Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Consuming Fires of Gerald - Illustrations

This story was a lot of fun to illustrate!  Who doesn't want to illustrate people running in mortal fear? 

I wandered through the annuls of art history to paintings about people being attacked. I looked at some battle scenes, murders and the like, but then I remembered, from an art history class, some kind of hullabaloo about a painting called Rape of the Sabine Women.  So, I Googled it.  This painting by Peter Paul Rubens is the first painting I came across of many versions on this theme.  Apparently, just after Romulus (no, not the Star Trek character) founded Rome, the Romans needed some women to be their wives.  They had tried to bargain and debate the merits of matrimony with Romans to the local people, the Sabines, but the locals were not willing to give up their women.  So Romulus held a festival to which he invited the Sabines and the Latins who lived in the area.  Once at the festival, with their young daughters, the Romans grabbed the women who were virgins and took them away to be their wives.

I find it a bit appalling and a bit fascinating that master artists would create giant paintings of such an incident.  Well, Gerald is not quite a Roman, but he does end up with only forty-five minutes to find and mate with a partner.  With that forty-five minutes he ends up fathering four children from four different women.  We don't have details about these unions, but obviously, some of these women were not looking to Gerald for a life-long relationship and may have been forced into an unwanted interaction.  Gerald is despicable.  To express something about this...this...moment, I chose a cropping of the painting by Rubens as the basis for my cover illustration.

This Rubens' scene is of three women running from the Romans.  One woman is being held back by a Roman.  I converted these people into four women running from the consuming fires of Gerald, with one looking back in horror.

I wanted a wood block effect, so, after drawing the women, I filled in the line and some shapes with the blue.  I was happy with the Photoshop coloring of the line, but I wanted something warmer and more complex and luminous for the coloring on the women.  I painted their coloring with oil paint on canvas (see below) and then overlapped it with the drawing.  I was happy with this approach because now the women seem aglow with the consuming fires of Gerald.

The Consuming Fires of Gerald will be published this Friday, April 12, 2013.

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