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Ethiopian Dwarf by Artigas Ethiopian Dwarf by Artigas
I was invited by JurasicPark89 to create an Illustration for the wargame "The 9th Age" with an illustration depicting a dwarf culture that would come from an area equivalent to Ethiopia.
The region was always a very interesting area, with so many ancient cultures interacting and influencing each other. There is so much to work with, but at the same time, no specific strong identity per se. I didn't want to go the somewhat popular way of simply "dressing up" a dwarf in the local attire of the native peoples, maybe even giving him black racial traits. I do not subscribe to that kind of approach, preferring instead to always mix and combine certain aspects of many cultures in order to have something recognisable yet unique. I wanted this design to be primarily dwarven looking, as I imagine the dwarven culture to be a very uniform looking one, given their rigid traditions and slow pace towards innovation and change. I also wanted it to look more advanced than the local cultures, showcasing the traditional excellence and wealth of their race. As for the racial diversity in fantasy races, even though I subscribe to a range of variation within the dwarven or elven races, I definitely do not fancy having it to be an exact mirror of human phenotypes, specially if corresponding to the exact geographical areas that you expect them to be found in. In other words, not every being that sets foot in Africa should be black, the contrast between human locals and the dwarven tribes in the area serving as a tool to further enhance the effect of having two completely different sapient beings coexisting and interacting.
My design choices that hint to the African cultures is evident on my use of colours, patterns and tattoos. The axe is also reminiscent of some of the throwing axes found all over Africa. The short sword's scabbard is decorated in a pattern that resembles a viper and the shield is fashioned in such a way that it resembles a cut gem.
I situated my design between the christian and muslim cultures that were present in that area for so long as much as the more tribal cultures of the Ethiopian men.
Commissioned by 
JurasicPark89.

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:iconthorinwolfson:
ThorinWolfson Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2019  New Deviant Hobbyist General Artist
AWESOME!!!!
I absolutely LOVE this! I'm a huge fan of Dwarves, and it makes me sad that spite their "popularity"(being present in most Fantasy Settings) they're always kind of a niche race, one that just exists.
I mean, there are so many different subraces and subcultures of elfs in those worlds: High Elfs, Wood Elfs, Deep/Dark Elfs, Sea Elfs, Mist Elfs, the list goes on what feels like infinitely. And then there are Dwarves. They're just Dwarves. Maybe, if they're fancy, different Clans, but that's about it.
I'm so happy that there are people out there who see that in a similar way.
Your Design is great. Only thing is, I think they would have a little darker complexion than their further north living kin, just because they get a bit more sun. So they're still more pale-faced than the local Humans, but having a little bit of a suntan. If you meant it that way, I'm sorry, that I misunderstood it.
Anyway, this is just gorgous. Again, great work.
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:iconartigas:
Artigas Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2019
Thank you for your kind words.
We absolutely agree on that, and I am doing my best to expand that unexplored niche.
I meant him to be quite dark, for an underground dweller. 
Cheers.
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:icondinadan-ermorfea:
Dinadan-Ermorfea Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2019  Hobbyist General Artist
Nice thought process; another reason why ‘African’ dwarves wouldn’t necessarily be black is that dwarves tend to spend most of their lives underground and the reason humans evolved black skin in Africa and white skin in Europe is to deal with the different levels of UV concentration from sunlight, something a subterranean species wouldn’t need to do.
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:iconartigas:
Artigas Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2019
Thanks my friend. This is a good point. 
Thanks for your comment.
Cheers.
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:iconmenapia:
menapia Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2019
Very good character work on the Dwarf, being short won't stop him from ruining the day for his enemy because of that big axe plus the shorter he is the easier it is for him to punch his enemy in the gooliesGiggle 
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:iconartigas:
Artigas Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2019
The nut shot. A dwarven classic. It is said they invented the speed bag...
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:iconzousha:
Zousha Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
I absolutely LOVE it when people draw inspiration from non-European cultures for fantasy peoples, especially dwarfs, who are otherwise all depicted the same!
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:iconartigas:
Artigas Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2018
Thanks you for your input.
I am of the same mind. So much to explore, and people keep pressing the same button.
Well, I am doing my part to change that :D
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:iconzousha:
Zousha Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
And i for one am glad you are! Keep up the good work! :D
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:iconlibra1010:
Libra1010 Featured By Owner Jul 2, 2018
 On a more serious note, please allow me to say that this is absolutely Lovely - two great looks that work beautifully together!Nod 
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:iconartigas:
Artigas Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2018
Thank you very much for your kind words my friend. 
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:iconlibra1010:
Libra1010 Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2018
 Thank You for producing such excellent Art!Nod 
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:iconlibra1010:
Libra1010 Featured By Owner Jul 2, 2018
I say I say I say, if this is an Ethiopian Dwarf then does that mean he must come from Gondar?

