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In an alternate timeline, she would be legendary among the Belmonts. But alas…

Self Critique: The rendering of the raised knee could’ve been done with better finesse. The calf on the lower leg could be a little slimmer. Then again, the wraith blocking the knee kinda makes it look bigger than it actually is. Preferences may vary, but I think I made the entire picture look too busy. More on this when I get to talking about the background.

About time I got this done! I’ve tried for over a year to draw Sonia Belmont, but something always got in the way. She was actually planned for release around Halloween of 2018. But I had to begin work on the Pocky-Tans. I tried again this year, pushing back my plans to work on Beat from Jet Set Radio. However personal circumstances had thrown all of my plans out of whack. Once things stabilized, I pushed forward on Sonia. From the beginning there were many things I had to fix. I had gone as far as the Base Color earlier this year, but then I switched focus to Frozen Shade since she’d be faster to do and release. When I came back to Sonia in September, hoo boy I had to fix some things. For starters I had to redo the shading of her boots. When I livestreamed it, the way I was shading her boots made it look skin tight, following many lines of muscle and making the boots look almost like spandex instead of leather. This was in part because I had Posemaniacs open in another window and kept looking at the reference there over and over. This became a hindrance because if I kept seeing it, I’d feel the need to not stray from what I’m seeing. So this time I didn’t open the reference and just went with my gut. Sure enough it looks better than before.

Then came the abs for the Nude variant (and the Leotard variant to an extent). First attempt wasn’t so hot. I still had Posemaniacs open, but something still wasn’t coming out right. I was following the musculature, but something just didn’t click. I wanted to draw Sonia as fit. Not so skinny that she wouldn’t be able to hold her own, but not too brolic like she was some kind of body builder. I moved on to shade in the rest of the nude variant and would come back to the abs to fix them later. That’s when Meowri stepped in. A pic of hers popped up on my Twitter timeline, and then it hit me. This is the reference I needed as it was exactly the body type I was aiming for with Sonia. Much like the issues with her boots, Posemaniacs seemed to get in the way a bit. I kept wanting to follow each and every line of muscle when in reality I didn’t need to. Depending on body type, once you overlay something like skin, only the most dominant muscle lines need to be rendered, while the rest are hidden by layers of fat and skin. Here’s a before and after of the old and new abs. So shout outs to Meowri for the reference!

Let’s go back a bit to the beginning of this whole process. While I’ve given my Body-chan models makeshift props to hold, sit on, or interact with in general, this was the very first one I did this method with. As simple as it might look, I wasn’t sure what to do about the whip. Or at least it was hard to visualize it. So I gave my body-chan model one of those arts and crafts pipe cleaners to hold on to act as the whip. And sure enough it worked!

The background was another story. I knew I’d want to incorporate enemies from Castlevania Legends, but still wasn’t sure for a location. I looked up some gameplay footage again and settled on basing the background on two things. The first was the silhouette of Dracula’s Castle that you see during stage transitions. The next was the first stage Graveyard, in particular the one section where you pass by an open gate. For enemies, I’d add on two of the generic black wraiths from the game, two bats, two wisps, and a Skull Lord (which doesn’t actually appear in this game).The Skull Lord I admittedly had to trace from a stock photo for the first sketch phase in the beginning since I don’t have much experience drawing human skulls. The bat I eyeballed from another stock photo. The other bat I deleted during the shading phase since at this point it was looking too busy and taking away focus from Sonia. I also applied some shading techniques from the How To Draw Backgrounds book I imported from Japan, particularly for the grass and the tree leaves. However I may have to get a better custom leaf brush for the tree leaves (or make one myself).

This may be my final self-started pic for 2019. If so, then I’m glad I ended the year with the most detailed one yet.

Done on Clip Studio Paint Pro. Wacom Cintiq 16 used. Body-chan model traced for construction lines, then drawn freehand the rest of the way. Stock photo for bat referenced. Stock photo for Skull Lord traced on first sketch phase, then drawn freehand the rest of the way.

Sonia Belmont, Castlevania Legends © Konami.

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