South West Yugioh Champion 2012 Playmat

At about the same time as the Bayonetta mat I had the 2012 South West Yugioh Champion mat to finish. This yearly event held in the South West of the UK at Mad For Miniatures not only brings together some of the best players in the area (as well as from farther afield) but has thus far provided me which an opportunity most mat designs don’t, in that every mat will have one element that matches all the other finalists mats from previous years. No matter what other elements they decide to have drawn the text area is a common theme among them all. Which makes them a type of badge then, ID’s that show you are a member of a very elite club.
As the common elements impose further restrictions on the design one of the most interesting parts of the process on these mats is figuring ot how to implement the ideas of the winners around them while trying to keep things fresh and yet still maintaing the same overarching theme.

That doesn’t mean the text area has remained static, each subsequent version integrates ideas and processes that I have developed duing that year and further refines the look. The text on the very first one, for example, has to deal with the fact it was the first time I had really done text. The blue center element also shifts styles each time, in this instance its more of a modern gel button inspired by interface elements while on the original mat its flat shaded with a circuit board texture effect and with the 2011 mat following suit except adding a radial gradient.

The rest of the center section has changed less over the years, benefiting from my improved confidence and lest need to rely on black outlines, the colours remain the same for each version for the most part with only slight tonal shifts depending on the needs of the rest of the mat and my colour preferences at the time. The text got a major overhaul for the second mat improving legibility at a distance, mainly as a result of the fact it saw a slight size reduction to accommodate the rest of the image, and has remained the same since. There are one or two minor tweaks that I might make to the purple section the next time around but mostly any slight differences will be down to texture effects, gradients, and shadows.
Also where appropriate the background designs should be bright bold and a bit wacky, oh hey look the orange is back!
It wasn’t ment to be this way, I had originally planned to do some sort of light vs dark thing but quickly realised that since one diagonal axis was going to be black on both sides that probably would have looked a bit odd (the large black area of the wings are balanced by the cloak on the opposite side) As it happend I had just recently bought some new slightly different colours and was itching to give them a full test run after some minor use on the Nyx mat (Here) The colours in question tend to come up brighter than the ones I usually use but have some special requirements and their own hoops to jump through especially on playmat material. I went with a fire based spiral pattern as a nod to Hyperion’s background art and since it would fit in quite well with the the text areas central circular theme and the end result is nothing if not bright, and somewhat hypnotising.
Having Drawn Grapha before on another mat (although I have apparently neglected to post about yet) I knew what I was getting myself in for from the outset. Hyperion on the other hand I had no prior knowledge about and after much thought, some quick sketches, plus some desire not to repeat Grapha’s pose I decided they should be facing off against one another. The end result also just so happened to help fit the pair around the text, I could have pushed Hyperion left a bit more but I really wanted them to be in each others faces and he doesn’t really have the bulk of the dragon poor guy. Plus their arms in roughly in the same places so his legs might have been a bit odd all the way at the corner… and Bayonetta thought she had spine problems.
Who will win the next South West Yugioh Championship? Its probably a bit early in the year to be placing bets, still if you won, and baring the restrictions I have mentioned in mind, what would you choose to have on the ID Mat that proves your part of the champions club?

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