Madeline: The Most Powerful Being in the Universe

Last year for my fan art contest, Saher Imran submitted the following picture which made my heart explode with joy (technically this is from two years ago, the fan art contest was not held last year for various reasons).

Epp in the Cathedral by Saher Imran

Being utterly enamored with Saher’s work, when I contacted her to tell her that she had won the contest I also asked if she would be interested in doing any more paintings based on my book.

It turns out that she is a huge fan of my work as well and was very interested in working together on some more art. We chatted through some ideas and eventually I commissioned her to do an as-yet-undetermined-number of character portraits from the Matthew and Epp stories.

Who to work on first wasn’t even up for debate. She was dead-set on starting with Madeline. That was just fine with me.

A few days ago the final Madeline painting came in.

I have one major regret about this project. I regret that I don’t have a massive audience to share Saher’s amazing work with. It deserves more exposure than I can offer on my own. So please, if you know any other fans, possible fans, or anyone at all who loves stories told through paintings, pass the link along.

I just love this and I want as many eyes on it as possible.

And, of course, there will be more to come.

But for now I give you Madeline, the most powerful creature in the entire universe:

Madeline Artwork by Saher Imran

Update from Contest Winner Saher

I’ve mentioned numerous times how there are often some challenges involved in getting a contest prize to a contest winner after a global contest. This year’s Art Contest proved no exception as I had to get a Wacom Tablet to Lucknow, India. Which is here:


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This time around I actually didn’t purchase the Tablet, due to fear of negating the warranty and…well whatever it was confusing.

But the Tablet has arrived! So very excited for Saher who sent along this picture:

Saher's Wacom Talbet

She says it “looks like a shimmering box of pixie dust.”

Haha…this is a fun job sometimes.

The JD Art Contest Winner

So here’s the winning entry. Please click on it to view it full size.

This entry is from Saher Imran and, as far as I’m concerned, needs zero introduction. However if I don’t type something up here the home page of this site goes bonkers, so I’ll babble a bit.

I fell in love with this as soon as I saw it, and every judge who I showed it to replied with, “Wow!” (or a similar succinct superlative)

Saher has taken one moment from my words and turned them into an iconic image. The attention to detail is remarkable (notice the cross in the upper right?), the contrast of the polished shoe and the splashing blood gives me the chills, and using no more than a foot and an ankle she has captured Epp more fully than I think I even did.

Congratulations Saher.


And give Saher some love in the comments or by linking to her work around the web, please. Wow, does she deserve it.

Joseph Devon Art Contest winning entry from Saher Imran

Art Contest Update

Just to keep you in the loop, I have not forgotten about the Great Annual Fan Art Contest…or whatever I called it. I have been sorting through entries, narrowed it down to a handful of finalists, and hope to have a judgement soon.

Here, however, are some entries that in no way in hell are going to win:

Drawer Clearing Entry for My Art Contest

Remember that scene where Gene Autry had his face duct-taped? Me Either.

Drawer Clearing Entry for My Art Contest

I know this trick, people. I’ve cleaned out my Unpublished Drawer by mailing stuff off to any possible place that is accepting work, too.

Not sure why they both have cowboys, though…

This one’s the best, though. This is actually titled, “An iPad Appears.”

Non-Winner from my Art Contest

I guess he gets some points for not even pretending to be about anything but the prize.

48 Hours Left…Depending on When You Read This

The Great Second Annual Joseph Devon Fan Art Extravaganza Giveaway Contest is coming to a close for this year! I added more words to the name because that makes it better.

You have 48 hours left until Friday the 15th at midnight EST when the contest officially closes. And then, to be honest, you probably have until I get up on Saturday morning when I get to my computer and write about how the contest is over.

So far there have been some great works submitted, the usual slew of drawer cleaning exercises, AND there have finally been some “cocktail napkin sketches.” Nothing technically on a cocktail napkin yet, but a few entries in that vein.

So go spill some paint or doodle in Microsoft Paint or craft a work of exquisite sand art or just have some fun with a sharpie and your forearm and make me some art.

Do it.

Otherwise Mary will die.

Art Contest Entry From Jackson P.

Upon opening up the prize packages to include an iPad I was immediately inundated with a slew of new entries. I was happy about this, glad that the iPad was attracting more casual artists to the contest.

I wanted to share one of these works which I found particularly evocative.

This was submitted by Jackson P. It was created using the “Cupcakes” app on the iPhone.

I found this to be a stunning entry.

The multi-flavored jellybeans, of course, represent each character’s constant struggle with their own identity versus who the world needs them to be. The “T” sprinkle, hiding in the background (as if to suggest the inescapably innate qualities of the human id?) is a wonderful metaphor for the ever-present, yet clandestine role that my main characters play in the world around them.

The chocolate frosting, as if I have to explain, is Hector’s dark undermining of everything my heroes strive to create.

And then there’s the coup-de-grace of the cupcake under it all, hidden by toppings, indiscernible as a vanilla cupcake or banana, a firm reminder of the ultimately unknowable nature of the universe in which we exist.

Brilliant, Jackson.

Just brilliant.

iPad Added as Prize to the Fan Art Contest

Looking over the budget for the Fan Art Contest I realized that an iPad is well within range for a prize offering. So I added one to the prize list. A lot of people who enter maybe aren’t crazy big on the art stuff so this is a nice fun prize that anyone can enjoy and play Angry Birds on.

