Merrell, the savvy gambler that he is, has a few necessities that he carries with him on the trail. For this assignment, I created an image of the overturned contents of Merrell’s saddle bag.
The first step was, obviously, to give some thought to the sort of items he might carry, starting with a the saddle and bags that overturned in the first place. Obviously a gambler would carry around a deck of cards and a pair of dice, so those there easy. The next item I chose was an old western style pistol, being in the west without one is a dangerous prospect for any man, but especially so for one who makes his living by winning bets against other men. Everyone in a while a cheat, a sore loser, or a plain ol mangy varmint might want to test their mettle to get back what they lost or to take what they never had. A traveling man that he is, Merrell gets quite a bit of use out of his old compass and map as well, looking for new spots to travel and make his way. Obviously all the swanky saloons are marked, and there is a coded addition to help him locate his buried loot. Banks are none too useful out on the frontier. Last, but certainly not least, is his luck rabbits foot given to him by his father when he set out on the road. It is both a token of the hard work and sacrifice that his father underwent to raise him proper, and a trinket to bring him good luck when his outstanding wits and skills aren’t quite enough.
Afterward, I had to find images in the commons that I was allowed to manipulate to create the image. The challenge here was finding places to search images and using search terms that would lead me to the things I want.
Finally, I compiled it all into the image seen below. Each of the items was put on their own layer with an old wood grain table as the background image. Not that it looks entirely realistic, but putting the pieces together requires some rearranging and consideration to make it look like a coherent image rather than a bunch of scattered items posted on a background. I did not go so far as to add the shadows to make the image look more realistic, but looking at it now I wish I had. Maybe I will update it if there is some time.