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My new website

In case you were wondering what I’ve been up to the past few weeks…

I want to promote a new website I set up for myself using Bluehost and WordPress.org (as opposed to WordPress.com). As was the case with this blog, the site is meant to showcase my art and writing, but I wanted it to look more professional (like a sort of portfolio for me).

Brandon Pilcher’s Creative Adventures

To be honest, now that I’ve set the new website up, this old blog now seems superfluous and obsolete. I’m not going to shut it down right now, as I want people who have been following me for some time to check out the new site. But I might be less active here unless I can find an alternate use for this blog. Anyway, check out my new site!

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Egyptian Mermaid

Egyptian Mermaid

May is apparently considered the month of the mermaid nowadays, so here’s an Egyptian mermaid to celebrate. The fish on which her tail is based would be the Nile perch (Lates niloticus) which is native to the Nile and numerous other rivers and bodies of fresh water throughout the African continent.

Queen Oyendako of Nyongo

Oyendako Sketch_Shaded

This is a sketchbook doodle of my heroine Oyendako, the female lead from my fantasy short story-in-progress “Claws of the Dragon”. To sum her character up, she is the young matriarch of a jungle kingdom called Nyongo, and she’s leading a revolt against the Dragon’s Claw, a slave-trading colony of the Empire of Zhang. Fighting by her side is her boyfriend Xu Wei, who once led the colony’s garrison before switching over to what he felt was right.

By the way, the spear that Oyendako is holding is inspired by certain Congolese designs characterized by holes in their metal points.

Chinese Dragon Sketch

Chinese Dragon Sketch

The serpentine creature depicted here is a long, better known as the Chinese dragon. Unlike the dragons of European and Middle Eastern traditions, the Chinese long was not necessarily malevolent, nor did it spew fire. Instead, it was associated with water and rainfall rather than fire, and it usually received veneration as a benevolent entity rather than fear or revulsion. They were also considered symbols of the Chinese Emperor’s authority, with dragon designs being embroidered on his robes.

I don’t normally draw dragons, either European or Asian, since I have always preferred dinosaurs and other prehistoric reptiles. However, it can be fun to do your own take on a mythical creature every once and a while.

Rough Sketches of Xu Wei and Oyendako

Xu Wei and Oyendako.jpg

These are rough sketches of the male and female lead from my upcoming short story “Claws of the Dragon”. The Asian-looking guy on the left is Xu Wei, a distinguished warrior who has cut ties with the Imperial colony he once served to aid a native revolt. His girlfriend on the right is Queen Oyendako of Nyongo, who is the revolt’s leading organizer. Together, they must face not only the firearms of the colony’s garrison, but also a ferocious dragon of magical origin—who happens to be someone Xu Wei was once close to.

UPDATE: Colored version below…

Xu Wei and Oyendako

Map of Dragon’s Claw

Map_DragonsClaw

I drew this map after outlining the plot for a short fantasy story. It would take place on a peninsula jutting out from a vast tropical subcontinent known as the Southlands. The area known as Dragon’s Claw is a colony set up by the Empire of Zhang, and it got its start as a port that exported both tropical products and enslaved people from the native Southland kingdoms back for Imperial exploitation. Initially, the various Southland kingdoms were more than happy to sell their war captives to the colony in exchange for Imperial goods (especially firearms). But, having finally tired of constant war and enslavement depleting their subjects, the kingdoms have unified into one force revolting against the Zhangese colony. And so our story begins…

The map’s aesthetic style is supposed to resemble something an ancient Chinese cartographer might have inked, since the fantasy nation of Zhang is obviously inspired by imperial China. The creatures you see in the “Sea of Serpents” are supposed to be mosasaurs, giant sea lizards that lived during the Cretaceous Period of our world’s history.

Setimosa, Priestess of Set

Setimosa the Priestess of Set

Setimosa here is a character I created as my player avatar in the game Conan: Exiles, which is a survival role-playing game set in Robert E. Howard’s Hyborian Age (the fictional era where his stories about Conan the Cimmerian took place). I imagine she would have been a priestess of Set, the Hyborian era’s serpentine god (not to be confused with the historical Egyptian deity of the same name) before the events of the game. So far, the game’s open world is beautiful and fun to explore, although progression can be time-consuming (and it could really benefit from a “fast travel” feature like you have in Skyrim).

Soninke Archer

Soninke Archer

Next in our series of ancient warriors, we have an archer from the Soninke kingdom of Wagadu (better known as old Ghana) in ancient West Africa. According to the Muslim writer al-Bakri, the armies of Wagadu could field as many as 40,000 archers (out of a larger army of 200,000). They were also known for adding poison to make their arrows more lethal (archers elsewhere in Africa, including the ancient Egyptians and Kushites, appear to have done the same thing).

Chinese Warrior with Fire Lance

Chinese Warrior with Fire Lance

The weapon that this soldier from ancient China is holding is a fire lance, one of the earliest gunpowder weapons invented in recorded history. These were spear-like weapons with fireworks attached that would shoot out projectiles or poison when lit, and they would have been used in close-quarters combat due to their limited range. Nonetheless, Chinese fire lances would have represented one of the very first stages of the modern firearm’s evolution.