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Emerald Man
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Emerald Man

Rafael Méndez Izquiano
by RalphDraws10 on 30 May 2024

Illustration project for an animated series in the following genres: adventure, action, science fiction, fantasy and superhero fiction.

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"EMERALD MAN"

"Emerald Man" is a science fiction project that I began developing during my studies in digital art at Trazos School. The creation of this world and its characters is inspired by the television shows and animated films from my childhood and adolescence. These stories motivated me to create my own stories and characters.

The project is the visual development of an animated series that has been rated for audiences aged 12 and above. The narrative is an action-adventure story that also encompasses genres such as science fiction, fantasy, and superhero fiction.

"Trax"

In this project, we follow the cosmic ‘Trax’ as he embarks on an amazing adventure across the galaxy to uncover the secrets of his past. He's an emerald green-skinned being with a body covered in strange tattoos that may be reminiscent of a nervous system and with powerful cosmic abilities that he will discover as he travels the galaxy in his search for answers.

"In a planet far away..."

As the story begins, ‘Trax’ finds himself on a hostile planet, with no memory of who he is or how he got there, and with a disease that keeps him weak and therefore captive. He has lost track of time and his life is based on surviving long enough to find the answers he needs about where he came from. When his life is not in danger, he actually leads a fairly quiet life in his refuge, where he spends his time with a daily journal that he fills in with everything he learns about his environment and everything he discovers about himself. All this accompanied by his only companion, a being with a great capacity to adapt to the environment and whom he has given the name ‘Chamy’.

Everything changes one day when some gigantic mechanical beings arrive on the planet...

The metal giants seem to recognise Trax and make him their target. Unable to fight due to the disease that keeps him weak, our protagonist escapes while his chameleon-like friend helps him. But Chamy is no match for the Sentinels, and is badly wounded. Trax confronts them, using what he learned on the jungle planet where he has been trapped for years. In a stunning display of power, he pierces the core of one of the metallic beings, and to his amazement, his body begins to change!

Suddenly, his skin turns emerald green, his body regains a glow it lost long ago and a cosmic energy imbues his insides, giving him the strength to finish off the metallic beings that harmed his friend. After finishing them off, he desperately searches for a way to heal his friend, stumbling upon the ship in which they arrived on the planet. But when he comes into contact with the ship's control panel, the ship shoots off... leaving the planet behind, and thus beginning his adventure...

Character Design

First of all, for the design of all the characters, I kept one of the first rules I set myself for the project: NO HUMANS. This way I could play a lot more with the different characters and their designs.

For Trax's design, I wanted to give him the appearance of an ethereal being, bordering on omnipotent and above all as far away as possible from our human species. Instead of relying on external sources for sustenance, he is able to derive all the resources he requires from the energy of his own body. However, there was a risk of making him too alien, which might prevent the viewer from sympathising with him. So, I decided that part of the energy that exceeds his body and that comes out of the area of his head would form a kind of crest to give him a more youthful appearance. One additional detail that I wished to incorporate into his species was the tattoos that he has along his body. These were inspired by the concept of a nervous system.

In terms of his wardrobe, I was inspired by the iconic jackets worn by the main characters of the television shows I enjoyed as a childThese and the energy emitted by the subject's body and the tattoos adorning it would serve as the inspiration for the jacket, which would feature a hood in order to allow the character to conceal himself from his adversaries when necessary.

In the character sheet, a few dynamic poses were included, in which the character is observed using some of his abilities and even being injured. As for his expressions, he is inclined to adopt a somewhat impassive and controlled demeanor, although he does occasionally display genuine astonishment or even succumb to emotional distress when circumstances become overwhelming. As for the personal items he usually carries during his adventure, we find a map that he will expand as he gets to know new places, his travel journal to record all that he discovers about the cultures he encounters, a D.A.S. device and a few snacks that he does not require for sustenance but whose flavor he finds particularly appealing.

While he doesn't have much to cover up either (as the species he comes from doesn't breed in the traditional way), and shortly after the adventure begins he is given his trademark jacket, it was crucial to establish the design of his tattoos in order to facilitate the future role of the animator.

The precise nature of the energy that powers Trax's biology remains uncertain. However, it is known to be extremely powerful. Traxian energy is a highly sought-after well throughout the galaxy by those with a focus on science, due to its versatility.

