Fate Saga is a fantastical, action/drama animated series about fate and free will, and follows Cain, a knight who can see the future. With only glimpses of prophecies to guide him, Cain interferes in natural disasters and war in hopes of stopping his tragic visions from happening.

However, in a world on the brink of an apocalypse, is knowing the final outcome enough to change it?

Fate Saga is an original animated action/drama series taking place in a fantastical world based on Medieval Europe.

30 January 2012

Fate Saga Updates

It's been a long and hectic holiday season, opening to an equally hectic (but hopefully productive!) New Year. As you may know from the blog, Fate Saga has been chugging along, slowly but surely, as we work on concepts for the first season. Although we have gathered some interest from prospective companies, we are hard at work to find additional or major sponsorship so we can pick up the pace of production. I am also looking for ways to help make Fate Saga more self-sustaining, in the form of merchandising or incorporating other features (such as live stream or tutorials) into the posts. The merchandising I will look more into once the character redesigns are finished.

Between November and now, with the help of my crew members I've been focusing on tightening the plot, putting together scripts, and redesigning the cast. One blessing and curse of 2D is that your only limitations is the depth of the artist's drawing ability. So as my crew and I gain more experience as artists, we were confined by old designs. Once the model sheets are done, we can start focusing on official artwork for Fate Saga again - without having to worry about the designs suddenly becoming outdated.

Monty Bess
(our environment concept artist) has been hard at work designing Fate Saga's world, and some of his brilliant work has been featured on the blog, with more on the way!

I have been lucky to have the help and critique of my crew members, colleagues and even our fans and voice actors, including Craig Helfer, Scott Smith, Celia Sullivan and Ashley Sahler! It has been great to get such feedback, and it's been helpful in tightening the new character designs and making sure that all of the characters look different from each other and yet fit together in the same world seamlessly. I want to extend a big thank you to Tracy MacLauchlan, Yesenia Carrero, Ochumilla Travieso, Kishia Houck, Jamie Lewallen and Megan Miller for their advice, critiques and well wishes during this time.

Here are some of the updates to look forward to in the next coming weeks/months:
  • Model sheets for Rori's wolf and were-form, Larkspur and Cyrus. Possible model sheets for Malachi, Seiron, Drax, Armand, Bianca and Lukas, but once the main 4 heroes and Cyrus are done, we can start on some of the promotional artwork
  • Animation tests with the new designs
  • More fantastic environmental concept art of Fate Saga's landmarks by Monty Bess
  • Episode synopsis for the first season, complete with concept illustrations
  • Merchandise designs for this year's convention season
  • Revamping the Pitch Book
  • Revamping the blog itself

Thank you everyone for your interest, excitement and support! Lets make this a productive New Year!

Guile Model Sheets



Guile's design hadn't changed much since the Fate Saga pitch to Warner Brothers back in March 2011. In preparation of the model sheets and to make sure that there weren't any design changes necessary, I drew test sketches, a comic, illustrations and did a test animation (more as a demonstration for the class I was teaching than as an official test, but why not kill two birds with one stone, right?)

His model sheets are a little different from Rori's and Cain's in that I didn't dedicate an entire page to his hand design, and instead kept it on the first page. This was because I didn't feel like his hand design was complicated enough to get into detail with.

29 January 2012

Bianca Firin' Up by Tracy MacLauchlan

A few weeks ago Jess, Tracy (the co-creators of The Taffetas) and I were doing a fun drawing session where we'd basically just make requests of each other and draw it. During the session, Tracy drew this awesome picture of Bianca based off of her recent lower cut (AKA skankier) redesign.

I love how sassy she looks!

27 January 2012

Rori (Human) Model Sheet




Here are the model sheets for Rori's human form. Her wolf and were-forms will have their own model sheets.

Her new design is based off of concept drawings that I've been working on throughout the last few months, with the help and critique of friends and colleagues including Tracy, Jess, Celia and Tara.

Rori's human form has been an interesting challenge. Rori is a very old character, and though her design was tweaked throughout the years, only recently did it get a complete overhaul. Tracy had made a very good point in that Rori should look more ethnically different from the other main characters because she's from the other side of the Pangaea. I've been experimenting with different cultures to try and find a reference that would work best for Rori. I ultimately focused on Scandinavian.

