TJ COMBO: Killer Instinct Concept
I thought it would be cool this time to lay out my thought process breakdown for the design:
US Flag Tank Top: It’s not TJ without this. I tried to design one that didn’t look as corny as just a flag on a shirt. Kind of proud of the Combo logo lol.
Eye Patch: Because I fucking love eye patches. I always thought that was one of the coolest things about his design from KI2. He definitely needs this because.
Flat Top: I always liked the silhouette this made in the old games. You could shave his head sure, but that’s no fun. Video games don’t need more bald dudes.
Pants: Probably spent more time thinking about this than anything else lol. I feel like shorts (like his black one’s from KI1 and the new game’s design) make him look too much like a basketball player when combined with the tank top. You could make them shorter boxing shorts but then he starts to look too much like a Balrog knock off. Alternatively, his camo pants (from KI2) never really made sense to me and clash with his red, white, and blue shirt so in the end I met in the middle with black pants. I had toyed with the idea of sweat pants that I could put some more flag motifs on but decided to pull back and stick to jeans. I see TJ as a street fighter since he can’t box professionally anymore so I think his outfit should look like something he would just wear casually and he gets challenged on the street all the time. A full shirt and pants flag outfit doesn’t really fit with that since it starts to look like a corny uniform.
Sneakers: Along those lines, that’s why I went with sneakers instead of boxing shoes which most people aren’t going to wear outside the ring.
MMA Gloves: TJ was a boxer but let’s be real. One of this dude’s special moves is a tiger knee and he does grappling moves in the new one so I see him as a MMA fighter with a specialty in boxing. The MMA gloves then serve as a nod to KI1’s boxing gloves while not looking comical. The new design came to the same conclusion.
Beard: Kind of stole this idea from the new game’s design. I think it does make sense to age him up a bit and some facial hair is a good way to do that. TJ has always been flashy though, so I think an overly manicured beard makes more sense than a straight goatee. Plus it gives him a little more character.
Bionic Arms: I know I’m continuing the “cyborg black dude” cliche but fuck it. I like cyber arms. Since it’s something that’s always been hidden under his skin, I thought it would be cool if you just saw the circuitry glowing from under his skin. It’s funny because I thought this up independently before realizing the new design has more or less the same concept (except with scars). I imagine it working almost exactly the same where they’re mostly visible during special moves and glow/pulse more intensely during Instinct.

TJ COMBO: Killer Instinct Concept

I thought it would be cool this time to lay out my thought process breakdown for the design:

