Saturday, April 30, 2016

Artisan's Avenue: Frankie B. Washington

Artisan's Avenue is a place to showcase fantasy, horror, or sci-fi artists and their creations. As you may have guessed, the name pays homage to Artist's Alley and the wildly talented people I've met at various comic cons. I am continuously fascinated and impressed with their creativity and imagination and I hope our readers feel the same.

I would like to welcome illustrator/artist Frankie B. Washington back to The Qwillery.

Tracey MFrankie would you tell our audience a bit about your creative background?

Frankie B. Washington:  Once Upon A Time in the community of Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts a youngster (that would be me) was given the gifts of a pencil and the brown shopping bag that mama had brought the groceries home in... And set to the task of illustrating what came to his young mind. My creativity started at a very young age and was influenced by comic books, novels, television and films. I remember that out of all my friends, I tended to get very detailed with our fantasy games. For instance, I had to know how big a dragon was and the shape of its wings in order to add more credibility to its existence. This of course annoyed many of my friends but I felt justified that the dragon would reflect a character that could exist longer - if it was concepted better. This frame of thinking carried me thru middle, high and eventually art school. I believe to truly create a character or scenario you need to devote time to establishing a solid foundation to build your idea upon. It all began with a brown grocery bag and a small pencil.

TMYou've worked for multiple companies as a commercial illustrator, how did you begin accepting commissions for artwork from individuals? And what has been your favorite commission to date?

FBW:  I've been a freelance illustrator for 26 years now, so the idea of accepting commissions started around 26 years ago. I mean the reality is that being self-employed is not an easy job to undertake. Those of us who have survived the shifting waters have learned how to operate our vessel more effectively and remembering that we need to constantly be on the hustle for clients. I will admit that this is the most exciting and addictive part of the career. I really love pitching what I can do and offer to a potential client. Then the wait to see if I've gotten the gig or not. I'm a stern believer of the "One Door Closes ... And Five More Will Open". I live it every single moment of the day. I'm addicted to that sensation.

My favorite commission to date would be this recent Botcon 2016 Chase Card commissioned by Fun Publications :

TMYou've worked in Film, Animation, RPG/Magazine Print, Comics, Editorial, Advertising, Toys, Video games, Trading/Sketch Cards. Do you have a favorite field and if so why?

FBW:  The truth is that I have a love for Advertising because it really shaped me up as an artist in dealing with the commercial aspect of the business. What I mean is that it helped me to see that art is what you make of it and that business has a part to play in the grand scheme. I learned how to produce art at a faster pace, yet not lose quality of the image. My ability to express my ideas and even pitch myself was all because of advertising. So I have a special place for it BUT my REAL passion has always been to work in the comic book industry. Just any way to be able to do sequential art and really challenge my storytelling skills. To develop characters that might be seared into the subconscious of a young person who happens to also have a pencil and brown paper bag in front of them. I'm so happy that I've taken chances and gotten the opportunity to dabble in so many aspects of the art industry.

Star Wars Motif Magazine cover

TMWhat are some of the things that inspire your art?

FBW:  Everything inspires me in some form... or fashion. My girlfriend Jess, is constantly barraged by me creating stories from nothing with her in it. I also include our cat, Shadow and friends as well. This is something that I've always done and it's helped me to create some really cool things. I tend to also read various books and novels, I really can't peg one genre because I'm open to anything. This goes with music as well because each and every sound offers another wonderful inspiration for me.

Nemesis vs Megatsuchi

TMPlease tell us about something that you are currently working on.

FBW:  I'm currently working on the web comic series called Secret Lives Of Villains: I'm also the artist for The Mighty Mascots which is debuting in the anthology called Reckless Chronicles by Reckless Sidekick Productions: I also did a variant cover for Night Of The Fire Beast:

The Secret Lives of Villains #17
May 21, 2015

TMWhat are some of your favorite things you have done?

FBW:  One the greatest things that I'm so blessed to have done and I still go on about was my climbing of Mt. Katahdin in 2003. Reaching the summit was an amazing thing and an analogy of how I truly wanted to live. To at least attempt to climb something that seems impossible and succeeding when you've given your all.

Frankie B. Washington on Mt. Katahdin

TMIs there a cool story you'd like to share about a commission or any of your artwork?

FBW:  There's been a few but I will say that last year's Rhode Island Comic Con pretty much did it for me. I was commissioned by the show to create artwork for the badge passes for the Frank Welker (Megatron) and Peter Cullen (Optimus Prime) meet and greet. I didn't know that they also took the artwork, blew it up and made them into con exclusive lenticular posters. I was given some posters and allowed to meet both voice actor legends. I still get the shakes thinking about it. LOL

Frank Welker, Frankie B. Washington, Peter Cullen
at Rhode Island Comic Con

TMWhat's new and exciting for 2016?

FBW:  Surprisingly, I've decided to take off this year from the shows and cons. I might pop up at a few as an attendee but I really needed to recharge my batteries after 2015. I have some artwork in the upcoming issue of Cemetery Dance Magazine. I will have some news about some toy concepts I worked on from SCS Direct - Summer time (fingers crossed). I will most likely be working on some new art for The Mighty Mascots. Definitely more trading cards in the fall... And of course the other projects that pop up at more door unexpectedly. LOL

TMAsk and then answer a question about your work that I haven't asked.

FBW:  Frankie do you ever get asked whether you did all the artwork you posted... Or not? Since there's such a rash of artwork being stolen and used by people.

