I’ve always rather liked the character of ranger Sylvanas Windrunner from the Warcraft universe. She’s a bit like the Borg Queen: definitely someone you should stay far away from if at all possible, yet somehow compelling and magnetic at the same time. What I don’t care for is the “hot” treatments that most artists seem to give her in illustrations – she’s a revenant, after all, so that’s certainly uncomfortable territory to tread. I’ve always wanted to do a more low-key portrait of her, and give her a more “realistic” look (which is a bit silly given the character and milieu, I know).
I also did a lot of reading this summer about the Japanese Shin hanga ( “new print”) printmaking movement, and I became interesting in incorporating some of what I learned into my work. This picture is definitely informed by the palettes of artists like Hasui Kawase, and I was also intrigued by the depiction of hands in many works. My figures usually end up having my hands because I shot them for reference, so I wanted to get past this somehow. I’m happy with the hands here – and at the very least, they’re not mine! The excellent character and costume work of Carolina Dahlberg was also inspirational.
One last note: in my studying of archery, I came across the technique of so-called “instinctive shooting”, which was quite interesting and seemed very different from modern technical shooting – although that was equally impressive. I’m always pleased at how much I learn just from doing research for a painting, and the unexpected roads it can lead me down!
Hasui Kawase at Wikipedia