Using what I learned in my travels to create more vivid environments for my character worlds.
The long-awaited lineup of my original characters! And this is just some of them - I have too many.
DeviantART Link: http://fav.me/d5mqwfh
I’m curious - if you’re read my writing: does anyone look different than you imagined them? If you focus more on my art posts - what archetype/role/personality would you assume these characters have based just on these designs?
“Treant.” Triangle. - 090/100 Themes.
By the end of the War, the three princes become a powerful triumvirate dedicated to preserving the established ways of life in the Mondigan continent. Each has their own motivation and mode of operation, but, despite occasional clashing, each vows to defeat the radical ideology championed by a certain bird-mage and his employer.
I guess I could tell you what they are, but that’d be a bit of a spoiler.
- DEVIANTART LINK: http://fav.me/d5kpesv
- MORE ORIGINAL ARTWORK: http://fictograph.tumblr.com/tagged/original
- SKETCH GIVEAWAY(ends 11/21): http://fictograph.tumblr.com/post/33936091505/
"So, boys," Sorian tapped his fingers on the table. Have we reached an accord?"
A bunch of unfinished doodles of my original characters.
Since I’m really excited to finish something, this large, I’m going to do a giveaway. For every re-blog on this entry, its grayscale counterpart, and my video tutorial entry, I’ll enter you into a raffle to win an 18”x24” canvas print of this piece. :) Drawing will take place 11/29.
So, after three days and another thirty hours since I finished the gray-scale version, we have a color version. Getting a scheme down (when I started with none), with green and gold, at 3 AM, was pretty difficult.
For the record, my character, Rivek is fifteen years old as of yesterday. I obviously don’t remember the day I created him. It’s just his in-story birthday. But originally, he was a nice, Gary Stu mix of Prince Jonathan of Tortall and Tobias from Animorphs. He, everyone else in the series, and I have come a long way. We grew up together. This will be the cover for when I collect all 100 of these theme pieces. You can check them (and the story) out here: [link]
Again, I really, really, can’t thank you followers enough for your quiet, steady, support with my original work. It’s months later, and I am still floored by the response to this poll. I sometimes assume people follow me from conventions and expect mostly fanart. I could probably way more popular if I drew Harry Potter all day. But, this is what I’m really passionate about. So it’s really heartwarming that so many of you take interest in what create for myself. I do apologize that it’s so in-pieces when I present it to you - but I haven’t worked my story out entirely! It is getting there, though. :) This project - and what I am learning here in Los Angeles - has been a huge help.
And eighty hours of work later… happy birthday to my fictional character, haha. I’m finally glad to do a piece of this magnitude, especially for myself. Thank you all so much for the support, reading my weird writings and everything. You guys don’t know how much it means to me.
My natural instinct when I finish something like this is share it! So, I’m going to do a giveaway. For every re-blog on this piece, the final color version, or my video post-mortem, I’ll enter you into a raffle to win an 18”x24” canvas print of this piece. :) Drawing will take place 11/29.
This will be the cover for when I collect all 100 of these theme pieces. You can check them (and the story) out here: [link]
Click to full-view on deviantART!
“Envitalio.” Rejection. - 060/100 Themes
Three in a row where I’m just beating the crap out of Rivek. I’m a bad person.
Willow huddled with her stomach against the ground. She felt something soft grace her cheek. As the dust settled, she turned her head and saw barred, gray feathers. Gingerly, she lifted Rivek’s wing off her shoulder and struggled to her knees. He collapsed on top of her, and she felt hot blood run down the front of her shirt. The ground crunched as she rolled him off and leaned his limp form against a broken pillar. She looked at her chest, where she felt the blood. She was fine, just scrapes and bruises.
She turned her attention to her newly hired bodyguard. From what she knew about his powers, maintaining his form halfway between man and bird was the most taxing ability he could use, and he had done it for her with no second thought. When he eyed the first fuse being lit, he brought her to the ground with superhuman speed and shielded her with his body, turning them into massive wings to increase his surface area. The avian limbs he’d protected her with shrank back into human flesh, scratched and bleeding from shards of glass and stone. His left sagged, and she could see the sundered collarbone peeking out from a wound by his neck.
