Gallows Wither, a "bad guy" exploration for the Lean Into Art Quests

February 28, 2013 by  
Filed under Blog

Gallows Wither, a "bad guy" exploration for the Lean Into Art Quests

We recently added mini art challenges to the +Lean Into Art Cast, and we call them quests ( These quests are open to the public, come in various levels of challenge in terms of time and difficulty, and we discuss the submissions on the following LIA Cast.

With this latest quest, I threw down the challenge Evil, or Just a Jerk? (, where you are challenged to chart some of your favorite bad guys along an arbitrary series of categories I devised. The bigger challenge was to create your own bad guy, assign them a category, and explain why they fall there.

So for my submission, here is a "final-ish" design for a bad guy (gal, actually) for a new graphic novel I'm developing.

Gallows Wither

Gallows is a member of a family of spirit creatures known as The 500 Children of Hate. Each offspring is the living embodiment of one specific aspect of hatred, whose job is to spread that particular aspect, and Gallows happens to represent hopelessness.

The 500 owe their allegiance to their mother, though she has not been seen in centuries. So Gallows has gone rogue and begun operating as a free agent, using her powers to spread hopelessness and despair to manipulate others and build a fiefdom for herself. What she doesn't realize is that her mother is always watching, and may yet return to remind her daughter that she is merely an operative in the mother's grander schemes.

Gallows' presence alone evokes despair in even the bravest opponent. To look at her is to be reminded of all past failures and affronts, to see one's self as an insignificant spek occupying a vast, implacable universe. Those who spend time in her presence eventually lose all sense of identity and purpose, submit to her will, and develop an irrational hatred of anything beautiful or anyone with a sense of agency.

Should she find herself facing a truly heroic will, Gallows can resort to using her crossbow, which fires destructive bolts of mystic energy. The bolts carry an emotional payload similar to the aura she radiates.

Where she charts
(again, see the chart categories in the quest post:

Megalomaniac/Force of Nature

While she believes that she is operating on her own to gather power to herself (Megalomaniac), in the end of her story she will be confronted with the dual nature of being a spirit being: it appears that she's working out of her own will, but in doing so she's serving the purpose her mother intended in the first place. So is she acting off of a script or is she writing her own story? The answer seems to be the former, which drives the poor villain into her own hellish hopelessness (Force of Nature).

(I'm dropping a lot of opaque references to plot elements in the book I'm writing, but this is an outline for the purposes of the quest exercise–I'll talk more about this in tonight's Lean Into Art Cast)

Finally, how I drew this

This piece was penciled, inked, and flatted in LayerPaint ( on my Galaxy Note 10.1. I originally wanted to do the final color renders using the same setup, but time crunch and some technical snafus required that I finish the job in Adobe Photoshop on my desktop. I'm confident that I could have done the same thing in LayerPaint, though, and will try some more tests with future illustrations. It's looking like you can do full-on high-res comics illustration with that setup.

It may come down to a workflow using LayerPaint, Photoshop Touch, and Sketchbook Pro, and I plan on posting about some testing I've been doing to that end.

I'll talk all about this during tonight's Lean Into Art Cast, streaming live at 9:15 pm ET at!

#comics   #characterdesign   #liaquest3  

Google+: Reshared 2 times
Google+: View post on Google+

Post imported by Google+Blog. Created By Daniel Treadwell.


3 Responses to “Gallows Wither, a "bad guy" exploration for the Lean Into Art Quests”
  1. Love how she turned out.