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Kalemon's avatar

FOE Rangers of wintertrot

Cover commission for :iconequilibrik: for his FoE: Rangers of Wintertrot fic. [link]

Blimey is it good to get this finally done. Even more complex than that bloody littlepip/blackjack/puppysmiles thing. Also took about two months to make (okay thats more about me being inefficient artist and little free time).

This got a bit out hands too. I didn't plan on making this thing quite as detailed as it is, but seeing what other people kept posting and the leaps they made may have made me slightly competitive.

About the drawing itself... The diamond dog was pretty fun to design from scratch. Same with that armour of hers. And I really grew fond of that pirate lad with the fuzzy hat. Yeah that guy is cool... Hmmm... other than that... lots of snow. That got old pretty fast, but I'm mostly pleased how it came out.

Yupyup. not much else I guess. Critique is very welcome. Don't be shy.
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© 2013 - 2021 Kalemon
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AlexandrZaytsevet's avatar
Crosshair's face never fails to make me smile.
TheRightOnes's avatar
Magnificent picture. Diamond dog is especially good.
Zebra - Steel Ranger?

My FoE-headcanon just got blown.
equilibrik's avatar
Glad to have blown your headcanon.. Hope you enjoy my story.
Luckysweep's avatar
Inkwell? Arrogance and reactions. Crosshair? Brains. Mustang? Jolly brawn. Diamond Dog? HOLY MOTHER OF GOD POWERHOUSE DON'T EAT ME!
I keep looking at this expecting it to move. Fantastic.

I am no visual artist, nor am I the best critic, but I just might have a critique. The main party is all facing one direction. What if the blonde one actually had their head turned to face the Zebra?

Love the expression in the lower left corner, pointing to the group. Very renaissance.
Kalemon's avatar
Thanks. You're quite right... the group could be way more dynamic than what it is. Now they are just walking together in a very boring fashion, when I could have had so much more character interaction with different posing. That way I could have also characterized the the group members way better too. I would have had to redesign the whole cover for that most likely though... so screw that. Better luck next time.
Turtledude999's avatar
Welp. Looks like there's another FO:E story I gotta read...
BrentOGara's avatar
I love the character designs, the interaction, the composition... but honestly, the way you rendered the snow and the vignettes across the top are my favorite parts.

Snow seems so easy... it's all white, right? But (especially at this level of abstraction/stylization) it's seldom done well. Your snow looks really good, and it also behaves like snow should. There's a lot of little details that I didn't get until I DL the high rez image. The shading on the chains, and the little details in the armor are wonderful.

As for the vignettes, continuing the snow as a frame is great, and each one conveys an air of mystery and importance that makes you wonder what they represent. The strongbox wrapped in chains, triple locked, and even then still leaking an ominous green glow... the pony desperately (and the desperation is conveyed solely through body language!) tying off a bloody wound... the vehicle/home in flames... and the bag of gems. It seems significant to me that in all 3 images there is a pony's leg(s) in the foreground, indicating ownership or causality, but the gems are unattended/unowned.

The title does a great job of separating the individual conceptual space of the vignettes (physically disconnected images that none the less share plot connections... we hope!) and the unified (in time and space) 'story telling' image below it. The title itself if a work of art, bringing in elements of FO:E and Fallout 3 (it's even quite similar visually to the logo of several mods on the Fallout 3 Mod Nexus website) while keeping the feel of the artwork above and below it, and acting as a bridge from the conceptual (it's a title, and not something we're expected to believe actually exists in the scene as the characters would not see it) to the 'real' (with the way the snow is built up on it with icicles, and the weathering/bullet holes it bears, "WINTERTROT" could very well be a highway or street sign that actually exists within the scene with the characters).

The street scene itself is both interesting and informative, with a lot of great details and many things going on, while also showing separation in both space and 'party' groups, as well as giving hints of motivation and characterization for groups and individuals. The character designs and interactions are very well done, better than I've seen in any other "FO:E Cover"... usually it's just a line-up of the heroes with a backdrop of a ruined city with no interaction or story elements present in the scene... just look at the 'official' cover art for the original FO:E or FO:E-PH... this cover blows them away in terms of storytelling, important details, and especially in characterization and interaction.

