Tuesday, June 10, 2014

972 - Happy Birthday To Me (5)

"I am sworn to carry your burdens! XXX OOO Lydia"  Click to embiggen.

This is Lydia.

If you play videogames, you'll recognize her from the world of Skyrim, one of the Elder Scrolls  games released by Bethesda Studios back in late 2011.  If you don't know Skyrim, it's an adventure game where you play as the Dragonborn, sort of a mystical superhero.  Early in the plot, the warrior Lydia is assigned as your protector.  Since she travels with you through much of the game, she delivers a number of speeches that add description to whatever it is you do.  

A very popular character in videogame lore, Lydia divides the gaming community into camps that either love her or hate her.  She's easy on the eyes, certainly, and she is capable of carrying many useful items for you across the massive Skyrim map.  Her voice is provided by Broadway actress Colleen Delany, who superficially resembles Lydia in looks but delivers her lines in a strong American accent.  After a short time, Lydia runs out of new things to say and often repeats herself, especially her most banal patter.  "I am sworn to carry your burdens," is possibly the phrase she repeats the most.  Some find it grating, others find it charming. 

Lydia takes her role of protector very seriously.  She will attack your attackers with extreme ferocity.  However, sometimes an unintentional bump into another character will result in the end with everybody in the room senselessly slaughtered and Lydia cleaning the blood off of her sword.  Again, some find this behavior annoying (perhaps restoring the game to an earlier save point to avoid the unnecessary deaths), while others find Lydia's fighting spirit, her immediate urge to fly into a berserker blood rage, to be cathartic. 

However others feel about Lydia, I think she suits the world of Skyrim perfectly, with her odd mix of beauty, violence, and hackneyed Americanism.  Almost since I started playing the game, I was thinking of making some Lydia fan art.  The idea eventually got mixed in my imagination with the concept of the scandalous "Lady In Red" pin-up featured in "The Matrix" (1999).  

A couple months ago, I realized that I would need some kind of cheesecake girl for my annual "Happy Birthday To Me" exhibit here on JSVB, where I attempt to make for myself the kind of girly picture I like to see.  So, I settled on the idea of making a Hollywood-style eight-by-ten glossy promotional photo of Lydia.  

I used the model and the colour palette from Skyrim as my start, loading the ruff sketches onto a pose from a Captain America comic book.  Then I rendered the underpainting, blocked in the main colours and spend a couple of weeks grinding out the details.  I made my version of Lydia more muscular than the original model, which I feel is too slender for a warrior, and I also made her overall proportions a bit more cartoony so that she would have more visual appeal.  

Finally, today I created Lydia's signature (she's right handed like I am, but has better handwriting), based on the Scriptina font.  I added a couple dozen spent arrows, since in another medieval war game, Mount & Blade (Paradox, 2008), your character will collect arrows in his or her shield if shot at.  I really like that porcupine look, which is missing from Skyrim.  And I hope you enjoy seeing Lydia as well, either for the first time here on JSVB or in a return to Skyrim.

Please check out other artwork I have in my Showcase section to the right, and drop me a line at the e-mail address I have listed on the top of my page. 

Lydia is the intellectual property of Bethesda Studios. Scriptina is a free font courtesy of Apostrophic Labs.