new fifty shades of grey trailer premiere

The new #FiftyShadesTrailer debuted earlier tonight! But now you can enjoy it at your leisure here…courtesy of #OfficialFifty!

Enjoy!  :)

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category: Fifty Shades of Grey

without a trace

 

without a trace

Throughout the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, Christian Grey demonstrates that he is a man of few words. This becomes quite evident in Fifty Shades Darker when he lets his actions speak for themselves. So I chose to attempt to illustrate a particular moment when Christian exposes a lot of himself to Ana…and not just because they happen to be in the shower together… ;)

Communication between the two of them is not always the best and often difficult. Both of them highly aware that being in a relationship is new territory, and that they have no prior knowledge to help them navigate through it. Frustration and sometimes conflict is the result, but is soon followed by some physical shenanigans.

However, in this instance, both of them are going through a rapid-fire succession of very stressful events–both together and individually. Their internal frustrations and stress bubble up into a small argument during their unexpected stay at the Fairmont Olympic. But what happens next takes a bit of a different turn than the usual order of things, when they happen to have a disagreement or some sort of conflict with each other.

After entering into somewhat of a stubborn and speechless stalemate, Christian makes an attempt to cut the tension by suggesting they shower together. This may seem like the usual tactic he would take after anger and frustration occur between them, but this time it’s a bit different. Once in the shower, Ana immediately feels the previous tension fade away under the soothing cascade of water. But relaxation is not in Christian’s immediate future. Whether it happened to be a conscious decision at that moment or not, he ends up shocking Ana by utilizing a non-verbal interaction to show her that he’s trying his best to share more emotional intimacy with her.

This also unveiled the true scope of just how seriously his past had damaged him. How it caused him to build up walls to protect himself from further pain. But now those same walls were preventing him from letting anyone in–even those he desperately wanted to let in…namely Ana.

By allowing her to wash the lipstick traces from his skin, he subjected himself to his most vulnerable state. But it also gave Ana a very vivid glimpse of just how much of a devastating effect his past had on him, and how much emotional and psychological pain that had to be overcome in order to be more emotionally available to her. It also provided Ana with more of a perspective as to how his experiences as a child had influenced his life as an adult and the man she was constantly trying to understand.

None of the significance was lost on Ana, as she was quickly overcome with emotion due to the extreme empathy she felt toward Christian and his emotional struggles that manifest in actual physical distress. It gave her a clearer picture of why he reacts to situations the way he does. Volumes were spoken in that intimate moment in the shower even though very few actual words were uttered by either of them.

However, when one Mr. Grey does choose to express himself verbally, it promises to hold very significant meaning. This becomes very evident to Ana shortly after she becomes quite emotional while removing the ‘road map,’ and the two have quite an important exchange of words… ;)

-Victoria

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category: Fifty Shades of Grey, illustration

Portland PDA

Portland PDA Since September 10 is Ana’s birthday, I thought I would celebrate by creating a new illo based on a scene from Fifty Shades Freed! Unfortunately for Ana, the events surrounding her birthday were not exactly the best…but fortunately for her, Christian provided several special surprises to attempt to make her birthday very special.

It also happened to be Ana’s first birthday with Christian as his new bride. So, of course he would be sure to make it all the more eventful. The fact that the newlyweds did not happen to be at home in Seattle posed no problems for one Mr. Grey. He would simply bring the celebration to where they were in Portland (in more ways than one, as she learns later that evening…) ;)

After Ana receives her first very thoughtful gift of the charm bracelet from Christian, she receives another big surprise as they leave the Heathman that morning. Luckily, his second birthday gift to Ana was very mobile and very transportable to their location, so delivery to the hotel was quite easy…thanks in large part to Taylor! Needless to say, Ana was not expecting to receive an Audi R8, even though she had once joked to Christian that he could buy a white one for her birthday. However it really should be no shock to anyone, since he would not give a second thought to giving such an extravagant item as a gift. Especially when it came to Ana.

But what occurs after he presents the new car to her would probably shock anyone, and certainly shocked Ana! While she is overcome with excitement upon receiving the Audi, Ana receives an extra surprise by Christian’s sudden PDA (public display of affection) when he dipped her back and kissed her as they stood outside the hotel! Certainly not something you would normally expect from him, to be sure. Even Ana made a mental note as it occurred. But I’m sure it also made the gift even more special.

The array of special surprises and effort he put forth were also Christian’s attempt to help Ana deal with all the stress she was experiencing concerning her injured father. Normally when in times of stress or adversity, he and Ana would always end up getting *ahem* physical. But even Ana was a bit surprised that he hadn’t initiated anything while in Portland. Obviously showing respect for his wife, he knew that although he deeply desired her, it was not the appropriate time. Even Ana had to admit to herself that all the stress and concern she was experiencing was too all-encompassing to deal with anything else.

