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Bertha Illustration Coloring

Published July 5, 2016 by baileyquillincooper

Hope y’all had a happy ‘Merica Day! I finished up that illustration of Bertha on Sunday night, so here’s some final work in progress pictures I took of the coloring process as well as the final piece.

First, here’s where I left off in my last post after I was all done with the inking:

Bertha Linework

Then I started blocking in some color with my trusty Prismacolor markers.

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Added some more layers of color.

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Even more layers still, scribbling some dark navy blue shadows into the leaves for that extra richness and depth.

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I honestly didn’t take that many photos. Whoops. Here it is pretty much finished on my art desk.

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Here’s the final scan.

Bertha Illustration Final

I probably mentioned this in my last post, but the reason I made this illustration was for some promotional postcards that I plan to get printed from overnightprints.com to send along with the snail mail submissions of my children’s book. I just dropped off the files for my book at Office Depot yesterday to get the first round of five dummies printed for the publishers, which should be finished by the end of this week. I can’t wait to see them! For the back of the postcards I will most likely be using the same old world fairytale font style as we did in “Kris & Krampus Kringle”; perhaps with a spot illustration of some toadstool mushrooms for an extra little accent. I might try and figure out that part out tonight. Till then, be safe, and watch out for any remaining patriotic explosions!

 

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Work in Progress: Bertha Illustration

Published June 29, 2016 by baileyquillincooper

I wrote in my last post about a new character that I designed recently, Bertha:

Bertha Design

She is based off of a pagan winter goddess/witch from Alpine folklore, Perchta or Berchta (also mentioned in my last post.) There’s just something about her that I really like. She’s both beautiful and dangerous, with a false air of innocence that you would totally understand if only you got to know her a little.

Last week I started an illustration of Bertha knitting under a wild rose bush tunnel in the woods. When it’s finished I’m going to use the image for promotional postcards, which I plan to send to publishers and agents along with my contact info and dummy book/manuscript. Here’s the pencil drawing:

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Here’s the line work after I finished inking it last night:

Bertha Linework

That’s all I have so far. Now it’s at the “personalized coloring book” stage that’s so much fun to come home to. After I celebrate my 30th birthday on the 30th, I will start with the coloring and be sure to post some more in-progress pictures as I go!

 

I’m Back/Recap 2: Bertha

Published June 23, 2016 by baileyquillincooper

It’s been a month since I’ve been posting weekly or on the regular, so here’s recap part two! Some of you might recall how I fell down a lucky rabbit hole on Wikipedia a few weeks back and discovered Perchta. Please actually click on the wiki link that I just provided for the complete article, because it’s entirely fascinating and obviously much more articulate than anything I could possibly ever describe in this post! She’s also quite a looker:

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From what I have gathered, Perchta (or Bertha in English) is another Yuletide character from Alpine folklore who is kind of like the female counterpart to our good friend Krampus. Her name means “the bright one” and she is a pagan goddess/wintertime witch who is sometimes said to be a ruler of beasts and the leader of the Wild Hunt. She appears during the Twelve Days of Christmas in two very distinct guises. Sometimes she is very beautiful and fair; clothed in white robes as she visits the dwellings of good children and rewards their yearly efforts with gifts of silver coins left behind in their shoes.

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At other times, when children have not been good, and especially if they have committed the particularly loathsome crimes of not spinning their entire allotment of wool, or eating something on the night of her feast day other than the traditional meal of fish and gruel, then Perchta would appear as a haggard, hideous monster and slit their bellies open in the middle of the night!

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She would then proceed to disembowel her prey and replace their organs with pebbles and straw, presumably then stitching them all back together nice and neat since she is also a goddess who oversees sewing, weaving, and spinning. She can really make Krampus look like a nice guy…and that is saying something!

Speaking of which: I guess Krampus has a girlfriend! Don’t they make an adorable couple?

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I’m in love.

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Seriously though–from all that I have read so far, Perchta and Krampus do kind of go hand in hand during Krampuslauf parades and similar events involving all manner of Christmastime merriment and debauchery. Festival goers might dress as “beautiful Perchten” (the plural form of Perchta) for good luck:

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Some were perhaps not quite so beautiful.

