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March 27, 2011
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v a s i l i c a by dapper-owl v a s i l i c a by dapper-owl
A labor of love and sorta hate. This is a portfolio piece I've done for school as well as part of a pitch for a Bioware assignment in which we have to make concepts for a fake video game. I'm so glad to be done this image, even with its flaws. You can check out my process on my blog over at : [link]

My main beef (among MANY) with video games these days is the severe lack of strong female leads. At least half of the gamer population is made up of females and I find more and more there are fewer games that even attempt to cater directly to them. The best we can hope for that aims specifically at a female audience is RPGs out of Japan, which I'm sad to say, have been kind of sucking lately. SO, I wanted to make a strong female lead with a compelling plot, good character/emotional development and (what I would hope to be) engaging gameplay. /end rant

Hopefully I'll upload some more from this mock game, so you can get a better idea of what I mean.

Thanks to all my friends and classmates for helping me on this pic, and putting up with my constant nagging and bitching.

Vasilica (c) `lone-momo 2011
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Daily Deviation

Given 2011-04-12
v a s i l i c a by `lone-momo. The Suggester said: "The energy in this image is absolutely fantastic. The rendering and attention to detail is breath taking!". I absolutely agree. This gorgeous piece gives off an enigmatic yet powerful aura I adore. The scene, character design and motion effect are just impressive. (Also suggested by *0Effe0) ( Suggested by painted-bees and Featured by Atramina )
:iconkiron07:
Kiron07 Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2014
Amazing shades)
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:iconthegilgameshlore:
thegilgameshlore Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2014
It's a very beautiful picture ^_^.
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:iconsilveraxe:
Silveraxe Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
I am completely in love with this piece!
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:iconilliarovanna:
illiarovanna Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2014  Student Digital Artist
That is my dream; concept art. Only... selfishly for myself. P: 
Haha, there aren't very many are there? Not very- well thought out ones atleast; they usually are made I think based on the ideals of certain pervs. Its like, where's the real story? who is she? And why should she be awesome and why should I care?

Mulan. She is the only epic female character I can think of. 
However, there are many books I've read with strong female leads...
Dragon Spell, and... Dragon's Milk. Two different series... but very interesting to read.
Nah, we'll create epic heroine's ourselves.
;D
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:iconwaldkeir:
Waldkeir Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2013
Absolutely stunning! I'd love to hear the back-story to this.
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:icondarkodev:
Darkodev Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
I really like this concept. Well executed.
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:iconbing-ratnapala:
Bing-Ratnapala Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
woooooooow! incredible work!
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:iconchinchilla-girl:
Chinchilla-Girl Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2013
HUZZAH!!! Go you! Female gamer, appreciate the work xx
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:iconforestshifter:
Forestshifter Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2013  Student General Artist
This is wonderful! Are the deer made out of stone?
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:iconlittlemissaries:
LittleMissAries Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh my gosh! That's really cool.
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:iconmissip:
MissIp Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2013
outstanding
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:iconlittle-mana:
Little-Mana Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2013  Professional Filmographer
This amazing illustration makes me thinking about Princess Mononoke (of Miyasaki) *-*
Congratulations though, this is absolutly fantastic ! I really love your art :')
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:iconbabou-shka:
Babou-Shka Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2013
Wow, i love it! The feeling coming out of it is amazing!
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:iconsashamya:
sashamya Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2013
Have i commented on this? i don't know, if i have then you get two comments. i'm not a gamer but i would be intrigued by a game with a sweet as hell herd of death-elks controlled by amazing forest lady. Or i would at least look at fanart of it like i already do with TF2.

