Great news guys, this is my very first sponsored post here on Hypertransitory.com! Meaning I’m receiving compensation for todays Steampunk blog post.
I’ve had many opportunities to monetize this site, and between advertising and other sponsored posts, I’ve pretty much turned them all down.
Luckily for me this is something I’d blog about anyway, and I had a lot of fun creating the art you’re about to see, so I think this works out for everyone.
Now, let’s do this!
JG…What Is Steampunk??
I’m glad you asked. As a super-basic intro – Steampunk is a genre of science fiction that focuses mainly on the British Victorian era, or completely new times and places that are based on the types of ideas, culture, fashion and technology that would have been seen around that time.
As you can imagine, steam-powered machinery would have been the height of technology at that point, so the fantastic vehicles, armor and weapons Steampunk is known for would usually be powered by steam.
I think this resonates with people today because with our level of technology, including nuclear power, microwave ovens, and of course the omnipresent electricity, it’s very interesting to imagine a time when people regard steam as the most efficient power source around.
For writers, it’s a compelling challenge to be true to the limitations of the Steampunk world, and yet still write an expansive story. Artists get to come up with all kinds of cool looking machines and costumes and really go wild with their imaginations when illustrating a Steampunk world.
JG, Meet Steampunk…In Comic Form!
I was introduced to the Steampunk genre was back in the late 90’s. Except, I didn’t really know it was Steampunk then, or at least no one I knew called it that.
The comic I read was called The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Most of you might be familiar with this one from the movie, but I remember being in the comic shop, bored by most of the super-hero stuff I saw on the shelves (the 90’s was not a great time for mainstream super-hero comics). When I saw the “League” cover, it was strange and different compared to most of the usual Marvel/DC books I read. I wandered over to it and picked it up. Right away I saw it was written by Alan Moore (of “Watchmen” fame).
If you’re not familiar with it, it turns out “League” is about an alternate history set in the Victorian Era, featuring well-known characters from other literary works, like the Invisible Man, Dr. Jekyll, and even Professor Moriarty (of Sherlock Holmes). I thought it was wild, so I went on to buy almost every issue (later, I lost virtually every issue to water damage…curses!).
As it turns out, The League comic was seen as a major Steampunk influence within the genre. It certainly influenced me to pick up another comic later that was just called Steampunk.
This one was by an artist whose work I always loved, name Chris Bachalo. He’s a comics artist who has drawn many of the big named titles, mostly for Marvel. Right now he’s working on a popular X-Men title, so he’s definitely one of the top dogs out there. His artwork is always hyper-detailed, sometimes to the chagrin of comic fans – but not to me.
I learned he’s a huge fan of the Steampunk genre, and you can see the influence in a lot of his work.
The “Steampunk” comic ended in the early 2000’s, but I’ve read interviews from Chris where he explains that he’s constantly asked about restarting the comic, but as busy as he is, it’s not something that’s going to happen in the foreseeable future.
Why didn’t it work out? Steampunk has a huge following, but in my opinion that following may not think to look for it in the comics medium. As long as it’s quality stuff, I’m sure the Steampunk community would pick it up.
A final huge comic influence was an awesome story called Ex Machina. While the story itself isn’t necessarily “Steampunk”, just look at these covers, you can see the art is Steampunk all the way.
The story: A New York man named Mitchell Hundred is injured by some sort of alien/otherworldy device. The accident leaves his face scarred with what appear to be computer circuitry. After this, Mitchell can hear and communicate with machinery. Not only advanced computer technology, but basic mechanical devices with no computers like shotguns, too. Specifically, he can communicate, but not necessarily command them.
He becomes a superhero called “The Great Machine” and has a few adventures, becoming known to the general population of New York. During the 911 attack, he acts quickly and saves one of the towers. After this, he goes public and manages to become Mayor of New York City. This is where the book starts out.
So we’ve got not only the Steampunk influenced superhero, but the alternate history angle going, too. It was a great stuff that I’d recommend highly.
JG’s Steampunk Art
As I mentioned before, this is a sponsored post, and it’s sponsored by the good people at Steampunkgoggles.com.
When I was first approached, I thought “Sweet! I already use different Steampunk Goggles in my 3D artwork!”, so I went to dig up some of that work and…well…it sucked.
Not to belittle myself, but I didn’t feel right just using some of the old artwork I had done in the past. I’ve learned a lot since then and I’ve gotten better, so now is the time for NEW artwork!
The Steampunk Hero
I don’t now how feasible it is to go out and fight crime in a top hat, but it would surely be un-gentlemanly. We definitely can’t have that.
