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Dire Wars baddies concept by NicGiraffe Dire Wars baddies concept by NicGiraffe
Since these are just rough concept sketches, this'll probably end up in my scraps eventually. These are visual ideas for four of the major villains in an original idea of mine's called Dire Wars. They're supposed to be dire wolves, though I referenced gray wolves to draw them, since from what I've read  there's not that much of a difference between dire and gray wolves. I want these guys to genuinely look like wolves, not generic large canines, so I'm open to pointers.

The four of them are part of an empire (which still needs a name) of dire wolves who rule much of their world with an iron fist/paw/claw. Certain individuals among their population possess magic as well as having raw physical abilties to fall back on (just in case their magic is countered somehow). I want to tie their abilities into the legends of werewolves somehow.

None of the dires have names yet, since I'm still trying to think about what their culture should be like. Starting from the top left, we have...

The scarred guy: The alpha. Meant to be large and imposing, but I don't like how he came out here.

The one on the bottom left: The alpha female. I like the idea of having her eyes constantly glow yellow, hence why she doesn't have pupils or anything.

Ponytail: Possibly more of a sorcerer then a fighter.

The smarmy-looking dude on the bottom right: A white wolf; youngest officer in the entire army at the age of sixteen. He's about as big a jackhole as he looks.
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Flammifleure Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
I'm pretty late with this comment, but I do like the sketch(es). They all look like wolves to me too, except maybe the Smarmy Guy. I think it might just be the angle though making his muzzle look shorter and narrower.

I like the concept of a dire wolf empire too. xD

I wouldn't mind offering ideas for naming it/cultures to base it off either, but I'd rather hear your own ideas first. I will say though, after reading the other comments, that Lycaon is a Greek myth. Off-hand, I recall that Lycaon was the King of Arcadia, who, when Zeus stopped by for a visit, killed one of his own sons and fed him to the god. Zeus turned him into a wolf as punishment. But oddly enough in connection with the rites in Arcadia commemorating this Zeus was referred to as "Lycaeus" which to me suggests that he was also lupinised. (In fact I have an entirely different interpretation of the myth, but that's another story.)

The only connection I have between the Romans and wolves is that Romulus and Remus were raised by wolves. Not exactly lycanthropy, but an interesting connection.

One of my favourite legends is one Tolkien made up; in the Silmarillion one of his heroes assumes the shape of a wolf to infiltrate the Dark Lord's fortress.
NicGiraffe Featured By Owner May 1, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
No worries! Thank you, I'm glad you like them! I was trying to make Smarmy look like a teenaged wolf. Their snouts aren't as long as the adults are (howlingforjustice.files.wordpr…), but his could stand to be less narrow, I agree.

I was actually kind of wondering if I was going to upset people by making wolves the antagonists. XD But you and everyone else is down with the idea so far.

I like the idea of basing their empire off that of ancient Rome and the Aztecs thanks to Cakelesspixels, but I'm still open to hearing any and all ideas! Oh, you're right about the Lycaon myth actually being Greek. Derp. :P And I forgot about Romulus and Remus. I didn't know that about Zeus. I know he was big on shape-changing though. I'd like to hear your interpreataion of the myth if you don't mind sharing.

I didn't know about that, but it does sound interesting! Can't say I've ever read Tolkien (I should), though I''ve seen the Lord Of The Rings films.
Flammifleure Featured By Owner May 26, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
I'm so late. But I didn't forget! I was thinking about sending my ideas and stuff by note, since it's not about the artwork as such. And I will try to get to that soonish.

I feel like I should have known that his muzzle would be shorter because he was younger, but it didn't occur to me. It's cool that you're going to incorporate that. :3

As for wolves as villains; you know I'm a fox guy. Wolves and foxes are traditional rivals/enemies. XD So it seems natural to me. There's also something poignant to me about making them dire wolves, because they're extinct -- it's kind of like you're invoking a lost civilization.

Only read them if you want to. xD I love them, but that doesn't mean they're for everyone. (Lots of people complain of the pacing, for instance, whereas I think it's perfect.)
NicGiraffe Featured By Owner May 29, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Those who live in glass houses can't throw stones, so I won't say a word about someone else's tardiness. :D But cool, looking forward to checking that out.


Heh, true. XD Well, it's not as if we really see villanous wolves all that much anymore, so actually it strikes me as being unique to depict them as such I feel. In the story, the dire wolves are a lost civilization that returns after being sealed away/or shunted off by the good guys to another dimension (I'm still trying to decide exactly what happens to them, but they're basically sent away against their will for a long time to stop their warmongering).

*nods* I've heard that about the pacing, as well as some other complaints about Tolkien's writing style. But I figure I should at least give something of his a try just to see whether or not it's something I like.
Flammifleure Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
Okay, wow, I almost feel like apologising again, though you know that my being late to reply is not *entirely* my fault. Anyway, I'm not entirely sure if you're still pursuing this idea of the Dire Wars or not. But I can still send you a note about lycanthropy and Lycaon.

I kinda hope you are still doing this, because that is a cool idea, though different from my first impression. xD At any rate, I think you have a point about wolves tending to be more positively portrayed. Though of the three wolf characters that are coming to mind two are villains, but that's just my experience. :p

Well Tolkien wrote a bunch of stuff, and pretty much every work has a different style. "Smith of Wootton Major" is dreamy, "Farmer Giles of Ham" is a comedic parody (of chivalry fantasy), The Silmarillion can only be described as Biblical not only for its matter and magisterial tone but because it's a compendium of various works. I think a good place to start would be The Hobbit, since it sets the stage for The Lord of the Rings in more ways than one.
NicGiraffe Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Sure, I'd love to see it. And yes, Dire Wars is still very much a thing. :) I've been trying to work on doodling some more characters, and I've developed the overall idea a little more since this post.