Gorgeous, gorgeous work. Beautiful details and ambiance, and you did a good job of making her the focal point without putting her in the foreground of the image.
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:icondapper-owl:
dapper-owl Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2013
aaahhhhh thanks ladybro, that's definitely what i going for! also, i don't mind how many times you comment if they're all gonna be lovely like this. *u*
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:iconsashamya:
sashamya Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2013
i will do my best!
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:iconzak05:
Zak05 Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Amazing!!
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:iconspielodia:
Spielodia Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2013  Professional
I don't quite agree with you (and I'm female), but more importantly this looks really amazing. Not sure how riding a stag would be doable in a game but I'd love to see it. Would love to have this as a print too.
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:iconbrandon-montrone:
Brandon-Montrone Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013  Professional General Artist
I like the sense of motion i get when I look at this piece. You immediately hear hooves stomping and chaos ensues........... I really dig your character style as well as the atmosphere. This one has it ALL!!!
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:icondapper-owl:
dapper-owl Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013
Hahaha thanks I'm glad you get such a great reaction 8)
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:iconbluevermillion:
bluevermillion Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
amazing. love the dark shading and that level of detail is gorgeous! *o* I keep coming back to this piece
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:iconfilds:
Filds Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
OWW Amzing Work!! fav Of course!!
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:iconl-sparrow:
L-Sparrow Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
It's really elegant as the silhouette and of the young woman and the deers stand out against the clarity. The work on the light is impressive. It tempts to play it.
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:iconmangatellers:
Mangatellers Featured By Owner Dec 21, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Incredible art work. I like the lighting from the animals eyes. Also the character looks fantastic. Well done! :D
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:iconraeri-chan:
Raeri-Chan Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Amazing. Simple amazing.
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:iconalzith:
alzith Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
this is so cool :D
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:iconpearlphoenix:
PearlPhoenix Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
wow <3
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:iconneko-baka-olush:
Neko-Baka-Olush Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2012
I can´t stop looking at it =u= That details and all ... just perfect! ;3;
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:iconoumagadoki7:
Oumagadoki7 Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
So AWESOME!! :D
i like the name... v a s i l i c a... WONDERFUL
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:iconmallacai:
Mallacai Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Absolutely amazing! It´s a great atmosphere - dark and beauty.
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:iconzlobanajvacsia:
ZlobaNajvacsia Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2012
awesome
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:iconmeeshkamodel:
Meeshkamodel Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2012
hey I know you guys from conventions I'm :iconalexiuss: wife and this I LOVE SO FRIGGEN MUCH just wanted to say couldn't stop looking at it.. gorgeous.
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:icondapper-owl:
dapper-owl Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2012
Hahah! Thank you so much! :> It was great meeting you btw!
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:iconieatb3ars:
ieatb3ars Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2012
As a preface (though it doesn't really matter), I am a guy. And I totally agree; I'd love a good female lead. My biggest gripes with a lot of female designs are not only the sheer impracticality/ impossibility, but also the way they are portrayed as over-sexualized individuals.

Don't get me wrong; I love a beautifully drawn/rendered character, especially with nice long legs. I get that some real-life people are very promiscuous and love to flaunt their bodies. But, that shouldn't dictate almost all female designs. In western games, it's all about the cleave and the curvy shapes. Then on the other side of the world, there's all that PLUS the loli/shy-girl-who-still-wears-really-short-clothing thing (wth is that anyway?!?). To be blunt, it's like devs decided, 'let's take breasts which are already awesome on their own and make them even larger b/c bigger = better. Then, let's not even bother designing armor/clothing that work and let's just slap on a bikini and put chain textures over it. Oh, she needs a weapon... let's just give her a big ass sword b/c who doesn't like a big ass sword?'

Then there's the character's motive/role. Often, a female character just operates as a quest giver (damsel in distress; family she needs rescued; someone who screwed her in the past, literally or figuratively; etc.) I'd love a female character whose saves the world just because it was the right thing to do. No divine calling. No I'm-here-to-preserve-nature. She'd be saving the world just because she. fucking. could.

And, an ideal female lead for me is someone with a certain elegance/class (a distinctly missing component in games) and grace (just to look super badass when she kills stuff :P) while retaining a calm confidence in her abilities for when she talks to NPCs. She'd be attractive but not oversexualized (as in she'd wear pants and a shirt that didn't burst outwards), very much like the protagonist in Capcom's Remember Me. And, she sure as hell wouldn't need help from anyone (she'd be a certified badass like what I thought Lightning or Oerba would be), outside of a guest provider.

