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  • Ryan Barger's MOTU Gallery

    Hello again all!

    Inspired by some overwhelmingly positive fan response to my He-Man fan art both here and on Facebook, I've decided to whittle away some more hours illustrating my own interpretations of other characters from Masters of the Universe. Like the characters featured in my poster "Defender of Grayskull", these redesigns take my favorite childhood characters and modernize them for fans who enjoy a little more realism, grit and danger in their MOTU (while hopefully still retaining the core iconic elements that have made them so enduring).

    I'm always open to suggestions and comments, so feel free to fire at will! I hope to add a new character to this gallery every few days if time and energy permit.

    Today, I'm beginning with the Big Bad himself, Skeletor. Though he was featured in "Defender of Grayskull," very little of his new design was actually on display so this felt like unfinished business. I hope you enjoy!


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    Ryan Barger
    www.ryanbarger.net

    http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/ryan-barger.html
    Last edited by Captain Atkin; 12-23-2017, 10:28 PM.

  • #2
    I love him and his design is such a bad ass, and I also love the techno elements you put on him. I'm a big fan of the techno and mechanical elements showing up on most of the characters and their environments in this universe. I certainly cannot wait to see how the other characters would be interpreted with your amazing fantasy style.

    Keep us mesmerized please!
    Last edited by Mechanizor; 01-22-2016, 05:45 PM.

    Comment


    • RyanBarger
      RyanBarger commented
      Editing a comment
      The mix of pulp sci-fi elements with magic and fantasy remain the most appealing aspect of MOTU, for my money---anything goes! That's why I try to combine them as often as I can on these guys rather than saying this one is fantasy, this one is sci-fi, and so on. Glad you liked him!
      Last edited by RyanBarger; 01-22-2016, 02:37 PM.

  • #3
    I really like how you've tied together the costume elements that, in other interpretations, have occasionally seemed disparate or even jarring; for instance, how his forearms and shins are defined and a matching element crowns his Roman-esque loincloth as a belt. However, what really catches my eye is the multi-colored stone or gem in the center of his chest armor - how this thing of beauty exists in the middle of all this darkness and rot - it is an intensely striking image that really sells the whole design for me.
    Not every beast is tender, especially if there is genius in his making.

    Comment


    • RyanBarger
      RyanBarger commented
      Editing a comment
      Wow! That's about the most articulate and fascinating thought anyone has ever put into one of my doodles, thanks!

      Originally I'd made the gem it's usual dull red/maroon color, but the more I looked at it the more it felt like a waste.

      The version of Skeletor I always liked best was the interpretation where he caused his own hideous scars by trying to reach for too much magical power (either as an apprentice of Hordak's or on his own). I can imagine him staring fanatically into some void of raw chaos, gaining its power but paying for it with madness and that eternal grin of bone----so I decided to put some element of that seductive chaos into his gem, to suggest the allure of the power that corrupted him. Excellent eye for detail!

  • #4
    That Skeletor is really impressive. I love the mix of technology with these character designs. Very similar to what they were going for with the 1987 movie, but your designs are much more faithful to the toys.
    "We must always value life. Even the life of one who opposes us." ― He-Man

    Comment


    • RyanBarger
      RyanBarger commented
      Editing a comment
      Thank you sir! You hit it on the nose... much as some of the movie designs weren't faithful to the classic interpretations, they were damn close in some respects (and spiritually very close indeed). But my biggest takeaway from the film is that there's no reason to shy away from the blend of sorcery and science that those costumes portrayed so well.

  • #5
    Good god that is AWESOME!!!! Holy crap!

    This should be our next Movie Skeletor!!! WOW!!

    Mer-Man next please!!!
    "If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all." ― Noam Chomsky

    Comment


    • RyanBarger
      RyanBarger commented
      Editing a comment
      Hahahaha, thanks Draego. I'd love to see something similar up on the big screen one day, and with modern cartoon/comics interpretations hewing pretty darn close to the source material (at least in costume design; I'm looking at you, Bebop and Rocksteady) here's hoping they won't feel the need to drain all the color and charm out of MOTU's next go round.

      I'm going to be setting up a vote for which character to doodle next on Facebook (once I figure out how) but I'd also like to do another vote just for the folks here. Anyone know a way to set that up?

  • #6
    Also... just curious if you would do commissions... like for a book cover? And if so, approximate cost. Thanks!
    "If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all." ― Noam Chomsky

    Comment


    • RyanBarger
      RyanBarger commented
      Editing a comment
      These days, I only rarely take professional/freelance commissions....medical circumstances limit my energy. My beloved wife cracks her whip when I stop drawing for fun and start drawing for money, hence why I'm spending my days of late on He-Man and his pals. But if I get back into the saddle, I'll hit you up!

  • #7
    Masterfully done, a great mix of elements in this design. It makes him feel less like a traditional character and gives even more of a presence. Lovin' it!

    Comment


    • #8
      Originally posted by rothsauce View Post
      Masterfully done, a great mix of elements in this design. It makes him feel less like a traditional character and gives even more of a presence. Lovin' it!
      Thanks Roth, glad you enjoyed it!

