Archive for the ‘Featured Artists’ Category

World Fantasy Awards

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bone flower throneThe World Fantasy Awards nominees were announced last night, and I’m so thrilled to see Zelda Devon nominated under the Best Artist category. Zelda did the fabulous cover art for The Bone Flower Throne, and I have loved her work with Kurt Huggins for years; they illustrated my Realms of Fantasy story “The Hearts of Men”, and they created the wonderful art for my website. Both Kurt and Zelda’s work speak to me on a personal level, so I’m really excited to see Zelda’s art getting the recognition it so richly deserves.

You can see more of Zelda’s work at her website. You can also see the process for the cover’s original watercolor here.

Congratulations, Zelda, and good luck!

Deviant Art: Aztec gods

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deviantART mascot Fella

I haven’t done one of these in a while, so here we go! Today I’m featuring some cool art of Aztec gods/goddesses. If you like the art, be sure to click on over to Deviant Art, to check out the other work these fabulous artists have made. One of these was an illustration for one of my short stories, published in Space & Time Magazine. I’ve also included some brief discussion of the mythology behind each god.

Coyolxauhqui Moon Godess by Cangrejo-Volador on deviantART

Coyolxauhqui is the sorceress sister of the war god Huitzilopochtli. The story goes that when her mother became pregnant with Huitzilopochtli, she sent her brothers to kill her, but Huitzilopochtli sprang from his mother’s womb fully-grown and slew his brothers. He then chased his sister into the mountains, and when he finally caught her, he chopped her into pieces and tossed her head into the sky to create the moon.

Tezcatlipoca by doingwell on deviantART

Tezcatlipoca, also known as the Smoking Mirror, is the god of darkness and deceit, of sorcery and war. He’s credited with helping Quetzalcoatl create the earth by tearing the earth monster Cipactli in half, and during that task, he lost his foot, which he replaced with a magic obsidian mirror. It is also said that he and Quetzalcoatl constantly battled each other for supremacy in the Heavens where they would knock each other from the sky, causing the end of the world each time (the Aztecs believed the world had ended four times, and a fifth time was not that far off).

Jade Bones by MartinHanford1974 on deviantART

Mictlantecuhtli was the god of death and the ruler of the Aztec underworld, Mictlan. All those who didn’t die at the sacrifice would have to walk the road into Mictlan once they died, and to buy their eternal rest, they had to cut out their own hearts and give them to Mictlantecuhtli. The god of the dead wasn’t considered a very smart god; in the old tales, the god Quetzalcoatl traveled into the underworld to steal some bones to make the new generation of humans, but Mictlantecuhtli wouldn’t let him have them unless he could play a rock like a flute. Quetzalcoatl convinced some worms to eat holes in the rock, making it into a flute, and foiled Mictlantecuhtli’s plans.

Our Lord the Flayed One by DougDougmann on deviantART

Xipe Totec was the god of agriculture. He was known as the Flayed One because it was said that he had flayed himself to make the crops grown, and so every year the priests would flay a sacrificial victim and wear the skin, to honor this sacrifice.

Huitzilopochtli by AdriansWall on deviantART

Huitzilopochtli is the Aztec god of war, and in addition to his origin story already told above, he is also credited with leading the Mexica (the Aztecs) out of slavery in Aztlan, and told them that they should build their capital where they found an eagle perched on a cactus, eating a snake. Said eagle was eventually discovered on the island where Tenochtitlan was built out on Lake Texcoco. He and the rain god Tlaloc were the highest gods in Tenochtitlan, each having a temple atop the Temple Mayor in the heart of the city.

Tlaloc by DougDougmann on deviantART

Tlaloc the rain god was perhaps the most important and oldest deity in the pantheon. He poured rain from jars in the clouds and oversaw Tlalocan, the paradise where those who drowned went after they died.

Yo tambien Desaparecere by LiamSkitso on deviantART

Quetzalcoatl, also known as the Feathered Serpent or Precious Twin, was the god of civilization; he gave humanity life with his own blood, and he gave them the arts of writing and calendar-keeping. He was the light to Tezcatlipoca’s darkness, which was why they were always at odds. He was the founder of the priesthood, and the highest priests took his name for their title. He was also believed to be the father of the royal bloodline through Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl, the legendary priest-king of the Toltecs.

deviantART: Brown, Chacón, and Barba

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deviantART mascot Fella

It’s Friday, so time for another round of featured artists. Today’s picks are cartoonists who present their Aztec-inspired content in new and interesting ways. Rather than focusing on the whole blood sacrifice bit, they focus on making their characters and message kid friendly and accessible.

