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March 29, 2012
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Reunion at Longzhong by EnzanEXE Reunion at Longzhong by EnzanEXE
"... I've missed you, my lord."

To me, the relationship between Liu Bei and Zhuge Liang is one of the most moving and tragic in Three Kingdoms 2010. Watching Zhuge Liang dedicating his life to fulfilling Liu Bei's last wishes, even as his old comrades died one after another and left him alone to carry on the fight, was heartbreaking; that I already knew he would ultimately fail didn't help either.

As such, this picture and scenario is my way of providing a happier final chapter to their story. Zhuge Liang finally reunites with Liu Bei after his death, at his thatched cottage in Longzhong, which he had sworn to return to upon reuniting China but was never able to in life. (This is essentially the culmination of a long fanfiction I will never actually finish - or start - writing, because I know by now how good I am at finishing fics.)

On the technical side, I also wanted to experiment more with coloring. Thanks mostly to purplekecleon's tutorials on color theory, which showed me how badly I was failing at everything before, this was actually fairly successful. I'm surprised by how well the figures turned out, and even the background isn't bad. Composition and my grasp of anatomy were less successful, but I've basically given up on the former, and I'm working on the latter. In general, despite quite a few flaws, I'm actually proud of this piece.
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:iconcairu:
Cairu Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
zOMg TK is awesome...this is so pretty
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:iconenzanexe:
EnzanEXE Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you! : o
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:iconjenniferwilson:
jenniferwilson Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2012  Student General Artist
It's like super good! If I have the time, can I write the backstory to this? I hope I do it justice!
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:iconenzanexe:
EnzanEXE Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks! However, the backstory to this picture is something pretty close to my heart; I've done a lot of thinking and world-building on it, and feel like if nothing else, I'd like to be the one to eventually write/draw it.

But that just means I don't want to give out the entire plot/hints/etc. - you should feel free to write your own interpretation of this scene and these characters if you want to!
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:iconzhugeliang101:
ZhugeLiang101 Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2012
This is so pretty I'm crying thank you for making this I love it!
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:iconenzanexe:
EnzanEXE Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Aww, thanks! I'm glad you enjoy it : o
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:iconptdahood:
PTDaHood Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2012   Writer
Oh dear God. There's a timelessness to the reunion here. I mean -- dear God, I -love -this. So much. Maybe because it really matches the sort of mood I've been in recently, but...dear GOD.

You know, even though I have the two thousand and ten series for San Guo, I really haven't gotten around to watching it. For me, it's always been the one from the nineties that really creates the atmosphere of the Three Kingdoms for me. Ever since I was very young. When I see this piece, I just think -- it was such a God-damned long war, so long, with some many people coming and passing, and Liu Bei dying, and Zhuge Liang overworking himself and leaving so much behind, and dying, and so many others, and...

Just to think, there could be a moment peaceful as this. In death. And this piece plays out in my head as some dramatic work in the style of the acting in the nineties show. The embracing. The tears. The end.

Excuse me for a moment, I find this piece so moving....
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:iconenzanexe:
EnzanEXE Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Aww, no excuses needed! I'm very happy that my TK art could be so moving and evocative to people - it means I'm doing something right : o

I used to watch the old series religiously when I was a child, so I definitely understand what you mean - I'll probably always associate it, and its opening in particular, with a sense of lost grandeur and immense tragedy. 滚滚长江东逝水, 浪花淘尽英雄 is too appropriate. But I would also say that Three Kingdoms 2010, while not intended to be as grand or evocative, has its own strengths; its characterization is top-notch, its plot tends to be far more clear, and it does a wonderful job of zeroing in on the mental, emotional, and moral conflicts of its main characters. Basically, as a TK fan, '94 RoTK gave me the necessary emotional background, and TK2010 helped me understand and sympathize more fully with each kingdom's struggles.

... okay, that was a really long paragraph just to say I really like drawing completely emotional pictures of TK2010 characters, and perhaps providing the endings I wish they had been able to achieve. I tend to ramble.
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:iconcelebrithil:
Celebrithil Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2012
That's too bad, because epic stories? They're seriously cool. But I get where you're coming from. Still, you could try just explaining the backstory without putting it into form, and see if someone is interested in writing it for you. And if nobody is, we'll still know what the story is.

I've found a few, ahem, rivers for the series. I won't begin watching it right now, because if I did I probably wouldn't have a life for some time, but you really make me look forward to it. And I'll have to read it at some point. I don't know Chinese, so I've got the choice between the English and the French translation. No idea what the best is.