He spoke softly, between short breaths, “Just. Doing. My job.” A thin wood beam protruded from his chest. Black blood pooled around the opening, nibbling at the timber before running down his side. He muttered, “Fucking. Hurts.”
She put her hand on his cheek and looked around as she ran it through his hair. She needed help. Her only experience with severe puncture wounds involved people who were already dead. The explosion had taken out much of the castle wall, flooding the room with rubble. People emerged from the dust, recovering from shock. An armored man threw a door off of himself so he could stand. A woman crawled out from under a table. She heard a moan.
Fenne lay a short distance away. His lower limbs had been crushed, trapped under a piece of ceiling. Blood slowly ran out from under the rock. He met her gaze, his eyes pleading and red blood dripping down his nose and into his mouth.
She turned to Rivek. He nodded in Fenne’s direction. The wood moved up and down in time with his heaving chest as he muttered.
She met Fenne’s gaze again, and her heart quickened. She could not attend to two fatal wounds at once. She looked around again in panic. A bevy of medical staff members, dressed in white and guarded by a squadron or soldier, ran into the room.
Rivek’s skin had turned pale, and his lips were now blue, moving without sound. Willow hoped it was not some kind of final prayer. The color had gone from his eyes, from vibrant blue to lifeless gray. The group of nurses settled around Fenne, and he disappeared from view. No one else would do it. No one else could do it. When Rivek signed that contract, he became her responsibility alone and, if she helped anyone else, he would die.
She put his lips to his and breathed the threads of her magic into his collapsed lung. It seemed useless. She tried again, reaching deeper his time, past the trachea and into the tiny branches in the lungs. Her knees shook as the air rushed out of her body, pushing against the collapsed walls of the tissue. They moved. She gripped his torn clothes to steady herself as she exhaled once more into his body. The invading air in his chest cavity bubbled out through the wound, and the lung expanded to fill his ribcage again.
The wooden stake, finally burned through by the acid blood, clattered to the ground in two pieces. The now-open wound sputtered, the blood fighting and losing against the hastily forming tissue. As the hole closed up with a keloid scar, she felt him breath on his own again. She re-positioned his fractured clavicle and coaxed the shattered bone back together with a sewing motion. Cold sweat ran down her forehead. There would be more to attend to later, but the important part was taken care of. He swallowed the blood in his mouth, half a smile crawling onto his face. She ran her bloody fingers through his dark hair and rested her cheek against his neck. He would live.
“Zuplikon.” Sacrifice. - 57/100 Themes.
Sometimes trying to be a good person means you’ll end up doing bad things. Bohren sees being a knight as a route to manhood, but really it depends on what kind of person you serve.
For once, the throne room of Aneral was quiet. The Brennan Royal Guard which had protected the Auster family for generations had over a thousand men, but only the most trusted would be selected to attend to the crown prince. Fenne wanted this ceremony to be private. He thought it would be best to keep the identities of his personal bodyguards secret. He stood and drew his sword.
“Thank you, all of you. I am sure you understand why you are here today,” he nodded. “Today, I am no longer a schoolboy but a true prince in my own right. You have all demonstrated your skills, but more importantly, you have demonstrated your loyalty. Therefore, I am going to reward you with the most elite, military position you can possibly obtain - my personal guard.”
Bohren shifted in his military uniform. This should be an honor. This was the moment he had been waiting for his entire life. Yet all he could think about were his fingers. Even with his gloves on, they were so cold. He wrung them together to try and keep warm as Fenne called names of the other twenty men in the room. Each approached the throne in turn. Bohren knew many of these men. Although they differed in skill, they all came from the longest lines of Brennan nobility. Fenne called his name.
Bohren clutched his hands, walked down the center aisle and knelt at the prince’s feet. Fenne touched the sword to his left shoulder. “Do you swear your allegiance to your kingdom?”
“In all trials, you highness,” he nodded, repeating the same words the other men before him had said.