      Comment


      • #9
        Since I've done a bunch of evil minions so far to contend against just He-Man and the Sorceress, I thought it was time the good guys got some reinforcement....

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        Last edited by RyanBarger; 01-25-2016, 11:55 PM.

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        • Dark Angel
          Dark Angel commented
          Editing a comment
          This is not quite to my taste, admittedly, but once again, your detail work is not only amazing, but helps to tell the character's story. The wear and tear on the armor and the facial scarring demonstrate that MAA is a real soldier, and one who has not always had the luxury of fighting or winning 'clean.' To me, his clothing and gear look a little more recognizably tactical in nature as well.

          Tell me about the chain and what look like charms hanging below his belt. They make me think of how infamously superstitious some soldiers can be - almost if not as bad as gamblers and actors...

        • RyanBarger
          RyanBarger commented
          Editing a comment
          Sorry to hear that this interpretation didn't sync up with your own, but I appreciate the generous feedback. I tried to skew pretty close to the original toy/cartoon, swapping out only the tight green under-armor for more of a looser utility suit. I also eschewed the more fantastical transforming tech of the 200x version in favor of something a little simpler (ie, his old laser pistol instead of a big transforming gun arm). And you're correct, the goal with his interpretation was to drive home the 'old soldier' concept, a grizzled military man who's been scuffed up by too many battles to easily count.

          In keeping with the military emphasis, I wanted to include some iconography and emblems, along the lines of how WWII soldiers might paint nose art on a plane or an X-Wing pilot might have a custom helmet. Since Eternian symbols aren't abundant (particularly as regards government/military) I actually stole a couple from old MOTU vehicle toys that MAA was associated with (the symbols painted on his helmet and shoulder plate came from such as source). The belt buckle is a lift from the armor of generic Eternian guards, the closest I could find to an official seal.

          Excellent read on the dangling chain! For all his tactical expertise, battlefield experience and military technology, Duncan is still just a man in a world of powerful monsters and sorcery. The charm is there as a superstitious talisman of protection, harkening perhaps to his connection with the Sorceress and Zoar.

        • Mechanizor
          Mechanizor commented
          Editing a comment
          That's just amazing to know how you came up with all details in this portrait Ryan, it definitely gives me more scope on how you come to compose these masterpieces!

      • #10
        Stunning! I seriously can't even believe how awesome these are!
        "If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all." ― Noam Chomsky

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        • #11
          Ryan, you're not only a master of your craft, but also a wizard of composition. I know you have lots of works that have been published already, but seriously, you need to do a MOTU special book one day, and I'll be among the first fans to preorder it. Man-At-Arms is a killer!!!
          Last edited by Mechanizor; 01-25-2016, 09:36 PM.

          Comment


          • RyanBarger
            RyanBarger commented
            Editing a comment
            Thanks guys! And I would absolutely LOVE to do such a project, but... someone would need to grab all of Mattel's arms and twist them simultaneously for me, lol. I could pretty much call it a day if I ever got that done.

        • #12
          Oh yeah, if you did a nice glossy picture book of all the MOTU characters I'd be the first in line to pick that up!
          "If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all." ― Noam Chomsky

          Comment


          • #13
            Eternia's most feared bounty hunter...

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            Last edited by RyanBarger; 01-28-2016, 01:39 PM.

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            • RoboSteveo
              RoboSteveo commented
              Editing a comment
              Tri-Klops looks amazing!

            • Dark Angel
              Dark Angel commented
              Editing a comment
              Gladiator. MAA is a soldier who does what he does out of necessity, but T-K is a mercenary who lusts for the hunt and lives for the kill.

              I love your work.

            • Vahn
              Vahn commented
              Editing a comment
              How very interesting... The shapes of the visor and pauldrons remind me of some sort of aquatic creature. Love the extra tech on the chest-piece, and the mini-comics nod with the bandolier is brilliant! Not sure how I feel about the wrapped left arm, but I could learn to like it. The layered belts are also fun.

          • #14
            What's not to love here, simply an epic rendition of the mighty Tri-Klops...

            Comment


            • RyanBarger
              RyanBarger commented
              Editing a comment
              Thanks Mecha, as always the compliment is appreciated.

          • #15
            Totally awesome! Please do the entire vintage line!
            "If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all." ― Noam Chomsky

            Comment


            • #16
              I give you the Captain of Eternia's Royal Guard...


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              And a slight variant without the serpent breastplate and cowl:

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              Last edited by Captain Atkin; 12-23-2017, 10:31 PM.

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              • Captain Atkin
                Captain Atkin commented
                Editing a comment
                Amazing work. She looks like a total badass!

            • #17
              Again, awesome. Please keep them coming, these are simply amazing! Nice to see a female character.
              "If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all." ― Noam Chomsky

              Comment


              • #18
                Brilliant work as expected with our warrior goddess Teela, and you're inspiring me to do something crazy with one of my favorite mediums once I have the budget for it!...