What it will be discovered, however, is that the particles that make up this energy multiply, thereby rendering Trax stronger over time and even capable of healing him from any injuries.

In designing Trax's powers, I though to imbue them with a cosmic and comic book feel, inspired by the so-called 'Kirby Particles' (named after Jack Kirby, one of the most influential comic book artists in history).

As I mentioned earlier, Trax uses this energy in different ways throughout his adventure to achieve feats such as shooting it out of his hands and even propelling himself through the air, at times appearing to fly. He uses special shoes designed by his clever friend Claila.

However, Trax does not limit himself to one invention; he also carries a D.A.S. device (Sensation Storage Device). Once this device inhibited his powers and kept him imprisoned, it now accompanies him in his freedom. This invention has several modes, each focused on a specific sense, allowing the user to gather a wide range of information from the planets they visit. The sensations collected by the device can then be stored in the traveller's log, providing a more comprehensive understanding of the places visited.

As previously mentioned, when our story begins, Trax is not entirely alone, for he has the company of a small animal companion, which he refers to as "Chamy". But he also has to contend with the local wildlife...

So I decided to design some of these creatures:

  • Chamy: The objective was to create a species that could adapt to any ecosystem. Although the different specimens of this species exhibit varying skin colours and even fur, they are all characterised by their scaly skin, which enables them to withstand higher temperatures and adhere better to surfaces. Their fur allows them to withstand cold climates, a pointed nose provides them with some defence and also enhances their olfactory abilities, their powerful tongue facilitates both mobility and their omnivorous diet, and finally, their camouflage ability prevents them from being easy prey for the larger predators that are prevalent on the planet. For its creation I based it on a mixture of chameleon and canid.
  • "Maracañas": The species is characterised by its hundreds of eyes, which afford it perfect peripheral vision. Its sharp fangs, which are full of venom generated by its postulates, and its prehensile tail, which is directly connected to its venom bags, contribute to its status as the most venomous species on the planet. The creatures in question were created by combining elements from three different species: ladybugs, spiders and scorpions.
  • "Escaragrejos": This species of arthropods is notable for its impenetrable armour, the hardness of its protuberances (of which the multiple horns arranged along its body are particularly noteworthy) and its sharp front blades (which are particularly useful for close targets). These characteristics render it an unstoppable object, a "nature's tank". The aforementioned protection is not merely aesthetically pleasing; it serves a functional purpose. The exoskeleton is lined with soft entrails, which harden during the breeding season to protect the eggs they carry. These entrails and hatchlings are a delicacy for the rest of the species, although it is not easy to obtain them. The design was inspired by the morphology of crabs, beetles and mantises.

"Claila"

Another significant figure throughout the project is "Claila", an intelligent and multifaceted inventor who accompanies our protagonist on a journey across a galaxy. Unlike Trax, she does not possess superpowers; instead, she relies on her intellect and wit to overcome any obstacles that arise. However, she is not merely a cerebral individual; she is also a courageous girl who embarks on various exploratory missions, accompanied by her closest friend and robotic bodyguard, Jenk. These expeditions are undertaken with the objective of locating new components for her machines. She is a self-made woman, who is driven by a desire to fully utilise the freedom and potential offered by the technology of a vast galaxy.

But she hides a secret from her past that could potentially cost her friendship with her new group of partners...

Meeting "The Dusty Duo"

Claila and Trax meet when Trax is exploring the sentinel facilities in search of a way to cure his furry friend after leaving the planet that held him captive. Claila was gathering parts in a facility whose existence she thought was secret from the rest of the world. After struggling to escape from the robot factory after disclosing their presence, Trax has no choice but to sneak into Claila and Jenk's ship.

Character Design

Claila and her design were of significant importance, as she is the co-protagonist of the narrative and possesses more background information than many other characters. This is reflected in her character sheet, where more expressions and props are noticeable than in other characters.

With regard to the specific case of the character, it was my intention to portray her species as having a natural inclination to develop technology, as evidenced by the white areas on the face, slanted eyes, pointed eyebrows and ears. Furthermore, I established blue as her characteristic colour. However, Claila does not feel particularly connected to her roots, which is reflected in her choice of clothing, which tends towards orange tones giving her also a more ‘rusty’ look which I thought connected well with a character who is actually a junkyard worker who uses other people's trash to give it a second life through her inventions. Some of the white elements are actually modifications of equipment she has encountered over the years from the Space Security Corps.

