job is failure? How about failure to come through on anything, failure to believe in yourself?? To believe you could actually be a real master?
What about the failure to protect the Valley?
...Failure to save your family from the arrows of tyrants...?
Failure to keep your promise to never let that happen again?!
Failure to find chi... Failure to teach chi, and the only student who finds it...uses it to bring back into the world everything YOU dedicated your life to protecting it from?!
Failure in teaching...
Failure in life..."
Okay.....so I came across a video of a deleted scene from the first Kung Fu Panda in which, to be frank, Po is a serious jerk. He and Shifu really hate each other for a while in this version, Po doesn't respect him in the least and is always deriding kung fu (and Shifu constantly has to resist dealing out a deserved punch because it's not in a Master's ethics). Po is still chosen as the Dragon Warrior, however, and this is kinda the turning point of the movie where he and Shifu hit rock-bottom.
One night during late-night training, Po admits that he doesn't want to even bother learning kung fu because he feels he's failed at everything else in his life, and this will be no different. He also tells Shifu "you're good at this, so you can't understand how that feels". At one point, Shifu finally loses his temper and knocks the punching bag clean off the chain (hence why he's standing by a severed chain here), sending Po flying and afterwards almost spearing him to the wall. And then proceeds to give the monologue above.
I really found this scene interesting, especially since it includes Shifu just pouring himself out, and to Po none the less. I can understand why they took it out, I guess, and it further supports my theory that Dreamworks is waiting for the right moment to tell Shifu's story.
Really played with the lighting on this - how does it look?
And for those of you who want to see the scene that this pic was inspired from (it's in storyreel form), I'll be posting a blog on Kung Fu Panda Pals pretty soon all about it and some other deleted scenes. After I do some preparation for my new class starting tomorrow.
EDIT: Here's the link if anyone's interested. But be warned that there is some surprising language here you wouldn't expect. This scene was never released on DVD or anything, so the story artist/narrator doesn't censor himself very well at one point. [link]
So this started out as a little sketch on my art pad, and I liked the idea so much that I decided to make it digital! I had a lot of fun experimenting with the lighting effecs and the cast shadows, and I think this turned out pretty well!
I just wanted to have a Tigress cubby moment with Shifu, she was so adorable at that age! Apparently she wasn't aware of Shifu's extremely good hearing.
KUNG FU PANDA and Characters (C) DREAMWORKS Art and Design (C) Me
I did it almost nepreryano 10.11 hours, luckily I'm a programmer that I'm not very hard to bear. And still has not finished a bit. I feel bad happened. I like it. This style is very tedious. The figure representations training tiger in the forest) I welcome your comments) Honestly I tried very hard.