Tag Archive | phoenix

Behind the mask

Recent success gave me a boost of energy. I’ve gotten the sketch down for my latest image, now I’m focusing on getting some color down. When it comes to coloring an image, that’s largely the grunt work part of the project. Formulated a concept and drawing it out, that’s fun and exciting. But color is a very important part of my work, and would be incomplete without it. Now, coloring this one will be interesting, because it’s so busy, it’s people heavy rather than giving more attention to the environment. Never have I created a calendar image with this many people in it. It’s really exciting, I’ve wanted to do a masquerade scene for the longest time, but never quite managed to get it until now.


This image is based off a holiday I created for the world in which most of my characters live. Masquerade Day was created by Twist, one of the Trickster Fate twins. Like our Halloween, Masquerade Day is a time to dress up in costumes and masks and take on a new identity for a time. But those who participate in the Masquerade tend to put more thought and depth into their costumes than we do as trick-or-treaters. The main themes of the day are identity, disguise, and concealment. Masqueraders keep these themes in mind and play with them as they consider what to wear, so that they create a guise with intrinsic significance.


For example, one of my characters is a fairy king. I figured he would be a Fool for Masquerade Day. In old times, like if you read Shakespeare or something (there are examples of Fools in King Lear and Twelfth Night) Fools are hired entertainment for royals or nobles (like King Lear or Olivia.) These are jesters, “licensed fools,” and because of their roles they were given a little more leniency by way of the sort of things they were allowed to say in court. Therefore, they’ve become a sort of archetype in literature, probably best demonstrated in King Lear. Because Fools have a certain amount of leeway, they can mock openly and speak freely against… well, people of authority, among others, exposing them as the real fools. As such, Tison the fairy king would think the irony of being a Fool incredibly delicious– then he could mock the way the kingdom was ruled, instead of actually doing the ruling.


This is also the kind of costume I would like to wear, were I to participate in Masquerade Day, so I made a cameo in this latest bit of artwork with a Jester’s mask. Meanwhile, I had to come with a different costume for Tison since I took his idea. I figured bird costumes were pretty simple. Then I did some research to see what different birds symbolized to see which was most likely for him. Then I discovered that was a bit tricky, because each bird could symbolize a lot of different things, and there were just a few traits that Tison had which I wanted to represent in his costume. Besides, I don’t have much by the way of credible sources in which to do this research, and that’s annoying. But at last I picked a Bluejay, which is associated with power used responsibly. Apparently it’s also associated with being pure and faithful. These qualities really suit him and I’m not sure of one that would work better.


Another character I included was Piper, the other Trickster Fate Twin. He’s evil, but charming. He typically dresses in black or green (to contrast with his red hair), but on Masquerade Day I figured he would think it fun to dress as he thought angels should. So he’s wearing a white suit. This, again, is a guy who would enjoy the irony of the costume– a guy like him wearing spotless white, including white mask with a soft smile. But his mask doesn’t have eyes, which kinda turns the whole thing creepy. It’s hard to trust someone, or tell what they’re thinking, when you can’t see their eyes. It’s unnerving when something weird is going on with the eyes– just think about some of the movies you’ve seen. And that’s just the thing, you can’t trust Piper. No matter how he presents himself to you, there will always be something he’s withholding.


Other ideas I had have made it into the image. For instance, I’ve always loved the Phoenix, which stands for new life and rebirth. I’ve also been interested with the idea of old age, it’s generally something people fear and yet I think there is something to be envied in the wisdom that the elderly can possess. I figure that one of the fun parts of Masquerade Day could be looking at other people are wearing and trying to figure out what they are trying to say about themselves or the way they think others see them with the costume (you can tell I’m a bit of a nerd, right?) That’s why it was so much fun conceptualizing the image.


Now the trick is getting it done.


Why I’m excited

Life is in one of those up moments for me now. Not because something big happened or anything, it’s just been good. For one thing, I’ve been writing. I’ve played around in creative writing for over four years, but I’ve never really had a completed story. I have such a hard time getting an entire story down, I just get bits and snatches of dialogue and stuff. But this time I’ve been working on a story, and I’ve got over 10,000 words on it– about 20 pages. That’s a lot for me. Of course, it isn’t really good, but I’m not going to bother worrying about it. The important thing for me is that it gets finished. That’s been my goal for such a long time. Like a nanowrimo thing. Some of the characters are fun.

Also, I’ve begun a new image. The problem is, I really don’t know how I’m going to do the background, I just drew the characters. People are some of the funnest things to draw and color. I’m really enjoying working on one of them, Bree. She’s a fun character and one of my favorites to draw. Still, it makes me nervous to have the background unknown.

I’m going to keep drawing and writing. I lack skill, but I love doing it, and I don’t really want to be doing anything else.


Her outfit is going to be based on this doodle. It’s her outfit for Phoenix Day (New Year). In her world, they use a phoenix motif for the new year, because phoenix’s stand for new life. Bree herself is the leader of the Red Wings, a name based on the phoenix, because her goal is to give the people of the world new and better lives. She takes in a lot of strays under her wing so that they can have new lives.


New Image: Captain of the Red Wings

Bwahhahahahaaaa! I actually kinda like this one 🙂

Bree is the Captain of the Red Wings, a group named for the Phoenix. The phoenix is the symbol for ‘New Life.’ I’m not sure if there is a real story behind that or what it might be, but a few years ago I created my own legend of the pheonix. See, once there were these Great Birds that reigned in the land. But soon they began to die out. When the last of the Great Birds died, it was covered in a landslide. The rocks that covered it had special magical properties, and the magic fused with the Great Bird’s fossil. So over time, while the rest of the rock was being melted into magma, the magic held the fossil together. And then when it came time for the volcano to errupt, a firey bird emmerged instead of lava flow, created from the magic fossil. So a species of bird, thousands of years extinct, was able to come back to life. It has been the symbol for ‘new life’ since.  The Red Wings are a group that fights to bring ‘new life’ to others. I often draw Bree in conjunction with a phoenix.

It was really great to work on this image, especially the sunset/sunrise thing.I’ve always been in love with sunsets. I wasn’t sure how well I could do it with, so I did a few image searches for photo references. But none of them really fit what I had in mind. I think it was only after I had finished the image that I realized this is closer to what I had in mind:

My next image

I’ve also been listening to Celtic Women youtube videos while I color ^_^ Horray for beautiful voices.

So, I finally managed to get down a drawing for my next image, the one with Bree. I’ve even got a fair amount of coloring done; all of the foreground and some of the background. As it turns out, the background is going to be a ‘gorgeous’ red and yellow sunset sort of thing. I tried to look at photo references to help me figure out how to do the sunset. It didn’t help as much as I would like, so it will mostly be me trying things out and figuring what looks right.

So a little bit about Bree. I like to use her for my images, as you can see here.

Bree's Starlit HourBree and the Phoenix

I also have an image of her best friend Helmer, which is even now the only calandar image with has only a boy in it.

Flurry of Paper

Bree has a quick temper that flares up and died down soon afterwards. She is active, inclusive, loud, likes to tease her friends, and enjoys being a leader and taking up those kinds of responsibilities. She’s usually in the center of things, surrounded by people and responsibilities, but every once in a while you can catch her on her own, pondering the things of the world- like in Bree’s Starlit Hour. She is now the captain of the Redwings, a group named by Helmer for the phoenix, which I often draw Bree in conjuction with (and this next image is no exception). I will explain more about the phoenix later.

Until then, smile- it’s friday.