May 29th, 2009
Photoshop and drawingtablet

Get ready for a huge wall of text. (You've been warned.) ;)

This is one of the few OC's I created to fit into a pre-existing universe, making it a fan character. It's kind of silly, and I wasn't sure if I wanted to post it, but meh... Whatever. You guys are just going to have to deal with how my mind works sometimes. Besides, I need to have a good laugh at myself.

So anyway, this is Michael, and some of you may already have seen the rough concept sketch I did of him earlier. He was a character for one of my favourite tv shows, Stargate SG-1. I know he doesn't exactly look like he fits into that world, but there's a reason for that, which I'll get around to later. First I want to talk about this picture itself.

You see, lately I've been a little unhappy with the way my art looks. Anatomy is not my friend, and, as trainerBAM mentioned too, I kind of need to develop my shading techniques too. I just can't keep using Linear Dodge and Burn forever. So in this pic I tried to practice both anatomy and shading. Of course, picking poor Michael as my subject might not have been my best idea ever. After all, his anatomical structure isn't exactly human-like. As for shading... Well, I tried my hand at some 'blending' again. I've tried it before; the results are pretty decent, but the work is rather tedious. I really hope that is becomes faster and easier the better you get at it (I'm obviously still rubbish at it). I used the brush BAM recommended for the job, and BAM... You're right. It really is a brush I hate. But I can see how it's something you might come to need frequently. Anyway, this particular picture has roughly 12 layers of shading on it, of which only one is set at Linear Burn, because I needed it to add some finishing touches. I managed to stop myself from using Linear Dodge, so at least that's something. Lol.

About this character
Typed in bold letters, so you guys can find it easily. :D
So anyway, Michael is a fan character from the Stargate universe. I know a lot of fan characters tend to mess with the canon story line, so I'd just like to say right now: I hate that just as much as most of you. The few fan characters I have tend to alter little or nothing of the original story lines of their respective universes. That usually means that they aren't particularly important characters, since they don't really have much to do with the main characters and their quest to save the universe or whatever. I'm perfectly fine with my characters being minor characters (anti-Mary-Sues, JAY!!), though. I still love them. ;)

Ahem, promotional speech over. Michael is, or rather was a not particularly remarkable member of an SG team. For those of you who don't know, an SG team is a small group of usually four soldiers, who explore alien planets by going through the Stargate, an alien transportation device. Turns out that exploring alien planets was not a particularly safe occupation. One day Michael and his team were sent out to a newly discovered planet, to recover another SG team, which had gone before them and with which contact had been lost. This happened at around the beginning of the series, during the Goa'uld Saga. Michael was in his earlier twenties at the time, and very much a rookie. The alien planet they went to turned out to be a rather hellish swamp-planet, infested with giant predators, all sorts of poisonous creatures and a plethora of lovely diseases. Needless to say, casualties soon started to occur. By the time they finally found the lost SG team, most of them were dead. When they tried to return to Earth, they found out why the other team hadn't been able to come back: the Stargate was apparently broken on their end. People could get in, but not out. Oh joy. (It has happened in other Stargate episodes, so it's not that farfetched. SERIOUSLY!!)
And just when you think it couldn't get any worse, it does. The planet, which they started calling 'The Swamp', turned out to contain some sort of hugely aggressive mutagen. It was in the air, in the water, in the ground, and all over the food-chain. You can probably guess where this is going. XD

As time progressed, the poor survivors noticed that they were slowly changing, depending on their respective actions. For instance, Michael initially spent a lot of time stalking and hunting indigenous creatures in the water which made him develop more aquatic characteristics... Like gills... Yeah, he's got gills.
In the end only Michael survived (or at least remained more or less sane) and he was stuck on that planet for almost 10 years, until he was finally rescued. By then the Ori Saga was pretty much over. Yeah, Michael is a Stargate fan character, but isn't actually in the series because it STOPPED before he got back. I'm truly evil to my characters. Kay, MAYBE I made up my own saga to continue the series. Lol.

After his ordeal, Michael kind of spends most of his time cooped up the base. He had been given up for dead for years, so even if he hadn't been mutated into a toad-lizard-man thing the paperwork involved in bringing him 'back to life' would have been a nightmare. Anyway, even though he not allowed to get out of the base on Earth, he does sometimes get to go out through the Stargate, whenever any of the SG teams need some muscle to help out. He isn't part of a fixed SG team. He's pretty happy to help out as the fifth man, because he feels he owes it to everybody for rescuing him from The Swamp. Despite everything he's been through, he's a pretty friendly guy, and wouldn't hurt a fly. He's pretty traumatized of course, but he tries to deal with that, instead of letting it get to him. Because of his attitude, Michael soon makes himself pretty popular at the base. He's pretty much the local big, friendly guy.
Of course he's bothered by his condition, and being a religious man he often wonders why it had to happen to him. But he also recognizes the fact that it does allow him to do a lot of good too. If only people didn't respond by screaming and running away whenever they first meet him.

