This was an interesting one. I started this sometime in March 2017; the two most recent projects I had done were the Tarot Update (not really a stand-alone project but a polishing of an older work) and my Pokemon pin project ,which wasn't really an artistic challenge so much as it was an exploration into time management. Because of this I was feeling a little artistically stagnant, and I really wanted my next project to challenge me. I was looking for a project to pull me out of my comfort zone and force me to learn something new. I looked into a few different things, but eventually settled on the sci fi token project. I'd wanted to make a nice set of magic tokens for a while. I found myself being asked by players and game stores for tokens. To be clear, at this point, I had been doing tokens at conventions, but they were kind of a smattering of all my other works stuck onto tokens; there were Pokemon tokens, Triple Triad tokens, anime tokens, and comic book tokens. With all the disparate styles and ideas I knew it would feel weird as a set, and if I were to put something online, what would I call it? "Tobi's token set"? That kind of branding only works if you are famous, which I, unfortunately, am not. I knew that if I was going to be selling token packs online and to stores and players, I would need to have a nice clear theme that ran through the entire set. Sci-fi tokens fulfilled this and my other goals perfectly, so that's why I went with it.
I knew that this project was going to be a big one, as it was both conceptually and artistically challenging. Adapting certain fantasy elements into the sci-fi genre was going to be difficult, so a certain amount of brainstorming and creative pre-planning was required before even beginning the drawing. Then after picking my subject matter I knew I'd have to look at a lot of reference images. Up until this point I'd never actually drawn any science fiction imagery, so drawing things like futuristic armor, guns, robots, and machines were all things I would need to learn to do. But I was ready to take on the challenge! I started with a list of tokens and their corresponding stat blocks, then one by one whenever I had time after or before work, I would think about how whatever token I was making would work in a science fiction world. I'd do a pencil sketch, scan it, and digitally paint it. I painted the images themselves at the 11"x17" size for ease of printing and congruency with my other prints. However I knew that the bottom fifth of each image would be cut off and another fifth would be obfuscated by the semi-transparent banner. I took this into account when creating the images, ensuring that all relevant parts of the image were within the viewing area. For the full versions of each image and more detailed stories about their conception, click the thumbnails below!
I'm pretty happy with how this project turned out. Because I had basically no deadline, I got to spend as long as I wanted on each piece, and because of the open-ended nature of a token project, if some things weren't working I could just cut them and put another token in. I was originally aiming for 36 unique tokens but ended up only doing 24. This is okay though; the focus of this project was quality over quantity and I'm glad I got to spend the extra time working and polishing some of the pieces.Purchase on Etsy