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The Order of Oddfish

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Odd-Fish Art: The Professionals

April 5, 2010

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The Order of Odd-Fish art show extravaganza is only 12 days away—April 17! I’m freaking out with all the last-minute preparations. Remember, if you want to battle-dance in the Dome of Doom, email domeofdoom@collaboraction.org with your name and your fighting god name, and you get in for free! There’s limited space in the tournament, and spots are filling up fast. More info here.

Wait, WAIT, you say. How dare I prattle on about the art show when I should be SINGING THE PRAISES of the art above! It’s by Teddy Bihun (blog here), an astonishing Detroit artist whom I met through my childhood best friend, and now pizza emperor, Dave Mancini.

Teddy says he has two more paintings in the works for the show, but hard to imagine how this one can be topped. It’s Jo wrestling with the nang-nang at the Municipal Squires’ Authority, as Commissioner Olvershaw howls in fear. What an incredible Olvershaw—I feel like I’m rapidly aging just looking at him. The flying papers and fluttering curtains give the whole piece a wild, kinetic feeling, not to mention off-balance Jo struggling with the thrashing nang-nang as it tears off her fingernail with that proboscis (gross! awesome!). The nimbus of blue electricity crackling at the end of each of the nang-nang’s cilia make it even more startling and alien. (Check out an even larger version here.) Teddy is a professional illustrator, and everyone should go look at his blog for more eye-popping genius.

But Teddy isn’t the only professional illustrator who’s participating in the Odd-Fish art show. Check this out—by Samantha Jo of Texas—Aunt Lily’s Christmas costume party (click on the image for larger version):

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Somehow Samantha Jo gained access to the inside my skull and painted the EXACT IMAGE I wanted to convey in my writing. You can really lose yourself in this one, finding all the different characters mentioned in the text—Korsakov with daffodils on his head, the alligator in a bikini, Jo at the organ, the worm, the UFO, the eggplant—but even better is the stuff Samantha Jo dreamed up herself: the clown talking to the pterodactyl and the flower and the Southern belle, the minotaur arguing with the Statue of Liberty, and my favorite, the wallflower bear in a tutu on the stairs, looking at the party with awkward longing. (I also like that the hedgehog is a Sonic-the-hedgehog blue!)

Please, do yourself a favor and check out Samantha Jo’s work online. On her blog she’s showing images from her work in progress, the story of Yen Shen, who apparently is like a Chinese Cinderella. It looks fantastic so far. Agents, publishers, you’re on notice.

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And here’s our last and certainly not least professional illustrator for today: the marvelous Kathleen Spale. I met Kathleen at an SCBWI event back in November. Even though Kathleen’s working on illustrating another book, she somehow found time to paint this doozy! It’s the scene where Jo is looking out over Eldritch City on her first morning. I especially appreciate how Kathleen has captured Jo’s emotion—the tentative anticipation in her eyes, the nervous clutching of the chest. This is a picture that will lend the art show serious gravitas. And the sunset and fish crashing back into the sea are simply beautiful. Thank you, Kathleen! Everyone, go lose yourself in Kathleen’s awesome artwork on her website.

Stay tuned—I’m going to be posting art fast and furious all this week and the next. I am incredibly lucky that so many talented people have lent their time and genius to making art for this show. I am more grateful than I can express!