Designing a Fallen Knight Tattoo
As you might have noticed from my previous designs, especially my Medieval Knight tattoo design, I absolutely love creating dark, epic characters like the fallen knight in this custom tattoo design. My customer had a very good idea of what he wanted for his tattoo design which really helped me get a strong picture of how this was going to look.
A Kneeling Knight Tattoo
Designing the Fallen Knight was perhaps the most interesting part of this drawing. Whenever I need to design a character from scratch I often end up trawling all the artists resource sites for models pulling the correct pose. Although there are tons of resources out there I often end up coming back with hundreds of similar poses, just not the one I want. In this case my customer was very specific with the position he wanted the knight in. So the easiest thing to do was just photograph myself in the correct position.
My character design drawings always starts off as a naked sketch, showing the muscles and form of the body. This way when you add the clothes and details to the character it is much easier to get them to look natural to the shape of the body (and no, I won’t be showing the half naked reference pictures of me pretending my ruler is a sword).
Although most of the Knight would be covered in armour it is still very easy to make a slight mistake leaving part of him looking out of proportion. My customer wanted a really battle scarred look with old, worn and damaged armour. This tends to call for a lot of details but being that this is for a tattoo design, there is only a limit to how detailed I can add to the fallen knight.
The idea for the aura coming out of the Fallen Knight was to create a really impressive and natural looking being that faded into the background to give it a surreal, ethereal and spiritual effect. This part of the tattoo design would be the lighter side of the knight, almost the Guardian Angel. Usually in designs like this I tend to put the sun directly in the centre of the image to give a centred look. In this case I decided to have the sun partially covered by clouds to one side so that the sun rays could interact with the archangels wings, while also leaving one side of the knight in the darkness.
At first I went with a folded arm approach for the Aura rising out of the fallen knight but my customer rightly pointed out that this gives a very guarded appearance and was not quite what he was looking for. With some ideas passed back and forth we eventually went with a much more open pose with the arms to give the Aura a much lighter and more open appearance.
The aura – a glowy, whispy form of a superhuman deity
I added tendrils of light rising up out of the fallen knight to convey the idea that the Aura was rising from his body. The tendrils also gave the character a more ethereal effect along with the sun beams and the ghostly feathers of its wings.
I had a little more difficulty trying to create the shadow characters to represent what my customer was trying to show. The idea here was that the shadows in our lives are a mirror of ourselves. With the sun playing quite a large part in this design I decided to work with the tonal scale of the drawing, the aura and archangel would be the lightest part of the design, the fallen knight would be the greys and midtones and the shadows would obviously be the darkest parts keeping to the shadows and avoiding the sun rays.
The shadow is just another facet of ourselves… our insecurities, fears… It’s there, always watching and laughing because it is the one thing that prevents us from being who we really want to be.
It is far too easy to create a design that gives the impression of something else, in this case even now I look at the characters I added and wonder if they look too much like zombies. But as my customer liked the way they looked and felt they represented what he wanted we went with them anyway.
Designing A Fallen Knight
If you have been following my tattoo design write-ups you will know I love creating characters, especially dark characters with some sort of story behind them, from the Old School Space Marine Tattoo design to the Battle Weary Warrior Half Sleeve. With what this custom tattoo design represented to my customer, this Fallen Knight Tattoo Design was no different.
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