Portrait - Akashia (A Song of Fire)

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brendan_scott
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Portrait - Akashia (A Song of Fire)

Post by brendan_scott »

Hi,
Here is a sketch for a portrait of the character Akashia (F25) I am working on for the UMC campaign A Song of Fire. I am interested in any constructive feedback, particularly hints on adding wear to her outfit, before I ink and colour. While this is a black and white sketch, the character is supposed to have dark brown skin and black hair.
bbd_akashia_161017.png
Thanks

Brendan

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revansurik
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Re: Portrait - Akashia (A Song of Fire)

Post by revansurik »

First of all, thank you again for the contribution! I liked the way you've drawn her physical appearance: as a Heretic (later a Warmonger), it's quite fitting that she's sturdier than the average woman - and her serious, almost hostile expression also fits Akashia very well :)
But there's one thing I didn't quite like: her breastplate. I know I asked you not to make her a stereotypical vixen warrior, but this breastplate is too masculine, and it doesn't fit her well - specially considering that she belongs to an all-female order. In the other sketch you sent me, her breastplate had a more feminine shape; see, the "six-pack" is not an issue, but maybe a curvier, slightly more slender contour would be better (like, for instance, in the image below)?
Spoiler:
Another thing, not an actual issue, but more of a suggestion for the sword: the handguard could have a more elaborate look, as it would make the sword more exotic and unique. In the sword of picture I'm posting below, for example, the handguard looks like a pair of fangs: this gives a more savage look to it, one that would fit Akashia's Deva Sword very well. But I'm talking about the hilt here; the overall shape of the blade is fine :)
Spoiler:
Sorry if I'm asking you to redraw too much; the other sketch you sent me was more generic - the sword, for instance, had no particular features, and the breastplate was more like I had imagined. My only real issue with this sketch is really the breastplate, as it makes the character fall into that old cliché that a female warrior has to be either hyper-sexualized or an overly masculine ;)
Author of the Dragon Trilogy.

If you enjoyed A Song of Fire, War of the Jewel, Aria of the Dragon-Slayer and Soldier of Wesnoth, you may like my new project: Star of Chaos, a science-fiction mystery/adventure intended to be a trilogy
;-)

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taptap
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Re: Portrait - Akashia (A Song of Fire)

Post by taptap »

I would not combine plate armour with naked arms and no helmet* and I would restrain my hair while in battle (braids are the obvious choice for female warriors with long hair, probably also more fun to draw) or by hairpin as in other windsong sprites. The overlapping plates on the shoulder look weird and it is not at all clear what the collar is. A good, immersive detail could be showing the connection between front and back plate. I would not listen to Revansurik on "feminine" armour (well, the portrait is for one of his campaigns, but still). Any kind of articulated breasts guides blows, projectiles, thrusts, lance hits right onto your sternum that might otherwise deflect in a normal round shape or even an articulated ridge as seen in plenty of breastplates. Armour is supposed to work (ridges, pointed bellies for this reason), not to celebrate female or male form. Below the waist the portrait is much harder to read: Does the mail just end (like a tucked in shirt)? What is trousers, plate, rigid cloth (influence of the heretic sprite?)? Heretic sprite has the gatekeeper blindfold btw - yeah, realism - but might be something you want to consider for internal consistency. Finally, how does the sword get out of the scabbard at that angle?

* I guess a portrait with helmet is kind of pointless, but it could be under her arm just as fine.

Hope some of these comments are useful.

P.S. Did not watch the film, but stills from e.g. Kristen Stewart in Snow White and the Huntsman, might make a good inspiration (apart from the missing helmet).
Last edited by taptap on October 20th, 2016, 12:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
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revansurik
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Re: Portrait - Akashia (A Song of Fire)

Post by revansurik »

taptap wrote:Any kind of articulated breasts guides blows, projectiles, thrusts, lance hits right onto your sternum that might otherwise deflect in a normal round shape or even an articulated ridge as seen in plenty of breastplates. Armour is supposed to work (ridges, pointed bellies for this reason), not to celebrate female or male form.
And a completely flat breastplate may press a woman's breasts in a quite uncomfortable and painful way (or at least that's what I was told when I asked some women on the subject). Of course, Akashia's breastplate doesn't need to have the shape of breasts; I used that picture above because it was one of the least revealing, most "realistic" ones I found when I googled "female breastplate". :roll: As for the "not to celebrate female or male form", well, Ancient Greeks would disagree with that claim:

Image

(I know this is not a comment related to the portrait, I just thought I needed to clarify my point in my previous comment. :) )
Author of the Dragon Trilogy.

