View Full Version : Machineflesh 2D Challenge Entry: M. Grant Hillier

04 April 2004, 08:27 PM
M. Grant Hillier has entered the Machineflesh 2D Challenge.

04 April 2004, 11:40 PM (

first in a series of initial concept sketches... still trying to settle on one that I feel has potential. this guy is a human pilot that is genetically engineered to function as a symbiotic companion to the ship's artificial intelligence... uh, or something.

04 April 2004, 11:48 PM (

another concept with machineflesh goodness. don't know where this concept is going, but something about it appeals to me... maybe the kid and the unspoken narrative / relationship between him and the cyborg sage? whatever... anyhoo, the work continues

04 April 2004, 11:55 PM (

dark and disturbing I know, but this was inspired by those old b&w historical photos of people being hanged to death. I can't believe crowds used to actually watch that sh--. anyway... what if instead of the death penalty, criminals were induced into comas and hung in storage in vast sensory deprivation rooms... yes, dark and disturbing, I already covered that.

05 May 2004, 11:48 AM (

A futuristic take on the traditional role played by the 'wise women' of early celtic societies. They had an intimate knowledge of the earth and it's healing properties... this concept depicts a cyborg with a similar relationship to the vast quantities to 'tech' data which she can access at will. I wanted to give the impression she was a religious or holy figure (like the Madonna icon in the Christian religions).

05 May 2004, 11:53 AM (

I think this'll be the last of my concept sketches. I'll most likely pick one of the five and complete a finished line art next. This concept may be a bit weak in terms of showing the purpose of the 'machine'... to hover around instead of walking, but I liked the character design and wanted to post it anyhoo...

05 May 2004, 01:15 PM
hey these are inspiring !

I liked the hovering ghosts (will explain later ) and the
hanging men the most . Then it came to me that the
hanging men could be used with the wise woman .

Yea the hanging men would be in coma-like slumber but
they would be used by the wise woman as helpers ;
every now and then one of the men hanging in the dark
storage chamber would suddenly "awaken" and open it's
blue-glowing eyes as the wise woman searched their
brain for some memory or skill that would help her in
leading her village.

Ok , and then the "ghosts" would be people of a spaceship
who got affected by some alien plague and it was like
leprosy and they started losing eyes , arms n fingers and
feet and replaced them with hastily built machine parts.
They managed to find a cure to the disease , but were like
half-machines at that point , the whole lot of them , except
george and little mary , and old archibald the ship's cook.



05 May 2004, 01:44 PM
Hi, really nice sketches,

I especially liked the last one... really nice composition... although its a little vague from the machineflesh angle. The wise woman is good one too. I really like the feeling in the kid and cyborg sage sketch best. Hope you pick that one. Would really like to see where its going.

keep up the great work.

05 May 2004, 10:15 AM
I love the floating characters. They seem timid and curious... I'm reading in too much they just look cool.:applause:

05 May 2004, 03:42 AM
I like all your sketches (except the one with woman showing her breast). Nice and lose...

The drawing one with the kid made me think of the monster in the closet. Since kids nowadays are no longer easily impressed, they have to build this complex mechanical gadget to look more intimidating... (how do you like my lame idea?)

I do like the character design of the hovering creatures as well. So maybe you could incorporate the kid with the teddy bear (because I like the subtlety of it, nice touch...), staring at the hovering creatures, that are passing by. That way, your illustration will be telling more of a story /situation.

That's it for now. Whatever way you decide to go, it alreasdy looks promissing so I'll keep an eye on your thread.

If you want to check mine, here it is:
---entry--- (
your comments/suggestions will be appreciated.

05 May 2004, 01:13 PM (

just uploading this again, in light of that damnable hacker business. I have a rough paint of this which has the raven down lower, next to the clairvoyant. will upload that one soon. trying to decide between this concept or 'the remanent' (see next line art submission)... any thoughts to help me decide would be appreciated. cheers!

