Red Post Collection: IronStylus with oodles of champion concept art!

Posted on at 3:29 AM by Moobeat
What better way to kick off a new week than with a red post collection! This one features IronStylus sharing a TON of champion concept art - including when Quinn was originally meant to be a melee assassin!
Continue reading for more information and a healthy dose of League of Legends concept art!

IronStylus on the cancelled "Omen" champion concept

For those who might not be aware, "Omen" is a now cancelled void pocupine type creature that the community first caught wind of a few years ago.

Here's IronStylus explaining a bit about him in a reddit thread on champion concept art:
"I was the main artist on Omen. From the pre-production side along he was a bit of a disaster. There wasn't a real clear indication that he was to be an ADC at the time. Additionally, this was after Skarner, there was a big debate on how, if at all, monsters could have personality. At the time it was a prerequisite for any slightly monstrous champion. Later on we redirected and decided it wasn't really necessary that monsters display visually the same level of sentience perhaps as more humanoid champions could display up front.
The debates that happened on this front were frustrating to say the least, not just for me, but for the entire team. There were lots of different opinions, lots of different takes, and there was never that sorta "Ah-HAH! I get it!" with Omen. Yeah, he might look alright from a perspective that's outside of production, but he was never really hitting the mark.

He's unique, sure. Maybe we can take some notes from him someday, but I for one am comfortable with the fact that he didn't go all the way through.

Funny thing is, Omen is what brought about Graves. Feral Pony was the one working on Omen with me as the designer but when it was dropped we went directly onto Graves. So, I think a good product came out of it regardless ;)"

IronStylus Shares Champion Concept Art

Following up on that old champion concept art thread, Ironstylus decided to make his own and share several of his own concept arts!

[ Note: I went ahead and posted the pictures from the albums with the appropriate titles/descriptions. ]
"Hey guys, Happy New Year! 
I saw that awesome thread with a pile of older champion concept art ( ) which was dug up and I thought I'd dig through my own pile and show you (some of) the concepts I've worked on. Similar to the "Early Champion Concepts" thread, you'll see how much sometimes things evolve and change. 
Big thing to notice: Things change a LOT when it comes to concept art and character design. You're going to see a bunch of stuff we actually threw away, or iterated further upon depending on the situation of the particular development. Hell, you might even see something you think should have been in the released champion that didn't happen, but usually there was a good reason why it was changed. 
Fun thing to keep in mind, a lot of this is AWFUL. I look back through my work, and this is a fraction of it, and I luckily see improvement. But I think it's evident that a lot of my initial work was below the current quality bar of the company. You've seen the concept art of Vi, Zyra, Lucian, etc, and damn.. did our standards ever improve! It makes me feel lucky that I'm a part of this team and that I've been given the opportunity to grow. We're all really lucky in that regard. I couldn't have improved at all if it wasn't for my amazing colleagues. 
Crazy thing is that the champions you see here are about a quarter of the characters that I've worked on that have seen the light of day (not including skins, or Relaunches, which is now my primary thing). We go through a lot of iteration, and I assure you my discarded concept pile is larger than my approved pile! But who knows, maybe someday some of those characters will come back in some way ;) 
I didn't have everything handy so I'm going to add to the albums as I find things, especially early thumbnails of character, the first stage of concepting. Those tend to be a bit scattered around.
Here ya go, in order what I worked on from when I first started at Riot:
Champions I've worked on from the ground-up.

Leona -  
Early Concepts
Shield explorations
Sword Explorations
Leona Final Concept/Mock up
Talon -  
Talon Concept Final
Talon Mockup

Skarner -  

Skarner Thumbnails
Early Exploration of skarner
Once the body was generally decided on, we ideated head studies
Skarner Concept 1 - Blue
Skarner Concept 2 - More blue and glowy pink?
Skarner Concept 3 - Hmmm.. Kinda looks like Cho'Gath

Skarner Final Concept - Hooray! However... I miss my kind.

