there is no substitute

there is no substitute

If you haven’t yet read Gabriel’s Rapture by Sylvain Reynard, then this illo probably looks rather odd! Even if you have read the book, this particular moment may have slipped past you, since it was expressed in one simple sentence.

It was just one of several insights into the thoughts of the characters. Some are rather profound, some are sad, some are provocative…and in this case–some are rather random as well as amusing! 😉 A mental image popped into my head as soon as I finished reading it, so I felt compelled to attempt a depiction of Gabriel’s quick mental note.

In the second book of the trilogy, Gabriel finds himself with a bit more free time than he would like. Unfortunately, Julia does not share this abundance of leisure time. So while he does his best to fill each day with activities, he finds that it does not provide the results he is after. While realizing this fact, he contemplates some rather surprising alternatives…but in the end it becomes clear that nothing can replace what he was missing…

-Victoria

Note:
For some reason, I always imagined a friendly, sweet-looking dog, but an irritated, ornery-looking ferret. Picturing Gabriel and the ferret together with the same grumpy expression just seemed perfect to me. 😉

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category: Gabriel's Inferno Trilogy, illustration

revealing & healing

revealing & healing

In Fifty Shades Darker, unexpectedly alarming events followed up a rather activity-filled day then early evening at the masquerade ball. Rather than retiring for the night back at Escala, circumstances dictated otherwise.

I decided to try depicting the moment when Christian let himself show a bit of vulnerability with Ana. But while on the surface it was showing one of his weaknesses, it was also a large display of strength on his part…and perhaps a huge step toward his emotional growth.

Up to this intimate moment in his study, Christian had spent most of the day and night as role of protector and a figure of strength. In fact, just moments before Ana entered the room, he was engaged in a rather heated phone exchange in an attempt to protect her.

But for the second time that day, he also surrendered control over to Ana and allowed her to breach his comfort zone in regards to his aversion to being touched. She being the only person in his current world he would allow to assume such a role. Although Ana often felt intimidated in his presence, she was slowly gaining confidence as the two became closer. Occasionally in brief moments such as this, she would muster up some assertiveness in their interactions.

Often Ana would feel helpless witnessing Christian’s inner struggles. But by taking the reigns and urging him to confront his fears, she realized it was a way to help him heal emotionally. While allowing her to do this might seem as if he’s relinquishing all power and control, it also shows another sort of strength on his part by allowing himself to risk being subjected to something that brings great fear and discomfort. It also showed great trust that they both had in each other.

While this was a big step for him, these new experiences also caused him confusion since he had become so accustomed to having control in all situations. However, before long Christian made sure to bring the interaction with Ana back to a way in which he was more comfortable. Eventually Christian puts an end to his uneasiness in a manner in which both of have become quite well-acquainted, and Ana is more than happy to oblige. 😉

But life for the pair means never a dull moment, and soon, another shocking discovery puts a damper on their already very late night…

-Victoria

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category: Fifty Shades of Grey, illustration

bits & pieces 2

windy tie guy

Just in case you don’t happen to follow me on TwitterFacebookInstagram or Tumblr, I thought I’d post a few small illos and sketches I’ve done over the past few weeks.

Recently I came across a new Photoshop brush and began doodling with it and found that I really liked it. So the above illo was the result of testing out the new brush. A photo I found was used as loose reference but somehow a strong breeze seemed to blow through as well. 😉

 

female seated with flower

I had come across a photo I tore out of a magazine quite a while ago. I can’t even remember which magazine it’s from! But I always liked the photo, and for fun was just going to do a quick illo of her face with the new brush. But I got carried away and painted the entire figure (with a few changes to some elements.)

 

female face sketch

A few weeks ago I picked up a pencil and did a quick sketch before bed one night. I hadn’t done that in a very long time, and it felt a bit awkward but I had a lot of fun. So…

male gesture sketch

female figure sketch

…I did a couple more sketches! 😉

These are all photos I took of each of sketch. All of the above pieces were a lot of fun to do, and provide a lot of good practice! I hope you enjoyed taking a peek at them 😉

-Victoria

 

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category: bits and pieces, illustration, sketch

new store page and shop information

ruffles and restraints shop banners

When I first announced that my work was available for purchase as prints and other merchandise at Society6, I had mentioned that I would also be sharing another store location in the future…

Well, I am happy to announce two new locations where you can find my illos! 😀

The new shops can be found at Zazzle and CafePress!

