Karthikeya is the General of the Gods in Indian Mythology, leading their armies into battle against the forces of evil.
Unlike Ganesha, who is easily recognisable no matter what you do with him, or Rama who can be identified by being blue and carrying a bow, or Krishna who is also blue with a peacock feather in his hair or Hanuman who is a monkey, Karthikeya needed quite a bit of thought to give him that unique and engaging look.
I decided to take the design from my previous piece ‘Karthikeya meets Avvaiyaar’ and upgrade his armour into a high collar and asymmetrical design inspired by what lance and javelin users might wear in the Olympics. The left shoulder is shielded since that side is likely to face the enemy for a right-handed spear user. The right side I left bare, allowing greater freedom of movement. The armour itself is in shades of maroon, which I have retained from the earliest colour palette I chose for Karthikeya, for the sake of consistency.
A specific design element I added was the six sided star in his armor. This symbol has been associated with Karthikeya, representing that he was born from six sparks into six bodies, nursed by six heavenly maidens and combined into one form with six heads and six pairs of arms.
One might notice the similarity between Karthikeya’s six-sided star symbol and the 'Star of David' (which is also similar to the 'Seal of Solomon’, the ring that gave the King Solomon the power to control demons). Coincidence or connection, who knows?
Lastly, I strongly considered drawing him with six heads and six pair of arms to keep him immediately recognizable. However, I wanted to show him as being nimble, agile and ready for battle and I felt that having six heads/ twelve hands would make him feel a little awkward, especially if he’d be waving around a sharp and powerful weapon. So I figured this would be the form he’d take before taking a stab at something.