The ninja Ayame from Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven, drawn from the back of the PS2 box. The game had next to nothing in the way of illustrations in the instruction manual, and what was there were tiny fine print 3D models. So, this pose was my first choice because it was my only choice. What can you do?
Pencils used: 4H and 2B—I’ve started drawing with multiple pencils because I have them and might as well use ‘em. The harder lead I used up until the time came to shade, at which point I turned to the 2B and filled in all the darker regions such as her outfit, her hair, her gauntlets. Then I switched back to the 4H for most of the flesh, the blades of the swords, and to give a slight texture to the gloves. And then I switched back to the softer 2B for touchups (the darkest shadows on the blade, on her flesh, and to draw the details of her eyes, lips, eyebrows.)
I took quite a few liberties with the shading of the image as the original image was part of the overall back cover. Now that she stands alone, I gave Ayame greater contrast to make her more visually interesting and more dynamic. And actually when it came to blending I considered leaving it as is with raw pencil strokes, but decided to go ahead with the blending.
I considered not bothering with her right arm behind her because it was hard to distinguish the features on the source image. But as the initial sketch had progressed, some of the features came out and I used her left arm as a guideline. Then, after I started shading Ayame’s top, I wish I hadn’t—I’ve been meaning to just leave images in a line-only state and work on that aspect of drawing. But, by then it was too late. At any rate, I like how this render is more lineless than some of my other drawings, and I think overall I’m drifting from my older style of heavy (crappy) lines and heavy shading to something more realistic.