Artist's Lady Knights Series Creates Diverse Women Warriors

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Artist's Lady Knights Series Creates Diverse Women Warriors

Concept designer Sean Ng drew seven female knights based on randomized traits.

The lack of diversity in female characters in video games and other media has been a common criticism raised about the industry. More often than not, warrior women in games have the same impossibly thin frame protected by armor that is, by all appearances, the rejected extra bits from real armor, or clad in fatally flawed "boob plate" armor.

Showing just how simple it is to create interesting warrior women, concept designer Sean Ng created a randomizer to generate five categories of character traits. Each randomly generated lady knight has a weapon, build, personality, culture, and animal. Ng, also known as dogbomber on Tumblr, shared the randomizer with a challenge to other artists, saying, "Pick three and run with it! Bonus challenge: do all five categories. And of course you're free to add to the categories if what you want isn't in there. Have fun with it!" Ng then shared his first piece based on the randomizer, a top heavy and nervous Indian knight with powerful fists and a shark theme. Since sharing the randomizer on February 20, Ng has drawn seven knights, each time incorporating all five traits.

Ng uses prompts like the Lady Knight randomizer as a drawing exercise for short practice projects. His previously series was a set of mineral-inspired monsters. Ng is a freelance concept designer from Singapore. He was a senior artist on several mobile games, working on character, prop and environment design. His work has appeared in Conquest Age, Spirit Horizon, and Odin's War, all from Daylight Studios in Singapore. He lists Alessandro Barbucci, Akihiko Yoshida and Kim Jung Gi among his influences. You can check out more of Ng's work on his Tumblr and on his portfolio site, which includes a complete character redesign for The Legend of Zelda.

Source: Sean Ng on Tumblr

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I really like these!

Maybe not the Egyptian one, as it goes to towards the more conventional more skin less armor but the others are great! The green one reminds me of Melissa McCarthy!

They all look like they have a personality without them saying a word and they actually look like a woman would when going to war, not with tits popping out but clad in armor!

I like the Russian cat one, looks like a character I would play in an RPG.

These are all pretty great. Real good examples of the kinds of character designs more artists would do well to look in to mimicking, at least in terms of body type diversity in games.

I really like the Gnome/Dwarf lady with the ground-anchored bow. The Russian cat lady is also cool.

When I shared this article with my friend we got into a massive discussion on how we wanted these characters implemented in something. We both love the designs. Some one should definitely give this guy a job offer because I want to see these or similar characters in some game.

Love the Russian one.

Something makes about the idea of a 200kg bruiser with a club the size of a fridge being described as "mischievous" makes me smile.

Like the Japanese one too, although I think it would be a better picture without the magic blue snake thingy.

Welp, my next D&D game is gonna have a halfling with a tripod-mounted bow. That's just got to happen.

Hmm, I wonder if 3.5 has a template for that.

omega 616:
I really like these!

Maybe not the Egyptian one, as it goes to towards the more conventional more skin less armor but the others are great! The green one reminds me of Melissa McCarthy!

They all look like they have a personality without them saying a word and they actually look like a woman would when going to war, not with tits popping out but clad in armor!

Well the Egyptian one is a bit more accurate for the society (I think), fuckin' deserts and all that. Whilst it may be a more conventional type, it is still one that exists.

Granted I would just like to see more games with a stylized atheistic, where you can illustrate different and exaggerated proportions more easily.

Jeez, I can already just imagine how all these characters might act based on the style put into their design. I want them to be a real thing!

MrHide-Patten:

omega 616:
I really like these!

Maybe not the Egyptian one, as it goes to towards the more conventional more skin less armor but the others are great! The green one reminds me of Melissa McCarthy!

They all look like they have a personality without them saying a word and they actually look like a woman would when going to war, not with tits popping out but clad in armor!

Well the Egyptian one is a bit more accurate for the society (I think), fuckin' deserts and all that. Whilst it may be a more conventional type, it is still one that exists.

Granted I would just like to see more games with a stylized atheistic, where you can illustrate different and exaggerated proportions more easily.

It's Aztec guys

Not even complaining about the right culture :p

Neat! Skilled artist too.

LazyAza:
These are all pretty great. Real good examples of the kinds of character designs more artists would do well to look in to mimicking, at least in terms of body type diversity in games.

Personally I think this is something that WRPG developers get away with far too easily without a peep from the audience. Forget for a second about the topic of body diversity, or anything about the uglier topic of the dominance of male viewer preference, companies like Bethesda or Bioware make an RPG and they basically use a single male/female model on each race (or sometimes not even that) for the entire game.