Personally, I'm hoping that the new Lara Croft can fill this void in Western gaming.
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:iconstarrylives:
starrylives Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2012  Student Photographer
I've been watching from afar for a long time. I love ALL your stuff, you're by far my favorite artist and I'm just blown away by your style and work. If you ever made a video game I would obsess over it like no other. I swear, something that awesome could not exist. You must succeed!! I'll be waiting!!
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:icondapper-owl:
dapper-owl Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2012
Thank you!! <3
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:icondaoyiliu:
DaoyiLiu Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
So much love for you! Female gamers are definitely under-represented in the industry, i think it's probably because female gamers sorta like attractive female characters as much as male gamers do, so there's never really been a massive critical demand for strong practical non-sexual-fantasy-related female leads (except in Mass Effect. Commander Shepard is pretty damned badass as a girl, plus none of her armor reveals cleavage.) Having said that though, more strong lead characters that don't try to milk any gender stereotypes and have anatomy spilling all over the place who just happens to be female would definitely be something interesting. I guess it's just easier for game developers to stay out of danger zones with male leads than it is female ones, since men are (in general) pretty standard issue/clear cut in terms of personality "ideal", whereas i doubt you'll find two women who agree on how " real women" should act, never mind getting men to agree with them.
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:icondapper-owl:
dapper-owl Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2012
It's not even so much their appearance (though that also is a issue I have with female characters), but their personality and the roles they play in the games that are cliché and wrought with male driven ideals. Shepard worked so well because she was written as a male, writers didn't change a single piece of her dialogue (except for 'he' becoming 'she' and so forth) when swapping her gender over. They didn't sit down and say, "lets write a female character". She was a character first, and then a woman, which is how they accidentally made the strongest female character of decade. I hope the industry learned something from that.

The fact that you think men are more 'standard' and 'clear cut' is just another example of how skewed we are towards male ideals and male dominance in the industry (and in society). There is absolutely no reason why female characters can't be just as balanced and 'normal' as male characters. Women are not some magical creature that only psychologists and geniuses can decipher and make sense of and we're not special snowflakes that deserve special treatment because we're just 'too hard' to write. We just deserve equal treatment. Both genders are complex in their own ways, its just a lack of equality that makes us unreachable to writers. Real women should act like real people. If they were written as a person first and a female after there would be much less bickering over how women are represented in media.
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:icondaoyiliu:
DaoyiLiu Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Nah you're absolutely right, but that doesn't change the fact that women themselves will bicker with each other over whether or not women should behave "femininely". Shepard incident was fantastic because the writers didn't try to make it a big deal. I'm 100% certain that over time, these sorts of things will become more commonplace, and equality will happen ironically when people stop acting like it should have been an issue at all in the first place. But it's a process that filters through generations as values change with its society. Should or should not isn't something that anyone can imbue onto someone else. People getting upset about it just makes it a "sensitive topic" and that never goes down well. If you feel strongly about something, then live it, set the example, which i have no doubt you're doing, it's the best anyone can do. The fact that i think men are more standard and clear cut is just a simple observation of current society, not something that I'm actively promoting. It has nothing to do with male dominance, simply that the "male ideal" is much easier to generalise, partially because most men tend to be in agreement as to what that is, and the ones who aren't in agreement are in the minority, and they have their own battles to fight.
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:icondapper-owl:
dapper-owl Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2012
The only reason women bicker about femininity is because it's the only thing that is represented by the male lead industry, and represented poorly at that. We don't get diversity of character like men do. We don't get clean cut personalities like men do. The female 'ideal,' as projected by our society, is not something that the average woman agrees with because it's not representing the average woman. It's representing the male fantasy of a woman, which is completely different than the male fantasy of a man. These aren't about our values evolving over years and letting it happen naturally, its about us as human beings being heard over the cacophony of 'don't complain'--'don't make it a big deal'--'get over it'. As far as I'm concerned, if you're not making a big deal about it you are part of the problem. This should be a sensitive topic. If you're observing society as representing men as easier to write and women as something contentious, there is a problem there.