He touched the blade to his right shoulder. “Do you swear your first loyalty is to myself, your prince?”
“There is no other.”
Finally, he let the tip of the weapon rest on the crown of Bohren’s head. “Do you swear that, should the day arise, you will sacrifice all that you have and are for the state?”
“On my life.” He forced a smile.
“Rise, Bohren, as Lord of Tabir, member of the Order of House Auster.”
Bohren made the god’s sign across his chest and joined the others in line.
“Turios.” Tower - 54/100 Themes.
There is something incredibly gut-wrenching I enjoy watching in betrayal. And that characters should be presented with very hard choices. And chances to redeem themselves. They say at the end of a story, each character gets a ‘reward’ - or something as a result of their actions. Still don’t know what to do with Fenne. He just fails so hard at the “standing up and being a man” thing (get it? standing up? oh, ho, ho, double entendre!)
Fenne enjoyed the contemplative quiet his tower room offered. The city sprawled below with people crawling like busy ants, but only bird song reached him here. He rubbed the scars left by the stitches from his amputation. Every so often, he felt as if his legs were still there. No longer able to tap his foot, he rapped his knuckles on the windowsill in time to the song stuck in his head. As he did, he heard a knock on the door.
“Who is it?”
“It’s me.” Fenne’s personal royal guard, Bohren opened the door and scratched his mop of blond hair. He bowed, “The Heilmdoran Prince wants a word with you before he heads out.”
“I already told him I’m not interested.” Fenne traced his fingers along the wood grain of his chair arms.
“He’s got something for you.” Bohren forced a smile, hoping to see his prince happy. “I think you’ll like it.”
Fenne folded his hands together. He trusted his knight’s opinion, even if he was too optimistic at times. “Let him in, I guess.”
Bohren exited and returned with a regal man in a thick, fur-lined cloak. He had a well-muscled build and light brown hair, cropped close to his skull that exposed his high forehead and aquiline nose. He met Fenne with his intense, orange eyes and bowed.
“Your highness,” he said, holding out a long, heavy, object wrapped in ordinary sack cloth.
Fenne frowned, “What is this? You had better not be mocking me.”
“I would like to clarify that there are no hard feelings between my domain and yours due to our mutual interactions with the Tyrisi. Therefore, I have brought you a gift.” He gently laid the package on the floor and knelt to gingerly unwrap each corner of the cloth
Fenne’s breath caught in his throat as he gazed at the beauty Sorian had unveiled. A functional, mechanical leg.
The bent steel bars replicated bone, and the copper wire mimicked the graceful flex of muscle. Sorian had replicated, the knee, ankle, and even toe joints with tiny hinges and gears, reinforced by outer plates of iron. “I should hope that you would forgive my obtaining your measurements from your seamstress. I simply desired that my design fit your body perfectly. I did not mean to commit an intrusion on your privacy.”
He stood, letting Fenne view the construction in its entire, burnished glory. “If you sign with me and back my position against those Tyrisi traitors, I will give you the twin to this creation and return for a proper, personal fitting.” He gave one final bow and headed out the door.
Fenne returned his attention to the window, but he could not shake his nagging curiosity. Once he heard Sorian descend the tower stairs, he shifted his eyes back onto the steel prosthetic on the floor. “Bohren,” he called. “I need your help.”
“Lavor Suadio.” Teamwork. - 41/100 Themes.
Fenne is my secondary villain who is forms a contrast to Sorian. Both are princes who want to please their fathers and seem worthy of the crown.
However, Sorian is a very direct villain who should still be respected for his intelligence and bravery - he just takes things too far.
On the other hand, Fenne is a coward who is too afraid to put himself in a position to gain true respect. He sells people out and makes petty, vindictive political plays.
Rivek joins the royal guard as a way to become a more useful human being. As a result, he engages in physical combat to save Fenne’s life, and his heretical powers are exposed. When Rivek is sent to court, Fenne is too pre-occupied with looking good in front of his father than to speak up and save his friend. Hence, when they are in a situation again - Fenne depending on Rivek - there is nothing but bitterness. But Rivek finds himself in a catch - if he abandons Fenne out of vengeance, he will be no better than his opponent.
