Tag: fantasy art

SKETCH DIARY: The Uncrucified

Inspirations:

I’ve been working on a lot of tedious Art Nouveau of late and, while I love it, I decided to indulge in this little project after hours to help me unwind from the seriousness of that particular style.  I’ve been doing a lot of tabletop gaming lately, thanks to a friend who sucked me into a game of White Wolf’s Exalted setting.

This fun side project began as an urge to draw the character from our Exalted game as well as to create cover art for a short story about her that I wrote.  In our game, I play Kalara Vadras, a gunslinging Eclipse Caste, the diplomat of our Circle of players, and a no-nonsense businesswoman with a sordid past of betrayal and revenge.  Here’s one of her early character sheets.

kalara-sheet-lowres

 

Mood Board:

I’ve been gathering references for our game for over a year.  I love it when digital image hoarding pays off!  Kalara’s particular visual influences include Indian guns, Chinese fashion, and a generally non-Western collection of fantasy elements.

the-uncrucified-mood-board-lowres

Like this board?  You can view and Follow it on Pinterest here!

I monstress-lowresalso drew a lot of inspiration from one of my favorite comics currently being published right now – Monstress.  The art by Sana Takeda and story by Marjorie Liu are simply exquisite!

The Asian Art Deco steampunk aesthetic fit so well with what my mind’s eye conjures while we play Exalted.  Check out the cover to the comic, you’ll see what I mean!

Early on during the image’s sketch phases, I decided to push the image away from a detailed comic book style and more towards this anime-esque stylization thanks very much in part to Monstress’ influence.

Next, I did a lot of posing in front of the webcam, as opposed to thumbnail sketches.  This was meant to be a fast and fun image, so I decided to keep it simple and skip the planning step.

pose-montage-lowres

While posing, I kept in mind that I wanted her very symbolic crucifixion scar to be very noticeable to the image, which meant focusing a lot on expressive hand motions.  The 3rd pose on the far right ended up being my winner because of the diagonals that lead the viewer’s eye around.  That pose also feels the most natural and emotive.

Finally, here’s an animated GIF of my image’s evolution.

The-Uncrucified-Process-GIF

You can can watch a more in-depth video about this piece’s creation at my YouTube channel.

Final Cover Image:

The Uncrucified Cover Art

Uncropped Image:

The Uncrucified

Prints and products of this piece are available at my Etsy shop!


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SKETCH DIARY: Lady of February Part 2

Last Sketch Diary, I talked about the research and design process.  Now, I’m diving into all the lovely details that make up the character and the mythos around her.

Before I could move on with this piece, I had to make a decision about the pose.  I ended up choosing pose 3 because I like the playfulness of it.  The other poses were too assertive or too tragic looking when February is meant to be more welcoming and playful.  The subtle smile really sold me on this pose too.

With the pose figured out, my next big decisions involved sorting out the character and her setting.  From the start, I knew I wanted to have clootie (hanging prayer cloths), a sacred well, and the beeswax candles, all which harken back to some of the most provocative imagery of February, mainly with saint and goddess Brigid and sacraments of purification involving the beeswax candles.  February also clutches an arrow representative of Cupid’s Arrow and the season of love.

I had already established a common element of corset, head garland, and dress with the past Ladies.  The corset, especially, is a nice area to include the birthflower element or other symbolic element.  I’ve also included a candle crown much like Lady of December‘s, but February’s candles have burned down to represent the end of Winter.  Her crown is also flowering, representing the presence of Spring.  With all of this in mind, I did some sketching in my croquis sketchbook first:

feb-fashion
Pen and marker on a croquis template.

With these basic costumes in mind, I blocked them in quickly in Photoshop and also explored more wardrobe combinations by cutting elements from each outfit and combining them.

Next, I block in the shape of the flowers at the bottom to make sure they work with the elements of the composition.  This also helps me make a final decision about which outfit to go with, since I can see how all the elements work together to fill up the space.  I don’t want it to be too busy, which is very easy to do in such a narrow space.

lady-of-feb-composition

The arrangement on the right is my winner because it allows for some of the background elements (ie. the well, more of the candles) to be shown more clearly.  With my major design decisions settled, it’s time to move on to refinement!

Next: Reference gathering, detail refinement, and color testing!

REMINDER!  Don’t miss the opportunity to pre-order Limited Edition prints of Lady of February via Patreon!
Other Rewards include process tutorials, coloring book pages, etc.  Check it out!