I liked that Norwegian medieval history gave me the Vikings to draw upon as a reference, and went primarily in that direction. I knew right away that I didn't want her to look like a stereotypical viking, and did some extensive research to find that Norwegian history also included crossing over with Asia, and so I took Rori's physical design in the Eurasian approach.

My first attempt at the Eurasian design

Jess had a great suggestion that Rori's facial structure could be made even more ethnic by concentrating on the individual features - eye shape, nose, mouth. I did some research into Scandinavian facial features and learned that they are apparently known to have a hooked nose. So I played around with that concept and gave her more of a pointed nose. Her eyes have since been tweaked to try and take on a completely different shape than the more rounded eyes of Cain, Guile and Larkspur, and with her mouth I just tried to keep in mind that her lips are covering some very large teeth.

At Tracy's suggestion I played around with her outfit to try and make it look more primitive, and at Celia's suggestion I widened her hips further.

This was the second stage of her new design.

The multiple outfits were based off of viking designs - costumes, paintings, How to Train Your Dragon. I also looked at Visions of Escaflowne, since their designs leaned towards medieval and primitive. #8 was the most well received.

I have been working on revamping her color scheme - stepping back from her original black and white design and looking at natural wolf colors. I've had a lot of mixed reviews for which color scheme fit best, and I'm still experimenting with it. So the colors for Rori may change throughout the course of her next few posts until a final scheme is set.

One thing I like to do once I'm getting close to the end of the design process is start testing out the design by drawing it in action. Sometimes, when doing so I will subconsciously make minute adjustments to the design and get my hand used to drawing the character.

I was recently informed by Tara that Rori's design looks more Russian than Scandinavian, particularly because of the Eurasian influence (as Russia is more known for Eurasia...and the word Viking automatically - and for good reason - conjures up the image of a blonde wearing a horned helmet). That was an interesting discovery, and I have since looked into any other Russian influences I may incorporate into Rori's fellow wolf hunters. Since Fate Saga is not a historical show and does not take place on Earth, I feel it's fine to draw from multiple resources and references so long as the details don't contradict each other.

24 January 2012

20 Facts About Larkspur


20 facts about Larkspur


1. Larkspur is a cleric
Larkspur can heal people through magic. However, her abilities are limited to only being able to heal what the injured person's body would have eventually been able to heal on his/her own anyway - her magic just drastically speeds up the process. Mortal injuries, dismemberment and even some critical injuries (like broken bones that aren't set right) she can't heal unless some regular medical treatment is applied first.

2. She is an extrovert with social anxiety
Larkspur has trouble communicating with people in social situations. She's always afraid that what she says and does is being misinterpreted. In trying to correct herself, she ends up making herself sound much worse than she would have if she just spoke without refrain. Unfortunately, Larkspur thrives on communicating and spending time with others, but her social anxiety makes it difficult to get the amount of interaction that she needs.

3. Larkspur is combat-trained
She was trained in how to fight with hand-to-hand and with a bo staff when she was younger, but she hasn't kept up with training. If she is startled, or is reacting without thinking, she will fall back on that training and deal a quick, usually impressive blow on her opponent. Often, her lashing out tends to be accidentally against friends, colleagues or loved ones more often than real enemies. However, as soon as her mind catches up with what she is doing, even if she's still in a dangerous situation, her instinctive attacks will stop and she'll be more likely to flee (or apologize if it was a friend she had just floored). Larkspur is not a 'damsel in distress' however, as she can usually handle herself well enough to get out of trouble.

4. She is a musician
Larkspur can play instruments, including the mandolin. However, she is most well known for her singing. Playing music and singing is one of the only times her mind ever feels at ease.

5. Larkspur has some medical training...but not much
Larkspur is regarded as a 'doctor' to some degree, and because of her healing abilities combined with some medical training she is able to deal with emergencies very well. However, her medical training is limited to cleaning/bandaging wounds, and putting together medicine using local herbs. She knows very little about anatomy itself, and so fixing anything that requires more knowledge (such as surgery, setting bones, etc.) is beyond her ability.