Rivek wiped the blood from the base of his nose. His nostrils burned as if he had just vomited up the wrong passageway. He rubbed his temples to chase away the ringing in his ears. He brushed the ash off his limbs, taking count to make sure they were still there in one piece. Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, he checked his belt. Good. His knife was still there.
Still shaken, but satisfied with his condition, he began scouring the rubble, looking for signs of life. He thought he saw a broken door frame lift upwards a few inches. He waded, knee-deep in debris. There was someone alive under there. He could feel it. He drew his knife, keeping it in his left hand.
If he wanted to keep his weapon hand free, he would have to be smart about lifting the door. He searched along its edge for the best point to grab. Here, if he pivoted it a little, he could use a piece of broken foundation as a fulcrum. He grabbed the corner, wincing as splinters dug into right palm. Despite consistent treatment, the skin had not fully healed yet. He braced his legs among the broken moulding and threw his entire weight into his arm, lifting the structure above his head. The moment he fully extended his arm, his right elbow locked and began to shake. Without thinking, he caught the falling door with his left, knife still in his palm.
Shit, he thought. If whoever was down here wasn’t the particularly friendly sort, his entire abdomen was now an open target. This is what you get for helping people. He looked down.
The thin prince lay on his side, wheezing. He looked up at his rescuer. It took a few seconds before the recognition spread across his face.
“Cordelain, help me. Take me to my father.”
He sat up and brushed the waves of matted auburn hair out of his eyes. Rivek could no longer tell what marks on his face were dirt and which were freckles. He quickly sheathed the knife, so he could use both hands to support the door.
“Did you forget, your highness? I haven’t been ‘Cordelain’ for awhile, nor will I ever again. I don’t have an obligation to help you here.”
Fenne whined. Rivek paused and took a step back, letting the door fall.
Rivek caught the door on his shoulder, supporting it with his legs and entire back, rather than his shaking arms, made it much easier
“You can’t leave me.”
“I think it’s high time the royally of Brennan stop telling me what I can and cannot do.”
Fenne shook. “You can’t leave me because if you did, you’d be fulfilling every stereotype that they threw at you in that courtroom - the same judgements you fought so hard to turn around. And this time, you would burn. The punishment for regicide is death. You know it as well as I do.”
Rivek bared his teeth, but he kept the door propped up on his shoulder. He nodded, “You should get out before I change my mind.”
Fenne scuttled out, and Rivek let the frame drop back onto the ground, raising a massive cloud of dust. He coughed and turned to face Fenne.
“You still have your sword.”
He gave the scabbard a harsh tug, breaking the gilded snaps that held it to Fenne’s belt. He grabbed Fenne by the collar.
“Now, listen here. Given I don’t report to you anymore, you can’t just expect me to handle every bad guy that comes along. You’re going to learn this little thing I like to call, ‘teamwork.’”
He shoved the sword into the prince’s bleeding hands. Rivek smirked. About time that spoiled brat get a callous on his fingers.
“We’ll find your dad. But we’ll do it together. As equals.”
“Treizor prezi.” Precious Treasure. - 36/100 Themes.
Most of Rivek’s material possessions are simple, everyday things that can be easily replaced. Oddly enough, his most prized object is an easily-destroyed piece of paper that grants him one type of freedom for another.
Rivek looked at his reflection in the window. Shadows crept under his cheeks and circled around his eyes. He needed a haircut. He scratched his head. It hurt his hands more than it relieved his scalp. His fingers were still tender. The night before, they had cracked and bled while he bathed.
“Keep your wounds clean,” Eamon had warned, tapping the cross-shaped scar on Rivek’s cheek. “You have enough scars from infection.”
King Auster coughed, bringing Rivek’s attention back to the task at hand. He stared past the king’s high-backed chair to Fenne, the prince standing behind it. Rivek looked down and subtly shook his head. He felt a small hand on his shoulder. Willow stood next to him, a slim but sturdy presence between him and the royal guard. A servant approached and lit a fat, milky-white candle on the table between the two parties.
