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 Post subject: KQ6 early concept art for character portraits
PostPosted: Sun Feb 13, 2011 2:34 am 
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I already started a topic about this at the Phoenix Online forums, but I figured I'd mention it here too.

Apologies if this post seems image-heavy, but it illustrates a couple of points.

On Akril's excellent Sierra Resource Files site, there are several sketches extracted from the resource files of Inside the Chest/Behind the Developers' Shield from the KQ Collection. In particular, there are several pencil sketches for high-resolution character portraits in KQ6.

There's a portrait of Lady Celeste of the Winged Ones, which shows her much as she appears in the final game.

Image Image Image Image
Far left and middle left: two versions of the Celeste portrait from the resource files. Middle right: Celeste portrait from KQ6 Windows. Far right: Celeste portrait from KQ6 DOS.

She looks much like the Winged Ones do in general: human-style light skin tone, dark hair, dark irises. The Winged One gate guard looks very similar:
Image Image

However, there are also sketches for dialogue portraits of Lord Azure and Lady Aeriel (which were eventually scrapped). These early drawings show the Winged Ones as having blank white eyes.

Image Image
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At top, two versions of Azure's portrait drawing; at bottom, two versions of Aeriel's, all from the Chest/Shield resource files.

Interestingly, however, the KQ6 hintbook features an alternate drawing for Lady Celeste's portrait. Here she has lighter hair and blank white eyes, like the early portraits of Azure and Aeriel.

Image
Celeste's portrait sketch next to Azure's, from the hint book.

InterAction Magazine vol. 5, no. 3, from Fall 1992, also features a black-and-white preparatory drawing for the background art of Azure on his throne, in which he appears to have blank white eyes as well.

What to make of this? Well....

I may be going out on a limb here, but, judging by the lighter hair of Celeste in her earlier dialogue portrait, I suspect the original intention of the Sierra artists may have been to make the Winged Ones resemble Roman marble statues. That is, they'd have marble-white skin and hair, and blank white eyes.

This would correspond to the Greek/Roman-inspired style of Winged One art and architecture as seen in-game in KQ6. In the final game, though, the Winged Ones look like actual people from Italy, as commonly stereotyped (light skin, dark hair, dark eyes).

Of course, I could be wrong (the portraits ARE black and white, and it's hard to tell for sure). But the Winged Ones DEFINITELY originally had blank white eyes, at least.

(Ironically, actual Greek and Roman statues were often painted in bright, gaudy colors, which included the pupil and iris of the statues' eyes. It's only due to thousands of years of wear and weathering that the paint has come off those statues that survive today, creating a common misperception of what a Roman statue "should" look like.)

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On the related subject of the Chest/Shield resource file images.... this early portrait sketch of a woman in KQ6 seems mysterious at first.

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However, I'm going to guess that it's most likely Valanice.

Note how similar the woman's hair in the above drawing is to Valanice's hair in her final in-game portrait. Both have hair that's piled high on their head, with a sort of ribbed shape to it:

Image Image Image
Left: Pencil sketch for the Windows high-res portrait. Middle: KQ6 Windows portrait of Valanice. Right: KQ6 DOS portrait of Valanice.

Also, the costume seen in the early sketch above is decidedly Elizabethan, with a high ruff collar. Alexander's costume, too, is Elizabethan in style, being essentially a variant on a slashed doublet.

Image Image

So, if the mystery portrait IS Valanice, this would establish Daventry fashion as being like that of Tudor England.

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Do make sure and check out Akril's site for more interesting goodies.

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