Trollvelopment Diary #2
Ancestor Complete: Ceskae, the Peacekeeper
I have finished the first troll ancestor in Trolltem Poles! Her name is Ceskae, and she was the great peacekeeper of the troll clans. Here she is in all her peaceful glory! Keep in mind that iconography and the card face are not final.
Like most of my work, I started Ceskae, the Peacekeeper in sketch form, and I actually inked this one (doesn't happen too often). Now her eyes are a little crooked, and the lines get a little messy around her head shape, but the sketch is just a guide before moving forward in Illustrator.
Ceskae is the trolltem pole that will be the most common in the draw deck, and I wanted to have a troll that would appeal to all the troll clans and all their alignments since Ceskae is the base of all trolltem poles and has an Alignment Base of all colors, including the neutral wild color. Therefore, I put elements of each alignment in her final image. She has elements of fortitude on her ears, wisdom as the gem in her headband, and rage as the pattern in her headband. She also has earrings with all three alignment shapes.
I wanted to reemphasize the idea of neutrality, so I made her gray. I also wanted to portray this idea of peace and balance with Ceskae. I made the background a peaceful field complete with rollings hills and blue skies. The final element of balance I added was the shape of her teeth. Unlike the other troll ancestors (coming soon), she has one tooth pointed upwards and one downwards. This is to mimic the Ying and Yang.
Final Thoughts on Ceskae, the Peacekeeper
I had a good time making Ceskae and working out how I wanted to have the trolltem pole ancestors portrayed on the card. One of the difficulties I ran into was the size of the ears and what parts of the ancestor I felt were important to keep in the image and avoid cropping out. Another difficult decision was how much I wanted the ancestors to look like wood and look like they were a traditional element on a totem pole. Ultimately, I decided to scrap the wood texturing and square stout nature of many traditional totem poles for a more stylistic full-color portrait look where the head is more or less covering the background pole . This is in part due to the fact that because these trolltem poles are not really stacking, they are fine to be front heavy or elongated in ways that you wouldn't normally see with real wood. Also, it's a fantasy game, and I wanted to take some artistic license with expanding what a fantasy trolltem pole would look like. I didn't want the trolltem poles to look like a parody of cultural and religious symbols, so I used colors and design elements that are uniquely fantasy. I hope this is a way to honor and respect these cultural symbols while expanding what is considered fantasy. I am looking forward to sharing new progress soon and the world of Trolltem Poles!