Sketches: Tali’Zorah (Mass Effect)

Posted: March 19, 2015 in Art
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Yep, it was only going to be a matter of time before I drew something Mass Effect related! Here’s one of my favourite faces (in a manner of speaking) from the Normandy crew – Quarian engineer, Tali’Zorah.

Keelah se'lai! Tali'Zorah - armed and dangerous.

Keelah se’lai! Tali’Zorah – armed and dangerous.

What can I say, except that I love this character and her background. Tali is intelligent and loyal with a real desire to prove herself. When she first encounters Commander Shepard, she’s on a rite of passage known as the Pilgrimage for which she left her birth ship to explore the galaxy and bring back something that will benefit her people. As the Quarian lost their home world Rannoch, they live about a Migrant Fleet of ships and, thanks to their weakened immune systems, they’re forced to wear protective masks and full body suits.

This was challenging to draw, thanks to all the textures in Tali’s suit. The Quarian race are all about salvage and pride themselves on their ability to mend and make use of items that other races would throw away. To reflect this, their suits appear to be constructed from various fabrics, possibly scrap materials. I don’t think I’ve ever drawn a character without a face either – I waited till the pencil went blunt to try and get the opaque look for the mask. Interestingly, the suit gives us an indication of Tali’s status and the timeline point of the Mass Effect series. The one I’ve sketched belongs to Tali’Zorah vas Neema or Tali’Zorah vas Normandy – the names she uses during Mass Effect 2 and 3. In the first game, her suit is a little more basic in style and she’s known as Tali’Zorah naar Rayya.

So, what’s with all the surnames? Well, “naar” indicates a Quarian who has not yet completed the Pilgrimmage and the Rayya is the name of the ship on which Tali was born. The ascent to Quarian adulthood is marked with the move to a new ship. By the time she meets Shepard in Mass Effect 2, she has adopted the name “vas Neema”, meaning that her Pilgrimmage was successful and earned her a position aboard a new ship called “Neema” as well as permission to modify her suit and veil as she wishes. Finally, Tali changes her name to “vas Normandy” to indicate that Shepard’s ship has become her home and that the Normandy crew are considered family. Aww!

It might not be a perfect likeness but I’ll wager that more effort went into this picture than the one of Tali’s face in Mass Effect 3. A poorly Photoshopped stock image? C’mon!

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Comments
  1. Great drawing 🙂 my hubby loves the mass effect games. Will have to show your drawing to him 🙂

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