Friday, July 26, 2013

Peggy and ED-E

Peggy and ED-E
This was a commission for the editorial director at Dark Horse, Davey Estrada, who has a rather awesome on-going custom of asking artists to do portraits of his favorite musicians. He tells me he's been gathering on and off since the seventies... That is a collection I'd like to see!

Aside from picking a musician we were both interested in, I had permission to art freely on this one. Davey leans towards Jazz, while I have a habit for New Wave... but it was easy for two music lovers to find common ground. When he brought up Peggy Lee I got excited right away. I have a lot of Peggy in my library, partially thanks to video games. That's right. Video games!

Sounds strange, but the first Peggy Lee tracks I ever purchased were those I heard while playing the post apocalyptic RPG Fallout: New Vegas. Nothing like being attacked by monsters in a post-nuclear Nevada while listening to Peggy croon about lost love. I should note that she isn't an actual character in the game... but the sound track is SO good it's practically it's own character. I can totally picture her in this world. Singing in run-down bars. Boozin' with the radiated ghouls. Getting jazz-sassy over a drink of gin. Layin' down hard truths: "If you were prepared twenty years ago, you wouldn't be a-wandering from door to door."



As for the floating robot in corner? Well, that's ED-E. Also known as "Eyebot Duraframe Subject E." The only model of it's kind to survive the "Great War" that brought the Fallout world to ruin. Originally designed as a sort of mobile radio, but latter repurposed into a weapon. You find him broken down in a small town in the wasteland, and bring him back to working order. ED-E was my favorite companion in the New Vegas game. Why, in a time when the human population has been downsized dramatically, would I choose to wander the wastes with a floating piece of scrap metal that can only communicate via beep-boops? I try not to dwell on the whys. Simply put, trust no one. 

I like to think that in the wake of a nuclear exchange Peggy Lee too would go the way of the lone wanderer. She'd ditch the band dynamic (humans being squishy, unpredictable companions at best) in favor of the easily portable, armor plated, one-man bandstand: DJ ED-E MON-E, dropping the beats while PEG-E rocks the mic like a vandal. Besides providing the sick tunes, ED-E would also double as a body guard because he's a mean laser-slinger with a thrilling battle cry:



Anyone else play the Fallout games and have a favorite companion, or tune to adventure too? I'd love to hear about it. I'll leave you with one more song from Miss Lee that wasn't in the game, but would have been suited to the post-apocalyptic landscape. It demonstrates why I think Pegs would be a survivor. She'd be the lady leaning on the bar, sipping a martini and taunting the burgeoning mushroom cloud with a raised eyebrow and a clearly unimpressed, "Is that all there is to an apocalypse?"



Special thanks to DAV-E for the fun commission!

pencil

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Motherboy XXX

Make love in your own hand, MOTHER!
On May 26th Netflix is giving the world new episodes of Arrested Development. On May 8th come out and celebrate this fact with the rest of Portland at the Arrested Development Returns party at Holocene. There will be live music, chicken dance-offs, and Arrested Development themed artwork for sale from local artists... such as me! 

To commemorate the occasion I've made this portrait of everyone's favorite Motherboy, Buster Bluth, featuring Lucile, loose seals, and varying degrees of "juice" addiction.

A few weeks back, I was asked by Aaron Colter from Banana Stand Media if I'd like to sell a print in this show after we had swapped terrible Prince puns over Twitter. (I mean really, they were barely funny.) Which reminds me, I would like to take this moment to thank Prince. He's done so much for me over the years... from supplying the go-to karaoke classics, to landing me cool projects via twitter. What a guy. Aaron's alright too. Thanks man!

Read more about the show at PortlandPulp, and invite yourself to the party on Facebook

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Through the Veil

Through the Veil

This was created specifically for a gallery show in Grand Rapids, Michigan called "Into the Woods and Through the Veil." It was a group show held at the CODA gallery, and I got to share the wall with many lovely artists and friends, and curated by the one and only Jesse Gregg!