In contrast to Trax, who is still developing an understanding of the world around him, Claila has a more established personality, which is reflected in the range of expressions she employs. She usually has quite a bold and sarcastic attitude, yet she is capable of displaying unexpected emotional depth. As for her dynamic poses, I wanted to show a bit of her using the different inventions that help her catching up with her fellow companions and also doing her favourite activity: building gadgets.

And speaking of gadgets, let's take a closer look at them:

These boots give you a boost to reach higher places or move faster through space.

By modifying a space security corps pistol, she was able to adapt it to utilise different cartridges that she had developed and used in a variety of situations. Among these cartridges, we highlight one that contains a powerful adhesive, a highly corrosive one, one designed to knock down elements and finally, using some energy from Trax, she had created a very powerful one for emergency moments.

The integration of nodes into her glove enables her to create a variety of weapons and tools that adapt to her arm. These utensils are created through the use of malleable artificial relics of her own creation.

Finally, the various perspectives on the character and his most frequently utilized inventions:

Jenk

He and Claila are an unstoppable duo! They try to go unnoticed, but they're known throughout the galaxy for their incredible inventions and amazing altruistic actions wherever they go. In Jenk's case, he's the muscle of the group, thanks to some amazing improvements added to his old body when he met Claila! He can come across as a bit grumpy and rude most of the time, but he is so grateful to Claila that he'll go to any length to help her. He'll even go so far as to defend her above all things!

In order to convey the image of a physically imposing figure, big, tough, rough-and-tumble guy whose solution to everything is to beat his way out of a situation, I chose to portray him as a robot with a substantial stature and broad shoulders, which would enable him to carry the larger objects he encounters during his scavenging sessions with Claila. In fact, the only piece of fabric she wears on her robotic body is the shoulder pads, which are full of pockets and serve to carry additional tools for her friend. These pieces of cloth are the same colour as Claila's equipment, which serves to unify the two characters as a duo. Along her joints are a multitude of tubes that inflate, which serve to enhance her strength in certain situations.

"Charmy"

The group's mascot and Trax's inseparable friend, he is a robot chameleon with the ability to change shape to adapt to the environment or situation. He can even rearrange the pieces that make him up or even absorb materials from the environment!

Its origin is when Trax finds himself looking for some clothes among the things on Claila and Jenk's ship after joining them. Trax is feeling pretty down after not being able to save his friend ‘Chamy’ and he keeps thinking about him while he is looking through the junk. It is then that a strange sphere catches his attention. When he comes into contact with it, it begins to glow and attract nearby components that begin to form a kind of robotic being in the shape of a chameleon. Because of his resemblance to his old friend, Trax decides to call him ‘Charmy’, and it is here that an unbreakable bond is born again!

I used the chameleons' camouflage ability to come up with his design and adaptability, as well as based on his previous iteration. I took 'Chamy' and made his robotic version, using parts recycled from scrap that Claila may have had around the ship, hence the dirty and rusty look. For his core, despite being a sphere, I wanted to add elements reminiscent of a heart.

The design of its alternative forms is based on a series of pieces held together by the energy of its core. These pieces can move and change position to create different forms. I took inspiration from other real and mythological animals for its different transformations. Each form has different abilities depending on the situation and the type of material it can help itself and absorb in each environment.

El resto de la banda

Shiude

Shiude comes from a species of great martial artists whose blindness does not hinder them in the slightest due to the rest of their senses and, most importantly, their incredible ability to detect the nervous impulses of other living beings. His ability to foresee his opponent's movements, coupled with the immense strength of his upper body and the lightness of his lower body, make him an unbeatable fighter.

Shiude lost his family and village to the evil Darkend group when their pride was damaged in a fight. But he is a fighter through and through, and he will not rest until he has avenged them! Since then, Shiude has found himself with a burning desire to make them pay for what they did to him. That is why, after discovering the incredible strength that runs through Trax's body, he decides to accompany him in order to learn about different cultures and gain more allies. In this way, he will be a better fighter for when the situation arises to meet the Darkends again and bring justice! In a fantastic turn of events, Claila gives him two bionic arms, which will allow him to make the most of his battle skills!

The design was inspired by animals with slimy skin and semi-aquatic environments, such as amphibians. Additionally, aquatic animals were referenced to create the gills, which resemble the character's unusual eyes and echolocation organ, located on the forehead.

