ratcreature: RatCreature at the drawing board. (drawing)
RatCreature ([personal profile] ratcreature) wrote2011-01-05 09:49 am

fanart process: my yuletart piece, "Fealty"

Considering the many, many hours my recently revealed yuletart picture took, I thought I ought to get more than one post out of it... ;)

The idea was quite basic: I wanted to show how Merlin swears fealty to Arthur as his king. I started looking at pictures of other art showing such ceremonies, a bunch of screen caps from Merlin, also pictures of the Merlin location to see the hall better (though in the end I kept the background simple rather than rendering the throne room properly).

As usual I did a bunch of scribbles first. They don't look like anything much, and were done in a cheap A6 notebook:

first scribbles

Then I started on the pencils. I got about this far, and they were rather messy:

early pencils

so rather than use my eraser for ages, I transfered them via lightbox to a new paper, and then continued working on it. I'll skip posting a bunch of ridiculous photographs where I tried to photograph myself in various positions, fashioned capes out of blankets and so on. No dignity in art, I guess.

At one point I moved the position of the guards in a scanned version, you can see a rough c&p and resizing here:

reworking pencils digitally

Eventually I arrived at this pencil version:
pencils sent to beta

which I sent off for an artbeta to [personal profile] goss and [personal profile] vito_excalibur. I got some helpful comments about some of the figures and some other stuff, fixed things in the pencils (for which I also used a scanned version and moving things a bit, as well my lightbox). I didn't heed all comments though, for example [personal profile] vito_excalibur remarked that I did the oath posture very earnest, and more humble than maybe canon!Merlin would be. I did not change that, because admittedly the posture is due to my personal kinks, in which my buttons are strongly pushed by feudal loyalty, service, slavery, and similar tropes, and I really enjoy fiction in which in serious moments Merlin feels as servant to Arthur, and especially in public might display that, so that influences which body language I like in my art. It's not that I don't enjoy their buddy moments and irreverence with each other too, but not in formal scenes. Since my recipient didn't specify any detailed preferences at all aside from liking Merlin and Arthur but not slash, in absence of being sure what they like, I went with what I enjoy, and hoped it's not too kink-dependent or OOC. (In my last Yuletart assignment the recipient asked for SGA team fluff with slight McShep and I provided that with a team marshmallow roasting scene during which John and Rodney cuddle but the posture I ended up with was one that in my mind was a D/s one without really planning to draw a D/s piece in that John sat on the ground while Rodney was on a log behind him and John was fed a smore from Rodney's hand while being held and exposing his neck -- it was perfectly G rated and not in any way openly D/s, but well--)

Anyway, I then transfered the corrected pencil version to the expensive paper (the scan of this looks a bit odd, because the paper I painted on was larger than A3, and though I didn't use all of it, I still had to scan in more than two parts:

final pencils

Then I started to paint. First some diluted washes:

then I started with the background in opaque, first the scarlet

then the black and the gold dragons and the throne

Then I did the stone, walls and floor with some more washes

Then I did the figures clothes and the capes, still leaving out the chain mail and skin:

With Gwen's gown coming last

Then I did the metal parts, first basic gray:

Then lots of tedious, tiny rows of loops for the chainmail, in both dark and light, for shadows and metal highlights (you can see in the high res details)

Finally heads and hands came last (you may notice that I actually changed the size of Merlin's hands a bit while painting also remembered to make Arthur's thumb visible which had gotten lost at some points during all the pencil transferences -- actually I did some extra reference photos of hand positions at this point):

BTW, for a random detail that I'm happy with, I quite like how the color of Arthur's crown turned out. Making metal look metallic is always really hard for me.

Unfortunately I only noticed while painting that Gaius head was too large, but couldn't easily change it at this point (and was pressed for time), so I decided to fix that in the scan. So the image above is like the original acrylic painting looks, but in the posted version Gaius' head has been made smaller. If you look closely at the high resolution detail of that area of the final version, you may be able to spot how I fixed and merged the resized head with GIMP.

