Deviation Actions

AngelaSasser's avatar

SoE Melakim Fahre Tattoo Variations

By AngelaSasser
So this isn't my usual thing. I've been toying around with concept art as a long term career direction, which is quite a change for me as a traditional artist! I've been dipping my toe into the methods and madness by trying out some of the ideation techniques discussed in Dynamic Characters: Enhancing Your Character Concepts to test the waters and see how concept art differs from illustration. It's been quite the learning experience and I've only just begun!

What better victims to experiment on than the characters I wrote about for this past year's NaNoWriMo?

The (Would-be) Target Project:
A gritty, dark fantasy live action production of a fantasy novel. (ie. Game of Thrones)

The Character Concept:
Melakim Fahré (main character)
Primarily a vampire hunter on a lawless and heavily wooded mountainous frontier. She takes on the monsters in the world that are closest to being in human form (vampires, zombies, anything that is 'infectious' or generally dangerous beyond the natural order of the world). The tattoos on her arms and body symbolize the number and types of kills she has so that other Hunters will know her reputation just by looking at her. The symbol on her sternum is her Hunter's Mark, which each Hunter defines after their first kill. The facial tattoos are a personal touch by Melakim to tie her to her tribe, whom she grew up raised apart from (and to add to her intimidation factor). She's meant to be a rugged, imposing figure who looks like she can hold her own. She is blind in the right eye after it was gouged by an attacker.

Base figure drawn in pencil then scanned and colored digitally in Photoshop CS6.

What I Learned This Exercise:
Persistence is KEY! If I had not kept going after the first sketch of this character, she wouldn't have ended up anywhere near as cool as she is going to be now, thanks to whittling away the more derivative ideas with sketching. She's already gone through a couple of design phases, for those who are curious. I'm used to throwing my ideas down on paper and moving on to the next project quickly in illustration, whereas concept art is going to require more exploration. I'm going to have to learn to be faster at exploring my ideas too, as these took FORever to complete! I learned that there's a lot I can imply (like the notches. I was drawing all of them one by one until I realized a few scribbles will do, with the 'prey notch' tattoos to be identified in the polished concept).

I also learned that there's a subtle difference between designing for games (which require a strong, exaggerated silhouette) and a movie production (which needs to provide identifiable characters, but also present a level of realism).

You can find out more about her and the other characters in my would-be fantasy novel here:

More concepts of Mae:
Concept Warmup - Female Melakim Fahre by AngelaSasserSoE Melakim Thumbnail Sheet by AngelaSasserSoE Concept Sketch - Melakim Tracking by AngelaSasserSoE Melakim Clothing Variations by AngelaSasser
Image details
Image size
981x800px 170.04 KB
© 2013 - 2021 AngelaSasser
Join the community to add your comment. Already a deviant? Log In
medievallass's avatar
Beautiful work I love her musculature :D. She's both beautiful yet I can still see her thoroughly living in her world she's strong and practical looking. I really like the testing of many variations on her tattoos and the concept behind them, it's very cool. I'll be sure to check the link for Song of Exile. :D

Hayley :floating:
AngelaSasser's avatar
Thanks Hayley! I'm always happy to hear that this character relates to people in a way that I was hoping she would.  I personally really enjoy seeing female characters of all types, so I was happy to add to a more practical design with Melakim here.  She's quickly becoming my favorite character, even if she didn't start out as the main one in the beginning.  She may have just dethroned the main! We'll see.:D

And thanks for the watch at the group too!  I hope you enjoy what you see there.:)
medievallass's avatar
You're welcome I love to watch fellow novelists who also enjoy drawing their worlds. Melakim seems like a great character I can see how it would be easy to grow fond of her. :)

Hayley :floating:
MrsNox's avatar
Again, I love number 4, I think the hair is awesome!
marcioo9's avatar
Presteza's avatar
I really like the idea that she inks another notch after each kill, herself. The first three tattoo designs emphasize the significance of this, in their asymmetry.
I'm rather fond of asymmetry in design, and 2's tattoos, being the most marked example, would be my choice. I think that her hunter's mark should be red there though.