Regarding the character's attire, pants were designed to enhance mobility during combat and bandages were incorporated to protect the original arms. With regard to the bionic arms, I kept the colour scheme I've been using with Claila's inventions while reducing their thickness in comparison to her organic arms. This was done in order to enhance their mobility and minimise any potential interference with her movements.

Yaina y Yeren

These siblings come from Chevalon, a planet that is under the rule of a feudal lord who keeps everything stuck in a sort of medieval era where his ‘pure race’ claims to be superior. Yaina and Yeren have been running away from these knights for years, being considered monsters not only because they were born of a biracial marriage, but also because of the abilities they inherited from their parents. But they're not monsters! They're just two kids who need a helping hand! Yaina is super elastic, which helps her move through the jungles of the planet with ease and also helps her control her younger brother Yeren, who can reach great speeds with his ability to run!

Yaina has been taking care of her brother practically all her life, which is why joining Trax's galactic adventure is a dream come true for her. She gets to act like the teenager she always dreamed to only be, sometimes becoming easily irritable and haughty, which is great because it's so much fun for the rest of the group! But who gets on her nerves most is her brother, who, not content with his super speed, can't stand still, causing her sister to have to use her skates to keep up with him.

Yaina and Yeren are a fascinating mix of simian and feline, with characteristics of both animal species. Their feline DNA is more dominant, making them more agile and intelligent than the average of their species. Each family has its own distinctive markings and emblem, the emblem being a Y that they wear as brooches and belts to remind them of their family. Both wear clothing with yellow bands that relate somewhat to their wardrobe. In the case of Yaina, she utilises elbow pads and homemade skates in order to maintain a similar pace to her brother.

Line-up de los héroes

"La tortuerra" 

(Claila's and Jenk's Spaceship)

You simply cannot travel the galaxy without a ship that can support such a diverse group of people! Fortunately for the group, they have the incredible ‘Tortuerra’ to transport them to the far reaches of the galaxy. The ship was originally designed to carry all the junk that Claila and Jenk discovered on their exploration missions. As more people joined the adventure, the ship's space was transformed into individual spaces, making it even more exciting!

In terms of design, I was really excited to create a spacious ship, so I tried lots of different ways to give it that width and carrying capacity. Then I had the brilliant idea of basing it on a sea turtle to come up with a shape! I started building it from its centre, where it contains a trailer, the rest was to make it plausible that this tartan could fly adapting the physiognomy of a turtle to a spaceship. I wanted to give it a rusty air to go with Claila and Jenk's aesthetics, and also to show some of the characteristic energy that Claila uses in her inventions. It's a great look!

The Bad Guys

Dr. Cleveruff

Dr. Clailor Cleveruff is the main antagonist, the mastermind behind all the adversities and the greatest threat the Trax group has to face. To the general public, he is simply the brilliant mind behind one of the most important tech companies in several star systems, with alliances with galactic law enforcement and an unimpeachable altruistic image. But in the shadows he is a mad scientist who loves to experiment with anything that comes his way, all in the name of boosting his ego and being considered the most intelligent being in the universe. Cleveruff sees Trax as the key to the greatest scientific revelation in history and the title he craves. To get his hands on Trax, he'll stop at nothing! He'll attack him with every piece of machinery and experiment he has at his disposal.

Years ago, the brilliant Dr. Cleveruff set out to achieve genetic perfection by experimenting on different alien species. One of those experiments turned out to be our protagonist, who, although he managed to escape with the rest of the subjects, was left stranded on a savage planet, sick and with no memory of his past life. Although he still possesses some of the incredible energy that Trax emanates and continues to benefit from the energy of Trax's home planet, the search for his greatest creation continues unabated. With Trax's remaining sample, he developed a similar energy with which he would power all his new machines and robots. It may not be as powerful as the original, but it's still pretty impressive!

On the other hand, Cleveruff is Claila's father and the reason for her escape from her past life! This is a secret that will shake her relationship with the other members of the group! Due to his high narcissism and his quest for perfection, Cleveruff put a lot of pressure on the shoulders of his heiress, who only wanted to create things that could help others. With Claila's departure, all that weight will now fall on her little sister...