Once upon a time, I would've loved all the positive wolf images in contemporary pop culture. Now I'm just bored with wolves. Not to say that there aren't individual characters I like (Lupe, certain OFCs), but in general there are more unique animals out there that deserve more attention. 

Huh. I actually wasn't aware of his other works, since LOTR garners the most attention. but I'll have to give The Hobbit a shot.

BTW, don't feel like you have to apologize for anything. :) Like you said, what happened wasn't your fault.
Flammifleure Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
Okay. And I'm glad that this is still on, it's another thing to look forward to. : )

Ah. I can understand that, since similar things have happened with me -- start out liking something, or feeling indifferent, then getting to dislike it the more it gets hyped. Though in the case of wolves that's not exactly how I feel... I like wolves in general, as villains or otherwise; but it galls me when they are extolled as better than other animals. Besides I tend to prefer lone predators to pack hunters. :p

Haha, well if nothing else I'm glad to have made you aware of them. xD And I honestly couldn't say which was my favourite between LotR, The Hobbit, The Silmarillion or Farmer Giles of Ham, they're all so different, despite three belonging to the same setting. Anyway, yeah, The Hobbit's the place to start, though now I feel -- unnecessarily perhaps -- that I should point that it was written for children. It's probably not what anyone would expect given the hype that built up around its sequel... or the movie adaptations. >>
MightyMorphinPower4 Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2015
Cool love wolfes
NicGiraffe Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
cakelesspixels Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2015
I think they look great! I could tell they were wolves. I do love the designs you come up with for them. I'm curious about the story you're writing with them too. :D I did google some wolf tutorials to see if I could help give you any pointers, but I don't think I found anything that'd help LOL.

Since dire wolves were native to North and South America, maybe you could base them on a South American empire like the Mayans, Incas or Aztecs? Or, going off the werewolf thing, you could draw inspiration from the Roman empire. One of the earliest mentions of werewolves is from the Roman empire if I remember right. Or did you want something totally different?

The alpha female is my favorite out of these guys. I especially like the idea of her having glowing eyes. I also like ponytail and smarmy though. I half expect there to be a scene where Ponytail punches Smarmy in the face.
NicGiraffe Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Awesome! XD I don't want to succumb to "wolves that are interchangeable with huskies and German shepherds" syndrome that befalls a lot of artists. I do plan on posting sketches of more characters from the story. As for the story itself, it originally came about when I remembered you saying the idea of a group of resistance fighters against an oppressive government being kind of rare, and wanted to do a story using said idea. And thanks for looking, even if your search wasn't fruitful. =D

Ooo, those are good ideas! Can't say that I really see Meso-America represented in some fashion all that often in fiction. I know that werewolf legend you're referring to, the Lycaon (sp?) myth. I might try combining elements of the Roman Empire with the Aztecs, since both were known for being pretty brutal civilizations, and that'd fit the dire wolves.

Thanks! I feel like I got her design right on the first try. I wanted her to be alternately beautiful and eerie. LOL, yes, Smarmy will be due for five across the face several times throughout the story.
cakelesspixels Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2015
I totally understand, but you don't have to worry! You definitely didn't succumb to that. :D I knew they were wolves when I saw them. I can't wait to see more of the sketches! I'm really eager to see what else you've got planned. I'm surprised something I said inspired it even though I'm glad about it LOL. I definitely love stories that follow people fighting against an oppressive government, but I tend to be let down a lot. 

Yeah, I can't think of too many things that represent Meso-America either, which will make it even more interesting to see what you come up with! I think mixing elements from the Roman Empire and the Aztecs is a pretty good bet. Oh yeah, the Lycacon, I almost forgot about that. I was remembering the Satyricon

You definitely hit the mark with her! :D And I am looking forward to Smarmy enraging those around him LOL. I shouldn't, but I do. 
MammalMage Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Can't wait to see more of this idea put together. Are these anthropomorphic wolves or are you going for more of a Ratha's Creature type of story?
NicGiraffe Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks. To answer your question, they're anthropomorphic. I'd describe Dire Wars as being something like a cross between Sonic SatAM and Bucky 'O Hare, but with a slightly more serious tone.
MetalExveemon Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2015
Hm, they look like wolves to me. Not sure what other details you could add in that department. :) 

For the alpha male, maybe you can try making his eyes smaller and more narrow, and lower the way he's holding his head?

The alpha female looks beautiful, though. :D

Ponytail-wolf is very handsome (and his eyes are more like how your alpha male's could look).

Smarmy doesn't look like a jackhole to me, though; I would have pegged him as a cute, cheerful, overeager young cadet with a borderline sweet temper. :XD: (Right now I'm kind've shipping him with Ponytail, hahah; only I'm also kinda shipping Ponytail with Alpha-Female.)
NicGiraffe Featured By Owner May 11, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I'll keep the narrow/smaller eye design in mind the next time I draw the alpha, since this was just a preliminary sketch and all.

Heh, Smarmy would be like that in an alternate universe maybe. I was trying to give him this really smug, crap-eating grin. Also, I like that even this early on people are shipping these characters.
MetalExveemon Featured By Owner May 12, 2015
Alright, coolness. X) 

Hahah, actually, after looking him over again, I guess he is a little smarmy-lookin'. And I suppose his grin is a little smug, though its definitely not crap-eating; he's way too cute for that. ;) :XD: 

Rofl, oh really? Have others been shipping them as well then? What are the most popular pairings so far? ;D
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