Welcome to my character portrait gallery

For anyone who is wondering, Wednesday became 'black Wednesday' for me because I cannot draw mid-week!
In fact I'm sure the rainforests mourn Wednesday too by the amount of paper I tear through in frustration... so this is a blog for all who know what like it is to regularly shout at their pencils
Oh yes it's also all about fictional characters plus interviews with them, yeah, that too :)

Friday, September 27, 2013

Hite Eade

Hite Eade is a 5ft tall 16-year-old geldern of the goblin variety and as such possesses wonderfully huge bendy ears and grubby grey-green skin.  For one whose name literally translates to ‘bright day’ Hite isn’t particularly smart. Evident in the many scars he bears his choices lean more towards the way his name sounds, ergo ‘hit it with head,’ and see what happens. Also he stinks like a field smeared in cow dung, which bodes for an eye-watering interview wherein most of our employees try to avoid breathing.

The only thing slick about Hite is his hair, a lank greasy mop of black threads that he is obviously proud enough of to protect with a leather headscarf. Usually we would ask interviewees to remove headgear whilst sitting for a portrait but in this instance we fear what might be growing beneath the feted leather and decide it’s more than our stomachs can take.
If it looks like Hite is wearing sackcloth that’s probably because he is. Clothes aren’t especially high on is priority list nor are they to anyone emerging from the grotesque quagmire that is Vidul. We gather that Hite is unaware of how foul he smells which indicates his nose must be broken in more places than we can see. Still by all rights, with his strong jawline and bright eyes Hite is quite pretty for a young goblin.

The word, ‘geldern’ as I am sure those of you don’t know are wondering, refers to those species that were once called greenskins. In informal circles, particularly in greenskin circles, the four species encompassed under this label are still dubbed as greenskins. However the politically correct brigade marched on the fact that no group should be labelled by the colour of their skin and henceforth the name geldern was coined.  This new name translates to ‘bold tribe,’ which is nice we’re sure for the two ‘geldern’ who actually cared enough to rally for the change.

The geldern then, are the only sub-group within the mythic genus known to age like regular men. All four species (that’s goblins, ogres, orcs and trolls) have an expected average lifespan of around 80 years. Like many of the anthropomorphic species the geldern age quickly in their younger years, yet unlike the aforementioned anthro’s, this rapid aging seems to taper off and balance out in their late teens and early twenties. Therefore the visual difference in age between twelve and thirty year olds isn’t always apparent. Blessed too with increased physical strength from the outset, members of these four species tend to fit well in jobs requiring heavy labour and muscle.

That isn’t to say that there aren’t geldern busy growing flowers and reciting poetry, quite the contrary. More simply most find themselves doing stereotypical hard graft work in between braiding each other’s scant strands of hair because if there’s one thing society likes it’s fulfilling a stereotype whilst bleating loudly about being politically correct.

Now Hite is the cocky sort, prone to charging headlong into confrontation with little thought to the outcome. At the same time he isn’t the most confident of fellows, he idolises his peers and wrongly believes that their adoration can be won if he gets into enough scrapes on their behalf. The problem is, no-one ever asks Hite to jump in to defend them and more often than not he antagonises situations through his desperate need to be admired. At present, Hite tells us the person he looks up to most is Lester Wye, a concept we find both unnerving and endearing. It’s bad enough after all if your current goal in life is to be as suave as the mailman and even worse if that mailman happens to be the ever-clumsy loveable dolt Lester whom everyone but you thinks is a prized twerp.

So where does that leave Hite on the scale of simple-mindedness? Probably not far from the gutter he crawled out of, still at least wanting to be someone like kind-hearted Lester is better than wanting to be like cut-throat Xio or one of the many other unsavoury characters lurking in Vidul. We think perhaps Hite is sorely lacking in friends his own age, therefore anyone, even thick skulled Lester probably seems like a promising bet.

Also Hite doesn’t really appear to be good at anything other than collecting scars. Usually in the wrong place between someone’s fist and a wall Hite doesn’t admit to having any actual life goals or hobbies. He’s interested enough in the world around him, yet we suspect not a great deal can be gleaned whilst tinkering with pipes in a place that resembles a festering sewerage system before you even get beneath the soil.