This showed that he was learning compassion for others. Something that Ana had pondered more than once in the past, and that Christian most definitely did not think he possessed nor had the ability to possess. But as with many other transformations he underwent since meeting Ana, becoming much more aware of the feelings of others was one of them.

Along with his showing of compassion, during this bittersweet time with Ana, he also seemed to show signs of his increasing awareness of the importance of family. While he appreciated and cared for his family and haltingly accepted that they felt the same, Christian was slowly accepting their love..and allowing himself to reach out to family, and even those he now considered friends. This became even more evident later that evening for Ana’s birthday dinner… ;)

-Victoria

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category: Fifty Shades of Grey, illustration

Lippi Lip Liaison

Lippi Lip Liaison
When Gabriel learns Julia’s birthday is quickly approaching, he is quite intent on making it a very special occasion. So, in Gabriel’s Inferno by Sylvain Reynard, the title character surprises the birthday girl with a special visit to the Royal Ontario Museum.

While admiring Fra Filippo Lippi’s painting, “Madonna with the child and Two Angels,” Julia and Gabriel learn that they share a passion for that particular painting. Suddenly, they find themselves sharing another type of passion together in the deserted museum gallery. ;) I thought I would attempt to illustrate the moment when emotions overwhelm the both of them.

After finally allowing themselves to share each others company for a few short days, fear of discovery of their ‘fraternization’ leads them to decide that discretion is a necessity. So, it was back to the usual dynamic of Professor and student–at least in appearances–while in classes or in public. After their breakthrough of discovery the weekend before, this temporary parting of ways was agonizing to both of them. But when Gabriel learns of Julia’s upcoming birthday, it seemed a fitting occasion to reconnect, even if it involved a bit of careful planning. Not that Gabriel minded, since it helped to show Julia just how important she now was to him.

Since it was a new journey both of them were taking, neither were sure of themselves at times. For Gabriel, he often alternates between making grand gestures and being quite cautious and gentle with Julia. His birthday surprise was a perfect combination of both.

It was the ideal setting for their first official date. They were able to simply enjoy each other’s company with no other distractions or worries of being discovered. A bonus was being surrounded by beautiful works of art that they both love, having the extravagance of being in the museum alone with each other (well, except for the security cameras…) ;)

As a side note…I took a bit of artist’s prerogative by having Gabriel wear a pocket square in Julia’s favorite color. Since he was doing everything possible to gain her favor, I thought it would make a nice little finishing touch to his outfit. Plus, it color-coordinates the two of them, which fits in with the whole prom idea and the white orchid corsage Gabriel surprised Julia with when she arrived at the museum! ;)

-Victoria

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category: Gabriel's Inferno Trilogy, illustration

hearts and flowers

hearts and flowers Although the exact date is never indicated in the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, July 30 seems to be the approximate date of Christian and Ana’s wedding. So, to celebrate their special day, I decided to create an illo of the moment that made the wedding possible…when Christian proposes to Ana! ;)

The choice of location Christian made for his wedding proposal revealed the changes and emotional growth he had achieved since meeting Ana. In just a short time he had made great strides due to her influence. He could have easily chosen a less personal albeit romantic or picturesque locale. Instead, he chose the boathouse on his parent’s property where he grew up after being adopted by the Greys. Though his life was still a struggle while growing up, the selection of that particular location must’ve held at least some good memories in order for it to be chosen. It also showed a newfound openness by being willing to choose it for such an important event in his life and Ana’s. It is doubtful that Christian invited guests over to his family’s property, let alone be serious enough in a relationship to pick it for the setting for a very important event such as this.

When he met Ana, and they discovered their differences over ‘hearts and flowers,’ the last thing on his mind was to enter into a traditional relationship with a woman. Christian had never been in such a relationship before (although neither had Ana) and he also had no desire to start one up. Or so he thought…

But the fact that he remembered what was once a sticking point between them, seems to show he had not just heard it and dismissed it as something he was not going to entertain. It stuck in his mind due to the fact that Ana had made an impression on him unlike any other woman had before. Even though things were very new and it was still uncertain whether either of them would agree to keep seeing each other, it seems as if Christian was already becoming quite attached to her and considered every facet of their blossoming relationship very carefully and thoroughly. Leave it to Christian to reveal his willingness to enter into the world of ‘hearts and flowers’ in a rather dramatic fashion! ;)

After a tumultuous day filled with surprises and a fair share of drama, it’s most likely that all of it was a distant memory once Christian revealed his surprise for Ana. Earlier in the day, confrontations seemed to be the order of the day, with Kate revealing her discovery, and Elena making a desperate attempt to sustain a past that was already considered ancient history to Christian. Her bold confrontation actually resulted in events which now gave Ana peace of mind that she would no longer be cause for concern. So, in a sense, the events of the day and the boathouse proposal marked a beginning of sorts for Christian and Ana.

