Tag: Kalara Vadras

Exalted Art Challenge 2022 Collection

Exalted Art Challenge 2022 Collection

Happy Halloween, everyone!  I have a treat for you today in the form of the completed collection of challenge pieces for this year’s Exalted Art Challenge!  We moved right in the middle of this challenge, so I only had time to partake in the weekly topics, instead.  Still, this challenge is always a lot of fun and a great excuse to experiment with different methods and styles!

I created all of these entries in Procreate.

Week 1: Your PC (Player Character)

Rather than draw the same old characters I’ve been drawing lately (cough Kalara), I thought I’d shine the spotlight on Laughing Fox, a trickster Kalara has met in her travels as a young demigod.  Laughing Fox is a Lunar, chosen of the goddess of the moon in the Exalted RPG setting.  He prefers seduction over murder and prides himself on his clever schemes and collection of secrets.  His Tell, or the characteristic that marks him as moon-chosen, is the white tips of his hair which is reminiscent of a fox’s tail.

He wanders in and out of Kalara’s tale as he pleases!  You’ll no doubt be seeing more of him before too long.

The inspiration for Laughing Fox’s animal shape is the gorgeous cross fox.  Just look at this majestic creature!

Week 2 – A Meal In Creation

Next comes a fun topic featuring food from the setting!  This meal comes from the celebration of Plentimon’s Day, the god of gambling.  Inspired by the real-world King Cake from Mardi Gras, those who find the Plentimon’s dice in their serving of cake will be crowned royalty for the day and have the god’s blessing for the next year.

Plentimon Day’s feast consists of goat kabobs marinated in yogurt and spices, with a almond-based cakes in the shape of a D6 die with slivers of almonds to represent the numbers.  The dice cakes all have different flavors stuffed inside to emphasize the Plentimon’s theme of gambling. You never know if you’ll get bitter or sweet flavors!  Finally, you can’t have a feast day in Gem without an alcoholic drink, in this case, date wine.

I’m a big fan of the aesthetic of the food in Monster Hunter, which definitely shows in my choice of design for this dish.

Week 3 – Fave Charm

This one started off as a Fave Charm (or magic ability), but quickly got off-topic with drawing FX for Kalara’s anima aura, the glowing halo of energy which appears when she channels divine energies at different levels of intensity.  When she’s at ‘fall blast’, a phoenix appears rising behind her, an animal that is part of her personal symbolism as someone who rose from her near-death to take on the world.  This will be my first time drawing an FX sheet and it was quite fun. I will definitely be adding them to Kalara’s proper reference sheet!

Week 4 – Fave Fashion

For the final topic, I was going to keep it ‘simple’ and sketch a concept for glass armor, but the topic ran away with me and I ended up with a full portrait!  The glass remnants of the magnificent buildings of old Chiaroscuro magically retain their luster and strength and are usually used for sturdy, but sleek armor.  I figure why not armor AND a gown for Kalara?

This portrait also provided me with an opportunity to paint Kalara in a more realistic style, as well as test out a new style I’m currently evolving which combines a soft and painterly look with hard-edged elements for a look inspired by Klimt and tarot cards.

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Fave Fashion was undoubtedly my favorite topic from this year!  Which one is yours?

As ever, if you like Kalara or any of the imagery I put out for the Exalted Art Challenge, check out the Exalted tabletop rpg from Onyx Path Publishing and Kalara’s stories and art at The Uncrucified or check out the older Exalted Art Challenge collections for art you may have missed!

Now that the EAC is done, I’m turning my attention towards some fun surprises I’m working on for this Patreon’s re-launch and the topic you all chose for me for NaNoWriMo (Flame of the Sultana).

Till next time!  Stay tuned for more writing and art peeks from Rabs’ NaNoWriMo adventures.

♥ Ang

September 2022 Sketchbook – Rabs & Kalara Character Designs

This weekend, we put the first boxes in the new studio and I’m so excited!  Studio pics to follow in the near future.  In the meanwhile, I’ve been using the time between the seams to chip away at the character designs for Rabs and Kalara.  Character sheets have been my happy place lately!

