Princess Bride Series Part 2 – Fezzik, Inigo, and Westley

Over the last week or so, I went on a sudden Princess Bride artwork binge. I started outlines for three different scenes! I’ve only finished one so far, but I was surprised by the sudden surge of Princess Bride-related activity. I think it was partially inspired by our recent move. As we’ve been slowly getting things unpacked, I found one of my favorite all-time book purchases; a hardcover version of William Goldman’s Princess Bride. If you’re a fan of the movie and haven’t checked out the book, I highly recommend it. It’s actually quite different than the movie, and is presented in a very clever way. Basically, as if Goldman is not the actual author; instead, he is trying to publish the lost works of legendary (fictitious) author S. Morgenstern. The book also covers quite a bit more than the movie, including what happens immediately after the movie ends. I’ve included some photos of the hardcover version below. The quality is excellent in my opinion, with nice illustrations and details throughout.

Anyhow, I really enjoyed flipping through the book again. It filled me with some inspiration to do another Princess Bride drawing. My first attempt was a couple of years ago, which was an okay result with some good and bad aspects. I tried to capture the scene towards the beginning of the movie, when Fezzik and Inigo are rhyming on the boat. It sort of looks like them, but maybe a goofier cartoon alternate reality of the characters. I wanted to take another crack at drawing Fezzik and Inigo again with the two years of additional experience I have now.

I decided to go for the “storming the castle” scene, where Fezzik and Inigo are helping the recently…uhhh…let’s say “rejuvenated” (to minimize spoilers) Westley. I started this drawing, but then started to feel like it may not be the one I wanted to work on. After all, I already attempted two of these characters (as great as they are). I also love the Fireswamp scenes, so I started on one featuring Westley and Buttercup. Then I had a wild thought about how funny the portions are with Peter Falk and Fred Savage, as the Grandfather and sick Grandson. I gave that one a try too. Three sketches are more than enough…unfortunately, I still feel like I’m leaving out a ton of fantastic characters that would be fun to draw. But this is already a four part series! And I have some other ideas too, and there is only so much time for hobbies unfortunately.

Since this was the first scene I started, it’s also the first I decided to finish. I’ll follow the usual flow and share the finished drawing, talk about it a bit, then share the progression video. Here’s the artwork:

This was one of those instances where I think the initial outline was perhaps on a better track than the final version ended up on. Although this final version isn’t bad, I did have some struggles along the way. One is that I completely washed out facial features for all three characters and had to come back with graphite multiple times to recapture details. This was especially problematic for Inigo (character on the left); I ended up with pencil shavings and small debris all over his face, which became an issue as I blended. That was a rookie mistake, and one I don’t typically make when I’m more into the routine of drawing. In my defense, I haven’t been doing it much in 2021 so far. Hopefully, getting back into the habit will help eliminate some mistakes like that.

I did recover to a decent degree on Inigo I think, and Fezzik (the giant on the right) recovered decently too. Westley had the least amount of initial mistakes, but ended up maybe the worst off. In hindsight, I think my biggest issue was his nose. It doesn’t look right; sort of skeleton-ish in a way. It really doesn’t look like Cary Elwes to me. To draw this, and the other Princess Bride sketches, I referenced the movie itself. Something weird about this scene in the movie is that, while Fezzik and Inigo are carrying Westley, it seems like black material over Inigo’s shoulder is supposed to be Westley’s arm. But the proportions and positioning are all wrong…so maybe in the movie, it’s just cloth and his actual arm is just down by his side? I never noticed before trying to draw this, but it does look weird. Another issue I had was Fezzik’s hand; it’s supposed to be under Westley’s arm, supporting his weight. But I lost the detail in the blending process, now it just looks like an amorphous blob.

I don’t want to make this sound like it’s all bad though! Overall, I think the scene and characters would be recognizable to fans of the movie. Inigo mostly resembles Mandy Patinkin, and I think Fezzik does have a passing resemblance to André the Giant. Westley sort of Cary Elwes-adjacent…like an Elwes stunt double or something. But not bad overall, certain almost there. And the scene itself, taken as a whole, is solid! I got the eye contact/directionality right, which sometimes isn’t easy. I wanted to add the suggestion of some trees or something behind them without committing the time to attempting an entire background. That looks fine too!

Here is the progression video from YouTube. I’m pretty sure this can be watched in the browser with no issues, but let me know if there are any hiccups.

Well, that’s all for this one. As I mentioned, there are two additional drawing on this topic to share, so more to come soon. Also, I’ve had the spark of an idea tumbling around in my brain for the last couple of days, which I want to write a bit more about soon. I’ve decided to start planning for another book, but I want to improve on what I did last time with Pencils and Process. That book was an anecdote-driven account of my experience returning to art after a 15 year break; a fairly niche topic, which I think turned out fine, but not one that needs to be explored again.

This time, I want to publish a more robust, high quality art book! I have a few by some of my favorite artists, usually related to video games and whatnot. But the best ones look and feel quite premium, with great ink quality and thick paper. I’ve learned a lot from previous experience, so I’d like to put those lessons into practice. Unfortunately, my portfolio of solid drawings that I actually own the rights to publish (based on copyright, I.P., and/or subject likeness permission) is pretty light. I need to beef that up, because I want the new book to be substantial – 200 pages and a large size is the goal. I think it would take at least a year to start piecing new content that I can use, but it’s good to have goals! So, more on this in time hopefully.

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