05 May 2004, 01:18 PM (

again, re-uploading lost files due to the hacker incident. I really like where this concept is going, but I'm afraid it's a bit weak in terms of depicting the 'flesh' in the Machineflesh challenge... I may add another 'floater' in the foreground revealing more flesh. I will also upload a line art of what these guys look like BENEATH their placid looking mech hazmat suits.

05 May 2004, 01:35 PM (

here's some line art for the 'floater' mech / hazmat suits. each one will be unique (I also have assigned each a post or position... such as pilot, engineer, etc.). I won't post line art of all 12 'floaters' but I will post what these guys look like underneath their suits using this line art for an example.

A note about their suits: After crashlanding on this harsh planet, the environment was found to be corrosive to their flesh, hence the need to hastily construct protective suits and mechanical aids to help them survive and manipulate objects around them (some of the suits have mechanical arms & such). the suits are designed to hover, since the survivor's legs were often the first thing to rot / dissolve away.

05 May 2004, 02:01 PM (

as their flesh rotted way... they became horribly disfigured, hence the need for the floating suits and mechanical limbs / external organs, etc.

the backstory behind this concept came about in part from a suggestion from Squibbit... thanks alot for your input! (check out his machineflesh thread... it's awesome)

05 May 2004, 02:05 PM (

Here comes the rough paints... (and I do mean rough, lol)

I still need to decide between this concept or 'the remanent'. any thoughts would be appreciated.

05 May 2004, 02:08 PM (

first pass at the rough paints with this concept. I kinda like the mood... haven't included the ship in the background yet. Also wondering if I should put one of the 'floaters' in the extreme foreground, showing in more detail the blend of flesh and machine... any thoughts, people?

05 May 2004, 05:03 PM
I agree with you there should be atleast one floater at the front. Atleast it would bring out the machine flesh theme a bit closer to the viewer. I was quite shocked to see what the floaters looked inside their suites, not at all what i expected to. Didnt even think they were humanoids at all, but good artwork on them.

Maybe its just my monitor, but that color version looks almost total black on my screen.

I like them floaters anyway :cool:

I have a suggestion, what if you would make the background full of fallen scyscrapers with jungle plant life :D

Not a single building left standing. Tallest elements would be some sort of magical looking plant lifes. Somehow i think that this picture needs moist jungle feeling with dusted up buildings

:blush: thats it good luck! :thumbsup:

05 May 2004, 12:22 AM (

Here's a line art of the floater I'm gonna add to the foreground of the 'remanent' concept. I'm choosing to do this so the flesh part of Machineflesh is visible (a weak point in this concept from the begining). now that I'm going to include this guy I feel more comfortable about choosing 'the remanent' concept to complete for the contest. any thoughts, people?

05 May 2004, 03:20 AM
Totaly, kick as dude. I love your concepts, I can see a graphic noval cult potentially developing based on these concepts. No joke! Keep up the great work.:thumbsup:

05 May 2004, 03:43 AM
Nice...But love to see the " Floater" rendered alone.


Visit My 2D Machineflesh Thread (

05 May 2004, 09:49 AM
Wow….I like! Your Floaters are absolutely fascinating. I love your blue pencil concepts. You are really able to show an understanding of structure. I want to see more. In a very sick way I can really see these guys floating in some world. :buttrock:

05 May 2004, 08:38 PM
Thanks so much to everyone who has commented / encouraged my work. Muchly appreciated!

I've made the decision to go with 'the remanent' concept (painting updates will follow very soon). I am currently working on a modified design of the 'floaters' which would show more of thier flesh... will post anything I think promising for feedback. Cheers and good luck to everyone!

P.S. Man, there's too much damn talent on this forum to keep up with... inspirational!!!

05 May 2004, 07:09 AM
Awsum idea! Keep it up!

05 May 2004, 03:56 PM (

I'm trying to show as much 'flesh' with this guy (who I'll put in the foreground of the painting) and still keep the overall costume design essentially the same.