Oh, speaking about fanfic, do you know of any good stories about TK? I searched, but it's abit hard. Ok, very. I love long stories, and the best I could find was rather short...
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:iconenzanexe:
EnzanEXE Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
That would normally be a good idea. However, the worldbuilding I started doing as a bare minimum for figuring out how headcanon would work - that took five pages without even including character development and plotting. I can't in good faith subject anyone else to that >_>

If you're interested in reading the series, I'd recommend the Moss Roberts translation (English). Roberts' is prose-oriented and fairly understandable, which is a bonus when a lot of names look similar in Pinyin. But in a pinch, you can go for the online Brewitt-Taylor translation, which is a bit more archaic and has more unedited mistakes. I have no idea how the French translation compares, though, sorry.

As for fanfic - most of the TK2010 ones I've been reading are, unfortunately, in Chinese. I haven't actually gone searching for English ones since many are Dynasty Warriors-related, and the characterizations in DW aren't really to my liking. One of my friends mentioned finding a few Red Cliffs fics, though; I'll ask her later if she still has links?
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:iconcelebrithil:
Celebrithil Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2012
...well, if you change your mind, you know where to find me! (Because I don't think I'd mind. After reading the series, though. :))

I'll have to check the Moss translation, then. I should be able to get it at the library.

Sure thing for the links, if it doesn't bother you. How good is the Red Cliff characterization? The movie was my introduction to TK, but I don't know how it compares.

*sigh* I had to learn English to read fics, but somehow I don't think Chinese would be as easy... Oh well.
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:iconenzanexe:
EnzanEXE Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Learn English to... that's impressive. I wish I could do that for Japanese, but *definitely* not enough time...

And characterization is a bit of an involved topic. I can give you the short and long answers; read at your leisure.

SHORT ANSWER: Red Cliffs, by dint of being a movie, tends to simplify characters a bit. They're either comic relief (Liu Bei, Lu Su), totally intelligent (Zhou Yu, Zhuge Liang), or brave fighters (Guan Yu, Zhang Fei, Zhao Yun). Compared to the novel version of the battle, everyone is *much* more friendly and morality is more clear-cut. The novel version had an entire (non-historical) segment about Zhou Yu trying to murder Zhuge Liang for being smarter than him, which is what Red Cliffs was trying to redact by making them friends, but I personally think it went a little overboard.

LONG ANSWER: First, there's essentially five different versions of TK that are currently "active":

1. The Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms, or the San Guo Zhi (historical records), written by Chen Shou after all three kingdoms were united by Jin.
2. The Romance of the Three Kingdoms, or San Guo Yan Yi (novel written in Ming dynasty), which the '94 live-action series is based upon almost word-for-word; it tends to glamorize Liu Bei's faction more than the other two.
3. Red Cliff, which is a bit more Western than most (in my opinion)
4. Three Kingdoms 2010 (reinterpretation of the SGYY novel, more heavily focused on depth of characterization)
5. Dynasty Warriors, video game by KOEI, which I'm going to skip for now.

ESSENTIALLY: Red Cliffs' depiction of Zhou Yu is closer to historical in that he's not a raging jealous douche like in the novel, Zhuge Liang is on par with most portrayals (intelligent and... witty? although I have almost no impression of him in Red Cliffs, sorry), Sun Quan is more sympathetic as a character, and Liu Bei is basically just comic relief.

But as a movie, it doesn't have time to go into the deeper and more morally ambiguous traits of the characters, nor can it convey the overarching tragedy that the rest of the Three Kingdoms story becomes. It also focuses, in my opinion, far too much on personal relationships (Zhou Yu and Xiao Qiao, Sun Shangxiang) than political/military intrigues and the sense of grand and heroic, but also somewhat amoral, struggle - which is the most important thing to take away from a TK series.
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:iconcelebrithil:
Celebrithil Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2012
Oh, this is wonderful! And by "this", I mean the picture as well as the inspiration. Too bad you won't write it... *hint*

I had my introduction to RoTK with the Red Cliff movie, and I just had to learn more about it. Especially about Zhuge Liang, because he's my very favourite character. (And then I realized that I'd played Kessen II at some point in the past, but that game is barely worth mentioning.) I'm watching the old series now, but I'll have to see the 2010 version somewhen.

