Whitewashing is a huge problem in every fandom, and DA is no exception. All of the characters above are whitewashed and have their skin lightened on a daily basis.
There is no excuse when someone whitewashes a character. Take your appropriate swatches if you must, and make sure you are staying true to the characters actual skin tone. Use these colours if you’d like - they were more meant to prove a point. You are certainly welcome to use them as a base.
Stop whitewashing POC. Stop lightening skin, stop slimming down features, and stop blaming whitewashing on lighting. You know better than that. You can do better than that.
Do not take swatches from the lightest part of the face - all the light colours shown here are meant for highlighting purposes. They are the highlights of the face, to be used to display light bouncing off the surface of one’s skin.
Every image of the characters except Josephine was taken from the dragon age wiki site and was only altered to fit and blend with the pictures. All other graphics are mine.
if the inquisitor romances dorian, vivienne receives a letter from an acquaintance in tevinter expressing shock at the “disturbing rumors” of their relationship, and vivienne responds by ripping the acquaintance a new one
repeatedly expresses sorrow at civilian deaths (”the defenseless are always the first casualties of war”)
cole said this about her harrowing “no, I will not fall, no one will control me ever again…shaking, hollow, harrowed but smiling at templars to show them i’m me, i am not like that”
despite her insistence that cole is a demon, she was worried for him
unlike solas, she is afraid of demons
finds it delightful that varric is writing a story with her as the villain
“my dear, if i didn’t want people to fear me I wouldn’t dress like this”
wants to send a sternly worded letter to varric’s tailor
was born in wycome
has read hard in hightown
“i am the most dangerous thing in the room, darling”
treats bull like a favorite son and teaches him to dance
bull compares her to a qunari dreadnought, which she enjoys
greatly admired divine justinia
sees templars as a useful tool
“that which makes you different can be a burden or a source of strength”
was taken to the circle at such a young age that she doesn’t remember her parents
passes information on to sera and the friends of red jenny
worries for dorian’s safety in trying to reform the imperium, tells him to be careful
Iron Bull hugs you like you’re one of the crew, squeezing you hard, smushing you into his body. He greets you loudly, and you have to snatch a quick breath before your face is full of grey skin and hard muscle and an elbow behind your neck, precisely placed just in case. Old spy habits, he says later. Sorry.
Sera hugs awkwardly, all angles and space and light, hesitant pats on the back. Hugging is a new experience for her and she needs time to adjust to the fact that someone wants to hug her just because.
Blackwall’s hug is a brief squeeze, a side hug almost. At one point in his life he was warm and open and larger than life; at one point in his life he hugged that way, too. But that was then.
Cassandra almost looks embarrassed when you hug her, which you do because the opportunity to make her blush is too tempting to pass up. When she finally returns the gesture, it’s surprising in its fierceness. You feel the muscles of her arms and shoulders bunch, and she always manages to pop something in your back.
Cole is new to hugs but he likes them, likes to slide his arms around you like you are a precious, breakable thing, likes to fold you into himself and breathe you in. In truth the way he hugs is a mirror of you, so he hugs you and you hug him for as long as you both want, and it never grows uncomfortable.
Varric always laughs before he hugs, or chuckles, or says something. “Hey,” he’ll grunt, or “c’mere.” He hugs with one thickly corded arm; you’re glad he doesn’t hug you with two, because if he did you’d be face to face with that magnificent chest hair and you don’t think you’d be able to survive the meeting. Varric is so considerate.
Dorian flings his arms open for you; you have an urge to run into them and be spun around, like in the romance novels Cassandra reads. You never do, but return his enthusiasm gladly, clothes rustling as bodies meet, arms thumping around each other. Before he releases you, he presses his cheek to you briefly, just a touch. His mustache tickles.
Vivienne doesn’t hug, darling, but she will air kiss, first right, then left. If you try to go left first it’s all over, and the privilege will not be given back for a week.
Solas hugs quick and sudden, pulling you so fast into him that you’re left breathless. It’s over before you can react, the space between you recreated in half a second. He fills it with a quietly spoken, “My friend. It is good to see you.”
Leliana hugs slowly, her arms tightening around your ribs bit by bit. Affection is rare for her now, and she will savor it whenever she finds it. When you part her scent lingers on your skin, and for minutes afterwards you keep catching whiffs of it, over and over.
Cullen hugs you properly, one arm around your shoulders, the other arm around your chest, hugs you for the perfect amount of time, hugs you with the perfect amount of tightness, the point of his chin pressing lightly into your shoulder. He hugs deliberately, and doesn’t pull away fast.
Josephine hugs so innocently, both arms under yours, elbows bent and at waist height, forearms flush against your back. Her eyes always sparkle, and sometimes she will even lift one foot up just slightly, and point her toes.
Apparently it’s Vivienne appreciation month. Also I just wanted to draw Vivienne in a pretty dress. I’m going to draw everyone in pretty dresses. Pretty dresses are fun.
EDIT: Thanks for all the love on this picture, now I’m planning on drawing people & naming it “Halamshiral AU” aka where everyone wears nice clothes instead of that Disney prince garb. short info: Her outfit is based on her regular outfit, and French/English/Italian fashion during 1500-1600 (I know it’s a stretch but Thedas isn’t exactly historically accurate) I used desaturated colours because those work on her.
blackwall could say it a thousand times and still he
wouldn’t think it enough. i love you, i love you, i love you, he
says, the shadow of a man starved for his inquisitor, his words both an
admission and a plea. one day he’ll be able to say the words plainly, not
seeped with desperation, but for now that’s the only way he can say it, because
his admissions of love are all he has to give the inquisitor – his love and his
life, for whatever that’s worth. he comes close sometimes, late at night when
his lover sleeps and he brushes his calloused fingers against the back of their
neck, murmuring a soft “i love you” with only the moonlight as
witness. true bravery is being able to repeat the words in that way when his
inquisitor is awake – he is still a work in progress and he’s never been known
for courageousness, but he is trying.
cassandra shows her affection with fierce declarations in
heated moments. at least, that’s how it starts – from lioness roars her “i
love yous” turn into stuttered responses, into handwritten poems left on
desks (anonymously, or so she believes them to be, but the inquisitor always
seems to have a knowing smile when they see them), and finally warm replies,
quiet but no less amorous than her first confession. “i believe you,”
she said once to her inquisitor after they expressed their love; now, with
grand battles won and years passed, she finds that she can smile and answer:
“i know. and i love you, too.”
cullen says it so earnestly, as often as he
can. most times he says it as a reminder – he needs the inquisitor to know just
how much they are wanted by him, just how much they mean to him, just how stronglyhe feels. cullen says it pointedly,
with purpose, because he is a practiced man, but there are plenty of times when
the words slip out quite unbidden. often they fall from his lips for the little
things: when he sees the inquisitor get dressed, or when they smile at
something he says, or when they laugh at their own, silly joke. once he says it
at the war table and doesn’t even realize he’s let it slip until josephine giggles
and leliana tries vainly to hide a smile; he’s mortified for only a moment
until he sees his inquisitor, rosy and beaming. he may not yet know how to love
himself, but oh, how he loves the inquisitor, and he hopes his words share as
dorian doesn’t know how to say it, not really. the words mean so much
and yet, they are so empty - he can’t bring himself to use them in
the presence of his inquisitor. not when the words are tied to all his lessons
of loss, to a father who tried to change him, to a mother who turned a blind
eye, to a homeland seeped in blood. sometimes he fears he’ll never say it but
oh, he wants to - so he does his best to relearn the words, tie them to something
different, to a relationship where he is wanted.
and until he can earnestly speak the words, he pours his every emotion into
corner kisses and tight embraces and breathed whispers of “amatus.”
