Friday, 27 June 2008

Double Comm

I was thinking the other day that a nice, and very clear, way for Comm to show his allegiance to Rome would be to adopt the clean-shaven, short-haired Roman style. Such a gesture overcomes language barriers. It's a little painful for me, because I love Comm's long hair, and to have to sacrifice it... But it makes so much sense to me that I have decided to put aside my personal preference :-).

Now, the tricky part is of course to make him still look like Comm, even when the beard has gone. For me that is not an easy matter. One reason why I gave him a beard is, of course, to make it easy to distinguish him from other characters. So far I have only one dark-haired man with a beard, and that is him. When I remove the beard, he looks awfully much like a generic Roman :/. Of course that is the point, but it doesn't make things easier for a reader. For me personally it is quite obvious that this is Comm on account of the shape of his nose, but that is probably not enough, because his nose doesn't have any particularly striking features. It's shorter and rounder and more turned-up than other characters', but I'm not sure that is obvious to anyone but me. I'll have to think of other ways to distinguish him - like giving him a torque. That would make sense :-).

Apart from experiments with Comm's look, these two pictures are also the first two that I have inked with brushes. I'm not sure how I feel about the results. I like what brushes do to the inked look of Comm's hair. But I was not quite at ease with the lack of control I had over the brush, and the lines did not come out as I had hoped. No doubt I shouldn't expect a lot when I do something for the first time, and I do think that inking with brushes requires serious skill - something I can't have unless I exercise a lot. Nevertheless, it annoys me that my brushwork lacks crispness, and that the broad strokes were still obtained by going over a line several times, which is the same thing I do with my Staedtler pens. I wanted to see if brushes could give me a more flexible stroke, and in that respect I was a bit disappointed. Then again, it may be the lack of exercise. Which only means I should try plenty more :-).

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Volca & Veridicus

I tried out my watercolours on ordinary drawing paper. The result is better than I thought... It may depend on the paper brand, though. This is Daler-Rowney; so far I have painted on Canson and that never looked good - I got the feeling the Canson paper absorbed the paint so quickly that I couldn't push it around, so to speak.

Anyway, here is Volca, looking, I think, rather prettier than I supposed her to be - but maybe that is because she is holding a dagger. She just feels a lot better when armed. She does not normally appear this confident :-).

Her story is developing. I'm liking her better and better *g*.

I'm getting more confident with my watercolours, and I do feel like I'm learning to understand the colours better. When I mix paint, I get closer to the tint I had in mind than I did before :-). Now I just need to exercise more until I know how to control this medium better and get the effects that I want...

Oh, btw: please click the painting for the large view. I think it's better :D.

Look, Veridicus has a face! Well, I had sort of given him one before, but it didn't quite feel right yet. Now he has a particular nose and a particular mouth and very lovely curls and I know it's him. I happen to think he's rather cute, but you aren't obliged to share my opinion :-).

This was drawn on 160 g/m² Daler-Rowney paper. I was intending to paint it, just to see how the paper would hold, but in the end I spent so much time pencilling the hair that I didn't want to risk obscuring the pencils on the curls with paint. I also fixated the pencils, and I wasn't sure what would happen if I tried to paint over that.

I have been wondering about Veridicus' rank in the Roman army. I am reading a biography of Caesar by a Major General Fuller, but I have trouble grasping the mechanics of Roman politics and the cursus honorum. It seems a very complicated system; I will have to read more about Roman society in order to get a grasp on my Roman characters. At first I thought of Veridicus as an eques, but he can't be an eques if his father was a consul :/. I had quite forgotten that the equites weren't nobles; and I didn't realise that only nobles could become consuls. He can't be a Tullius Decula and not be a noble. Now, seeing as he is of senatorial rank, he will automatically be among the high-ranking officers in the army. He can't be a tribune, because he is too old to be a laticlavius, and the angusticlavii were equites. On the other hand, he is too young to be an evocartus or a praefectus. As for a quaestor, I'm quite sure that Caesar had only one with him, and that we know who it was - definitely not my original character ;-). That leaves the legatus. To be a legatus would make him a general. That's rather higher-up than I intended him to be... Maybe I'll come across another possibility on further reading. I'll keep my eyes open.

Sunday, 1 June 2008


I saw this news item last week, entirely by accident, but I have been so busy at work that I forgot all about it until I found it linked at Colleen Doran's blog:

A bust of Caesar was found in the RhĂ´ne! Here's the article plus photo in the Daily Telegraph. Apparently it's the oldest depiction of Caesar to date...

Cecilia, if you read this: never again say that I draw his cranium too large! ;)