As for his design, he maintains the typical characteristics of his species: blue skin, white markings and pointed ears. What makes Cleveruff different from the rest of his species is his large brain, which he boosts with his own invention that keeps him at 100% capacity at all times. His costume is a unique blend of a scientist's dressing gown and an emperor's suit, covered with golden parts and those shoulder pads that make him look more imposing.

Cleveruff's biggest trait is his ego and narcissism, which is ev in his many expressions where no matter how he feels, he always maintains his look of representative superiority.

Among his props, we find his most precious asset: the DNA he still has from Trax; a monocle and a tablet, both holographic, to keep him informed of everything that happens in and out of his reach. And last but not least, his neural helmet that boosts his intelligence to a superhuman level. Not only is the colour palette with his daughter at extremes of the colour wheel, but also with his inventions, where Cleveruff's are blue and white.

Dr. Cleveruff is not a particularly athletic person, in fact he is borderline overweight, and this translates into his dynamic poses where he is seen working on his inventions, commanding his robots or posing triumphantly.

Cleveruff has a wide range of robots at his disposal, and Trax has to face them all. These robots are powered by an energy similar to Trax's, which is why when fighting with them they often enhance their powers when they come into contact with their energy cores.

Let's take a look at the line-up from right to left and from most dangerous to least dangerous:

  • The Foot Troopers: They are the most basic robots, but they're also the easiest to produce, which is why there are so many of them! These incredible robots have a whole host of amazing abilities, including armour made of one of the hardest metals in the galaxy, ocular laser beams and incredible speed due to the fact that their parts are only attached to the core. They're used in so many ways but they mainly serve as minions.
  • Ribcrackers: They handle the toughest jobs, so they require more energy. Their impressive armour and extra arms make them perfect for close combat.
  • Sentinels: These incredible robots are the most powerful and advanced Cleveruff has to offer. Their larger size, flight abilities and laser cannon make them the perfect choice for any mission! They are used in extra-planetary operations and exploration, although their main mission is to find all the super-powered experiments that escaped from their master's clutches years ago.

"A battle across the sky"

Gunkerstein

Henric Gunkerstein was one of the scientists who helped Cleveruff with the genetic experiments. Unlike Cleveruff, when all the mutants escaped, he kept his eyes on the prize and kept on trying to create an invincible and super-adaptable being. After further research into Traxian energy, he developed a serum that made him, in his eyes, the perfect being. Now with the ability to mould his limbs, an almost unbreakable skin and unbridled strength, he aims to bring this power to all his people. Gunkerstein is ready to take on anything that stands in his way in order to ‘give perfection’ to every living thing.

When Gunkerstein meets Trax and his group again, he is amazed by Charmy and his abilities. He then tries to kidnap it in order to experiment on him and find the key to creating more beings with such adaptability. This will be just one of many thrilling confrontations the group will have with him and his mutant entourage!

For his design, the main influence was anthropomorphic and mythological beings, such as bows or ogres. I wanted to give him a rough, reptilian-looking skin. I did several colour tests to see which palette to go for. The markings on his face are a side effect of the mutation. For his ability to turn his hands into different tools, I had his arms made up of a kind of cartilaginous plates that move to form these organic white weapons.

As for his costume, it's a futuristic jumpsuit that expands when he transforms, and I designed the belt that gives him his power with an energy similar to Trax's but in a different colour.

Darkend

They are considered the most dangerous bounty hunter group in 7 galactic systems and the most relentless threat our heroes will face. These super-soldiers were Cleveruff's last big genetic gamble before opting to rely solely on robotic beings of their own creation. Before they gained their abilities and became an elite team, they were a group of friends who were constantly oppressed and mistreated by those with more power. Once they gained their abilities, they were ready to take revenge on anyone who got in their way or who they felt disrespected them. When they experimented with them they all gained different unique abilities, although they all possess shared characteristics such as increased strength and speed. But not everything is perfect, as their abilities came with deformities throughout their bodies. After discovering this, they disassociated themselves from Cleveruff and began their personal crusade of blood and vengeance.

All darkends wear similar armour and masks, though with slight changes to suit their personalities and abilities. In this case, we have the main darkend and leader of the team, who has the ability to copy the abilities of his teammates. This gives him the ability to organise his team and create the best strategies. In his right hand he carries a very dangerous weapon for our character, as it manages to damage him by poisoning him with an energy radically opposite to his own and that manages to inhibit his abilities. 

Here is a height comparison of these villains next to our protagonist:


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