Alden Brumblefoot for Brian was a great challenge and a solid reminder of why I should be doing this lottery. Alden forced me to go way outside my comfort zone and made me draw something I not only wouldn’t usually draw, but would never even think to draw. That being a plucky chef. I’m more of a dwarf/orc, wizard/warrior type guy, but this took a break from the comfortable. It’s often less about the content of the design and more about forming the habit of drawing things you don’t necessarily want to draw, because being a professional artist means being prepared to draw a lot of stuff you wouldn’t prefer to.
If you’re growing as an artist and want to become a concept artist one day, get in the habit of drawing things for other people. Just ask your friends or family members, or even strangers on the internet, what they think you should draw. And when they inevitably say “draw whatever you want” then shun them and find a replacement (I am, of course, kidding), but hold yourself to drawing other people’s ideas. The benefit of this is that there is a wide gulf between drawing random and cool designs for yourself as one-offs, versus drawing something for another person or a project that isn’t yours. Developing those communication skills and flexibility will greatly enhance your ability to find solutions to bringing people’s ideas to life.
So Alden is the latest in a long line of chefs. The Brumblefoots are well-known cooks but they’re usually dedicated to either running an inn or high-end restaurant, or serving a particular royal or noble family. Alden, a breakfast specialist, wants to break from tradition and become a travelling celebrity chef. The world needs new and exciting spices and he’s going to bring them.
He has 2 hats, though I only included one. It’s a modest, brown felt travelling cap. Something to keep the sun and rain out, and he likes to wear fascinators in his hat. In this case it’s the feather of an owlbear from a previous quest and a few sprigs of ingredients he found along his path. It has some embellishing in the form of stitch patterns, something that occurs elsewhere in his design, and having simple (though fancy) embroidery is a good way to show he’s from a well-off family but also isn’t too well off. Rustic but thriving, folksy over fancy.
He has a baby face, which he tries to compensate for with his dashing moustache. I went for something swashbucklery, though I found when he just had the moustache it was coming across as too hipstery, too “look-at-me”. In the hopes of limiting that I added a bit of a soul patch to help flesh it out a little bit. Something that could be an intentional growth but could also just be the result of travelling and not shaving off, but it took the weight off the moustache and I think it worked.
Since he does a lot of cooking for nobles I gave him a starched white collar and silk tie. Something he wears more comfortably but could be tightened up before introducing himself. Similar reason why I gave him silk gaiters with gold fasteners and parted foot hair. I think halflings would groom their foot hair, they would notice each other’s feet. He needs a bit of class. Less so because of his family’s status but moreso for presentation. He’s playing a part and has a public face.
His knives are sometimes used as daggers, which are kept in a knife roll with his dominant knife accessible at any point. His bandolier holds crossbow bolts, wooden utensils and an array of spices. He also carries heirloom hardware, such as his pot and cast-iron pan. Since he was already covered in so much (and would need to carry even more than was described to me) I didn’t include everything of his such as the tenderizer and the crossbow, so I just made some indications of things on his back.
His color scheme was inspired by food advertising in the real world. Fast food branding and grocery store packaging has a strong bias towards red and yellow as the color scheme of choice. They’re appetizing colors and whether that’s conditioned or innate, it’s common enough amongst humans that I thought trying to put that into Alden would help a little bit. Even the stripes on his gaiters were inspired by Dave Thomas style fast food uniform shirts of the 90s.
His gold silk apron and red silk sleeves were definitely inspired by the outfits from Iron Chef. Alden would be a prime competitor on that show. His jacket is studded leather armor, and since he’s trying to bring spices and flavors to the world I thought it would be fitting to have at least one part of his outfit styled after Indian and Asian designs, hence the flared shoulders and tapered leatherwork.
Alden was a stressful breath of fresh air that I needed. I’m excited to see what else I get to draw that I would never have thought of.