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Alternately, others would don animal skins and scary masks as flat out “ugly Perchten” to scare away the local ghosts and devils from the town. A lot of the ugly Perchten masks even resemble Krampus, but often with lighter fur and multiple intertwining horns.

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I always love the group photos.

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Perchten on parade!

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Some of the masks even highlight her dual nature and serve as a two-in-one!

Frau Perchta

Frau Perchta

Another interesting aspect of Perchta is that the older stories describe her as having an odd, extra-large foot, or goose/swan feet.

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In some of the older portrayals of Krampus he also has mismatched feet; one human foot and one cloven hoof.

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I always assumed this was a demon thing. Since I was that weird kid who spent all of my free time in the library reading everything I could find on mythology, the paranormal, and the occult, I actually do know a thing or two about demons, or at least how they were oftentimes depicted in medieval artwork. The medieval Christian explanation went something like: Man was created in God’s image, so although demons are known for their powers of deception and their shapeshifting abilities, they can never truly take on the sacred form of a human being. Like, they can ALMOST do it, but they’ll always be at least one thing that’s a little off about them–like a cloven hoof or a tail or something.

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As a fellow person with unusually large feet, I can only imagine how this would make shoe shopping an absolute nightmare. I feel you, dude.

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This explanation also accounts for changelings and fairies and all kinds of other weird fantastical humanoid critters that were ever said to roam the Earth before Christianity became the dominant religion in Europe. A clever way to transform the pagan gods into something that you wouldn’t want hanging around your village, and probably further enforcing the need to go to church!

However, just like Krampus, the origins of Perchta predate Christianity. The only two explanations that I could find about the odd foot thing is that it’s an indication of Perchta’s shapeshifting abilities, since she is a goddess after all, and my favorite explanation…she needs a big ol’ goose foot to work the treadle on her spinning wheel! And that, my friend, is evolution if I ever heard it!

So with all of this amazing inspiration, I quickly decided that I need to draw my own Perchta character. I’ve already been considering writing a sequel to Kris & Krampus Kringle someday down the road. Other ideas for possible characters in the second book include some other cool characters from Nordic Christmas folklore, The Yule Cat, The Yule Lads, and their mother, the wicked giantess Grýla. With all of these characters essentially originating from the same universe, it makes me want to write crossovers and backstories on them even more. I also think that I will write the sequel to take place four years later, so that Krampus would be as old as Kris was in the first book (nine years old) and Kris would be about thirteen. This would set things up perfectly for an awkward first romance!

Based on the idea that my Perchta character would be the same age as Krampus in the second book, I started sketching what I imagined she would look like as a young girl. For pronunciation’s sake I decided that I should call her by the English spelling of her name, Bertha. I mostly based her design off of the beautiful Perchten form, but I decided that I still wanted to incorporate a few of her more monstrous features as well. This is the first sketch that I drew.

Bertha Sketch

You see, this way she’s still very beautiful but she also looks like she can be a bit of a brat if provoked. I kept the long blonde hair and let the golden halo/stylized rays of light in some of those beautiful Perchten masks morph into a more naturalistic braid crown. I also added some small curled double horns. Her nose is also a little bit beastly, but still more delicate than how I draw Krampus’s nose. I was happy enough with the initial sketch to then refine it into a finished character design.

Bertha Design

I made sure to include her lacy bonnet this time, as well as the goose feet and her love of the textile arts! I also gave her an ugly Perchten mask that I imagine her wearing most of the time…like maybe she’s really shy so she doesn’t usually let people see her real face. It ended up looking a little like a creepy tiki mask, but I swear that I based the design on the wooden masks in the old drawings posted above. I think that someday I would also love to make a puppet of her just like I plan to do with Kris, Krampus, and Mama Kringle.

So that’s about it for this post. Over the past few days I’ve been working on an illustration of Bertha knitting under a wild rose bush tunnel in the woods. It’s going to be another pretty little portfolio piece when it’s done, and I might also be turning it into a promotional postcard to send to agents and publishers along with my info and dummy book. I will be sure to include some work in progress pictures of that piece in my next blog entry!