Anyway the final picture with the smaller head is here:

final version

And here are some details I also showed in the art post, including the GIMP manipulated area:
detail of Fealty

detail of Fealty

detail of Fealty
reginagiraffe: Stick figure of me with long wavy hair and giraffe on shirt. (Default)

[personal profile] reginagiraffe 2011-01-05 12:54 pm (UTC)(link)
I'll skip posting a bunch of ridiculous photographs where I tried to photograph myself in various positions

Somewhere in the world (unless he threw it out) there's a Polaroid picture of Michael Whelan looking like a murder victim. He needed to know what looking at someone lying down from a particular angle looked like, so he took a picture of himself. It turned out... grim. *g*
yue_ix: Chibi of Merlin with tentacle arms (on his knees)

[personal profile] yue_ix 2011-01-05 04:36 pm (UTC)(link)
This is all so incredibly cool to know. I love WIPs and behind-the-scenes (and bloopers, as may be the case) so much. =D

The final piece is gorgeous, and it's great to be able to know how it came to be as it now is. If you don't mind me asking questions, I'm particularly intrigued by the colour washes you did (are they in diluted acrylics? Do they serve as base so as not to paint over white, to help blocking out things, or something else?) and how/when you decided on which colours.

The part where you talk about your choice of keeping Merlin's deferent position made me wonder if that is why you put him in servant's clothes, too? I've noticed that they are actual regular servant garbs, too, and not the different version Arthur made him wear as a lark, and was wondering about that choice with a friend.

Btw, it may come off as odd, but it's a relief to hear that you wonder about kinks/likes showing through even in gen works, because I have the same preoccupation. On the other hand, I would like to toast you on your spreading of g-rated kinks and how they related to everyday life.

No dignity in art, I guess.

*raises hand as also someone who has very ambiguous pictures of herself posing in various ways for drawings*

this is a fascinating guide through your process for this piece. Thank you for sharing it!
goss: (Talented hands)

[personal profile] goss 2011-01-06 03:29 am (UTC)(link)
Ooooooh cool! I really enjoyed seeing this all come together. I am especially entranced by the shadowing on the steps and the lushness of the thrones.

(Anonymous) 2011-01-06 08:57 am (UTC)(link)
Wow! I'm really impressed how you work, it's so different from what I mostly do and that's intriguing. It's also so great to see how this awesome piece came to life!!
Thank you for sharing it with us!

(and I'm chen-san from LJ ^^ )
gnatkip: "Gnat" (Default)

[personal profile] gnatkip 2011-01-08 10:08 pm (UTC)(link)
So cool! You have so much patience and attention to detail.
leyna: The White Wich of Narnia Art nouveau style (Default)

[personal profile] leyna 2011-01-09 03:17 am (UTC)(link)
Thanks for showing your process. I love seeing how people work and I admire the huge amount of work you put into getting everything just right.

[identity profile] fanarts-series.livejournal.com 2011-01-05 09:06 am (UTC)(link)
Wow it's a lot of work, congrats and thanks to explain how you write.

[identity profile] fanarts-series.livejournal.com 2011-01-05 09:45 am (UTC)(link)
It's a very good use of your time. Bravo again.

[identity profile] droolfangrrl.livejournal.com 2011-01-05 08:53 pm (UTC)(link)

I'm very much liking guiles btw

And on a complete tangent. I read the following sentence in a fic. "Lex reached between them to take Clark’s weeping cock in hand"

And now I would kill to see a drawing of a chibi clark looking on in concern as a chibi lex tries to comfort a rooster weeping his eyeballs out.

[identity profile] droolfangrrl.livejournal.com 2011-01-05 09:21 pm (UTC)(link)
there he is choking clarks weeping cock


I only had hopes that you would draw it, thanks for coming through. (seriously is there not a funnier phrase in most fan fics than "weeping cock?")

[identity profile] droolfangrrl.livejournal.com 2011-01-05 09:26 pm (UTC)(link)
p.s. oops Gaius is who i meant

[identity profile] droolfangrrl.livejournal.com 2011-01-05 09:33 pm (UTC)(link)

And there's the moment of... Do I like this person's stuff well enough/ do I think they would have a cow if I told them that that phrase just made me crack up?

[identity profile] roxymissrose.livejournal.com 2011-01-06 01:59 am (UTC)(link)
[livejournal.com profile] droolfangrrl led me here, because she knew I'd fall out laughing--not only is it too funny, but it inspires me to make sure I *never* use that phrase! :)

[identity profile] roxymissrose.livejournal.com 2011-01-06 03:23 am (UTC)(link)

YES! Omg, I can't believe I didn't comment on it, when it was what I looked at first on visiting your journal!

I was fascinated by the process in this, it's something that has always interested me and I love posts where folks talk about how they do what they do. It was interesting to see that you did specific parts at once--the scarlets, the black and golds, the stone.

It's really an amazing piece and I have to say, I'm in awe of your chain mail!