8 Feb 2012

Raziel - Soul Reaver

Due to an un-announced collapsed lung, I have had some free time these past few days. I saw this as a good opportunity to get my head in Photoshop and practise my digital arts. 

As a lot of you know, I'm a video game nerd. I have been since I was a tiddler. My all-time favourite video game character being Raziel from the Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver series. I decided, now my skills are good enough to do him justice, that I would create some fan art with the aim of creating a well-known character and injecting it with my own style of art. 

Raziel: The Soul Reaver..
I started with a simple sketch. I used a reference image from the net.
I tried to keep my sketch loose so that I could re-shape the design in this next step. This is the stage that allows me to form Raziel in my own style. I wanted to keep the big low-poly look hair from the game, but make it more trendy. I also wanted to emphasise the claws on his hands and feet. I gave it a sprinkle of artistic licence.

Now that the block colours and base image were in place I was able to zoom in on the design and start adding the details and shadows. This is a painstakingly long process, but really makes the image pop from the page. This stage pulls the image from flat, to giving the impression of form and weight. 
The image was coming along nicely. But, I still felt that it was a bit too flat and I had some detail elements missing. In my mind the light was coming from the front/right. So, to accompany the shadows, I added some highlights to Raziel. Again reinforcing the suggestion of light. I finally finished drawing the spear-thing.
I thought I was done. Then, realised that I had completely forgotten Raziels wings. Here I changed his original design. Raziel has very torn wings, which look like large flaps of skin. But, I didn't want the wings to take any attention away from the figure. Again I used artistic license and changed his wings for a split cape. I decided to add the Reaver energy to his arm as well to give him the more iconic look. The textures were added in this stage to make him more stylish.  
Raziel was complete. But, a character on white would have been a bit boring. When adding a background I wanted to keep it minimal enough that Raziel was the focus and I wanted to keep it eerie like the game was. I went for a damp, foggy day and incorporated the tentacles in the background to suggest dark creatures in the wild. I used a tentacle as a nod to the strange creature (can't remember its name) that Raziel first met in the underworld. It was placed far right to keep the picture nicely weighted.

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