                I have a a good collection of fantasy art books and magazines including a digital subscription of ImagineFX, and I can definitely say that your work/style here is on par with some of the best works I've seen to date!

                Please please please don't stop, you're about to wake me up from my art dark age!
                Last edited by Mechanizor; 01-31-2016, 06:43 AM.

                Comment


                • #19
                  These could work SUPERBLY in live action. Hell, you ought to spam Sony's email!
                  BTW, if I may request... when you do stand alone He-Man and stand alone Evil Lyn... could you do He-Man without a beard and Evil-Lyn with more clothing (Just doesn't fit the character to be dressed like Jabba Hutt's slave)?

                  OOH! And if you do stand alone castle Grayskull - could you make it a lot more Filmation like? Cuz if it ain't broken... :P
                  Last edited by D.M.; 01-31-2016, 04:44 PM.
                  “A society that gets rid of all its troublemakers goes downhill." ― Robert A. Heinlein

                  Comment


                  • Vahn
                    Vahn commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Looks to me that Lyn's outfit was inspired by the dress she would have had in the proposed 'Son of He-Man' cartoon. I'd like to have a better look at it before I judge it, though.

                • #20
                  Teela looks awesome!
                  “We change people through conversation, not through censorship." ― Jay Z

                  Comment


                  • #21
                    If the movie versions look even half as cool as these, we are in for a real treat! Someone should Tweet the producer and director to make them aware of the awesomeness. Maybe coming from the official He-Man World Twitter account would hold some water?
                    "If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all." ― Noam Chomsky

                    Comment


                    • #22
                      Really digging this stuff man, great execution. I only have a niggle with the amount of wires and little chain like things, seems a bit too much sometimes. But otherwise truly inspiring work.

                      Comment


                      • #23
                        Just a heads up! The perfectionist in me was compelled to make some alterations to my original Skeletor design. Originally I just intended to add the iconic crystal ball to his staff, but once I got started tinkering I ended up doing a bit more. I updated his pose to make him seem more imposing, darkened up his color scheme a bit, and tossed in a few more costume details. Nothing major, but worth another look.

                        Comment


                        • #24
                          Originally posted by RyanBarger View Post
                          Just a heads up! The perfectionist in me was compelled to make some alterations to my original Skeletor design. Originally I just intended to add the iconic crystal ball to his staff, but once I got started tinkering I ended up doing a bit more. I updated his pose to make him seem more imposing, darkened up his color scheme a bit, and tossed in a few more costume details. Nothing major, but worth another look.
                          I hope you still have the initial pose saved and wasn't deleted! If you've saved it, would you please consider reposting it again in this thread, I'd appreciate it.

                          BTW, the new version of Skeletor still rocks as hell!

                          Also, could you share with us, what software you've used in paining these marvels?

                          Comment


                          • #25
                            Originally posted by Mechanaizor View Post

                            I hope you still have the initial pose saved and wasn't deleted! If you've saved it, would you please consider reposting it again in this thread, I'd appreciate it.

                            BTW, the new version of Skeletor still rocks as hell!

                            Also, could you share with us, what software you've used in paining these marvels?
                            Did you prefer the original, or just wanted it for the comparison? If the former, I'd be curious to know why. I thought his original pose came out kind of awkward or off-balance (like his lower body was walking but not his upper). I also thought the lighter/more purple color scheme had perhaps skewed a bit TOO faithfully to his original version for a movie-ready interpretation.

                            I don't use anything too fancy... just Photoshop CS6 and a couple of older brushes I ported over from a really antique version of Elements.

                            Comment


                            • RyanBarger
                              RyanBarger commented
                              Editing a comment
                              Thanks for the feedback all. Havoc staff definitely needed the upgrade. The pose remains a small source of consternation... when I first started doing these character studies, I rushed a bit because I wasn't sure how they'd be received or whether I'd continue on with them. As a consequence, I didn't take as much care with Skelly's pose as I should have---hence the awkward striding leg that didn't quite sync up with his hands/torso and the slightly 'off' perspective that made him look a little top heavy. I agree whole-heartedly that I'd rather be able to see some of his leg(s), but at this point I'd probably need to re-draw his lower body from scratch to get there... so I went with a quick fix approach instead since I was overall pretty happy with it. Your explanation makes perfect sense Mecha, and is exactly what I was going for with each approach: the original was intended to look more like he was on his way to wreak some evil punishment, while the new one might be him having just risen from his throne to give a command.

                            • RyanBarger
                              RyanBarger commented
                              Editing a comment
                              Mecha, I forgot to add... if you want to see the original Skeletor, I can either point you over to my Facebook page (I can't delete it over there or I lose all associated comments/likes/shares) or just message you a copy. Let me know if you have a preference!

                            • Mechanizor
                              Mechanizor commented
                              Editing a comment
                              Thanks Ryan, no need, I actually found out that I've saved the first Skeletor image in my favorite files the first day you've uploaded it here! LOL

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