Shiny Metagross Custom Playmat

For some reason everyone seems to be obsessed with Pokemon at the moment, no idea why that would be…
Joking aside this interest in pokemon has also lead to me recently creating a number of mats on this theme and so today I’m going to talk about the adventures of Shiny Metagross.
Our tale starts with a large blank sheet of paper, a rather large collection of reference pictures sourced from the internet of both shiny and not so much Metagross’s (Metagrosi?) and a stack of small initial sketches. The large piece of paper is blank because we have realised two very important things the first being that Metagross, shiny or otherwise is constructed out of a set of shapes that seem specifically designed to thwart attempts at dynamic poses, and the second being that we need to somehow make him look dynamic while both making sure he doesn’t look like he’s about to fall over and at the same time get as much of the body as possible to fit within the dimensions of a playmat.
Much drawing and erasing later and we come to the final large scale sketch, I have also come to the conclusion that Metagross could do with an extra joint on each arm. Which would explain why he’s not typically depicted doing things such as running and in general doesn’t seem to move much, when you have ball joints at your hips / shoulders and either a ball or hinge joint halfway down each arm / leg, well your not going to be participating in many Olympic events is all I’m saying.
But then when your previous evolutions can levitate maybe walking isn’t something you even bother with, and psychic is probably your answer to everything.
Next up the sketch gets a quick pass through your image editor of choice. At this stage we are just trying to make sure the person who has requested the design can see something that makes sense. We could just send them the image of the sketch but by throwing in some quick colour everyone gets a better idea of the 3D space the character occupies.
You can see by the time we get to the finished mat I have taken the ground level out. The main reason being it creates an artificial horizon line at the bottom of the image since I’m planing to have the background “sky” be quite dark and abstract I want to avoid a situation where people get a weird feeling that there should be some sort of landscape there instead, which in turn would have led to things like buildings and trees or rocks or a stadium but with Metagross insistent on taking up as much real-estate as befits his shiny metal self those things will either end up mostly off the page (trees would just be trunks for example) or very small making Metagross look even bigger, like he was some giant alien stomping across the landscape.
Who knows maybe Metagross is in to that sort of thing, mine from Sapphire probably would have enjoyed it, more than battling electric fish at least anyway.
So you have been staring at your image for some time now with Metagross staring back and you like it but there are still one or two little things you want to change. so we flip the image and we find that yes the right back leg doesn’t look anything like the left back and its a little to close to the body and the head is also not quite right. which makes it time to start cutting the image up and pasting the individual sections on different layers so we can mess about with their placement. We will also use the liquify tool to nudge sections around to get the shapes we want.
When Metagross is finally looking how we want him we go back to black and white, save the file, and can start on the mat itself.
On the colouring side of things I was trying to make sure there was a definite rocky metallic feel to the piece. I also changed the rocks slightly when I started on the final design since thats was the fist point at which I decided which direction the light was going to come from and in the design the sides of the rocks facing the viewer were a little all over the place. The psychic effects linking the rocks and giving them a sense of motion / direction around the image were the finishing touches to the peice.
And thats how Shiny Metagross went from sketch to sketch to more sketches and finally a finished mat
Metagross, looking sharp, smashing rocks or any fool who gets in his way, and using psychic to move cause Metagross aint no chump who wastes time or energy walking.
Still not  O.P as an electric fish though…
…even if Metagross seems to have Mr T’s voice

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