Don't you dare say you weren't warned. It's right there in the title. If you don't want spoilers, skip the stuff about characters at the start of this description. And probably the comments, too
"Damn You Joss Whedon" / "Leaves on the Wind"Shows/Films:Buffy the Vampire Slayer
(well, technically all the deaths were in Serenity
), Dollhouse, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog
and The Avengers
.Characters, from Left:
Phil Coulson, Shepherd Book, Penny, Wash, Fred Burkle, Wesley Wyndam-Pryce, Joyce Summers, Darla, Doyle, Bennett Halverson, Jenny Calendar, Anya Jenkins, Cordelia Chase, Topher Brink and, of course, Tara Maclay.
The people are all characters that had a major emotional impact when they died. They had to be real
deaths (Coulson was a pain, as he hadn't been revived when I started. I decided not to take him out because a) I'd already drawn him, b) he came back in a different show, so a lot of people may never know about that and it doesn't lessen the impact of the movie death, and c) I was trying to get as much franchise variety as possible).Progress
see the early pencil sketch and first digital draft here WIPs/ characters and composition changes over timeClose up of Serenity
Also see (bits from this painting): Ship of Spoilers WallpapersBuffyverse CharactersSciFi CharactersTrivia
The Serenity ship on the upper right is created out of the names of every named, recognisable character that Joss Whedon has killed (including the ones that came back or were incredibly minor - but still named!). Basically, it's a ghost ship.
The ship on the far left is just Serenity. You can see a close up of Serenity here
(YES. ACTUAL SIZE. THIS PICTURE IS HUGE).
The grey planet is Miranda. I think. It's been so long since I added the planets that I've forgotten! (One was originally meant
to be Miranda... it may have gotten lost in later revisions )
Anya has her pendant.
Jenny has the Orb of Thesulah and the outfit she wore when she bought it.
Wesley is in his broody leather jacket that he died in.
Fred is in the labcoat she wore when she encountered Illyria's sarcophagus.
Penny is carrying her clipboard, and wearing the outfit she died in.
Book is also wearing the outfit from Serenity
. That he died in.
Coulson always wears a suit, but he's holding the mysteriously overpowered gun project and sitting in approximately the pose he died in.
Tara is wearing her iconic musical episode outfit. And is surrounded by magical sparklies that are the same blue as she used.
Cordelia's carrying the katana from her final episode, in the same outfit she wore.
Toph and Bennett are in their most recognisable outfits.
Doyle's in his normal clothes, but showing half his demon face (which he technically can't do normally, but artistic licence!)
Joyce is just looking normal and motherly (her superpower).
Darla is pregnant, as that was what led to her real death (i.e. the one that counts)
And Wash is holding his dinosaurs, of course.
I did want to add more trivia and relevant objects, but I couldn't think of any that actually belonged to the characters. I did want more Buffy stuff to balance out the Firefly-themed background, as those are the two main shows, but I couldn't think of anything suitable. I MAY RETURN TO THIS PAINTING.About My Artistic Suffering
This is the biggest painting I have ever
painted, both in scale and scope.
I came up with the original concept sitting on a stall at Armageddon last year (local convention) and sketched out a crappy poster design, which I later went on to sketch out properly from references (I didn't have my tablet with me, so it was Real Sketching). And then I went home and forgot about it for awhile, before pulling it out and scanning it a few months later (after the full time study and scary, scary busy period, and new job).
I had originally planned to draw them all as they died, but then I realised that was basically "impaled, impaled, impaled, impaled, dead of no visible injury, impaled" and that a bunch of people lying around didn't make for a great composition.
I finally started painting it in December 2013 and worked on it on and off over the next seven months
. For a long time, it was the only picture I worked on. Sure, sometimes I didn't touch it for weeks, but other times, I worked on it a few hours a night for a solid fortnight. I must have put at least a hundred hours into it. Some nights, all I did was a single planet. I spend three nights or so doing the sky. And so many nights editing the composition which got extremely painful
as the file size went up, and I kept adding more people.
And of course, I had to do Research. And not only make sure I wasn't missing anyone, but that they all fit the criteria. And find multiple reference pictures for every character. And decide on the most relevant and artistically suitable outfits. And make sure I had meanginful props where possible. And then I had to draw them and pose them and rearrange them, and basically, I'm more than slightly a little mad now.
It started out as a sketch from Wellington Armageddon last July (yes, it's officially taken me a year
), with the first painting a mere 1200 pixels tall.
It ended 12000 pixels across
. Each of those people could be their own painting, pretty much, and each of them took me at least a couple of hours. I had to start painting them outside of the file and importing them, because it was getting too slow. If the beta version of ArtRage 4.5 hadn't arrived (with its wonderful, awesome 64 bit support), then I would probably have set fire to the computer by now. My first act on getting 4.5 was to double the canvas size so that I could add lots of sky to balance out the figures.
And right at the end, I messed up the sky, didn't notice, saved over it, and had to import the background layers from my backup file (for which I am so incredibly grateful). It took fifteen minutes to copy a layer, another ten to paste and save it into the other document, and then I had to repeat it for the other layers.
And then ArtRage crashed. The only crash I've had since I got 4.5, actually - luckily I was super paranoid and only last a minute of last minute shading.
So, basically, this picture has been my life for far, far, too long. I expect I'll want to refine the details a little more, and I have an idea for filling in the black space at the front, but it's a lot more work and I want to get it right (if I have the strength!).
Fun fact: Wash was the first bit sketched and the last bit to be finished.
I'm preparing myself for this to fall into the inevitable pit of "You put lots of work into this one so we shall ignore it much more than the one you didn't even try on" Doom.Technical Stuff
Size: 12000 x 8765 pixels (YES MY COMPUTER HATES ME)
Working layers: 15-25 (I kept having to reduce the number so as to free up RAM)
File size: 1.02 GB
Time: MORE THAN I WANT TO THINK ABOUT. Seriously. Over a hundred hours, easy.
Program: ArtRage 4 (switching to 4.5 halfway through, which is why it is so ridiculously big - before 64 bit support, I'd have had to reduce the size or crash everything whenever I tried to paint, after waiting 45 minutes for it to load at all).Also, dammit.
DeviantART is making the smaller details slightly blurry. I've reuploaded various files, and the eyes are always pixelated. If people express interest in particular characters, I'll happily dig them out of the main painting and upload them separately, but right now my brain is fuzzy and my hand hurts.Now if you'll excuse me...
I need to go collapse and stare vacantly at a wall for awhile.