The character concepts for my chapter of Solomon's seal were based around 1633 London so most of my designs followed the aristocratic people of the Stuart Era. I loved the excessive use of lace and shiny fabrics and thought it would make for an interesting dip out of my usual comfort zone of drawing and it also gave me a lot of different colour options without much concern about the historical accuracy.
Solomon's Seal is a story based on a semi realistic world where the main difference is that monsters and magic exist.
For my segment of the story which is based in 1633 I wanted to include as much historical accuracy as I could while maintaining an interesting storyline with some fantastical elements.
The story taking place in 1633 was a specific choice based on the fact there was a fire in 1633 that preceded the Great Fire of London by 33 years. The fire took place along the banks of London Bridge and the damage it caused to surrounding buildings was believed to be the reason that the Great Fire didn't spread as far. the rudimentary fire fighting services at the time mostly included using gunpowder to explode the surrounding buildings so the fire couldn't spread further than them. The first fire engines weren't patented until 1721.
The vast majority of walls I hit during this project was realising precisely how many of the things we expected to be invented at this point were not in fact invented until the Victorian era. My main surprises for these were matches and lampposts which weren't invented until 1827 and 1807 respectively. This meant I knew my comic was likely going to be very dark both tonally and visually as the characters would be forced to use candlelight or moonlight for the outside scenes, as I only had one scene planned during the day which was due to the nature of the story with my main character Constance who would be forced to hide her identity in order to hunt monsters. The idea of night fit in well with the theme of secrecy.
Half the reason I chose the Stuart Era over the Victorian Era was because of the clothing. I love the bright colours and shiny fabrics it gave me the choice of. There was also lace, a lot of it, lacing was a sign of wealth as it took a long time to create, the aristocrats used it on their collars, cuffs and boot tops. I also love the side capes that were popular in fashion of the era, I could visualise a lot of dynamic posing I could do with access to a cloak in character designs. Wide brimmed hats were the other main noticeable part of this eras design and I believe with the combination of all of the significant segments of this era it would give my characters very distinct silhouettes compared to the other chapters.
Stuart era England was surprising to me in a lot of ways. I already mentioned my strife with lampposts and matches and trying to design the newest edition of the family home meant I had to research both medieval and stuart architecture to make a building that matched both eras to connect mine and Hazel's stories.
The houses in this era mostly consisted of bricks and wood, this shouldn't make it much of a surprise that so many fire hazards occurred in the Stuart era.
Initial Character Concepts
I knew I wanted Constance to be a strong and intelligent character while still giving her adequate flaws.
From the moment I knew I was doing a historical piece I knew that it was going to be hard to put forward that concept into practice. 1633 London was not best known for its strong female representation. I came up with the concept of her being disguised as a man to keep herself safe from other men in the London night, as well as the mens' outfits being slightly more practical.
If I had more space with the story, I had considered adding a romance subplot where Constance is forced to avoid the love interest in case he discovered her secret identity. I decided that story was far too complex to fit into 20 pages and scrapped it in favour of my much more grim-dark storyline
James was a character quite heavily influenced by my dad, I wanted him to be this aged world-worn man who has many wild tales to tell from a youth of adventure.
I wanted him to absolutely dote upon his daughter and not care for her assigned gender role in the Stuart era as he is a well travelled old adventurer who has been able to see a better way of living for those he loves. He is the one who encourages her to wear his old clothes and protect the streets of London at night. If I had more space I would've liked to explore more about the relationship between Constance and James during the days and how they interact as a family before they argue which would make it all the more heart-breaking when it happens
I wanted his design to be simple but I also had to further adapt this later after I realised cravats didn't exist until the 1660s. Quite defensibly I was very close to that year. Either way, the cravat had to go
James Salomon Attempt 2
I made my second design for James as the first struck me as somewhat boring and his outfit was far too close to the modern suit.
For the second design I added some criss-cross texture to the main body piece, darkened the grey and made it match Constance's and added more lace around the collar in the flower petal shape I saw a lot when I was researching the era. This petal design changed in later designs because while I wanted it to look like Constance was making use of her father's clothes, I didn't want their collars to be exactly the same. I also added lace trim to his boots and his cuffs.
James Salomon Attempt 3
The final design I settled on for James changed the sleeves to white, gave him black gloves and a differently shaped collar, still in white to link him to Constance.
This final design was the point where I realized that cravats were a fashion item a little later than 1633 so it saw a swift exit from my final design
The Shapechanger is the main antagonist of my storyline, one of Sonnellions minions who uses Constance's face to get to her father and bring about the curse to a man who avoided it for 10 years longer than he should have
I wanted the shapechanger to be a blank slate in its natural form and I thought of a wooden doll or mannequin that transforms its face to whatever it requires. I don't picture it having a voice in its natural form but instead having a form of mimicry of the voices it hears.
It is meant to look creepy and I hope that comes across in the initial sketches
I was excited to try out the environment concepts for this project after I practiced drawing them for a long time in the previous semester's project. I wanted to base my story entirely within the city which is totally out of my usual comfort zone so it was an exciting new challenge
As aforementioned, cityscapes aren't my strong suit and so I wanted adequate practice before jumping into the project. I based these concept pieces off of the Great Fire of London using a custom blocky brush on Clip Studio to achieve the large bonfire.
I wanted to make sure to use greys and greens to show off the grimy London streets which then came out more orange and yellow in the light of the fire.
Considering my lack of knowledge in cityscapes I wanted to match it up with something I am strong at drawing which is fire. with the match of these I hoped to come out with a visually appealing comic.
The Old Vault
The end of my chapter sees Constance creating the family vault out of a cellar she discovers full of Lawrence and her father's old notes on Sonnellion's box.
The final page details her moving to America and leaving behind the family vault so she could bring the box pieces back to England when or if she found them.
The original vault design is intended to be very makeshift, still including alcohol barrels and storage crates as well as the collected artefacts of various adventures.
I also spent a long time researching the Enochian language which was a medieval invention made by John Dee that was supposedly the language of the angels. I wanted to include some of it in writing around the ceilings of the cellar as a warding put in to keep Sonnellion and his minions out.