There had been too much death on this hill.
Posted by: Kali Ciesemier
Book: Sabriel (purchase on Amazon)
“Thralk had been pleased to find the Charter Mage’s spirit wandering and a broken diamond of protection. The sword had worried him a little, but it was frosted over and his shriveled eyes couldn’t see the Charter marks that danced beneath the rime. Similarly, the bell in Sabriel’s left hand looked like a lump of ice or snow, as if she’d caught a snowball. All in all, Thralk felt very fortunate, particularly as the life that blazed within this still victim was particularly young and strong.”
Sabriel ventures into the Old Kingdom to figure out the fate of her father and find some end to the influx of undead. I wanted to do a scene on Cloven Crest–the site of Sabriel’s first encounter with an undead being and a glimpse at the dangers of the Old Kingdom. It’s a moment that shows both her inexperience and her power, and it’s exciting to see her deal with the challenge.
The bell bandolier might look strange, but the bells and the sword were passed on to her from her father (along with her oversize coat!). Bells are the weapons of the Abhorsen (and necromancers) –each of the bells has particular powers that relate to the dead and must be rung in specific ways. The blade is also specially spelled to aid the Abhorsen against dead creatures. Sabriel is able to dispose of Thralk, but the situation escalates quickly from there!
I started out with the sketches I did last month which incorporated the actual broken charter stone that gives Cloven Crest its name, but they just felt too stiff and disconnected. I’ve been thinking about silhouette and N.C. Wyeth, and you can probably see the connection to that in this piece. I’ve also been having a lot of fun with textures and layer modes and ended up doing a little more digital painting in this one than my usual flat colors.
You can check out my process post and some closeups at http://kalidraws.blogspot.com!
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