  • US Flag Tank Top: It’s not TJ without this. I tried to design one that didn’t look as corny as just a flag on a shirt. Kind of proud of the Combo logo lol.
  • Eye Patch: Because I fucking love eye patches. I always thought that was one of the coolest things about his design from KI2. He definitely needs this because.
  • Flat Top: I always liked the silhouette this made in the old games. You could shave his head sure, but that’s no fun. Video games don’t need more bald dudes.
  • Pants: Probably spent more time thinking about this than anything else lol. I feel like shorts (like his black one’s from KI1 and the new game’s design) make him look too much like a basketball player when combined with the tank top. You could make them shorter boxing shorts but then he starts to look too much like a Balrog knock off. Alternatively, his camo pants (from KI2) never really made sense to me and clash with his red, white, and blue shirt so in the end I met in the middle with black pants. I had toyed with the idea of sweat pants that I could put some more flag motifs on but decided to pull back and stick to jeans. I see TJ as a street fighter since he can’t box professionally anymore so I think his outfit should look like something he would just wear casually and he gets challenged on the street all the time. A full shirt and pants flag outfit doesn’t really fit with that since it starts to look like a corny uniform.
  • Sneakers: Along those lines, that’s why I went with sneakers instead of boxing shoes which most people aren’t going to wear outside the ring.
  • MMA Gloves: TJ was a boxer but let’s be real. One of this dude’s special moves is a tiger knee and he does grappling moves in the new one so I see him as a MMA fighter with a specialty in boxing. The MMA gloves then serve as a nod to KI1’s boxing gloves while not looking comical. The new design came to the same conclusion.
  • Beard: Kind of stole this idea from the new game’s design. I think it does make sense to age him up a bit and some facial hair is a good way to do that. TJ has always been flashy though, so I think an overly manicured beard makes more sense than a straight goatee. Plus it gives him a little more character.
  • Bionic Arms: I know I’m continuing the “cyborg black dude” cliche but fuck it. I like cyber arms. Since it’s something that’s always been hidden under his skin, I thought it would be cool if you just saw the circuitry glowing from under his skin. It’s funny because I thought this up independently before realizing the new design has more or less the same concept (except with scars). I imagine it working almost exactly the same where they’re mostly visible during special moves and glow/pulse more intensely during Instinct.
VIDEO GIRLS SERIES
These are pretty old but I thought I’d put them up here. The original idea was to to do a pin up girl series (thus the revealing outfits) and I decided to do them as female versions of male video game characters because why not. The Okami piece wasn’t part of the original series which is why that one breaks the rule, but I liked the idea too much to not do it.
Zoom Info
VIDEO GIRLS SERIES
These are pretty old but I thought I’d put them up here. The original idea was to to do a pin up girl series (thus the revealing outfits) and I decided to do them as female versions of male video game characters because why not. The Okami piece wasn’t part of the original series which is why that one breaks the rule, but I liked the idea too much to not do it.
Zoom Info
VIDEO GIRLS SERIES
These are pretty old but I thought I’d put them up here. The original idea was to to do a pin up girl series (thus the revealing outfits) and I decided to do them as female versions of male video game characters because why not. The Okami piece wasn’t part of the original series which is why that one breaks the rule, but I liked the idea too much to not do it.
Zoom Info
VIDEO GIRLS SERIES
These are pretty old but I thought I’d put them up here. The original idea was to to do a pin up girl series (thus the revealing outfits) and I decided to do them as female versions of male video game characters because why not. The Okami piece wasn’t part of the original series which is why that one breaks the rule, but I liked the idea too much to not do it.
Zoom Info
VIDEO GIRLS SERIES
These are pretty old but I thought I’d put them up here. The original idea was to to do a pin up girl series (thus the revealing outfits) and I decided to do them as female versions of male video game characters because why not. The Okami piece wasn’t part of the original series which is why that one breaks the rule, but I liked the idea too much to not do it.
Zoom Info
VIDEO GIRLS SERIES
These are pretty old but I thought I’d put them up here. The original idea was to to do a pin up girl series (thus the revealing outfits) and I decided to do them as female versions of male video game characters because why not. The Okami piece wasn’t part of the original series which is why that one breaks the rule, but I liked the idea too much to not do it.
Zoom Info
VIDEO GIRLS SERIES
These are pretty old but I thought I’d put them up here. The original idea was to to do a pin up girl series (thus the revealing outfits) and I decided to do them as female versions of male video game characters because why not. The Okami piece wasn’t part of the original series which is why that one breaks the rule, but I liked the idea too much to not do it.
Zoom Info

VIDEO GIRLS SERIES

These are pretty old but I thought I’d put them up here. The original idea was to to do a pin up girl series (thus the revealing outfits) and I decided to do them as female versions of male video game characters because why not. The Okami piece wasn’t part of the original series which is why that one breaks the rule, but I liked the idea too much to not do it.

KICK PUNCH BLOCK
Here’s the cover I’ve been working on in secret for a while to a brand new zine started by my friend Stephanie Carmichael. Inside, I’ve also contributed a number of illustrations to go along with some cool articles by Stephanie and writing contributor Thomas Kempen.

KICK PUNCH BLOCK is an attempt to bring enthusiasm back into the conversation of video games. Too many publications and websites focus on mediocrity: they report news in stale bites and write reviews in monotone. While objectivity is important in video games journalism, subjectivity better resonates with gamers. At KPB, we do more than review games. We reflect on why we love them and discuss the industry from a perspective that meshes with the common gamer’s. We focus on the games we care about.

You can order the first issue HERE.And be sure to follow the Kick Punch Blog HERE.
Thanks! 

KICK PUNCH BLOCK

Here’s the cover I’ve been working on in secret for a while to a brand new zine started by my friend Stephanie Carmichael. Inside, I’ve also contributed a number of illustrations to go along with some cool articles by Stephanie and writing contributor Thomas Kempen.

KICK PUNCH BLOCK is an attempt to bring enthusiasm back into the conversation of video games. Too many publications and websites focus on mediocrity: they report news in stale bites and write reviews in monotone. While objectivity is important in video games journalism, subjectivity better resonates with gamers. At KPB, we do more than review games. We reflect on why we love them and discuss the industry from a perspective that meshes with the common gamer’s. We focus on the games we care about.

You can order the first issue HERE.
And be sure to follow the Kick Punch Blog HERE.

Thanks!