Kolorful Palette: Princess poised [Shine or Go Crazy]
I had some requests to draw Yeo-won from Shine or Go Crazy and I can’t say that it took much to convince me since she is pretty awesome. On paper she seems fairly run-of-the-mill and hits on many of the classic markers for sageuk second leads: conniving, selfish, pompous, and power-hungry. Usually this also means infuriating to watch, but I find myself incapable of disliking Yeo-won. Perhaps it’s because she’s never cracked and and gone completely bananas on us (which is what I’ve come to expect from such characters) but I think what really makes her appealing is that she’s so pragmatic and grounded. I would never want to be friends with her, and yet a part of me wishes I were more like her. Who couldn’t use some of that composure and efficacy?
The issue with drawing Yeo-won is that she doesn’t emote very strongly and doesn’t do much besides sit in her room meeting with people. I started going through old episodes to look for something different, but then I realized that Yeo-won meeting with someone with perfect poise and veiled emotions is exactly what I should be drawing. That’s her MO, and there’s no one better at it. She always leaves the impression that she’s a step ahead without giving anything away, and manages to come across as superior while remaining just approachable enough to keep her opponent hopeful. I have to give a lot of credit to actress Lee Ha-nui/Honey Lee for delivering such a great performance as Yeo-won since I think such a character requires a lot of subtlety and finesse in order to remain compelling. It would be all too easy to come across as simply vacuous, snotty, or even deranged, but instead Yeo-won seems like an intricate person with an entire kaleidoscope of emotions and thoughts that we just aren’t privy to. Whenever I watch her I want to know more, and always feel quite certain that there truly is more going on and that her mind is whirring away full-speed beneath that icy facade.
I had so much fun using conte last week that I had to give it another go, and it didn’t disappoint. It feels so silky smooth to use that it gives me the strange impulse to go buy creamy and outrageously expensive foundation (and I don’t even wear foundation!). Originally I started this image in color but I quickly changed to black and white and was much more pleased with the result. Yeo-won has a classic feel to her and looks like someone we might see in an old-fashioned perfume ad, so monochrome suits. She also doesn’t seem like someone who would be particularly interested in something as superfluous as color when judging value is so much easier in black and white.
This particular shot is from Episode 20 when she meets with her brother about curing the king (although there are almost identical shots in most episodes). What I specifically like about this scene is how well Yeo-won’s meeting with Wang Wook represents the shifting sands that contribute so much to my personal enjoyment of this drama (they’ve both wanted the king dead at some point and also been enemies). No alliance is permanent, and even betrayal doesn’t feel final. The characters all have their own individual priorities (plural, which is key) and none of them are averse to shifting loyalties. Especially since they all seem to understand one another’s motivations, they manage to maintain a small modicum of trust for each other that enables them to work together when necessary.
Yeo-won may be one of the most devious in the bunch, but she’s never come across as cruel or malicious to me. She is a result of a corrupt system, and is unique in that she recognizes the corruption within herself and would like to live in a cleaner world. Perhaps using her shrewdness to achieve that end isn’t the most honorable method to get there, but she’s a realist, and I don’t think that you could ever convince her that kingdoms are changed with kindness alone. Regardless, if I were fighting a war, I would want her on my side.
Based on Gaebong’s everlasting hypothermia disease I think we can rule out a super happy ending for this drama, but I actually think the story is shaping up in such a way that I might be okay with it. I’m even okay with Yeo-won and Wang So ruling together as a couple. They have zero romantic chemistry, but they’re both great leaders and Yeo-won is respectable enough that I can see them coexisting peacefully with mutual appreciation for one another’s skills. That’s not exactly a Happily Ever After kinda story, but it’s pretty dang good for royalty, and if Shin Yool’s effect on their lives is appropriately honored I think it could be made to feel right.
I have to admit that I feel a little bad for drawing Shine or Go Crazy again this week, but besides enjoying it as artistic subject matter, it’s also been nice to hear everyone’s thoughts on the drama in the comments. Sageuks in particular can get a little crazy, so sometimes a second opinion opens up my mind to entirely new possibilities (or clears up something confusing that went way over my head). Only four more episodes left, but thanks to everyone who’s stuck around for the ride!
- Kolorful Palette: From the shadows [Shine or Go Crazy]
- Kolorful Palette: Pretty in pink [Shine or Go Crazy]
- Kolorful Palette: Red wedding [Shine or Go Crazy]
- Stars and fate prevail in fantasy romance Shine or Go Crazy
- Shine or Go Crazy’s royal love triangle
- Shine or Go Crazy’s cursed and fated lovers
- First script read for MBC’s fantasy historical drama Shine or Go Crazy
- Honey Lee courted to be Jang Hyuk’s queen in Shine or Go Crazy
- Shine or Go Crazy’s star-crossed lovers and fictionalized history
- Im Joo-hwan, Ryu Seung-soo for fantasy historical drama
- Jang Hyuk and Oh Yeon-seo consider MBC historical fantasy