People often find buying gifts for others somewhat challenging, “they are difficult to buy for” they cry or “they already have everything, could buy it for themselves!”. I’ve always found this line of thinking somewhat odd if your buying gifts for people chances are you have spent some amount of time with them that year and as such sooner or later they will mention at least one thing they probably would like, often without realising it, you just have to be listening.
Maybe thats the real issue.
In any case when my brother mentioned that a Goku Vs kazuma playmat would be quite cool I immediately agreed and then set about subverting the whole concept the final result being bellow.
Combine the fact he plays quite a lot of wargames with the characters general predisposition to fighting and you get the idea. Still while this was always meant as a joke since drawing all those tiny models on a playmat would have been interesting to say the least the basic concept filed itself away for later use.
The final mat then and you will notice that while Goku is at his maximum level in both images kazuma is not. Comparing relative power levels between characters in different series is somewhat redundant, however, for the second design I decided that if they are going to fight you may as well have all involved at their maximum capacity, partly to add emphasis to the combat and partly to minimise debate as to who should win, because we all know how people like to debate such things.
The other major element with this mat was that I went a bit crazy with the use of the black, you have to imagine theres a light source above and slightly behind both characters mainly because I came to the conclusion that I didn’t want to have a mat with some sort of landscape style background. With that in mind the elements of the image that were further from that source or obscured by other elements gradually became darker and darker and for a time I was concerned the style wouldnt look right on characters that are generally flat shaded though in the end I came to the conclusion it adds to the overall momentum of the image.
As for the background itself I went with the old Dragonball trick of using a patterned background to give the sense of movement. A technique generally used in animation to save time and funds so animators can get episodes done much more quickly, and used in Yugioh cards because…well I’m not to sure I would assume originally it was to make the characters stand out since the image frame is quite small and a proper background could potentially make it harder to see but more likely since many of the Japanese TCG’s only tend to focus on the characters its probably a cultural thing. Back on topic, the dragonballs and Scryed necklace were added because I felt the background needed just a bit more detail than just some diagonal lines. It took me some time to decide on the colour of the stars eventually settling on the cartoons version.
The final touch and something I could only really trial on a mat that hadn’t been requested for fear it’s application would somehow cause the image to spontaneously react and melt away or some other nightmarish effect that could befall an image that I had spent countless hours on was to add pigments resistant to sunlight and that would generally provide another barrier against water and the substances that may be on a players hands and cards. My mats have been relatively water resistant for some time now, I don’t advise testing it out on purpose though, but its nice to be able to add a further layer of protection.
And so in one fell swoop I now only have one major Jump series left to create a mat for, not that I have done a mat for the best Jump show yet but then I suspect there is little call for a Busou Renkin mat and therefore would have to make it for myself if I ever wanted to make one.