Sunday, April 14, 2013

Finding Leo

Staff meeting at work recently which means two hours of listening to people banter opinions about stuff and some drawing time for me. I know. Shocking, isn't it? But I'm a multi-tasking kinda girl, I can listen, take notes and doodle at the same time. In fact, the scribbles and swirls help me remember what was said better than my chicken-scratch handwriting.

Captain Leonidas, as usual, lounged in the back of my mind, waiting to torment me yet again by my inability to draw him. He's a complicated character to say the least, an automaton with a human soul. But what does he look like? Well, that's the problem. He goes through a metamorphosis during the story, starting with a very mechanical body.

"He was such a magnificent marvel of steam-powered science; blackened steel and brass rivets and gruesome sharp edges that caught the light in razor clarity. Close up, his warrior’s body seemed very well formed indeed, with massive shoulders and the ridges of his Aegean-styled breast plating as muscular as she had seen in the anatomy books secreted from her uncle’s library. But the crested helmet molding his head cast his zirconium eyes into shadow, revealing only a glimmer of blue, and nothing of their intent. A bright scarring of tin ran from the corner of his left eye, across his cheek, to the corner of his mouth in an imprecise repair which twisted his lips into a cruel sneer. With the sharp cast of his features and the flutter of his cloak he looked not unlike a vicious bird of prey."

That's what Lady Anne described when she first met him. He's fairly imposing and so I imagined him to be a guy-in-a-metal-suit, very daunting to be around, but with this presence, that she can't help find fascinating, even if he is her mortal enemy.

So I was a little bit excited when out from my pencil popped this quick sketch of an Aegean-style warrior wearing a crested helmet. Could this be Captain Leonidas? He does have a bit of a presence about him. Maybe it's a start.

Scanning the picture when I got home, I attacked it with my drawing tablet and some quick colour.

Glowing blue eyes? Check.
Imposing presence? Check.
Fluttery cape, black armour; check and check.

But wait a minute, that sounds a lot like....this guy.
Well crap. Okay, what if we change the colour. How about blue, nice and bright to go with his eyes, and we'll make his face silvery and...

...And now Captain Leonidas is Optimus Prime. Yeah, he is more than meets the eye, but..bleah.

Thanks, Mr. Transformer. You aren't helping.

Damn and double damn. You'd think I'd know that though, with all the Transformers hanging around my place, infecting my subconscious with their Mecha designs. And you'd also think that with all the source material to work from, with the intense library we have of Manga books about giant robots, Star Wars tech books, and more model kits than there is room for (thanks to my husband's home business as a very talented model maker and graphic designer) that I'd find it easy to cobble together the design for a Steampunk-automaton-robot-guy-with-a-human-soul.

The problem is, when I picture Captain Leonidas and when I'm writing his character, I'm thinking more of his human soul than I am of his metal body, and I'm imagining what he looks like when he has his real body, when he's his true self again. So abandoning all pretense of trying to draw a mechanized version of Leo, I concentrated instead on how I saw him dressed up as a courtly prince.

"True, Cleone did appear handsome in the small photograph which had been placed on her nightstand. Unlike Swiverton, he was young, tall and golden haired, with a fashionably curled moustache and a strong chin. In military finery, he looked grand, the way he held his sheathed sword, noble, but his bland expression revealed little."
Oh, boy. More then meets the eye, indeed. She might not know it yet, but I'm thinking Lady Anne's pretty darn lucky to be marrying Leo, don't you?


  1. She's a very lucky lady, indeed. Can't wait to read more of this story!

  2. Thanks, Sutton!!! Drawing Leo (the cheeky monkey) has helped me better visualize him, so more is coming soon. Thanks for your support and for stopping by!

  3. Well, if she doesn't want him Kate.....I can think of a few good uses. Wonderful site, wonderful creativity xx

  4. Lol, Shehanne. Thanks for your kind words and for stopping by today.

  5. Wow. You're so awesome. I sometimes botch stick figures.
    No, really. I really do!

    I love having these visuals for when I read the story. :) Go, you!

  6. Thanks, Piper!!!! It's been a while since I did any real drawing work as I've been focussed on the photo-art, so this has been a fun project. But drawing the characters makes them so much more "real". I completely understand why authors collect pictures of actors and models etc. as inspiration for their characters. Thanks very much for stopping by!