Penguin Action Studies Picture

More Viking penguin sketches--VERY rough. I just can't get enough of these guys, apparently...I'm supposed to be drawing a chicken for my nephew's birthday, and instead I sat down and started sketching penguins again. Gah!

I wanted to show what their heads look like without their helmets. Not too much different from contemporary penguins, as it turns out. They have little bitty heads in proportion to their massive bodies. I'm not thinking of them as terribly bright; again, they're more Hollywood Conan than historical Vikings.

I pictured the top three engaged in combat drills and contests. The Vikings spent a lot of time in competitive games when they weren't actually viking (raiding). It kept their skills sharp, and there wasn't a whole lot else to do during the winter.

Wow, that sword at middle left is really bad. The blade isn’t even contiguous with the handle. They (the penguins) don't really seem to me like they'd have the sophistication to produce steel; maybe they cannibalize it from the artifacts of human civilization. Totemic rings actually were important to the Norse culture; that's one thing Tolkien got right.

There are a few different ideas going on in the lower three sketches. I wanted to show a size comparison between a Viking penguin and a contemporary (to our time) human. This pathetic weakling may be the human protagonist of the story, a man who emerges from cryogenic hibernation to travel around the future anthro world on a vaguely defined quest.

At bottom is a Viking penguin mounted on some sort of giant future bird with its own armor. I pictured it as similar to a teratorn, perhaps evolved from an Andean condor, or even a large seabird like an albatross or frigatebird. I like the idea of the penguins using flighted birds as mounts; kind of a Valkyrie feel, I think. Also shades of Arzach and the old "Joust" arcade game.

Yeah, they're unrealistically muscular. Ever since reading Harry Harrison's "Deathworld," I can't draw any kind of comic-book guy without trying to make him look functional on a double-gravity planet.
Continue Reading: Ages of Man