Not a big fan of unicorns, but I can do dragons all day long. For my first foray, I chose something relatively simple. This is the imperial crest from the Elder Scrolls series of computer games, of which Matt and I are both big fans. I figured it would make a classy cover design and, unlike the minor X-Com flub with my little brother, I know Matt would recognize it because it’s been in all of the games for years and years.
First, a stencil pulled from a how-to-draw-stuff site. (Unfortunately, I lost the link.)
This is not my best tooling. There are some unfortunate places (mostly around the outer edges) where you can see individual strikes and tool marks in the leather; I did not blend it as well as I normally do. That said, I’m pretty happy with where I created some softer angled surfaces on the curves, particularly around the neck and interior of the wings, using the modeling spoon.
And then skip ahead a few steps. This used the Eco-Flo dark cocoa dye (now discontinued, but I have a BIG bottle) with the gold frost hi-lite over it. If anything, this is even more striking an effect than over the forest green. Unfortunately, I was again unable to fully capture the richness of the color with my camera, though this one comes fairly close.
Since doing this, I visited Tandy Leather again for their end-of-the-year sale and picked up a few more tooling stamps (half-off, huzzah!) that are beveling shapes but without the texturing (i.e. smooth heads). If I were doing this piece again, I would use those on the outer edges to make a sharper relief, rather than try to blend the shading into the background.
For all of my complaints, I really do think this turned out pretty well, and I’d be happy to carry it around myself if I hadn’t just wrapped it up for Matt. Maybe next time.
On that note, I just picked up Oblivion with all of the expansions for less than $7 (thanks, Steam), so I think I should go play with that some more.