Category: fantasy

Domos Aidaou

*ATTENTION: While I’m on the subject of writing, please go check out this new novel on Kindle – Eidolon’s Wager. Written by the brilliant Dr. Michael Friedrichs. You will not be sorry :)*

I’m currently in a class titled Narrative Image. As you probably gathered from the name, it is a creative writing/illustrating for narratives class.

For me, writing is like dancing. I’m no good at it, but it’s fun for me regardless. My first project was to create a piece of flash fiction and illustrate for it. I decided to revise an earlier narrative + illustration that I created. Previously called Black Planet, I decided to go with something even more pretentious this time around: Domos Aidaou. The main difference is that I added a narrator and turned it into an actual narrative as opposed to the description of a scene with more words than necessary. I decided to name the narrator after a favorite musician of mine who recently passed away.

This time around with the illustrations, I decided to create an Audubon-esque illustration of some mutated critters, as the narrator was an old biologist. I think these turned out pretty sweet.

Species of the Domos Aidaou

watercolor on hot-press

Valerie Herron 2011

Alright, if you are interested, here is a bit ‘o flash fiction, written by me:

Domos Aidaou

It has been at least a month since I last spoke with another person, and I fear that these might be the last words ever written. It is my hope that this record may be found after my death by some sort of cosmic travelers. In this, my last journal entry, I will tell the story of the end of humanity.

Throughout the whole of our existence, humanity has been obsessed with the end of the world. Despite this careful study of eschatology, from every possible contingency, we brought about our own demise. We were thwarted by our own sentience: our attempt to achieve god-hood with mastery over the microbe, the atom, the elements and nature. From every corner of the globe it was the same: taring away at each other like rats, fighting over life sustaining resources, all hoarded by the upper rungs of society. The lower classes were always lost in the fray. A dark alchemy of industrial contamination, global-scale murder, and the devouring of resources could not be tempered by the last weak efforts of the few toward preservation. Epidemics emerged, the numbers of the dead metastasized like the sicknesses in their bodies. Eco-systems died out and eliminated all sources of food. Desperate wars over the last farmlands and water-sources killed off the majority. In the end, the upper echelons of society were able to buy themselves the luxury of dying last.

I am writing this from an old cabin I had the fortune to discover deep in the woods. I found it when I fled from the city. It is an oddly comforting place. I know that it is just as saturated with radiation as everything else, but the blanket of vegetation that covers it provides a sort of imagined barrier. I feel removed from that contaminated wilderness. The biologist in me yearns to spend my final days wandering this strange world, but I can not find the strength to stand.

A ghostly terrain roles out from the mists, like a real Domos Aidaou. For now the only stirring in this world is the movement of contaminated flora and fauna. The trees hum with a poisonous bioluminescence. Scurrying forth from many generations of mutation, the cacophony of a thousand gnarled creatures can be heard in the darkness. The occasional darting retina can be spied by lurking predators in between glowing branches and leaves. The steaming and hissing of a once toxic steam now gently licks the faces of the horrid creatures and lurching tendrils as they reach into the water for nourishment.

Looking at the tumors in my hands that have formed within days, I can not imagine any other humans could have survived this. I suppose the pendulum always swings. For centuries we were all so worried about the end, we forgot that the planet does not need humans to endure. Though ravished through the ages by predatory giants – from the dinosaurs to humanity – Nature will not be victimized. She will always prevail. I pray that someday the ancient remains of this crumbling domicile will be discovered and this journal within it, lest humanity forever be forgotten with the death of human consciousness.

Dr. Peter Christopherson


Illustration Painting II Final

My painting final serves two functions. As I wrote up in my final proposal, I wanted to create a fantasy illustration, something versatile that could be used for calendars, gaming books, or even books on witchcraft (like a John William Waterhouse painting.) These are the markets I want to get into as an illustrator. The primary reason I created this painting was as a devotional painting to Brighid, as I have certainly been blessed with inspiration, productivity, and skill this first year at art school.
Brighid, goauche
Illustration Painting II Spring 2010
For reference I set up a photoshoot with my friend Coleen. Have I mentioned yet that my friends are good sports? She was willing to let me dress her up and stand by a fire-pot in her backyard for an hour while I took pictures of her in the cold.
p.s. Coleen doesn’t really have horns.
I was able to superimpose this image over a woodsy background, the lighting was challenging but I pulled it off.
I was stoked that I pulled off the fire-pot as well.

