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Zweihander by JohnSu Zweihander by JohnSu
Cailin Cleigh comes from a long line of animators - artisans who construct golems and bring them to life. Unfortunately, none of the golems she makes will move on their own, so she fails to make a career of this and instead finds herself working in the mines. After almost dying on the job several times, her father urges her to pursue something safer, so she takes him up on that suggestion and becomes a bounty hunter.

Her weapon of choice, Zweihander, is a set of two handed-swords which are actually just golem arms that were accidentally flattened during steaming. Those things are expensive to make, so Cailin salvaged them and worked them into swords. Even though she can't bring them to life, she has sufficient proficiency in hand-puppeteering to manipulate them like extensions of her arms. Her fighting style relies a lot on using her swords to grab and disarm her opponent when they attempt to parry her strikes.

Her current opponent, Strawjack, is a renegade scarecrow that took crop protection a little too seriously and ended up running off with all the produce before the farmers could harvest them. He stockpiles them in the unfillable hole in his heart and brings them back out from his head (an ability called "Face Plant"). Also, he's a shameless flirt who preys on fresh fruits & vegetables.


This time I made only the line art and flat colors in Flash, and then did everything else in Manga Studio. I finally learned to make use of selections by using the magic wand tool on the flats, and so was able to do all the character lighting on two layers. I tried for sharper shadows than I usually do in digital painting, and I think I like it! I believe I've made a mistake in the past where I felt that I had to shade smoothly when not in Flash (since it's hard to make soft shadows there), but I feel like the harder, flatter shading produces a stronger visual impact. I also had fun with the background - I find nature to be more fun to paint than buildings since it's a lot more forgiving in regards to shapes and perspective. You can easily tell when two boxes don't line up, but if a tree is crooked...that's OK.

Oh yeah, and yes, Cailin does have a clock as her belt buckle because I didn't know what to do for its design and ended up just basing it off of a wrist watch. Because giant hands.

Made in Manga Studio & Flash
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ShinigamiRyuku Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2017
WOW! Fantastic drawing!
Evodolka Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
i was just walking in the woods and then i see this...
*takes out the pop corn*
lets see how this goes :D
RiiAqua Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2017
Can you do a tutorial or in progress shots of how you draw background trees? They look like random strokes and impressively realistic trees at the same time
evikted Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
Your sense of lighting has leveled up..............!
ErikHaya Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2016  Hobbyist Photographer
Dat Exeggutor Alola Form
djhago Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2016
IronKanabo Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2016  Professional Filmographer
Hehehe... Zweihander... I get it!
Ryusoko Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
Corporal-Chaordic Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2016
Ha, I get it!
Hasiguchi Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Zweihander = 'Two-handed Sword' (Great sword) = Two + Hand/Handed? = 'Two Hand-Sword'
JohnSu Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Idontcareforeal Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2016
I'll admit, this is kind of cool.
necromuffinbutton Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I love this art style and these characters, everything about this picture amuses & inspires me!
jincon Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is REALLY well done and I love the background.  Lots of depth here.
Kwokheichan Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2016
WoW, cool as always.

