Sunday, 11 November 2012

Secret Lair - Hero Prop Research

Totem Poles
As a potential candidate for my Hero Prop I've done some research into Totem Poles. After doing this I  started to think how I could incorporate this into my work. This element fits in seamlessly with my character, who is a fearless Amerind Warrior fighting against the evils that fester in the lands of his forefathers. he also possess the supernatural ability of a Shaman (someone who connects with the spirit world) making him a powerful Shaman Warrior. So by using a totem pole, it can somehow be the source of his power that he must keep secret from his enemies. Totem poles tell stories about past events, spirit guides and can be used to describe something monumental. So I could have it as being supernatural (like what he uses to recharge his power) and maybe sybolic animals on his totem pole that represent his characteristics and empower him. Using a totem pole fits in so well with all the elements around my character. I can link it with the spritualistic aspect of the Amerind people and with my character being a Shaman it makes sense using it, because he will be strongly influenced by his Spirit Guide.
Totem Dictionary Definition:
 A natural object or animal believed by a particular society to have spiritual significance and adopted by it as an emblem
Totem Pole Information:
  •  They were never used as an object of worship
  • If placed in front of houses, it was to show the success of the family that lived there
  •  Made out of Western Red Cedar but means they decay in less than 100 years
  • Before the arrival of Europeans, Totem poles were made much smaller
  • The emergence of metal tools made the creation of Totem poles easier and on a grander scale
  • Started to be made around 1700
  • Totems were raised were for several reasons, To show the great number of rights a person has acquired over their life time, to record an encounter with a supernatural being, to symbolise the generosity of a person who sponsored a Potlatch Ceremony
  • A sign of wealth and power
  • Often painted but don’t have to be, traditional colours include black, white, red, yellow and blue-green
  • Animal symbolism on totem poles represent a trait/person
  • Totem Poles can represent that person’s spirit guide
  • Linked to Shamanism


  1. Evening Matt - see link below:

    Also - I left lots of advice on Vicky's blog about actually using the forms/shapes/motifs deriving from your research and using the silhouette technique to actually produce architectural forms etc. for your lair; you don't have to 'draw' your thumbnails, you can use Photoshop in a more collage and create way - anything to get the juices flowing! I'm looking forward to seeing some thumbnails on here - and I want you to loosen up and think creatively about visualising these ideas. :)

  2. Hey Matt,

    I like your idea of using a Totem pole as your hero prop. In case your not set on using this as your final prop, maybe you could consider using a peace pipe?,+SMOKERS+BLOG,+usadata.jpg

    Or perhaps a traditional pan flute?

    Also (If you haven't already) perhaps you could look into Navajo items for further inspiration or to find influence to develop your own designs? Just a thought :)

  3. Yeah sweet I'll look into thge peace pipe and flute. I can still make it link in with the shaman/supernatural backstory I've got going on.
    I've checked out the first link and I like the design :) it looks like a weapon at first, which is actually pretty cool because maybe I could convert his peace pipe into having a more sinister side to it if it's needed

    I will definately look into the Navajo people as an influence to get the design ball rolling.

    Theses are useful links man, is it because your aztec component is almost linked to my one?

    Cheers Jake

    1. The Navajo are people that intrigue me, especially the tribal societies :) they have an interesting background which I know certain details about already, which I thought could be useful to your Amerind Magician.

      The idea of creating a sinister peace pipe is fascinating, especially if you can link the prop into your character profile and his/her background effectively as well :) Looking forward to seeing more of your thumbnails :)