I’ve always found various types of calligraphy to be beautiful art forms. So it’s been great seeing a friend of mine, Lillian Liming, share her wonderful brush lettering based calligraphy designs via inspirational quotes, an assortment of decorated items, and instructional workshops. I recently attended two of her workshops and wanted to share thoughts on them here.
My only previous experience with any sort of calligraphy was a (thoroughly enjoyable) Shodo class at Tenri Cultural Institute taught by Tomoko Furukawa. The Japanese calligraphy I was taught there focused on writing kanji and paper decorating, so I had no previous experience with English lettering.
Learning/practicing basic strokes.
Practicing difficult/unusual letters.
Progress towards end of class.
MUCH easier using tracing paper. 😉
The first workshop I took of Lillian’s was Introduction to Brush Calligraphy (held in partnership with Artsi Workshops). As indicated by the title this was a beginner’s course designed to convey the basic strokes and concepts behind brush lettering and let participants practice them. The format was great as getting right into trying things out is the best way to start learning most artistic pursuits. A lot of important, interesting information was shared regarding things like how to hold and move the brushes/brush pens to properly form the lines and letters, good places to order supplies, and the effects of using different types of pens and paper. A bit difficult to get the hang of, but even by the end of the class practice had made things much easier.
The second workshop I attended was significantly different as this time the theme was cookie decorating for the holidays. It was again really interesting to hear about things like different types of food coloring and edible paints, the effects of using a faster evaporating solvent for diluting, etc., and tons of fun trying to transform that knowledge into actual festive looking decorated cookies.
Lillian’s workshops are a wonderful combination of informative and comfortable. The atmosphere is calm and welcoming, with light refreshments served and an unpressured environment, but she still conveys a lot of great information and instruction during her intros and explanations and keeps things moving at a good pace that allows a lot of time for practice/writing with her providing individual help and tips as needed.
I had a great time at these workshops above and beyond the added bonus for me of catching up with a good friend. I highly recommend checking out any future ones Lillian holds if you have any interest in brush lettering.
Tenri Cultural Institute, in addition to its language school, concerts, and various other cultural events, hosts an art gallery that is always home to a variety of incredible exhibitions ranging from demonstrations of traditional Japanese techniques to innovative displays of multinational modern art. I’ve spotlighted severalpastshowings, including Chika MacDonald’s Mugen exhibit and Nobuko Tsuruta’s 12 Years.
Here I’ll be talking about last month’s Pseudoastronomy by Kiichiro Adachi and the currently ongoing The Art of Japan: NOW, with the Past by the
Alumni Association of Tokyo University of the Arts.
Kiichiro Adachi sees his art as a way to explore the “distortion” of using made man things to “control or simulate nature.” His Pseudoastronomy exhibition (which ran from November 9th to the 22nd) sought to capture a small piece of the grandeur of the universe via light reflections of off intricate, carefully constructed mirrored apparatuses.
The exhibit was tailored to the space available at TCI and the effect of the moving reflections through the darkened space and added light smoke effects was captivating. In comments about the exhibit Adachi mentions he likes “the absurdity of using mirror balls to simulate the sacred universe.” This perspective and his creativity created a striking piece of art with a thought provoking theme beneath it.
Tokyo University of the Arts Alumni Association of New York’s “2nd Art and Music Collaboration Exhibition,” entitled The Art of Japan: NOW, with the Past, features an art collection by several artists, along with musical performances and workshops all focused on highlighting a combination of modern and traditional Japanese influences.
The opening reception featured shamisen music by Yoko Reikano Kimura and tango/jazz by Machiko Ozawa (violin) & Ayako Shirasaki (piano). Both performances were excellent.
There are also workshops related to this event, including the still to come “NOH WORKSHOP: VOYAGE TO NOH” with sessions for both children and adults on December 10.
The varied and distinctive pieces that comprise The Art of Japan: NOW, with the Past exhibit can be viewed at TCI until Monday, December 11.
For me this was perhaps the most highly anticipated set they’ve done yet. The concept of fantasy cards dedicated to people and creatures embodying the four classic elements is fantastic, and lends itself to endless variation and interpretations. The 20 card base set is a wonderful example of this, with a multitude of artists providing numerous unique, captivating visions.
