The Black Tortoise-Snake Picture

~The Black Tiger of the North~
also known as; Xuanwu (Chinese) or Genbu (Japanese)

Element of Water, Season of Winter

The third of the four famed symbols/beasts I had started with the Azure Dragon. Seeing as the one immediately prior is the Tiger - here is the next one I chose to represent as a male - the Black Tortoise-Snake (of the North). Again it is one of the four primary Chinese constellations and in Japanese myth, the northern directional guardian of the City of Kyoto.

Continuing with the theme in description - I'll jump to the details. As I'll note along with the Vermillion Bird which I have coming next...these two were the most difficult to design. For some odd reason, I just could not find a style or outfit to really make it all work until after I had exhausted a whole ton of paper. In the end, since this symbol hinges on TWO creatures - I decided to make him generally asymmetrical and have his outfit comprise of a varied array of things. Also, since I could not for the life of me figure out what to put on his head...I decided to give him the monk look; and use the bald-forehead to represent the tortoise and the hair braid to represent the snake. The weapon in this case came from a pairing thought; The Dragon has a mid/long range weapon, the Tiger short, sooooo the Tortoise/Snake will ALSO get a short weapon and the Bird by proxy the longest ranged. I chose chucks as I thought they really represent water well; both stiff in form but unpredictable by nature (and hey, it helps having been used by Bruce Lee...the man who made the best connection between martial arts and water ever).

Like the tiger before...I'm honestly kinda so-so on the final result of the creature in BG...i'm hoping it all works together as a singular piece.

Hope y'all enjoy it!

This Illustration (C) Alfred Pangkerego 2011

-Utensils- .5 non-photo blue leads, .5 standard lead mechanical pencil, various Sakura pigment liners, assorted Prismacolor and Copic markers, Photoshop
-Working Time- 4 hr. penciling, 2 hrs. inking and cleanup, 4 hrs. coloring, 1 hr. Photoshopping. Total: 11 hrs.
Continue Reading: The Myths