This is a rough treatment of the diseased flesh... I'm new to digital painting, so c&c would be appreciated.

05 May 2004, 03:04 PM (

just a work in progress... slowly but surely, it's getting done.

because this is my first attempt at digital painting, I'm learning ALOT... still have a long way to go, but the journey is fun!

05 May 2004, 08:10 PM
I love the way you deal with hiligths and stuff like that, besides, the idea is really good.
if you want to see my project go to SANTIAGO (

05 May 2004, 01:27 PM (

just updating my progress on the foreground floater flesh detail...

05 May 2004, 02:25 PM
Great colour work, I especially love the look of those tubes they are really rich and detailed, the shading on them gives some great depth to the details on the floater. The body section that the tubes connect to has an awesome almost jelly-like look to it, dont know if thats what youre aiming for but either way it looks really neat.

Cant wait to see how you go with the rest of the image should look sweet.:drool: Keep it up.:thumbsup:

05 May 2004, 07:52 AM
I've just sumbled across this looking through the 'view entries' thread...

There's some fantastic drawings and colour work in here.

i really like the pass you made on the environment and agree with you on the mood... it's dead right. The detail you're putting into these 'floaters' is great. I've always liked things that hovver around.

That sketch of the person inside is brilliant...

I'll keep coming back to look now i've found this thread.

06 June 2004, 07:17 PM
wow dude , your ideas are fantastic, i like your approach, what you could keep in mind when colouring, i what time of day is you event taking place, and use a colour pallet that helps carry that idea across.
another thing i also try and do is i try to fake atmosphere, i normally towards the end of a colouring try to bath the drawing in a bit of the background colour, just a little, but you will be amazed hoe it just fuzes the image and all the elemts together

keep it up, it is really looking good

06 June 2004, 08:55 PM
Thanks so much for taking the time to comment on my work everyone... you guys are really helping tackle this first digital painting of mine. Thanks for the colour theory, Corlinator... muchly appreciated :D I'm hoping to get some updates posted later on this week... I've recently been waylaid with work and a hideous flu that just won't go away.

Thanks again all... new posts to follow!


06 June 2004, 08:57 PM
sorry if my previous message doesnt make mutch sence but i really suck at typing and spelling, i traded that for the ability to draw LOL
anyway keep on with the artwork i think its real neat!

06 June 2004, 04:36 PM
Very nice attention to detail...I really like your color tests. Great job!:bounce:
Can't wait to see your final illustration.

Hard Creation
06 June 2004, 06:17 PM
very cool stuff!


06 June 2004, 12:23 PM (

Sorry for the lack of updates lately... personal projects, the day job and real life sometimes get in the way... go figure.

Anyhoo - here's an update of the background... I've redefined some shapes and such... tried to give the environment a toxic ash kinda feel. I'll detail it more once I get the floaters incorporated into the shot.

06 June 2004, 12:28 PM (

update on my foreground floater guy... I'll need to play around with the colours once I put him into the environment... just need to make him relate to the bg a little more, possibly adding a greenish cast to his colours? Whatever... again, I go paint. Must try to meet the deadline!

I have to say I've learned so much about digital painting on this project... and I've been very inspired by the awesome level of quality of artwork I see on this forum.

06 June 2004, 12:33 PM
The environment is looking great... and if you're just learning about digital painting then your doing a fantastic job!!!

Can't wait to see some of these floaters going into the scene... i think you will need to make some colour adjustments once they are in the scene.

Is there going to be any obvious 'flesh' on display?

And i know what you mean about 'day jobs' and 'real life' getting in the way... if only there was 48hours in every day....

Good luck...

