May 28, 2014

Deviant Me

"May Queen" by Marcus Ranum
(click image to enlarge)
Is this Sarah Ellis?

I finally decided to look into the deviantART online community. The "straw" that finally broke this camel's back was a Google image search that I did for elements that I could use for a fantasy genre book cover (to pick up the trail of that search, see this blog post). My image search kept turning up interesting images that led me to the deviantART website. I was intrigued by mention of dA "stock" images that photographers have made available for other people to use.

I've long been impressed by people who, while trying to make a living with photography or other artistic skills, post some of their work on the internet and invite other creative folks to use their photographs or art work. Some people engage in this practice as a form of advertising: "use my works as you like, but just make a link back to me". In the case of Marcus J. Ranum, it sounds like he set out to have some fun at the deviantART community.

deviation by Ana Fagarazzi
Here is what Marcus wrote on his website: "Recently I've been amusing myself by producing stock images for other artists to play with. For that purpose, I have opened up a stock account on deviantArt. It's great fun: I post stuff and other artists make composites from what I posted. Some of the results are absolutely amazing!"

In the past seven years his photographs on the deviantART website have been viewed about 7,000,000 times and variations (deviations) of the original "stock" photographs can now be found all over the internet. For example "signs of spring" was made by Ana Fararazzi starting from the "May Queen - S - 7" photograph.

"Blackbird 10" by Janna Prosvirina
In the cover art for the fantasy novel Daveed the Luk'ie, I want to depict a pek in the act of performing some magic (specifically, conjuring Daveed into the Hadronic Domain). My first problem is that the pek are a type of artificial life that can take on any convenient shape. However, since Daveed is a guy, I want the pek to be using a female form, as the pek tend to do when visiting primitive planets like Earth. I would not mind giving the pek character in the book cover image a slightly non-human morphology. My other concern is that I want the pek to be doing something interesting and have a natural pose. In "signs of spring", I think Ana did a great job constructing a scene that matched the particular pose that Marcus had photographed.

Janna's DA fantasy stock photography
"Blackbird 10" shows the kind of magical pose I'm looking for. Janna Prosvirina's deviantART stock photography gallery contains many photographs that strike me as examples of realistic or naturalistic poses. I love the black cloth with the white stones, but for my purposes, I was thinking about this figure being on or near water. However, this photograph has me imagining all sorts of alternatives....sadly most are more suited for science fiction than fantasy.

This "Goddess of Earth" is Kayla Jane
Photographer: Heiko Warnke
In addition to the gorgeous pose, "Goddess of Earth" is even a great name for the pek character that I am trying to depict. Every goddess of Earth should carry a big stick.

I can picture Daveed taking her hand and being pulled from the Hierion Domain into a new existence on Earth. Also see "Goddess of Wind".

Kayla's deviantART journal has a thank you message to other folks for "the amazing art you create from my stock images".

For how I used this image of Kayla in cover art for the imaginary book Daveed the Luk'ie, see my next blog post.

Goddess Deviations
Here are some deviations for "Goddess of Earth".

"A gift for my friend"
"A gift for my friend" by Mark Frost. Is that a dragon egg?

"An Offering" by Keith Mathis. Great horny skulls!
"An Offering"

"Maga" by Ricardo Esparza. I like the luminous helix zapping around the stick.

Photographer and Model Preferences
One of the interesting aspects of deviantART is that the users sometimes post rather long and detailed accounts of the conditions under which their photographs and images can be reused. For example, Kayla Davion wrote these instructions: "Feel free to use my Stocks for creating Art BUT ... 3) do not mutilate them/me in any degrading or perverted way".

When I'm making whimsical book and magazine covers, I like to "mutilate" human figures by substituting alien features for the human features of the people in the photos, people who are usually celebrities or models. For The Sedron Monopoly, I tried to depict two alien-looking passengers in a spaceship by removing the human heads and Photoshop splicing alien heads into the image.

Leymaygn and Vozgrow (source)
Maybe some models would be offended by having their image altered so as to make them look "alien". For my Exode character Vozgrow, I needed to create an image of an old and partially alien human who is slowly taking on Fru'wu physical characteristics.

This depiction of Vozgrow (image to the right on this page) might well annoy the model whose image was altered to create an alien-like feel for the imaginary Vozgrow character.

As stated here: If I'm using one of your images without attribution, please let me know, I'd love to give you credit. If my use of your work is offensive (or, in your view falls outside of the "fair use" domain), let me know, I'll remove your image from my blog.

Follow these links to some of my blog posts with more "Deviations":
Imaginary Book Covers
baseball in 1941
illustrating Trysta and Ekcolir
illustrating Foundations of Eternity
To Live for Anney
rise of fantasy
other futures
The Phasian Elf
Lieserl Einstein
The Urak Intervention
Searching Earth
Time Travel Television
Replicoid Secrets
Nicotinic Anney

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