August 15, 2011
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Back in April of this year, I had an Order of Odd-Fish fan art show at the creepy, sprawling, gorgeously ruined Hegeler Carus mansion in La Salle, IL. (You can read all about it, and see pictures of the insane mansion and the show, here.)
One of the great things about having these art shows is that I get to meet the artists in person.
One of the artists was the delightful Katie Vesco, known as Miss-Artist on DeviantArt. She drove eight hours from Ohio to come to the show! And brought brand-new art, which I was thrilled to put it up immediately!
Above is a scene of Jo waiting tables at the Dust Creek Cafe in chapter 3, and a scene from Aunt Lily’s costume party in chapter 1. I love how the frazzled Jo is overpouring her coffee, and the old lady replies with an irritated >:( emoticon. And the sassy boy dressed as a refrigerator chatting up a girl dressed as an earthworm is similarly fun, especially how “fridge” is spelled out in refrigerator magnets. But as good as these are, my favorites of Katey’s art are these:
It’s Eldritch City gangster boss Oona Looch when she first gets a shine for Jo’s best friend Ian Barrows―and the crucial moment when Jo “saves” Ian from Oona Looch by kissing him on the dance floor at the Dome of Doom. There’s something almost pathetic about Katey’s Oona Looch that I particularly like. The poor lady! Then again, Oona Looch is inappropriately old for Ian. And come to think of it, she did crush that one’s guy skull like a grape. So, okay, let’s not feel too sorry. Still: great work, Katey!
What is this armored ostrich, you ask? It’s a little sculpture made by Diana Todd, who had three absolutely gorgeous pieces in the Odd-Fish art shows of 2010 and 2011. It was a nice surprise to get a picture of this from her, reminding me of all the cool art she’d done in the past, and a exquisite piece in its own right. Thanks, Diana! (And those of you who don’t know who she is, you really should check out her art, which includes a tableau of most of the major characters, Dame Delia’s field notes for the Schwenk, and some of the best ostriches I’ve seen drawn for Odd-Fish.)
Remember how I said I had been teaching a class in Science Fiction and Fantasy at Northwestern University for 7th and 8th graders? The class is over, but I’m still in contact with the students. The last day of class, I read the first three chapters of my still-being-edited novel The Magnificent Moots, which is about an Interplanetary Olympics. In the first chapter, there are vicious dragon-wasps and many-tentacled, sword-wielding squid-worms (yes, it’s that kind of book).
One of my favorite students, Shelly Tan, whipped out two illustrations of those creatures on the spot, as I was reading the story:
Amazing work! This is pretty much exactly as I imagined the dragon-wasps and squid-worms. Actually, even a bit better than I imagined.
But Shelly wasn’t content to limit herself to in-class sketches, and a few days later I received these two full-color, polished pieces in the mail:
Stunning work, Shelly! I am delighted to be getting fan art for The Magnificent Moots even before it’s published. One nice thing about reading the chapters aloud to the my students is that they were able to turn the tables and critique me, especially since I had been so vigorously critiquing their writing for the past three weeks. Their criticisms were very helpful, too―and I was surprised to find some of my own advice to them turned around and used against me! Touché, gifted students of the CTD program!
Speaking of The Magnificent Moots―I’ve got to get back to work on these edits. Adios, and thanks, Katey, Diana, and Shelly!