By trade he is a plumber of sorts, skills handed down from his father. He is employed as part of the skeletal maintenance crew that keep Vidul semi-operable when anyone can be bothered to actually do the work. Unpleasant jobs such as this are often passed down to younger members of the tunnel’s so-called community and cited, ‘as a privilege,’ as Hite proudly chimes, because most of the little brats don’t know any better and those that do aren’t high enough up the pecking order to complain.

Even if Hite did have the smarts to realise his elders are taking him for a ride he’d probably deal with it in another easily blindsided tantrum which makes us feel a touch sorry for the stinky lad. Not sorry enough to shake his hand as he exits or enough to say we found his company particularly pleasant.

Thus if we here at Black Wednesday’s have learnt anything from this meeting at all, it’s that we won’t be offering to braid Hite’s hair any time soon.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Dioxa Savryr

Dioxa Savryr is a 30-year-old drek elf, she stands a reasonable 5ft 5in tall and whilst isn’t plump; does carry a little ‘love’ about her midriff. Clearly, a lover of comfort foods she chooses only sweet treats from the free buffet and then nibbles nervously as if uncertain about her choices.

A demure, soft and gentle soul Dioxa introduces herself as ‘Di Goodchild,’ which whilst in literal translation is correct, we later learn isn’t actually a name she uses or even likes. Therefore, like babbling idiots we spend the first part of the interview calling her ‘Di’ only to discover mid-way that she would prefer we use her full name or shorten it to ‘Dio’ instead. When we question why she felt the need to translate and shorten her name to something she dislikes she cowers in embarrassment and answers, ‘most people find it easier, I mean if you find it easier, I just wanted it to be less trouble, it’s easier to say when translated isn’t it? I’m so sorry, really sorry.’ She is then overly apologetic to the point of it being irritating.

Yes, of course it’s easier to pronounce, ‘Goodchild,’ to about of half of our employees, the other half however would find more affinity with her actual name and the elven heritage of ‘Savryr.’ The notion that Dioxa would go to so much trouble to avoid burdening others with her pesky, not-actually-that-difficult-to-pronounce (actual) name speaks more of her ineptness and lack of foresight than her shy nature.

Her intent may have been born from kindness but the outcome proves the precise opposite of her goal, instead of avoiding hassle and confusion we wade headlong into a stinking pile of bafflement and bewilderment whilst she brokenly explains her reasoning. The offence she feared she might have caused is then tripled because we think our interviewee considers us too stupid to pronounce a simple name or too fragile to withstand being corrected if we get something wrong.

This of course both highlights and exacerbates the frailties of Dioxa herself, a timid creature so fearful of making mistakes that they become self-fulfilling prophecies. Her backwards attempts at making other people comfortable and aversion of even the smallest confrontation ultimately end up dropping back in her own lap, confirming her fears as truths and forming a weird repetitive pattern of awkward responses. Dioxa shrinks further and further away from achievement whilst believing that she is pushing forward which we surmise makes as much sense as stepping backwards off a cliff and thinking you will hit the top.

Now the observant amongst you may have noticed that drek elves are grey skinned much like the drow however, their skin tone is usually yellow-gold or silver as opposed to dark purple or blue. Fairer skinned in most cases and markedly taller than the drow, the true species signifier for drek as with all elves is the distinctive shape of their ears. That is if you consider having piercings galore as not distinctive.

Yes the drek love their piercings and body mods much in the same way that the drow are attached to their glyphs. Which in turn means that Dioxa has a lot of honorary achievements stapled to her face. We find this curious particularly for such a young elf, yet this aspect as we soon learn, has little to do with her age and everything to do with her insecurity.

To explain further we must clarify the nature of these markers because there isn’t any rule or regulation that states the drek people must litter themselves with piercings, or in fact have any at all. Unlike the drow who use their glyphs to make details about one another obvious without asking the drek have no such specifics for what each bit of jewellery might mean. Each piece is added as each individual sees fit and the meaning is personal too. There is no requisite for new additions or for them to have any meaning whatsoever. This form of reasoning, or lack thereof, is about as vague and indecisive as Dioxa’s explanations.

