Design Spotlight: Bjarrhvit November 5, 2015 18:10

Hi folks, and welcome back to the spotlight.  Last time we covered the newest Zephyri gladiator, Hagal.  This week we’ll begin discussing Bjarrhvit. 

Bears are a powerful mythic symbol in both Native American and Norse cultures, and we knew we wanted to tap that power for a character sooner rather than later.  The word “Berserk” often has its origin attributed to the practice of wearing bear-skins into battle, and the figure of the bear is incredibly richly described in the stories of many Native American tribes.  The duality of the bear as a solitary, but protective figure, stolid and pragmatic, as well as powerful and often feminine was a great fit for someone we wanted to be a kind of anchor to ground the Zephyri and give them some ability to control the board.

The influence of both cultures lead us to the idea of a polar bear, specifically, hence the character’s name.  The classic fair Nordic hair combining with the lightness of a polar bear’s pelt was great imagery. We wanted her to be close-in and decided to give her a short seax, and as a hunter with her domain in the arctic, we also gave her a second short blade evocative of an ulu or skinning knife.

There was already a lot going on here, and we knew the pose would be key to making a character that’s supposed to be relatively stoic into a dynamic figure that would fit with the motion of the rest of the Zephyri.  Thankfully, Amber Blade Jones was up to the task.  She provided us with some phenomenal pose sketches to work with.

She also did quite a lot of wonderful character design work that we were able to bring in to really define Bjarrhvit and enhance the final results. Stephane Nguyen van Gioi nailed the fluid, ready pose, and his killer attention to detail really emphasized all of the small choices that made this character shine for us. The braids and motion in the cape do a wonderful job of filling the space on a 40mm base, and the fantastic scraps of maille and trinkets really seal the character.

Bjarrhvit is also the next project we have going for Benjamin Williams, so you can look forward to a full-color rendition soon!  As always, hope you enjoyed reading. Next time join us for the last installment on the design of the Zephyri (for now) and learn more about Frigge.