Reviving Cleopatra

I realized that I’ve been neglecting the illustration part of my blog descriptor with all this excitement over comics. So here’s a couple of the illustrations I did for Elizabeth Ann Scarborough’s two Cleopatra books, Channeling Cleopatra and Cleopatra 7.2. (synopses are at the links) I’ll be posting more in the near future.

I had a great deal of fun doing these two covers. When I was a kid I had a huge list of things I wanted to be when I grew up, including being an Egyptologist. I loved the myths of Ancient Egypt, and the artwork, and the hieroglyphics. I loved the fact that they loved cats. I loved their clothes and especially their jewelry. When the huge King Tutankhamen exhibit toured North America back in the late seventies, I went through an “Egyptian phase” in my art (let’s see, that was after my Art Nouveau stage and before my Medieval stage) — I drew lotuses and gods and goddesses and sideways people and Egyptian cats and made notecards and prints to sell.

The two books are set in the near future, and are science fiction. I enjoyed both books hugely, and getting to do the covers was a special treat. The best part was researching all the Egyptian gods and goddesses for the second book — I’d forgotten what an ever-shifting bunch of personalities they were, depending on which dynasty they were in!

Channeling Cleopatra — coloured pencil The desert scene seemed to demand the soft, grainy texture of coloured pencil. I usually use it on top of watercolour, but made an exception for this one. It was quite a challenge deciding how to depict the main character and Cleopatra as overlapping images without getting all woo-woo about it; I wanted something that would fit more with the science fiction nature of the premise.

Channeling Cleopatra — coloured pencil
The desert scene seemed to demand the soft, grainy texture of coloured pencil. I usually use it on top of watercolour, but made an exception for this one. It was quite a challenge deciding how to depict the main character and Cleopatra as overlapping images without getting all woo-woo about it; I wanted something that would fit more with the science fiction nature of the premise.

Cleopatra 7.2 — watercolour and coloured pencil Down by the Nile! The conundrum here was to show the deities in their disguises as modern environmental activists while showing their true natures — I finally opted for the traditional Egyptian solution of plopping their beast heads on top of human bodies.

Cleopatra 7.2 — watercolour and coloured pencil
Down by the Nile! The conundrum here was to show the deities in their disguises as modern environmental activists while showing their true natures — I finally opted for the traditional Egyptian solution of plopping their beast heads on top of human bodies.

 

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