Saturday, March 29, 2014

Captain America: Winter Soldier

Man, I want to see this movie! These trailers look awesome. So awesome, in fact it inspired me to do some artwork.

First, a sketch. I wasn't too happy with the result, but I' trying to get my skills back, so just the fact that I'm drawing I got to be happy with.

Second, a fan poster that I was really happy with the result!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

I've been sketching...

I promised myself that I would draw more this year to sharpen my skills. My goal was to sketch something everyday...

That's not really working out because sometimes I'm busy, tired, uninspired, or generally lazy. All excuses in my mind.

Still, take a look at what I have done this year. Most of these drawings I posted on my Instagram account already. If you have Instagram follow me here:
I will follow you back.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Darian's Game: My Ender's Game Fandom Part 1

This post took want longer for me to formulate than it needed to be!

 If you follow me on this blog, you probably know that the majority of my creative efforts were focused on my fan art obsession with the movie adaptation of Ender's Game that came out in November of 2013. In fact this very blog was born as result of this movie production.

Me at Endercon 2002. Check out my M.D. Device T-shirt. What a nerd.

I have been a fan of the book since I read it many years ago when I was in college and immediately loved it.  I started creating fan art for it constantly and posting it online, gaining a small bit of recognition from the Orson Scott Card (OSC) fan community, which eventually included Card himself. At a book signing at a Border's in Bailey's Cross Roads, Virginia, I showed him some of my fan artwork and he enjoyed it so much that he gave me his contact information and told me he wanted to talk to me about using those designs. The conversation eventually resulted in him licensing some of my imagery to sell on his website and eventually would include usage in the The Authorized Ender Companion, usage at Endercon in Utah 2001, and usage in the 2008 Marvel's adaptation of Ender's Game: Battle School.  I had my name credited in the "Special Thanks to:" section of a MARVEL PRODUCED COMIC BOOK. Standing in the comic book store reading your name in a comic book was pretty exciting. Needless to say I bought multiple upon multiple of copies.

Ooh there I am!!!

Over the years when I would attend more OSC book signings and he would introduce me to the audience (something he didn't have to do.) and tell them about my Ender's Game fan art. At times afterward we would share conversations, where he would tell me that if Ender's Game became a movie he would "try" to get my designs into the movie, but he also assured that there was no guarantee that would happen. That was more than fair, I should have no expectation for that to happen, I was just ecstatic that my favorite author at the time liked my artwork. This was still when rumors of studios finalizing a deal for production seemed imminent almost every day.

Well, time past and a studio deal came and went (Warner Bros.) and then it seemed that the movie would never be made.. I admit that I didn't keep great contact with OSC over those years and I moved on to other things and other authors.

Imagine my surprise in 2011 when I hear that out of the blue the movie version got green lighted! Excitement filled my mind as I reminded myself about Card's "promise" (it was no promise) of "trying" to get my work into the film.


I for some reason thought that I should be getting a call any day now from the production company or from Card himself saying, "Darian, Were making a movie. I need your help. Let's get to work!

 Yeah...That didn't happen.

Nor, should I have expected it too. It's not like I was an artist who has experience in the movie industry. I was just a regular artist who managed to get his favorite author to like his work. I had no experience or comparable skill set that was needed to gain serious consideration for employment on this film. Boy, do I know that now.  Have you seen the incredible concept artwork created for this movie? If not please take a break from this post and gaze upon it by visiting the sites of these various artist listed below. No, really do it now...
Battle School Concept Art by David Levy
Sean Haworth -
Ben Proctor -
David Levy -
Robert Simmons -
Stuart Hunter -

Back from my digression....

When that "call" didn't materialize, I still held out hope with this one notion. If I could get back in contact with Orson Scott Card, or in contact with someone with the production company, I could convince them to at least allow me to apply for consideration of contributing my artistic vision to this movie.

This was also the thinking of my good friend and fellow Ender's Game fan Steve Sywak. Steve is well experienced engineer with an aerospace and entertainment background and a deep understanding of applied Physics. We met back in the day through our mutual interest in the book and while my fan obsession focused on visual and artistic rendering of the story, Steve was heavily focused on the scientifically sound designs of the technologies and locations that were described in the book, particularly the layout of Battle School. Card consulted him multiple times, for his expertise in various publications related to the Ender's Game Universe. I featured his work on the blog here a couple months ago.

This is Steve everyone. This is the Battle School he designed.

In my mind if there was anyone who could merge the technical with the artistic vision needed to pull off Ender's Game it was him. This guy designed stuff for Cirque De Soleil shows!!! Also, he wrote a technical paper that had been inspired from a design of a physical accurate Battle School.  I had no experience like that. I watched him try to contact every producer, artist, janitor, and bell hop that was attached to the film production and no positive response about working on the film

The same outcome paralleled my friend Noah, a super talented and experienced musician, Ender fan, and established friend of Orson Scott Card. He had hopes of scoring the movie or at least getting an original song in the end credits. No one was interested. Still check out his song "Pretend" here. (I did the cover art for that)

My thinking was if these guys couldn't even get a response from the production company. It was a long shot of me ever, ever being considered.

That made sad a bit. I just wanted to help bring this book to life because it meant a lot to me for variety of reasons. Mainly, I knew what it was like to be Ender...well not the killing part or the high degree of stress, or the threat of my life being in constant danger, or the super genius stuff. I shared some qualities.  I wasn't a third, but I did have an older brother. He wasn't evil or sadistic like Peter, but we fought at times.  I, like Ender, also wanted his love and approval.

 At 11 years old I was taken out of my regular elementary school in fifth grade and placed in a Gifted and Talented program (G&T) at another school across town. My parents decision, not mine. Through that experience I know what it's like to be isolated for a time not knowing anyone. I also understand what it's like to compete against peers in the academic arena who are touted as being the smartest and brightest.  I also know what it's like to play games against these peers, mainly in a reworked version of Stratego, where we modified the rules to make the game play more interesting. Over that school year I also understand how I was able to forge friendships with some peers, and become adversaries with others intentionally and unintentionally. Like Ender, I also understand what it means to be constantly watched by teachers and adults who were in charge of running your education, and me questioning their intentions.

Did I also mention that I went to Space Camp that school year too?

Proof that I went to
With "all" those personal experiences in my life, reading a character who was living through similar events, interactions, and emotions wrapped in spaceships, lasers, and other sci-fi stuff made Ender's Game was one of the best book's I ever read.

With that love of the source material, plus my success with getting my designs used in other Ender related items, I couldn't let it go of the fact that I would not be a part of this movie. I was mad and felt that I did all this work and had such a strong vision of what this movie was supposed to look like that I couldn't accept anything else.

I decided before Summit put any imagery out, I wanted the world to see what my vision for the Ender's Game would have been and at the same time have a catharsis of sorts allowing me to move on from my obsession with story.
What better way to do that then to post all that material on a blog. Thus started!!