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:
Then I started on the pencils. I got about this far, and they were rather messy:
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:
Eventually I arrived at this pencil version:
which I sent off for an artbeta to goss and 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 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:
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:
And here are some details I also showed in the art post, including the GIMP manipulated area: