Knee Strike

Knee Strike

A warrior trained in the martial arts sharpens her skill at striking with her knee. I have no name for this character yet, but her cultural background is supposed to be vaguely West African in flavor. Anyway, drawing martial artists like this in action gives me an opportunity to practice more dynamic action poses.
UPDATE:
Knee Strike_Colors
Added some color to my knee-striking West African martial artist. Someone asked why she was practicing martial arts moves while holding a weapon in one hand, and I figured she would be testing her balance as well as her moves. Plus, in a real combat situation, having a weapon in addition to your body might come in handy.
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Egyptian Side-Eye

Egyptian Side-Eye

The Queen of Egypt is expressing her irritation at someone by giving them the side-eye. We tend to picture ancient Egyptian royalty as looking stoic all the time (much like what you see in their artistic portrayals), so it’s always amusing to give them more intense expressions like this.

Bernice and Howard Dance

Bernice and Howard Dance

This is the colored version of an earlier drawing I did of my two characters from the 1940s, Bernice Smith and Howard Thompson. Originally, Bernice was supposed to be a woman who would go on to become one of the Tuskegee Airmen, but I later learned that there wouldn’t have been any female Tuskegee pilots. Still, I thought she and Howard made for a cute couple and wanted to give them some color and a background.

By the way, I absolutely love how Egyptian-esque art deco designs often appear.

Pharaoh Hatshepsut Portrait

Hatshepsut_Portrait_Pencils

After doing so many paleo-themed pictures lately, I wanted to return to ancient Egypt for a bit by doodling this portrait of the female Pharaoh Hatshepsut. I used to draw this woman all the time, but it feels like it’s been a while since I last did so. However, I think this is the first time I did a drawing of Hatshepsut with her the false beard of her office attached.

Bernice and Horace

Bernice and Horace

I wanted to flesh out Bernice Smith, my Tuskegee Airwoman character, a bit more by drawing her with her boyfriend Horace Thompson. Horace, a professor of paleontology at the University of Pennsylvania, is actually the more brash and adventurous of the pair, in contrast to the naturally shy and reserved Bernice. In fact, the reason Bernice pursues an aviation career at the first place is to impress Horace, who would like her to show more boldness and take more risks. Little could either of them anticipate exactly what dangers she would find herself confronting…

By the way, while a pairing like this might seem unlikely for the 1940s, Horace’s home state of Pennsylvania is one of few in the US that had repealed its anti-miscegenation laws before 1887 (most of the rest of the country would only catch up between 1948 and 1967).

Bernice Smith the Tuskegee Airwoman

Bernice Smith the Tuskegee Airwoman

The drawing you see here came illustrates a little story idea I developed about an African-American aviatrix named Bernice Smith, who would serve as one of the Tuskegee Airmen in WWII. Inspired by real-life early female pilots like Bessie Coleman and Amelia Earhart, Bernice was going to crash-land into this lost continent of dinosaurs and other prehistoric wildlife somewhere in the Bermuda Triangle. And much like Earhart, she would have to survive as a castaway in this hostile environment while awaiting her rescue.

It might end up a bit of a silly throwaway idea (I’m not even sure there were female pilots among the Tuskegee Airmen), but I still wanted to get it out somehow.

Hiding from the Battle

Hiding from the Battle

A “cavegirl” sort of character watches a Tyrannosaurus and Triceratops battle while hiding behind a tree. It must be a frightful thing to witness close up, but whoever wins, she’ll have plenty to scavenge from the loser’s carcass.

And yes, I got the idea from a scene in the old caveman movie One Million Years BC, wherein Raquel Welch and John Richardson’s characters hide from a battle between a Triceratops and a Ceratosaurus.

Staff of the Red Sun

The Sorceress and Her Sisters

Egypt, 1942 AD

The limestone door ground over the gravelly earth as the diggers pushed it open. The grating noise would not have been the most pleasant for most men to hear, but for Friedrich von Essen, it was music to his ears. After untold weeks of watching these chattering Arabs gouge a pit out of the desert beneath the roasting sun, he had found it at last.

The thought of presenting this discovery to those fools back in Berlin made him smirk with glee. Even the Führer himself, eager as he was for any leverage in the war, had shown a bit of hesitance before sponsoring the expedition. Even if Friedrich ended up finding nothing inside this tomb, he had at least confirmed its very existence.

A faint yet acrid smell flowed out from the black depths beyond the doorway. The Arab diggers jumped back with startled shouts and whimpered among themselves, their normally bronze faces slightly blanched.

Underneath the howl of the wind, Friedrich thought he had heard a soft whisper. It must have been one of the dozens of men behind him, but it did make the back of his neck prickle.

“What do those inscriptions say, Professor von Essen?” Colonel Hermann Schmidt pointed to the string of hieroglyphs chiseled into the entrance’s lintel.

“Oh, those simply identify the tomb as belonging to Nefrusheri,” Friedrich said. “Why?”

The colonel’s tanned face had turned a shade paler as well. “I only wanted to make sure it wasn’t something like a curse.”

“Oh, don’t believe such sensationalist rubbish. Curses aren’t as common on Egyptian tombs as you think. You might find a few in tombs from the Old Kingdom, but that’s about it.”

“Fair enough, Professor. I would’ve expected a fearsome sorceress like your Nefrusheri would have something protecting her resting place.”

Friedrich glanced back at the darkness within the tomb. If the departed sorceress truly possessed the sort of power he sought, it would seem strange if she had not taken measures to defend it somehow. What those would be, he could not even guess.

On the other hand, he could not let fear and paranoia keep anyone away. Not when there was a war to win and a world to conquer.

“In case she does, bring your men over here,” Friedrich said. “We’ll go in together.”

Continue reading “Staff of the Red Sun”

The First Farmer

The First Farmer

10,000 years ago on the plains of what will eventually become the Sahara Desert, a young farmer girl has filled her basket with cereal grains she has collected from the day’s harvest. The wooden instrument under her belt is a primitive sickle studded with stone bladelets to help her gather the grains.

Recent archaeological excavations in southwestern Libya have shown that African people were extensively harvesting and perhaps even cultivating “wild” cereals in the region 10,000 years before present, roughly contemporary with similar experiments in the Fertile Crescent of the Middle East. Not only have over 200,000 specimens of grain been recovered at the dig in question, but so have pieces of woven baskets that would have been used to carry the grains, as well as pieces of pottery with cereal soup residue still on them. Perhaps future discoveries will show that Africa was among the earliest, if not the earliest, cradles of agriculture in human history.

UPDATE 3/22/18:

The First Farmer