Saturday, February 11, 2012

Iron Solari Leona - The ult of creative licence.

This skin and it's elements, also the Locket of the Iron Solari, had been the culmination of many events, hijinks, discussions, hard work and above all. Riot and the Skins team allowing me the honor to not only create this skin, but embrace it's significance in the community. It was also an honor to be.. honored.. by the live design team and the game designers by having the locket created and integrated. It goes to show how much emphasis Riot puts on creativity, and letting the developers run with ideas. 

At Riot we're allowed to own a project and bring it to life. As always though, the cooperation with the team is the key. I was extremely surprised that this idea was embraced and that the team cranked on it. It really blew me away.

This skin was was pitched and I jumped in to work on it in addition to my duties on the Champion team. This was a labor of love for myself, and I'm humbled that my co-workers allowed me the pleasure to bring it to life.

I was involved on every level as well, which was a new experience. I concepted the skin, made the turnaround of it, took on the splash myself, (with A LOT of help from Knockmaw and splash team), was able to dabble with the model, and allowed to create some promotional material.

The original concept presented to the Skins team. 
The skin mockup created for production of the 3D model.

Final splash (Right click + New tab it for a high-rez version!)
Splash before before final adjustments. (Also new-tab high-rez clickable!)

All images copyright Riot Games, 2011-2012

hope you end up enjoying the skin as much as I've loved working on it. Leona really does have a special place in my heart. She always will as she embodies some extremely powerful themes which I think should be highlighted. I like to do as much as I can to continue showcasing themes of female strength, fortitude, and the opportunity we have as developers to break the mold when we create a female champion. I think we can push in ways which we've never imagined and find the most clever ways to depict strong, confident women as a keystone of a good game. 

My thanks also goes out to the members of the Iron Solari proper, in that they have shown me what a group of positive and dedicated players can forge when they're involved in a common love and cause. They have become my friends and my companions as I continue to learn as a player. They've taken some inspiration I planted by simply being my ridiculous self and created an entire world that in turn inspired me.

While I wanted to pay homage to the meme, I needed to make sure that I created a world-wide release worthy skin, that despite the meme, if you weren't in on the joke, you could still look and say, "Whoa! That's some bad-ass armor!" This Leona skin is a tribute to characters like Hilde from Soulcalibur, and Lenneth from Valkyrie Profile. Female characters that are depicted tastefully, project strength, yet are also beautiful due to them being powerful. I think this theme is worthy and aspirational in wherever our game finds players. 

I would like to keep experimenting in the vein as I continue my work. I hope I do the players justice in an effort such as this. It is an honor and a pleasure to be allowed this creativity, and it is an unparalleled joy to be received positively in a community such as this.


  1. I actually like the art before the final adjustments better, but that's jut my opinion.

  2. I haven't played Leona, but all of her art and themes look really awesome to me. Even more awesome is that you acknowledge Valkyrie Profile as an inspiration - that's one of my favorite games.

    Keep up the good work!


  3. I find it interesting how the colors and lightning affected Leona's expression in the finalized piece. With the cool blues and purples and without the backlight, she looks much less fierce, almost serene. But you put that warm bordering on harsh light behind her and she suddenly looks like she's ready to smash someone.

  4. I can't wait to see more stuff from the conception phase of things. I'm hoping to become a concept artist myself, so I'm always looking for more examples from the industry to inspire me =]
    P.S. You're my favourite red
    P.P.S. Thank you for Leona! She's certainly a step in the right direction in terms of female champions.

  5. I find it amazing that you worked in the Iron Solari meme while still making completely badass armor. I especially want to thank you for NOT making a boob-plate, but an ACTUAL breastplate for Leona. She actually looks like she could travel to the Middle Ages and kick Joan of Arc's arse. Also: ಠ_ಠ

  6. Love it sir macaw, I now own all of the Leona skins :D

  7. I truely love this skin. Dispite having all the other Leona skins I couldn't resist buying this one. The armor is strong and elogant equally. And I definitly see the soul calibur influance (Another game I'm a huge fan of). Also great to see an actual breast plate.

  8. I kind of prefer the default skin, actually, but I'll watch for this one to go on sale for sure. Three is plenty... for now.

  9. I just want to commend you on this skin, it is my favorite skin in the game and Leona is one of my top 5 favorite champions along with being my favorite tank.

  10. I love the 4th art the most. The radiant colors and brightness really suits her. :) Leona is the 1st champion I bought joining League, and I knew nothing about her. She just looked amazing, so I bought her right when I reached 6300. I never regretted it. When I started hitting pro games, I started to see her flaws and weaknesses. I feel like these flaws blind me from continuing to play her. I really wish she had more roles other than bott. support lane. I hope for tiny additions to her passive just for jungle purposes. I really do. :(

  11. Hey there IronStylus!

    I hope you like blogging as much as the rest of us; getting positive feedback for your work is always a joy.

    I'm excited to see what insights you post concerning your work at Riot and your life as an artist in general!

  12. The fact you've played Valkyrie Profile which most people seem to have missed AND Soulcaliber makes me love you even more. Although I suck at Hilde.

  13. Thank you Ironstylus,
    I have been playing Leona since release. I tend to associate her with Valkyrias in Valkyria Chronicles because of her strong female figure.

  14. omg, your real name is at the top of the page. I could totally Facestalk you and Leona In Real Life now. That makes me feel weird. The internet is a strange place.

  15. More please, thank you, and goodbye.

  16. Gotta love that skin, and gotta love Leona in general. Best tank in LoL, IMO.

    Oh, and Ironstylus, you still owe me that comment on my Leona fic. In case you forgot, it's found here:

    Just trying to make it so you don't make broken promises, okay?

  17. Seriously, I love this skin so much. It really is breathtaking in its elegance and style, while sacrificing nothing in its power and warrior-ness.

    Bought the champ, bought the skin, haven't looked back - so much fun. :D

  18. I always wanted to ask... You said you worked on sci-fi art before joining Riot, and the building in the background remind me of something I've seen in a science fiction movie somewhere.

    Just a coincidence?