No wonder is so popular hereX3
plainred Featured By Owner May 24, 2016
...How do you come up with these stories? Alongside the technical aspect of your art, your storytelling stuff is great.
Marsharino Featured By Owner May 23, 2016
The sharper shades do look amaze!!
starlightgenie Featured By Owner May 12, 2016   Traditional Artist
Your coloring has come a long way!
JohnSu Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
JackGuilette Featured By Owner May 12, 2016
Brilliant as fuck xD 
Lazarus-the-Fey Featured By Owner May 10, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Absolutely fantastic job! xD 
the-ska-boss Featured By Owner May 8, 2016  Student Digital Artist
Probably one of my favorite of your work, well done.
funkycoldland Featured By Owner May 5, 2016  Hobbyist Photographer
I love the fact that the scarecrow took his job too seriously
Mojofooka Featured By Owner May 3, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
The environment you did for this is gorgeous! Also this is a very impressive visual pun, and the backstory is a great read (as always) xP
ComplicatedAndSimple Featured By Owner May 3, 2016  Student Artist
It always looks like you could make your own game that's like the creators of skull girls. They're weird and wacky. I know I'd love to play it for all the stories you come up with, and hope they would stay as misadventures.
Because saving the world is so overrated. Why not try to save the world and end up destroying it instead? It's fresh, it's different, and it'll knock em dead!
JohnSu Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks! I do want to do something like this one day.
ComplicatedAndSimple Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2016  Student Artist
Branyan Featured By Owner May 3, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'll have to try using two different  programs at some point. It looks as though it's a good way to increase your range in terms of knowledge in programs. This is really cool.
Helsaabi Featured By Owner May 3, 2016
Amazing work! :D
invisible-chan Featured By Owner May 2, 2016
I really love the lighting in this one. The way light shines through the treetops is lovely. So how does one go about animating golems in the first place? Are the exclusively mineral based? And does Strawjack have a preference for any particular fruits/vegetables? I think squashes are quite lovely myself. (・ω<)
JohnSu Featured By Owner Aug 11, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
After the golem's vessel is prepared (any type of earth works), the animator needs to infuse it with their blood while method acting. Whatever their current state is will be what dictates the golem's autonomous behavior. In Cailin's case, because she is in direct contact with the sword arms, they just move according to how she feels at that moment. Hand puppeteering is improv animation, and frowned upon in the industry as something like training wheels.

Strawjack does not discriminate! He's down with squashes, though he's got a soft spot in particular for pears and gourds. He cannot resist their shapely curves~
Same-kun Featured By Owner May 2, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
lol i always loved your backstories and designs! Awesome work as always! XD
Para-celsus Featured By Owner May 2, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
I like that every pic you do has a great story.
animenotaizai Featured By Owner May 2, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
So cool! :D
Ninja4hir3 Featured By Owner May 1, 2016
Cailin used Hand Guard against enemy Strawjack's Palm Strike
cowoknakal Featured By Owner May 1, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
how the hell is being bounty hunter safer than works in a mine area?

awesome as always JohnSu
Laugh-Butts Featured By Owner May 1, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
Such good shading in this one! 
IronNarwhal Featured By Owner Edited May 1, 2016
face palm
NullNoMore Featured By Owner May 1, 2016  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
If this doesn't become the main plot to Rune Factory 5 (and you get a crop of change for your brilliance), there is no justice in this world. The sharper shadows give it a mid-summer feel, very hot. Thank you for this.
Kuromai Featured By Owner May 1, 2016
The lighting is beautiful. Heart

And I guess the hands explain the clock, but what about the cat ears?
JohnSu Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
They are antennae for assistance in golemancy!
cane79 Featured By Owner May 1, 2016
very cute
Kyleito Featured By Owner May 1, 2016  Student Digital Artist
so much fun! great story, could see this on tv/as a movie!
MadKaiser Featured By Owner May 1, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Awesome work! :+fav:
kkht311 Featured By Owner May 1, 2016
So cool.

Kibichan Featured By Owner May 1, 2016
really cool.
cardboardmemory Featured By Owner May 1, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
vonRibbeck Featured By Owner May 1, 2016  Hobbyist
I love that your ideas are always so very original and interesting, even the opponent, you introduce here almost just in passing, has already a deep personality and interesting character background.

Only, I fear saying it, Zweihander sounds weird. It should be Zweihänder for my ears, but then again that would be a sword you wield with two hands, like a claymore. I don't know. (I like the name though, it's clever and sounds good, if only it had an 'ä')
JohnSu Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It would certainly be more correct with the 'ä'! But it would also make it more difficult to search for on an American keyboard, and I *think* deviantArt has some restrictions about what characters can go into the title but I'm not totally sure.
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Submitted on
April 30, 2016
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