This annoyance has been in my head again because I recently got around to playing Kingdoms of Amalur off my back log. I'm doing something I rarely do, playing as a female character, because I couldn't stand the aethestic of the male character models. They lean towards the Blizzard over exaggerated style of aesthetics, like they stepped right out of the WWE, and it's kind of silly when you walk into a town and every man from the peasants to the shop keepers to the peasant farmers have the same bulging muscular faces & builds. The female characters while still designed on the sexy side if you strip them down look somewhat normal, and as a bonus they didn't 'sexify' the armour.

Now I'm actually really impressed with the game overall, it's just kind of silly I had to make a female character for a change because the male characters looked ridiculous! And like I said this is something that extends to the WRPG genre as a whole. Say what you want about JRPG's, but at least when they're designing the cast each key character usually gets their own model.

And for the art gallery I'd be all for that in a game, and the Asian snake lady is my favourite here. I mean sure as a male I like sexy females, but it kind of loses the effect when you have nothing but sexy females in the game. Not every guy is going to agree with me though, some do like it that way.

These are SO brilliant. What a fantastic idea, I hope this artist (and other artists too) do a lot more of them!

They all look pretty awesome, but I think my two favorite in concept are the the bashful Roman, because looking all bashful with a bloody sword like that is somehow hilarious to me, not sure why, and the perky, plum, English shield bunny.
Edit: Is there a way to stop the random rotation of traits or are you just supposed to pick one you see as it quickly goes by? Not that I am going to do the challenge because my drawing is subpar at best, I was just going to see what random values I got for funsies (I don't now why I chose that word)

Am I the only one who loves the Roman Eagle lady? I think she has to be my favorite.

Hope this guy gets a job somewhere. I'd love to see a Dragon's Crown type game with these designs.

MarlaDesat:

Source: Sean Ng on Tumblr

They are not poorly drawn or anything, on the contrary but really? Its just the same archetypes but with girls in girly poses. Are we ever going to get to a point where an albino draws all the same archetypes with albinos instead?

Was this newsworthy at all?

Mister Chippy:
Am I the only one who loves the Roman Eagle lady? I think she has to be my favorite.

You are not. Then again, I'm also a bit of a sucker for Rome.

I also like how the shark warrior was "Top heavy" and he interpreted that as a large, heavy set of shoulderpads and backpiece behind the head, instead of "HYOOGE BUST".

Thunderous Cacophony:
Welp, my next D&D game is gonna have a halfling with a tripod-mounted bow. That's just got to happen.

Hmm, I wonder if 3.5 has a template for that.

There's stats for a greatbow in one of the warrior themed splatbooks, you could just use that.

the small one looks nice

For number 5:

Mook: Is...is that a tiger on your mace?

Sentinel: Yup.

Mook: I'm just gonna hurl myself into this convenient bottomless pit. Have fun with the dungeon boss.

Pretty interesting designs. 1 and 3 are also nice.

I actually saw this Lady Knight character generator and I threw my hat into this!

Mister Chippy:
Am I the only one who loves the Roman Eagle lady? I think she has to be my favorite..

You aren't alone, brother. That one just made shout cute at the top of my lungs.

But all of these are awesome. And none of the women, besides the egyptain, have skimpy armor on. Kudos to the artist.

Number 3. I'm a sucker for the mystic arts and that kind of stuff.

Aztec one looks cool. Same with the Roman one(although her pose could be a lot better).

Could we not insist on this being progressive and politically correct...?

They're really cool concepts, they look great, but why does this have to be a reaction to "fatally flawed" boob plate and bikini chainmail?
The Shark Indian woman looks less nervous than she looks encumbered by ridiculously massive armor. How is this any less fatally flawed?

Can't we have some decent characters that are just people and not symbols of equality?

Oh man, those all look so freaking awesome. Bit weird that the Aztec one appears more "conventional" compared to the others, but then again it's not exactly an environment where you want to wear triple layers.

Edit: Though I have to say, now that I think about it, the Indian Shark one looks a bit, I dunno... unrealistic. It DOES look a lot like a frail girl inside a massive suit of armor way too heavy for her.

Smilomaniac:

Can't we have some decent characters that are just people and not symbols of equality?

They are only symbols if you will them to be.

Seriously though, I thought these were just cultural representation of warrior women concepts or something. I feel kinda icky getting mixed into

Like there's the roman woman, the oriental woman, the russian woman, the egyption woman, and then some random ones based on fantasy nations, like the rabbit place and the dwarf place because I guess they would be in a fantasy setting.

I like the third one though. This trope has that "graceful anger" vibe coming from it. Also magic and snakes!

RandV80:
Say what you want about JRPG's, but at least when they're designing the cast each key character usually gets their own model.

And for the art gallery I'd be all for that in a game, and the Asian snake lady is my favourite here.

Here, Here!

Darkmantle:

MrHide-Patten:

omega 616:
I really like these!

Maybe not the Egyptian one, as it goes to towards the more conventional more skin less armor but the others are great! The green one reminds me of Melissa McCarthy!