 

 

 

I’m Back/Recap 1: Illustration Portfolio

Published June 22, 2016 by baileyquillincooper

Dang, it’s been a whole month since I last posted! Although I don’t have any particularly earth-shattering progress to share this time, I will make this one a two-parter just to cover the amount of time that’s passed since my last entry. I believe that I left off right before I went to the SCBWI Spring Conference in Wilsonville, Oregon. Up until that point I was scrambling to get my first test dummy book printed and my portfolio and up to snuff for the juried art show that I had signed up for at the conference, and also for my portfolio review with Kevan Attebery. I chose Kevan to be my reviewer because he’s a Seattle illustrator that primarily draws monsters. He also invented Clippy, that annoying paperclip dude from Microsoft Word! I thought that was pretty cool. Kevan was very supportive of my work and gave me a really thoughtful and useful critique, and he was also an all-around nice guy.

The conference itself was cool and pretty informative, although I do kind of wish it had been more geared towards children’s books and children’s book illustration…well, specifically picture books. Something that I guess I knew but never really thought about before is that the children’s book publishing world also includes novels and young adult books. It seemed to me like LOT of the panels at the conference were more helpful to authors, especially YA authors writing coming of age type stories, historical fiction/fantasy, and teen romance. It was kind of neat to hear about how the publishing process from different perspectives, but I do hope that next year there will be more offered in the realm of picture books. Since there will be multiple smaller conferences instead of one big one next time, it’s probably also within the realm of possibility.

Anyway, here’s my illustration portfolio as you see it now on my website. It’s pretty much the same as I had printed for my physical portfolio but with maybe two-three extra pieces. They were very strict about the number of pieces you included at the conference, so I was pretty ruthless with what I chucked out!

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Business Card Whole

Kris & Krampus Front Cover

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Krampus Kringle Portrait

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Attack Of The Fearless Flyer

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Lucia Drawing

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At the conference I got the strongest reactions to the portrait of Mama Kringle, the four paneled illustration of Kris Kringle looking for Krampus in the snow, and the illustration of Lucia in the meadow. I still want to chuck a few of the older ones out and replace them with some illustrations that I have not yet finished or even started, so you’ll have that to look forward to.

I also met some really cool people at the conference, namely a fellow children’s book illustrator named Brittany Harris. Martyn and I started talking to her at the after party, and then we all decided that the party was a little too stuffy (and also over) so we decided to check out the crazy Blues band playing at the Holiday Inn bar and play some pool…badly! We were all so awful that we even had an old man wearing American flag shorts heckling us. It was hilarious, and so much fun that it made the day that much more worth it.

Brittany told us that she lived in Ashland but was about to move to Montana because her husband Josh just got a sweet new job. Ashland was one of those “places to visit in Oregon on my bucket list” so we vowed to visit them before they left…and we did! The weekend after the conference some friends of ours from Colorado were visiting Portland (Chris and Sarah Bacavis; love those guys!) We spent that weekend showing them around town, and then the weekend after that we took a day trip to Ashland to see Brittany and Josh. We had so much fun bar hopping, seeing the sights, and then dealing with our hangovers the following day by eating delicious breakfast food and floating in a scenic lake next to an old cemetery. It’s a shame that they’re moving away, but I think that we really made a lasting friendship through this conference thing so I’ve gotta give it credit for that!

So yeah, the past couple of weeks have been pretty much been spent having fun with friends, cooking out with the neighbors in the yard, celebrating everyone’s birthday (Martyn’s 29th just happened on the 14th and my 30th is coming up quick on the 30th), and celebrating the Midsummer Solstice. Work is pretty much the same as usual, with the occasional flying salad monster.

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Meanwhile, Vine Gogh is working hard as ever to open the new Tigard studio with a bang. In the not-so-distant future I’m gonna be teaching some “Twisted Tuesday” classes where we’ll get to do all the weird, fun, and more experimental art projects! Jenny wants me to come up with some new fairy-themed paintings, and she also loves my ideas to teach some watercolor and polymer clay/mixed media sculpture classes. I’m really looking forward to seeing where all of this is going just around the corner!

Well sorry if this has been just another boring recap post, but since so much time has escaped me since my last one I just felt that it was necessary. In my next post I promise that I’ll dive right into the new art stuff that I’ve been working on in all this time!