Base cards 1-5 and SF1.
Base cards 6-10 and SF2.
Base cards 11-15 and SF3.
Base cards 16-20 and SF4.
Also included were four striking spot foil cards by Soni Alcorn-Hender, as well as gorgeous metal and lenticular chase inserts.
Fire metal chase card by Alcione Silva.
Lenticular chase card by Meghan Hetrick.
As always Perna’s sets shine shine with their one of a kind sketch cards and Artist Proof’s. Each artist’s individual style, choice of subject, composition, etc all make every card distinct and all of them together result in the extremely high quality these sets consistently achieve.
My favorite elements are wind and water, so those were the main focus of my collecting. I got wonderfully diverse sketch cards featuring each including a gloriously semi-abstract piece by Mick & Matt Glebe (my first of theirs), Danielle Gransaull’s vivid mermaid, Arwenn Necker’s air elemental with a classic fantasy feel, and a hauntingly etherial work by Sean Pence.
Water by Mick & Matt Glebe.
Water sketch card by Danielle Gransaull.
Wind sketch card by Arwenn Necker.
Wind and water AP by Stacey Kardash.
Wind sketch card by Sean Pence.
Artist Proofs (APs) are generally directly commissioned from the artists and thus provide an opportunity to request something specific (within the guidelines and theme of the set). In a couple of cases, such as the incredible half formed female elemental made entirely of water by Peejay Catacutan at the top of this entry, I gave just a general subject then chose between more specific ideas provided by the artist.
For the rest, instead of a common base idea for my APs as I’ve done in the past this time I tailored most of them a bit more individually based on other cards the artists had done. Stacey Kardash’s sketch cards featured recurring elementals of each type, and I requested an AP with those wind and water elementals. She gave me a number of great compositional options, and I ended up with a fantastic metal AP of the two face to face.
Wind AP by Achilleas Kokkinakis from Perna Studios’ Elementals set.
Wind sketch card by Achilleas Kokkinakis from Perna Studios’ Elementals set.
Water AP by Achilleas Kokkinakis.
I was lucky enough to pull two of my absolute favorite sketch cards from the pre-release previews (and pick up more later). One of the pulls was Achilleas Kokkinakis’ geisha themed air elemental making tea. I adored the idea and execution so much I got two APs inspired by it. One with a water elemental against a gloriously colored sky (prompted by another beautiful sketch card he did) and a wind elemental forming a dragon made of air. I can’t say enough about all the exquisite details, including the intricate borders, small thematic scrolls showing the kaiji for the element, etc.
Wind sketch card by Alexis Hill.
Fire and water AP by Alexis Hill.
Water sketch card by Alexis Hill.
Earth sketch card by Alexis Hill.
My other pull of a sketch I’d been eyeing in previews was Alexis Hill’s striking wind elemental gathering lightening. After I’d added her mermaid and earth elemental sketches to my ever growing collection of her cards, I decided to request a fire elemental AP to complete representation of all four elements. Doing a pairing with water was an idea I’d been batting around, and the resulting metal AP from Alexis is great.
And of course I was thrilled to add another AP from Juri Chinchilla, this time a playful meeting between a mermaid and her friend made of air. As always Juri’s work is gorgeous, brought to life with her vibrant shades of soft colors. What I really adore about this one in particular is the sense of motion she’s achieved on a small 2D card with the mermaid’s bubbling hair and the (pardon the pun) windswept curls in her counterpart’s.
Hope everyone enjoyed my look at the Elementals set. Of course there are MANY more phenomenal artists featured in it and other excellent sets from Perna Studios to check out..
Some of the most realistic artistic depictions I’ve ever seen come from Sean Pence. His work for various card sets (usually pop culture and/or fantastical in subject) is always highly sought after and admired. Sean has such a talent for capturing his subjects that some of his cards could legitimately be mistaken for photographs. His subtle shading and eye for little details further help to bring his creations to life. The wonderful rendition of Game of Thrones’ Daenerys Targaryen above is spot on perfect.