With a little research, we discover the only important fact about drek body modifications is that you must have at least one on show. This is because, culturally speaking, it is the norm to receive a piercing to mark important events in one’s life. As such, any drek without punctured skin is suspicious. Worse still, criminals are stripped of jewellery and bare only empty holes in their flesh; they are barred from replacing their precious metals.

That said we learn that those with few epidermal stickpins are not looked down upon and equally those with many are not revered. So why does Dioxa have so many at the tender age of 30? When asked she softly stutters, ‘I like them, they’re important, I think. It’s important to keep traditions, isn’t it, what do you think?’

We conclude it’s like battle armour, or a talking point, something to ease her anxious disposition and help her feel as though she belongs amongst her brethren despite the fact that, like most awkward teens, she currently suspects she will never fit in anywhere. Well it’s either that or fellow comrade and egotist Fedura Sarayn bullied her into getting one every time Fedura triumphed over a new conquest. Her choice of friendship with this Fedura is probably the most questionable aspect of Dioxa’s character but then as Fedura herself is the wily type we suspect she is the one who instigated and controls their ‘friendship,’ and that in most instances it is Fedura who does all of the talking.

We cannot however be too harsh on Dioxa. 

A malleable, vulnerable and easily manipulated girl with the best intentions is not one we can scathe for very long without feeling guilty. As hard-hearted as we appear here at Black Wednesday’s we do reserve an undisclosed soft spot for adorable little creatures and things that make us chime ‘awww’ instead of ‘arghhh.’ Those things are admittedly rare and whilst we dislike sickly sweet individuals, Dioxa is humble and tender enough to make us think about cuddles, kittens and see-through knitted sweaters. Ok, mostly see-through knitted sweaters come to mind but that’s because even the female employees here were a touch too polite to point out that Dioxa’s choice of jumper and vest showed us a lot more than she presumably intended.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Zachary Ayre (and Peon)

Concept credits to Luke Wooding ^_^

At a sprightly 21 years of age and standing 5ft 5in tall Zachary Ayre belongs to a species of fae known as the ven-faer. This species for those who might be unaware, typically possess fair hair, skin and eyes and are always wingless. The only physical attributes that mark out this species from ords or indeed elves such as the similarly pale skinned and fair-haired draern, are their average height and diminutive pointed ears. That and the fact they are stereotypically considered as money-grabbing executives with little interest in anything but themselves.

Now whilst stereotypes don’t always ring true and we at first question how this child of the ven-faer wound up in our studios, we soon realise that alongside being an impulsive person who loves to explore, Zachary was clearly drawn to the interview by an over-sized paycheque. Money that we might add he and his already wealthy family need about as much as we require toes stitched onto our backsides.

Zak himself is somewhat impatient and rather condescending but polite. He immediately tells us he dislikes being called Zachary and pointedly corrects us that his name is ‘Zak,’ every time we erroneously use the full version. He has a touch of a fiery temper that appears as though it may be easily lost, a temperament that we decide not to test. This decision is in part also made for us because Zak tends to talk a lot and struggles to commit to even his own random chasing of ideas. He tells us he loves his freedom and that he avoids people and social situations but that his natural charm always draws others to him which he finds, ‘most irritating.’

He expresses that he too is drawn to other ‘beautiful’ people and judging by the look on his face as he strolled down the corridor past previous portraits, he is apparently envious of those he thinks display more talent or beauty than he does.
He doesn’t bat an eyelid either in telling us that sexually he might swing both ways but that he has never met a beautiful enough ‘male creature.’ His usual preference of partner, he informs us, is women and he seems proud to admit with a seductive little wink that he is not the womanising type. We cannot decide if this admission is charming or creepy but he swiftly changes the subject to a passionate rant about how much he hates vampires and then tears up as he reveals his most precious memories of his late girlfriend who was apparently murdered by some vagabond vampires whilst they were travelling.

We’d like to be sympathetic but the pace of his conversation doesn’t really allow us time to absorb his story, it ceases almost abruptly as it began with the words, ‘well now that’s over with,’ at which point he switches on the infamous twinkling ven-faer charm. He chooses this moment to show us the small back pack he is carrying and the contents therein starting with a sketchpad and paintbrush he tells us he simply, ‘cannot be without.’ Being very artistic, Zak flaunts the fact that he was top in his class and that his college teacher gifted him the items as a special thank you for all his hard work at helping his peers improve. We are sceptical of the tale, yet once again, he rapidly moves on too quickly for us to have enough time to properly question his words, switching subjects instead to tell us he is also quite adept at fencing.

