When Shauna Narciso, Art Director of Dragon+ Magazine asked if I’d like to illustrate a “curious vegepygmy” in a fantasy jungle setting, you can imagine my reaction. It was truly a dream assignment, full of hidden messages & tendrilicious details. If you’d like to read the story that inspired the illustration, as well as an interview in which I perhaps reveal too much about my working process, have a look at Dragon+ Issue 16, now online!
Nothing is more delicious than a good, juicy word, & A.Word.A.Day provides one every morning. I’m honored to be illustrating for Anu Garg’s succulent site again this week, & especially delighted to be given this word this year. In June we visited The Huntington Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California, & saw the most astonishing collection of succulents there in the Desert Garden. My East-Coast eyes couldn’t get enough of their curious shapes & colors. There were a number of lizards enjoying the landscape as well, & I would not have been very surprised if an aloe-esque creature like this “S”-shaped fellow had appeared in one of the beds. Even an alien or a dinosaur would have seemed right at home!
(By the way, the Desert Garden is just one of many, & we were so entranced by all of them that we barely had time to pop into the Library at the end of the day before it closed– which was a pity, because their collection of rare books & manuscripts is as spectacular as the collection of plants.)
Original sold but prints still available in my Etsy shop, Curious Art Lab.
Oh, you thought I was talking about the relentless march of the holiday retail machine? Nope, that’s last week’s news. Now it’s time to brace yourself for this year’s mighty, unstoppable A.Word.A.Day illustration series!
Today’s word is “juggernaut,” “a massive relentless force, person, institution, etc. that crushes everything in its path.”
Though the word’s origins lie in Hindu tradition, my thoughts went immediately to Godzilla, then back to earlier rampaging Asian monsters. A gigantic golden dragon could certainly destroy a city, while forming a fairly convincing curiotype letter “J”!
This painting & prints thereof are now available while they last* in my Etsy shop. So I guess now we’re back to the holiday retail theme. ;-) *Original art SOLD… wow, that was fast!
More A.Word.A.Day art to come! Tomorrow some kitschy cluckers clutching coffee. Can you guess the word?
This painting has been an adventure in itself. I’d originally created the design around a wonderful quotation, but alas, I was unable to get permission from the writer’s estate, & that took the wind out of my sails for a while. Then it occurred to me that I could make up my own message, so I was back in action! It isn’t as perfect as the original, but it gets the point across.
Just as things were finally rolling again, I had to put the project on hold for quite some time to finish a massive rush job. Such is the freelance life. But I’ve been able to get back to it at last & I think it’s almost finished! Though I’m considering offering personalized messages in the bottom scroll area where I previously had the author’s name & now have “Enjoy the journey!” Anybody have any ideas?
This section of the painting is only about 2.25″ x 2″ (5.715cm x 5.08cm)– but just because these critters are small doesn’t mean they’re not dangerous.
You may have seen bits & pieces of this image before, but here’s the whole thing!
At last I am able to make prints of this available on Etsy. They’re not full-size (about half that), but much bigger than my usual small prints. (When I tried to reduce them to standard printer-paper size, you could hardly see the details at all!)
Unrelated note: today’s A.Word.A.Day painting is Ineluctable. A warm welcome to all of you who are arriving here from that site. (For the rest of you, if you haven’t yet wandered through this wonderland of words, head on over now!) And if you’d like to know more about the painting itself, see my previous post.
Lately I get the feeling that Illustration Friday has been making up topics just for me! I love painting creatures of all sorts. I’m actually working on a new piece that fits the topic AND the last, but until that’s done, I’m offering Otoroshi, as previously posted in my Oddments blog (which is chock-full o’ creatures, by the way):
“This week’s entry for AlphaBeasts is Otoroshi, an exceptionally hairy, tusk-bearing, gate-guarding monster. Normally he hangs out on temple gates, but this time he’s gracing a Marvel-ous wire number from Jim Brown’s Catalogue, 1939.”