Anyway, I love this piece!
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:iconenzanexe:
EnzanEXE Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I... I *am* seriously very bad at finishing fic, including oneshots. And I have an entire stupidly epic backstory for this picture that I'd have to write if I were to start fic, so... it's sadly not very likely. I'm glad you like this piece, though! : o

(I would also sincerely recommend watching the 2010 version - I can provide you with torrent links if you want - because I personally think it's the more personable and interesting of the two. The old series I enjoyed for nostalgia value, but the new series is the one I go to when I think about strong characterization (and fanfic). Still, it's really cool that you've been drawn into TK - keep at it!)
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:icondreaming-baka:
dreaming-baka Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2012
I think you painted their expressions really well, and that's the most important aspect of this piece. I think if there was more lighting on the fences and drape it would bring out the contrast ever more. ^^ (So by that I mean using a even lighter shade.)

I do find their story tragic...I don't think it ever says whether Zhuge Liang knew he would fail or not, but I think for a person as smart as he, I guess he did see that coming... yet as someone who wants to see a dream come true, he didn't stop trying. This interpretation serves as a pretty good closing to the story though. ;w;
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:iconenzanexe:
EnzanEXE Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks for pointing that out! I was wondering why the middle ground felt so forgettable, and you're right - compared to the bright floor reflections and background, the fences and drapes really should have had more light on them. I'll change that the next time I have some time to retouch this.

And whoops, I was unclear - it wasn't that Zhuge Liang knew that he would fail, but that I knew (since I'd grown up with the story), that made it feel more tragic. Depending on which version of the TK story you go off of, I don't think Zhuge Liang lost hope of restoring the Han ever, or at least not until Sima Yi's escape from Shangfang Valley - but this is a point that can be debated. Nevertheless, I'm glad you like this interpretation : o
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:icondreaming-baka:
dreaming-baka Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2012
Np~ ^^/ Glad I could help.

Oh I see..I probably took it like that because of recently playing Dynasty Warriors- yes by far the least accurate interpretation of the TK story, but I found it interesting nevertheless. xD It doesn't say exactly if Zhuge Liang knew he would fail in there either, but it does hint at it...and also when I think of Jiang Wei and the other generals afterwards, can't help but feel abit melancholic to what happened to them too.
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:iconelleviate:
Elleviate Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
/belated hijack

And I see your Dynasty Warriors and raise you IkkiTousen, where Sun Ce actually comes back to life at the battle of Chi Bi.
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:icondreaming-baka:
dreaming-baka Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2012
LOL um...well that's interesting xD guess he was just trolling in that version- pffft
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:iconelleviate:
Elleviate Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Nope, he comes back to life in revealing clothing as a blond girl with really big boobs and a blue dragon form.
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:icondreaming-baka:
dreaming-baka Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2012
wow wow wow, wth XDDDD

...wonder what his wife thought LOL
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:iconelleviate:
Elleviate Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Sun Quan and Xiao Qiao are the same person, did I mention that?
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(1 Reply)
:iconenzanexe:
EnzanEXE Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I see your Dynasty Warriors and raised you Koutetsu Sangokushi (as the least accurate interpretation ever)!

okay I'm done

Is DW7 the first game in which the Jin ending is actually canonical, regardless of which faction you play? I've only played a little of DW6 (read: Zhao Yun and Zhuge Liang), and Shu gets plenty of happy endings in that game, although Guan Yu always dies anyway.
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:icondreaming-baka:
dreaming-baka Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2012
Is Koutetsu Sangokushi even less accurate? LOL. And I thought DW was the least accurate. uvu;

DW7 is the first game that actually follows the ROTK more closely and also the first one to even extend the story to Jin. I never played DW6 -frankly I don't and never wanted to, just seeing it turned me off :'D (Mostly because of the changes from DW4 I suppose). So in DW7, when people die in the story, they die and stay dead- unlike the previous games where depending on what faction you play a character can live. (Like previously, I think Guan Yu can live in the Fan Castle mission if you play on the Shu side.) So I think it's more accurate than all the previous games. So the answer would be yes? :'D Since you are following a set story in each faction. Of course the point of view differs, but other than that you can't really change the flow of the story.
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:iconenzanexe:
EnzanEXE Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Well, okay. To be fair, there are so many derivatives of TK that I don't think "least accurate" is even a thing that can be described any more (see: Koihime Musou, Ikki Tousen). Koutetsu is pretty high up there though, given that its main character is Lu Xun, who's apprenticed to Zhuge Liang, who wants to destroy the world because plot. Also Zhao Yun is a ninja and Liu Bei turns into an ice dragon.

