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maandag 29 december 2014

Baldur's Gate sketchbook

Here's another sketchbook tutorial! No Necronomicon this time, I have already made enough of those. This time, it will be video game/RPG themed. I don't play video games anymore, simply because I don't have time for that, but in the past I was into RPG's big time. My favourite game of all time is and always will be Baldur's Gate, so I decided to make a Baldur's Gate themed sketchbook.


 
Materials
  • A4 sized sketchbook
  • Kraft paper
  • Cardboard
  • Modeling clay
  • Sculpting tools
  • Hole punch
  • Box cutter
  • Acrylic paint
  • Book binding glue
  • Tissue paper 
  • Matte varnish

Sculpting the sigil
The first thing I did was sculpting the sigil that appeared all throughout the game. It is the symbol of Bhaal, the Lord of Murder, who happened to be the protagonist's father. No need for a spoiler alert here, the game was published in 1998. Damned, it's been that long? I'm getting old! Anyway, the sigil is a skull with twelve teardrops orbiting around it, and I made it using modeling clay and cardboard.
I don't have much experience sculpting, and I had never done a skull before. I made some sketches, and already cut out a cardboard circle for the background of the sigil. I transferred the sketch to the cardboard disc and started sculpting. The most difficult part was the mouth and the teeth, but overall it wasn't too hard. A day later, the clay had hardened and I glued it to the cardboard background.

 
Next up, the teardrops and eight small cardboard dots for the rivets around the sigil. I made those using a hole punch, the teardrops were cut out using a box cutter. Cutting thick cardboard is quite time consuming. If there's one tool that would come in handy for most of my projects, it would be a laser cutter! Some day, perhaps...
Finally, all parts were glued together, and before painting it, I gave it a few coats of acrylic gesso. Already looks quite nice! Pity I didn't have any more silicone left, or I would have made a mold of it.


Other cover ornaments
Besides the sigil, there are metallic looking ornaments on the cover, wich I also cut out of thick cardboard. Again, a laser cutter would come very much in handy here. Perhaps it's time to buy a lottery ticket...
I cut four strips that run across the entire width of the cover and four small pieces for the spine. To give the surface a bit of texture, I glued some tissue paper over it. Like the sigil, these parts got a coat of gesso.



Painting
Next up: painting the cover ornaments! The metal strips first got a base coat of gray. Next, I drybrushed some black over it. This breaks up the monotone gray. It helps if the surface has some sort of texture. I achieved this by glueing tissue paper to the cardboard, but you could also use some sort of texture medium.


To make it look really metallic, I drybrushed silver paint over it. I have used this technique several times before for creating a cast iron look, and it works great.
The skull was pretty simple to paint. I used two colors for giving it an aged appearance: raw sienna for the lighter shades and burnt umber for dark spots.

Faux leather book cover
I gave the blank sketchbook a faux leather cover using kraft paper. I'm not gonna explain in detail how I did this, because I have done this already in a previous post. This time, I didn't use a single piece of paper for the entire cover, because I wanted to glue the ornaments directly to the cover. I left those parts of the cover exposed.



Another thing I did this time: wrapping the inside of the book in plastic. I don't want to risk ruining it with paint smudges anymore.
After the cover was painted, I put in new cover sheets on the inside. Just simple blank papers. For every project, I intend to make something special, but usually I end up with a blank sheet of paper.

Putting it together
After painting the cover, it was time to put all ornaments in place. I started with the strips across the cover, the pieces on the spine and finally the sigil. After the glue had dried, I gave it a few coats of matte varnish.

I really like how it turned out. I plan to make more video game inspired sketchbooks. Now, keep in mind, it's been ages since I played video games. The last game I played was World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, so don't expect any Skyrim inspired stuff.
Another thing I'm thinking about is making silicone molds of my cover ornaments. They take a lot of time to make, and making molds would make everything a lot easier. 

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