Rivek wrung his hands, splitting the skin again. Stupid. But he still had nightmares. He woke up, gasping for air, trying to cough the taste of smoke out of his lungs. Just the thought of open flame made him sweat.
King Auster slipped a piece of parchment in front of him and looked at Willow with furrowed brows. Rivek didn’t feel like actually reading it. He knew what it said - in much longer words than necessary. Give up your lies and become a slave. In exchange, you get to live.
The notary placed a quill and a shallow, silver dish onto the table. One of the guards shoved Rivek’s chair closer.
“No need to be so rough, now. Not like I’m going to run away, am I?”
The soldier took Rivek’s right hand and unwrapped the bandages on it, revealing raw, newly-healed skin. Willow had not done an amazing job, but no one else would have worked on him. The guard made a shallow slice it down the middle of his palm. Just enough to draw blood. Rivek winced as the black liquid dripped into the dish.
He picked up the quill with his left hand and dipped it in the makeshift ink. He signed his true name on the parchment, an Alisian name that was too long and meant too many things. Ailinar AIlinar Rivek Ildorus. The acid blood quickly faded to red but not before burning a few tiny holes in the paper where Rivek had pressed down too hard.
Willow followed suit, saturating the quill tip, which was quickly melting down, with his blood and dashing her name below his. She wrote quickly and left no holes in the paper.
King Auster nodded and melted a strip of red wax over the candle flame. He dabbed it next to the signatures and pressed his ring into it before adding his own name, again in blood. He turned to Willow, “He belongs to you now.”
Willow grabbed the wrist on Rivek’s bloodied hand. He bit his tongue, holding back the retort he had immediately thought up. She ran her finger in a zig-zag pattern across the cut, and it pulled itself together like a tightened dress seam. All that was left was a thin, red line which she quickly hid and she re-bandaged it.
Rivek raised his now mended hand. “Now, that I am no longer under the jurisdiction of His Majesty, King Auster, I have something I would like to say: You are a very, very, horrible person.”
“Jusangion.” Expectations. - 33/100 Themes.
Oh, the stupid things you have to do when you are royalty.
Willow loosened the collar on her dress. It had been so heavily starched, it left rings on her skin. Her neck was sweating. She clenched and flexed her fingers within the thick, formal gloves. Her palms were sweating. She scratched the small of her back. Some sweat there, too. Gross.
“Don’t be nervous. It’s just like we rehearsed,” Fenne whispered.
Too bad that telling someone not to be nervous just makes them more nervous.
He took her hand. A fanfare of trumpets sounded beyond the gold curtains. “I present to you the future king and queen of the Brennan nation.”
The pair stepped out to a room full of people in expensive dress, starched collars and white gloves everywhere. The clapped politely, softly with stiff elbows. Willow searched for a familiar face, but everyone seemed much older, both men and women reaching middle age. They held their lips tightly shut with regal formality. She looked closer and saw the wrinkles at the edges of their eyes and mouths that came with making too many court decisions, too many judgements.
She swallowed the lump in the throat and stole a quick glance at her partner. With the same grim formality, he took her waist in his arm, and they began to dance.
Every time I start a new sketchbook (roughly every six months or so), I draw Rivek in whatever is outfit design is at that point. it’s a way of seeing how far I have come and how far I need to go. These are usually done in airports and on planes since I like having new sketchbooks for trips – and because the whole character centers around flight.
I did this waiting to take BUR -> OAK to see some college friends in San Fransisco. It has some stronger linework due to influence from Eric Canete. His costume uses more metal and doesn’t have as dramatic sleeves anymore since I wanted to trim the silhouette into one that accents vertical lines (I know, because he’s not a skinny whelp enough as it is). And his pose is not relaxed and he’s got more of a smirk because I wanted something more excited about life this time around.
