So, there's this story on the figure skating kinkmeme, called "Wyrd Byð Ful Araed." It's a viking AU, basically, and I've fallen totally in love with the characters and world in which it takes place. The writing style is also stark and powerful. It's one of my very favorite stories there, and I decided I wanted to illustrate a scene from it.
These lines really captured me when I was first reading it:
On the seventh day, Steinunn decides to damn Eyvind's shaky peace. He cannot let this desecration of his allies stand. But just as he's considering how many warriors the Volga Rus will need, their chieftain Yevgen Broken-Nose arrives at Heorot.
He's alone on the back of a starving horse. His once-magnificent cloak is mud-matted from weeks of travel, and the axe strapped across his back is fit for a woodcutter rather than a warlord. He has been stripped of all his arm rings, and one knee is swollen so badly that he can barely stand.
And I imagined Yevgen on his horse, this broken, once-great man now left without a kingdom, having barely escaped with his life. And then I thought of what a horrible journey that must have been, riding out of all that destruction. That image just really stuck with me.
So I painted this, based on that image of the broken king leaving his ravaged kingdom behind:
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[ZOMG HUGE 300 DPI VERSION]
It turned out far better than I anticipated it would. I've never really tried anything that detailed before! So I'm just really very pleased with it. :D
Random facts about parts of the image:
- His bracers are embossed with a Viking-style wolf symbol. Because of Bjorn's pet wolf in the story. IDK I just think Yevgen and Bjorn are awesome and melancholy together.
- The medals have Elder Futhark runes on them. The ones on the horse stand for "riding" (on the bridle) and "horse" (on the bit). The one on the medal at his shoulder stands for "inherited possession" which I thought was appropriate for royalty.
Random statistics because I think they're neat:
Painted entirely in Adobe Photoshop CS4.
Finished in about 30 hours over a week.
620 separate layers in the final file:
- 479 layers for the figure and horse.
- 141 layers for the background.
YAY IT'S DONE! Haha \o/