Hi! I've decided to make an extra post to explain a bit more my final entry. I haven't share barely any details of my process with the final illustration, so here it goes:
If you scroll up, you might have seen my quick sketchy thumbnails. The selected one was number 3:
Thumbnails are not my strength, but definitely, they helped me to make right decisions in time.
So, I kept up with my design and worked for ages on the silhouette of La Maja, riding her bull-war machine. First, the initial sketch:
And second, I'm posting the final version of the silhouette given that the art process became at some point very very messy! But at least you can check that the result was already pointing to the right direction:
One of the details that I corrected almost in the end was the sword. In the beginning, I did not think that I should make my character grabbing the sword together with the reins, but the more details I added, the more I realized that the sword had to be used just right there, as they were in war, in the middle of a battle.
I want to talk about the composition too. Even though I’m quite happy with the final result of my illustration (having in mind that I had a little time to create it as my days are busy with my job), maybe the cannon ended up being too big. Sometimes I think about it, and sometimes I just deal with it and say to me that it’s fine. After all, the name of the illustration is called “The last cannon”. Both, La Maja and her bull, and also the cannon gun were representing that same title.
I treated carefully the greyscale, although with such amount of details, it can be a bit more difficult than other pieces that I do with flat colours. Also, I’m pointing out with blue arrows the eye direction of the audience. That should be the path that an eye would follow to read the image, according to the diagonal lines of the composition and light/greyscale tones of colours.
As for the details of my characters, most of them have been explained above in other posts. If I have to say something else about this, it is again about the Doma vaquera style (Spanish western style). First of all, I did and interpretation of a horse on top of a bull, which ended up being more powerful as a war machine. However, there are some bits of the bull that are nods to a horse. For example, all the equipment (bridle and saddle) are originals from the Doma vaquera designs. But also, the mane has been adapted to the same hairstyle that is usual in that discipline. Bulls don’t have any mane at all. Only horses do. So, I decided to go forward and make that final mix in between them.
Finally, I hope you can distinguish the nod to the Spanish flag in my final illustration as well. In both, concept sheet and final illustration, I played with the idea of making an “old book” of history, as my main inspiration was the real History of Spain, The Independence War on 1808. In particular, based on the 2nd of May, as it was the bloodiest episode of war in our country. Also, never forget the artist Francisco de Goya, who let us see that war through his art, plus, the Majismo trend and Las Majas (dressed up and naked. You can take a look on google of Francisco de Goya's art piece “La maja desnuda”(naked), which is the same one of his other piece “La maja vestida” (dressed-up)). I need to add that, Rosalía performed as a Maja in her “Di mi nombre” Videoclip, and she was a huge inspiration for my design in the end. It all made a whole puzzle in my mind: a warrior, a lady, a strong and sexy woman and a modern view to be adapted to my digital art.
You could see a red frame (at the bottom and top of the images) representing the Spanish flag.
Having said that, I hope you could appreciate those red and yellow colours in the overall desings and illustration. Playing with fire was like heaven to represent those colours in top of the real colour materials of some other elements (outfit, veil, saddle, etc).
Again, about my characters, here is a bit of the storytelling behind them, so you can understand their backstory through the writing:
"La Maja is a young Spanish woman, set in the City of Madrid. She was taught with the same education as every single woman in Spain by that time. But something in her own nature was different, and when she was 16, she became part of the urban tribe of Las Majas, as a rebellion with all of those who thought she would be tamed alive. No, she was not a housewife, despite the fact that she knew that role deeply. No, she dreamed with a brighter future, performing her art, becoming a master of her craft.
Suddenly, one day war arrived to her life, and all the things that she refused to have, were then an option in her mind. With every single sound of a cannon shot in war, she imagined her future, with her children, with her family and friends. In her beloved warm land. At home. With freedom.
When the people that she loved never came back from war, she realized it was her turn to act. She had no choice to achieve her own dreams. Fail and die, and it will all be ended. Or win and live up the way you love.
But at the end of the day, she was only a woman. Men were the only ones made to go to battle. She hadn’t got a man’s uniform, neither the best sword. Not even a war horse. So, after her father died first while fighting, she took part of his uniform to honor him, his war medals, his old sword, and combined them with her own outfit to honor her spanish culture, her believes as a woman and human being the way she knew it, and to honor the strong and powerful women that represented Las Majas. She would look for a horse, but would not find any. Instead, she would run into an abandoned stables near her house, where a massive and brave bull was tied up. She set him free and whispered him with a soothing voice. Two untamed creatures that understood each other, those who shared the same destiny in life, now they gallop together to war, until the last cannon could be discharged to save their country: Spain."
I made these two adjustments to the final design of the front view: the chin had to be larger (I realized about it the more I was doing facial expressions) and part of the jacket had to be red to match with other bits of the outfit.
Here I leave Front and Back views with a higher resolution for you to see.
I hope you like this post. It has been a very nice experience, to take part in this contest, and I hope to be around in the following years! So, this is not an “adios” (goodbye), this is just and “hasta luego” (see you later) … 😉