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Darren Lai Ho Keat
by darrenlhk on 24 May 2022 for Rookie Awards 2022

Work in progress, a term we often use in lives as artists. However, in this instance, it is referring to my journey of becoming the artist that I want to be.

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This is my entry for this year's Rookie awards. It includes some of the concept art and illustration works that I've done in the past 3 years. Hope you enjoy!

Concept Art for Crepesculum

A story about a young girl learning about the truth behind the stories told by her people and her newfound goal as the world around her changes.

This story is a collaborative project with some amazing friends of mine and had a great time working on it with them.

The protagonist's father and leader of the Faun Hunters. My idea of this character is someone that is old fashioned and modest. He only wants to protect his daughter and the village from the threats of a more powerful group. With this, I feel like he earned a more stern and tired look as he is occupied with his duties.

Outfit wise, I decided to base his outfit design on the middle to lower class during the Victorian Era. I believe that his rank and status as the Faun Hunters allows him to have more cleaner and formal pieces of clothing.

For his prosthetic arm, I approached it by first using a neat reference I found as a base and built on top of it. I mainly used artificial limbs around the period of the Victorian Era as reference for the arm.

A vehicle that Darius uses to get around. For this, I used old bicycles as a base and added the mechanics of the steam engine on top. I also referred to steam motorcycles from the 1890s like Hildebrand & Wolfmüller and how they work.

The house where Mila and Darius resided in. Considering the setting, I believe a rustic wooden house is fitting for them. I also ensured that the house wasn't too big or fancy as it would fit with the characters as they are not particularly wealthy. As symbolism for the leader of the Hunters, I added a menacing looking lamp made out of a Faun's skull.

The base for the building was built in 3D with Blender and additional details and touch up was done in Adobe Photoshop.

Key Art for Crepesculum

A key art depicting a scene in the story, where Mila, the protagonist would be running away from a group of soldiers known as the Greedians that have terrorized her village due to a 'breach of contract'.

This is one of the works that I really enjoyed working on during the period of producing these concept arts and it allowed me to explore different ways to approach to an environment of a key art.

Concept Art for Eiyr The Hammer Saint

A story about an elderly woman from the Church of Caldrheimr who is chosen to be the wielder of an ancient hammer known as the Frost Hammer. She is a lax woman that has the knowledge with many medical spells and magic thanks to her upbringing in the Church. With the guidance from the guardian of the Frost Hammer known as Gendor, she will go through tons of trials and tribulations to prove herself worthy of the title of the Hammer Saint.

For these concepts, I mostly referred to Scandinavian culture as my mind first went to vikings when thinking of a winter based character. However, I did borrowed some ideas from other cultures as well such as the Russian Ushanka hat, pieces of clothing from Ainu culture and some modern day winter clothes.

I decided to go with an older character as I have not done much old character up to that point and wanted to challenge myself. Plus, its not often that the chosen one trope is being used on an older character so I thought it would be pretty interesting. I had a lot of fun with this as I really liked the character I created. She seems like a really cool person to hang out with and I'd like to go on an adventure with her.

For gendor, I first got the inspiration from old drawings/depictions of Mjölnir, the hammer of Thunder God Thor in Norse Mythology. In those depictions, there seem to be semblance of a face and I used that idea for Gendor. In the end, Gendor became a golem-like looking creature with dragon wings and shape similar to those old depictions of Mjölnir.

The church of Caldrheimr. I depict it as a learning ground for people to become magnificent individuals that help support the village in many ways from managing the imports from other places to managing the village and their needs. For the style, I made it more rounded with a larger base to emulate the style I had for Eizr. I feel like this also helps give the idea that Gendor wasn't from here.

I really enjoyed drawing this piece as the lighting and colors turned out how exactly I wanted them to be.

Concept Art for mission:escape Arrgona

A story about a retired military officer of the nation known as Arrgona, who is currently an undercover spy working as a therapist. On one fateful day, the nation gets attacked by terrorists and the officer is tasked to protect and escort the young prince of the nation to another nation where Arrgona has diplomatic relationships with. Through this journey, the military officer learns the truth about his country and its misdeeds as well as the reality of the world they live in.

As they escape the nation, they get chased by a creature through an abandoned city that will later be revealed to be the effect of the terrible science experiments done by the Arrgonian higher ups.

The ancient machine known as the Librarian. My initial idea for this character was a lot different as it was actually a supposed to be a homunculus. After many discussions and brainstorming, this is the conclusion. Although the race(?) has been changed, the concept is still mostly similar as it is still an inhuman scholar character.

Concept Art for Re:Write

Re:Write is an IP about a fantasy world based in the Victorian Era where fairy tales have come to live and become a source of magic to humans. However, a dark force has corrupted one of the fairy tales that is Alice in Wonderland and caused an invasion towards human kind. This caused humans to look for an ancient machine known as the Librarian that has the power to rewrite the laws of magic in the world. As it was revived, the Librarian is tasked to fix the corrupted fairy tales and save the world from terror.

This idea was inspired from mobile gacha games that have a large character roster based of certain concepts. In this case, it was fairy tales. The biggest inspiration is Granblue Fantasy.

Alice from Alice in Wonderland. I depicted that the corruption from the dark force has made her story more brutal and dark. Instead of just landing in wonderland, I imagined that Alice actually suffered from the fall and caused brain injury causing her to imagine wonderland. By the end of her journey in wonderland, she wakes up with a more twisted psyche with now the ability to summon the creature of wonderland into the real world.

For her look, I imagined a dominating female villain that's a little crazy kind of vibe to her. Initially, it was more the innocent kind of vibe but that made it hard to show that she is the main antagonist.

Cheshire the cat... is a snake? Yep and I got the idea from cobras and the patterns they have that can kind of act as an intimidation method. So, used that idea and have Cheshire's signature smile as the intimidation tactic. Pattern wise, I emulated the markings on a tabby cat as the original was a cat and made it out of smoke as a reference to its ability to turn invisible in the original Disney version. It also connects to Alice as she summons him through the smoke she blows out from her pipe.

Environment Concept Arts

Here is a section for some of the environment concept arts I've done that are not part of a project. Some are fully photobashed, while some have a 3D base made in Blender.

Mother Nature's Remains

The last tree of mother nature that resides in a cave, protected from being tainted by the outside world.

Drowned World

With the ever rising ocean levels at its peak and a large rainstorm consuming the whole world, the Earth has been drowned. Cities destroyed and landscapes sunken, the human race has to adapt to this new world in order to survive.

The Parthenon of the Skies

An ancient greek temple that was built high in the sky. No ordinary human has found its whereabouts.

Humanity's Station on Planet Artemis

In a world where humans have further explored outer space, they've found planet Artemis. Here, they have built some bases and are aiming to learn more about the planet and its ability to sustain human life.

Thank you for your time!

Well, that is the end of my showcase. Despite that, progress will continue to be made as my journey does not end here and will continue to move forward. With that, I hope that you'll see my works again in the future.

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