It’s been a couple of months, so I thought time for an update. Unfortunately there isn’t a lot to cover. I continued with the character designs, this time the priests of the Pietra Bianca Cathedral.
Just like I did before, I took a lot of inspiration from medieval illustrations, but also from a lot of movies. For the designs for the priests, I looked at the movies Brother Sun, Sister Moon (Franco Zeffirelli) and Becket (Peter Glenville).
Brother Sun, Sister Moon is a great example of a typical 70s representation of religion. Instead of a historical accurate view, we get a more aesthetic and mythical view on the subject. And that’s exactly what I’m looking for. It’s also about Saint Franciscus of Assassi, which is becoming a returning source of inspiration since Name of the Rose. Particularly the ending of the movie was very interesting for me, because it visually shows the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church. This worked as a strong contrast to the monk Franciscus dressed in drags. The movie has beautiful backgrounds, which I’ll refer to later when I will be working on my own.
Becket seems more like a movie about kings at first sight, but the church plays a big role in this movie. The clothing looked a lot closer to traditional dress, it works well as a counterpart for the former movie. It took its time displaying extensive rituals. I don’t know how historically correct all of this is, but that’s not really the point of my research. The goal is not to replicate Roman Catholic tradition, but to create some depth for my own fictional church.
To get a general feel for the style, I started to sketch different priests, bishops, archbishops and even some demons. The clothing was very important, contrary to the monks that all wore the same robes. The hierarchy has to be visible by their clothes. In the end, it has to feel like an actual complete church order.
As is to be expected, I looked at lot at illustrations depicting the Holy Virgin Mary, for the design of the Holy Mother Arabella and at baby Jesus for the design of baby Elios. I found the way she tilts her head and her motherly gaze (both proud and exhausted) towards her son especially important. For the son, he has to be the most perfect baby with an almost mature look in his eyes.
Holy Mother Arabella and Baby Elios
I kept the priests quite plain, the bishops and archbishops will have more exuberant clothing. I wanted to give each priest a different outfit (again, to contrast with the monks). Aside from their variety, it was important to give them similarity as well. Because the story has its own fictional religion, details will differ from Christianity. These will have a big impact overall. For instance, it does not contain the symbol of the cross. The symbols people associate with within this fictional religion will be locks, keys, cubes and triangles. This will challenge me to dig deep into the visual symbols of the Christian faith.
The project will be on another hold for a little while, because I have to work on a smaller project that’s a bit more manageable for a starting animator. Next I’ll be designing the bishops and archbishops of the order. But it’s probably going to take a while before I’ll have another update.
Thank you for your time,