06 June 2004, 09:35 PM (

finally got around to plopping the foreground floater into the environment (still need to finish him). I can see where this piece is going now... need to add some glow highlights on the ground beneath the floater... I'm learning alot from working on this (my FIRST attempt at digital painting) and of course viewing alot of the artwork on this forum is always inspirational (and often intimidating). updates will follow pretty regularly from now until Friday... no choice if I want to get this finished.

Ah, well... the deadline looms large on the horizon so I must paint.

06 June 2004, 10:22 AM
No way, is that you first work in digital?!
I really sucked at mine. You're doing great. I love the fading effect in the bg.
As "duddlebug" said , the floater in the foreground is too mechanic, expose some flesh; his back is covered, it could hide anything. Make the flesh more obvious.

06 June 2004, 10:54 AM
why are you so AMAZING!?!?! :drool:
This it looking really sweet! I can't wait to see the final version. :applause:

oh duddlebug and LaurentiuBontea the " flesh" is showing on the foreground floater, it's the purplely gut where he is attaching the metal parts

06 June 2004, 11:04 AM
:wavey: Yet another great concept I've not seen until late in the challenge...

I really like the ideas and the background colour WIP is great - lots of depth.

I look forward to seeing all the elements combined and finished...good luck and keep going:thumbsup: :applause:

06 June 2004, 07:44 PM (

added some highlights under the forground floater and another guy in bg (only 10 more floaters to add... OMG! ha ha, but they won't need to be very detailed).

just a note about the amount of 'flesh' is visible in this piece... yeah, there isn't much, which is why I added the forground floater hooking up a hose to his gut. I'd like to have time to rework him (to show more flesh) but I know can't in the time left to us on this challenge. Next time, next time...

anyhoo... learning alot about digital painting techniques thanks to alot of you awesome artists out there... lots of inspirational stuff to encourage me to get better.

Good luck to everyone! And thanks so much for everyone who took the time to comment on my piece... muchly appreciated!

06 June 2004, 03:09 PM (

just adding more floaters... I'll see if I get enough time to rework the foreground floater to show a little more flesh (perhaps remove a section of his armour?) however I don't think time will allow. we'll see...

anhoo... lots of fun working on this. totally inspired by the awesome work presented for this challenge... good luck everyone!

06 June 2004, 03:14 PM (

just a closeup to show you what the background floaters look like (still need to add about 8 more of these guys... yeesh... *paints faster*). they're all individualized and I've asigned them ranks and professions (they are survivors of a scientific research vessel which crashed on this harsh, desolate planet). why bother you ask... hmm, why indeed...

06 June 2004, 06:22 PM
The colours in this piece are awesome! Looking amazing for a first CG painting! I don't know if there's enough detail, though<wink>....sheeesh!
The atmosphere you've created is REALLY nice - feels like what it should. Love the lighting under the floaters!

See you at your 'dayjob'.....:)

06 June 2004, 06:25 PM
spooky ! I like this pic alot !

yea a bit more fleshy parts showing might be good ,

but it's great even without


06 June 2004, 06:31 PM
This is looking fab!! And i can't believe you've just started CG painting!!

I'm going with squibbit on the 'Spooky' front.... it's got a real creepy feel to it. I wouldn't want to get lost in this place on my way home!!

The lights out of the bottom of the floaters is really effective. And the perspective on the floaters and the background really gives the painting depth...

Good luck getting it all finished.... and good luck on the 'day of judgement'!!!!

BTW... does anyone know how the voting works...?

06 June 2004, 06:33 PM
:bowdown: Im not worthy!

the floaters are really impressive, especially the the white lighting on the 'hover' part of them... i don't know if that made any sense but my brain is not working today....ANYHOO keep up the awesome work! really can't wait to see it finished! :bounce:

06 June 2004, 06:34 PM (

added yet another floater and tooled around with the mist a little.

I'm really getting into a painting groove, just chucking these background floaters into the painting... man, I wish I had time to rework the foreground guy... alas and such, time is against me.

Oh, BACON!!! Hmmmm... I eat now...

