The first, initial/preliminary "sketch" I did of Zak Warlyile in 2009...
Conceptualizing a Goal
"Musings Of" is a working-title, work-in-progress project I've been working on for the past 12+ years. The goal of this project is to (hopefully someday) have a fully developed and published game that will be sold to the public. Realistically, this is more just a passion project that I've poured my heart, soul, and very being into. In spite of the fear of sounding vain, this project is very much my life's work, and I'm just happy to be able to share as much as I can of it with whoever is willing to listen and/or read through it all.
The end-goal is to develop concept art and finished pieces for the environments, regions, and countries within this universe, as well as produce the same end results for the 43+ characters that make up this story—in addition to solidifying their "full-bodied" personalities and quirks. This wasn't a project that came about by a need to desperately tell a story worth listening to, nor was it to shed light on some issue I'd developed an opinion on. It all—truth be told—began when I sketched out a boy. Just a boy... and his demon form, of course. A demon creature I then dubbed a "Xaerian".
...and the 'Xaerian' form I gave him—the first ever "sketch" of the species!
It was from there that I become fixated on the idea of these creatures embodying the natural elements, although I had already carved ahead of me niche gamut of elements—considering Zak's Xaerian was the so called "Element of War". I stuck by this (and eventually developed a "Peace Xaerian"—yes, Khokori Pax-Esheway!—to neutralize and balance the War Element), and he still remains the Xaerian of War to this day. I sketched a version of a "buster" blade that also doubled as a sniper gun, and I began sketching and compiling references/inspiration for other characters that I would then add to the roster. I keep adding to the roster even now, so I suppose nothing's really changed since '09, but Zak is character that started it all. Shikyo had been a persona of mine for a few years prior, and I ended up tweaking who she was at that time to fit more into this new 'verse I had created. I had brought her demon wolves Morosoki and Xuuranaku over from her original story and plot (which was unashamedly a Naruto own character—or OC-insert). Although Shikyo's the main protagonist (and my primary character in just about everything), Zak is more or less the man standing behind her who made it all happen. Ironic, given his role in the plot.
All in all, this world was concepted around the idea of elemental dragon-like deities, and I've just been pushing myself to bring the story of this universe to fruition.
Running with the above concept and species name, I fleshed out the full body concept for a generic Xaerian. The intention behind the creature was to be a sort of long, slender ground (flightless) dragon that had elements of a wolf — hence the manes, stylized paws/feet, back leg "fluff", and loose fur over the tail. The original intention was for there to be a visual difference between Xaerian that reflected the appearance of their vessel, so "male" Xaerians would have shorter manes and sharper, more angular tail-blades, whereas females would display longer manes with more rounded tail-blades. (I admittedly haven't gotten around to sketching a more "anatomically correct" version of what these creatures are, but the final idea is that the Xaerians will take on appearances that somewhat resemble their hosts, but aren't so limited to the binary ideas of "male/female".)
To further illustrate the idea that each Xaerian is supposed to resemble their host, below are some of the (very early) concepts for a few of the elements.
Xaerian Shikyo – Element of Light
Xaerian Zak – Element of War
Xaerian Sarah – Element of Storms/Disasters/Electricity
Xaerian Nicky – Element of Darkness/Shadows
From characters, to creatures, to symbols, below is a gallery of all old conceptual artwork for 'Musings Of'. Some characters and concepts haven't quite made it to 'final development', but it's fun to reflect and see where the
present-day finalizations began from. Zak wasn't always a stereotypically spiky-haired anime boy, and Yono wasn't always a beefcake bodyguard!
I've also included the Gaia sprite concepts that a lot of the characters got their basis from (which I created using the late tektek.org, which I still miss dearly to this day...)!