I have always wanted to draw an anime valkyrie, but the winged valkyrie theme has been done to death (no pun intended). So although this anime girl started off being another addition to the valkyrie rank, in the end I did away with the wings and winged helmet ideas and went with a somewhat neglected historical model - a Viking Shield Maiden.
The character's costume is fictitious (but based on real historical types
), but I found it hard to resist not having some type of Viking iconography on her. Given that it's almost Jan 1st, 2011 the triskellion design representing change and opportunity seems appropriate.
Being a Viking, it was a toss up whether she would be a blond or a red head. Blond won out purely because it works better with the dominant blue hues in her costume (but I left her hair loose as the braided hairstyle is too cliche
). The autumn bouquet was a must have as I wanted to soften her overall appearance; I did toy with making her hold a stuffed animal, but given the fjord theme in the background, flowers were a better choice.OC Background:
- Viking Shield Maiden
Being the eldest daughter of a viking chieftain, Aesdrid from an early age was trained to be a priestess/healer with the honored title of "Shield Maiden". Her role was to attend religious and ceremonial services with the village elders and of course her father, the chief. She would also be knowlegable in the herbs and flowers in her area as one of her other roles was to help attend to the sick and wounded, be they people or animal.
Although she was trained to use the weapons of her people, it was not her duty to go to war nor was it her role to accompany the warriors on their infamous coastal raids. Rather she was tasked with an equally important role; that of a shepardess to attend to and protect the valuable livestock of her tribe. This was no small task as there were real threats to the herds which more commonly came in the form of wolves; but on occasions she might need to cross spears with a fearsome bear. Despite her statue, she was every bit as formidible as male viking warriors. The many animal skins that were used by her siblings to keep warm (as blankets
) serves as testimony to her skill and bravery.
One other important task that she was entrusted with is to sing the songs of her people. In a time of oral traditions, she was required to learn and memorize all the songs and poems of her tribes as well as the correct times and settings in which to recite them. There were songs to the gods, for safe travel, war, remembrance, love, or just to re-tell the stories of her people. It was not unusual for her tribefolks to ask her to sing for them especially since she had a wonderful voice. Had she be born in modern times, she would most likely have been a participant in the Eurovision Song contest!Credits:
All images used below were either redrawn or digitally modified, but original copyrights/credits go to:triskellion
(a nice piece of jewellery that features the use of this traditional viking motif)village
(bride's autumn flowers bouquet)sky
- sorry I lost the URL, it was from a photo posted on Flickr and as used here it has been seriously modified
Rendered in Illustrator 10/Photoshop 7.0