06 June 2004, 08:30 PM
perfect man
it's really going incredible...i liked so much...:thumbsup:

06 June 2004, 10:14 PM (

phew! got all the elements into the painting (all those damned floaters). I repainted the sky to give the environment a more subtle, sinister feel. I may need to adjust the levels of the floaters way in the background to push them into the distance??

Any thoughts on this piece would be helpful since I'm sick of looking at it by now, ha ha ha!

Thanks to everyone who posted words of encouragement, and good luck to all!


06 June 2004, 10:24 PM
artjunkie this looks super cool, one suggestion, the characters right at the back, take a bit of you background sky colour and just very softly paint it over them,this should create even more depth to the image, i hope it helps, just an idea thou.
i really like the composistion
your piece has really evolved

06 June 2004, 10:29 PM
"Any thoughts on this piece would be helpful since I'm sick of looking at it by now, ha ha ha!"



waist-high lighter mist layer ? broken/wounded floater ?

red color ? umm... hmmm...

a torn flag on shoulder of one of the floaters farther back ? ...

err... one floater lookin at a broken phone and other toying
with rubik's cube ?

a floater with broken floating device assembling a bicycle ? ..hmm..

how about a banjo in tthe hands of the front floater ?
sorry, tired :)

06 June 2004, 10:37 PM
thx Corlinator... I'll definately give that a try!

Squibbit man, you're crazy LOL! I should totally add a rubik's cube and banjo in the piles of junk in the background... really small so you'd have to really look for it! ha ha ha!

I'll post some closeups after I try your suggestion there, Corlinator. And who knows, if you look real carefully... you might find a rubik's cube ;)

06 June 2004, 01:11 AM (

a before and after closeup of background floaters... I took Corlinator's advice and gave the floaters at the back a light wash of the bg colour to help get a feel of distance. Thanks Corlinator!!

I'm also putting a few finishing touches on the background itself... will post that tomorrow (oooh, cutting it close!)

Good luck to everyone in the challenge... it's been AWESOME keeping and eye on so many talented artists.

06 June 2004, 10:32 AM (

a few minor tweaks here and there... some bg detail added... not sure what else to do to this one. I think it's gone about as far as I can take it? Looking forward to the next digital painting... I've learned so much from this one (and all you awesome artists out there who've inspired and encouraged me... KUDOS)

Good luck to all, will post the final image later today.


06 June 2004, 10:53 AM
Waa ! It's impressive !
All these bodies coming from...............brrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
What a mood...............terrific !

Great work man!

Good luck for judging !



06 June 2004, 07:08 PM (

just a couple of detail closeups before I post the final and try to upload my hi res version to bring an end to this contest (yay!)

06 June 2004, 07:11 PM (

last detail shot... here's the only part in my painting which actually shows machine AND flesh. Yeah, his skin is purple, LOL.

06 June 2004, 07:15 PM (


Thanks to everyone who showed interest and support for my thread... you guys are awesome (you know who you are!)

Good luck everyone in the contest... I was just along for the ride. It was fun too!


06 June 2004, 07:38 PM
Looking really sweet man!

Really cool.

I must say its great seeing everyones final images. Its cool to see how everyone does it their own way and the cool results they get.

Good luck. Yours looks great

06 June 2004, 11:34 PM
good work man, really good work....

07 July 2004, 02:54 PM
GOOD JOB! This reminds me of that song by blue oyster cult, Don't Fear the Reaper....And btw, I LOVE ZIM. hehe, nice icon too! Anyhow, GOOD WORK! GOOD LUCK! and Congradulations!:D

07 July 2004, 07:37 PM
Thanks so much Shinwa... I checked out your link and really like your illustration style!

Yeah, Invader Zim ROCKS!!!! I'll have the first season DVD worn out by the time the second season is released in late August, LOL!

Thanks again for your encouraging words! Cheers!

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