Samurai Jack and the Valkyries

Norse mythology speaks to me the way no other does. I adore the visuals often associated to it: cold winter landscapes under the light of the Aurora; glorious, decorated wooden halls shinning among the snow; men and women adorned with runic tattoos feasting and sparring till the final battle at the world’s end.

And of course the Valkyries.

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Topping the list of my most beloved groups of mythological women, the Valkyries were tasked with selecting and guiding the souls of the greatest warriors to fall in battle to the halls of Valhalla. They are also destined to ride into battle come Ragnarök. And I don’t envy the fire-giants at the front of the charge that day. Well, okay, maybe I do a little…

My first ever contact with these amazing women was through a rather unlikely source: a children’s cartoon called Samurai Jack, the story of a Samurai warrior wandering the landscape of a cyberpunk future trying to find a way back to his time, so that he may defeat the evil being, Aku, that now rules the world. Along his travels he finds himself in the long destroyed home of the Norse, where he hears the calling of an ancient voice. In the depths of the mountain he comes face to face with the source: a giant Lava Monster. 420541-samurai-jack-jack-and-the-lava-monster-episode-screencap-1x10Jack learns the identity of this strange creature to be that of an old Norse warrior cursed, by the same evil creature that sent him to the future, to forever be stuck in his new rock body, never to join his fallen comrades in Valhalla. He explains to the Samurai that the only way for him to be accepted to the side of the gods is to fall in glorious combat. Hearing the monster’s plea Jack agrees to fight him.

The moment where Jack draws his sword and calls out to the monster to prepare himself was a really powerful moment for my young childhood self. It was, you see, only a few episodes earlier in the season that Jack teamed up with a warrior woman to hunt down a magic gem that could help him return to the past. Alas, as the gem was finally within his grasp the woman revealed herself to be Aku in disguise. Jack’s faith in the good in all people is his only real weakness, and he is taken advantage of more than a few times throughout the show. And even after experiencing a betrayal like that, he is still willing to take the monster at his word with no way to be sure of his intentions. And the payoff is truly spectacular.

After a hard fought battle Jack strikes the monster down, and the events that follow became ingrained in my mind ever since. samurai-jack-x-6In a glorious burst of light the warrior regains his mortal form, shouting at the top his lungs: “I am FREE!” Shortly after, however, the years he spent in his kingdom of rock all catch up to him, and he collapses on the ground an old man. Jack rushes to his aid, but with a smile on his face the warrior asks only that Jack hand him his sword. With his final breath he thanks his savior.

Then the skies burst open and a heavenly ray of light shines down at them. From within the blinding radiance two golden armored women descend on white horses, and land on the ground before them. The sight of those two magnificent figures framed in the light will forever be the most powerful image I have ever seen. And without a word spoken, Jack watches as the Valkyries carry the warrior back with them to the Hall of the Gods.

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Simplistic and dumbed down as it was, this was my introduction to Norse mythology. And what an introduction it was. 15 years later I still tear up at the very thought of that episode’s final 5 minutes. So to pay tribute to one of my defining childhood experiences, I made my own recreation of that impactful scene.

Check out the Timelapse here:

DeviantArt link here!

Human Valentina

Have I mentioned I love Kerbal Space Program?

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I have been on board KSP since its Early Access days back in 2014. It swiftly became one of my favorite games of all time. A game truly like few others. It is both a serious look into the workings of real space travel and a light-hearted, humorous joyride. You need look no further than the original launch trailer.

For some time the main crew of the Kerbal Space Center consisted of the trio of Bob, Bill and Jebediah Kerman. However, in a later update the females of the Kerbal race revealed themselves. Enter the first woman in the program: Valentina Kerman. She gets her name, appropriately, from the first woman to fly in space, Valentina Tereshkova, who orbited the Earth in her Vostock capsule in 1963. In my mind, Valentina is the bravest, smartest and by far the most enthusiastic of the Kerbonauts. And it seems many fans agree with me. A while ago I discovered a series of five Kerbal themed videos on Youtube by a channel called Door Monster, where I got to see the best depiction of a human Valentina ever. I’ll let you check it out too. (The other four vids are also well worth the watch. They are short and real witty.)

This is the image that pops into my head when I think Valentina Kerman. Always out there taking part on thrilling new space missions with the most excited smile in the galaxy.

Watch the timelapse here:

DeviantArt link.

