Heartless Puppet

If there is one thing people come to understand about me, it is the fact that I am a massive nerd when it comes to anime and video games. One of my current obsessions would be the mobile game Genshin Impact, which caught my attention a few years ago with its character design and story; I am a pretty active player of of the game so I am well up-to-date when it comes to new updates and releases. 

Around October 2022, the official Youtube page for Genshin Impact dropped a video regarding the lore of a character that plays a significant role in the storyline. The well-known name of this character is “Scaramouche,” which was no doubt a nod toward Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. To make a long story short, Scaramouche’s was human-like puppet abandoned by his divine creator, left to wander the land alongside humans. Scaramouche bonded with numerous humans on his journey but became bitter from countless betrayals from the people he trusted. He vows to erase any trace of human emotion he may still possess, severing any connection with humans and gods alike. Scaramouche’s story left an impression on me, and was a source of inspiration that drove me to open up Procreate on my tablet.


Initially, I made an illustration that depicted Scaramouche tearing out an artificial heart from his chest, machine wires still attached to it. My thought process was that since Scaramouche desired to remove any source human weakness, what better way than to tear out his own heart. From the gaping hole in his chest, Scaramouche damaged his own body to remove the heart, which was painfully demonstrated by the silent cry and tears streaming down his face.

Recently, I had the urge to redo the illustration, since I grew to dislike this drawing. Anatomy and proportions were details I wanted to convey better, so I searched up references on the Internet to help me. I’m not one to take photos of myself as I find it awkward trying to pose for the sake of a reference, but nothing came up on the Internet that really spoke to me. Propping my phone on a cabinet and setting a timer, I mustered up the courage to take a photo of myself that conveyed the emotion and pose I wanted. 

From there, I inserted the photo into Procreate and added a new layer to my canvas, tracing specific body traits in order to get certain proportions right along with facial structure. I made significant changes to key details, as this was in image of a fictional character, not myself. I searched up various photos of Scaramouche from the game and promotional art to get details such as his hairstyle and color accurate as possible.

Line art has been a skill I’m slowly developing since I’ve noticed in the past that my pieces look a bit off. I took the time to learn from other artists on the Internet to understand line depth and fluidity in order to add some variation in my lines. With my newfound knowledge, I improved my line work so my pieces would look less flat. During the process, I suddenly thought it would be interesting to actually add details to Scaramouche that would make him look like a porcelain doll or puppet, since that was an important characteristic that I overlooked in my previous illustration. To convey Scaramouche as a puppet, I exaggerated the joints at the elbow, shoulders, and fingers; the texture on his skin added to the flawless yet unnatural appearance the character has, differing greatly from the sketch that accentuated muscles and “human-like” features.

Scara Sketch
Scara LineArt and Details

More light has shed on Scaramouche’s character since October, so my opinions and thoughts on him have evolved. The initial illustration did not live up the story I wanted to tell, hence the change in pose and expression on Scaramouche’s face. I wanted the focal point to be the heart and the facial expression of the character, which I planned on demonstrating through lighting. To add to the somber tone, I filled a canvas layer with indigo, lowering the opacity so that the figure would still be visible. From there I erased certain parts of the layer where the light would hit the body. 

There was a bit of a conflict when depicting the heart: did I want it to be a realistic, bloody heart or something metaphorical? What I settled with was a crystalline, pink heart that glowed brightly in the darkness. To add to the heart’s brilliant glow, I used a pink airbrush tool to add coloring to the lighting, along with a light brush for extra measure.

Heartless Puppet

I used a light pen for Scaramouche’s tears in order to emphasize them, since they could easily be lost in the shadows.

With this depiction of Scaramouche, I wanted to emanate a double-meaning. One could reference my previous illustration of the character and come to this conclusion: Scaramouche removes human weakness by forcibly extracting his heart, crying from the pain it must have caused. On the other hand, it could mean the opposite.

The main purpose of Scaramouche creation was to be the vessel of a deity’s “heart”, but his creator deemed him too sensitive to manage its burdens and abandoned him. From there on, Scaramouche claims he has no heart but the players of the game bear witness to him demonstrating emotion and develop relationships with humans on his journey, going as far as to feel grief and agony when some of those connections ended in betrayal. He vows to remove any trace of human emotion in order to prove his worthiness for a “divine heart” doing anything to accomplish his goal.

The other interpretation of this image would be Scaramouche forcibly inserting the heart he was initially made for, crying once again from its burden.

Quite honestly, I put a lot more thought into this piece of fan art than I needed to. I think what really resonated with me about Scaramouche was how the heart is a heavy burden, as I myself tend to succumb to my emotions due to my sensitivity. If there were a way to make those suffocating feelings to go away, even for a moment, I too would metaphorically remove my heart.

In a way, this piece was a self-reflection of myself with fan art flare. Unlike Scaramouche, I really don’t have a divine purpose (at least to my knowledge) and I maintain a variety of relationships with people I value and trust. Hopefully in the future, I could illustrate Scaramouche in a different light that reflects such sentiments.

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