Character design
Believe it or not, I spent a lot of time thinking about Michael's design, so now that I've drawn him, I'm going to take my sweet time to talk about it. You're just going to have to bear with me here. ;)

Michael is adapted to living in The Swamp, a very hostile environment. In his case, he changed into something adapted to life under water and in the trees. At roughly 2,50 meters he towers over just about everybody else, although he does have a slightly slumped posture, due to his hunched over back. His head isn't particularly large for his size, although he does have massive jaw muscles. The snout is very broad, but rather flat, with sharp teeth lining the gums. He still has lips (leftovers from his human form, I suppose), but some of the teeth jut out from underneath anyway. He has a long tongue, like a frog, to catch stuff with, although his is not sticky. It wraps around stuff. He also has special glands in his throat, which contain a sticky glue-like substance (it's actually adapted saliva), which he can spit at a target at about 10 feet maximum. The glands store about 4 or 5 shots worth, but Michael rarely uses it, 'cause he's a bit embarrassed about it.
Michael's eyes are red, with vertical pupils. He has a very strong eye sight, sense of smell and sense of hearing, but he has gone color blind. He is dichromatic, being blind to the color green (Deuteranopia). It helped him distinguish shapes more easily in The Swamp, but back on Earth it's a bit of a handicap. He does have heat-sensing pits in his nostrils, though they are not as powerful as in snakes. He also has a lateral line running from his jaw to about half-way across his tail. It's not visible, but it allows him to detect movement in murky water.
Neck, torso and limbs are all muscular, and make him very strong. He's surprisingly fast for his size, but he stills thinks of himself as a bit of a brute (he started out as a pretty average size person). The spikes on his back form two separate fin-like structures, which start out on the base of his neck, run over his shoulder blades, and join together at the base of the tail. They can be erected, but also laid flat over his back. In this picture they are relaxed, being neither erect nor pressed flat. I drew the chest a bit badly here. It's actually supposed to be slightly more like that of a bird, in that it has a pretty distinct keel-like shape to it. There are a set of three gills on each side of his ribcage. They are adapted rib-structures, and when unused they just clamp shut tightly, so as not to present a weak spot.

Michael's hands only have three fingers each. He lost four fingers. They didn't fall off, or merge with the remaining fingers, or anything silly like that. Instead they just did what happened in many Earth animals: they retracted back into his hands. If you look closely you can still see two rudimentary claws on his knuckles, which are all that remain of his fingers. The feet still have all five toes each, but they are pretty mutated too. Michael walks on the first two digits of his toes. He doesn't actually walk on the balls of his feet, like most animals do. The third digit of each toe is elongated, and are tucked in together and held off the floor. He can spread them, revealing massive webbed feet, like a frog's. Giant webbed feet would be inconvenient for walking, which is why Michael's feet are as I described. The hands are webbed too, to let him swim, although the main propulsion comes from the tail. The tail is flexible, but not prehensile. Both the hands and the feet have microscopic ridges on their insides, which allow Michael to scale vertical surfaces like a gecko. Due to his massive weight, he can't hang on for very long, but it can be useful when he needs to climb something quickly.

Michael's skin structure is a bit like a toad's, but less warty and it isn't wet. Michael is warm-blooded, and like almost all inhabitants of The Swamp he acquired powerful regeneration abilities, and immunity to a lot of diseases and poisons. Given his situation, it wasn't a very unusual adaptation. He would have died without it. Unlike most of the other Swamp creatures Michael did not develop poison of his own. His hide is very tough, capable of enduring most cutting and slicing attacks, and even withstanding most guns and energy weapons. Bullets don't bounce off him, but just go splat against his skin. Though such weapons do not penetrate his skin, they often still hurt. So he'll try to prevent being shot. He's not Superman, after all. His stay in The Swamp has turned Michael into a pure carnivore. He can no longer digest vegetables, fruit and grain products. He'll often still try to eat the food he used to like before, often resulting in an upset stomach. And that's about it. There is actually still a bit more to be said about this guy, but I'll save that for a ref sheet I may make in the future. :)

On a final note, Michael doesn't usually strut around naked like this. I just wanted to show what he looks like, but he prefers to wear clothes. Nothing stylish of course. His wardrobe consists mostly of the black shirts and green army pants worn by most SG members.

That's it for now. If you read all that, you deserve a cookie! (Feel free to point and laugh now.)

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