Exalted Art Challenge – Collection 1 – Fave Caste, Regional Fashion, etc.

My journey with the Exalted Art Challenge started off a bit slow, as just when I was going to begin we were placed in quarantine due to a COVID exposure at my husband’s work!  Luckily, he has tested negative and we’ve had no symptoms, but it meant a slow start till I was able to focus on art.  

We’re just going to try and relax till our days are up and I will meanwhile continue taking it slow and enjoying my time with this challenge!

1 – Favorite Caste

The Solar Exalted are chosen for a caste by the Unconquered Sun based on our propensities for violence, for diplomacy, or for many other specialties. Sol sees our potential and blows on the embers of our ambition, no matter our station in life, no matter if we are good or evil, as long as we can bring about the change that this world in chaos needs. We are marked with a symbol that shines upon our foreheads, a beacon of purpose and power for all of Creation to recognize, if not respect.

– Memoirs of Kalara Vadras, The Uncrucified, RY 800.

My Favorite Caste is the Eclipse Caste. They are the voices of reason, the keen wit, and the clever bargainers.  Their ancient treaties and trade deals helped reinforce the fabric of Creation.  As someone who enjoys both art and business, the Eclipse connection with culture and commerce as a positive force really speaks to me!  Plus, they are excellent at winning a fight before it even begins with their social graces.  (Admittedly I am not good at social graces IRL so part of my enjoyment of playing this caste is vicarious wish-fulfillment!)

For this topic, I took the basic Eclipse Caste mark and customized it for my Exalted character, Kalara, bringing in aspects of her middle eastern-inspired homeland. I explored Moroccan tiles for inspiration and eventually settled on a flame-inspired motif evocative of the element of Kalara’s homeland with hints of silver, the color associated with the Eclipse, as well as phoenix feathers, a personal symbol of Kalara’s own rise from her near-death into the Eclipse Caste.  The cartouche includes the honorifics this caste is called in Creation, my favorited being “Quills of Heaven”.

(Though my own gal, Kalara, would earn the name The Silver-Tongued Devil in her time.)

2 – Regional Fashion

I wonder sometimes if I would even recognize myself back then. I still remember the soft light of Gem’s crystals and the teeming underground marketplace that never slept. As a slave of Iblan, I was dressed in attire to represent the household of my master, an aging master goldsmith.

I owned no finery of my own, not even the bangles I wore which served as an example of Iblan craftmanship for all to see and admire, for even their slaves must convey everything about their stature as Gem’s famed goldsmiths. Instead of gems sewn into my shawl as any fine lady of Gem might own, mine was painted and embroidered to mimic gems. I was a pale imitation of what a noble Iblan lady might be.

– Memoirs of Kalara Vadras, The Uncrucified, RY 800.

I explored many variations for this topic, ranging from a fancier look of a current-day Kalara who can afford to dress as a noblewoman, to versions of her past self who was dressed as a servant.  I really liked the image of her eating lunch next to a crystal cluster in Gem, the underground mining town where she grew up, but went with a closer view so I could show off more clothing details.  

Gem prides itself on its extremely regulated gemstone production and I wanted to get that across in its gemstone-inspired trims. I definitely want to explore local wardrobe further with story concepts in the future!  For the final illustration, I took cues from Muslim and Anatolian clothing, but hope to explore fashions of the region more in-depth later.

3 – Favorite Charm

I didn’t have the final image done for this topic yet, but I was so excited about how these came out that I just had to share today!  Charms, or magical abilities, come in epic flavors in the world of Exalted!  I’ve always drawn Kalara posing elegantly, so it will be fun to finally get a chance to see her in action, even if she would usually consider this a last resort when diplomacy fails.

Kalara practices a celestial martial art called Righteous Devil where the charms center around the theme of judgement and justice.  At higher levels of this art, she can judge the soul of her enemy, dispatching them to their deaths and directly into their next reincarnation!

However, a Righteous Devil must be careful, for if they falter from a path of justice, the original Righteous Devil who invented the art will hunt them down!

I’ll share more about this topic with the final art in next week’s compilation.  Till then, I leave you to guess which thumbnail from this set I’ll pick for this topic’s final art!

Do you want to see my sketches and art for this challenge as soon as I do them?  Be sure to join my Patreon Discord Server where I’ve been actively sharing challenge topics and discussion as I go!

Hope you enjoy this little diversion. I know it’s quite the subject matter shift from my usual stuff, but MAN I’m having so much fun!

♥ Ang

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