Possibly the hardest part about being in this show was writing the artist's statement. I suspect I get worse at it as time goes by. I don't fully understand what makes me dread them... My brain has a toddler-esque tantrum. I rage quit three to four times. Then, after much inner turmoil, I give in and write. It's a ridiculous routine. Especially when considering that I can cough up a blog post about my dislike of artist's statements in under 15 minutes. So one measly statement? Why the mental hullabaloo? Couldn't say, but this is what I came up with:
It is difficult to cut loose from what would bind us to the veneration of stifling traditions. It takes bold deeds, a questioning mind, and a desire for knowledge that is held out of bounds. The one who willingly traverses murky territories in search of forbidden enlightenment is typically called a “hero”. The ones who are made to suffer for these bold acts are perhaps held in the highest esteem, and we call them our “fallen heroes”. 
I am a fool for myth and sacred storied, but believe in none. 
This work was created using traditional media which is then colored and collaged onto digitally.

Some of you already know, but I've been hired onto the Digital Art and Production team at Dark Horse Comics. I feel this illustration has been greatly inspired by all the gorgeous art work that runs through the office on a daily bases. What's great about working there is that it makes me want to be better. Better at everything! I busted out my inks and tried to regain some old skill. Turns out I'm super rusty, and I ran back to my dirty pencils with my tail between my legs... but I so enjoyed the process that I plan to keep playing.
ink on board

framed up and lookin' important at the C.O.D.A Gallery.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Menolly

Menolly













Just in time to close out this Year of the Dragon, I've completed this illustration of one of my favorite childhood heroines: Menolly.

I have the fondest memories of Anne McCaffery's Dragon Rider's of Pern novels. I remember reading and rereading my father's yellowing dog-eared copies of the Harper Hall trilogy; the ones with the fantastic psychedelic covers by Elizabeth Malczynski. Elizabeth's artwork alone successfully imprinted on me how fire lizards should be depicted forever and ever ad infinitum, and is no small part of my inspiration for drawing this. Hell, it was my inspiration for drawing to begin with! Between the ages 10 and 16, I'm not sure I drew anything OTHER then elegant, cow-eyed fire lizards. 

As far as the story goes let's just say, the first time I read Dragonsong when I was a little girl, I wanted to BE Menolly. (Go ahead and read that Doc Brown Back-to-the-Future-3 style.) After the initial introduction to the Harper Hall trilogy, I pretty much devoured any novel with a dragon on the cover. 

Historical reenactment of me listening to my father read Dragonsong, age 10.
I can't say how the novels would hold up these days... but as a young kid who desperately wanted a blue fire lizard of her own, it sure meant something to me. In any case, I'm fairly certain that a story about an exceptional yet wildly under appreciated teen finding independence and hanging out with 9 tiny dragons will appeal to most kids.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Alif the Unseen - Create-A-Genie Contest


I entered this illustration into a contest to win a signed copy of G. Willow Wilson's gorgeous debut novel, Alif the Unseen... and won! It was called the "Create-A-Genie Contest" and the rules were to pick a favorite out of five types of jinn, and interpret how it might look.

The word Jinn means "hidden," and refers to a sort of unseen creature in Islamic theology. They are mentioned in the Qur'an as being one of Gods three intelligent creations; Angels made from pure light, Humans made from mud or clay, and Jinni made from a smokeless fire. For whatever reason I've always been freaked out by the idea of angels... but find Jinni to be much more down my alley! What's cool about them is that, like humans, they were given free will and can be anything from benevolent to down right evil. I wish they existed in western mythology to a larger extent, because they kick ass compared to angels. (angels. pssht. "goodness and light." bah!) It was fun researching the different types of jinn. My choices were between: The large and powerful MADRID (think Aladdin), some cunning schemers called the EFFRIT, the undead grave robbing GHOULS, the shapeshifting female SILA, and a sort of psychic-vampire genie called the VETALA.  Here is a link to the more detailed descriptions provided by the contest: The Five Types of Jinn.

There were aspects of each djinn I found intriguing so this is an amalgamation... particularly of the fiery Effrit, and the "ostensibly demonic" Vetala. Call me crazy, but there is something appealing about a creature that can possess human corpses and still be considered "ostensibly demonic." In the end I submitted her as an Effrit... mostly because I had to get specific. :)



A bit about the book: Alif the Unseen is hard to categorize... it's full of myth, technology, humor, and even romance. My attempt at a one-liner explanation might be: "It's a myth-filled cyber-thriller that follows a young hacker who is assisted and hindered throughout the novel by jinn... with WiFi access!" I really loved the book, and thought G. Willow Wilson combined the supernatural and the technological in an unique and incredibly entertaining way, while also providing some lovably bizarre and memorable characters to travel with. Pick it up folks! I read it in two days flat because I actually only ever put it down to eat, and even then only after considerable prompting.

