Hatshepsut – PAGE 1 – SOURCES

This is Page 1, Panel 4 of my “Greatest Queens of History: Hatshepsut” story, which has been scripted to be 30 pages. I spent a fair amount of time doing research on Egypt, the New Kingdom (18th Dynasty, which is approx 1550BC – 1292BC) and Hatshepsut herself, so I’ll list my sources below and what I had to consider when I put this picture together.

Note: Much of my visual sources are not from Hatshepsut’s reign itself, because her tomb and the tombs of Thutmose 1-3 has been grave robbed, and no funerary items from it survive. So when I draw on visual sources for this story, I tried to use sources from the same 18th Dynasty, A fair amount of it came from the tomb of King Tutankhamun, or Amenhotep III.

  • Hatshepsut and Thutmose II are depicted here as Pharaoh and Pharaoh’s Great Wife, both in ceremonial dress for this part of their coronation ceremony. The coronation ceremony is a long, ritualistic affair that takes days, and none of this is depicted here because we know very little about it. They ascended to the throne young, so they’re depicted as children here.
  •  Thutmose II is wearing the Pharaoh’s Nemes headdress, false beard and holding the symbolic crook and flail, while Hatshepsut is wearing the Great Wife’s vulture headdress. Both are also wearing the broad collar necklace, which like the headdresses is a ceremonial thing. Neither of them would have wandered the palace dressed in this manner on a normal day. Both would have worn eyeliner though.

Thutmose I and his mother. Wall painting from the upper Anubis chapel of Hatshepsut’s temple at Deir el-Bahri, early 18th Dynasty. Source: Roehrig, Catherine H. et al. “Hatshepsut: From Queen to Pharaoh”. PG 8.

King Tutankhamun’s death mask, which has the unusual double uraeus of a cobra and a vulture. Typically, it’s just a cobra.Source: Wikipedia

  • The two throne are based off the throne of Tutankhamun for Thutmose II, and the throne of Princess Sitamun, daughter (and eventual wife) of Amenhotep III. Both of these are funerary items, but it’s safe to assume that they were used in the Pharaoh’s life, though funerary items aren’t necessarily everyday items for Ancient Egyptians.

Replicas of Tutankhamun’s throne on the left, and Princess Sitamun’s throne on the right. Souce: Wikipedia

  • The throne is on a raised dais which has several steps, which can’t be seen here. The dais has a kiosk thing over it, which is depicted here – it should have cartouches of the Pharaoh’s name and scarab beetles on it, though we can’t know for sure.
  • The servant holding the ostrich feather fan has real hair. Servants were not allowed to shave their hair and wear wigs – that was reserved for the upper classes. Hatshepsut may well have been bald because she would have worn elaborate wigs.
  • The wall paintings are of waterlilies, which grow along the Nile River. Since the palace from Thutmose I’s time didn’t survive, we have little idea of what the throne room would have been like. It’s safe to assume that the walls are white-washed, and painted with images of Egyptian flora and fauna. In this instance, I thought it best to keep the throne room neutral, with references to the Nile (considered the source of all Egyptian life) rather than to any fauna, since different animals have different connotations in Egypt.

This is from the tomb of Nakht, which is known as Theban Tomb TT52, part of the Theben Necropolis. This appears to be an Egyptian official, and I copied the background from this tomb image. Source: Wikipedia

This is Page 1, Panel 3, showing the group of children from Thutmose I’s harem. To be honest, these children should all be naked, since it’s considered perfectly acceptable for Egyptian children of a certain age, whether male or female, to run around naked. I don’t feel comfortable depicting naked children though, so I thought I’d put generic clothes on them. The girls are wearing diadems and girdles, and both boys and girls have shaven heads with locks of hair on the side, which is to prevent lice.

Two young princesses, Nefrure and Nefrubiti, wearing elaborate sets of jewelry, including diadems and girdles. Painted reliefs from Hatshepsut’s temple at Deir el-Bahri, early 18th Dynasty. Source: Roehrig, Catherine H. et al. “Hatshepsut: From Queen to Pharaoh”. PG 202.

Visual Sources

  • Cooney, Kara. “The Woman Who Would be King: Hapshetsut’s Rise to Power in Ancient Egypt”. USA: Crown Publishers, 2014.
  • Hope, Colin A. “Gold of the Pharaohs”. Australia: Museum of Victoria, 1988.
  • Roehrig, Catherine H. et al. “Hatshepsut: From Queen to Pharaoh”. USA: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2006.
  • Galford, Ellen. “Hatshepsut: The Girl Who Became a Great Pharaoh”. United States: The National Geographic Society, 2005.
  • Shaw, Garry J. “The Daily Life of a Pharaoh”. Dr Gary J. Shaw. Al Rawi: Egypt’s Heritage Review, issue 5, 2013. Web. 7 Sep. 2017.

Colouring Tests: Fabled Kingdom Chapter 2

After my colouring tests for Chapter 1, I’ve now moved onto the colouring test for Chapter 2 for “Fabled Kingdom”. This is different to Chapter 1, because these are all scenes set at night, which means that the colours would all be darker and duller. I had to use the same palette as Chapter 1, because I don’t want the colours to look different chapter-by-chapter, and the end result is that the colours turned out somewhat dull.

I’m not quite happy with these colours, but I realise that if I were to use the same palette, this sort of thing is unavoidable. That said, I’m currently moving onto my next project, which uses the same palette from a totally different drawing style, so I may put this down for now, while I do my next work.

New Art Style & Character Designs

As you may all know, I’ve been working on doing colour art, and as such, has been shaping my artstyle to suit a more simple, streamlined way of colouring.

This has been an interest process – the colour tests for Chapter 1 of “Fabled Kingdom” may have turned out looking lovely, but that kind of colouring just took too long. The colouring style matched the linework, so if I need a simpler style of colouring, I need a simpler style of linework.

So, here are my first attempts – it’s a pretty established style already, since it seemed to have grown fully-formed from my head due to the number of other artistic influences I’ve had over the years. It leaves the “manga” look somewhat, but not by actually as much as it seems. The character on the left looks Disney-influenced, while the character on the right is influenced by lesser-seen but distinctive anime styles like “Kill la Kill” and “Gurren Lagaan“. The one in the middle is a mix of both.

Also, I’m grappling with the RGB vs CMYK issue. I can’t seem to grasp how different RGB vs CMYK is when it comes to how it looks on a screen, and how it looks on print. This is something I need to investigate more, but I have another project apart from the one above which I’m working on, so I’ll be doing that too.

Here’s a colour test attempt for Simon, the character on the right.

Comic Con-versation 2017

Hi all! Sydney Library Comics Festival “Comic Con-versation” will be from the 10th-15th July this year, and I will be doing a number of events with libraries across Sydney (and selling my books as well)! This year, 20 libraries will be involved, and here is a list of all the activities I’ll be doing next week:

  • Whitlam Library (Cabramatta): Tue 11th July @ 1-4pm – Comics Lab! Me drawing comics in public!
  • Liverpool Library: Tue 11th July @ 6 – 7:30pm – The Continental Divide Panel: Visual Storytelling from Around the World – Learn the differences between European, Asian (Manga) and US comics!
  • Burwood Library: Thu 13th July @ 10-1pm – Comics Lab! Me drawing comics in public!
  • Chatswood Library: Fri 14th July @ 12-4pm – Artists Alley & Comics Lab! Me drawing comics in public! Also, there’s an exhibition at Chatswood that features some of my work!
  • Ashfield Library: Sat 15th July @ 12-5pm – Artists Alley! Come along!
  • Ashfield Library: Sat 15th July @ 12:30-1:30pm Comics and Creativity – What is creativity is? Why comics? A panel discussion moderated by moi!

Listing Graphic Novels with Library Suppliers

This year I’ve also produced a “book list” for Australian libraries who want to buy Australian graphic novels for their collections. These graphic novels are listed with Australian library suppliers James Bennett and Australian Library Service (ALS), and I have provided instructions for how to do it below:

The 2017 booklist is below. Download it in pdf format here.