From the look on his face, he’s probably a bit smarmy, secure in the knowledge that he’s smarter than most everyone -and better dressed.
After he’s solved the crime he’ll go out for a relaxing flight to patrol the city for evil-doers – who he will then shoot.
I wanted to make this shot look like those wings are just barely holding him up there, and that he’s kind of bobbing and drooping through the sky. He should try to avoid those steam chimneys because they’ll likely blow him out of the sky…
The Steampunk Heroine
She’s a dreamer. A dreamer with a profound sense of justice. She wants to help people, but society is not very welcoming to her ideas.
Instead of going along, she puts on a pair of Steampunk goggles and strikes out to find adventure and fight the evils of the world.
Of course, these things can go sideways quick! Good thing she’s handy with that wrench…
JG’s Steampunk Art – Part II
I had a lot of fun doing those character pieces, but I wanted to try some images to show off the goggles a bit more. The first one I did is this:
This is a goggle prop I already had, but I changed all the materials, adjusted the mesh some and put it into this room setting. This is the same pair worn by the Steampunk Hero above, just rendered in a more photographic way.
Maybe he set the goggles down after a long day, or maybe he’s about to pick them up and go out for an evening patrol. He’s only waiting for that last sunlight to fade away, then he’s back out on the wing, the bane of ne’er-do-wells everywhere in London.
After I made this one, I thought I should actually create my own pair of goggles from scratch in Blender, my 3D program of choice. The only question was which to choose?
I decided on this pair of Brass-Colored Steampunk Goggles With Studs for my new 3D work.
I liked the detail of the metal and the studs on the sides so I was looking forward to creating it in Blender.
Honestly, it ended up being harder than I thought it was going to be. On the surface, it seems like the goggles are made up of very simple shapes, but the goggles on Steampunkgoggles.com are highly detailed. I had some issues capturing all the nuances of the piece that I wanted. In the process of creating it, I learned a few tricks that I’m going to use for my next set.
At the very least, artists looking for reference for Steampunk style would do well to check out that site.
In the featured image above, I used the goggles I created and put them on my Steampunk Heroine. Plus I decided to work the logo into her jacket, as if she were being sponsored by Steampunk Goggles in her effort to go out and do good works.
Although, that’s kind of a “meta” situation. She wouldn’t actually know she was a Steampunk character…or would she?
It is a mystery…
Behind The Scenes
Here’s a quick gallery of some of the unused renders and screenshots of what these pieces look like in the 3D programs while I’m making them…
Halloween is a’ comin’!
With Halloween very close, I had to get my very own pair of real-life Steampunk goggles, I chose the Steampunk Mechanic’s Dream Welding Goggles with Flip-up Lenses, mostly because I’ve always been a sucker for the flip-ups!
Another great thing about these is they fit over my glasses. Normally, with any costume that has eyewear or headwear, I have to determine if I can still wear my glasses, or if it’s worth it to walk around stumbling into things like Velma from Scooby-Doo. With these goggles I don’t have to worry about it.
Here’s a rare non-cartoon picture of me. I’m wearing my glasses here, too, and they’re easily covered by my new goggles.
I know most of you guys who read my comics would think that my sweater would be green, but this was just an off day, all the rest of them are green, I promise.
Not that we’ll ever know. I’m like the elusive Yeti – rarely photographed, but you know I’m there. Or maybe you only suspect. I’m only half-seen out of the corner of your eye. Even though you can’t see me, just know…I’ll be rockin’ my Steampunk goggles all the way…
Steampunk Goggles Discount Coupon Code!
Even more – I’ve got good news: If you want to pick up your own pair of goggles, you can do it with a discount!
You can use the coupon code TRIBERR1 for $5 off plus free shipping on all orders over $30 over on steampunkgoggles.com. Woot!
Or better yet…get them for FREE!
Steampunk Goggles Pin to Win Contest
All you Pinterest Pioneers need to get in on this one for chance to win a FREE pair of goggles! Here’s the basics:
All the rest of the rules and such can be read here: http://www.steampunkgoggles.com/pintowin/
The Wrap Up
Ok guys, I’m getting out of here for now. I had a lot of fun creating the artwork for this one and working with the people at Steampunkgoggles.com.
I’m very happy with the set of goggles I ordered, but I just feel like I need a top hat or something to go along with it. Or since mine are specifically a mechanic’s pair of goggles, maybe I don’t need a hat at all?
My usual go-to hat is a baseball cap, but that doesn’t really fit in with the Steampunk genre, so I’ll have to come up with something else.
Until that time, let me know if you plan on picking up anu goggles- and I’ll see you guys later!