‘The Flower Girl’ is now in pre-release (or already available in the store, depending on when you read this article) and again i want to share some info about the process of her creation.
As i said in the previous article, i consider important to write a good story before plunging into the process of defining the visual appearance of a character.
But let’s go in order.
When i started thinking about the models i wanted to create for this project, one idea i had in mind was of a monstrous/scarred girl gifted with a pure heart.
Many of my characters will show this sort of duality: disturbing look and features, but good intentions.
Her story tells about this kind girl living a peaceful life, trying not to get disheartened by prejudice since most people consider her evil just because of her uncanny look. Until one day things go south, news of her existence reaches the Church which promptly sends the Inquisition to investigate: in the setting i’m creating, members of the “New Inquisition” are superhuman soldiers with whom it’s better not to deal.
The rest is in the lore page, but in short she decides to follow a relative’s path and join the “People of The Woods”, a faction that will be described in a future article.
It’s hinted how that relative is ‘The Heresiarch’ himself, and the ‘Dark Kinship’ bundle available in the store, along with its beautiful illustration, confirm this:
But i’m digressing a bit, so back to her creation. A girl with monstrous features:
i started thinking about what kind of features and mutations implement on her. I was looking for something creepy, but not too gory or horror because i wanted the final miniature to also have a delicate, feminine look. My first idea was to display on her some cuts on her arms or face, and i came across this picture from the japanese movie “Carved: The Slit-Mouthed Woman” (gonna watch him someday, looks juicy!) but honestly i had the impression i was going in the wrong direction:
So i abandoned the idea and pondered about other options: animal features? Bone mutations? Demonic horns?
Horns sounded like a good idea if implemented in the right way. Since the girl has a strong connection to nature and plants, i imagined them looking natural, earthly: i didn’t want them to look devilish or gory, but i admit i still had no precise idea how to do them.
Then, during my google research of “horned girls” i found artworks of the planeswalker Ashiok from the MTG universe:
It was love at first sight and i immediately decided that the Flower Girl would have been eyeless. If combined with a sweet face and posture, it would have been the perfect combination of disturbing and feminine features.
Then it was time to study her costume and accessories. This time it was quite easy if i compare it to the huge amount of time the same process took when creating “The Heresiarch” (or future characters yet to be released!).
So, the girl comes from the french peasant class and joins the People of the Woods, and needed to be dressed like a common person: no frills or jewels, but a simple dress, comfortable and suitable for work. I prepared a list of reference pictures and provided them to the wonderful Daniel Comerci with the background, and a simple description roughly saying:
“A girl in her twenties, beautiful and athletic; she is walking or advancing and on her right arm carries a basket of flowers, while the left arm is extended in the act of offering a flower to someone.
Face as per reference: lower part is normal and with a bright smile while upper part is non-existent since it immediately turn to horns.
A long dress as per reference but altered by some sort of slit that allows a glimpse of the legs. Accessories: the hourglass, a sickle in her other hand, some pouches. A small animal on the base.”
For the dress i provided him references mainly from “Auguste Racinet – The Costume History” and “Kendall Redburn – Costumes of all Nations”, some examples (i know, third one is completely outside the reference period):
As you can see, at the time even common people dressed with a certain good style. 😉
So, me and Daniel discussed some details before setting off and some days later i received this first sketch:
I was already very happy with this version. Daniel did a great job and took into account all my requests. He explained how he had drawn flowers and plants on the skin and on the horns, taking inspiration from the “Annilihation” movie (and novel): no spoilers here, he simply imagined that the girl’s organism – given the constant contact and communication with plants – was changing and developing plant traits. In fact, the horns looks a bit like branches!
At this point i only requested some small revisions, i.e to show a bit of skin on the torso in order to make the figure more interesting for painters, and to draw the shoulder pads taking inspiration from the first reference picture i previously posted (girl dressed in pink and dark green).
We also discussed an alternate head version, since the lore mentions how the girl develops an ability to change physical appearance at her will: Daniel imagined a “normal” face with smaller horns, similar to roots and slightly masked by the hairs. Sadly this version did not make into the sculpt, but here it is below along with a back view of the original artwork.
All in all, this stage went very quickly. Daniel is a great artist and always try hard to “read” my mind.
It was time to pass the concept to a skilled sculptor. I already had booked Alessandro DePaoli for this, knowing that his style suited the subject.
I don’t have wips of the sculpting process, however it went quite smoothly.
Alessandro and i discussed some possible tweakings before setting up (e.g., he suggested rotating a bit her torso and also adding some leaves around the flower, to lessen the chances of it breaking) and from what i remember i soon had the complete sculpt.
Obviously i am a little biased, but here the level of detail is insane! I love how Alessandro sculpted the sewings and stitchings, treating the clothing as if it belonged to a historical miniature.
Now all that’s left is to do the Flower Girl justice with a nice boxart, something that recalls the woods and the mysterious side of nature.
As a final note..
I am deeply fond of this character. Working on her, i realized how her story was also my story to some extent. I was talking about myself.
As a child, i remember being very insecure about my appearance. I had this complex, thinking i was ugly and that people would mistreat me because of that.
Growing up i left behind this complex. Yet, indeed i saw how sometimes people get different treatment based on their look, or status, etc.
I was no saint, i did it too sometimes. However, it was something that always got me thinking. Do we really feel good about ourselves if we treat someone else harshly only because we perceive them as somehow “vulnerable” ?
And so, later in my life i promised myself to do my best to treat all people kindly, regardless of their physical appearance, social position or wealth.
These memories of long ago are what most of all gave birth to The Flower Girl.
I hope this article was a nice read, don’t forget to subscribe the newsletter in order to receive the latest news and let me know in the comments if you like this kind of content and want me to produce more! (However, my graphomania will probably mean that i will continue to write such articles anyway 😛 )
Until next time,