I first discovered Sean’s art through collecting the excellent card sets available from Perna Studios, and several of his works for Perna are among my absolute favorites he’s done. Certainly included is his stunning Air Elemental I was lucky enough to pick up (pictured above). There’s a delicate, etherial feel to it I adore.
Witchcraft sketch card by Sean Pence.
Hallowe’en 2 sketch card by Sean Pence.
I’ve also been lucky enough to get ahold of a couple of Sean’s witches from Perna’s Hallowe’en sets. Haunting and beautiful in very different ways, the contrast between these two interpretations of a common subject spotlights Sean’s imagination and versatility in presentation. The Witchcraft sketch card also demonstrates Sean’s deft use of color in limited fashion, in this case with wonderful contrast between the background purples and the stark highlighted silhouette in orange.
Sean has an excellent feel for composition and how to draw the viewer’s eyes to his subject for maximum impact, leadin to powerful, striking portraits. He captures the essence of his subjects down to the most delicate features and subtle details making anything from superheroes to Sith lords to fairies feel genuine and real.
Hope everyone’s enjoyed this brief glimpse at Sean’s creations. They’re just a small sample of the wide array of wonderful pieces he’s created.
I’ve previously written in general about the excellent card sets available from Perna Studios. Here I’d like to spotlight their set that was released in Fall of 2016, Witchcraft. This was a targeted subset of their Hallowe’en series (of which there have been two previous sets) and as its title suggests exclusively featured witches (both of classic witch hat and coven styles).
Hallowe’en 2 sketch card by Sean Pence.
Hallowe’en 2 AP by Alexis Hill.
Hallowe’en 2 sketch card by Juri Chinchilla.
Hallowe’en 2 sketch card by Liz Chesterman.
Witches are always a great artistic subject. Some of my favorite sketch cards from Perna’s previous Hallowe’en sets featured them (I’ve shared pictures of a few above). The prospect of an entire set devoted to them was quite exciting, and as always the Pernas delivered in a big way.
The base set is a great showcase of the theme, already reflecting numerous styles. Also featured were four spot foil cards, as well as metal and lenticular chase inserts.
Witchcraft spot foil card by Juri Chinchilla.
Witchcraft spot foil card by Samantha Johnson.
Witchcraft spot foil card by Achilleas Kokkinakis.
Witchcraft spot foil card by Haine Mohd.
Beyond that of course are the wonderful sketch cards. I continue to be in awe of the the detail the artists achieve on such a small workspace. There’s an incredible amount of room for variety and different approaches even within the seemingly narrow field of a singular subject.
Witchcraft sketch card by Eric McConnell.
Witchcraft sketch card by Jessica Hickman.
Witchcraft sketch card by Helga Wojik.
Witchcraft sketch card by Sean Pence.
Witchcraft sketch card by Daniel Wong.
With choice of background, color, attitude, and of course physical characteristics a wide range of interpretations are possible even within a given type of subject. Add in the diverse personal styles of the excellent artists the Pernas include in their sets and a dazzling array of imaginative depictions are represented.
Witchcraft sketch card by Alexis Hill.
“Prayers” Witchcraft sketch card by Juri Chinchilla.
As I talked about in a previous entry, Artist’s Proofs (APs) are another great part of these card sets. Directly commissioned from the artists, APs are an opportunity to request something specific (within the guidelines and theme of the set).
I once again went with a common base idea for most of my APs, and this time it was coven witches wearing blue. Depending on discussions with the individual artists (and what I was feeling like getting at any given time) some extra details, like a pet raven or a particular background, were included, but for the most part I like to leave the requested subject open to interpretation.
Witchcraft AP by Achilleas Kokkinakis.
Witchcraft AP by Stacey Kardash.
I was extremely happy with the variety and creativity that resulted in the beautiful cards I received from everyone. Achilleas Kokkinakis’ witch showcases his trademark vivid colors and a striking composition that has her edging right out of the frame toward the viewer. Stacey Kardash drew me a wonderfully serene and evocative scene depicting a witch under moonlight.
Witchcraft AP by Alexis Hill.
Witchcraft AP by Alexis Hill.