6. She is Catholic, but she's not as superstitious as most people from that era tend to be
Larkspur works at the monastery in Duero. Duero is a crossroads that bring in people (and sometimes beastial races) from all over the world. Thus, Larkspur is used to dealing with people who have different beliefs than she does. She's grown to be accepting, tolerant and believes that there is good in everyone.

7. Larkspur's parents are divorced.
Her mother was a shut-in, and her father was an extrovert. They got along well enough, but when Larkspur was born, the mother became more paranoid of other people judging them - her parenting style, them as a family, Larkspur - that she became even more of a shut-in and tried to enforce it on Larkspur and her father as well. When the mother's social anxiety and fear of what everyone else thought of them began to seep into Larkspur's personality, her father decided to get a divorce and move to Duero with Larkspur from that environment (and avoid the backlash of the divorce, as getting a divorce in medieval times is a no-no). As a result, the mother blames Larkspur for the divorce. Larkspur is still close to her father, but has a strained relationship with her mother.

8. She was one of Malachi's first elite students.
While her parents were divorcing, Larkspur's powers were beginning to surface. Once they moved to Duero, Larkspur's father sent her to Malachi's school so that she wouldn't be caught in the arguing and have a good environment in which to explore her developing abilities. However, he made great effort to keep in constant contact with her, and remained a pillar of support during her teenage years. Larkspur was one of Malachi's star pupils for a time, however there came a point where she hit a wall with her training that she was never able to overcome. Eventually, she left the school to join the Monastery and put her clerical powers to use.

9. Larkspur is very compassionate and sensitive, but overall she's not empathic at all, and has no idea what someone feels unless they spell it out to her.
She is very caring, and will try her best to understand how someone else is feeling and help them. However, she can't read people well, and often doesn't know the extent of the problem. Part of it is because she's hopeful for the best and prefers to look at things positively unless proven otherwise. Thus she can be naive to what's really going on until it's too late.

10. Larkspur uses music to focus
She tends to hum even during regular activities, and especially when she has to concentrate. Larkspur thinks of everything in terms of beats and music, from people's personalities, to regular activities such as how she or other people are walking, moving, and the ebb and flow of the day. It's like seeing everything as a music video or dance performance.

11. She's easily intimidated, but if needed she will stand up for herself (and others).
Larkspur gets nervous easily and tends to avoid arguments, but if it's important, she can be very persistent. She will be very nervous and stammering about it, but if she feels that she needs to be heard badly enough, she will assert herself.

12. Larkspur is naive and tends to see the good in everyone.
She likes to think the best of people, even if she doesn't always have reason to. As a cleric, she tends to see people from all walks of life in their weakest, most vulnerable states, which gives her the impression that most people are not inherently evil, just sometimes make bad decisions. This also makes her very forgiving.

13. She lacks self confidence
Part of Larkspur's social ineptitude and inability to fully reach her magical potential is due to always second-guessing herself.

14. Larkspur works part time a waitress
Her position as a cleric is based off of the friars in medieval times - unlike some of her peers, she does not live as a shut-in within the monastery. Instead, she lives amongst the people, and makes no money for her service. What little money she does make from working evenings at the Crystalin. Crystalin's stage is more of an open-mic set up, so Larkspur is not paid to sing there. The reason she does it is simply because she likes it, and it also gives her exposure as a musician for other occasional gigs.

15. She's very affectionate
Larkspur can be very touchy-feely, even with friends. She'll give hugs, touch the arm of her friends while talking to them. Cain loves it, for obvious reasons. Less affectionate characters like Rori are awkwarded out by it.

16. Although she panics during normal situations, she is excellent when it comes to dealing with situations in which other people would be expected to panic (like emergencies or performing in front of an audience)
Larkspur has been singing in front of people - and even crowds - since she was a little girl. Her job as a cleric often puts her in high-stress situations where everyone else may be panicking. So during times like those, she doesn't have the time to reflect deeply on the situation or what other people might be thinking of her then - she just lives in the moment.

