Yennefer Artwork, The Witcher Show and Game
Just recently, I rambled on and on describing my approach to sharing multiple related drawings. Over the course of several paragraphs and almost a thousand words, I philosophized about how much I prefer to see drawings split into several posts so I can come across them again individually on the shuffled front page. And yet, here I am with a post that is going to break all of those rules! Ever since watching season one of Netflix’s The Witcher series, I’ve wanted to try to draw several of the main characters. Of course, Geralt and Ciri have been on the list, but there is another main character that somehow I kept leaving out…the sorceress Yennefer of Vengerberg. (Mild spoilers from the show follow)
Although Geralt and Ciri seem to be the major focal points of season two of the Netflix series (and latest game), in many ways it’s Anya Chalotra’s portrayal of Yennefer that stands out from season one. It was quite a memorable performance, showing the character’s motivations and need to find her own power to survive a cruel world. Although I didn’t finish the Wild Hunt game’s main story, I do not recall the Yennefer character as a whole being so well explored. One moment in particular from the middle of the first season continues to stand out in my mind: Yennefer attempts to save a queen and her child from an assassin. Despite her best efforts, even in the face of a shockingly ungrateful victim, she fails to save them. The aftermath of Yennefer sitting on a beach is a powerful scene that has stuck with me.
The first artwork go-around, I felt like it was a bit of an injustice to Anya Chalotra’s great performance that I didn’t draw Yennefer. And then I was inspired to draw more, and yet again I failed to include her! I was determined to make up for it, so this time I’ve drawn a series of three portraits of the character Yennefer. The first two are based off of Chalotra’s version of the character, with a third attempt to portray the game’s version. I didn’t initially set out to work on so many, but my intent was to draw the something from the post-assassination beach scene, and I wasn’t particularly happy with that attempt. So, I ended up with three. And, as I mentioned, I decided to just throw everything I said before into the wind and add them all to one post. After all, I have already written quite a lot about The Witcher (1, 2, 3, 4)…too much more and I’ll have to designate this as a Witcher fansite.
So, I’ve got quite a lot of material I want to share here, so let’s get to it. First, I’ll include a slideshow of these three new drawings featuring Yennefer from the Witcher. Then, I’ll embed the YouTube videos and briefly discuss the process. Finally, I’ll include a full gallery of all Witcher-related drawings I’ve done to date – nine total now!
I started these drawings with a pretty flexible mindset relatively speaking. As an artist, I’m not the most creative soul out there – I tend to struggle with more free-form or loose things. If it’s too far outside a process I can mentally create steps for, it might be hard for me to attempt. For some reason, this time I was able to just “dive in” and not worry too much with this project. I started with a basic notion; I found that scene of Yennefer resting by the ocean to be an especially memorable one, and wanted to do something that perhaps captured some aspects of that. I ended up re-watching a fair amount of season one of the Netflix series to find some good candidates, and picked a couple to start. I also watched some cut scenes from the Witcher 3 Wild Hunt to find something that would work from the game.
I started with the beach drawing scene itself, which initially seemed like it wasn’t going to turn out well. That led me to try another with the same mood, which was the one featuring sunlight reflections. Interestingly enough, I think my first impressions may have been incorrect. The original beach scene actually turned out pretty well and might be the stronger of the two. I sort of messed up on the jawline and shading near her ear, but overall it’s a good one! Not to take too much away from the other one; I like how the sunlight reflections turned out, and she really does look like Anya Chalotra I think. The video game drawing turned out okay overall. In my opinion, drawing from video game characters is somewhat difficult, especially if you aren’t good at improvising or creating from imagination. There’s just less detail to pull from, which I believe shows in this drawing.
In the last section below, as promised, I’ve included all of the Witcher series of drawings together. The order is roughly from newest to oldest, and I think there’s some degree of improvement over time. At least I hope that’s the case!
So there you have it, my rather larger-than-anticipated Witcher series. I try not to set artificial constraints on my artwork content, but I do have to admit I’ve gone a bit wild on these relative to other fictional character illustrations. But at least I accomplished what I’d hoped from the start; I attempted the video game and Netflix series versions of Geralt, Ciri, and Yennefer. I’m not saying these nine will be the only drawings I ever do based on the Witcher, but I do think it’s time to try some other things. I’ve got another Stargate piece to share, a large family portrait, and then I need to find some new projects. I’m not sure exactly what that might be, but I’m sure something will come along!