Also, please note, I am moving on to another project with the winding down of Firedancer after the release of Gladiator. It is indeed another Draven skin. Wolfman Draven
Even if you do not wish to support it, take a look. This is my next major project, so I would like to start promoting it over Firedancer.
Thank you so much!
While I typically don't like posting again so soon after I reply to a comment, I wanted to make an open statement in regards to community support in a bit more of a formal manner than you guys are used to.
For starters, I do of course want to say thanks. Not just for the passive support or in the case of many, very active support, but for the overwhelming confidence I've been given from it. When I started stalking the forums for fan ideas I saw the greats, Dragonmaster Swain and Epidemic Singed, Unprepared Garen, etc. When I created Firedancer it was with the assumption that I would never reach those heights, and at first didnt take it incredibly seriously. When I saw the level of support I quickly got, the tremendous compliments and suggestions, the praise and even occasional light constructive criticism, it really motivated me to continually improve this thread until I've reached the point where I am now; I wish to continue to work on it, but I have such a sense of completion I know it isn't necessary. You guys have really restored a level of confidence in me and motivated me to keep dishing out ideas. For that, I'm incredibly grateful. Maybe someday soon I can even say that my little random fan idea inspired something that made its way into the most popular online game currently.
Finally, I have to give special thanks to Riot for the interest shown in the idea. For starters, my idea only exists because of the grand and appealing detail and personality you guys gave Draven. Even beside that, without your interest this thread would have never had as much dedication or hope from the community that it currently has. Thank you for a great character, and thank you for the inspiration, even if the skin never sees the League Store.
Qs and As: (Note, anyone can ask a question, and if I deem it an important, and appropriate, one, I will be more than happy to answer it and post it here!
So, what inspired you to make Firedancer?
Well, for starters, Draven is my favorite champion. Naturally, I have done my share of research on him, and in that I learned that his dance was based on the Fire Dance. It was a pretty easy leap from there to decide on a Polynesian skin.
How did you come up with the outfit design?
I wanted to stay true to Draven's classic skin design elements without, obviously, making it overly-similar. With that, I slapped on a headband, which was, conveniently enough, a popular design element for fire dancer outfits, and gave him elaborate back and front sashes. Additionally, I wanted to keep his rings and spikes theme, so I added spikes to his belt and rings to hold the sashes. I didn't want to change his hair or his signature facial hair much, so I kept the basic idea (long hair, spiked up. Fu Manchu.) and added to it. (I added a beard and I slicked the hair back and shortened it slightly, as well as let his hair down instead of putting it on his shoulder how he has it in his classic art.) Draven also seems to like his jewelry, so I kept his earrings (only gave him two, as opposed to his classic three, but made them thicker to compensate.) and added a necklace so his chest wouldn't look so bare.
What about the body paint designs?
This was an interesting process. I wanted to keep a vague similarity to his classic skin body paint, which is why the majority of the paint is only on one side of his body. However, the designs of the body paint itself isn't entirely significant. If you look, his left side of his body paint is vaguely wave-shaped and the right side of his body has flame-shapes. His torso, however, is pretty much random, with vague claw or paw shaped prints. I did, however, make sure that I gave him plenty of paint around his eyes. Draven has some pretty awesome eyes, and the contrast between the pale grey-blue natural color of his eyes and darker face paint is not only an element of his classic art, but in my opinion a very important element.
How did you decide on the design for his axes?
I knew that he would have to have something pole-like in order to keep it consistent with the fire dancing theme. The difficult part, then, would be to make sure he still has axes. Even more importantly, those axes had to rotate on a circular handle, which made the design job an absolute nightmare. I finally settled on a poleaxe design with a circular handle, but if you notice, the handle isn't completely circular. The break in the handle where his wrist would fall would potentially be a bit awkward in game, but it was my intent to give the impression that he *has* to spin it manually, so the blades only need enough of a track to be able to swing outward and lock in place. I imagine Draven was supposed to spin his axes manually, anyway, and the fact that the blades spin on their own in game is just a convenience for animation.
As for the mechanism behind setting the axes on fire, the cloth wrappings on the blades are based on a Samoan fire knife.
How long have you been working on Firedancer?
I'm estimating it's been well over a month by now, between planning the skin and actually doing the art. I know just the art itself has definitely been a month off and on between all of the different concepts and sketches I've done. The actual design phase took a few days, and the planning stage was also another few days. The splash art itself took about two weeks off and on. The longest, most challenging part of the design phase was definitely figuring out the axes. I redesigned them a couple of times before finalizing a design I was pretty satisfied with, taking quite a few of the basic elements from Draven's classic axes and incorporating them into the overall aesthetics of the poleaxes. As mentioned, many of the design elements of the skin are inspired by Draven's classic design, such as the use of rings and spikes and an elaborate, unique belt-buckle, as well as the general color scheme.
If you have any more questions, please post them up and I'll be happy to answer them.
Finally, Special Thanks to the community for recommending an animation with him eating/breathing fire. I had at least three separate requests for it, and I integrated that into an alternative recall pose for the skin. So, once again, thanks!
Also, I want to take a moment to say thanks to everyone who has been consistently checking back on the thread and bumping it, and, more importantly, spreading the word outside of this thread! I've noticed various people have shared me on other forums, as well as within the LoL forums themselves, and even on Reddit! This means so much to me, and it's fantastic to have such awesome and dedicated supporters! Thank you all so much!
Poll Results (poll is in the Fanart thread)
Question posed: "So, what do you think of the skin? Do you like it?"
Results [Updated 3/5/13]:
"Yes! I'd get it" -57.71%
"I don't play Draven, but it's well done!" -32.72%
"It's a pretty sweet concept." -6.76%
Also, as a disclaimer, I do give Riot free, full permission to use the ideas and designs posted here. I don't know if this will affect the potential integration of the skin into LoL, but I wanted to make it clear that I neither expect, nor seek, anything from Riot for the skin. I simply want to see the idea integrated into the game
Final note to Riot if by any stretch of the imagination you do integrate this into LoL: Two favors. 1. Do not change Draven's eye color, and 2. do not remove his mustache. I'm sure a large chunk of the community agrees with this
Enjoy, and thanks everyone!
*I can't 3-D model, so the mock-up is, as you can easily tell, just a photoshop edit. Also, I apologize for the pretty horribad axes; they were immensely difficult to draw and match the model more or less.