The pair of witches I got from Alexis Hill have a wonderful elegance to them, from their poses and features to the delicate designs in the trim of their robes. I find Alexis’ style a natural fit for the themes of the Halowe’en series, and have several great cards from her from all three sets.
The intricate patterns on the witch Craig Yeung drew for me are amazing, and add to her striking appearance. The soft color palette is perfect, and lets her stand out just enough against the ominous background.
Witchcraft AP by Craig Yeung.
Witchcraft AP by Yuriko Shirou.
This set marks the first time I’ve gotten any type of sketch card from Yuriko Shirou, and I adore the incredible atmosphere her AP has to it, from the composition to the little details of the witch’s appearance to the wonderful deep blue hue of her robes.
Norvien Basio’s cards always have impressive texture and detail to them, and the design of the great witch he drew is complimented by those elements in her clothing, the skull and raven that adorn her, and the stark metallic background.
Witchcraft AP by Norvien Basio.
Witchcraft AP by Juri Chinchilla.
I wrote about being a longtime fan of Juri Chinchilla’s art in Beautiful Dreams, and I discovered Perna’s sets through her. The various witches she’s done for their Hallowe’en series are all gorgeous. The AP I got from her this time was a little different from the others, as I particularly adored one of the sketch cards she did for Witchcraft and asked for something in the same vein. The result was fantastic. As I mentioned before I love the soft yet vibrant colors she achieves in her work, and the little details, from the texture of the ravens feathers and the witch’s hair to the little touches of sparkles glued on as highlights, all come together in a marvelous way.
So that’s a quick look at the wonderful witches of Perna’s latest set. Of course there are MANY more phenomenal artists featured in it to check out than those I’ve featured here. Perna’s next set, Elementals, is also imminent (within the next several days in fact) and will no doubt bring with it the impeccable level of quality and variety they always provide in their sets. As always I’m very much looking forward to it. 🙂
I recently participated in a three day Shodo calligraphy course at TCI taught by Tomoko Furukawa. It was a particularly great opportunity to attend as it was Paris based Furukawa’s first class in the US.
Example sheet made by Furukawa as a guide to practice from.
One of my efforts from class 1.
Having never tried calligraphy before in any form it was fascinating and enriching experience. Furukawa explained learning calligraphy is a hands on endeavor and all three classes were structured in a practice based manner, with her demonstrating the day’s techniques to open, creating guideline pages for us all to reference, and then offering guidance and suggestions as needed as we attempted what she showed us.
During the three two hour sessions we experimented with three different aspects of calligraphy. On the first day we practiced what is perhaps the first thing that comes to mind when calligraphy is discussed: stylized kanji. Furukawa demonstrated a line of four kanji (“flower,” “bird,” “wind,” and “moon”) in three different styles, then focused on one style for us to attempt ourselves throughout the session. One of the most interesting things was seeing the ways in which everyone’s results were individual and unique even with working off the same examples and writing the same kanji.
One of my completed papers from class 2.
One of my completed papers from class 2.
In the second class we learned about making Japanese Ryoshi paper, a technique of lightly decorating paper to be used for calligraphy. The concepts of using small amounts of color to accent etherial and similarly faint metallics really appeals to me, as does the idea of negative space. I had to leave this class a bit early so didn’t get to do as much of it as the other techniques, and would really like to revisit it in the future.
On the final day we tried creating patterns evocative of bamboo. This was perhaps the most difficult to get a handle on, between trying to capture the essence of bamboo in minimal representation while making the brush and ink do what you want them to.
Beautiful example piece by Furukawa of another type of bamboo.
Example sheet made by Furukawa as a guide to practice from. Seeing the individual elements separated was quite interesting.
Example sheet made by Furukawa as a guide to practice from.
Everything was “trial and error” to some degree, and of course nothing looks the way you want it to the first time. In all three cases, even over the course of two short hours, I could see improvements in my (of course still rudimentary) efforts. It was quite satisfying, and the process itself relaxing and fun overall.
Slowly learning to mimic the form of Furukawa’s example (in orange).
One of my bamboo attempts from class 3.
One of my bamboo attempts from class 3.
