As I mentioned in my introductory post to the series, Elementalists as a concept has been around for a long time and has gone through many, many iterations. One of the earliest and longest running was a script for a comic book. It ran for several years, reached about 30 chapters, and had an alrightish following despite being just a script for a comic that never happened. I did occasionally get some interesting concept art from my friends. While digging around a box of old projects, buried with art from Virtual Saga and Dark Empire, I found some of this old art and I was inspired to share it.
These characters have come a long way since these early designs. I kind of wish i had new concepts to show in comparison, but unfortunately I have not yet been graced with any fan-art for this iteration. You’re just going to have to deal with my commentary on how they have changed.
PS: Sorry Jackie and Kat, I know nobody likes to have work from 10-years ago shown, I know you both could do much better now. Please don’t kill me.
Of all the characters in Elementalists, Arthur has undergone the most revisions (heck, the name ‘Arthur’ is an incredibly recent one for him). Back when anime was twisting my world view through ki-colored lenses, Arthur was much more influenced by Japanese culture. The most noticeable thing to carry over from his early design to his current one is the staw hat, which was a gift from Ryu (and is currently not in his possession in the current story). Arthur’s new design is more reflective of his upbringing in a middle-America farmtown.
In this early version, Ryu required everyone who came to learn to be an Elementalist with him to wear a gi for his school (again, the anime-influence was heavy). Sam was so small and so scrawny that the uniforms never really fit him right. I’ve since abandoned the idea of Ryu having a formal school/gi, making him more a teacher of necessity to those misfits who wind up at his door. I like this more, as one of my favorite parts of Sam’s new design is getting to come up with nerdy things for his shirts to say.
Aer’s original outfit was designed to be more revealing. Upon reflecting, I realized that this didn’t really fit with the character, leading to her more conservative redesign. For those of you actually reading this, here’s a fun-fact that hasn’t made it into the story yet: the multi-layered robes of her new look serve a practical purpose: they help her float by catching the winds in the myriads of folds.
That’s it for character who you have already met, unfortunately. I do have a couple more pieces I found I’d like to share, which may be minorly spoilery but not majorly.
You have not met Kairi yet (though she was referenced). She’s probably changed the least out of all the characters, mostly cause I really liked her the way she already was. A few tweaks will be necessary to ensure the familial similarity to the new look of her sister.
It’s going to be a few chapters yet before we’re introduced to the fan-favorite of the original story, Kanos. I don’t have a whole lot to say here, except that, like many characters, his redesign involves shedding a few of his more Japanese-influences.
I just thought this would be an interesting thing to share, a little bit of the history of the story I am now retelling for (what I hope to be) the definitive time. Maybe one day, if my few fans decide to grace me a little art, I can show off some before-and-after stuff as a follow up. Until then, thanks for reading!