 

Why List with Library Suppliers?

Libraries often want to order the books of local creators, especially if they’re doing a workshop or talk with the library. A library can buy directly from a creator, but books are not allowed on the library shelves unless they’ve been catalogued, and libraries don’t do their own cataloguing – library suppliers do. If a library buys a book from a creator, they will have to send it out especially for cataloguing, which will cost extra time and money. For that reason, libraries nearly always prefer to order from library suppliers.

Requirements for Listing with Library Suppliers

You can list as many books as you have available and are able to provide as your own distributor. That said, if you already have a distributor for your book, you won’t need to list with library suppliers. Your books:

  • Must have a valid ISBN. ISSNs won’t cut it – those are for periodicals, not books
  • Must be a properly-bound book (ie. perfect bound, no spiral spine binding)
  • There is a preference for standard trade sizes

Listing with James Bennett

http://www.bennett.com.au/publisher-services/faqs-for-small-and-independent-publishers/
James Bennett is one of the largest library suppliers on the east coast of Australia, and the link above tells you how small press should list their books with them. Read up on it, download the form, fill it in and send it to the email address. Please make sure to mention that it’s an Australian graphic novel. (Note: If the book is more than 1 year old, then make sure to let them know that it doesn’t need to be in their “New Titles” database, just in their regular one.)

Listing with ALS

https://www.alslib.com.au/authors/
Here’s the link to the ALS website that allows authors to list their books. Please make sure to mention that it’s a graphic novel by using that email address to let them know that you’ve listed a book that is an Australian graphic novel.

How to Price Your Books

Ideally, your books will be not much more than $30 for children’s fiction, and not much more than $60 for adult fiction. You will be required to provide to all library suppliers at 45% discount off the retail price, PLUS free shipping. Regardless of what your book’s normal retail price is, it’s recommended you list it at a point where you can at least break even.

  • Example: Fabled Kingdom” v1 is normally $20 when I sell it, but it’s listed at $30 with library suppliers. When they place an order with me, I bill them at a 45% discount + free shipping, meaning that I charge $16.50 for book (with free shipping). “Fabled Kingdom” v1 costs $7 to print and $8 to ship, so I make $1.50 off that sale).

If you don’t list your book at 45% discount with free shipping, the extra cost will be pushed onto the libraries, and they will be less inclined to order your books. Please remember that libraries have limited funding.

Sales Cannot be Guaranteed

Unfortunately, listing your books do not guarantee any library sales. What it does do is make it easy and cheap for a library to order directly from library suppliers (assuming they use said library suppliers). Books come to the library catalogued and shelf-ready, which makes it immediately ready to be shelved and read.

To get library sales, you still have to market to libraries yourself. If libraries don’t know about your books, they can’t order it in. One of the best ways to get libraries to order your book in is to do workshops or talks for them – comic workshops are extremely popular with kids during the school holidays.

Colouring Tests: Fabled Kingdom Chapter 1

I’ve been doing some colouring tests, with the goal of moving towards doing colour comics. Despite having drawn comics for almost 20 years now, I feel that my biggest weakness has always been my aversion to colour. After drawing manga-style black-and-white (or greyscale like The Dreaming) for so long, I think I’ve done all there is to do on that style of art, and it’s time to move onto something else.

For this reason, I’ve been looking to build a colour palette I’m comfortable, and learning to use it. I started colouring Fabled Kingdom art from Chapter 1 as practise, and so far, it looks surprisingly good. Each took 2-3 hours at the most to do – I deliberately limited myself to the amount of time allowed since colouring is about speed as well as quality.







In the end, I’m actually looking for a more simple colouring style, so my colour comics will probably not look like this. I’ll probably aim to change my drawing style to something more cartoony and western to suit a two-tone colour palette, unlike this one which has 3-4 tones for each colour.

Bizarre Note: I’ve shown my colouring to a number of people, and while most agree that the colours look beautiful, some openly preferred the greyscale version. Interesting to see why they do that, but hey, everyone has their preferences. At the end of the day, what matters is the story and characters.