…and there is one thing that everyone can agree on…this visit to the boathouse was quite a bit different from the last visit Ana experienced! That is for sure! ;)

-Victoria

 

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category: Fifty Shades of Grey, illustration

San Diego Comic Con 2014

Another San Diego Comic Con has come and gone, but I took plenty of photos and thought I’d share some of them with you!

I was quite surprised that upon first entering the Con floor, my two male friends suggested we visit the Vintage Books & Anchor Books Booth first so that I could pick up the new Fifty Shades button! I thought that was extremely sweet of them :) Fortunately, when we arrived at the booth, there were plenty for everyone!

Fifty Shades buttons 2014

Mission Accomplished!

SDCC Fifty Shades button and SDCC bag

My friends and I love going to the Con in order to get inspired by the different artists. I always stop and say hello to Pascal Campion. He’s always so friendly and willing to answer all of my questions. We began discussing perspective in drawings just as someone asked him to sign his newly purchased book. The man asked for a sketch of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, so Pascal asked if he minded if he also did some perspective drawings of buildings with the figures to show my friend and I his technique! It was so fun to watch him in action!

Pascal sketching (photo via @pascalcampion which was snapped by his wife!)

…and here’s the finished sketch!

Pascal sketch completed
We were impressed that he finished the sketch in just a couple of minutes as he chatted with us the entire time. This was an impromptu piece done with a Sharpie he grabbed, but normally he creates gorgeous color digital pieces. I urge you to check out his wildly successful Kickstarter for his beautiful upcoming book, 3000 Moments.

Even though the Con was incredibly busy, I was fortunate enough to speak at length with several artists that I have admired for so long, including the wonderful Adam Hughes and J Scott Campbell. I got some great advice, and all of them were so generous with their time and so kind. It made me an even bigger fan!

There are always plenty of Cosplayers walking the Con floor, but I have to say that this year I saw some very imaginative costumes, such as…

She-Hulk Hogan She-Hulk Hogan! (not sure if the name mashup was intentional, but I like to think it was.)

…and then there was…

Sharknado Sharknado!

Meanwhile…

Batman on his phone while shopping …even Batman must check his smartphone and do a little shopping. ;)

Just outside the Convention Center–near Petco Park–there were more booths and attractions, such as the Adult Swim Funhouse:

Adult Swim Funhouse While strolling through, I stumbled upon another great costume near the Sleepy Hollow area:

Headless Horseman
I assumed he was part of the Fox sponsored area, but later I saw him walking to his car with two female friends! He was a Cosplayer in a very impressive costume!

Some booths keep getting more elaborate and enormous every year. Last year The Walking Dead had quite the booth and this year did not disappoint:

The Walking Dead booth

This guy was also enormous! Occasionally he would reveal his large, glowing eyes!

Enormous Head

Lego had several impressive things to see, not least of which was this Spider-Man sculpture!

Lego Spiderman

You can always count on seeing lots of Star Wars related items…such as a life-size Han Solo in Carbonite:

Han Solo in Carbonite …or a Darth Vader car…

Darth Vader car …or a very cute version of Chewbacca…

Cute Chewy …and hundreds of tiny Stormtroopers!

Tiny Stormtroopers Speaking of tiny, here’s a much smaller version of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man…both happy…

Happy Stay Puft Marshmallow Man …and not so happy (accompanied by Slimer!) But either way he’s still cute!

Angry Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and Slimer There is never a shortage of cuteness anywhere you looked. How about a combination Uglydoll Icebat dressed as Batman!

Uglydoll Icebat Batman
I couldn’t resist taking a photo of this version of Superman on the Uglydoll booth:

Uglydoll Superman
Or a giant Minion!

Giant Minion
But once again, Snoopy did not disappoint! I was trying to snap a photo just after he posed with a family. As I took aim he noticed me, and began to peek around them as they walked away. He remained in that pose as I snapped my photo! So cute! Just like last year, I made sure to say ‘thank you’ as I waved ‘good bye’ and he gave me a wave back with his paw as I dove back into the crowds.  Snoopy is just the best! :D

Snoopy!
As usual, I had a wonderful time at SDCC and am already looking forward to attending next year! :)

-Victoria

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category: Fifty Shades of Grey, SDCC

the steaks are at stake

the steaks are at stake

Who knew that the simple act of opening a door could result in so many varied outcomes and have such a profound effect on two people. But in Gabriel’s Inferno by Sylvain Reynard, The Professor and Julia find themselves in just such a situation, and quickly realize that so many things can change in an instant. I thought I’d try depicting one quick moment where Julia’s apartment door features quite prominently, and becomes an unexpected location that leads to a lot of changes in the both of them.