Rabanne Arore, Big Muscles, Big Heart

I wanted to challenge myself with Rabs’ design with a muscular body type and her glowing hair. She’s really captured my muse with her fun tatts, color schemes, and themes, so you’ll definitely be seeing more of her in my sketchbook!  This particular piece was meant to be in the style of a more traditional ttrpg rulebook style source book image, as well as a base for me to put different clothing on.  More fashions are sure to follow!

Watch a time lapse of how I created this piece, along with Rabs’ tattoo sheet here.  She was painted using the Acrylic brushes in Procreate on the ipad.

Kalara Vadras, The Uncrucified

I meant to save this image for a proper release with a full sheet of FX and turnarounds, but our house move is taking forever, so I thought I’d share a WIP!  You guys got to learn a little bit more about Kalara last month via Fantasy Indies August.  She’s been inspiring me for years since our Exalted ttrpg game, so it was about time she got a new look!

This new look captures more of the elegant merchant negotiator she becomes after her years on the run from the Guild.  

Kalara’s old look as a reminder:

More to come when I explore the rest of her character sheet!  I’m especially excited about drawing the phoenix on the back of her jacket.  The redesign was also created in Procreate using the Studio Ink Pen for color flatting to achieve a comic book feel, as this design is meant as a precursor to a prospective webcomic for the character.

Both Rabs and Kalara utilized helpful stock poses from the awesome Jookpubstock, who has been an excellent resource for inspiration!

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Art is going to slow down even more over the next month while we move our small boxes over to the new place ourselves, with the big stuff being handled by the movers.  There’s a light at the end of the tunnel finally and I’m excited to really settle properly into a new permanent studio art cave!

♥ Ang

Fantasy Indies August 2022 – THE UNCRUCIFIED

I took part in the Fantasy Indies August event during August, so I thought I’d share a little bit about that here with folks!  While you all mainly see the Artist side of me, I also love to write and have been dabbling with several novel ideas between the margins of life over the past few years.  

The Uncrucified has been at the forefront of my endeavors as a Writer and you all have probably noticed the muse inspiration overflow with all the Kalara art that’s flooded here lately!  She’s been the comfort subject for my muse while I’ve been on this long hiatus for shoulder surgery / burnout / life chaos.

The topics for August:

Rather than bombard you guys by pasting all of these topics in, I figured I’d tease you with some of my favorite topics I answered during the event and invite you to check out the full thread.

Introduce Yourself & Your WIP

I’m currently working on The Uncrucified, the tale of an upstart from the desert slums named Kalara. She was chosen to lead a world in chaos, but she has scores to settle first!

Yup, it’s a TTRPG story inspired by the Exalted RPG, but I hope to make it readable for more than just Exalted fans!  There’ll be romance, grudges, gunslinging, & more.

WIP Mood Board 

I’m an obsessive board maker! These are just a few of the images I’ve drawn of my MC Kalara plus location inspo for the stained glass ruins of Chiaroscuro, the magitech desert of Exalted’s South, & her hometown, the underground city of Gem.

If you’d like to see more of THE UNCRUCIFIED’s in-depth mood board, I host it on  Pinterest where I’ve been adding to them for literal years. Sub-divided by character, locale, etc. because this soothes my artist brain!

Book BFFs

I’m open to suggestions! A beta reader for my story has told me Kalara gave them NAME OF THE WIND vibes (which I haven’t read). I’d love for my chars to have the same larger than life charisma of the chars in THE LIONS OF AL-RASSAN (which I have read & loved).

I have a much easier time comparing THE UNCRUCIFIED to anime instead. Sinbad from MAGI mirrors Kalara with his wish to build a trade network & navigate political waters using his amazing charisma, while trying not to lose himself.  Not to mention MAGI’s combat is VERY Exalted!

I’m also looking to Fog Hill of the Five Elements for combat vibes. It oozes over the top stylish badassery!

BLOOD OF ZEUS also strikes me for being very Exalted with its sexy elegant character designs, warring gods, interpersonal drama, & pissed off ancient imprisoned deities.

Toss me more inspiration suggestions, fam! Especially my long-suffering beta readers. What does THE UNCRUCIFIED make you think of, as far as inspirational book/media BFFs?

I’ve already gotten some amazing suggestions from fans for Book BFFs for my story, so I’ve gathered them into a wishlist. Feel free to mine it for inspiration and good reads!  Featuring clever protags, underdog heroes, geopolitical drama, & more.