Xerath -  
Xerath Concept
Xerath Color
Xerath Mock Up 
Graves -  
Graves Thumnails 1 - Initial Exploration thumbnails
Graves Rough Concepts 1 - Honing in on particular design choices
Graves Concept B&W - "Final" black and white concept, thumbs-upped for approval and into production

Turnaround and 2d in-game mockup - Turnaround line art with in-game mockup. For modelers to properly created the 3d asset. Mockup used to show that the character will read in-game
Breakout of weapon
Final turnaround - colored to inform texture.
Diana -  

Diana Semi-finished Concept
Diana semi-finished concept
Diana final concept
Quinn and Valor -  
Falconer 1
Falconer 1 - initially she was a melee assassin
Falconer 2
Falconer 2 - still melee at this point
Falconer 3 - Getting there.. Costume refinement
Quinn Portrait
Quinn Portrait 
Quinn and Valor mockup
Quinn and Valor Concept 1
Misc. champions I worked on in a production art capacity. i.e. the initial concept was made by another artist and I helped flesh it out, make turnarounds for, or painted it in an in-game environment. 
Misc - 
Sejuani Turnaround
Sejuani Turnaround 

Kevin Tuggles Turnaround
Kevin Tuggles Turnaround
Viktor Turnaround
Viktor Turnaround
Volibear Turnaround
Volibear Turnaround
Fiora Mockup
Fiora Mockup
Ahri Mockup
Ahri Mockup
Feel free to throw questions at me if you have them. This process can be really crazy at times. Not every character gets worked on the same way. You'll see that some of these were done only in "mockup", meaning at a 3-quarters view with the perspective tilting down, essentially game camera view. Back in the day, when we didn't have much time to work on the concept, we'd load a lot of the work into this viewpoint. Things have changed a bit and we're now able to spend a bit more time really finessing the character. 
Take care! I'll see if any other artists might like to post their stuff on here to see also!"

He also answered several questions in the ensuing comments:

When asked how many people are a part of a champion's creation process, he replied:
"Tons of people are involved! Often, at the beginning of a character however, there's primarily 3. An artist, a gameplay designer, and a creative designer. They help flesh out the concept package of a character. Funny thing is, on a LOT of these (Leona, Skarner, Xerath, Diana, Quinn) the designer was Volty. He and I are great friends and he's one of my favorite designers to work with. I LOVE everyone I've worked with but Volty and Runaan have a special place in my heart for what we've worked on together!"
In the same vein, someone asked who actually has the final say in these concepts becoming champions and their final aesthetics. He replied:
"It's a big group decision. Different people from different disciplines give feedback and help mold the idea. Once the group agrees, it goes forward."

When asked why all the mockups look "so cartoony" , he commented:
"Mainly because big shapes, simple graphic use of color, and large-to-small form rhythms read very well in our game. High-rez, super detailed and lots of "stuff" work great for an FPS but not necessarily great for a MOBA."

When questioned about Quinn's kit when she was planned to be a melee assassin, he replied:
"Nope. She never had a kit in that incarnation. Only idea was a vault which would be a 1-2 with valor"
He also commented:
"She didn't have a kit at that point. There was no real ideas for mechanics aside from what ended up being her vault and the idea of an AOE vision spell. They were all very conceptual ideas at the time. Nothing prototyped or tested."
As a follow up, someone asked if IronStylus would have liked to see them have attempted to make a melee version of Quinn if they could od it all over again. He replied:
"Personally, yes. Only because I don't think we ever explored deep enough into that territory. Would have been cool to try!"

As for a sneak peak on anything else he's working on, he denied us any hints!
"'Fraid not ;)"

When asked if he is working on the next champion, Ironstylus commented:
"There's a lot of champions being developed all the time :P The "next" isn't something I've worked on, but I'm helping concept a couple champions which may or may not come to be. Nothing approved or slotted though yet. Very early in the concept phase currently."

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