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: 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: 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

Bikini Blunder

Bikini Blunder

While enjoying a relaxing day at the beach in Monaco, leave it to Ana to land in a bit of hot water! Actually, it takes two to tango, and Christian is not exactly innocent during the events that lead up to a rather tense moment between the two of them. In this scene from Fifty Shades Freed, I decided to illustrate the moment when Christian is more than a little upset that Ana has managed to soak up a bit too much of the Monte Carlo sun. ;)

Ana is often testing the waters, so to speak, of just how much Christian can and will tolerate. At times it may be on purpose, at other times her actions inadvertently cause some conflicts. While on their honeymoon in the Mediterranean, it was a bit of both. But at the same time, Christian’s actions and reactions concerning Ana create situations that lead to showdowns between them. In effect, he is also learning and testing just how much she can and will tolerate.

While in Monaco, Christian is being overprotective as usual, which is really no surprise. But the wheels of conflict are set into motion when he sees to it that his new wife is shielded properly from the burning rays of the sun. This seemingly innocent act manages to set off a chain of events that has them both questioning the behavior of the other, and escalating the conflict and tension between them. So much so, that at one point Christian must protect himself from a flying hairbrush!

His tendency to tell Ana what is allowed and what is forbidden is just another form of control and dominance for Christian. While he is truly concerned with Ana’s safety and well-being, the constant requests (and orders) on what she can and cannot do can be seen as a carry-over of the role he’s had in his past encounters with his subs, and with the persona he assumes while he and Ana engage in the playroom at Escala. It is something he is accustomed to, and had chosen as a lifestyle. But unlike his experiences in the past, he had never encountered someone that would question his authority.

Unlike her behavior in the playroom (where she agrees to be bound by protocol) Ana does not let that carry over into her everyday life. She may consider what Christian tells her and take it upon advisement, but compliance is never a given. Her choice to refuse to carry out  or disregard his wishes also gives Ana a certain amount of power over him. She may feel quite intimidated by Christian a lot of times, but may not realize how much impact her independent behavior has on him and the dynamic of their relationship.

So it is inevitable that these differences would only serve to push each of them to test all sorts of boundaries as they grow to learn more about the other. Nobody had so blatantly challenged Christian quite like Ana. At one point he had even admitted that is one of the reason he fell in love with her! While he may have felt that he did not need any changes in his life, he certainly wasn’t expecting any the day Ana stumbled and fell into his office. But perhaps unconsciously he yearned to change the path his life was taking with respect to relationships and life outside of the business world.

I also wanted to add that although the illo is depicting a rather tense situation, I just couldn’t resist including Taylor to contribute a bit of levity to the situation. I imagined that he felt more than a little uncomfortable as Christian confronted Ana on the beach. On one hand, he had a job to do. On the other hand, while it was his duty to watch over the two of them, I’m sure he had a little trouble at that particular moment knowing just where to actually look! Hmmm…check the time or check the skies for any threatening aircraft full of paparazzi? How about both…simultaneously! ;)

-Victoria

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category: Fifty Shades of Grey, illustration

Valentine’s Day Kiss Countdown: Kiss #1

Valentine’s Day Kiss Countdown: Kiss #1

Today we’ve come to the last day and last kiss of the Valentine’s Day Kiss Countdown!

There have been an assortment of different couples that have made an appearance in the countdown, but for Kiss #1 I thought I would feature a couple that you will all probably recognize. ;)

What better couple could represent the last kiss in the countdown than Christian and Ana from the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy! What moment they shared fits Valentine’s Day better, than their wedding day! Since the decision seemed pretty clear cut, it was easy for me to make them the featured couple for Kiss #1! :)

Their wedding was presented in Fifty Shades Freed as a sort of dreamy flashback sequence as Ana lounged on the beach during her honeymoon. A quite appropriate method, seeing that Ana and Christian’s relationship progressed very quickly, and it probably felt very dreamlike to the both of them. They had experienced so much, and so many things in their lives had changed in the short time since Ana fell into Christian’s office that one rainy afternoon… ;)

I hope you enjoyed the countdown!

Happy Valentine’s Day! ♡

-Victoria

 

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category: kisses, sketch

Valentine’s Day Kiss Countdown: Kiss #2

Valentine’s Day Kiss Countdown: Kiss #2

Only two more kisses left in the Valentine’s Day Kiss Countdown! Here we go with Kiss #2!

This gives a whole new meaning to taking someone over your knee! ;) Things start off innocently enough with a kiss, but as soon as things begin to heat up, it leads to a tangle of bodies and arms and legs!

-Victoria

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category: kisses, sketch

Valentine’s Day Kiss Countdown: Kiss #3

Valentine’s Day Kiss Countdown: Kiss #3

Time for Kiss #3 in the Valentine’s Day Kiss Countdown!

Who said men can’t multi-task? Seems as though in this case, he has things *ahem* well in hand… ;)

-Victoria

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category: kisses, sketch