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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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Worker Concept Art

Worker Concept Art

I’ve always wanted to draw concept art for a strategy game in the vein of Age of Empires or Civilization. At the moment, I’m not involved in any such game’s development, and I don’t know if I ever will be. Nonetheless, designing what the units would look like for each culture in a hypothetical fun is still fun every now and then. These would be concepts for worker units that would gather resources and build your base (the villagers from Age of Empires are an example of this). Of course, the civilizations represented here are imperial China, classical Greece, and ancient Egypt.

Hero of Alexandria and His Vending Machine

Hero of Alexander and His Vending Machine

Hero of Alexandria (10-70 AD) was a resident of Roman-controlled Egypt who was among the most prolific inventors and experimenters of classical antiquity. He is perhaps most famous for describing a primitive steam engine called an aeolipile in his writings, but he had numerous other designs and inventions under his belt. Pictured here is his coin-operated vending machine, which would dispense holy water at temples. It is perhaps the earliest vending machine known from recorded history.

Although Hero’s name (sometimes alternatively spelled as “Heron”) is of Greek origin, his ethnic heritage (along with that of many other Alexandrian scholars) remains uncertain. He could have been descended from Greek immigrants into Egypt, or he could have been a Hellenized native Egyptian (or at least mixed with such). Of course, I chose to go with the more Egyptian interpretation for my portrayal.

The Roman Empire in 117 AD

The Roman Empire in 117 AD

This simple map (which I created with the help of a satellite map of the Earth) shows the Roman Empire in the year 117 AD, when it had expanded to its maximum territorial extent under Emperor Trajan. Also included are surrounding kingdoms such as Kush, Parthia, and Aksum (alternatively Axum), along with the names of numerous “barbarian” ethnic groups such as the Germans and Caledonians. Unfortunately, the Arabian coastline turned out to be so busy with little kingdoms during this time period that you can hardly see the labels I had to squeeze over them unless you have the image loaded at full resolution (they are Saba, Himyar, Qataban, Hadramut, Mazun, and Gerrha).

Raptors on the Run

Raptors on the Run

A pack of dromaeosaurids rushes through the Cretaceous jungle on the hunt for their next meal. Dromaeosaurids, better known as “raptors”, are the family of meat-eating dinosaurs that includes the famous Velociraptor and Deinonychus. They are recognizable for the enlarged sickle-shaped talons on their hind feet, which the raptors may have used to puncture prey while pinning it down and savaging it with their teeth and foreclaws. And, as members of the theropod subgroup known as Maniraptora, most if not all of them would have been feathered!

Numidian Horseman

Numidian Horseman

This is a mounted skirmisher from ancient Numidia, a Berber-speaking kingdom along the North African coast in what is now Algeria to eastern Tunisia. The Numidians were equestrians of high renown in their part of the world, applying their skills as cavalry alongside both the Carthaginian and Roman armies. And they really did ride their animals bareback as portrayed here!

(Though it appears that I erred in giving the horse reins with bits, as Roman authors mention that the Numidians had no bits and instead used light sticks to direct the horses’ muzzles.)

Masinissa of Numidia

Massinissa of Numidia

Masinissa (also spelled Massinissa) was the first king of a united Numidia, a kingdom that spread between modern Tunisia and Algeria along the North African coastline. Originally composed of several tribes and clans, the Numidians were a Berber-speaking ethnic group famous for their horsemanship. Prior to bringing the Numidians together under his leadership, Masinissa first fought as an ally of Carthage against the Romans during the Second Punic War, but then switched sides to help the Roman invasion.

Once the war ended and he became king of all Numidia, he sought to “modernize” his country by introducing agricultural techniques from Carthage and then impelling many of his once nomadic people to settle down as farmers. Unfortunately for the Numidians, their kingdom’s future would take a turbulent turn after Masinissa’s death, struggling with both intermittent disunion and Roman pressure until the Romans finally took control of the area in 46 BC. From that point forward, Numidia’s name would live on as that of a province in the Roman Empire.

Dihya al-Kahina the Seer Queen

Dihya al-Kahina the Seer Queen

Dihya al-Kahina was a legendary warrior queen and seer of the Zenata, a Berber-speaking people who lived in the region of northeastern Algeria around the 7th century AD. Born into a royal subtribe of the Zenata called the Jarawa, al-Kahina is best known for resisting the Islamic Arab conquest of North Africa until her death between the years 702 and 705 AD (accounts of how she died differ, but it seems likely it happened in the thick of battle). She was also believed to have been a prophetess who could communicate with birds warning her of an upcoming battle. Much about the rest of her life is shrouded in myth and legend, but she has become something of a heroine for the various Berber ethnic groups, who see her as a champion against Arab domination.

Many other artistic depictions of al-Kahina portray her as a pale-skinned, Arab- or even European-looking woman in Islamic garb, but Arab chroniclers apparently described her as dark-skinned and “great of hair”, which may imply either a big Afro or long dreadlocks for her. Furthermore, it is more likely her garb was the loose tunic common to North Africans at that time rather than the heavier clothing associated with modern Islamic cultures.

The Vandals Invade North Africa

The Vandals Invade North Africa

Vandal warriors are on the rampage in North Africa, but these courageous natives will not let them have it without a fight!

The Vandals were a Germanic European people who crossed over to plunder northwestern Africa (then controlled by the Western Roman Empire) around 429 AD. They carved a whole kingdom out of the area between 435 and 534 AD, after which the Eastern Romans (or Byzantines) conquered it under Justinian I. However, since North Africa had always been a major breadbasket for the Romans, the Vandal conquest of the area may have marked the death knell for the Western Empire.

Zara Wilson at Work

Zara Wilson

This character, whom I’ve named Zara Wilson, would be an attorney at some kind of law firm. The picture on the wall behind her head is supposed to be her wedding photo.

I don’t really have any project bigger than this drawing planned for her, but I thought it would be fun to design a modern-day character instead of the prehistoric, ancient-era, or fantasy ones I usually create.

Colleagues

Colleagues

These two sketches depict characters from a more modern-day setting than my usual. The African-American woman at the bottom is an attorney of sorts named Zara, and the Asian woman above (no name for her yet) would probably be one of her colleagues at their firm. They might be best friends. Unfortunately, both of them came out looking rather angry, but I suppose being a lawyer isn’t a completely stress-free job.