altocello: (complicated colin)
Title: Illustrations for "Falls the Shadow," an AfterCamlann Big Bang fic by [ profile] scotscookie
Artist: [ profile] altocello
Pairings/characters: Merlin
Warnings: None for the art, but the fic does have a fair amount of angst.
Medium: Pencil on sketchbook paper and digital paintings.
Summary: The King is dead. Long Live the King. Camelot is Arthur's now, and Merlin had believed they would achieve their destiny together. But when Arthur pulls away and betrays Merlin utterly, he goes to find the one person who understands his hurt the most.
Notes: Huge thanks to [ profile] scotscookie, who had faith in my ability to get art done for her even though I disappeared on holiday for almost a month this summer. I also owe so much love and the huggiest of hugs to my betas, [ profile] amphigoury and [ profile] alby_mangroves for helping me stay sane and for troubleshooting while these pieces got created, and to [ profile] rocknvaughn for being my main cheerleader; I honestly, really and truly, could not have done it without you! Thanks also to [ profile] k_nightfox (and to the supporting mods for helping her get it all done) for making this possible in the first place by keeping the Merlin summer Big Bang ball rolling with this new fest; you done good! *hugs*

Disclaimer: These are non-profit fanworks; no harm intended, no money made.

Chapter Breaks

I have an inordinate love of chapter breaks. I love to see them in stories, and I love to make them. For any of you who do not share this love, I'm very sorry, on so many levels. But I'm sharing these with you anyway. :D All of the chapter breaks were drawn using GIMP and a digital drawing tablet.

I decided to try to come up with a visual representation of Merlin's immortality. The design on this pendant is a variation on an ouroboros, the snake that eats itself, a symbol of the cycle of life, death, and reincarnation. Because Merlin is a Dragonlord, the serpent is a dragon, and because he is actually immortal and rides the wheel of life without end, I twisted the ouroboros into an infinity symbol. The pearl is borrowed from eastern dragon traditions, in which dragons hold a pearl of wisdom, which I found apt for Merlin in his role as Arthur's touchstone.


This was actually the first piece that I created for this fic, even before I'd seen any actual text! Cookie and I were talking about the plot and she mentioned that Morgana would play a significant part, so I went off and drew this for the parts of the story where Morgana is prominent:


Cookie also mentioned that the cursed pendant from "The Wicked Day" would have an important part to play. It took a few tries for me to figure out the celtic knot in the frame on this one (the secret is that it's a layered knot that loops back over itself, very tricky!) but I got there.

Cursed Pendant


I really do wish that I had been able to get more of these drawn, but I didn't. I had plans for at least 3 more and simply ran out of time. So, with apologies, I really did mean to draw more characters than just Merlin, but I'm pretty happy with the way these turned out. Both of these were drawn with pencil on white paper.

"A blast of power sends him flying backwards, left on the floor winded but unhurt as the old man runs from the room in a flurry of whirling robes.

Leaving him unhurt.

Leaving him remembering the teasing; the humour in an old man’s eyes; an entreaty he could not begin to understand.

The old man’s eyes.

Were not old mans’ eyes."


"Merlin drew in another gulping breath and staggered onward. The spell he’d been using didn’t seem to mask his scent and he could hear the baying of hounds drawing ever closer."


Also on: DW | AO3 | Tumblr | DA

Thanks so much for looking, and if you should feel so moved comments are very much loved!

Date: 2014-09-19 05:58 am (UTC)From: [identity profile]
All of the art is amazing, but that portrait of old!Merlin is just stunning! I could go on and on and on about all of the great details - the wisps of hair on his face, the chapped lips, the wrinkles around his eyes, etc. - it's all just so great. But the best is just Merlin's eyes. His intense gaze is wonderful and you can really see how young his eyes look compared to the rest of him.


Date: 2014-09-20 12:32 am (UTC)From: [identity profile]
Thank you so much, Stacey! That was exactly what I was going for! <3 And Amph is doing a happy dance, because she asked me to make his lips more chapped, lol. :D
Edited Date: 2014-09-20 05:24 am (UTC)

Date: 2014-09-20 05:25 am (UTC)From: [identity profile]
I'm doing my "I WAS RIGHT" dance. :P

Date: 2014-09-20 06:44 am (UTC)From: [identity profile]
Hee! Glad Amph is doing her happy...sorry "I was right" dance. Who knew chapped lips could cause such jubilation. ;)

it's definitely a great detail.:)


Date: 2014-09-19 06:17 am (UTC)From: [identity profile]
Wow! As always, your art is simply awesome. ♥ I love old!Merlin there, especially! Beautifully drawn, you have him to a t. And the eyes do indeed belong to young!Merlin. Gorgeous!

Date: 2014-09-20 12:46 am (UTC)From: [identity profile]
Thank you, so very much! <3 I found a fantastic reference in a promo photo; that twinkle in his eye is all Colin, I just managed to get it on paper. :D

Date: 2014-09-19 08:26 am (UTC)From: [identity profile]
Wow! Your art is beautiful as always. The chapter breaks are intricate, and I'm just blown away by that portrait of older Merlin. All the details in his face are amazing!

Date: 2014-09-20 12:48 am (UTC)From: [identity profile]
Thank you very much! I love chapter breaks and it was especially fun to come up with the Emrys one. I'm so glad you liked the old!Merlin portrait as well; we have such a beautiful young cast but I do love how interesting old faces are. :D

Date: 2014-09-19 11:49 am (UTC)From: [identity profile]
BEAUTIFUL WORK!! i do love your dedication. It really shows in the quality of the end result! <333

Date: 2014-09-20 12:48 am (UTC)From: [identity profile]
THANK YOU, ALBY! I always try my best! <3333

Date: 2014-09-19 05:03 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile]
As you know, I think both pieces are inspired, but your portrait of Emrys/Dragoon is breathtakingly incredible. You have Colin as Old Merlin *perfectly* and the eyes are so lifelike, real, and yes *young*.

Add to that the incredible way you made the medallions look so metallic and the Pearl so real!

*bows to the master*
*is not worthy*

Bravo! S

Date: 2014-09-20 05:23 am (UTC)From: [identity profile]
*HUGS* Thank you so much for being my cheerleader, Rockn! Your encouragement means so much to me. <3 And thank you for the lovely comment!

Date: 2014-09-20 09:18 am (UTC)From: [identity profile]
This is simply wonderful, all of it, but I have to agree that old!Merlin is my favourite. The folds and wrinkles are perfect, and those sparkly eyes!

I also totally adore the layers of symbology you have woven into the chapter dividers, particularly infinity/Ourobouros as a dragon. Wow. That is sheer brilliance, on so many levels.

And now I must write a more coherent comment on Cookie's amazing story.

Date: 2014-09-23 08:50 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile]
Thank you very much! It's wonderful to see my old!Merlin getting so much love; I really enjoy drawing older characters but, being unconventionally beautiful, many times those older characters don't get as much appreciation. I'm also so VERY glad to know you enjoyed the chapter dividers and the thoughts behind their creation!

And yes! Leave Cookie some love on her fantastic story!! <3

Date: 2014-10-12 02:37 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile]
that first one made me literally gasp, it's so detailed and lifelike. and the ouroboros on the dragon is insanely imaginative and perfect!

Date: 2014-10-15 03:16 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile]
Thank you so much, Thalia! *hugs*


altocello: (Default)
had a kind o' poetry to it

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