Besides the signed book, I also won a gift certificate to a local bookstore of my choosing and a beautiful panel from Wilson’s graphic novel Cairo. I'm a lucky lady! Thank you G. Willow Wilson for the inspiration and the folks at Grove/Atlantic for sending me these tasty tasty prizes.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

His Dark Materials

Lyra Silvertongue

This is Lyra, the heroine from the 'His Dark Materials' trilogy written by Philip Pullman. For those who have read it: I imagine this image takes place sometime after the events in third book. 

I loved how unpredictable these stories where. It's not like reading Harry Potter, where you're constantly being reminded of every other fantasy book you've ever read. (Lord of the Rings much, lady?) Let me append that statement by saying I've read and enjoyed all the Harry Potter books... and I should probably say something about imitation being the best form of flattery... It's just I found His Dark Materials to be a more unique in it's vision. No deja vu to speak of.

It really wasn't my intention to attack on Harry P here, so I'll drop it cause there are other better reasons why you should read these books. If you're a fool for stories about gods and myth that's a good start, because Lyra is essentially a modernish Eve that helps save the world from the rule of a false god. What I like about Philip Pullman's take is that she isn't portrayed as a negative mother-of-all-sin Eve. Instead the Fall is seen as a positive, and that's a beautiful thought. It reinterprets original sin and the fall from grace as a great moment that brought consciousness, knowledge and love to beings in all worlds. (yes, plural.) I love that it turns the guilt and regret you're expected to feel on its head to become a desirable event that made us the wonderfully curious and complex creatures we are. Eve mother-of-all-knowledge! (P.S. Sexy-time is awesome.)
The world is so exquisite with so much love and moral depth, that there is no reason to deceive ourselves with pretty stories for which there's little good evidence. Far better it seems to me, in our vulnerability, is to look death in the eye and to be grateful every day for the brief but magnificent opportunity that life provides. - Carl Sagan
You don't have to dig theology to get swept into these books though. It's a fun coming of age adventure like so many great stories. It's about embracing curiosity and wonder, and living life the best way you can. Which is a universal theme anyone can enjoy.

I wanted to share a couple of things that influenced me while working on this illustration... simply because they're cool. This is a statue I found while flipping through a massive volume of religious art in architecture at the bookstore. I liked the color, the texture, the aged gilded goodness... even the break neck angle of Mary's head. With those eyebrows, I can only assume this was the result of a Vulcan neck pinch. I'm also just assuming that is Mary, because I was an idiot and didn't write down the name of the book or the name of this piece. This is a cell phone shot... and on a second trip to Powell's Books I was unable to find it again. If anyone recognizes this please let me know!

Another fun resource was this tumblr blog called Ye Olde Fashion. While trolling the archives I saw this summer dress from 1912 and could picture an older Lyra wearing it. I imagine she would have a simple style with 'Gyptian' (gypsy) influences.

That's all for now. This was a personal project, hope you enjoy it.


*EDIT: This image is now available for purchase on Society6.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

As You Like It

As You Like It - a play by William Shakespeare




















































Here is another illustration based off of a Shakespeare play and made specifically for SubPlot Studio. This time I went with the comedy As You Like It. It seems I really needed to lighten the mood after delving into deep, dark Titus. 

Mix laughs, love, cross-dressing and mistaken identity together and you have the basics of the play. Plus, As You Like It has the wonderful female lead, Rosalind. Focusing on her wit and awesomeness really made up for the sadness I felt over the empty symbolic shell of Lavnia in Titus Andronicus. Also keep in mind this is a Shakespeare play... and it would be a incomplete without a healthy dose of banishment. So Rosalind, of course, gets banished. (baniSHED!) She then disguises herself as a lovely shepherd boy, names her new identity Ganymede, and wreaks sexy-havoc in the Forest of Arden. From that point on every man, women, and tree falls in love with her. him. them. er. well. anyway. Everyone falls in love with Ganymedalind. I mean Ganymede. what?

My experience with As You Like It has been a short and recent one. I saw it performed by the Kentwood Players at the Westchester Playhouse in LA. It was directed by my friend, the multi-talented artist and karaoke machine, Jeremy Speed Schwartz. He asked me to read a couple lines with some folks of superior talent. We were then recorded and our bits were edited together to make us look like botox-riddled, caffeine-drunk talk show hosts (à la Talk Soup.) Perhaps not the most traditional introduction to As You Like It?

Here's a photo that helped inspired me: