Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Space Indian

I did concept art for writer Shariann Lewitt when she was writing her book "Angel at Apogee," which was eventually published in 1987. "Nyapehatin" was from a tribe of what was basically "Space Indians." He was also one of the love interests of the daring female fighter pilot protagonist. He lives in a traditional tribal culture but he also knows that he is part of an interplanetary empire. You can see the fighter planes swooping about in the background of the picture. 

I did more concept art with Shariann for books she never published. These were as interesting, or even more so, than the ones she did publish. "Through the Desert of Stars" is set among Space Muslims who live on a spacefaring intergenerational city-ship. They manage to survive in interplanetary society until the time comes for them to make the pilgrimage to Mecca. Up until now they had simulated their hajj, but now a brave group want to find the real Mecca, which they believe is on a remote, almost lost planet named "Earth." The book was fine, but the politics weren't, and publishers were too nervous after the rise of international Islamic terrorism to publish a tale sympathetic to Muslims. Another concept of Shariann's was more along the "occult fantasy" line and involved a rock band who used their concerts as occult rituals which gathered energy from the crowd and directed it into cosmic conflicts of good vs. evil. Again, the concept was a bit too scary for publishers who didn't want anything to do with rock occultism which was so often confused with "Satanism" (sometimes promoted as a gimmick by the real bands themselves). My concept art for Shariann Lewitt's hidden books is buried somewhere in my heaps of sketchbooks. 

"Nyapehatin" is ink and watercolor on illustration board, 5" x 7", spring 1982.


Tristan Alexander said...

Nice, great details and another good people picture from you.

Pyracantha said...

Well Tristan what I want to know is why I could do pictures of people so much better in the 1980s than I can now.