The first of the character designs for Entwined is the Smoking Mirror, Tezcatlipoca, god of jaguars, sorcery, beauty, strife, and obsidian. Mike’s original character design pictured her as a mirrored square with a Patrick Nagel-esque woman’s chin, smoking a cigarette. I decided to take the original designs and add an Aztec flourish, which I kicked off with a bit of observational drawing.
I like the bandana/eye maskt, it’s a little bit Zorro and suits the somewhat superhero inspired genre we will work in. And the cracked shell facade of the face is cool.
This was helpful in starting to better understand all the complex bits and pieces, and in grasping the way these ancient artists created a flat representation of 3 dimensional ideas.
Reminds me of a god from Sean Phillips and Ed Brubaker’s. That serpentine visage with the many hands receding into shadows is nightmare fuel.
I frankly didn’t give myself enough space or use the right tools for drawing this. So complex.
This gave me the idea of a character made from a hard, polished surface. I remember reading the Anne Rice vampire books when I was younger and I was captivated by one of her characters, an ancient vampire, with a handshake “like marble in a silk glove”.
Drawing from these reference images gave me a better understanding of how they worked and the types of intricate patterns built into them. The next step was to come up with something that stayed faithful to Mike’s vision while splicing in something from my research. The first draft is this guy, you can see the stuff coming out of his head and the patterns supporting it, and the somewhat flat impression.
The second wave of drawings is getting closer to something I can use. Playing with the idea of the smoke forming the mirror itself, creating a detailed, rippling, constantly moving and shifting mirror. Also a bit of research into smoking implements from the time of the Aztecs. What does a god choose to smoke from? Probably not Longbeach.
From a procedural account, I drew this page first in blue line pencil, and then went straight in with 0.3 and 0.1 pens.
Then I applied light ink washes. Putting washes over thick ink pen lines can lead to excessive ink bleeding. Keeping the line work fine avoids that.A bit more ink wash application and then picking out lines with 0.5 & 0.8 pens.
And a quick gradient map test. That’s Tezcatlipoca, the smoking mirror. She will no doubt continue to change as time goes on but for now I’m happy with her.