 (If he does then we might have to keep quiet about it, the Tolkien Estate can be very sensitive).;) (Wink) 
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:iconartigas:
Artigas Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2018
Gondar huh? Never heard of before. Better not talk about it again hahahha
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:iconlibra1010:
Libra1010 Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2018
 Especially not around Lawyers from the Tolkien Estate!
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:iconzillafire101:
zillafire101 Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2018
Amazing work.
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:iconartigas:
Artigas Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2018
Thanks!
Reply
:iconmeladriah:
meladriah Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
I cant favourite this enough!! Fantastic work
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:iconartigas:
Artigas Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2018
I am pleased you enjoyed it. Cheers.
Reply
:iconhorticulous:
Horticulous Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Nice artwork! As a Warhammer fan I find it interesting to read your angle on this art juxtaposed against the faction it is ultimately related to.
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:iconartigas:
Artigas Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2018
I appreciate that. Thanks you!
Reply
:iconbabisch44:
babisch44 Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2018
where can I put a 'like' sign?:)
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:iconartigas:
Artigas Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2018
Cheers!
Reply
:iconkaraknornclansman:
KarakNornClansman Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2018
Add it to your Favourites, upper right corner. Cheers
Reply
:iconsamuildt:
SamuilDT Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Cool idea. I really like what you've done
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:iconartigas:
Artigas Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2018
Thanks you!
Reply
:iconkaraknornclansman:
Beautiful indeed! Well thought-out and executed. He oozes Dwarfishness, while the tie-ins with local (East) African details are clear and cleverly chosen. The cut diamond shaped shield is a particularly clever take. I am humbled and joyful that you picked up on the idea. Thank you very much!

This has been forwarded in the Kegiz Gavem thread: www.the-ninth-age.com/index.ph…

And in the Ninth Age Gallery: www.the-ninth-age.com/gallery/…

Stellar interpretation, master Artigas!

It is possible that I might attempt some Ethiopian Dwarf sculpts in the far future, for casting. May I borrow design elements from your concept artwork when and if that time comes? You would obviously be notified during sculpting or at release, and be given visible credit for your concept artwork inspiring parts of models, and you would probably also be offered freebies (amount of such dependent on finances at the future time).

Also, I've got two modes of thinking about fantasy. The first is more seriously pondering, and my thoughts on both Dwarven and Elven physiology and Dwarven cultural constancy compared to changeable Mankind run very much along your own lines, and my take on Dwarven styles are in this mode much more about doing something distinctly (angularly) Dwarven than mimicking real world styles. But then there's also the more childish mode, where it's just plain fun to turn something from the real world into a Dwarf. Given that my own Ethiopian Dwarf doodles were done on the quick in the latter mode, it's fantastic to see you pursue something familiar to the more serious mode, though obviously executed much more skillfully and imaginatively (and more well-researched) than I could ever have done myself.

Again, thanks a lot. Be well!
Reply
:iconartigas:
Artigas Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2018
Hi JurassicPark89,
I am delighted to see that you appreciated my entry to the project. I am glad to be able to offer something and I am very interested to see where the project is going. You can use the design as an inspiration for the miniatures, for sure. I would be most excited to get some miniatures in return of course :D.
I understand your different angles of approach, and both have their own importance and place. Even if we talk about Warhammer alone, they have used a lot of the more "comical" and "absurd" approach through their history, specially in the early days, when that kind of playful almost cartoonish tone was so overwhelmingly present in fantasy and in popular culture in general (largely in the 80s and a bit on the first half of the 90s). I didint want to sound like I despise it or that I consider my approach superior in any sense, I just wanted to explain where I was coming from and the motivations behind my design. That said, I think your designs are quite good and very entertaining, you accomplished a very effective design within the approach you chose. More diversity of approaches means more people pleased, and I am a strong backer of diverse artwork.
Thanks again for your compliments and for this opportunity.
Cheers, have a great day.
Reply
:iconkaraknornclansman:
KarakNornClansman Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2018
Cheers! Not derisive at all, no worries. I always enjoy your art and thoughts. Dwarf treasure hoard. Keep up the good work! :)
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:iconartigas:
Artigas Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2018
This is great! I am happy to hear that.
Cheers!
Reply
:iconjordan-drawws:
jordan-drawws Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2018  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Beautiful. Absolutely stunning. 
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:iconartigas:
Artigas Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2018
Thanks you!
Reply
:iconmaneoflyssa:
ManeOfLyssa Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
Great work on the beard, the most important part of any dwarf.

Also I love fantasy civilisation art and lore so I'm pretty happy I found your work.
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:iconartigas:
Artigas Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2018
Thanks for your visit and comment!
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:iconkaprosuchusdragon:
KaprosuchusDragon Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
cool weapons
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:iconartigas:
Artigas Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2018
Cheers!
Reply
:iconkaprosuchusdragon:
KaprosuchusDragon Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
anything special you're working on at the moment?
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:iconartigas:
Artigas Featured By Owner Edited Jun 25, 2018
Yes, a few projects. The most exciting one is a partnership with Mr. Turner Mohan, but I cannot disclose more at the moment. You will hear from us soon though. 
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:iconkaprosuchusdragon:
KaprosuchusDragon Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
you guys are some of the best Tolkien illustratours i know so this will be good
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:iconartigas:
Artigas Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2018
Thanks my friend.
Reply
:iconkaprosuchusdragon:
KaprosuchusDragon Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
no problem
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