If you enjoyed A Song of Fire, War of the Jewel, Aria of the Dragon-Slayer and Soldier of Wesnoth, you may like my new project: Star of Chaos, a science-fiction mystery/adventure intended to be a trilogy
;-)

brendan_scott
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Re: Portrait - Akashia (A Song of Fire)

Post by brendan_scott »

Thank you for this feedback.
revansurik wrote:First of all, thank you again for the contribution! I liked the way you've drawn her physical appearance: as a Heretic (later a Warmonger), it's quite fitting that she's sturdier than the average woman - and her serious, almost hostile expression also fits Akashia very well :)
great!
revansurik wrote:Another thing, not an actual issue, but more of a suggestion for the sword: the handguard could have a more elaborate look, as it would make the sword more exotic and unique.
Yes. I can do this. I had sketched some ideas for myself. The guard I went with just seemed the most appropriate (since she is supposed to be no nonsense).
revansurik wrote: But there's one thing I didn't quite like: her breastplate.
I can make it curvier. The sample you have used seems very "curvy" to me. Do you want something that curvy or something more subdued? A halfway would be something that does not model each breast individually.
Alternatively, I could remove the plate and just have her in a hauberk (like Lisar in HttT but with short sleeves) with or without additional plates on her arms.
taptap wrote: I would not listen to Revansurik on "feminine" armour (well, the portrait is for one of his campaigns, but still).
lol, brave call. FWIW the breastplate is called a muscle cuirass. The muscles are ornamental on the front of the plate.
taptap wrote:I would not combine plate armour with naked arms and no helmet* and I would restrain my hair while in battle (braids are the obvious choice for female warriors with long hair, probably also more fun to draw) or by hairpin as in other windsong sprites.
She's not necessarily supposed to be in battle (most of the dialogue takes place at the start of scenarios).
taptap wrote:The overlapping plates on the shoulder look weird and it is not at all clear what the collar is. A good, immersive detail could be showing the connection between front and back plate.

Collar (a torc) was just whimsy.
ok
taptap wrote:Below the waist the portrait is much harder to read: Does the mail just end (like a tucked in shirt)? What is trousers, plate, rigid cloth (influence of the heretic sprite?)?
I was proposing to give her a leather or metal girdle (faulds) with fabric over her thighs. The sprite is misleading - eg Akashia doesn't wear heavy robes like the other Windsong.
taptap wrote: Heretic sprite has the gatekeeper blindfold btw - yeah, realism - but might be something you want to consider for internal consistency.
Good catch, but note my earlier comment on the sprite. I guess that's up to Revansurik. No blindfold would be better. When do they wear them?
taptap wrote: Finally, how does the sword get out of the scabbard at that angle?
The scabbard and sword are intended to be "bent"/off axis. The sword is almost completely drawn, leaving only the point in the scabbard and allowing it off centre because of the extra play at the opening of the scabbard. I thought it was believable, but am concerned about it and happy to take other views. I could taper the blade to emphasize this.
taptap wrote: Hope some of these comments are useful.
Sure, thanks.

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revansurik
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Re: Portrait - Akashia (A Song of Fire)

Post by revansurik »

brendan_scott wrote:
revansurik wrote: But there's one thing I didn't quite like: her breastplate.
I can make it curvier. The sample you have used seems very "curvy" to me. Do you want something that curvy or something more subdued? A halfway would be something that does not model each breast individually.
Alternatively, I could remove the plate and just have her in a hauberk (like Lisar in HttT but with short sleeves) with or without additional plates on her arms.

taptap wrote: Heretic sprite has the gatekeeper blindfold btw - yeah, realism - but might be something you want to consider for internal consistency.
Good catch, but note my earlier comment on the sprite. I guess that's up to Revansurik. No blindfold would be better. When do they wear them?
Yeah, as I said, that breastplate was one of the most "realistic" ones I found when I googled "female breastplate" :lol: But you're right, it'd be better if the armour didn't have modelled breasts.
OR you could indeed remove the breastplate and leave her only with the hauberk. I thought the breasplate would be better as it would fit her unit type better (Heretics and Warmongers do have high physical resistances, after all), but since we're not basing her look too strictly on her unit's sprites, this shouldn't be obligatory. It's up to you then :)
And speaking on sprite consistency, I'm not particularly fond of putting a blindfold on her. I don't think there's any official explanation as to why the Gatekeeper line wear blindfolds (though I like to imagine they're trained to have keener senses than vision itself), so maybe this shouldn't be an obligatory feature in Akashia's portrait. Still, maybe colouring her clothes in the dark-grey and red of her sprite would be nice - plus leaving her hair loose, as her unit sprite sport some luxuriant hair :lol:
Author of the Dragon Trilogy.

If you enjoyed A Song of Fire, War of the Jewel, Aria of the Dragon-Slayer and Soldier of Wesnoth, you may like my new project: Star of Chaos, a science-fiction mystery/adventure intended to be a trilogy
;-)

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