Category Archives: Artwork

Book Review – ‘Gothic Art Now’ compiled by Jasmine Becket-Griffith

As the name suggests, Gothic Art Now (published in 2008), brings together several genres of current Gothic art in a book full of death and decay, melancholia and madness – for those who love every minute of it. To be honest, I felt the works represented seemed somewhat limited (I felt there should have been a wider variety of artists represented – too many of them had more than three entries in the anthology, and anyone who has ever been on DeviantArt will tell you that there is no shortage of artists just as, if not even more, talented as those represented in the book, even in 2008). I also felt the heavy heavy reliance on Adobe Photoshop in nearly every single one of the pieces was a tad disappointing. Don’t get me wrong, I understand Photoshop takes great skill to master and to create with, but a bit more variety in methods of creating would have been nice. Categories were divided into eight different kinds of new Gothic art: Femmes Fatales, Men in Black, Gothic Elegance, Industrial Goth, Lurking Horror, Dark Fantasy, Creepy Creations, and Grim Comics. The cover photo (‘Autumn Has Come’ by Natalia Peirandrei, done with markers and watercolours on watercolour paper), was one of my favourites, as well as the pieces showcased below. Overall, some very great thought-provoking pieces, and interesting read, and I give it a hearty 3 out of 5 stars.

Some of my Faves

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‘Semaphore’ by Steven Kenny, done in oil on linen.

I think she looks a little like breelark here with her long braid.

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‘Black Roses and Bite Marks’ by Tom Lavelle, done in pencil, digitally painted.

Like a mix of Lucille Ball and Marilyn Monroe if they ever became vampiresses!

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‘Stick Girl’ by Gus Fink, using mixed media.

I love the weird additions to an already slightly-creepy vintage photograph. Reminded me very much of the weird photographs in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and Hollow City by Ransom Riggs.

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‘Marco’ by Jessica Joslin, sculpture.

Because let’s face it, organ-grinder monkeys kind of look like this anyway. And this one won’t steal your money. ;P

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‘Trick’ by Krisgoat, a digital painting.

And last but not least, the adorable Trick, who has a sweeter sister (not included in the book) named Treat – she can be found here.

So there you have it! This was a great find at Value Village, and a lot of fun to look through. Recommended library reading or used-book purchase, if you’re interested in the darker side of art. If you are looking to buy something, however, I would recommend going to your local Indigo/Chapters/Coles outlet (or for those of you in the States, something like Barnes & Noble) and finding something with a bit more variety and more of an exploration of technique, etc.

Peace out and stay creepy! >^.^<


I Made a Shirt! (Take 2) – ‘Fireweed’

After posting my lovely Harry Potter fanart t-shirt I’d designed for my Zazzle store, I was kindly informed by Zazzle that since I don’t own the rights to Harry Potter, I can’t post fanart designs of him on items in my store. *sadface*. So, a huge apology to anyone who wanted that shirt, but I must follow the laws of these Muggles or I’ll probably be granted a visit from the Supreme Mugwump himself, and nobody wants to deal with that! SO, I made a different shirt!

Fireweed

This is a tiled image of a painting done by yours truly in 2011 on cheap dollar store canvas with really old tempura paints and terrible OT brushes. AND I LOVE IT. It’s called ‘Fireweed’, because as a kid living in northern Manitoba growing up, there were always a lot of forest fires and there’s this certain beautiful crimson flower that only grows after a fire, and it’s called ‘fireweed’. I was in hospital for some mental health problems when I painted this, and to me it symbolized hope: the hope that even after the flames of whatever terrible thing is destroying your life have died down and all you’re left with are the charred remains of the utter you, a certain kind of life can still grow – the kind of life that can only grow after the death of some of the most important things you hold dear. This painting and this shirt remind me of the fact that we have all gone through terrible things (some are doing so right now) and through it all, there is always hope for life beyond the blaze. It’s available here at daenorestel, my Zazzle shop. A lot of struggle and turmoil and hope and resistance went into this design and I hope you feel that strength when you wear it. Also, a bonus: You can choose any shirt type you like on the website, it doesn’t have to be the flowy crop top. So…yay! That’s it for today. Stay strong and love yourself. Keep reading. Keep hoping. Love you all. ❤ ❤ ❤
– SharaLee


Fated: Book 1 – A Draemorian Chronicle: The Western World by Sebastien Leonard

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When I first read Fated: A Draemorian Chronicle: The Western World by Sebastien Leonard, I was provided with a rough draft to offer my editorial thoughts. My feedback on the rough draft revolved mostly around how much I liked the characters, the potential of the fascinating world Mr. Leonard had created, and my appreciation of the parallels he had drawn between the history of his world and that of ours. I told him to flesh things out a little more and that I would love to see a more polished version in future. Well, I just finished the final version, and to be honest – I was not disappointed.

As a reader, a writer, and sometimes editor (and especially as a writing reader who edits while reading), it is SUCH a joy to me when I see someone reach a potential that I know they have. Leonard’s writing had a spark to it when I read the rough draft. It is so wonderful to see that spark fanned into a flame.

The book is composed of two major parts: the first part being a compilation of journal entries from the minstrel, Sorrownote, and a collection of documents from various characters in the second part who each introduce the histories of the various parts of Draemoria in their own unique voice as a backdrop to the story. The second part is a novella involving the writers of those documents in a battle that sets the readers up for the rest of the series (and, Sebastien tells me, a future video game franchise as well!).

The first part of the book was completely revamped from the rough draft, and I loved how each document was separated by a journal entry and the voice of the character was made much clearer throughout. The rough draft had me confused, but this final version is exactly what I was hoping for.

The novella had a few problems with grammar and sentence structure in the middle, but because the first part of the book had been arranged in such a way that I really cared about the characters and attained that suspension-of-disbelief element, I only really thought about it after the fact instead of being stopped in my tracks, because I was actually so involved in the story that I didn’t care about the grammar.

The rough draft was also devoid of illustrations, and when I received my copy of the final draft, I was elated because Derek Sproule had done some absolutely beautiful artwork for it. A fantasy novel is never really complete without proper illustrations, and the map of Draemoria was also really helpful in helping track the band’s journey throughout the land. The illustrations capture the essence of the novel at its heart, and I really liked that. It was clear the illustrator and the author both shared the same vision, and especially for a new fantasy series, that is very important.

Map of Draemoria

Map of Draemoria.

Derek Sproule's illustration of 'Paradigm: Island of Ash'

Derek Sproule’s illustration of ‘Paradigm: Island of Ash’

This book is total fantasy nerd fun, and I love it. I think it would make an AMAZING graphic novel, if the opportunity ever arose, and I am actually really excited for the day it becomes a video game because I could see myself TOTALLY addicted to it. The thing to remember when reading this book is that it is the beginning to a series, and Leonard is purposely choosing to introduce the history first so the reader has background to go on, much as one would in a video game’s script, and that the story itself will deepen and become more intricate as other books come out. I am very excited about this new author and I hope you all go and buy his book. I give it a very well-deserved 3.5 stars out of 5.

Support Sebastien and help him get more books in print here: https://www.inkshares.com/projects/a-draemorian-chronicle-the-western-world

See more of Derek’s work here: https://www.facebook.com/DerekSprouleFineArt

So long, and happy reading!