L5R Art – Daigotsu Kanpeki, Clan Champion of the Spider Clan
I am very excited to announce that my first Clan Champion card has been previewed! In the latest Legend of the Five Rings set, called Aftermath, I got the opportunity to paint Spider Clan Champion Daigotsu Kanpeki. It was a very interesting and different experience than most of my work to date with L5R because unlike all my other cards I was not creating a new personality, but doing a new version of an existing character.
The goal of the card art was to show Kanpeki presenting the Imperial Heir before the court. It called for Kanpeki to be in formal garb carrying no weapons. All in all this was a big challenge for me. In Kanpeki’s original version by Steve Argyle Kanpeki is cutting through massive stacks of bamboo, looking quite fierce. It was my job to figure out what Kanpeki looked like when he was all cleaned up and ready for a night of courtly intrigue.
After talking with my art director, Adrian Burton, he made it clear that Kanpeki’s head gear from Steve’s card should remain, as well as his white scarf. Beyond that I should look to Drew Baker‘s versions of Kanpeki’s father Daigotsu as inspiration for a more formal look.
There was a lot of back and forth getting this card right, but in the end we found Kanpeki’s court look.
With that out of the way the card still had two other big challenges for me: I also had to design the look for the Imperial Heir, and fill the room with a bunch of other clan’s courtiers in attendance for the big event.
For the Imperial Heir I took further inspiration from Drew Baker. I wanted it to look like the Heir had been dressed up to look very much like Kanpeki’s father. This part gets pretty nerdy into the story of L5R, but I love that stuff, and I know the hardcore fans will too.
A little backstory on the card. The Imperial Heir has been fostered by the Spider Clan. In this image we see Kanpeki presenting the Heir publicly, kind of like a sweet 16 party or a recognition of manhood. This is a big deal, but as a slap in the face to the other clans because the Heir is dressed to look like one of the greatest enemies of the empire, Kanpeki’s father, Daigotsu. It’s subtle power play, but at this point Kanpeki is so powerful that all the other clans can do is mutter under their breaths.
All right, enough L5R nerd talk. My final challenge was to fill the room with courtly folks in attendance. You can see a foppish Crab Clan merchant, a chubby Phoenix Clan courtier, and a young emissary from the Crane Clan waiting her turn to deliver a message. I got through it. Learned a lot about kimono’s.
In the end I think the art turned out great! I hope the fans like it to, and enjoy the greater story elements within the card.
To see more of my work or to contact me for availability to help with your project please visit: www.samflegal.com