As for her hair, like most everyone who's commented I do like 4's, though not because it's more feminine - it seems to match Melakim's practical nature. She has the option of covering her right eye, or exposing it, obviating the need for an eyepatch.
Even more important, a half-concealed face adds an air of mystery, whereas the other hairstyles would emphasize her wildness. Since many of her chosen prey employ disguises, it's only natural that Melakim adopts deceptions of her own.
AngelaSasser's avatar
Thanks for your very well thought out observations! I think you will be pleased with the final design, which brings back that asymmetry I really adored as well. The tatts are meant to be in-progress as she gains more reputation and I want them to reflect that. Heh except now I can imagine so many designs for her now based on what age she is! I sure did choose a whopper of a character for first-character-design practice.:faint:
ferriore's avatar
Wow! These are incredible. I like 7 and 8 if we speak about tatoos, but I loved her hair in number 4! Thanks for sharing these variations!
AngelaSasser's avatar
Those are my preferences as well! The final design will probably be some mix of those combined into the best of the best.
Darkendrama's avatar
Pictures 4-5 and 8. I feel 4 preserves her feminine side, but the hair-do in 5 is cool and memorable. A vampire hunter might not have time to fuss with hair so 8 also makes sense. This short style is perky. I like 4 best, but my ideas of beauty are more traditional.
AngelaSasser's avatar
Thanks! It's fascinating to hear what people are drawn to with these. I'm a big fan of 4's hair as well. It just has the most personality. It might end up the 'basic' look with some of the others being situational.
RoseCarballeira's avatar
7 & 8 are my favorite. I think she's most successful when she's not a "pretty girl." There's definitely still something sexy there, but it's more because she's effortless and dangerous. The tattoos flow best with the contours of the body on 8, as well. It almost takes on the shape of armor. I see there are a lot of votes for 4. I like it, but I think your others are way more original.

She is such an awesome, well thought out character.
HiddenRelevance's avatar
I definitely am adding my vote to 4 if only for the reason that she looks the most like a woman there if that makes sense - it fits the more rounded part of her. Yes she's got to keep up with the men, but she never tries to pretend that she's one of them, if that makes sense. Plus the idea of her hiding the eye behind it definitely works for me too.

And really - a good chunk of the Native American populations never tied their hair back - so I can buy her hair being loose even with her profession.
AngelaSasser's avatar
You know I was very surprised I liked 4, myself! I have actually been trying to peg Melakim as a very gender neutral character, in that she wouldn't want to be too noticeably male while she's traveling in cities so she can avoid the wrong kind of attention. But when 4 came along, it just 'clicked'. I have to share the reference that inspired it with you because I think you might enjoy it.

"I am Crow" - [link]

Considering so many Native Americans wore their hair long or in braids, I don't see why Melakim couldn't function the same way, perhaps slicking her hair entirely or putting int in a bun when the occasion calls for it. I don't think she'd really want people to see her blinded eye either, as it's a reminder of a very traumatic event in her life. I think this may lead to an eyepatch at some point, which she may obfuscate with the hair over that side as well (the eyepatch protecting from the bothersome nature of hair touching face). I think next step for me is doing a sheet just for hairstyles so I can settle on that.

Ramble ramble!
Dandabug's avatar
All of these are superb, and I love the conceptual background - the neck chest & arm tattoos are all excellent, but the color of the facial tattoos is very close to her hair color and ends up looking like facial hair (not necessarily a problem tho). I'm particularly fond of the hairstyle of 1, the neck & chest tattoos of 4, and the arm tats of 7 - however, I'm sure you'll end up taking bits and pieces from each draft and combining them into the perfect design.
AngelaSasser's avatar
Thanks for your in-depth comment! I'm in the process of trying to whittle down what bits I like from each one as well. It'll be quite an experience to funnel all of the feedback here into the final design. Now, I just need to come to a decision so I don't keep coming up with tattoo variations forever and ever and ever.xD
Dandabug's avatar
You're very welcome! And whatever the case, I'm sure you'll end up with a superb final design. Each one of these drafts are very good on their own - combined they'll be even better!
AngelaSasser's avatar
I am so tempted to skip to the final step, but there are still a few more iterations to go before I get there. It's an exciting process!:D
Dandabug's avatar
Will you have a similar lineup of different weapons and gear for this huntress?
AngelaSasser's avatar
Yup! Clothing and gear is next on the list of things to develop.:nod:
Dandabug's avatar
I'm eager to see what you come up with!
AngelaSasser's avatar
I'll probably end up ganking this layout. I just love the setup of the clothing and gear! [link]
View all replies
starwolf112214's avatar
4 is my favorite in both hair and markings.
AngelaSasser's avatar
Cool! Ms. 4 seems to be very popular.:)
Join the community to add your comment. Already a deviant? Log In