Another page with the Roma family, although we’re almost done with this scene. Too bad; I love drawing mustaches, and the 18th century was otherwise a very clean-shaven era.
Now that election fever had passed (and thank heavens for that), it’s on to cheerier parts of the year. Coming up early on the world schedule of Festivals of Light is Diwali! It’s actually a little late this year – normally it falls in October. To celebrate, here’s my sixth goddess illustration – the Hindu goddess Lakshmi. Click to see her at full size!
Like many Hindu deities, Lakshmi has literally dozens of different forms, incarnations and names, has complex relationships with other deities (like Vishnu and Ganesh) and plays many roles. She’s probably best known for being a goddess of abundance – and that can mean simple good luck, personal fulfillment, or material wealth. Lakshmi is the one who fills your cup.
In most devotional images Lakshmi is depicted standing or sitting in a giant lotus blossom, floating on a tranquil sea – a bit like Aphrodite, she was born from the ocean. She has four arms (the better to distribute wealth!) and holds lotuses in two of them. She is sometimes attended by two white elephants. This is an illustration, not a traditional devotional image, so she is behaving a little less formally here! Lakshmi is generous of spirit, so hopefully she won’t hold it against me.
Things are heating up a little in this scene! Settlement – forced or “chosen” – was tantamount to giving up Romani identity. Children were often forcibly taken away from their families and made to speak the local language exclusively – a cultural death sentence. Adults were often forced to live in conditions that went utterly against their strict purity laws. In many Rom cultures the lower half of the body is considered very impure – to the extent that living in the bottom floor of a house could be considered unclean because of the lower parts of the people walking above – thus the comment about “living on top of each other.” Ancient family trades dating back to life on the Indian subcontinent would have to be abandoned in favor of subsistence living.
Many families who did concede to settlement (rather than being forced by local law enforcement efforts) had virtually no choice in the matter; losing your horses or wagons or being cut off from a traditional trade route could be a crippling blow. This particular family has had a rough year for its patriarch to be giving thought to the matter.
Cheerful stuff! Check back next week, I promise that things will perk up a bit.
Just a little transition page! Good timing for me to have a simpler page this week, since I am pretty dang tired out from all the last-minute excitement of the Kickstarter project. It was a huge success – 808 backers for a total of $36444 (over 240% of the original $15000 I asked for).
I’m loopy with gratitude. It will take a good long while for those funds to translate from operating funds into any serious income, but being able to publish three books without major financial risk is quite a gift for a small businessperson like yours truly. And I’m excited for what it means for volume two of Family Man.
I’m grateful to Kickstarter for providing a clever, fun and intuitive platform. While I don’t think it’s the perfect system for every project, this has been a great experience for me and a wonderful way to play with longtime readers and attract some new ones, as well. And now I’m very much enjoying the newfound peace and quiet of my post-project inbox, and taking great pleasure in all the fiddly art and pre-press work that I have left before it turns into a whole bunch of books.
All the progress I make on that front will be restricted to backers of the project from here until I start getting physical proofs, but before the project finished I did post a single rough version of the first page from the new Bite Me! short story that will be appearing in the anniversary-edition (PDF and print). Posted below for your perusal and enjoyment!
It’s been desperately fun to revisit these characters, and the process of putting the grey washes down digitally – while figuring out how to retain the very hand-done character of the original – delights me.
A number of people have written to me expressing dismay that they didn’t come across the project until after it had closed. Don’t worry! I’ll be selling copies of the books produced for quite some time, and they’ll go on sale to the general public towards the end of October; the extras (prints, patches, bookplates etc) are the only things exclusive to project backers. I’ll let you all know when the new books are available for purchase!
I’ll see you all next week – when we find out what Ariana is waking up to…
What a busy week it’s been! Here’s a quick round-up of all the excitement.
And, over in the Land of the Kickstarter, we’ve cracked $23.5k (less than $1500 to go until fox patches!) and an amazing 511 backers. That is beyond spectacular.
I’m also finishing up design work for the Outfoxed print edition. One of the things I’m happiest about is a repeating pattern that will appear on the inside covers. It’s a whole panoply of laundry from the story!
You can download a desktop wallpaper of this pattern by visiting the Kickstarter version of this post.
And, lastly (for now), I’m putting together the spreads for the Danse Macabre 2.0 book! That means I get to write nasty little revenge ditties like this one. I live in Portland, so this one was especially satisfying.