The Shepard incident wasn't 'made a big deal of' not because the writers were trying to write a good female lead, but because it happened completely accidentally. The female biology of the character was literally a model swap and the company has stated in interviews that it wasn't their intent to make a balanced character for both genders. It was an afterthought, they only added the female model choice to give the option so it appeared 'fair', not because Shepard was designed that way or ever meant to be a woman. They weren't trying to appeal to female gamers, they were just trying to cover their asses. And in doing so they inadvertently made a character first, and a female second. This is even apparent in their marketing materials, in which male!shep is the only option portrayed for Mass Effect. Giving them any credit for fem!shep is a bit of an insult to the whole debate.

Sorry that got kind of long. D:
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:icondaoyiliu:
DaoyiLiu Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Haha no prob. I suppose I can understand why you might feel strongly about the topic. Inequality in any form isn't pleasant to live with. It's possible I've just grown up in an environment wherein the gender issue has never affected me as much because my race has always been the first thing people notice even before my gender. Since I've always behaved pretty gender neutral, i guess people ignore the one fact and target the next. But even then, simple confidence and a sense of humor often negates most prejudices. That's why i prefer not making it a big deal. If i act all offended when someone cracks an Asian joke or expects me to be good at something that i don't understand at all (even though I'm usually not offended, but it seems expected of people to be offended by these sorts of things), then the person who brought it up gets defensive and most likely will continue to be racist and ignorant simply because of a bad encounter. If i just shrug it off like it doesn't matter or laugh like any other human being, then people realize that I'm just like anyone else and they sorta feel silly about bringing it up at all. I guess I'm just saying that it's kinda the same with feminism. I suppose ignoring the issue entirely is a bad idea, but people get exasperated and irritated when feminazis go around being offended by everything that was never really intended to be hurtful in any way, and as a result they just lose respect for the cause. Men like scantily clad women with demure or fiery personalities and curves, it's as sexist as women liking men in uniforms, confident or mysterious personalities and six packs. But men don't make this huge issue about it and get offended whenever a woman comments about a dudes ass.
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:iconziblie:
ziblie Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2012
You can counteract individual prejudices by not speaking up too much but systemic bigotry is a whole nother kettle of fish and requires people making an issue of it. Otherwise nothing changes. The civil rights movement was a huge, huge issue. The gay rights movement still is. The gender rights movement needs to be, as well. And it doesn't help that women are systemically told, as part of our socialization growing up, to "be quiet", "be nice", and "not argue". We did not get the vote by shutting up and hoping men would give it to us. Women died for that.

Yes, people get defensive when confronted with their own assholery. People don't like to think they are assholes, or that they are wrong. But confronting them with it means that they can't run from it as easily. If they were confronted with it everywhere, they would have little choice but to change or be rejected socially.

Dapper-owl is doing a better job of describing the rest of the issue so I'm not going to go there. But not speaking up about the inequality or mistakes present in the system is not going to change anything. It's just like if you see an artist putting collarbones on someone's back in every single piece of art they draw. If you don't bring it up they will never have a chance to fix it. Initially they might be defensive and angry, but once they realize that no, collarbones don't go on the back, they will change their behavior. (Or they won't, and they'll continue to be wrong, but everybody who witnessed the exchange will realize it, and may have changed their minds in the meantime... which is equally important.)

