Art process: We Are Always Watching

During a slow day at work, I sketched out a couple of images of a face mask or helmet to be worn by the enforcers of the dwarven church in the CDZ series. I had drawn a preliminary one about a year ago, based on an image from this Hackaday article on a Norwegian night vision device and the masks worn by the Overseers in Dishonored. However, it took a few attempts before I was happy with it. I figured I may as well document my process, such as it is.

From left to right, my original sketch and the intermediate versions. The original plan was to mimic the SIMRAD’s layout with the off-centre lens, but I couldn’t think of a real-life reason to actually have that. I thought of adding a light to the right eye, but I decided that would just be an excuse to hinder the dwarves’ field of view.

The original poster (“Cyclops Enforcer”) was riddled with mistakes. When I was filling in the outlines using Gimp’s airbrush tool, I accidentally set the hardness to 1 (i.e. no falloff/spread). This resulted in the lines being thicker than I expected, and I also realised that the eyepiece was clearly off-centre. I also didn’t particularly like the air filters. My original thoughts were that the single eyepiece would represent the Inquisition’s single-minded focus on The Law, but I decided that the layout was just too impractical.

The “Monastic Cheeki Breeki” poster was slightly better. Two eye-pieces are better than one! The air filters were closer to the filters of the respirator attached to the SIMRAD night vision device that inspired this, and I liked the thinner outlines I used. However, I realised that the eyepieces were different sizes, and the mask itself seemed a bit flat.

After seeing this image of Inuit snow goggles, I decided that the slits made more sense. This time, I sat down with a ruler and a compass to make sure I got everything right, and I also decided that I would add some shading gradients to make everything look more real. Finally, I decided that it made more sense for the poster to be in Irish than English, so I made my best effort at translating “The Inquisition is Ever Vigilant”. Turns out Duolingo is actually useful!

I’m quite happy with that one, so here’s a recording of myself filling it in.

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