They all look like they have a personality without them saying a word and they actually look like a woman would when going to war, not with tits popping out but clad in armor!

Well the Egyptian one is a bit more accurate for the society (I think), fuckin' deserts and all that. Whilst it may be a more conventional type, it is still one that exists.

Granted I would just like to see more games with a stylized atheistic, where you can illustrate different and exaggerated proportions more easily.

It's Aztec guys

Not even complaining about the right culture :p

It's the dang colour scheme! Puthin' me off, makin' me think of Egyptians and junk. Granted I don't think ancient cultures gave much crap about clothing unless they were somewhere cold.

They're nice, but I really don't like 6 and 7

#6 what the hell is the point of up armoring the top if the lower body more or less unprotected. Also the balance would be awful for combat.

#7, just look at it! Giant exposed unarmored spot on platemail. True its better than the boob window, but its still a bad vulnerability. Also the ears are giant and from the looks of it, non-breakable hand holds.

Still, I think I can just write off #7 as ceremonial armor.
#6 requires some kind of religion to justify something that goofy.

KOMega:

Smilomaniac:

Can't we have some decent characters that are just people and not symbols of equality?

They are only symbols if you will them to be.

Seriously though, I thought these were just cultural representation of warrior women concepts or something. I feel kinda icky getting mixed into

Like there's the roman woman, the oriental woman, the russian woman, the egyption woman, and then some random ones based on fantasy nations, like the rabbit place and the dwarf place because I guess they would be in a fantasy setting.

I like the third one though. This trope has that "graceful anger" vibe coming from it. Also magic and snakes!

It's not that I look at them and go "Oooh! Those damn feminist characters!", if anything, I want deeper characters that go beyond eyecandy; Like I said, I like these concepts.

What makes me wonder is why it has to be pointed out that they're not skimpy or that they're not wearing realistic armor, when one of the characters is carrying a hammer with the head the size of the character, with a tiger on top of it.

It's like you said, they're only symbols if we make them out to be so, but that goes the other way around. Just because femshep has a "boob armor" chestplate, it doesn't have to be a sexual symbol, unless you make it out to be so.

Smilomaniac:
It's like you said, they're only symbols if we make them out to be so, but that goes the other way around. Just because femshep has a "boob armor" chestplate, it doesn't have to be a sexual symbol, unless you make it out to be so.

Yes, it does, because there is no logical reason for boob-armour other than going "look guys: BOOBS".

Now, that may in itself be a valid, in universe, explanation. Like the roman muscle cuirass, a high ranking female office may choose to flaunt her figure a bit when she's not expecting to do any actual fighting. In a combat situation? Noone is going to give a toss that you have breasts and it will just act as a funnel to encourage projectiles towards your heart.

On topic, been seeing alot of the designs coming out of this on tumblr for a while now, lot of really interesting and fun work being done as well as putting a nice middle finger to the idea that varied female characters are harder to create than men.

I think the great thing about something like this, is that it forces you out of your comfort zone, it makes you think it ways that you probably normally wouldn't.

Morti:

Yes, it does, because there is no logical reason for boob-armour other than going "look guys: BOOBS".

I'm not going to touch the distraction discussion or anything remotely close to it. I'm not going to excuse it either, as anything practical, but I will say there's one reason that justifies it: Design.
It's an overall look and added feminine qualities. I don't see how it has to be sexual unless we pin it as such. It's just one thing of several that can define a woman... and that's alright. It doesn't have to be a cheap visual attractor. Breasts do not equal hand magnets.

I'll say it again, a gigantic hammer with the head the size of your own body is not a practical thing either, so I don't see realism entering into this, which I think is perfectly fine. As far as I'm concerned, a character can wear nothing but a loincloth as long as they're interesting and confident, which far outweighs any cheap tricks made to draw attention.

I immediately started like, thinking about a backstory for the Indian girl in the shark armor.
Her entire stance and her expression said to me that she was uncomfortable in her current position, and while it's totally possible it's some other reason, I thought that it was likely that armor wasn't originally hers. Perhaps it was passed down too her by her mother or father who was some great warrior but was struck down, and it fell too her to take up the mantle and become a warrior as well and avenge their parent, even though they're not really into the idea.

I'm going to have to be one of the few voices of dissent in this thread: I don't think many of these character designs are particularly good or even interesting. They resemble an awkward mish-mash of random ideas (i.e., exactly what they are). The only one I'd consider "good" from a design view is the snake lady.

It's nice that people are thinking outside of the box, but if the intention of this article is to prove that "Those sexualised stereotypes are completely unnecessary, look, I pulled half a dozen superior examples out if my ass in five minutes flat!" then I think there's a bit of self-deception going on. Calling this a victory for Feminism In Games would certainly be a bit premature.

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