Ms. Dolfen, I must say that this might well be one of the most intriguing additions to your gallery and something of a personal favourite (I readily admit that getting an opportunity to glimpse the creative process leading into the creation of an image always feels like something of a treat to me!), not least by virtue of your use of a national sporting team as a source of inspiration for the sons of a certain civilisation!
Might I be so bold as to ask if you use a similar technique when trying to work out the 'Look' of specific cultures or regions from Fantasy? (like Grand Maester George's Seven Kingdoms or the Houses of the Elf-Friends from Professor Tolkien's Silmarillion).
The approach really is similar, and always has been similar, for anything I do. Of course, a realistic setting like the 3rd century BC calls for much more source studies and in-depth work with archaeological detail, but I usually work with historical sources for clothing, arms and armour. And I sometimes base characters on actual people, too. For elaborate backgrounds, I normally use photos as loose reference.
Out of curiosity, may I please ask if you also use sports teams as physical models for - say - what amount to the ethnic differences between the House of Beor, The House of Hador and the House of Haleth in Tolkien? (or between, say, The North and the West of Westeros).
No, for Tolkien, I use very few (if any) real-life models. That is because my mental images of Tolkien characters are much more idealised and stereotypical than my mental images for, say, Song of Ice and Fire characters or historical people. For years, decades, really, people have accused me of not being able to draw non-stereotypical people, and I kept telling them that with Tolkien, I wanted them to be this way. They never believed me, of course. And now that I'm drawing Carthaginians, suddenly they want my pretty elves back. Life isn't fair.
You're a mother twice over and STILL believe that life should be FAIR? (I salute your enduring powers of optimism!).
Concerning any rogues that challenge you over 'stereotypical' Tolkien characters, please by all means point out that they are ARCHETYPICAL characters as a counter-argument; they're supposed to be universally-recognisable types!
For pity's sake do they expect elves to be UGLY? (well, to be fair Feanor and Eol and Curufin and Celegorm arguably ARE - but only on the inside, in those dark places the light of reason seldom touches upon).
What a delight to see! I, too, frequently use reference or inspiration, and I've gotten over my initial thoughts of "I shouldn't have to do this" because damn that, I want to do the best I can and it helps me get better. Thanks for this lovely collage ^-^
And on a related note, a toy elephant, that is genius, to get the right look of the thing!
Ich schreibe meine Geschichten auf ähnliche Art und Weise. Recherche ist das A&O und nichts ist schlimmer als eine Mittelalterszene, in der die Magd Kartoffeln schält. Wenn es Kampfszenen gibt, teste ich sie mit meinem Tai-Chi Lehrer auf "Machbarkeit" - manchmal eine recht schmerzhafte Angelegenheit ...