You can find out more about what each shop offers and see a few samples, by visiting my new store page!

But no matter when you may visit here, the sidebar to the right has direct links to each shop, or you can access the store page by clicking ‘more info.’

I have been working quite hard over the past few weeks to set up these shops and make them available to you. The locations offer a variety of different products, which I hope will have something that will appeal to everyone, and that they will all be a lot of fun to explore!

Thanks! :)

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category: miscellaneous

clandestine kiss

clandestine kiss Just hours before, it seemed as if there was no question as to the intentions and devotion Gabriel and Julia had for each other. But in Gabriel’s Rapture by Sylvain Reynard, circumstances took a turn for the pair the next evening at the Uffizi Gallery Museum. I thought I’d attempt to depict a moment from the events that transpired that night.

Soon after completing a well-received presentation (save for one audience member), Gabriel was in high demand with his presence, which left Julia on her own to wander the gallery.

However, the sight of her enjoying the artworks unescorted did not go unrecognized for long. Julia found herself dealing with some unwanted attention. But, just in the nick of time, she was reunited (rather passionately) with her Gabriel. It seemed as though all would be well, but this small incident caused both of them to question their standing with one another.

Even though they seemed to be embarking on a serious and committed relationship, in reality it was still quite early. So doubts and concerns are bound to creep in, no matter how much reassurance each provided the other. But that evening in the museum, their pasts–but for different reasons–seemed to have caused them to question the intentions of the other.

Gabriel had doubts about Julia, when he mistook her usual politeness as flirtation with another man. While in years past, such playful interaction with strangers was a frequent tool in his own arsenal. But in Julia’s case, it did not fit her character at all.

Julia felt a bit of unease at Gabriel’s unexpected and seemingly unrestrained behavior in the corridor corner. She couldn’t help comparing it to what she’d seen in a past relationship and reluctantly wondered if Gabriel would differ in his self-restraint.

They were both unnecessarily projecting behaviors onto the other, that deep down they knew were ridiculous, or at the very least, highly improbable.

But while the past heavily influenced the situation that night in the Uffizi, their hopes for their future helped lift them out of conflict and forward in their journey together.

-Victoria

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category: Gabriel's Inferno Trilogy, illustration

bits & pieces

just lounging in bed... Over the past few weeks I’ve been doing semi-quickie little illos and sketches for practice. Mainly for fun, but also to try to speed up my process and try different things. My usual illos usually require a lot of research into detail from the book scenes I try to depict. So, these types of pieces are also a nice break where there are no real restrictions or requirements. I can change up details on the fly and not worry about it.

male sketch Some of you may have already seen a couple of these when I originally posted them on social media–such as my TwitterFacebook and Instagram accounts. But I thought I’d post them all here just in case anyone may have missed any and might be curious. 😉

National Kissing Day illo I hope to do practice pieces more often in the future, in addition to the usual finished illos. So be sure to follow me on any of my social media accounts to catch things when they are first posted! But I will always try to do roundups and post them here as well. :)

-Victoria

7 Comments

category: illustration, miscellaneous, sketch

cross training

cross training

I receive book recommendations quite often, but one series is suggested much more than any other, by far. So, even though I have been slowly making my way through a couple of other series of books, I decided to finally begin reading Bared to You by Sylvia Day.

Although I haven’t yet completed the entire book, I’m already really enjoying it so far. The variety of characters and how they interact is realistic yet never mundane. Out of them all, I have to say that I really enjoy Eva! She’s full of strength and still has a playful sense of humor, even though she’s had to endure and work through a very difficult past.

Of course it’s also fun to see the relationship between Eva and Gideon develop (even with all the bumps in the road along the way).

So, instead of choosing a particular scene from the portion of the book I’ve already completed, I decided to conjure up a simple illo of Gideon post-workout at his namesake gym! That’s not to say I haven’t come across plenty of scenes just itching to be illustrated! 😉

-Victoria

19 Comments

category: Crossfire Series, illustration

prints and merchandise now available

prints and merchandise available

For quite some time, many of you have asked where to purchase the different illos seen on my site. So, I am very happy to let you all know that prints and other merchandise featuring my artwork are now available through Society6!