iron bull says “i love you” as casually
as he can. he means it every time, his eye glimmering with a warmth his easy
tone tries to hide, but he means it even more when he hums “kadan”
into his inquisitor’s bare shoulders. a plain “i love you” isn’t enough;
no common tongue can quite capture the burn, the tightening, the placement of the inquisitor in his
heart, the way that qunlat can. still, there is one human word that comes
close; it’s telling, the way he says “boss” with a wicked smile, with
a fond sigh, with a gut-wrenching roar on the battlefield, with rumbling
josephine is a silly
contradiction when it comes to saying “i love you” – it makes her
terribly embarrassed (but pleased, oh so very pleased) to hear the words said
to her, but she herself says them almost easily. josie slips the words into
light conversation with her darling inquisitor, writes them in love notes in
between invitations and speech drafts, sends them through little gifts when she
knows her beloved has had a long day. she tries a grand, romantic gesture once –
candlelight and roses – but finds that she much rather prefers the bare words.
“i love you very much,” she says now, a fond twinkle in her eye. she
leaves the grand displays to her inquisitor.
sera announces it like it’s common knowledge,
really, like it’s been written in stone for years and years and the inquisitor
should just know it. she takes her
time getting to this point, of course; the first time the words come out
they’re a drunken slur, caught between a hiccup and a giggle. the second time
she’s a little less intoxicated and by the third, when the inquisitor finally
brings it up, she’s laughing at the hesitance. “i love you, yeah?”
she says, and she will continue to say. (she’ll punctuate it with:
“prob'ly a bit too much, but
don’t let it get to your head” and a mischievous smile.)
solas forbids himself from uttering the words.
he will tie his own tongue, guarantee his own heartbreak, dig his own grave –
but he will not admit his love for fear that he will hurt the inquisitor any
more than he already has, than he already will. still, while he cannot say it,
he can think it, in the dead of night when he passes the door to their chambers,
fleetingly when the wind carries echoes of their voice, when he sees them smile.
the wolf inside him howls his heartsong, the god outside mutes the noise and
gives nothing more than a tight-lipped smile, because that is all he can offer.
the elf, the man wants to offer more, wants to give them the world and trace the
words into their skin. (i love you, he
thinks. “in another world,” he says, pleads, begging for their understanding. instead, it drives the knife
in a little deeper.)
+bonus, platonic love
cole doesn’t feel the need to say it, so he doesn’t. for him it’s simple
enough – he knows the way he feels and shows it through actions. that’s who he
is: he acts rather than speaks and helps to fix any of their hurts, because any
pain they feel, he feels, too. he’s learning from varric and dorian that there
are other ways of showing love, like letting the inquisitor put their hand on
his arm or sometimes his shoulder (he likes it when they hold him, but not for
long), and letting them remember. he’s becoming quite fond of leaving the
inquisitor flowers - cole doesn’t smile much, but he does when he feels the
burst of warmth from the inquisitor when they discover the little tokens, or
when they tuck them into their hair or tunic pockets. that’s another way of
showing his love: smiling.
varric wishes he’d learn his damn lesson already, that holding any love
for a hero is bound to end in tragedy, but he never does. it frightens him how
fiercely he loves the inquisitor, because everyone he’s ever loved he’s also
lost - but the inquisitor keeps coming back, the inquisitor slays demons and
dragons and darkspawn and doesn’t even flinch at the pain. but when they stare
at their bloody red hands with empty eyes and sinking hearts, varric has to
admit to himself how much he cares; he covers their hands with his own, smiles,
and pieces together their armor with witty words and wicked grace. and
somewhere down the line, when ancient magisters are slain and darkspawn are
crawling back into their holes, when skyhold is abuzz with celebration,
he’ll watch the inquisitor mingle from afar and murmur, to no one in
particular, “yeah, can’t help but love that one.”
vivienne has spent all her life building a reputation for being an iron
lady, she wields words forged of steel and has a kingdom to match - she doesn’t
love, she cannot love. (at least, so she says, but her heart aches even now
when she thinks back on her beloved, taking his final breaths with her at his
bedside.) still, vivienne feels a tenderness when she looks on the inquisitor;
her casually flung endearments become softer, her smiles less sharp. to the
untrained eye and ear nothing has changed, but most nobles know by now
not to criticize the inquisitor in the presence of madame de fer, lest they
want their secrets slipped and reputations sliced to ribbons.