Sketch Attack: MEDIEVAL!

The next Sketch Attack has now been posted. For this round, designer and illustrator Phil Balsman chose the wide ranging topic of "Medieval." While I've always dug the subject matter, having this broad a subject had me scared that too many options would lead to little turnout, but I was very (and happily!) wrong. The work looks great! As for myself, maybe not so much, but more on that later, for now, let's see how I got there...

I knew dragons would be popular so I wanted to stay away from them (I was correct, BTW), but I knew that it would be hard to resist. Indeed, my first doodles involved a warrior or knight shielding himself from a dragon's flame, albeit the dragon was never in the frame. The warrior was also going to be bloodied and beaten, and possibly on his last legs as he defended a child. Sounded cool, but again the dragon idea wasn't sitting right with me. I did, however, determine that I kind of wanted a more down to earth feel, hence the battered warrior. A little more inspiration was in order.

I turned on the Netflix to see what I could stream, and found the British movie Ironclad. I gave it a whirl, and it got me thinking Knights Templar. Those would be my warriors. I can't really recommend the film completely unless you're a big fan of gore, because it has it in spades! Anyhoo, I at least had my knights. But what would they do?

With the movie The Grey out in theaters, I decided they should fight wolves. If it's good enough for Liam Neeson, it's good enough for me. And, yeah, "they". I drew a few KT characters that basically resembled the A-Team with Snake-Eyes. I then turned to composition, and from the beginning I determined the cool Snake-Eyes Templar would be front and center lopping off a wolf head, and the Hannibal/Neeson character would be on his knees with a dead wolf at his feet. And then I didn't feel so well.

Out sick a few days, I finally returned to my drawing and started laying it out. And so far, I dug it, and kept going, but then I just couldn't place the kneeling Liam just right, and lots of erasing ensued. Frustrated and making a mess, I gave up on the sketch and decided to start fresh.

Before I did, though, King Arthur (Clive Owen version) came on free TV last Saturday afternoon, how fortuitous! I watched it for the first time, enjoyed, and felt reinspired. Back to the sketch, laid it out better than the first time, and went clean through till I had a decent pencil sketch.

For the next few days I fiddled with it, until Tuesday night when I decided to sit down and finish up. Unfortunately, I tried to lay in some ink, which I've never been great at, and it became questionable rather quickly. Blah. I stayed with it, though, gave it my best, and made my inks nearly as dirty as my pencils. A couple of saving decisions included making the wolves black and using just one color, red, for their eyes and the Templar crosses. I felt this gave the sketch a good unity at least.

The next day, on due day, I fiddled with it some more, and finally scanned it in. The last element was the motion blur I added in Photoshop to Snake-Eye's sword as it hacked across the wolf in the foreground. Call this my Ironclad inspired moment.

That all said, sadly, while this one had the most days(!) spent working and most research probably done it's my least favorite of the 4 thus far. Not saying I hate it, and maybe being ill didn't help it's progress, but something about just didn't feel as good as the first three.  Oh well, it's done, and the next Attack has been picked. I may just chill out and use only pencils on this coming one. We'll see, for now, here's the sketch and be sure to check out the rest of the latest Sketch Attack!