The snow-covered ruins are themselves a character, hinting of solid stone buildings packed close to a roadway, with the ruined nature of the landscape clearly portrayed despite the snow cover. The ferals are depicted as part of the ruins/background, an active but mindless element of the landscape itself, rather than a unified group. They are separate from each other, and both fixated on the group, showing no awareness of each other or 'advanced' concepts like hiding, or even staying in cover. Additionally, they share the decayed state of the landscape, and their colors blend well with the blue shadows of the ruins.

The two foreground pairings are nicely done, each pair linked by proximity and separated by a wall, seemingly unaware of each other due to their focus on the main group.

The ponies on the left have clearly led a harsh life, both showing scars and rough patches in their skin shading. But at the same time they are well equipped with heavy weapons and climate appropriate clothing... clearly they are not hurting for the necessities of life, however harsh that life is. The presence of a sniper rifle (a weapon which requires patience, precision, and a deeper understanding of physics to operate properly) in proximity to the purple pony indicates a certain degree of intelligence and training on his part. His apprehension regarding the party is clear, and likely warranted. His companion is actively facing away from him, from the angle of her head she's not even looking at the party, but rather from whence the party came. This may be an indicator that she's thinking beyond the moment, attempting to work out in her mind the parties past, but it's more likely that she's simply turned away from her partner, unconsciously discounting his apprehension, as her hooves hooked over the wall show an unconscious excitement and/or a lack of restraint similar to the feral's. In any case, the byplay between them is clearly that he counsels caution (he's not even holding his weapon) and she wishes instead to take action (she's ready to go over the wall right now, and unarmed).

The group on the right is far less intellectual in their pursuits. These are honest-to-Goddess Super Mutant Ponies, and have the wonderful found armor and distorted physiques endemic to the species. They show total focus on the group, not even acknowledging their proximity to each other, much less the ponies hidden to their left. They are angry, armed, and yet are hunkered down in the ruins, hiding themselves... showing that they are not like the mindless ferals or the over-eager pale teal pony. Their intent is clear... mayhem on a Super scale, complete with Super Sledge and (likely) 'gore bags' in the near future... but for now, they are just wise (or slow?) enough to hold back, to avoid rushing a heavily armed and numerically superior foe until they are in a better position to do so.

Now the party itself.

They show an odd mix of competence and naivety. They are heavily armed, but their barding is completely unsuited to the climate. They are focused inwards, almost painfully unaware of the potential enemies all around them, despite the fact that many of those enemies aren't even trying to hide. They are so self-absorbed that they are about to walk straight over a landmine half-buried in the snow. The green unicorn with the beard is looking at the charcoal grey unicorn, amused yet uncertain... clearly the charcoal unicorn has said something 'funny' at the zebra's expense. The charcoal unicorn is the one about to step on the mine, yet (she?) is so caught up in her own head space that she likely does not see the it, or that she's clearly offended the zebra. The zebra is focused on the charcoal unicorn, and the diamond dog is focused on the zebra. None of them are aware of their surroundings... they could be strolling though a public park in spring for all the concern they show. This could be an indication that they are supremely confident that nothing in the ruins could harm them... and their weapons and armor seem to bear that out. Their unblemished hides, self-absorption, and carefree manner indicate that in fact they are tragically unaware of their own mortality... they are naive in a deeper sense that this harsh wasteland should allow... they still believe themselves to be immortal, inherently right, and see the world as a toy built for their own amusement. Clearly they have not suffered enough in their lives up to this point... or, having suffered, have not yet learned the harsher lessons Mistress Wasteland deals to those foolish enough to believe themselves 'special' or 'destined'.

... they will learn better, they will suffer most horribly, the lucky will die... the survivors will pay with their souls, and those who limp away bleeding will find themselves alone and friendless as they die in the wastes.
Kalemon's avatar
Good golly that's a lot of feedback. So uhh... Ahem.

The snow was neat to work on (at first...). I'd be a sorry Finn if I had gotten that awfully wrong. The thing is, when I started this, all I had to do was to look outside the window for some reference and now there are heat waves.