17. Larkspur learned how to sing as a little girl through her Church's choir.
She's always had a good response and acceptance to her singing from a young age, and she sings for fun (not for any hope of fame or riches, so there's no 'competition' for her so to speak). That is why she doesn't have any performance anxiety when singing or playing music in front of people.

18. She is traditional
Although Larkspur works and takes care of herself, she is submissive and would prefer to get married and be a housewife/mother (though she would always be a cleric, as she feels that is her duty, but she would find a way to set up a free practice at home so she wouldn't have to leave her family.)

19. Larkspur admires women who are stronger/more confident than her
She longs for being able to just talk to people and live her life without constantly worrying. Larkspur comes to admire Rori especially for her "who cares what anyone thinks?" mentality.

20. She is a hopeless romantic
Even little thoughtful gestures, like flowers, mean a lot to her. However, overaggressive guys creep her out (and usually end up with her getting startled and leading to #3 above)

22 January 2012

Landmarks of Duero by Monty Bess

Throughout the last few months, we've been working with Fate Saga concepts for the first season and first episode. The first season takes place in a large town called Duero, which Monty mapped out in a previous post.

Since then, Monty has been hard at work on Fate Saga's crucial landmarks, including the market place and Duerian Arcadia Ranch from the first episode:


This is a concept drawing Monty did for the market place. He based the kiosks after Kate Kirby-o'connell's designs from last year.

Currently, I'm working to fill this scene with Fate Saga's cast and general Duerian folk.


The Duerian Arcadia ranch is located on the outskirts of the town, and is currently one of the focal points of Fate Saga's first episode. More information about the first episode and first season will be coming in the near future.

20 January 2012

Cain Updated Model Sheet





Here are some model sheets I did for Cain's new design. The new design is based on some concept drawings I've been working on with the help and critique of some amazing people, including Tracy, Jess, Celia, Razi and Megan. Thank you guys so much!!

Currently model sheets for the other characters are in progress and I'm hoping to put together some test animations with the new designs in the near future!


Here are some of Cain's earlier concepts.


Here I'm trying out the idea of giving Cain a claymore instead of a standard belt sheath. He's a big brawny beefy guy, who why not give him a big brawny beefy sword? Also there are no other characters who wield a two-handed sword anyway, so it wouldn't cause any silhouette or style conflicts with the other characters. I still need to redesign Cain's cape. Once the cape's designed, I'll add another page to his model sheets.

Cain's current clothing design is based off of number 9, with the boots taken from number 3. Number 3's design is based off of Kishia Houck's concepts for Cain.

Number 9's outfit was inspired by this knight costume I found while researching 'off duty knight outfits.' I didn't want Cain wearing heavy armor all the time (that's Vektor's job...). The coat of arms was removed from Cain's clothing on purpose (for reasons that don't have to do with saving animation costs). But we'll get to that in the future, when we get to more detailed bios for the characters.

16 January 2012

Updated Fate Saga Sizzle Reel


This new version of the Fate Saga sizzle reel contains updated voices for Cain and Cyrus.

In this video, Cain is voiced by Craig Helfer and Cyrus is voiced by Scott Smith. The sizzle reel in its entirety is a product of our crew's hard work, and would never have been completed without them.

Although the graphics and character designs are being updated, the graphics from the pilot episode will still be used for promotional purposes. The new designs will be used for an updated pitch book, any new promotional material and animation from here on.

14 January 2012

Rori Vector Chibi by Megan Miller

As a prize for ranking in Megan's Mechanima Contest, Megan made this adorable vector chibi of Fate Saga's angriest little were-wolf! I love how annoyed she looks - Rori always tends to be perpetually irritated.

Also, I was curious - if I put together Fate Saga icons on this blog, would anyone make use of them? If you'd like to see some Fate Saga icons, feel free to comment here or send me a message!

09 January 2012

Seiron Sketches, Expressions and Comparison

Seiron isn't a main character in Fate Saga, but he is a major character that has an important place in the series. There's a special challenge in trying to show expressions through a snouted character - and I also want to make sure he emotes differently than Rori, who is both a completely different personality type and a different species.