With fencing, Zak takes a more humble route and admits that whilst he could probably disarm someone he is not a fighter, his preference then would be to utilise illusion over hand-to-hand combat of any kind. Zak’s speciality in illusion is thankfully of the lower ranked variety, ‘simple legerdemain.’ Simple if you know how we suppose at least compared to most illusionary skills. Far too vain to want to learn how to alter his physical appearance or make us see things that are not there we are grateful he stopped learning once he’d figured out how to be an excellent thief. Perhaps we are being presumptuous in citing that his want to learn slight-of-hand was out of a desire to steal things, but as he displays to us, he truly is a master at the talent and clearly doesn’t work in show business.
Whilst Zak claims to like the outdoor life what he truly enjoys are the luxury of home comforts. Therefore, in amongst the art oddities of his satchel are practical ‘Tek’ implements. Or should we say, expensive and rare tools that make camping out more like ‘a mansion in a box.’ Instead of a flat pack tent one shakes out into shape, he has a rolled up orb that shakes out into something that resembles a small fancy villa. Sure, this building might be as fragile as a tent and void of appliances but guess what? Yes, all those home comforts are neatly secured into similar flat pack versions, that easily unfold et voila. The mind boggles as to how exactly this technology works but also makes us seethe with jealousy as the temporary dwelling stored in his back pack provides a better living standard than all of the employee accommodations here at Black Wednesday’s. In fact, if even one of us here were anywhere near as good at legerdemain as Zak is then he would undoubtedly be leaving our studio with a much lighter satchel.

We are surprised to learn that flighty Zak Ayre owns an art shop. Less surprised however to hear that his rather wealthy parents purchased the shop in his name in order to try to keep him grounded in one place. Being the entrepreneur, Zak immediately sourced a few hapless employees and put them in charge of the store thus gleaning all of the profit and none of the ties. Except that is the type of tie one wears which Zak has been known to don on more than one occasion, yet rarely on instances that might require a tie, such as this interview, we note. His clothes in general are tailored and expensive, definitely clean and acquired from his very own clothing line. He wears sharp yet practical boots for ‘rambling in the countryside’ but overall has the appearance of a walking advertisement for his own products. His clothing line, if you hadn’t already spotted the ‘A/C,’ embroidered on his shirt, is called, ‘Accentuated Clothing,’ and comes with the alliteratively condescending tag line of ‘accentuated clothing for an accelerated culture.’

At first we assume that Zak hasn’t brought along his ever-faithful companion, the one he has just finished telling us how much he despises because after rescuing the little critter it refused to leave him alone. Then in the next glimmer of an instant, ‘Peon,’ appears, albeit only for a few seconds, then it disappears. Now this dragon called Peon is of a species known as myna dragons named after the black mina birds because they are small and capable of replicating speech. These animals tend to look much like cute yellow canaries, tucking their limbs in when they sit so it appears they have only two legs rather than four. Whilst we agree, chatty little dragons are most irritating Zak doesn’t hesitate to explain that Peon is a special case because he has learnt to replicate or may have been born with the illusionary skill to become invisible. It is unclear whether the animal is of a higher sentience or not and Zak doesn’t seem to care because Peon spends most of his time playing tricks on the fae, throwing rocks and just generally pestering the poor man. At first, we assume that this might be just Zak’s opinion as he is largely impatient with everyone and everything and of course impulsive to boot, that is until Peon gets into the lighting and air vents of our studio and starts wrecking our carefully strung wiring. We realise then why Zak must be thankful for wireless technology and why he probably wants to shoot the vindictive little monster on regular occasion.

In fact, we shall end this interview with a small sketch, our interpretation of the ratty little Peon because Zak continued to talk well past his interview time and we point-blank refused to make any more notes.

ACEO 'Peon'

Ok we admit it Peon is actually quite cute, in a ‘puppy ate my kitten,’ kind of way.