When I flew back home for a week in August, I lost my pencil case (including my signature stamp). So after flipping out, I bought some cheap pencils to draw with (HB, I am accustomed to 4B). But I still didn’t want to do anything fancy, so I decided to try and draw portraits of my characters (a few I have never shown the public before, even!). The goal was to get them to look different but keep nationalities and family relationships similar. I need to draw smaller eyes.
Rivek is our socially-stigmatized main character who serves as the personal agent and doer of dirty work to the doctor-princess, Willow. She is as stubborn and bull-headed as she is hopeful.
In order to gain an ally and stop a war, Willow is set to marry another prince, Fenne, but he re-negs on the engagement when she proves her feelings really lie with Rivek – costing him his ability to walk. To take our his frustration, he banishes Rivek and hires Rivek’s best friend, Bohren into his guard. Knowing they are now on opposite sides tears Bohren to pieces because he still needs to separate his feelings between friendship and homosexual romance.
In exchange for a new pair of legs, Fenne allies with Sorian, the leader of the country invading Willow’s territory. Together, they build war machines and commit genocide.
Eamon is Fenne’s scientific advisor – who helped Willow with her doctor training back in school – is afraid that the princes will murder his daughter, Perrin. So the pair seek refugee status with Willow. She accepts, and Perrin develops a rapport with Rivek due to their interest in dark magic. Rivek looks over Eamon’s notes and helps re-work them to use dark magic, thus giving their side an edge advantage.
But to using dark magic requires dark mages, so he seeks the help of his estranged sister, Mirab. She agrees if once the war is over, Willow and her congress stops the genocide against their people. Kai is her adopted son. His merchant father abandoned him when he began to show traces of dark magic.
There are more details, but I think that’s enough for now. Those things in the corner are some dress silhouettes from the Alexander McQueen Exhibit. Everyone’s name ends in an “n” sound.
This is an outfit design guide for the seven countries that make up the continent of Mondigan. It details stuff like climate, color scheme. All designs are based around a central tenet of the countries’ value system – represented as a simple geometric shape that gets repeated in the outfit. Countries that are more similar in mindset use more similar shapes. Each also has a signature style item unique to that culture. Unity for the entire continent, though, should be derived from similar materials.
Expanding on that further, I went ahead and drew some male and female Alisian outfits. Alisians live in a strict, role-based meritocracy where rank is determined by what you have done and what your forefathers have done. Although there is a certain genetic phenotype common in Alisians (tall, thin, pale, non-red hair, angular skull, hooked nose), appearance, gender, and sexual orientation are not measures of a person’s value. Especially if that person can wield a sword. An Alisian is self-defined by their devotion to their religion and having been raised in an Alisian culture.
Despite being a military culture, the central tenet of Alisian religion is “balance” of light and dark. All things in moderation. Therefore, their visual design symbol is a diamond – symmetrical on all sides but still highly dynamic. Given that Rivek and Mirab are half-Alisian and best represent the phenotype, I have drawn them in generic male and female Alisian clothing. The cuts are slightly different to exaggerate how the diamond form falls along each gender, but given that gender is not a defining trait of the individual, the overall design remains mostly the same.
The sleeves are tied to the main shirt body and often not used in summer. They can come in multiple lengths, mix and match for variety. However, it is important to note that – even in the dead of winter – sleeves and arm gear are not worn during religious ceremonies out of respect.
Alisians begin combat training as soon as they can walk, and young adults tend to venture to other countries to seek temporary work. So although much of the Alisian economy is self-sustaining on fish, sheep, and tough grains, they also receive a strong vein of outside income from steel and mercenary work. Unscrupulous, non-religious, private businessmen will usually hire an Alisian bodyguard (this is how Rivek’s father and mother met). So, completely illogically, I drew Bohren in a tentative Alisian armor design… which I am not promptly scrapping. It is far too impractical. I also meant to draw Willow in Alisian priestess robes, but I got lazy.
Sometimes, I draw my characters in their skivvies. For the record, this is what they would wear to sleep. Done in the lobby of =ProdigyBombay‘s ultra-cool workplace while I was waiting for her to hang out with me.