Powered by 100% renewable energy!
I wanted to introduce you to my latest commission. I call it the “Hyrule Triforce Triad” (Vonlongmire, 2022) ©Nintendo, © Bandai Namco Entertainment, & affiliates.
Subsequent sections explain exact details of project (Concept approval, Preparing, Cricut Cutter, Strategic Painting, Reflection, Final Imagery, and References)
Oil Paints (Winsor and Newton)
Acrylic Paints (Blickrylics)
A few weeks ago, my friend Nic and I were catching up! We were roommates in college at Illinois State University and over the years, we became great friends. Recently, he got engaged, bought a house, and moved to a new house. Anyway, his new place is huge, and he asked me to create art for his man cave.
I was honored to take on this project! While I was in college, some of my favorite memories were chilling with my buds and playing video games. Besides partying, you make great friends with people during random times in college (grabbing pizza during finals week, laundry bingo, late-night trips to the dining center-you had to be there). My buds and I would spend hours playing classic N64 games like Smash bros and Mario! Nic loved Legend of Zelda.
Now that we are getting older, the real challenge was to create a piece of art that spoke to innocence yet sophisticated enough for a man cave. Nic and I did not discuss a timeline or a budget, and he provided full creative freedom.
As a disclaimer, my knowledge of Legend of Zelda has been through affiliates like Smash Bros. So, I already knew about the Triforce logo and I wanted to integrate that into the art somehow. I conceptualized painting each character on an equilateral triangle to make the Triforce logo. Then, I conducted research on the internet. After looking over many symbols, finding rubies, and choosing the art style, I finalized the concept. I texted the concept to my friend and got it approved the next day with a note to rotate each character, so Ganondorf will be at the top.
I immediately started by heading to Home Depot to purchase a piece of MDF (Medium-density fiberboard). I like working with MDF because it is eco-friendly and also very easy to cut. Next, I drew an equilateral triangle on the MDF. I did this by using my speed square as a protractor. Then, I headed to the garage to grab my jigsaw to cut along the guidelines. After that, I sanded the MDF and prepped the MDF triangle piece by painting it with white primer!
A few hours later, I focused on expediting the execution process for faster delivery. I bought a projector by Miroi and traced each of the characters in their respective Triangles. Zelda to the left, Link to the right, and Ganondorf on top. With each character being placed on their own triangles, the remainder is a "fourth triangle," in that negative space. Of course, being my complicated self, in my research, I found this amazing, intricate Triforce logo on the official Nintendo website. The imagery was so complex that it was going to be an obstacle. To paint the Triforce symbol in this great detail requires a lot of time. I did not have that much time. What was I going to do? I began researching laser cutters, stickers, and stuff that cost too much money! Then, I came across the Cricut cutter! My lifeline! Thank you! I converted the imagery from the Nintendo website to a png file using Adobe Photoshop (Select>Color Range>Remove Background;File>Export as PNG). Then I uploaded the png file directly to the Cricut cutter app to be cut out!
Once I solidified my strategy in the middle, I began painting each of the background colors (Red, Blue, Green, and Silver). Since acrylic paints are water-based and dry fast, I wanted all backgrounds to be painted using acrylics. Two of the background colors are primary colors (red and blue) which could easily appear elementary. To avoid that, I adjusted the hue vibrance of each color through basic color theory manipulation. Each of the background colors is Blickrylic paint. Red is Fire house red with a bit of brown acrylic added to it. Link’s green is a deep Phthalo green with a bit of white. The color reminds me of a forest. Last, Zelda’s blue is ultramarine blue with a bit of white to resemble a nice sky.
With the background values set, my next step, was each character's skin. I decided to use oils for the various skin tones, because oil blend better and take longer to dry. For Zelda and Link’s skin color, I used equal parts Naples Yellow Hue, Titanium White (by Winsor and Newton oil cooler), and Gamblin’s 1980’s Blush oil color. These colors make for a really great rosy, peach skin color that you often see in video games. Next, for the skin's lowlights, I added a touch of Blick’s oil color Burnt Umber. For highlights, I added one part more of the Naples yellow hue. For Ganondorf’s face, I combined equal parts Permanent Light Green and Naples Yellow colors (by Winsor and Newton oil color). His lowlights and outline were similar (based on the reference photo), I thought using a Prussian Blue (by Winsor and Newton oil color) was best. For his highlights, I added more yellow than green.
Next, for each person’s clothes and hair, I used a combination of different colors. I include all colors above (See "Paints Used" section).
Lastly, for the family crest’s background, the jewelry, and accessories, I used a really nice color by Blick called Premium tempera silver. It has small bits of metallic shimmer color and it represents swords, metal, and jewelry well.
Next, adding the crest was challenging because each intricate cut was an individual sticker (~100 stickers). It was very tedious, and after 3-4 attempts, I added each piece of vinyl to the middle.
Once the family crest was on, I could finalize the piece. I did touch-ups, repainting the background, adding a glow to the Triforce symbols, and outlines. Once outlines were completed, I was ready to add polyurethane, a protective coating. Poly is similar to a clear coat of nail polish but more waterproof and durable. I use water-based polys rather than oil-based polys. Typically, once oil-based poly is dry, the wood/medium will have a warm/yellow tint. Once the polyurethane dried, I added stickers on the back of it! I installed sawtooth pictures hangers on the back so the art will be easier to hang up. On June 5, 2022, I shipped the piece to my buddy!
Last, I wanted to reflect on the time I had completed this project! I loved spending hours discovering new things about Legend of Zelda. It was very challenging to complete. The bottom line, I charged my good friend, Nic, $450 for this commission. I spent about $380 on materials and supplies. The return on investment was not a large profit ($70), but I learned from my mentor that sometimes you take on projects because you enjoy them. Now I have an amazing addition to my portfolio, I was able to reestablish a brotherhood with my friend, and I just loved this challenging project.
Lastly, I am selling digital prints of this art! The personalized touches and attention to detail are what I enjoy most about the process. I hope you have enjoyed this and please share it with another Legend of Zelda fan.
Bandai Namco Entertainment