New Self-Portrait – Tyr

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September is my month of birth, and as such I like to make a change of profile pictures. It’s good motivation to draw something.

I described in detail the thought process of me creating new profile pictures in a previous post. The short version: This is as close as I ever get to cosplaying, and my pictures reflect a part of my personality or mood I feel comfortable displaying. So though I draw myself more than just once a year, I don’t always apply new self-portraits as profile pictures to represent me.

I was inspired by this years awesome new release, the video game God of War. A former Greek god lives a reclusive life in the land of the Norse gods, and upon death of his wife starts on a life-defining journey with his son (a.k.a. “Boy”) to the top of the tallest peak in all the realms. Along the way they are confronted by numerous members of the Norse pantheon, such as Baldr, Freya, the brothers Magni and Modi, and Mimir who becomes a lasting member of their party. It is from him that the pair learn of the exploits of Tyr, the Norse god of war, who despite his title was actually a very kind, fair sort. The player never meets him in person, but his works are ever present throughout the land, as he labored to keep possibly world-destroying secrets out of the hands of the fearful and paranoid Odin as well as his gluttonous, aggressive and deplorable son, Thor.

Following the inspiration I looked up what was known of Tyr. For a god of War and Glory, he was much more known for being an aspect of Justice. Giver of Law, they called him. The most notable story featuring him was the Binding of Fenrir, where he willingly allowed the giant wolf to bite his hand off, making the sacrifice needed to keep the dangerous creature bound by magical chains. He saw this not just as a service to the gods and all mortal beings, but also as justice to Fenrir himself.

My choosing to become Tyr for this next picture has nothing to do with how I see myself. Based on what I know Tyr is a figure of great moral standards and self-sacrifice. A god known for being just and valorous in all circumstances. I am not like that. I do wish I was though. So this is me depicting my aspiration to be better than I am.

Also we both share very old, mythological first names that have three letters and start with a “T”. So there’s also that.

Picture is available on DeviantArt here.

Drawing Superwoman

I rarely see the same movies as others do, even when I watch them. One thing I do with just about every story I experience is change things around a bit in my head to suit my own entertainment needs. I have an active imagination that way.

On thing I like to play around with is the main character’s gender. Superman is my favorite superhero, and I often like to imagine how the story would have been different if Krypton’s last survivor was a girl. If these ideas are fun enough they get drawn.

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And here is the timelapse video:

The graduating Justice League

I haven’t posted in a while due to many things having arisen towards the end of the school year. On that subject, I am finishing my 3 year training in Education, during which I got to know a bunch of really awesome people. It has become customary for me to give the gift of art on occasion (birthdays and the like), but for graduation I decided to go the extra mile.

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This is an image of those of us who made it through all 3 years together as the members of the best team of superheroes ever to have existed: the Justice League (and the best incarnation of said group: the Justice League Animated Series). (I chose to make myself Aquaman btw.)

I originally wanted to then link all my friends the music from the show’s opening to provide the proper mood and atmosphere. Instead I decided to get to work on what is to this point the single greatest THING I have ever made.

Here’s to all the amazing people I had the privilege of attending university with. You guys are simply … super!

Wonder Woman

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Wonder Woman is my second favorite superhero (closely behind Superman). While I was happy that she got her own movie recently, and that it seems to be very much liked, I can’t honestly say that I liked it. I did, but I also did not.

The definitive version of Diana for me will forever be the one drawn by the Dodsons. Diana is the Superman of woman kind. A symbol all the good women are capable of being and strive towards. That includes toughness, power, compassion, and of course looks as well. No artist has ever hit the nail on the head as well in my eyes as these two.

A few years ago I favorited a painting of Wonder Woman on DeviantArt by user Onibox, because it had her in an amazing, modern looking outfit. Inspired by those images, when I inexplicably got the urge to draw superheros again, I had to take a shot at it myself.

And as usual you can check out the timelapse video right here:

Posting on DeiantArt here.

Freya from God of War

One of the things that I still need to improve in is depicting emotion. It is more than just a few lines on the face, rather the whole body, the pose, the angle. Once again it is my beloved Mother who challenges me to evolve. I recently enjoyed watching playthroughs of God of War, and chose Freya as my subject this time. If the face feels off to you, that’s because this drawing is also a picture of my mom, made at her request.

Happy mothers day!

Posting on DeviantArt here.