When Julia invited Gabriel inside her tiny apartment, it almost seemed as if her door became some sort of portal or threshold capable of powerful influence. Once the door was opened again, dynamics drastically changed.

Initially–once the two of them entered the very small living quarters– Gabriel continued his usual abrasive treatment of Julia and was judgmental and downright (but unconsciously) rude and insulting to her. But this time it was relentless and quite hurtful, even though she had been nice enough to invite him in for tea. It results in Gabriel making a hasty exit, leaving Julia in tears.

But once he’s out the door, he curiously returns almost immediately. When Gabriel realized what a terrible guest he had been, he exhibited a bit of rare generosity and kindness toward Julia when he extended a dinner invitation to her (although he still managed to insult her when he insinuated that the dress code at the restaurant would be a possible obstacle for her.) Still, his return even surprised Julia. But she also exhibited a surprising change in behavior. Before his quick return she had already broken down into tears. But once he was at her door again, she displayed some boldness.

It seemed as if the moment Julia opened her door to a returning Gabriel, the power dynamic between the two changed dramatically. Julia had become quite assertive and demanded to know why she should accept his invitation. She had no qualms about ending the evening at that instant. While Gabriel was unexpectedly on the defensive, and even resorted to having to sacrifice his expensive Italian shoes to keep her from declining his offer (not to mention having to admit that Paul’s note was accurate!) ;)

Her door is closed again while Julia changes clothes and Gabriel waits in the hall to give her privacy. And yet again–once through the door–Gabriel has another change of heart! So he decides he’ll make his excuses and make yet another hasty retreat. This would ensure that there would no longer be any worries over improprieties with his new student.

However, before he can knock on her door and carry out his exit strategy, Juiia opens the door and ends any doubts about lacking the appropriate attire for dinner! Once she opened her door and Gabriel set his eyes on Julia (and her designer black stilettos) all traces of his plan to keep his career safe by keeping his distance from her virtually evaporated and was quickly forgotten. This time it seemed as if the apartment door was a portal that had opened up into a world of completely different circumstances…and now there was no turning back.

I look forward to finding out what results from the rapid change of events, and if there are any consequences…

-Victoria

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category: Gabriel's Inferno Trilogy, illustration

the gift that keeps on giving

the gift that keeps on giving

In Fifty Shades Darker, Ana learns that Christian Grey’s birthday falls on June 18. Quite a lot happens during this section of the second book of the trilogy, but in honor of the mercurial one’s special day, I chose to create an illo depicting the brief moment when Ana chose to give Christian one of his gifts a bit early–but on the stipulation that he is not to open it until his actual birthday! Although she gave him several gifts, the simple, small black box held a very important and poignant significance.

What do you get for the man who has everything (or that can get anything whenever the mood strikes?) Ana didn’t have a clue what to get Christian for his birthday. Even though her bank account said otherwise (thanks to one Mr. Grey) she still behaved as if she was on a shoestring budget. So she got creative with his gift, and ends up choosing an inexpensive tourist trinket that seems simple on first glance. But what it symbolized was representing the most valuable and precious gift Christian has ever been given.

By giving him his birthday gift early–before her initial meeting with Dr. Flynn, it also made more of a statement and had much more impact when Christian finally opened the box. It showed him that Ana had already agreed to be his wife and truly be his, even before potentially learning every facet of his past. (A past which Christian was hesitant to completely reveal to Ana, worrying it would lead her to run, and leave him forever.)

He was used to submissive partners that would quickly comply with his every order or whim. But Ana constantly challenged and questioned his authority. It was a new experience for him. Although surprising at first, he grew to enjoy it even though at times it caused him great frustration, occasionally angered him and even triggered an intense fear of abandonment. His growing attachment to Ana slowly caused changes and emotional growth in Christian. This also lead to changes in the dynamic of their relationship.

After meeting Ana and the journey they took together as they got to know each other (even though it occurred over a very short time) everything he thought he required in a relationship, was in reality the opposite of what he ended up yearning for with Ana.