I see, so DW7 drops the weird multiple-endings thing of DW6 and wraps up all the storylines into one. I also haven't played any of the DW series beyond 6, but you're definitely not the first person I've spoken to who's said that 6 is the worst in the series, and I really wish I had something other than a PC so I could see how the others work D:
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:icondreaming-baka:
dreaming-baka Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2012
LOL seriously? That is way too amusing omg- XDDD And I see what you mean, alot of different interpretations have been done of ROTK, so I suppose it isn't fair to just deem things as inaccurate as well..? Though personally I do see DW as a different story in a way, because I see the characters in there different from the actual historical figure. (Guan Yu is probably the only exception.. :'D) So it would be the same for that anime I suppose, it's just taking the setting and everything very loosely.

Yup. And because of that DW7 is regarded pretty high in this whole series, since it actually explains what is going on as well and why each battle happens, where before you basically just start a battle, fight, win, and then start the next battle, etc. Here they actually teach the player more about the Three Kingdoms.

Ah...yeah I'm not surprised. :'D I don't think it's so much of the story aspect though...more of gameplay, visuals, etc. It's just they really changed the game in that and alot of the old players didn't take that well. Aww man, maybe you can borrow /play it at someone's place? xD Koei also has a more strategic ROTK series, that might actually be on PC, though I'm not sure.
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:iconluckw:
luckW Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2012
nice work!
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:iconkobaltkween:
kobaltkween Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
I haven't even seen the movie this was based on, and I can still feel all the emotion behind it. Beautiful scene.
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:iconenzanexe:
EnzanEXE Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Then I can count this a success : o Thank you!
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:iconcatigereptile:
CaTigeReptile Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2012  Hobbyist
Absolutely gorgeous! Absolutely gorgeous! The colors are beautiful! I love it!
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:icongenuine-smile:
Genuine-Smile Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Wow. This is absolutely touching. I can just see the emotion pouring out quite like their joyful tears of reuniting.

I haven't seen such ROTK art to captivate me so much. You got the point across and the atmosphere just shreds my heart to pieces but in a way I'm happy you did because it's just liberating to absorb the conception the way it was intended for the audience.

:heart: This really fills that hole in my own heart as I find the history really taken granted for when the actual story passed down for generations was filled with more emotion then what many people don't even take into consideration anymore.
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:iconenzanexe:
EnzanEXE Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Aww, thanks! I'm glad this picture could be as moving - to someone else - as the scenario was inspiring for me.

What do you mean by history being taken for granted, though? Do you mean that many modern versions of the TK story don't cover close historical relationships very well, or... ?
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:icongenuine-smile:
Genuine-Smile Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2012  Student Digital Artist
You're welcome! This is just so amazing!

And I'm just saying people don't appreciate the history the way it should be. (*cough*DW fans*cough*) I have no arguments with the people who re-enacted the history not even the ones who did the new tv series. They did amazing from what I've seen. You're a great example on how well they moved people.
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:iconenzanexe:
EnzanEXE Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Haha, that's good to hear. I'd definitely say the new TK2010 series does a very good job of creating moving characters, although some may be slightly different from history or other RoTK series.

Dynasty Warriors has always seemed to me more... Westernized and simplified, although I do know DW fans who are also totally into the history, and separate their DW fandom from their historical figure fandom. But I can see where you're coming from - a lot of DW fandom I've seen feels like "generic pretty boys doing cool things".
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:iconraika-boss:
Raika-Boss Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yes you should be! Did you change it up? It seems to pop out more to me! Lol crop? You could always resize if it's too big.
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:iconenzanexe:
EnzanEXE Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Yup. I took out the lineart - because it conflicted with the rest of the picture - and reshaded everything to add more shape.

I wish I could just resize as well, but since most of the detail is in their faces, resizing the whole canvas would lose that detail; it'd be better to cut off some of the unnecessary background instead. Problem is, I'm terrible at composition, so I have no idea which area to crop to.
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:iconraika-boss:
Raika-Boss Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Well I think taking out the line art and Golding such with color was a great idea XD otherwise as for the bg- I suppose if you think it's too much- maybe taking some trees away that may be near the ace would help considering that's the vocal point. - btw resize smaller or larger? With smaller you probably could easily get the detail to stay. Although larger you probably have to go over it all to keep it sharp~ (tried that once- not easy €_€)
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:iconenzanexe:
EnzanEXE Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Resize smaller, definitely, this picture doesn't need to be any more huge. And by cropping I mean cutting off some edges, not removing background detail - I'm not touching this picture again because if I start retouching it I will never stop D:

oh well, it's probably okay as is. Thanks for the suggestions, though.
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:iconraika-boss:
Raika-Boss Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
LOL no problem. I try at least- Orz orz
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