I never had one in my youth, but by far one of the most impressive lines of action figures were the 24" Shogun Warriors licensed and released by Mattel in the late 1970s. A few years ago, I bought some off Ebay but ended up reselling them as they were just so huge. (And they had wheels on their feet which made me scared they would roll off my shelf and plummet to their doom.)
As a child, I had several of the 3 and 3/4" incarnations of the characters. "Dragun" was a personal favorite of mine. I also recall a 30 minute Shogun Warriors cartoon on HBO I watched a myriad of times. And I had several issues of the 1970's Marvel comic by the same name.
Last year Skipbro Toys was doing another cool release, this time pairing the 3 and 3/4" Shogun Warrior line with Star Wars's Boba Fett. He invited me to do the card art and I was happy to oblige.
The awesomeness that such a challenge entails is everything I love about being both an artist as well as a toy fanatic. So I began scouring the internet for some inspiration. I pulled out some of the old Marvel comics and got to work.
As you can see, as is typical for most 1970s box art, the packaging is breathtaking.
The more I looked, the more I noticed one image kept emerging as a sort of iconic Shogun Warriors image. It was the headline character, Mazinga, posed in the following position over and over again...
And by the way, do you remember how awesome Colorforms were?
So I settled with a look and feel that harkened back to the greatness that was Mazinga and began with the preliminary sketch. I believe I cranked this out real quick in Manga Studio.
Then I puled the sketch into Adobe Illustrator and began tracing the forms and blocking in basic colors...
Then once I had things blocked in I bring it all into Photoshop and begin adding highlights and shades. This is my favorite part, because this is where it all comes together. And if you haven't done your due diligence in the early stages, things typically fall apart at this next point. Thankfully this project was pure joy from beginning to end.
And here is the final product.