Yeah the top... thingies... Seems like I didn't quite get the messages right with them. The pony exactly isn't tying a wound he's really.... ummm actually neveremind that! And I guess having the hooves in all but added unwanted significance to them. I didn't even notice how it was almost a theme in all of them :/. The one with the box could have gone without one, and it would have added certain symmetry to the collection of images.

Yup that's pretty much what I wanted for the title. To be somewhat part of the actual world and not just a floating bit of information.

I was actually inspired by mister mechs murky number seven cover. It cover has some great storytelling going on and I just thought "thats pretty damn cool, I want to do something like that". The cool pose with city silhouette in the background was exactly what I wanted to avoid. Though I wish I had done the character interaction a tad bit better. Now they are merely walking down a street and I lost the change to do more with body language. It seems I was able to convoy the interaction somewhat well. I was going for a naive excited feel for the unicorn. The zebra is kind of the straight man here and actually knows the surrounding environment and how to survive there. He's merely reacting to the unicorns optimism, excited nature and maybe some stupid line he just blurted out. The diamond dog was meant to be just tagging along the group and snickering at their behaviour.

Heh.. thats pretty spot on what I was going for with the mooks. Though the only reason for the anti material rifle was, that I wanted to portray them as a genuine threat to the group. Submachine guns or pistols just don't cut it against a group thats equipped with power armour and wide array of advanced weaponry. Actually I should have also added some grenades or something for the chick...

Thanks for the feedback really. It's rare to receive this indepth analysis.
equilibrik's avatar
Also he's meant to be more silver/gray. His name is Inkwell, Green Bearded Pony is Mustang and the zebra is Crosshair. The Diamond Dog is a future character, so I won't give out any spoilers about her.
BrentOGara's avatar
Inkwell, Mustang, and Crosshair... good names :P It's tough to draw silver/grey in a single frame, they so often look alike until you actually see the light falling across them... it's a good color to be, though... you get all the ladies! ;) So, the fact that the diamond dog is 'a lady' is not a spoiler then..? fascinating... any other 'not spoilers' you can share (I'll probably have to read the story, won't I)???
equilibrik's avatar
I'd like it if you read the story ^_^. You can read it on FimFiction and Gdocs. There's a link to the FimFiction page on the Gdocs linked in this image's description.
Isenlyn's avatar
I have to finish FoE Murky Number Seven et Starlight but with this cover I think I know what's my next FoE fic to read.^^
Sorry, I don't even know why my computer is writting like this ? What keyboard shortcut did I clic ?^^
BrentOGara's avatar
Yeah! I've been reading it since last night :D
equilibrik's avatar
Charcoal Unicorn is a Stallion. Great analysis by the way. Love reading these kinda comments.
BrentOGara's avatar
... ah, it's a pretty guy... I always mistake those. Glad you like the analysis... now I have to go read the fic! :D
SirLeadhead's avatar
Now that's freakin sweet :D
BurnOut42's avatar
Looks amazing, especially diamond dog(or is it hellhound?). Do it again!))
Kalemon's avatar
Well can't say I'm seeing myself doing them anytime soon again... but heres some sketches. [link] I'll probably put them in a sketchpile and post them in the scraps when I have enough of that kind of stuff lying around again.
fuzzyveevee's avatar
Truly epic cover, Kalemon! Absolutely stunning work in no uncertain terms! Definitely saved to the folder of cool covers.

In particular, great work on the snow and depth to it all alongside the detail on even the mooks around the cover. Shows you really put a lot of dedication into this. :)
Kalemon's avatar
Thanks. Though I went a bit too far with the details. I now noticed the downside of working with huge canvas... it allows you to draw in such fine details that after resizing you lose almost all of them. the high res version is actually 75% of the original size... and I should have worked on even smaller canvas. And the mooks were fun. The bucket head, the other superstallion and that purple pirate were fun to fiddle around with. Especially especially that snow pirate with the hat.
equilibrik's avatar
It was quite the journey, watching this cover art come together. The changes, revisions, added details. All of it culminating in an amazing cover art image. Thank you Kalemon for doing this for me. You already know how much I love this cover art. :heart: :heart: :heart:
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