A Prize for Ptolemy

prize-for-ptolemy

When Alexander of Macedon (or Alexander the Great) entered Egypt in 332 BC, the native Egyptians were actually grateful because they hated the ruling Persians and happily handed him control of the country instead. And so began the Ptolemaic Dynasty, the period when Egypt entered the Hellenistic cultural sphere around the Mediterranean. As you can see, this Greek dude is clearly happy for the, ahem, Egyptian bounty he now has has the opportunity to savor.

(Seriously speaking, I know not all African women have big shapely butts, nor is it even the main reason I have a special soft spot for them. But a little junk in the trunk is still welcome on a woman.)

Blasians

blasians

Two individuals of “Blasian” (African/Asian), specifically ancient Chinese and Egyptian, heritage. I imagine they’re a brother and sister whose parents split up for some reason, so each sibling grew up exposed to a different cultural upbringing. As always, the fun thing about drawing mixed-race characters is mixing the different cultural influences in addition to the phenotypes.

Amanirenas Pin-Up

amanirenas-pin-up

I was looking at some vintage pin-up art by the Peruvian painter Alberto Vargas and wanted to emulate his style. The subject I selected was the Kushite warrior queen (or kentake) Amanirenas, known for leading Kush’s armies against the Roman legions in Egypt. Although Roman historians would describe her as blind in one eye, for all we know she could have been quite a hottie nonetheless.

Austroraptor

austroraptor

In Late Cretaceous South America, around 70 million years ago, an Austroraptor cabazai scavenges on a deceased sauropod.

Austroraptor was a dromaeosaurid dinosaur (or raptor) characterized by a relatively narrow snout and short forelimbs. Most paleoartists depict it eating fish, and it very well may have done so most of the time. But who’s to say it didn’t treat itself to something different every now and then?

Sumer Meets Egypt

sumer-meets-egypt

These two warriors from very ancient times, she an Egyptian and he Sumerian, have formed a close bond and will fight to the death for one another. It’s been a while since I last drew a couple like this, and I thought a pairing from two of the world’s earliest civilizations would be particularly interesting.

By the way, if you don’t know where Sumer is, it’s located in the southern part of Mesopotamia (now Iraq, in the Middle East).

Ptolemy XII Auletes

ptolemy-xii-auletes

Portrait of Ptolemy XII Auletes, the ruler of Ptolemaic Egypt who was the famous Cleopatra’s father. He too has a nebulous maternal parentage, but some sources suggest his mother may have been a (native Egyptian?) concubine rather than his father’s “official” wife and Queen.

This is actually a gift for an African-American friend of mine named Donn, who has a special interest in ancient Egyptian and Kushite history. I based Ptolemy’s face off his.

Greetings from Egypt

Greetings from Egypt.jpg

These Egyptian explorers, who have docked somewhere along the southernmost coast of Africa, are offering a friendly greeting to the local San population. The San, for better or worse, don’t know what to make of these strangers from the opposite end of the continent.

This was inspired by a story related by the Greek historian Herodotus, according to which the Egyptian Pharaoh Necho II commissioned a sailing expedition that ended up circumnavigating the entire African continent. Whether or not it’s true, it’s an exciting premise for an art piece juxtaposing two different African cultures together (although in the original anecdote, the crew was of Phoenician descent).

As for the San (or Bushmen), they’re a hunter-gatherer people who are aboriginal to Africa’s southernmost extremity. Their Khoisan language is distinctive for its many click-like sounds (watch the movie The Gods Must be Crazy to get an idea what it sounds like).

Nefertiti and Thutmose III

nefertiti-bust

A doodle of the famous Egyptian Queen Nefertiti, who was the consort to the “heretic” Pharaoh Akhenaten.

If you’re going to do traditional drawing, I highly recommend investing in a paper tortillon (or blending stump) to make your shading and value look smoother. I’ve found that it’s done wonders for my own sketchbook drawings.

thutmose-iii

Thutmose III (1481-1425 BC) was the Pharaoh of Egypt who came after his aunt Hatshepsut. Since his military conquests (numbering at least seventeen campaigns) expanded the borders of the Egyptian empire to cover northern Syria all the way southward to the Nile’s Fourth Cataract in Sudan, he has been named the “Napoleon of ancient Egypt”.

Around the forty-sixth or forty-seventh year of his reign, he had his predecessor’s monuments and depictions destroyed or defaced for unknown reasons. Some historians think it was to ensure a smoother succession for his son Amenhotep II, since “erasing” Hatshepsut’s record would deny her surviving relatives their competing claims to the Egyptian throne. However, Thutmose built his mortuary temple right next to Hatshepsut’s, so it may not necessarily be the case that he meant any hard feelings towards his aunt.