Chivalry 2012

Of all the drawings here at Dark Side of the Soul, Chivalry has been the one I’ve most wanted to revisit for several years now. And I can’t rationally say why I’ve wanted to take a second crack at it. Really, it comes down to “it’s the first.” But so what? Why are we obsessed with firsts and lasts? I suspect it’s the crossroad of two conflicting compulsions—the human ego’s need to feel enlightened and the laziness that avoids actually getting enlightened. Why study, interpret, and analyze when you can memorize a timeline? Think about it. When someone can point out a first/last, it seems impressive ... but what does that information tell you?

By itself, nothing

Now the timeline in its entirety can show overarching trends, and that information could prove useful, interesting, and educational ... but a timeline is more than a single point. And how often, when someone recites a first and last, does that same person go on to observe the timeline as a whole?

“Look at me! I have one piece of information totally useless by itself!’ Or as the Don Marquis quote goes, “If you make people think they’re thinking, they’ll love you; but if you really make them think, they’ll hate you.”

But I digress. My quiet obsession with coming back to Chivalry is totally baseless. Chivalry actually was not the first drawing to appear on Dark Side of the Soul. Originally, Betrayal was listed first because that was the drawing completed around the time I started up this new format (which, while we’re on the subject, Dark Side is not my first web page.) Later on, I dusted off older drawings and renumbered the index; thus, Chivalry ended up where it did. And you know what else? It’s not like Chivalry was the first drawing I ever did nor the first drawing I ever saved. It just happens to be the one I arbitrarily picked to lead my online portfolio.

So why has it remained on the backburner of my mind, forever bugging me to revisit? I could write a petty excuse and make it sound meaningful. But I’d just be giving undeserved weight to a silly human fascination. I could say I felt the need to prove that I had advanced artistically by taking on the same material again, but don’t you think the later entries do that just fine by themselves? I’ve long ago abandoned this game idea, that story, and those characters—I don‘t even want to write a novel about them.

It’s amazing how attached, how worked up, and how dedicated we can get to something so trivial, so meaningless, and so stupid.

Anyway when I sat down to draw, I pulled up the original because even though the changes and updates would be sweeping, I wanted to carry over key elements tying the two together such as the dark lining on his shirt, the earrings, the side-part of his hair, and X scar over his eye. I also pulled up Ayame Kojima’s wonderful Symphony of the Night artwork for inspiration and stylistic guidance (in particular for rendering the suit.) I’m most proud of his eyes which happened by accident. While shading his face, I tend to save eyes for later because their expressiveness combined with their tiny size leaves very little room for error (or graphite smearing). And I noticed unshaded, pure white irises, gave him an eerie piercing look ... almost like his eyes are glowing. So, of course, I was sure to leave them alone, making them the brightest spot of the composition.

Lastly, the update is clearly superior (goes without saying after fourteen years), I addressed pretty much all the problems I had with the original, and like the Noria update it captures the essense of the original better than the original. Also like Noria 2012, there is something I do prefer in the original. I kinda prefer the off-center asymmetrical placement better. I guess if I really wanted to I could always electronically crop the new one ...

—Jay Wilson

Fourteen Years Earlier: Chivalry, Take One