Another colored pencil drawing done from memory during Boston Comic Con this past weekend. This one is of Elisa von der Recke, Cagliostro’s disillusioned protégée. This, too, will have to be redone with the original Darbes portrait (1784) in front of me. Dress wrong, background wrong, hairstyle wrong, head too big.
BCR held its last regular meeting at the dear old Democracy Center last night, after six years. We shared our favorite memories of the place, there was laughter, tears, loud noises from the improv group in the next room… and we did a jam comic! Everyone should always support the Democracy Center, a bastion of ramshackle progressive independence in the now all-too-corporate Harvard Square. But for BCR… on to the Cambridge Public Library!
I thought you had to “make it” to start feeling imposter syndrome. It turns out that all it took was making enough money off art 4-5 months in a row to officially call it a part time job. Now I’m sitting here with deadlines falling apart, because I’ve failed for so long up until now, and am terrified of doing well. Really hoping that this will help.
Reblogging this from last night
Heck, I’ve felt impostor syndrome every time I even took a little step. Doesn’t happen so often now, but this is the story of my whole twenties.
At Boston Comic Con this past weekend, I drew Cagliostro from memory based on the Houdon bust. Now I have to try again looking at a photo of the bust. The bust, by the way, is in the National Gallery in Washington, DC.
Last week I spent three days in New York City, first at the Frick Collection and then (most of that time) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I was sketching and photographing reference material that I thought would be useful for my graphic novel Spirits & Seekers: Cagliostro in Courland, set in the Duchy of Courland (now about half of Latvia) in 1779.
The first three sketches shown here are not from items in the Frick Collection, but in the Frick Art Reference Library around the backside of the house. All three are from a folder reproducing portraits by Josef Friedrich August Darbes, who also painted at least two portraits of Elisa von der Recke (née von Medem). Elisa is a focal character for Spirits & Seekers, as she met Cagliostro and wrote and exposé of him.
Item 1 is from a 1780 portrait of Countess Julie Sievers (Countess Manteuffel). It is unclear how the Manteuffels in this folder (see Item 3) connect with the the Zoege von Manteuffels, or Manteuffel gennant Zoeges, as they were sometimes called; the mother of Elisa’s half-sister (Anna) Dorothea was a Zoege von Manteuffel.
Item 2 is from a 1778 portrait of mathematician Leonhard Euler, who was living in Saint Petersburg, Russia, at the time. He was not connected to Cagliostro or the von Medem family, nor was he in Courland during this period to my knowledge. I sketched him because he chose to be painted in informal dress — the sort of outfit a gentleman (especially a gentleman of learning) would lounge around his own home or home-office in. Euler wears a fur-trimmed banyan (robe) and a loose turban over his untied hair. Men who wore wigs on formal occasions would wear such a turban over their shaven or close-cropped heads.
Item 3 is from a 1782 portrait of Count Gotthard Johann Manteuffel. All the sketches I did at the Frick, both the Collection and the Library, I drew in graphite pencil as that is all they will let you use there. They don’t even want you to write your own notes with a pen.
Item 4 is a sketch of an excerpt from a painting at the Met. the Met, unlike the Frick, allows colored pencil, or so I was told when I called beforehand; and nobody bothered me about it when I was there. This sketch is from a circa 1776 family portrait by Angelika Kauffmann of Lord Derby with his wife and child; this is his wife, Lady Elizabeth Hamilton (Lady Derby). I chose to sketch her because of the feather headdress, as I may have at least some of my characters wearing such gewgaws.
The other sketches I do not include here, as they are of decorative and useful objects — furniture and the like — from the period in question.
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I’m James. I’m a 28 year old straight male, so in theory I fit the profile of the average comic book reader. Thankfully, the reality is less bland, and from my experiences at cons and online, I’ve seen how diverse the world of comics is. Fans and creators come from all walks of life, different races, genders, sexualities. Unfortunately, there’s an ongoing problem with the way some sections of the comics community are treating those who don’t ‘fit the profile’, and it’s got to stop.
I’m sorry to say I had no idea how bad the situation was until recently, and I’d like to add my voice to those who are saying what should be obvious - if you’re threatening someone because they didn’t like a cover, you’re a bully. You’ve lost all perspective and you should be ashamed. The internet isn’t a void that you can hurl abuse into with no repercussions. You’re not being edgy, you’re a cliche.
The insane thing is, more often than not, the comics involved - the ones that seem to cause the most anger when people dare to critique them - are about superheroes. They’re about people who are persecuted for being different, they’re about sticking up for those who need it most. When you find yourself identifying with the villains, you’ve lost your way.
I wanted people to notice that I was actually working on art at Maine Comics Arts Festival in Portland, ME this past weekend, in hopes of inspiring commisions, or at least sketch requests. So in the occasional lull during the show, I worked on a colored pencil on toned paper piece.
The bird is entirely made up — I had just seen my first Scarlet Tanager a few days before, but the blues in my pencil set caught my eye. So I’m going to call this an Azure Tanager. There ain’t no such animal, as far as I can figure. If, however, anyone reading this knows a bird that looks just like this (blue body and head, dark wings, no crest), please let me know.