Danielle Brown

hey Quetz by ~doingwell on deviantART

Danielle Brown is a cartoonist from Orange County, California, and she’s living my childhood dream. I absolutely adore her work and have been following it for a several years on deviantART. She did the artwork for the game app Rocket Weasel and she currently works for Freeze Tag Games. I found her via a series of drawings of Aztec gods she posted here, here, and here, and I fell in love with the rest of her work. She keeps a blog here and a tumbler here.

Gina Chacón

Cihuamiztontli by =SaiyaGina on deviantART

Gina Chacón is an illustrator/graphic designer from Chihuahua, Mexico. She does a lot of anime-style work and all of her stuff is just beautiful. I particularly love this piece. When I first saw the above picture, I was immediately reminded of my own One World alternate history series, with the mix of traditional Aztec elements with futuristic technology. And I love the little axototl’s floating in the tank behind the girl. She keeps a Tumber here.

Angel Barba

Quetz vs Tezca by ~mictlantectli on deviantART

Angel Barba is from Guadalajara, Mexico and he writes and illustrates a Peanuts-style comic featuring the Aztec gods, meant to teach about Aztec culture, history, and mythology. I really enjoy the cuteness of his characters, particularly the ones that typically get a very dark treatment in art, like Tezcatlipoca or Lord Death. I could hug little Tezca in his adorable jaguar suit. Here you can see an animated video of Quetza telling the Axototl how he discovered corn (it’s in Spanish. I’m hopeful that eventually they will add English subtitles to their videos).

Stay tuned next Friday for more featured artists.

deviantART: Eades, Herrera, and Gaillet

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deviantART mascot Fella

I spend a bit of time each day on deviantART, searching for artwork to add to my slide-show desktop, and let me tell you, there’s a ton of really good art out there. I’d like to share the best stuff I’ve found, along with new stuff as I find it. I like art a lot; I used to do some drawing and painting when I was younger, and once had starry-eyed dreams of being a Disney animator. I still dabble a bit (and you can see some examples of my recent art here), but I’m in awe of the sheer talent to be found on websites like deviantART. Mostly I look for Aztec or Mayan-inspired work, but sometimes I come across some really stellar fantasy and science fiction work. And who knows, maybe the cover artist for your next self-published title is over there waiting for you to find them. I’ll post three new artists every Friday, to start the weekend off. I want to respect owners’ copyrights and so will only post art that the artist has allowed deviantART to offer embedding code for. If there is no code available, I’ll still talk about the artist but will instead include links to their work on deviantART. Be sure to click on the pics to see their full galleries and prepare to be blown away.

So, onto the art!

Mauricio Herrera

Quetzalcoatl 2.0 by *el-grimlock on deviantART

Mauricio Herrera does a lot of really cool fantasy and science fiction art, and he’s quite prolific. I’ve been following his account on deviantART for a couple years now and he posts new work every few weeks or so. He also has some speed-painting videos available on YouTube, where you can see him work on a digital painting from start to finish; it’s quite remarkable to see, even with the increased video speed to fit it into a watchable video. Herrera has done a number of Aztec mythology paintings, including these ones of the Tzitzimime and Tezcatlipoca. I hope he does more in the future; would really love to see his take on Huitzilopochtli or an ahuitzotl. He’s a native of Chile and has done work on prominant video games like God of War.

Carolina Eades

Tepeyolotl by *Carolina-Eade on deviantART

Carolina Eades is another fantasy illustrator from Chile. I really enjoy the darkly whimsical quality of her work, and I imagine she could create really cool covers for weird western books, particularly my series starring Mextli, when I get around to writing those novels–or at least fixing the one I’ve already written. Maybe someday…. She does a lot of art for card games and RPGs, and her work is just fantastic. I think if Realms of Fantasy were still around, her artwork would have been right at home in there.

David Gaillet

With the moon as witness by ~DavidGaillet on deviantART

When I saw this one, I was just…wow! Seeing more of his work produces more of the same reaction. David Gaillet is a french illustrator from Toulouse, France, but beyond that, I don’t know much about him, other than that he’s wildly talented. Even the stuff that treads on familiar territory has its own provocativeness that makes you want to stare at the fine detail for a very long time. He has a facebook page where he occasionally posts work.

Have a good weekend, everyone, and next Friday I’ll showcase three more artists.