I’ve worked through a few different game plans for ways to offer my pieces to you, and have experienced some major frustrations spanning a rather lengthy amount of time. But now I’m very pleased to present my store to everyone! 😀

Not only can you purchase prints, but also all sorts of fun items, such as: totes, t-shirts, mugs, cell phone cases and skins, pillows and much, much more! I’ve tried to provide a variety of products, but if there is something you would like, but do not see it in the store, please let me know in the comments below, or even via email or social media (you can find me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.) I will try to do the best I can to add it to the store. (The range varies for each illo since the dimensions of the piece sometimes create restrictions when applying them to different product types. However, I will do my best with all requests I receive.)

A little bonus for everyone is a special Promo Link that Society6 happened to give out just this week! If you use this special link code:

https://society6.com/rufflesandrestraints?promo=PFC3824QCC7B

every order will receive FREE WORLDWIDE SHIPPING! Be sure to use only the above link to receive the special offer.

But hurry! This offer is only in effect through this Sunday, August 9, 2015!

…you can also click on this and it will take you there as well! 😉

society6 free worldwide shipping promo link

I hope you have fun looking around the store and I also hope you find something you’re looking for! :)

Stay tuned…I’m not just stopping with Society6! 😉 Very soon, I’ll be sharing another terrific store I’ve recently found that offers some additional items that I thought you would all like!

But for now, I hope you enjoy shopping, and please spread the word if you know anyone that might be interested in what my shop has to offer!

Thanks everyone! :)

-Victoria

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category: miscellaneous

San Diego Comic Con 2015

Comic-Con came a bit earlier in July this year, but as usual it did not disappoint! Also as usual, the weather in San Diego was perfect and the crowds were HUGE! But I had lots of fun and saw a lot! (click on any photo to see a bigger version!)

Even before setting foot on the Con floor, there were advertising wraps everywhere you looked:

Gaslamp and  Hard Rock wrap

Lego and Heroes

Conan trolley and hotel wraps

Muppets wrap

 

Spotted a Martian Colonel Sanders outside of the Chuck Jones Gallery…

Colonel Sanders Martian

 

Since demand for passes always exceeds supply, I noticed that there were a lot more off-site events and things all around the Convention Center. Just like last year there was an area near Petco Park with food trucks, music and of course attractions related to different movies and TV shows.

Point Break attraction and food trucks

Lots of promotion for the new Peanuts movie coming up…but sadly I didn’t see my friend Snoopy this year…just lots of lines surrounding the Peanuts booth. But they did have a giant slide outside!

Peanuts slide

 

While wandering the floor, my friend recognized Kevin Doyle. He had read about him in a news article. Doyle’s wife had passed away recently, so he decided to embark on a fundraising walk from Petaluma to San Diego in her memory. There’s much more to his story that you can read about here.

Kevin Doyle We chatted with him for a bit and he was extremely friendly and very sweet. He apologized and said he should stand while he chatted with us, but we convinced him to stay seated–since he had to be exhausted after all that walking. I didn’t realize until later that he had just finished his trek earlier that day! (Apologies for the less than stellar photo quality.)

 

Of course there are plenty of cosplayers to be seen!

Totoro cosplayer I kept running into Totoro everywhere. But then again, he was pretty hard to miss!

 

Aquaman Aquaman seems to have forgotten his orange shirt and decided to grow out his hair!

 

…um…

The Flash and Wonderwoman

 

…heehee…I could not pass up this photo opportunity…

Bob the Angry Flower

 

I seemed to ‘get lucky’ and spotted these great Daft Punk cosplayers! 😉 Their headgear looked really incredible!

Daft Punk

 

Oh, just Hawkeye and Catwoman hanging out together, with The Joker making a quick getaway!

Hawkeye, Catwoman and The Joker

 

This Spock cosplayer was incredible! The resemblance was amazing, and even his voice was on point!

Spock

 

The booths are always a spectacle in themselves! Some are quite large, such as this ABC booth that looked like a backlot soundstage:

ABC soundstage booth

Some may have been much smaller, but still fun to visit.

Future Dude sign (I thought the name was great!)

