Hathor in a Bikini

Hathor in a Bikini

As the Egyptian goddess of love and fertility, Hathor sure knows how to slay in a bikini! This time, I made Hathor’s swimwear yellow in allusion to another African love divinity, the Yoruba orisha Oshun.

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The Violence of Sekhmet

The Violence of Sekhmet

Sekhmet, the Egyptian goddess of war and violence, is on another one of her bloodthirsty rampages. Apparently she was so fond of the taste of blood that the sun god Ra, in order to restrain her, got her drunk with beer dyed red to look like blood. Ironically, however, she also had healing as another one of her aspects, so she must have been more than a one-dimensional killer.

Nefertari is Miffed

Nefertari is Miffed

The Egyptian Queen Nefertari is feeling all miffed now, for whatever reason. Maybe her egoistical hubby Ramses II is getting on her nerves again.

More than anything else, this was an experiment with a different approach to coloring than my usual. I recently saw an art book where the artist apparently did all their coloring under the pencil lines without any inking at all, and it was a look I wanted to try out myself.

Kerma Street Scene

Kerma Street Scene

The city of Kerma, located near the Third Cataract of the Nile in northern Sudan, was the first capital of the kingdom of Kush. It thrived between 2500 and 1500 BC until the Egyptians had it destroyed during their New Kingdom conquest of Kush. Although Kush would resurge as a major power in the Nile Valley after 1000 BC, their capital had moved up the Nile to Napata by this period.

This is a street scene I did for a friend who wants to put together an illustrated book about the Kushite civilization. The big temple in the background is based on one of the structures known as deffufa which have been excavated at Kerma’s ruins. I rather like depicting common Kushite people going about their daily lives, since most modern depictions seem to emphasize either their warriors or their kings.

Wildest Dreams

Wildest Dreams

Say you’ll remember me
Standing in a nice dress,
Staring at the sunset, babe.
Red lips and rosy cheeks,
Say you’ll see me again
Even if it’s just in your wildest dreams.
— Taylor Swift, “Wildest Dreams”

This started out as simply an African woman sitting on her legs, but then I recalled the Taylor Swift song “Wildest Dreams” from a few years back. The music video for that attracted some controversy because it was set in the African bush but somehow hardly featured any black people in it. Whatever your views on that, I thought the song would make for a nice (if ironic) “theme” for this piece.

Proto-Afrasan Hunters

Proto-Afrasan HuntersSomewhere in the eastern Sahara between 16-11,000 years ago, this pair of hunter-gatherers is scouting the dunes for food. The language they speak is Proto-Afrasan (or Proto-Afroasiatic), and it will give rise to a entire phylum of languages spoken across northern and eastern Africa as well as the Middle East. Examples of Afrasan languages include ancient Egyptian, Sudanese Beja, Somali, most languages spoken in Ethiopia, and the Berber and Semitic subgroups (the latter having arrived in the Middle East sometime before 7400 BC). The exact origin point of Proto-Afrasan remains unknown, but most likely it is somewhere in northeastern Africa.

A friend of mine is working on an anthropology/archaeology book about various human population movements in and out of the Sahara during its cycles of climate change, and he and I believe the expansion of Afrasan languages across Africa and into the Middle East represents one of these movements. His project is what inspired this illustration.

O Mighty Isis

O Mighty IsisIsis, the mighty Egyptian goddess, ascends to the sky to cast another one of her magical spells. Will she bless someone who needs her help, or rain destruction upon her enemies?

I wanted her pose to look like a comic-book superhero this time. In fact, there was a superhero character based on Isis who got her own show in the 1970’s and eventually became part of the DC Comics continuity. Unfortunately (but also predictably), they had to cast a European-American woman to play this African goddess.