There’s only like three weeks left so get to reading Probability Angels and Persistent Illusions and then start sketching and drawing and photographing and whatever crazy voodoo it is that you do so well!

Mush! Mush! Mush!

The Contest Winner

Before I introduce our winner I must strongly suggest that you visit last week’s post where the Honorable Mentions were displayed. Strongly. I’ve mentioned (probably way too much at this point) how difficult picking a winner was with the mass of great entries I received. You really ought to check them out. Again, the link is here.


So I’ll just throw the winner’s name in here before I go into my schpeal so you don’t have to wait any longer.

The winner as chosen by a panel of about ten separate judges is…(drum roll drum roll drum roll) Victoria Spurling!!


If you’re dying to see the winning entry it’s further along towards the bottom, but Victoria entered a few drawings and I really liked all of them and since I kept her off of the Honorable Mentions page entirely I’m going to go ahead and share her other work with you.

First we have this (click for full views):

I’ll be honest, it took me awhile to place this picture. It’s been more than two years since I wrote Probability Angels and you’d be surprised how many pieces of the world I created got lost in the nether over time. Eventually I was able to lock this down as Matthew at his wife’s funeral when he first meets Epp, and then I didn’t feel so bad about not being able to place this picture immediately because that is a scene that never actually plays out in the book. Matthew talks about it and describes it but we never see it. Which makes it a pretty cool scene to pick in my mind.

Next up Victoria submitted this:

I absolutely loved this one. I think, and I hope I’m not wrong here, but I think it’s still in rough sketch form. Then again some of my stories have been called unfinished when I consider them done so maybe this was as far as Victoria wanted to take this. All I know is that if this was fully colored and detailed it would be hanging on my wall right now. Well…actually a lot of the entries are on my wall right now but this would have wound up framed and stuff. This is Matthew’s first (or seventh) attempt at reaching the top of Everest, a task he is blissfully unaware is impossible for him. The look on his face, the tuxedo shoes, the little hint of Epp at the top watching him fall all come together into a nice capturing of one of my favorite moments in Probability Angels.

What can I say? I’m a sucker for Epp’s hard-nosed teaching style.

All right, time for the winning work of art. Simple and clean, yet somehow capturing a lot of mood as well as conveying a lot of Matthew for a picture that merely represents the back of his head. The judges choice for the Joseph Devon Fan Art Contest 2010:

Thank you, Victoria.

And thank you all for entering, spreading the word and, you know, all that stuff.  We will be doing this again.

The Contest: Honorable Mentions

A month ago I shut down the Fan Art Contest and disappeared into my command center in order to choose a winner. These things are always bittersweet for me because I get so many great entries that it becomes difficult to choose just one. Luckily I had a group of judges to help me out (and absolve me of responsibility).

That being said I wanted to take today to post some honorable mentions before announcing the winner next week.

So here we go.

Again, this wasn’t easy.

You can click for full-sized views.

First we have Sara Williams who set up a series of photographs centered around Matthew and Epp’s first scene together. She got massive points for effort and interpretation. I mean, she set up yellow tape around a nearby park for God’s sake (there was actually some debate about this, some judges were convinced that she didn’t actually set up the tape and that it there for some other reason…but that means that she took her models and drove around looking for a park that happened to be roped off with yellow tape which doesn’t make a lot of sense to me).

Thank you, Sara.

Next up, Chris Box gave me Hector and Nyx (he also submitted a Bartleby). There’s a lot of talent here and I think he really took the characters to heart. Plus he did wonders with Nyx in my mind. The look on her face and the blood soiled shirt are wonderfully deranged and creepy.

Thank you, Chris.

While we’re on the subject of wonderfully creepy, Jack Davies submitted this. Apparently Jack was rushed for time here and was only able to get a few hours of work in before he had to catch a flight and the contest ended, which makes this all the more impressive. I’m always amazed at peoples’ ability to draw anything that remotely resembles what it’s supposed to look like as my attempts at drawing all look like blob monsters. I obviously wish Jack had had more time to play and polish but this was still a nice entry. Notice the silhouette of Epp with his cane in the background…

Thank you, Jack.

Ben P gave us everyone’s favorite samurai in his final moments…as a mortal anyway. I liked the mood of this one, surprisingly thoughtful and at peace for a scene of such gravity. Plus there’s a rather huge soft spot in my heart for Kyo and I think this captures his solitude well. Not showing his face was a nice touch. Kyo doesn’t strike me as the kind of person whose face gets captured in lot of pictures.

Thank you, Ben.

Finally we have Nathalie’s take on Epp. Nathalie actually has a page over at DeviantArt showcasing her work and I recommend you go check it out. Likewise her other entry, as well as the entry below, are available for full view. She took Epp back to his classic roots, grounding him in an ancient Roman feel and showing her take on both his living persona on the left and his immortal one on the right. I like the translation of Epictetus’s name across the top.

Thank you, Nathalie.

So next Tuesday I’ll announce the winner as chosen by myself and my panel of judges.

And thanks to everyone who entered. I only wish I could sit and showcase all of your works!

Again, these things are always bittersweet.