 

Giant grabbing woman's head I didn’t realize until going through all my photos that it looks like he’s grabbing that poor woman’s head! The man to the left even looks a bit concerned for her! ;D

 

Ugly Doll booth Ugly Doll always has a great booth. This year they paid tribute to Star Trek!

 

Minecraft A huge Minecraft booth!

 

I spotted these adorable guys from the new We Care Bears animated show, and had to snap some pix…

We Care Bears front

…and couldn’t pass up taking a parting shot of their cute little rear ends! 😉

We Care Bears back view

 

Making my way through the endless sea of people, I happened to pass by Elijah Wood doing a signing. Here’s a silly gif of him showing an emotional spectrum:

Elijah emotional

Elijah feeling your pain…and a happy Elijah! (I couldn’t resist) 😉

 

The Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice costumes were quite impressive. The Batman costume is massive! Wondering if it has a bit of enhancement, or if Ben managed to pack on that much muscle at the gym!

Batman vs Superman costumes

…and here’s a very different version of Batman (and a lot smaller!)

Lego Batman

 

Batman has his Batmobile, so why can’t Spiderman have his own car too?

Spiderman and Lego car

 

I’m sure many cosplayers were drooling over these suits of armor!

suits of armor

 

There was plenty of Star Wars:

Reys Speeder

Star Wars wall

star wars helmets

tie fighter and x-wing

yoda

…even where you least expected it…

Furbacca and disco R2D2

 

Hmmm…highly doubtful that he is any relation to another very well-known Grey… 😉

the grey

 

 

My friends and I don’t normally attend any panels but this time we did two! One of my friends chose one about setting and achieving creative goals. One of the panelists, Gene Luen Yang, is a teacher by trade but self-published his own comic which went on to receive prestigious awards. He kept at it and was recently chosen to write a new Superman comic! Not only that, but he won another prestigious Eisner Award during the Con this year for his writing!

I chose a panel featuring Ruth Clampett and Linda Jones–the daughters of Bob Clampett and Chuck Jones, respectively. I had recently read some of Ruth Clampett’s writing work (and even did an illo) but was interested in learning more about how she and Linda Jones were involved in keeping their fathers’ legendary animation legacies alive. It was a really interesting panel…and with a bit of encouragement from my friend, I even got up the courage to say hello to Ms. Clampett afterwards! She was extremely sweet and I’m so glad I got to meet her in person! (Unfortunately, I failed to snap any photos!)

Every year SDCC is bigger than life and packed with people from all over the world, and it never disappoints. I always go to get inspired, and had the pleasure of meeting and chatting to a few artists I had never met, which was fantastic! I’m already really looking forward to SDCC 2016!

…oh, and in case you were wondering…
Where’s Waldo?

 

 

Waldo

…I found him! 😉

-Victoria

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category: SDCC

boys and their toys

boys and their toys

In Fifty Shades Darker, Ana gave Christian several gifts on his birthday. Some were life-changing, some were naughty (and fun!) and some were sweet. I decided to create an illo showing the moment when Christian thanks Ana for the gift that belongs in the latter category. 😉

Most would not think that the solar powered toy helicopter would not be at all appropriate for a man like Christian Grey. But of course, only Ana would know they would be wrong. The seemingly simplistic toy not only represented his very own Charlie Tango, but also incorporated green power–of which Christian had great interest.

Not that she was completely confident giving him the gift. In fact she hesitated just moments before presenting it to him, taking into consideration recent events. Ana just wasn’t certain it was too soon and could upset him. But fortunately she went ahead and gave him the gift anyway, and he could not have been happier. This made her both relieved and excited at the same time. Instead of looking at what could have been, Christian was delighted and intrigued with the toy.

The birthday gift could also be thought to have a somewhat symbolic meaning as well. The last time Ana had given Christian a gift that represented one of the expensive toys he enjoyed, it was the model kit for a glider like the one they had flown in Georgia when they ‘chased the dawn.’ But he received that during a time that they would probably both like to forget ever happened. It marked a time when it felt as if an end was inevitable.

But this time, the gift of the toy helicopter came at a time of new beginnings. Not only due to their recent engagement, but also after Christian’s close call. It was a sort of symbol of optimism for the future and marked a new start for the both of them and a life together.

-Victoria

 

15 Comments

category: Fifty Shades of Grey, illustration