Geralt and Ciri Art From The Witcher Netflix Show
Recently, season two of Netflix’s The Witcher series debuted. Back in the summer lock-down months of 2020, I wrote a bit about my impressions from season one and my fondness for the Witcher 3 video game. That game is one of the best open world RPG experiences I’ve had, right behind Skyrim and Dragon’s Dogma, so I already had positive opinions about the franchise. Watching the first season of the Netflix series though brought my appreciation to another level; after finishing it, I was immediately ready to dive back into the game…and to watch more of the show. Unfortunately, I had to wait a year and a half for season two – but it was very much worth the wait! As is my habit, hype towards the show led me towards some drawing; I did a couple of drawins featuring Henry Cavill’s Geralt of Rivia and Freya Allan’s Ciri of Cintra. (Warning: Mild, but not blatantly specific, spoilers may follow!)
Before I get to the artwork, I do want to say a few things about season two. Although I highly enjoyed both seasons of The Witcher, there were a few noticeable changes with the new episodes. The first, and probably most obvious, is the move away from Pulp Fiction-style time skips toward a more linear plot. I actually did not mind the time skips from season one, as it gave them an opportunity to present certain events that happened far in the past (like Geralt meeting Ciri’s mother and father) in a way that made sense in the narrative’s flow. But with the story’s foundations in place, it was a good time to switch the switch to linear storytelling. The second season’s plot, in my opinion, was no less interesting despite the more conventional presentation.
Another tweak to the second season involved Geralt himself; it seemed like he spoke quite a bit more in these episodes. He did a fair amount of grunting in the first season, but with the need for him to move into a mentoring/fatherly role, it was great to hear more actual conversation. The interactions between Geralt and Ciri were better than I expected too. They could have easily gone with the more stereotypical teenager-arguing-with-dad trope, but instead Geralt is relatively patient and understanding towards someone who has been through quite a lot of trauma. Early in the season, I thought they were going to drive a wedge between them via a “Geralt kills monsters, you’re a monster” plotline. That could always resurface, but I’m glad they instead focused on Geralt adjusting to his new fatherly/mentor role and Ciri adjusting to her new makeshift family.
A smaller change, but one I really appreciated, was the increase in Sign use by Witchers. For the uninitiated, Witcher Signs are weak (but quickly deployed) magic spells used in conjunction with conventional combat moves. Geralt used them sparingly in the first season, but in the second season it seemed like almost every fight involving a Witcher also featured some degree of Sign use. I always leaned heavily on Sign use in the video game, so it was fun to see in the show. Overall, I feel like the combat/action scenes were improved in the second season as well (not just due to more Sign use). The first season featured an absolutely amazing fight scene in the first episode, but then there seemed to be a bit of a drop off later on. Season two, however, had some really strong battles throughout; especially in the later episodes. To me, quality of fight scenes correlates heavily to less use of “blurry motion” combat; I want to see the parries and dodges with clarity! There seemed to be much more of the good stuff in season two.
Much like with season one, I ended up zooming through the entirety of season two way too quickly. Along with Stranger Things, this is one of the few shows I am actually kind of wistfully sad to be done with by the end. As much as I clearly enjoyed it, I should mention as a counterbalance to my raving, it seems there are some very negative opinions floating about regarding season two. I haven’t waded too far into it, but from what I gather, there is some heartburn about deviations from the original source material (the book series by Andrzej Sapkowski). There are also some other gloomier rabbit holes that seem to cross into modern socio-political conversations. I tend to get lost in fiction though, so those things don’t really interest me when it comes to imaginary world-based entertainment.
Anyhow, I really enjoyed the show. As I mentioned at the top, if you’ve followed this blog long, you know what tends to happen when my interest catches on something – it becomes a drawing! Or at least an attempt at a drawing. When I was all hyped up about season one, I did a couple of drawings based on the video game. This time, I decided to try my hand at a couple of scenes from the Netflix show. Both feature Geralt and Ciri, with the first one shown above.
I ended up working on two drawings that were somewhat similar. The first one, which I’ve included in this post, is a closer view without background. The closer-up perspective helped quite a bit in this case because I was able to capture more facial details. The scene is just after a battle with a particularly disturbing monster, and the mood is generally one of “wow that was terrifying” for Ciri. Geralt is imparting some wisdom, or saying something about how so-and-so would be proud of her. I think for Ciri, I captured that emotion very well. For Geralt, I’m not quite sure…it seems like he is not quite serious enough looking here.
Other aspects of the drawing have mixed reviews from my perspective. I am somewhat surprisingly proud of the job I did on the clothing; texture I think is an improvement from my usual efforts. I also believe I did a great job portraying Freya Allan’s Ciri, as this portrayal does mostly resemble the actress and character she played. Henry Cavill’s Geralt is not as clear to me here…I’ve drawn him twice now (this one and another I’ll share soon), and find him to be deceptively hard to accurately draw. I think it sort of looks like him at a glance, but the details don’t seem right. His facial shape is off, and generally I think the proportions are wrong; basically I’ve drawn his head too large and his chin too pointy perhaps.
Overall, I do like this drawing though. And I think it’s an improvement over the sketches I did based on the Witcher game. Being based on real people rather than video game creations, there seemed to be more realistic features to pull from. This time around, I made a couple of progression videos, which I’ll embed above. The top video is a 1 minute ultra fast version, which I believe ended up being like 80 times normal speed. And if that one is too blurry, you can get a better since of the process in the slower, second video that is about 16 minutes long.
I’m trying to make an effort to find the right length of video, but it seems preferences vary greatly. I’ve made a “one minute” version as well as a longer, slower paced video in hopes to find a good mix. In the next post, I’ll share the second Witcher series drawing, also featuring the same subjects, but zoomed out a bit more with some background/scenery details included. Rather than discuss the show again, I’ll talk a bit more about my considerations when trying to draw the same topic multiple times and possibly discuss the “video versus .gif” progression question. I’ve touched on how to show time-lapses before, but it might be time for an audience poll as well!
So, part two of this series should be coming soon. The art is done, I just need to punch up some text and see if I can salvage any type of progression capture to show.