Crash Nitro Kart - Artwork - Charles Zembillas


The following art and commentary was posted by Charles Zembillas on his blog. Charles was one of the main artists for the game and provided many of the original designs and ideas for the series. Check out Charles's blog for more art and development history, including not just Crash Bandicoot but also many other projects, such as Jak & Daxter.

Velo Origins 1
Velo Origins 1

Velo Origins 1

I've dug up the development sketches for Crash Nitro Kart. This was the ninth game in the series I believe. It was published in 2003. I worked on it the year before in 2002. Almost all of the design development was done through my school as I organized a crew for this when I was contacted by Vicarious Visions out of Albany, New York. They produced the game.

My first assignment was to nail the lead bad guy. His name was Emperor Velo who was in control of an alien planet. I did a lot of design work for the character and the game. Most of it has never been seen before. I'll be including it among the extensive archive of art that I'll be getting out to the public. This is the first installment of Emperor Velo's development art. It began with this sketch.


Velo Origins 2
Velo Origins 2
Velo Origins 2
Velo Origins 2

Velo Origins 2

These are the next group of concept sketches I came up with. I was going for the idea and the design and not really thinking in terms of someday exhibiting the work. Thus the looseness of the drawings. That's how I initially approach developing and exploring the look of a character. I focus on the conceptual design although drawing well is still an important priority that I keep in mind.


Velo Origins 3
Velo Origins 3
Velo Origins 3

Velo Origins 3

As I progressed with my journey towards the character of the Emperor Velo for Crash Nitro Kart in 2002 I put down anything that came to mind looking for something that was unique and unusual. When you're in the process you're aware that most of what you're doing will be rejected. What you're looking for is the one sketch that gets a response that clears the path to a final design. First time these drawings have been published.


Velo Origins 4
Velo Origins 4
Velo Origins 4

Velo Origins 4

Continuing with our journey of retracing the steps to Emperor Velo in Crash Nitro Kart from 2002. (...) it was the second image presented here that got the affirmative response from Vicarious Visions which eventually established his final look.


Velo Origins 5
Velo Origins 5

Velo Origins 5

These two drawings were among the development sketches for Emperor Velo on Crash Nitro Kart in 2002 that I was most pleased with. I didn't think the designs were right for the character but they topped off a good selection of concepts for Vicarious Visions to choose from. Artistically they were among the best of this group.

Both of these images were on the same page. The date on the drawings is September 30, 2002. Note the abbreviation CTR2. At the time we were calling the project Crash Team Racing 2. Later it was titled Crash Nitro Kart.


Velo Origins 6
Velo Origins 6
Velo Origins 6

Velo Origins 6

Continuing with the saga of reaching a final design for Emperor Velo from Crash Nitro Kart in 2002. At this point in the character's development Vicarious Visions had focused their attention on one of the previous concept sketches I created. When things get to this point and a decision is made as to the look of the character the process becomes a matter of refinement. That's the case with these three drawings as we started to bear down on Velo.


Velo

Velo

Here he is! Emperor Velo from Crash Nitro Kart in his glory from 2002. This is the concept sketch that nailed the character followed by the rotation drawings I came up with for the modelers at Vicarious Visions.


Velo Rotation
Velo Rotation
Velo Rotation

Velo Rotation

Nope, he doesn't have four arms as you see in the front and back views. What I did was something a bit unorthodox. Since he wore a cape I wanted to show how it draped over his body with his arms at his side. The extended arm position is a standard pose for rotations when the character is to be modeled for CG animation. Combining the relaxed arm pose helped define the look of the Velo as he would normally appear.


Real Velo
Real Velo
Real Velo
Real Velo

Real Velo

Here's the last entry in the series of design work involving the development of Emperor Velo from Crash Nitro Kart in 2002. If you're familiar with the character and the game then you know that the Velo you were seeing was not the real Velo. It was a mechanical version of this fellow. A weak little megalomaniac creature who needed a robotic illusion to control his minions. This is the original concept sketch followed by his rotation.


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