Photoshop Painting Catchup #10 Hecuba

A return to one of my old favorite subjects: A sexy lady.

Now, a nearly naked female spellcaster isn't exactly a rare subject in a fantasy setting, but there was one little detail in the description which nabbed my attention: She's barefoot. This is wildly unusual. Sexy women of any genre are practically always depicted in high heels* whether it fits the character or not. Hecuba's barefootedness says something about her personality, and makes a hell of a lot more sense than heels would.

Prompt:

I would really like to see one of my favorite characters brought to life! She's been in play for almost ten years and has reached legendary status.
Hecuba... [is] a beautiful, voluptuous, mostly semi-naked and self-assured woman in her early twenties. Absolutely stunning and captures everyone's attention - she's got 32 in charisma. She's barefoot and graceful. Ice blue eyes, long flowing black hair and wearing only a very skimpy bronze bikini taken from a succubus. A thin and exquisite waist chain gives her extra strength. A small but deadly looking dagger is at her hip. Her favorite spells are fireballs and Meteor Swarm.

I've spent a long time pushing myself to learn my way around color, detail, and realism. Returning to this flowing black and white style which is so much more intuitive to me is unbelievably relaxing. Not only is it loads faster, it allows me to pull clever tricks to avoid hard bits. For example, by making the boundary between her hair and cape indefinite, I've saved myself the trouble of actually deciding exactly how her cape attaches and exactly how her hair falls. 

Of course, the style also causes some problems- it's particularly bad at depicting a lightsource, or any kind of transparency. So my wonderful plan of showing off Hecuba's casting ability by holding a ball of shining power in her hand is a bit of a dodgy proposition. I pulled it off by using a few conceptual tricks I learned from watching anime: first, explosions are typically shown with radial spikes on the outside, but a smooth inside edge. This seems to convey force, expanding energy. Second, if something is backlit by a very strong light, it's slimmed down- or in the case of this hand, made to look almost skeletal. Which has the added benefit of making Hecuba look just a bit scary.

* An exception to this rule is Salma Hayek's character in the movie 'From Dusk 'till Dawn.'  Quentin Tarantino's got a teeny bit of a foot fetish.