Syaven just made a portrait of me, and the results are absolutely lovely!
(The full portrait is at the bottom of this post)
A prize draw
I’ve always wanted someone to make a portrait of my hobbit. Screenshots are grand and lovely, and describing a character through the written word can take yer to the edge of imagination and even beyond. However, I always felt there is something special about someone taking the time to make a visual interpretation of how they see your character.
When I have some spare time, I lurk around a bit on one of the Laurelin RP discord communities. This is a place of good-natured discussions about LOTRO and the roleplaying scene on the Laurelin server. Every week, they run a lottery with prizes, often in-game cosmetics and items. Given that I am constantly struggling to keep my vault and inventory bags from filling up, I rarely sign up. However, two weeks ago, the draw was for a painting of your character.
Ohmyclicketyclicksignup! Which I did around 10 minutes before the sign-up closed. 11 minutes later, wonder of wonders, I won the draw! I soon found meself in a pleasant conversation with Syaven, the person who had offered her talents to make the portrait. She wondered what sort of portrait I’d like and if there were any details in particular I would like to have included.
One of many Linas
What portrait would I like, indeed? Oh, the agonizing choices.
I’ve played Lina for close to ten years. I’ve traveled all across Middle-Earth. I have braved the keep of the Witch-King of Angmar, fought balrogs, battled Nazgul, explored the ruins of Barad-Dur and … er… picked up boar-droppings in Enedwaith. I have played at Weatherstock in front of hundreds of players, performed theatrical plays, gone on historical field trips and spent many a merry Friday at the Green Dragon. Snowballs have been thrown in Frostbluff, mathoms have been sought all over the Shire (and beyond), and much time has been spent with the grand and merry hobbit roleplayers on Laurelin.
Choosing just one portrait? Inconceivable!
Although, it really wasn’t.
Lina has always been a Shire bard at heart, loving the time spent in her hobbit homeland. Wandering around with her dog, playing songs on her lute, enjoying regular servings of biscuits… few things beat that. That’s how I started out playing the character in November 2008. That’s what I find myself doing to this day. And I always wanted a portrait reflecting that.
Hence, I wrote this spec, which I sent over with a few screenshots.
Some basic things first: Lina is a hobbit, generally happy, with rosy cheeks and fair tussled hair (more often than not wearing a flower in it). She more or less always wears yellow clothes (but never ever boots/shoes, unless out on travels). She loves biscuits/cookies, plays the lute and has a good sheepdog friend that tends to follow close by wherever she is. So, the dream drawing I have always wanted is her sitting beneath a tree on a fine summer day, lazily strumming the lute, with a plate/jar of biscuits near and the dog curled up nearby.
With that out of the way, in addition to some wishes about the haircut (I never really found one I was perfectly happy with in LOTRO), Syaven had her work cut out for her. And I started waiting for the result.
Syaven goes to work
So, how did Syaven go about making this portrait? Here are her own words about the process:
I much prefer making art which has a strong mood. This was a lot of fun with the description Lina had given. I loved the dog and the biscuits, and the lute was the most fun to draw.
Before I know how to start, I’ve thought about the character often. They will distract me constantly while I’m out doing other things. I think the light is the best thing to decide before beginning, and my favourite is to use very strong shadows. Then I’d try to sketch a character together with surroundings in a way that does not seem off balance, and if I mess up here, it is doomed. All the details in the world cannot save it. Colour is about the last thing I’d do, before the most difficult part: deciding when it is done!
Most of my practice is in traditional charcoal and chalk, but in the past 4 months I’ve started to learn with a digital tablet, and currently draw in an open-source art software called Krita.
Waking up this morning, I checked the Laurelin Discord before heading for work.
Ooh, a direct message. Ooh, a zip file? Ooh, the portrait!
And it matched all my wishes, and then some. A lazy summer day in the Shire, where the sun pours down like honey over the land. Dog snoozing gently. A plate of biscuits within easy reach. And me strumming my old lute and having a grand good time of it. Hobbit bliss.
So, all hobbity thanks possible, Syaven. This really fulfilled my dreams. I hope many will visit yer own blog, to see more of your grand portraits. And if you ever want to work with hobbits again, I have lots of other ideas too smiles
Oh, and here it is. Her full portrait of me. I hope yer all like it as much as I do. Do add yer comments below.
A fine summer’s day – from http://syaven.blogspot.com