I was team Vampires this year; thank you to all who attacked me and participated. As usual, my rules were to only draw characters that were mechs, robots, or wearing armor. Here they all are in their full res glory.
With the release of Rune Factory 5 I was sent down a rabbit hole I haven’t been in a long while. I’ve easily put about 200 hours in since its US release in late April, and still continue to play it almost daily. As it is a fantasy farm simulator in the same vein as Story of Seasons, a large portion of the game has you romancing the townsfolk of your choice and eventually marrying them. Rune Factory 5 is special in that it is the first in the series to allow same sex marriage on release, so, of course, off I went romancing the bachelors of Rigbarth. My favorites are Lucas and Reinhard, and as my friend is romancing Lucas, I decided to focus my efforts on Reinhard. The knight shall be my husband, in time, on my main save.
In looking for scraps amongst the fanart and fanfiction for this rather obscure series, and my even more obscure favorite bachelor, I discovered Reinhard shares the same English voice actor as Dimitri from Fire Emblem: Three Houses. As Reinhard is, fittingly, a knight, I decided to make my rejected fire emblem boyfriend some art, in as close to the style of Fire Emblem that I could manage (knowing very little of the actual games, considering I am not a fan of tactical RPGs).
I began by assembling a list of characters that represent the Fire Emblem series, specifically the player character. In an act of serendipity, Byleth, the player character from Three Houses, does a pretty good job at looking like Reinhard out of the box, making my search very short, manageable, and giving me plenty of poses to work with. I settled on these two:
The first image was my original go-to, and I began to practice the ever challenging Anime Artstyle. With many, many attempts under my belt, I just wasn’t satisfied. I kept the drawing very rough, but while I liked parts, such as his eyes, I simply couldn’t get the subtle curves of the face to look right, even when using the symmetry tool. This has often eluded me, even with practice and watching or reading every tutorial out there. Thus, I moved on to the second image, one that was more dynamic overall, but had the added challenge of drawing the sword – a feat I also struggle with.
After attempting this pose multiple times, I gave up and took a break. After a few days, I returned to it, and this time decided to draw the post traditionally. Somehow, some poses are just easier for me to start with in traditional media, either because I have more control, or because I can be closer to the canvas, keeping my sense of perspective and scale a little more in check. With this attempt done, penciled, and lined, I took a picture of it to adapt it into a digital piece. This required lining it yet again in Clip Studio Paint, making many adjustments as I went, as the traditional piece was very sloppy, and more or less a placeholder. Although neither piece is perfect – both are missing the other hand because I couldn’t get the spacing with the sword to work, for instance, I eventually got the lineart the way I wanted. From there, I got a little crazy.
Something I loved about the source artwork is the subtle textures, upon zooming in. If my image hosted on my site is too low quality, check it out here, instead. While at a glance, the image is clearly digital, zooming in shows you the lineart is done with a very pencil-like brush, many of the details of his armor are loose and painterly, and his shading is nothing but texture. I wanted to emulate that. My first pass was a little basic, but had some strong points, so I counted it as ‘finished’ and rendered it out.
However, I wanted to challenge myself, and go a little deeper – so I opened my original image, before the filters, and painted over everything, giving him a more painterly, textured look that in theory, looks a little more like the source image. Overall, I’m happy with him! What do yinz think?
BRUSHES USED, WITH CUSTOMIZATION: