Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Flying Car from 1926

Do you miss your retro-future? Do you miss your floating cities, your silver spandex jumpsuits with bubble helmets, and your robot maid? Where is your flying car, you ask? I got yer flying car right here. It may be a little too retro for your future but I'm sure it will do the job. Like the Dragons of Pern, I suspect that its flight is enabled by levitation, with the wings active only as steering and perhaps giving extra airspeed. The car is a 1926 Chevrolet Superior Series V Coupe. Get in and take a spin!

Pitt technical pen ink and markers on sketchbook page, about 4 1/2" x 3 1/2", April 15, 2014.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Eddings Character Couple

This traditional pair comes from another fantasy series by David Eddings, the "Elenium." The  main male character is a knight named Sparhawk, who comes into possession of a magical talisman called the "Sapphire Rose." He travels far and wide to the city of Matherion, pictured in my "Domes of Fire," along with his princess bride Ehlana, depicted here, who he liberated from evil magic. 

I have often written about the color code in fantasy writing. In this code, the color of your hair, skin, and eyes determines what role you play in a traditional fantasy. In general (and this is also true in cartoons) men are dark-haired, and women are blonde. Just check this out when you next look at depictions of people. Yes of course there are exceptions. But it's been this way among white people and their stories from the dawn of time. Good women who are rescued and end up marrying the hero are blonde. Manly men who rescue them or struggle to be worthy of them, like Chandar of Iridar, are black-haired, often with blue eyes  to show that they are good inside. 

And then there are the ubiquitous red-haired heroes and heroines. Red hair, the mainstay of fantasy, means special gifts, courage, martial prowess, brilliance, and for women, feminist heroism, like Disney's feisty princess Merida in "Brave." If she's a fighter for a good cause, she has red hair. 

If the woman has black hair, watch out, she's dangerous and possibly a witch. And if anyone has brown hair, forget it, they will, like the proverbial Star Trek red-shirted security guard, die early in the story defending the hero.

"Sparhawk and Ehlana" is mixed media on brown paper, 7" x 10", October 1997.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Wine Deck in Spring

It's still twiggy and leafless at Winding Road Cellars, though the temperature was warm and the sun was bright. My "Earthly Paradise" wine art book is selling well at Winding Road. My wine friends and I were there to deliver more books and sip the excellent vintages there. I am told that the trees, flowers, and vines sprout at least a week later than their counterparts back near the coast and the big city. So while the cherry blossoms are at their peak now in the city, they will bloom later at the wineries. This gives me another chance to see them, if I'm lucky and the weather is good. 

Black technical pen ink on sketchbook page, 7 1/2" x 5", April 12, 2014.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

City of Iridescent Rose

It's a pink world out there, filled with cherry and soon crabapple blossoms, so I have revisited  my city of perfume bottles and painted the town pink. I added in the elevated railway which is being built in my neighborhood. The pink city shines with iridescent surfaces in the spring haze. One structure near the center has a manta-ray-shaped roof accented with malachite. This is a magical city with no traffic jams or pollution. 

Once you assert that there is an inner, magical or "spiritual" world, you can do anything you please in it. You are no longer bound by the laws of matter, energy, or physics. You either have a non-material astral world, or you don't. The closest you can get to the Otherworld's "real existence" is to say that it takes place as a shared virtual world created by human consciousness. And people are real good at making stuff up.

Excuse the metaphysics. Now back to those cherry blossoms and Photoshop. This image started as a little black and white sketch in my journal. I transformed it into colors with Photoshop and added in opaque highlights. It's entirely possible to do the same thing with acrylic, especially if you use an airbrush. And airbrushes are very metaphysical devices, creating astral skies with a whoosh of compressed air.

"City of Iridescent Rose" is about 3.25" x 6", ink on sketchbook page, colorized in Photoshop, April 11, 2014.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Little Backhoe

Spring was on back-order, we just couldn't get it. But finally the delivery has arrived and the blossoms are blooming against a brilliant blue sky. So it's time to go outside and draw pictures of infrastructure maintenance equipment, yeah! This is a rather rusty but still functioning Bradco 509 backhoe used in digging jobs at my housing complex. There is also an old wheelbarrow near it, tipped on its front end. 

This drawing took about an hour to do, it was not one of those quick-draw urban sketcheries. In fact I had to piece it together in Photoshop, since I ran out of space for the extended stabilizer "foot" in front and had to draw it separately. You'd never know, thanks to the wonders of digital inking. 

I wish I could sit in that driver's seat and operate a backhoe. I think it would be so much fun, even if I was only moving dirt.

Pitt technical pen black ink on sketchbook page, about 8" x 7", April 10, 2014. Click for larger image.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Sorceress Janine of Darkover

During the 1980s and 1990s I did countless pieces of fan art for fan-produced magazines, in those days known as "fanzines." This was an illustration for a story set in Marion Zimmer Bradley's "Darkover," called "The Last Song of Sorceress Janine." I have no recollection of what the story was about, though from my picture it seemed to involve a glamorously dressed sorceress and an attack by masked street thugs. The image of the Sorceress was copied from a 1928 glamour shot of famous movie star Joan Crawford. Somewhere, my illustration in its magazine sits crammed in a closet, gathering dust, rather like the films of these old stars. 

Fan art is ink on illustration board, 8" x 11", spring 1987.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Perfume Bottle Towers

I have a collection of perfume bottles made in Egypt. They are little things of beauty, built by the hands of glassblowers into unique shapes, accented by color and metallic luster glazes. What would happen if these tiny forms were enlarged into architectural towers? This sketch attempts to answer the question. They would be faerie towers reflecting moonlight, the homes or workplaces of sprites and glass-like crystal nymphs. Some of the shapes you see in this picture are sitting on my shelves, but they are only six inches tall.

"Perfume Bottle Towers" is gouache on black paper, 7" x 10", January 1998.