Furukawa provided a wonderful primer on several different nuances of calligraphy in the limited time we had. In addition to the basics of the techniques we were focusing on each class, she had us use different types of paper to see the ways in which different techniques are needed and the ink, brushes, etc all react differently and produce lines with different qualities.
She also touched on the importance of how each work is approached mentally, visualizing what you wish to create, and the importance of negative space in the compositions. The breath of knowledge she shared and variety of topics covered while still spending the majority of class time letting us practice was quite impressive.
While I found some things difficult (as of course expected when beginning any new art), I thoroughly enjoyed my first foray into Shodo and greatly appreciate the time Furukawa spent teaching us. Thanks to both her and TCI for such a rewarding class.
Tenri Cultural Institute, in addition to its language school, concerts, and various other cultural events, hosts an art gallery that is always home to a variety of incredible exhibitions ranging from demonstrations of traditional Japanese techniques to innovative displays of multinational modern art. I’ve spotlighted several past showings, including the multinational Ink Imagists exhibition and Chika MacDonald’s Mugen exhibit.
Nobuko Tsuruta has been doing SAORI, a Japanese art that embraces irregularities and uniqueness of freestyle hand weaving, for the exhibition’s titular “12 Years.” There’s wonderful variety showcased in her art. From stark, striking black and whites to gloriously colorful compositions in forms ranging from traditional tapestries and clothing to more inventive and abstract pieces using a wide array of fibers and other materials.
Beyond the surface intricacies and beauty, an underlying contemplative aspect to Nobuko’s textiles that adds emotional impact to her pieces. In her candid and genuine profile, she shares fascinating insight into weaving as meditation and accepting all aspects of herself, including “negative thoughts” and her “own vanity, ego, competitiveness and pessimism,” into the creative process and her art.
The centerpiece of 12 Years is a breathtaking floor to ceiling tapestry entitled “Requiem.” It’s absolutely gorgeous, with shimmering gold interwoven with splashes of vibrant colors. There’s something powerful and evocative beneath the surface, and a placard nearby explains the deep meaning behind it.
With artist Nobuko Tsuruta in front of “Requiem.”
Requiem was created while a fellow member of Tsuruta’s Saroi studio was hospitalized and subsequently passed away due to terminal cancer. It’s “intended to connect the Heaven and Earth, a bridge connecting the spirit of the people who died to we, the living.”
Nobuko’s dedicated Requiem to lost loved ones, including Tenri Gallery’s curator Kazuko Takizawa, who also passed from cancer a month ago. Kazuko’s love of art and infectious enthusiasm were apparent every time I saw her, and Requiem is a wonderful tribute to someone greatly missed.
Rounding out the exhibit are striking photographs of people wearing Nobuko’s creations. They provide a nice compliment to the pieces on display, and the entire exhibition makes great use of the gallery space to really highlight and heighten the visual impact of Nobuko’s work.
12 Years runs until Wednesday, March 29, and is another excellent exhibit at Tenri well worth going to see in person.
The exhibitions themselves are of course incredible, but Tenri usually also has an opening reception attended by the artists and sometimes featuring extra attractions such as live demonstrations or musical performances. The December 15th opening for Tenri’s Holiday Art Show (which ran from December 10th to the 22nd) was a thoroughly enjoyable evening.
A special treat at the reception was a fantastic assortment of hand made chocolate by Kanami Chocolate Brooklyn. As impressive visually as in taste and nicely diverse in flavor and texture, the treats were absolutely delicious.
The exhibition was a great collection of work from a mix of both artists who have had previous shows at Tenri and ones with upcoming exhibitions.
It was a wonderful snapshot of the diversity of artistic styles featured at the gallery, with numerous different techniques and styles on display. From more traditional art to three dimensional work and even a enclosed relaxation “retreat” there was a multitude of interesting things to see and experience.
Several of the artists were in attendance and happily interacting with visitors. I was happy to have the opportunity to catch up with my friend Chika MacDonald, who in addition to provding two gorgeous pieces for the show in the similar to those showcased in her Mugen exhibit wore a shawl with an beautiful image in the same vein on the back.