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Read the full topic list + my answers here for the full effect of posts, memes, and animated GIFs.  I’m sure this won’t be the last time I talk about my stories here.  I hope you all enjoy this glimpse at the other Muse in my brain!

♥ Ang

July 2022 Sketchbook – D&D Doodles & Kalara’s Sigil

It’s been a tough journey so far with house-hunting.  The market is crazy right now and we’re still on the hunt!  And so I’ve been channeling my woes into various comfort projects, mainly my D&D and Exalted TTRPG characters.

D&D Doodles

Ever since The Unmerry Band‘s adventures in the Black Pits wrapped up, I’ve been meaning to mine our campaign for practice, starting with a level progression chart of all our characters showing how their armor and wardrobe evolved over time.  This will feature our characters from their wee fragile Level 0 forms all the way up to Level 8 where our story ended (for now).

(The Unmerry Band lineup!)

I started off with the character I played in the campaign, Rabanne, a Fire Genasi Barbarian with a big heart and a big hammer!  I had some excellent pose help from Jookpubstock that acted as a base for her hammer pose.  Rather than stick with the Vox Machina inspired style of the party banner, I’ve returned to my more default semi-realistic style which is the one I want to nurture should I ever submit a portfolio to Wizards of the Coast.  Sketched in Procreate on the ipad with the Peppermint pencil brush in the Sketching category.

Rabs has been bulked up a bit for this image, as I wanted to accentuate her tall and imposing figure more than her initial rendering.  The pose on the left is going to be the base ‘paper doll’ pose I’ll be repeating for Levels 1 – 8, while the gesture sketches on the right represent an exploration of her younger level 0 self where she was training in secret as a gangly teen in the harem.

PROTIP!  The rectangle under her feet helps me to ground the figure and keep the perspective plane in check, as it’s easy to lose track at what angle the feet are supposed to be at if you don’t ground the figure somehow.

The rest of the characters will get this treatment too and will most likely follow the poses of the party banner, with the exception of Calumny (the Tiefling), because booty out does not make a good pose for showing off most clothing, though usually I wouldn’t have Cal any other way!

I also want to shine a light on the art that inspired me to do this.  How cool is this classic party line-up from Frida Bergholtz?  I hope mine will come out this fantastic!

Kalara’s Sigil

My gal, Kalara, has popped up on here a LOT lately.  She’s definitely a comfort to my muse with her story of overcoming adversity and working towards goodness in the world!  I’ve been working on and off on a novel featuring the events of her life from our Exalted RPG campaign for years now.  I’ve been pushing for a return to this endeavor while I have this nexus of ‘in-between projects till the move’ and so it occurred to me to finally put an official ‘label’ on her project.

It was time to make a brand guide and a logo!

Not every project needs this, mind, but I wanted to do this for The Uncrucified since I have larger plans for its future, including art packs and Storytellers Vault resources for players inspired by her story.  And thus, The Uncrucified needs a logo so I can elegantly tie all these parts together!

It also works so beautifully because this symbol will serve as Kalara’s in-world mark of her Guild as well.  I’ve shared a deeper look at this story’s brand guide in my Patreon’s Discord server, for those who might be curious.

For now, enjoy the many iterations I made as I attempted to channel Kalara’s themes of the Eclipse Caste mark (the glowing symbol that represents her magical abilities), the phoenix feather which represents her resilience, and the flame which represents her cultural identity and rebellious personality.

For me, logo design is a bit like obsessively writing all over your walls going slowly insane until the secret verse is revealed.  I don’t enjoy it much, but I wanted to design this one, myself, and so I was happy when I finally arrived at something that felt close to the ‘truth’!  More often I know what I don’t want than what I do when designing logos, and so the process is more about exploration and elimination.

And here we have the 3 semi-finalists!

I’ve already chosen a final, but I’d be curious which one resonates most with you all! It’s always fascinating to see what shapes others interpret in these mutable symbols.

That’s all I have for today!  It’s been a slow month as we tour houses as often as we can and try to plan these important next steps. I hope you all don’t mind my randomnness here!  I’m always worried it makes this a very confusing Patreon to be at hah.

Till next time!

♥ Ang

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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