This is a somewhat painterly study of the equipment and bearing of a soldier of the Etongi Protectorate, a faction in my ‘Iron Road’ stories.
I’ve been wanting to improve my painting skills for some time, and also explore how to do some kind of techno-barbaric armor that still allows the wearer to get something approximating a cheek weld. I was looking at the character design for Solidus Snake and wondered if it were possible for him ever to shoot a gun accurately. (I know, I know, ‘rule of cool’ and all the other mantras, blah blah blah.) It was just that I was seeing more and more wild helmet designs combined with realistic carbines with reflex sights, and it seemed like that was painting the art into a corner. There’s a big difference between realism and the appearance of realism, but I was wondering if there was a solution I could salt away for later. Eh, maybe this is it and maybe it isn’t…either way it was fun to explore the shabbiness and bric-a-brac of the Etongi.
Maybe it’s, uh, post-post-apocalyptic?
The Etongi Protectorate is meant to be many things in the story, and while not protagonists they're meant to be comprehensible, if not particularly sympathetic. They're mostly humans, and things that were once human, perched between abysses and holding their own. The 'banality of evil' is sort of a go-to theme for groups like this, but I also temper that with a sense of 'worse things waiting', to steal a phrase from Manly Wade Wellman. The Protectorate did not become what it is from any obvious and irrational malevolence, but rather from circumstance: The Iron Road is spawned by war and battle, and this road is walked by both the heralds and victims of these things. The Etongi are prepared for these things, and can often deal with them on equal terms, though them preparation has warped them and made them other than what they thought they once were. They're sinister, but also tragic and a little absurd.
The Metal Gear games are aesthetically interesting to me. It's like the absurdity is a sort of framing device, as if it's a recreation of events from a second or third hand source long after the fact, and the player is the end link of a long game of 'telephone'.
I wish you luck with your own work.
Thank you. My work is morphing into something I don't quite understand all the time, that's process though. The trick is absorbing it into your new work, even if it means you have to cut something out. I've had these two characters on the shelf for 4 years, they've just resently taken shape and been given purpose by the story developing.