FBW:  Wow, Great question. When I look at the body of artwork that I've done. There are times that I can't believe I really did all those pieces. I can honestly say that YES - I drew everything from rough sketch to final art. Working as a commercial illustrator, I've had to adapt my style on numerous assignments to fit the needs of the client. I feel this has really helped me immensely because I can't really be placed in one genre of the art industry. I always admired the title of Illustrator because it meant to me that this individual could draw anything and for any client of need be. It was never a question of style but whether the illustrator can rise up to the task set before them and execute the assignment. Which of course makes the client very, very happy.

Frankie's Links

Dorugan Variant Cover
Fire-Beast's 'The Horror from Space'
Here's a link to my Deviant Art Gallery :

PixIv Gallery :

Webpage :

LinkedIn :

Twitter :

2016 Debut Author Challenge Update - Shadows in Summerland by Adrian Van Young

The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2016 Debut Author Challenge.

Adrian Van Young

Shadows in Summerland
ChiZine Publications, May 17, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 350 pages

Boston, 1859. A nation on the brink of war.

Confidence men prowl the streets for fresh marks. Mediums swindle the newly bereaved. Into this world of illusion and intrigue comes William Mumler, a manipulating mastermind and criminal jeweler. Mumler hopes to make his fortune by photographing spirits for Boston’s elite. The key to his venture: a shy girl named Hannah who sees and manifests the dead and washes up on Boston’s harbor along with her strange, intense mother, Claudette.

As Mumler and Hannah’s fame grows throughout Boston, everybody wants a piece: Bill Christian, a brothel tough; Algernon Child, a drunken rival; Fanny A. Conant, a sly suffragette; and William Guay, a religious fanatic. These rogues among a host of others, including the great spirit rapper Kate Fox, form powerful bonds with the spirit photographers, one of which will end in murder. Mumler’s first and last mistake: the dead cannot be made to heel.

Roughly based on the real-life story of William H. Mumler, spirit photographer and his clairvoyant wife, Hannah Mumler, Shadows in Summerland immerses the reader in a shifting world of light and shade where nothing is quite what it seems at first glance. A soaring and resplendently Gothic novel spanning three decades, it is as much an homage to the Golden Age ghost stories of Edith Wharton and Henry James as it is a companion to the revisionist historical epics of Peter Carey and Sarah Waters, with a little steampunk all its own.

I have to share the book trailer! I love it!

2016 Debut Author Challenge Update - Woodwalker by Emily B. Martin

The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2016 Debut Author Challenge.

Emily B. Martin

Harper Voyager Impulse, May 17, 2016
     eBook, 336 pages
Harper Voyager Impulse, June 14 , 2016
     Mass Market Paperback, 336 pages

“What on earth would I gain from that?” I asked him. “Risk my own neck by violating my banishment just to leave you? The sentence placed on me if I return is execution. If I’m entering the mountains again, I’d damn well better get something out of it.”

Exiled from the Silverwood and the people she loves, Mae has few illusions about ever returning to her home. But when she comes across three out-of-place strangers in her wanderings, she finds herself contemplating the unthinkable: risking death to help a deposed queen regain her throne.

And if anyone can help Mona Alastaire of Lumen Lake, it is a former Woodwalker—a ranger whose very being is intimately tied to the woods they are sworn to protect. Mae was once one of the best, and despite the potential of every tree limb to become the gibbet she’s hung from, she not only feels a duty to aide Mona and her brothers, but also to walk beneath her beloved trees once more.

A grand quest in the tradition of great epic fantasies, filled with adventure and the sharp wit—and tongue—of a unique hero, Woodwalker is the perfect novel to start your own journey into the realm of magical fiction.

Note that the cover for Woodwalker was also created by the Author! Read about "The Evolution of a Cover" at Emily's blog here.

2016 Debut Author Challenge Update - Roses and Rot by Kat Howard

The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2016 Debut Author Challenge.

Kat Howard

Rose and Rot
Saga Press, May 17, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages

Publishers Weekly Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror Novel of Summer 2016

Imogen and her sister Marin escape their cruel mother to attend a prestigious artists’ retreat, but soon learn that living in a fairy tale requires sacrifices, whether it be art or love in this haunting debut novel from “a remarkable young writer” (Neil Gaiman).

What would you sacrifice for everything you ever dreamed of?

Imogen has grown up reading fairy tales about mothers who die and make way for cruel stepmothers. As a child, she used to lie in bed wishing that her life would become one of these tragic fairy tales because she couldn’t imagine how a stepmother could be worse than her mother now. As adults, Imogen and her sister Marin are accepted to an elite post-grad arts program—Imogen as a writer and Marin as a dancer. Soon enough, though, they realize that there’s more to the school than meets the eye. Imogen might be living in the fairy tale she’s dreamed about as a child, but it’s one that will pit her against Marin if she decides to escape her past to find her heart’s desire.

2016 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Winner

The winner of the April 2016 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars is The Monster Underneath by Matthew Franks from Samhain Publications with 39% of all votes.

The Monster Underneath
Samhain Publishing, April 5, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 208 pages

Reality can be the difference between a dream and a nightmare…

Max Crawford isn’t a typical prison therapist. He uses his unusual psychic ability to walk with convicts through their dreams, reliving their unspeakable crimes alongside them to show them the error of their ways.

Max always has to be on his toes to keep himself grounded, but the FBI agent waiting for him in his private office immediately puts him on edge. The bureau wants Max to go way outside his comfort zone to enter the dreams of suspected serial killer William Knox.

To get a confession and secure the future of his prison program, Max must gain Knox’s trust by any means necessary—and survive the minefield of secrets waiting inside a murderer’s mind. Secrets that could turn Max’s reality into a living nightmare.

The Results

The April 2016 Covers