So, it is interesting to note that back at the beginning when Christian and Ana were negotiating the terms of the contract, the majority of it pertained to things that Ana would agree to abide by and carry out for Christian. At one point, she asked what she would get out of the whole thing, and he simply answered, “Me.” It’s ironic that in the end, Christian didn’t care about any of the contract and its stipulations, and all he really wanted was Ana to be his and marry him. In effect, the terms had completely switched positions! Christian only wanted Ana, plain and simple.

But, even though the two of them never came to an agreement on the contract outlining the terms of their relationship, Christian and Ana did end up signing a contract after all…a marriage contract! ;)

-Victoria

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category: Fifty Shades of Grey, illustration

the professor, the pet and the frightened rabbit

the professor the pet and the frightened rabbit Recently I was given the opportunity to read the Gabriel’s Inferno Trilogy by Sylvain Reynard, due to the wonderful generosity of Nina Bocci (@ninabocci.) I began the first book weeks ago, but unfortunately events occurred which did not allow me much time for many things, including reading the first book in the series. But even in the short time that I had spent enjoying the book, I was pleasantly surprised by the humor sprinkled throughout each chapter. The character introductions and descriptions were also great–especially some of the nicknames!

So, even thought I really hadn’t gotten a chance to immerse myself more fully into the story, I couldn’t resist creating an illustration incorporating three of the characters from the first book. While the illo doesn’t depict an actual scene from Gabriel’s Inferno, this image popped into my head after reading a couple of character descriptions and experiences of the Professor, Julia and Christa.

I was tempted to create more literal characterizations of ‘the pet’ and ‘the frightened rabbit’ but decided not to turn them into actual animals. ;) Instead, Christa assumes the pose of a pet cat rubbing against the Professor’s leg, as described in the book. I did decide to give her a tail of sorts–the sash on her dress trailing behind her. ;)

Meanwhile instead of turning Julia into a rabbit, I decided to capture a moment that did actually occur in the book, when her bag falls apart and the contents scatter everywhere. Her deep embarrassment is accompanied by fear when the Professor only becomes even more angry with her as her bag self-destructs when she arrives at his office. Showing how frightened and timid she was at that moment, Julia appears much like a frightened rabbit. ;)

I look forward to continuing on with the books where I left off. I had just reached a point where a few important bits of information were revealed to the reader, so I’m anxious to find out what happens next!

-Victoria

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category: Gabriel's Inferno Trilogy, illustration

Happy Landing

Happy Landing Christian Grey is never lacking when it comes to surprises, especially if they are meant for Ana Steele. The tables are soon turned in Fifty Shades of Grey, when she takes an impromptu trip out to Georgia to see her mother, and the news comes as quite a shock to him. But if there’s one thing you can depend on, it’s Christian’s unpredictability. So even while Ana is spending some time in Savannah…Christian manages to keep the supply of surprises plentiful. Not least of which is a heart-stopping adventure thousands of feet in the air! I decided to attempt to illustrate Christian treating Ana to his own special way of welcoming her back to solid ground. ;)

Before both Ana and Christian ended up in Georgia, the idea of being in a relationship was still very much up in the air (no pun intended.) ;) So when Ana announced her tentative trip to Georgia, this stunned Christian and brought up his fears of abandonment, ingrained in him since childhood. Immediately his only conclusion was that Ana was running away and rejecting him.

But after showing up in Savannah, and engaging in a session of questions and answers in his hotel with Ana, his fears were laid to rest. By taking her soaring in the glider and sharing an activity that most likely provides solitude amidst the chaos, Christian was opening himself up to Ana as best he could. This could even be considered a continuation of the events that had occurred the evening before when she had asked several questions about his past…and he answered them all–much to Ana’s surprise!

It was probably even more comforting to him knowing that she enjoyed something that provided him with great pleasure (…since other things that gave him pleasure were still up for consideration between the two of them.) ;) This reinforced a feeling of closeness for Christian and this positive discovery acted as a sort of validation of the unique feelings he had for her. He was probably quite impressed that Ana enjoyed not only the solitude of silently gliding in the sky, but also the heart-stopping thrills that soaring also provides.

Not content to give Ana her first taste of soaring with a simple, average ride in a glider, Christian planned a more thoughtful and meaningful outing. He established yet another first for them together, by making sure the early morning flight was special…as they chased the dawn. He hoped that their adventure in the skies over Georgia was providing the ‘more’ Ana longed for from Christian. To his delight, she assured him it did! In fact, it provided so much delight that the instant he helped Ana out of the glider, he couldn’t help but pull her close for a passionate kiss!

So, even though Ana’s spur of the moment decision lead to some initial conflict on the outset, it actually acted as a catalyst for much needed discussion. As a result, both learned more about the other, and helped to strengthen their developing relationship.

-Victoria

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category: Fifty Shades of Grey, illustration