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Daily Deviation
Daily Deviation
April 14, 2018
Powdermage by Iardacil
Featured by Gejda
Suggested by Ellysiumn
Iardacil's avatar


Details/close up:…

Done for Brian McClellan "Powedermage" competition (results are in and I won:…)

I love books! That is nothing new as in many cases previously the inspiration behind my images have been different stories I have read. I always love reading and then bringing aspects about stories that I loved and my visions to visual form. I think that is also the reason why I love so much doing bookcover commissions - I love getting the story and finding the way to bring it into reality.

At the beginning of this week my husband linked me a fan-art competition about one of my favorite book series - Powder Mage and its follow up Gods of Blood and Powder.  It sounded like way too good reason not to take part. I mean - I love those books, these days with such a busy life (living on the other side of the planet, doing my postDoc, taking maximum (meaning traveling) of being in Japan, programming and so on..), it is hard to take the time off and just work on manip. It needs a lot of inspiration and willpower (and sacrifice as I cannot make image with one evening.. it takes commitment to work a week or longer on it.. putting all my free time into it and put my duties "at pause" for a while. I love the ability to concentrate on the art.. but reality is usually harsh and reminds me I do not have the time.. so the answer for those who have wondered why there are new works so rarely..).

Anyway, the Powder Mage.. My husband loved the books. He always keeps telling me about the books he reads and I should read. And then few years ago, he mentions Powder Mage and goes days about how great the battles and fighting and all small details are. How he loves the flintlock fantasy.. and after days and weeks of telling me how great the series is and that I should read it, he decided that I will probably not like that series (despite loving other flintlock fantasy series he had recommended previously that I had read) as this one is way too much about war. But I was very determined to read it after seeing the covers (they say do not judge the book by the cover but ...). Like.. those covers looked so amazing that I wanted to know what the story was about. So.. I opened the first book.. and the rest.. it is "mildly put" that I loved the story. It is definitely one of the best series that I have read and I have read quite a lot :D

When I read the books, I loved the characters. Yes, the story, adventure and action is all very good but for me the strong point was the characters. I loved Tamas, the main character in the first trilogy, but the one that caught my attention the most was Vlora. I do not know, maybe I am wrong, but she seemed to be written in a way that people were not supposed to like her. Basically, she had done one mistake (I actually think it was not purely her blame.. like everyone else in the book seemed to think) that has turned her life upside down and "her certain future" of being Tamas daughter-in-law was properly messed up. As the story was concentrating a lot of Tamas and his son, it felt like she was the "one who made the mistake", being blamed and judged unfairly by other characters. It intrigued me. I loved the spirit she had as she just did not gave up. She fought for her place and the respect she had lost. I think one of my most favorite scenes in the books were when she was in Tamas' tent who is her superior in the army. They have huge fight and Vlora, rightly, accuses him of blaming her for what happened with her engagement to Taniel (Tamas' son). He orders her to shut up but she refuses and just tells everything she thinks about the whole situation. The energy, will and spirit she shows in that scene (and in other places in the books) is just so inspiring. Plus adding the tragedy that she still actually loves Taniel but he is gone for her in that way but still close by with Ka-poel.. It just adds to her tragedy that I loved. She may not get the ending I wished for her, but she keeps fighting, no matter what. So, yeah, she was definitely my favorite character and therefore I was super happy to learn that the second trilogy is going to have her as the main character. Yuhuu :D

So, on this image, I wanted to catch the strength and character of Vlora. She was a soldier and that was very important part of her. And she was very good at it too. And she is a powder mage. My original idea was actually to do the scene in rain (I would have loved to do that fight scene in Tamas' tent but that would have been above my abilities) as I thought powder mages would probably be able to light gunpowder in conditions it would usually not be possible. But when I had created the forest, I actually liked the "cleanness" of the scene and I thought, the last image I did was about rain, so.. lets leave it out this time. So, I tried to bring out the powder mage aspect with the idea that she does not use "traditional" methods of lighting the gunpowder in the rifle as she can use her magic. I do not know why, I always thought that powdermages' ability has "bluish" glow. So, I thought it would be nice contrast to have this kind of bluish smoke at the one end of the gun and yellowish smoke and musket ball at the other end. Another aspect I really wanted to catch was that the scene is like "still frame" of action. Being in a fight or in the battle is chaotic and very intense.. but to "pause" it for a second and concentrate on details.. sounded like brilliant idea.