Seiron is a quizzical, kind, talkative and compassionate gargoyle, who works for Drax, the mayor of Duero. Despite his mild-mannered appearance, Seiron is highly intelligent, powerful and dangerous. Luckily, his strength is only turned against those who try to hurt those he is dedicated to protect.

In Fate Saga, gargoyles are a subspecies of Draken, and are known to be guardians with a strong protective instinct. However, gargoyles are also feared for their brutish strength as much, or even more so, than other Draken subspecies, and thus are brought up as slaves even by their fellow Draken in order to keep their strength under control.

Seiron escaped that life to become Drax's guardian, and in return for protection, Drax gave him an education. When Cain threatens the Draken's way of life, he becomes an enemy to Drax (and, consequently, Seiron)


Seiron and Cyrus have a peculiar relationship. Seiron often has to hide himself from humans and other non-Draken species, as his people are often feared for their power. Cyrus is the first human Seiron ever works with who knows his secret - and Cyrus is never intimidated by Seiron's appearance (Cyrus explains it as he has "more to fear from other humans" than he ever would have from a gargoyle.) Consequently, Seiron often asks Cyrus questions about humans, and uses him as a representation of humanity.

Unfortunately, although Cyrus doesn't purposely mislead him, he is not the best representation of the average human. This sometimes gets both of them in trouble when they act inappropriate in public.

Nonetheless, the two also have the commonality of being isolated - Neither like being alone, both have trouble connecting with the outside world (though for different reasons), and both long for familial love and acceptance.

However, neither are without their problems. Seiron lives a dangerous life, and has a lot of enemies by the nature of what he is, and because he is the guardian to Drax. Cyrus is insane, and can be dangerous to be around even amongst friends.

These two, especially Cyrus, become Cain's main rivals (though they are not the main antagonists)

07 January 2012

Bianca ReDesign

EDIT: Fixed Bianca's breasts and made her outfit sharper and skankier, thanks to Jess and Tracy's suggestions. Bianca's outfit itself is inspired by Katie Melua's, from her music video "The Flood"

And here we have Bianca! Not a dramatic change, but likely a noticeable one. I chose Greek as Bianca's ethnicity, and tried to go with more chiseled features and thicker eyebrows, and kept the mole in keeping with Greek characteristics.

Also, while Rori and Larkspur were both designed not to have sex appeal (or, at least, they aren't meant to act/look sexy), Bianca's new design was in hopes of making her more sexy. I have her a more hour glass figure, with larger breasts and hips. I also thickened her up slightly because she's wealthy and powerful (in medieval times, bigger and curvier women were a sign of power - since it showed that they didn't want for food).

Bianca is the crazy female of Fate Saga, and I wanted to make sure that her crazy face and features were much different than Cyrus'. Her anger is more volatile, while Cyrus' is more desperation. Bianca doesn't really get scared/upset very often - Bianca's crazies are more aggression and sense of entitlement - while Cyrus' crazy is more based on fear.

04 January 2012

Empathy




Not sure if this scene will happen in the Fate Saga series just yet, but this comic is a hypothetical scenario of what would Guile do if he discovered Cyrus has empathy. Knowledge is power, right? Well...only if not in the hands of idiots. Somewhere, Rori is face-pawing.

And Cyrus isn't a 'kick the dog' (or, in this case, 'kick the kid') type of guy.

03 January 2012

Claymore


I've been thinking about switching Cain's sword from a standard knight sword to a claymore (which is a larger sword that's strapped to the back instead of the hip). The reason is that when Cain has the regular knight sword unsheathed, compared to his huge frame I've noticed it tends to look a little small in comparison. Also, the hip-sheath sometimes looks odd in silhouette.

In older versions of Fate Saga, Cain wasn't as big and had more speed/agility than he does now. I think a claymore would help add to his silhouette, imply more strength and give him a more intimidating look.

In order for this to work, his knightly cape will have to be redesigned to accommodate the backstrapped sword, but his old cape is due for an update anyway.

And we could always say Cain's trying to compensate. Nyak nyak nyak.