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There’s more to Dracula’s castle than meets the eye.

Self Critique: I’m not too sure I did Frozen Shade’s ribcage right. I have this feeling it should’ve dipped a little lower. The raised foot is off, and I think the ankle is in the wrong place. Also, upon closer inspection, the back of the toad’s head was drawn wrong and needs one of the eyes to be further out.

It’s about time I do something related to Castlevania! After Simon and Richter were revealed to be in Smash, my desire to do some Castlevania fanart was reignited. One of the first subjects I wanted to do was the Frozen Shade enemy, which made their first appearance in Symphony of the Night. In the later games, the name was changed to Frozen Half. To me, this was one of the more memorable enemies from SOTN, partly because of where you meet one of them, The Underground Caverns, and the song that plays, Crystal Teardrops. While cave stages are nothing new to Castlevania, you typically encountered it outside of the castle. In SOTN, it was under it. And in some places, it was frozen. This wasn’t the easiest of places to get to early in the game, especially as a kid. But when unlocked, it was very rewarding, especially since this this unlocked two more placed further underground. The song that played here was just as rewarding. Breaking from the Baroque harpsichords, electric guitars, and orchestral bombast, you’re greeted with a very mellow and laid-back smooth jazz arrangement. It was like a brief reprieve from the chaos that you went through in the castle above, and preparation for the insanity that awaits you further below the caverns. To me, besides the Inverted Castle, this was one of the defining moments of Symphony of the Night.

Now then, onto Frozen Shade. Looking at the sprite and how it does one of its attacks, and how it takes damage, she seemed to move like a ballerina. So I decided to go for that kind of physique for her body, a little different from the typical thicc body type I usually go for. This meant moving further to the thin side around her abdomen, as well as a smaller bust than what I usually draw. I depended on my older bootleg Body-chan model quite a bit for this, as well as a couple of ballet references. It’s a good first attempt, but I know I can do better on the next pic with a petite body-type character.

The background was a something of a massive undertaking. Rocks are usually fast for me. But I underestimated just how much work I’d have to put into this many of them, especially the different types on display here. I referred to the background book I got from Japan (via J-List), as well as some new brushes that CELSYS added to the latest update to Clip Studio Paint. The coloration (at least before I applied the filters in the end) was a little tough to nail down. In the game, the cave walls tend to change color frequently. As you go further into the frozen parts of the cave, it transitions to a purple hue, and the damper parts turn more gray and green. Obviously I wanted to move more to purple. I also wanted to also involve one of the waterfalls from the place. The layout of everything was up to interpretation since I’m referencing a location rendered in a 2D plane. The other thing I wanted to add was another enemy from the caverns: a Toad! This did bring up another issue: scale and perspective. Early on different objects were throwing me off, and I was tempted many times to increase the size of everything. But this also meant showing less set pieces. So I settled on increasing the size of just the two closest rock formations and the toad, and hoped to let the shading of the the objects in the back do the work of showing the scale and perspective of this place.

Overall this came out quite well, better than what I had in my head when I planned it out back in December.

Done on Clip Studio Paint Pro. Wacom Intuos4 Tablet used. Body-Chan model traced for schematic skeleton, then drawn freehand the rest of the way.

Frozen Shade (aka Frozen Half), and Castlevania series (c) Konami.

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