A lot of people don't think that the inequality of women is an issue because it is so ingrained in every aspect of our culture. It is beaten into us from the moment we are born, through the media, through gender roles, through marketing. It is so pervasive, so insidious, that "it's just the way things are" and women do not understand that they are being oppressed rather than just labeled as different. At this level of things, people need to speak up about it because it is a subtle monster, and there is no other way to bring it to light.
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:icondapper-owl:
dapper-owl Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2012
It's not really the same. When women are idealized they are objectified into sex objects. When men are idealized they are treated as heroic and strong. It's a male power-fanatasy, not a female sex-fantasy. There is a huge difference there. Giving a dude a six pack and putting him in a suit is much more flattering and respectful than giving a chick huge boobs and taking away her clothing. Men are not in any way, shape or form sexualized in the ways woman are. If they were we would see men with their clothes missing, sculpted bodies (not the Arnold body type we see in the media) and giant dicks bulging out of tight booty shorts. That is the way women are represented, and it's not just a few things here and there, it's the norm. It's pervasive through all our media.

This isn't about cracking jokes either. No one is 'joking' when they design these characters. If you laugh about a sexist female stereotype and brush it off you are sending the message to whoever created it and whoever enjoys it that 'this is okay to do and keep doing it'.

The problem with femnazi's is that they're not making their point and they're arguing irrationally about it. They recite mantras that make no sense except to people who are already close to the topic. It's preaching to the choir in a nonsensical way, and annoys everyone on both sides. Not all feminists are femnazi's but if you feel strongly about a topic suddenly you're offensive to MEN?? Excuse me? How is believing in my rights and equality somehow making your life worse and insulting you as a strong, independent man? It's not. Its ass backwards. We have nothing to apologize for and we should not give a shit about stepping on people's toes.

Games are just a by-product of the how messed up our society is. The gaming industry stereotypes is merely a reflection of what's wrong in every day life, and it panders to those who think its normal and 'okay'. As a woman, this effects us deeply and should not be ignored or laughed off, no matter how the original creators intended it.
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:iconlhuneart:
LhuneArt Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
You know, I apologize for bringing up an old discussion for you, but you have just earned my respect big time. You have worded what I've been thinking for a long time perfectly and I can only hope that together (granted, you probably more than myself considering that you are way ahead of me in skill and knowledge), we can make a difference in this matter.

I work full time as an intern at a game company, it is a team of 15 and I am the only woman. Of course, being an intern I can't expect to have much of a say in what goes on, but if I even so much as mention the female audience, the faces of most of them change into a mocking grin. They pretty much deny it's existence entirely, or argue that it is so small a group that it isn't worth aiming for. Thankfully, I have noticed that the younger employees (and interns) are more on my side so there is probably a good development going on there. Still, rather than allowing a bit of female influence into their team, they pretty much force me to think like a guy and adjust my work accordingly. If I try to oppose, my opinion is jokingly classed as feminist and thus irrelevant; this is something I've come across both inside the company as well as outside in larger gaming communities. It is extremely frustrating and I hope it will disappear in time.

In a nutshell, thank you for being both a great artist and person, at least where this subject is concerned :).
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:icondapper-owl:
dapper-owl Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2012
Man, that sounds horrible. :< It's such a shame that half the population is completely written off because we're not interested in playing games about beef-cake men and busty broken-spine women. You may only be an intern now but someday you'll move your way up in the ranks and be able to really make some change happen. Bring all your friends, work hard, and you should be golden. I really can't wait to see what our generation does to the industry, I'm hoping things change in a big way.

:> Thanks for the comment!
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(1 Reply)
:iconcatyjerk:
Catyjerk Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Never have I seen ungulates look so badass. ...(except in WoW as a personal opinion) Amazing shading and attention to detail .3.
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:iconderwalzer:
DerWalzer Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2012
i really admire the work!
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:icontropenamer:
tropenamer Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2012
Awesome! I like the look and I'm interested to know more about this Vasilica character. Thanks for sharing!
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:iconhazelgee:
Hazelgee Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Cannot see any flaws here, this piece is absolutely stunning! Amazing ;)
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:iconsketchy208:
sketchy208 Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2012
gorgeous!
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