In the Dragon Age book, Tevinter Nights, in the story The Wigmaker, we meet Lucanis Dellamorte, heir to becoming the First Talon of the Antivan Crows. He is an assassin, the best in Antiva. There are a few descriptions that mark his hair and eye colour, a few other things here and there, but mostly it’s his personality upon which the story is focused when describing him. He comes off as a sexy and brooding man.
So when I wrote my explicit fan-fiction short story, A Seductive Contract, I based myself on that. But then I also wanted artwork commissioned by an artist I know, Kemvee. But we’ve never seen Lucanis. So how did Kemvee and I do it?
Note: For the purposes of this post, I’m using the preview of the image,
which is decent enough, as in not explicit.
First, I went back in Tevinter Nights to find any description indicators I could find. Then I looked at the little bit of concept art there is of some Antivan Crows for Dragon Age 4. We never see their faces, but I found the armour I wanted him to be wearing. There is also one assassin in one of the concept art pieces that has his chest exposed with a tattoo that covers most of it — I call him “Sexy Chesty Crow” — so that’s who I chose as the model.
Here’s what Kemvee has to say about the process:
“For Lucianis we had so little to work with! A tiny piece of concept art, no face, no clear look at his tattoos so we had to get creative. The writer was fantastic in providing me with a lot of great description and as I was developing the tattoo/hairstyle we went back and forth a lot. The frequent communication really helped and I’m grateful for Binky’s patience when we were making small tweaks!
The tattoo itself is a crow with wings wrapping round like a collar with and ‘Antivan Crow’ tail. I kept it on a separate layer so when we see Lucanis in-game it will be easy for me to switch out to something more canon friendly.“
With putting both our imaginations together, we were able to conceptualise something, and Kemvee was really able to complete the rest with her seriously amazing talent. Of course, there are features that might be completely different once the game comes out, such as facial features, tattoos, scars, and skin tone.
I gave Kemvee the indications of the scars I wanted him to have, the position I wanted him to be in, with an excerpt from my fic. Here’s Kemvee on her drawing process:
“I start with a very rough sketch to get the pose/framing right, this is little more than a fleshed out stick figure. A more detailed sketch follows which captures the full concept including expressions, clothing and notes for later. I also try to get the background complete at this stage so I can determine where the main points of light are coming from.
Once the sketch is approved, it’s onto the line art which is typically my longest stage especially if I’m including complicated clothing (which I love illustrating). For rendering I tend to apply flat colours, then a layer of shading which I multiply up to create depth. Finishing highlights are added in a complementary colour to the light source!“
Kemvee sent me some work-in progress images, and there were some tweaks I wanted once all was done, but once the bulk had been done, only minor adjustments remained.
I am amazed by how talented she is and how well she was able to bring to life what I was envisioning in my mind, what I had written in my fan-fiction short story, and it finally culminated to this beautiful piece of artwork drawn by Kemvee. It is Lucanis Dellamorte as we envision him.
It will be rather interesting to see what he looks like when Dragon Age 4 comes out.
Thank you, Kemvee, for the art you did for me, and for writing up your process
so I could include it in this blog post.
You might also enjoy the Shadie series Star Wars Old Republic Fan-Fiction, or other SWTOR fanfics, Mass Effect Fan-Fiction, or Stardust Destinies the High Fantasy Fiction series.