I have to admit, I’ve been a bit intimidated by reader expectations when it comes to sketching Tayend and Dannyl. My worry wasn’t that they wouldn’t look like what reader’s pictured – I’m not psychic! – but that they’d look so different that readers would be bothered by it. One of the reasons I’m doing ink line drawings is to keep details fairly vague so there’s still some opportunity for the viewer’s imagination to come into play. (The other is speed – I don’t have time to paint the full colour figures I’d love to do.) I’ve also found that drawing characters is like writing them, in that they sometimes turn out a little different to what you intended.
I know fan art out there has influenced me when it comes to Tayend’s appearance. Though I reread the Black Magician Trilogy, prequel and sequel last year, I don’t recall any detailed description, just that he was good looking and wore the fancy garb of an Elyne courtier. He’s shorter than Dannyl, but that goes without saying – Dannyl is tall. I took inspiration from traditional Indian costume for his clothing, and the hair of the friend who posed for the reference shot.
I think this pressure got to me, as I completely messed up Dannyl’s nose and mouth and had to draw them twice, and I now suspect his head is a bit big! And I have to remind myself: I never said this would be easy.
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