I’ll admit it, this is a post that’s been delayed several times because I knew how many images it would require. (It’s a lot). You have been warned!
Sometime a few months ago, the illustrious Rhidach of Righteous Defense inquired if I might make a banner image for him. He’d seen and liked Anea’s. I was happy to do it. He wanted to replace his (awesome, but human) banner with one similar in feeling but much more personalized. He described an image of his blood elf paladin standing in front of a burning Stratholme. Yes, it is dramatic, and it was fun to do!
I think this series of images is pretty indicative of just how far an image can go from a rough sketch (and the rough sketch…is very rough) to a finished product. You’ll see what I mean. Any of the following images can be clicked for a larger view, specifically the later banner ones are pretty small, but they have to be that way so they don’t break my blog column!
This is the first sketch I sent Rhi. I include it mostly for posterity. Sometimes it’s better to just get something out that you can show, see what the reaction is, and then you can adjust from there.
It was around this time that we had an involved discussion about arm-crossing. Rhi couldn’t quite put his finger on what was bugging him, until he realized that it was the arm-crossing. “I spent some time standing in front of the mirror crossing and uncrossing my arms…” he confessed to me. His remarks about the arms inspired a similar pantomime in our household, with Voss arguing on the side of reverse arm-crossing, informing me that “You fail at crossing your arms,” and demonstrating the proper technique. Hilarity ensued.
The joke was on him, anyway, because I then made him sit there acting as a model until I could re-do the arms crossed properly. He couldn’t bow out of being an arm model after he’d made such a big deal about it, plus I couldn’t use my own arms (needed them for drawing) and then the arms would have been all girly.
I skipped a few minor edits here for the sake of brevity (who, me?). You get the idea. I like that if you look at the sketches and scroll down you can see Rhi getting progressively…well, wider. Something was weird about his hips so I fixed that too, and the tabard was also not quite right. By this point, we were both pretty happy with the base sketch. It was time to put it into the right proportions to be a banner, and start adding some colour!
I sent this to Rhidach after adding flats to it to see if he was okay with the general colour scheme. Actually, the majority of our back-and-forth at this point was me sending him an image to show what I’d been up to, and him saying, “Looks good!” The real nitty-gritty was getting that first sketch to a good place.
You see, paladins emit a faint glow. I’d honestly never looked closely at paladin tier gear (I didn’t own any of my own, at this point). Working on this part of the image caused me to remark in twitter, “Paladin T10 has ribbons AND skulls. It’s like, I am going to smash you in the face and kill some undead, but I’m still sensitive while I do it.”
Ava replied that if you look at the shoulders sideways, it looks like a skeleton pope. I challenge you to do it, it absolutely does! My guildies couldn’t see it, though.
This next image is funny only because it demonstrates how we bloggy people are. I was reading Righteous Defense and/or Twitter when Rhi exclaimed that he’d gotten fancy new shoulders. My immediate thought was, “…damn, what colour are the new shoulders?” I looked him up on the armory – they’re the same, except fancier and exuding a certain… 277ishness. I thought that naturally he’d want his banner to have the “proper” gear on it, and I hadn’t yet shaded them, so I e-mailed him.
As it happened, he’d really wanted them to be the “new” ones but didn’t feel right asking me to change them since he thought I’d already done them. Except that I hadn’t, and so it worked out all around.
This next image is me forcing myself to work on the background instead of Rhidach himself. I try to jump around and work on different things as I go, so that it’ll be cohesive in the end instead of feel as if one image was just plopped on top of an entirely unrelated one. That stonework was driving me nuts.
This is the image pretty much done! I’ve added detail to the pretty ribbons (sorry Rhi, they’re very manly) and some more background stuff. All that’s lacking is the text, which involved some more back and forth while we figured it out with the placement, but I’ll spare you that.
And there you have it; that’s how a funny little black and white sketch becomes a real, grown-up banner. You can go and see it over at Righteous Defense proper. I think it looks pretty spiffy there, but obviously I am biased. Word about me has gotten out among the blood elf paladin set, I think, because the banner I’m currently working on is also a blood elf paladin, except it is two for the price of one. That’s all I will say, lest I spoil the surprise. Anyway, a big thanks to Rhidach for the commission. He was afraid I’d say he was nitpicky and hard to work with, which was not at all the case. He was really easy-going, and I think we made a great team.
Oh right, I wanted to finish with just one more image:
p.s. – They are not “frosted tips,” it’s reflected glow from the fire. Because when you stand by a fire… light shines on your hair. It’s true!
p.p.s. – Rhi wrote a really too kind post about his new banner himself. Thanks again!
Important Edit: Don’t forget that The Well-Dressed Paladin contest is still happening until August 8th. I’ve got some great entries so far, but don’t miss your chance to showcase your vision of truly awesome paladin fashion…with or without ribbons.