Master’s Study

We all did one Master’s Study in my Illustration Painting class, in other words, choosing a painting by an artist we admire and recreating it with goauche. I chose Morganna Le Fay by Brian Froud. Brian Froud is definitely an artist who I want to emanate in my paintings.

Master’s Study, goauche
Illustration Painting II Spring 2010
I think I did a really good job rendering the painting while throwing in my own style (even though I didn’t get to finish)
This bird looks so mad!

The Journeys Project

This was my favorite assignment in Illustration Word and Image. We were to make up an explorer and illustrate/document their journey. We had to depict where they went, who they met, what they found etc. and create an illustrated book around this story.
I decided to make a Celtic children’s story: The Journey of Sionann Donnelly. This decision was inspired by a book I recently read, The Red-Haired Girl from the Bog by Patricia Monaghan.  

I made this one another accordion book. I made the cover out of illustration board and book cloth. The image on the cover (drawn with colored pencils) was an homage to one of my favorite motifs from history, The Three Hares. I snuck them in throughout the book.

cover page
Beginning of the story, intro to the character. First illustration shows her home-base (bedroom.)
page 2 and 3 are a little map of the journey…..
SURPRISE! Fold out, detailing the journey
Northern Irish cemetery (sorry about the blurriness)
Biddy Early’s cottage
At the Climax, Sionann is confronted by the goddess Ériu, who chews her out for stealing and tells her to go home.
Sionann flies home, and when she unpacks her things, she finds a book that tells the tale of her journey. 
There’s a little hidden raven in every image, as Ériu’s raven spies on Sionann throughout the story.

Stylized Portrait

For this assignment, we were to chose an artist that we liked that worked a lot with the figure. We were then supposed to create a self portrait in the style of this artist. Immediately I thought “Great, I’ll do Giger.” This turned out to be hilarious. My classmates all chose more conventional artists, demonstrating their amazing skills at rendering life-like portraits. I was the only one, it seems, that decided to portray themselves through the aesthetics of some creepy surrealist.

Trying to complete this piece in a timely fashion with charcoal was a giant pain in the ass. I tried my best to mimic the airbrush texture with charcoal and conte. I wish I had more time to execute this piece, as there is so much more detail that I would have liked to put in it, as well as more time to render the details of the textures. I salute you, Hans Rudolf Giger. You are a freakin’ genius.

Gigeresque Self-Portrait, charchoal and conte crayons
Drawing II Spring 2010

The Joanie B. Titles

This was an interesting project. It was apparently inspired by a personal friend of my Professor’s, art rep Joanie Berstien. When artists contact her asking for representation, she sends them a list of phrases that they are to create illustrations for so she can get a sense of their work. This is a long list of clichés, things such as “Relax and Rejuvinate” and “Love and War.” We were supposed to choose a few items from this list to illustrate. The point was that we would all come up with different ways to illustrate the same ideas. Much like the Commons assignment, this assignment was also challenging for me. I felt way out of my element. But I must say, I was pretty happy with the results.
“Wine Country” ink and goauche on drawing paper
Both sides of my family are from Sonoma County. People generally think of Sonoma County and they think of all the beautiful vineyards, all the rich countryside. My family is from the other side of the tracks, full of Hillbillies, Hippies, and Ghetto. Poverty, crime, and addiction problems everywhere. So this was a little homage to my roots.
“Think inside the Box” ink on drawing paper
Pretty self explanatory. I draw a good portion of my inspiration from historical art.
“Swamp Thing” ink and goauche on drawing paper
This one is my favorite. Another huge aspect of my work is the figure and an element of fantasy/mythology.
I think these came out a little smarmy for my Professor’s taste, but they generally went over pretty well.

Holy Updates! aka Painting Final from Last Semester

Oh My God, this blog is waaaayyyy overdue to be updated. Professor Kurt Hollomon strongly disapproves!!!! Well, as per his suggestions, I will do my best to keep this thing current.
I will start this mad barrage of updating with my Illustration Painting Final from last semester. I know, that was last December, but I didn’t get the thing back ’til February… and then I got busy. MOVING RIGHT ALONG!
I created a prototype of an illustrated bestiary, specifically about creatures from Anglo-American folklore.
This is an accordion book, the cover created from illustration board and book cloth. Each illustration was 4″x4″, with a little description and background info next to each creature.
I believe the Jackalope needs no introduction. Fear him, he thirsts for your blood.
Ogopogo, the famous lake monster from British Colombia. For reference I used an image of an albino alligator and an image of a white eel.
And my favorite, the Wampus Cat. Obscure, cursed cat-woman from Native American mythology.