But yeah, my curse - being a photomanipulator. I had the idea but I was not able to find right kind of stock. I spent like one evening frustrating behind computer without finding a single image on any stock site that would have woman in almost correct military uniform. Nothing.. so, in the end, I just realized I have to drop my idea of doing image about Vlora (and go with male as thank to reenactors there are at least male stock images) or doing the pose myself. Luckily, I actually have jacket here that could do the trick. My sister once made a jacket inspired by Sharpe series that is like totally amazing piece of clothing and so great looking. When I came to Japan, she gave it to me as a "keep it safe and bring it back" gift. Everything else I lacked.. so I used whatever few pieces of clothing I have here to put together something that could be base and hope I can draw other details. The pose in the end was combined from four different shots as I liked different parts of different images I took but you can get the general idea how much I had to add by looking the main image I started with:… Yeah, using myself as a model. I honestly hate it. Whenever I have tried it (or using people I actually know in real life), I feel like I fail. Lucikly, quite quickly during the process, the girl in the photo became someone very different than me.. so it actually felt like working with "someone else", in this case... bringing my idea of Vlora into life. (The colors of the uniform and the belt-scarf are referenced from the bookcovers.. the military uniform looks like bluish.. and the belt is definetly redish..). Changing colors.. painiting boots on.. oh, I love when that kind of things work out but the same way it could have failed.

In the end, I must say, I am super proud of the image. I managed to bring my idea/vision into visual form. I think the strength of the character is there. The magic is there. The battle is there. Also, flintlock gun :D You cannot have powdermage without actually having huge rifle somewhere :)

So, now I have to wait few more weeks (while doing the re-reading of previous books to make sure I haven't forgotten any important details) before next book comes out and I can dive into Vlora's new adventures :)

Stock used:
zevenstorms | frozenstocks | frozenstocks | redheadstock | ninelvlsup | cwdigital | tezrin |Falln-Stock |elsoria | LeonaWindrider | Jag_cz | Luba Shushpanova | pit3dd | Denis Rozhnovsky | andreiuc88 | patryk specjal | peter ehrlich | + three different shots for background previously purchased + lot of painting

(writing those descriptions feels like a victory speech after countless hours of non-stop work :D Yay! It is done I think this work took around 20-25 hours).
Image details
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© 2018 - 2021 Iardacil
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*When Suzy gets tired of taxation getting too high in the colonies*

Gabi-Lorenz's avatar

This is brilliant! Came across it by chance and simply love it. :clap:

Iardacil's avatar

So glad you like it. I am super proud of this work myself

NeroonCousland's avatar
Very impressive!
I started reading the Powder Mage books a little while ago and decided to look for some fanart. You certainly didn't disappoint.
Since it's the first Flintlock Fantasy I'm reading and you mentioned you've read others: Which other Flintlock Fantasy series can you and your husband recommend?
Iardacil's avatar
I personally really like Django Wexler's Thousand Names series. It consists of 5 books and it is really epic saga. I personally loved the first book but some say it is the weakest considering the series finds it best footing after it.. but I love it.

Also, "Guns of the Dawn". First I thought what the hell am I reading.. it looked like Jane Eyre or.. but keep going.. in the end if was one of the best books I read.
NeroonCousland's avatar
Thanks! I'll check them out. Currently in book 2 of the Powder Mage Trilogy. Then it seems on to Django Wexler first.

Allow me to reciprocate with what was my favourite book series in at least the last decade. Not Flintlock Fantasy, but got me in that direction as it's Clockwork Fantasy as I'd call it. The Shadows of the Apt series. Features Electricity Air Rifles, Orthopter dogfights, Helium Airships, etc and the most fascinating use of new Fantasy races. First book is Empire in Black and Gold. Review which lead me to the series is here:…

Edit: I've just looked up Guns of the Dawn and it seems it's actually by the same author as Shadows of the Apt.
Iardacil's avatar
I think I will add this now to my reading list :) As I read so much, I always need new books :D
VitaShuba's avatar
Stunning work, great concept!Clap 
VitaShuba's avatar
You are welcome!Love 
This is amazing. Thanks for sharing. Makes me like Vlora more.
Iardacil's avatar
:D Thanks.. I always liked Vlora but I did get the feeling from the story that she was not meant to be "liked". I actually argued a lot about her part in the story with my husband who also did not liked her that much at first
FollowinTheBlackBird's avatar
Beautifully done. Definitely deserves it's DD.
Iardacil's avatar
Thank you so much :D
FollowinTheBlackBird's avatar
Keep up the great work and It's nice to see you putting your work up here again.
PaladinPainter's avatar
Iardacil's avatar
Thank you so much :D
nidzoart's avatar
Nice one, great job ;)
DJMadameNoir's avatar
that is a great job! The movement and lighting is amazing!
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