Tales from the Sketchbook: Procopia

A picture paints a thousand words; a picture with context can say a lot about a game; but explanations of the random sketches of an artist-gamer can say the most of all. In this series, I look at the just-had-to-draw-them images distilled from my games: what they are, what they mean, why they demanded drawing, and what techniques and in-jokes went into them.

If there’s one thing I can say about this picture, it is this: I never want to draw another stola again.

This is Procopia, a character about to be introduced in the DFRPG game I play in. I wrote her as part of an attempt to explain how Aisling had gotten her hands on the Item of Power I’d designed for her. When I’m in a hurry, I tend to draw from any references that hold still long enough, and this time was no exception; the story I came up with was inspired by a combination of earlier speculation on what the ravens at the Tower of London are preventing and a running gag from the second Dragonbreath book, further modified by a magical ability I’d been joking about earlier this year when my library’s computers were down due to snow on the East Coast and a scene from a Sandman comic. (Fortunately, my inner editor prevented Procopia from having originally acquired the item in question by cheating at Trivial Pursuit. I kept the rest of the story, though.) The name—well, I got the impression I needed something Latinate, and it had the right sound to it.

The picture’s something of a first for me. I’ve drawn characters sight unseen, yes, but they were usually mine in all senses of the term. Procopia may be my design, but she’s still an NPC. (On the plus side, since our GM had no idea what she looked like either, I had plenty of room to improvise.) It did at least lead to a certain amount of collaboration beforehand.

This picture took more research than most of my others: I’d been asking our GM for suggestions on presentation, and he’d suggested I go for period clothing. Ancient Roman period clothing, to be exact. I came, I saw, I found a couple layers that worked well together, I rued the fact that I did not actually own a stola and had to guess about how the pleats would interact with the way she was sitting. (And while I was willing to go far enough to make sure I knew the difference between a chlamys and a palla, I drew the line at checking the footwear. I have enough trouble with feet as it is.)

I can’t really say much for artistic techniques on this one, beyond the fact that I have never been more grateful for the existence of mirrors, and that I am hoping that shading but not inking the folds of fabric works.

3 comments

  1. Shinali says:

    It came out really really good!


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