It was also great to meet Alex Kukai Shinohara and discuss his work a bit, which told parallel stories of a gallery exhibit with text elements and striking three dimensional frames forming art pieces within his art pieces.
Near the end of the reception there was a short shamisen and vocal performance by Sumie Kaneko. Her music is lovely and I recommend checking out the longer performances she has at Tenri and other venues, such as her Dec 23rd show at Club Bonafide on 52nd street.
As always I highly recommend checking out the wonderful art that Tenri Gallery showcases, but in addition if you are able to attend the receptions you’ll enjoy a wonderfully relaxed and fun social event as well.
The centerpieces of artist Chika MacDonald’s textile exhibit are her majestic dragons.
Inspired by a desire to convey feelings of support and hope in dark times in a way that also celebrated Japanese culture and heritage, she embraced the idea of creating art featuring dragons rising or lurking just below some sort of horizon as symbolic guides to a better future. Her dragons are all either looking or moving towards the sun or sky, or facing outward to engage the viewer directly as a reminder and challenge to live in the present while keeping hope for tomorrow.
The vivd colors and images she achieves are just INCREDIBLE. A lot of her backgrounds are darker colors to both provide great contrast for the subject of the piece as well as represent her previously mentioned themes of hope in the face of despair, yet she still manages to give those dark colors phenomenal vibrance through eye-catching hues.
MacDonald’s dragons are wonderfully distinctive, with carefully done gradations of color in the dyeing and beautiful, intricate details and highlights often in striking metallics that give the tapestries an extra feeling of dimension when they catch the light. They stand out against her deeply colored backgrounds and the combinations come to life in a powerfully evocative way.
I had the privilege of being shown around the exhibit by MacDonald and having her explain various aspects of her art, including some of the details I’ve shared above concerning her inspiration and what she hopes to express through her works. She is extremely friendly and excited about her craft, and it was a joy to discuss it with her. I was quite surprised to discover this is her first exhibit, as the level of detail and vitality achieved in her work belies her level of experience.
Another highlight Mugen is a gorgeous kimono, the last piece to be finished for this exhibit. It showcases a water element as appropriate to Japanese dragons and has a distinct, powerful horizon separating sea from sky to again emphasize the dragon’s positioning and alignment towards the heavens.
Beyond just the obvious quality and how visually stunning MacDonald’s pieces are, the exhibit shows an impressive amount of diversity. Differing colors, compositions, and atmospheres highlight each and every piece on display. I love depictions of these types of dragons when done well, and MacDonald’s are fantastic.
In addition, Mugen contains several floral pieces by MacDonald that match the dragons in feel and style and integrate into the exhibit seamlessly. Several of them are done in limited color fashion, which works well in highlighting and conveying the delicate nature of the depicted flowers.
In a fantastic finishing touch, MacDonald decided to supplement her textiles and paintings by asking friends to develop complementary jewelry and scents. A few small vials with delicate scents are placed among the exhibit and can be smelled by visitors, and a pedestal in the center of the gallery show a variety of striking, intricately crafted dragon and floral bracelets and necklaces. These elements, along with a sense of connectivity and progression in MacDonald’s work, bring everything together and give Mugen a real feeling of being a cohesive, complete exhibit.
There is an opening reception tonight (Friday November 4) from 6 to 8pm, and the exhibit will be open until Tuesday November 8.
Definitely catch Mugen at Tenri Cultural Institute in NYC if you can. These works of art need to been seen in person to be properly appreciated, and MacDonald will be present for the entirety of the exhibition. I highly recommend taking advantage of the opportunities to not only see this phenomenal art on to display, but also to meet this gifted artist and gain some insight into her process.
Last Fall I wrote about the wonderful card sets available from Perna Studios, and now I’d like to focus on/share an associated part of the sets: Artist’s Proofs (APs). Sketch cards are a often used form of “chase card” for art related collectible card sets, where the various artists involved in a set get blank cards with the card set’s printed back and create one of a kind art directly on the cards, which are then inserted randomly in card packs. The skills shown in painting and drawing on such a small workspace and the amount of detail achieved is incredible.
