Betiereko Oroitzapenak - Everlasting Memories

Betiereko Oroitzapenak - Everlasting Memories

Maddi Tolosa
by maddi on 20 May 2022 for Rookie Awards 2022

World building in progress for the Concept Art and Illustration course at Lightbox Academy. In this first part I worked on the character design. The story takes place in a made-up ancient Basque Country, where mythological creatures are slowly dying as people forget their existence under the influence of Christianity.

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Artizar (name of the planet Venus, the Morning Star or the Evening Star) is the main character of the story. She actually belongs to the present time, but after falling asleep while reading a book about Basque mythology, she woke up in this world where what she thought were fairy tales and fantasy are real, and are about to disappear. Her mission is to recover the stories and bring the old deities and creatures back to life.

Her clothing is inspired by the traditional costume from the Basque Country, known as “baserritar jantzia”, as she will be pretending to be a common villager.

The book: Argizar carries the book about Basque mythology she was reading when she fell asleep. At the beginning of the adventure its pages are empty and she has to fill them with the stories of the mythological beings, so that they are never forgotten. Only once the book has been restored will she be able to return to her world. It has a “eguzkilore” on it (“flower of sun”), a symbol of protection that keeps evil spirits, illnesses, storms and other kinds of misfortunes away.

The bag: as the main character, she will travel around the Basque Country collecting stories and will need a bag to carry her personal belongings and the book.

He is a giant cyclops who captures and eats children or even adults that come close to his territory. He also owns a flock of sheep, which can end up serving as food too. He is wild and aggressive, and one of his hobbies is throwing big stones from one mountain to another.

(Normal state on the left, enraged state on the right)

Tartalo lives in the mountains, rather isolated, so I wanted him to have a primitive look, which also would reinforce his personality. As he has a flock of sheep, his clothing is made of wool and leather from these animals.

“Aker” in Euskera means “billy goat”, and “beltz” means “black”, so it literally means “black billy goat”. This deity is the protector of other animals and even has healing powers.

(Normal state on the left, healing state on the right)

I wanted Akerbeltz to look different from a regular billy goat, so I gave him extra horns and mixed him with other animals such as the bull and the bison, making him look stronger and more impressive. He has the mark of an “eguzkilore”, which is the symbol of protection, on his back. As for the colors, even if the name suggests that he is a black goat, I decided to add reddish tones which are present in the coat of the “azpigorri”, a native breed.

Mikelats is the evil son of the main goddess Mari. He has joined the side of the Christian Church and acts during the night, stealing memories about the Basque creatures and their faith in them. 

Despite being a character from the Basque mythology, in this story Mikelats is part of the Christian Church’s forces. Therefore, I mixed the friar uniform with a dark knight armor. I also added some elements such as bandages and the hole on his chest, to represent that he has left a part of him behind and has been corrupted.

Disclaimer: The characters are based on those from the Basque mythology, which has its origins in really ancient times and hadn’t been recorded until the 20th century, when Jose Miguel Barandiaran investigated and wrote about it. The tales have different variations depending on the location and have been affected by other religions and beliefs. While working on this project, I got inspiration from them but changed some parts and characteristics to adapt them to my story.

Reference images:

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