Queen of the Spiders Re-Covered
We decided to try our hand at a combined redesign, where each of us picked a character in the same picture and redesigned them. And we thought this image, the cover of an old Dungeons and Dragons adventure called “Queen of the Spiders” would be a good candidate (blame for throwing it at us goes to @theoldhack).
At first, Icy thought the “queen” in the title referenced the lady in the middle there, but it’s actually one of the names for Lolth, the spider goddess whom the drow venerate, so…. We’re sure the drow on the cover are important mini-bosses somewhere in the adventure, probably, maybe.
Full write-up and close-up images under the cut.
What’s-her-Face on the Right
Just gotta say that it’s a huge pet peeve of mine when (usually male) writers write a matriarchal society as, air quotes, “sexually liberated,” otherwise known as “an excuse to draw them in lingerie because I can’t imagine women’s bodies not catering to me personally in any scenario, while still drawing men in full body armor.” Thanks for coming to my TED talk.
Okay, so…. I’m not sure what she’s supposed to be… besides a swimsuit model, which maybe the drow do have. Is there a quest where the players go to the underground beach to play underground beach volleyball? Cause if not, why is she like that???
I decided to make her a mage (this was a 1st edition book, so that’s all we got). I ended up changing…. everything, really. I think the only thing I didn’t change was her nose shape. It’s not my fault though, the redline for her original pose was an unsalvageable eldrich nightmare.
I gave her a more confident pose, more comfortable magic-user-friendly clothes (with the spider motif, cause spider god), and even different hair. The original hairdo just wasn’t doing it for me. I wanted her to look cool enough to have her own illustration in the book. She even has a little magic flame (mostly cause I didn’t know what to do with her hand lol)!
Her hair didn’t quite turn out how I wanted it to, but overall, I think it’s a good redraw. She’s got lots of fun shapes, an actual color scheme, and an attitude. What else do we need?
Queen/High Priestess Crotchleg
The composition was so awful that I had to actually largely re-do it by changing the third lady’s position from right to left and recreating large parts of the throne… some of which ended up covered by the main drow’s dress anyway (probably for the better).
Speaking of which, boy was she hard to fix without just throwing everything away and starting over! First of all, the way she sits on the throne seems like a product of an alien who never experienced what a chair is… which might also explain the throne’s uncomfortable-looking design. I actually ended up giving it a bigger seat and more lumbar support.
The pose, of course, got changed to something less concerned with showing off her immaculate Brazilian and more with looking comfortable and intimidating in the authority position. I also noticed her neck was disturbingly short, so I moved her face a tiny bit up. Now her spider crown is more of a tiara than a hat. And she got a golden choker to match.
A lot of questionable physics of how she actually sits got covered up by roomy, relatively simplistic clothes I gave her. Maybe I’d consider something more elaborate if the rest of the painting didn’t require so much fixing. What matters is that it’s not a painted-on swimming suit anymore. I’m overall satisfied with the design of her top and the spiderweb skirt. Hopefully the golden spider jewelry (the legs are thin chains!) gives it some regal feel.
The original shoes were quite stylish, but looked neither comfortable nor matched the fashion sense I went with for the character (also didn’t match the angles at which I redrew legs). So I ended up giving her sandals with golden ornamentation, matching her gauntlets. Sorry not sorry for half-assing the legs. One has to prioritize while on a deadline*.
I’m generally happy with the results, considering the sheer scale of changes we had to apply to have it meet BABD standards for positive example.
*Icy sobbing in the background