AP sketch cards are a similar creation. Artists sometimes get a few of these blank cards designated as Artist Proofs to sell themselves and create specifically for the purchaser (with subject matter appropriate to the related set and subject to publisher approval). As directly commissioned art the prices are generally higher than buying packs/sets in trade off for getting to choose the artist and having input into the subject/design.
Red Riding Hood AP by Ingrid Hardy
Grim Reaper AP by Ingrid Hardy
The wonderful painted pieces Ingrid Hardy does on these relatively tiny trading cards always amazes me, and the first AP I got was from her for the Classic Fairy Tales set and features Red Riding Hood. It’s absolutely gorgeous and I can’t imagine a better design. I tend to be rather unspecific when commissioning these cards, usually just asking for a particular subject and letting the artist go from there. I’ve always been extremely pleased with the results.
It can be fun to get APs from different artists reflecting the same general subject. I collect grim reaper art when it comes to the Hallowe’en sets, so had both Ingrid Hardy and Kokkinakis Achilleas do APs featuring him for Hallowe’en 2. Both are fantastic representations capturing a sense of foreboding, with Ingrid’s reaper having an atmospheric, looming edge to it and Kokkinakis’ an active feel showcasing the dynamic style and coloring his work is know for.
Grim Reaper AP by Kokkinakis Achilleas
Witch AP by Alexis Hill
I’d already gotten some excellent grim reaper sketch cards from Hallowe’en 2 by Alexis Hill and Peejay Catacutan, so went in different directions with their APs. I find Alexis’s style absolutely perfect for the halloween theme and the witch AP I got from her is a wonderful addition to all the gorgeous sketch cards I have of hers from the set.
Succubus AP by Peejay Catacutan
Japanese Witch AP by Peejay Catacutan
With Peejay I floated the general idea of either a succubus or a witch, and he sent me a few pencil rough ideas. I loved the above succubus design as well as his imaginative idea to do a Japanese folklore inspired witch so much I commissioned both, and the final cards brought those rough ideas to life gloriously.
Depending on the set, the permitted subjects can be rather wide or extremely specific. For example, Classic Fairy Tales and Hallowe’en 2 allowed anything related to the titular theme (within normal Perna guidelines), while Spellcasters 2 had a subtheme of specific magical creatures, so all cards (base, sketch, inserts, and APs) from that set had to feature mermaids, unicorns, elves, fairies, or dragons. In either case, there is plenty of room for individual style and visions and both the variety and quality of work Pernas’ chosen artists produce is incredible.
Sinister Fairy AP by Peejay Catacutan
“Red Moon” Spellcasters II AP by Juri Chinchilla
I wrote about being a longtime fan of Juri Chinchilla in Beautiful Dreams, and I was lucky enough to get one of her APs from Spellcasters II. She did a great piece of art for a metal insert for the set that she referred to as “evil mermaid.” Inspired by that work, I requested an “evil fairy” for my AP, and received the gorgeous card above titled Red Moon. Juri’s soft yet vibrant colors are breathtaking, and I adore the fact that even leaning against a skull and clearly planning something sinister, her fairy still has a touch of cuteness to it.
The entire concept of evil fairies amuses me greatly, and so has become my theme for other APs for Spellcasters II, including the dark, regal looking fairy Peejay drew above that has a wonderful layered effect with the skull providing a visual second set of wings. I have two more coming, from the previously mentioned Ingrid Hardy and Alexis Hill. Can’t wait. 🙂
Mermaid AP by Norvien Basio
Spellcasters II Fairy Metal AP by Sean Pence
The coloring and detail on Norvien Basio’s cards in general is incredible, and my jaw literally dropped when I saw the vibrant mermaid AP he did for me.
Sometimes artists will choose their own subject for an AP and sell the completed pieces rather than commission the card. Such was the case with the butterfly fairy I got from Sean Pence. This couldn’t have been a more perfect card for me if I had requested the subject, showing a delicate, serene subject with Sean’s trademark ability to draw exquisite, realistic feeling faces even within a fantasy setting.
Of course there are MANY more phenomenal artists featured in Perna Studios’ sets and anyone with an interest in high quality fantastical art collectibles should definitely check out their offerings and/or check in with the artists about commissioning an AP.