“Mistress of Flame”
It's been a while since I had an "art challenge" with my wife. The challenge for me, of course, is to actually get something done! Amy suggested "Mistress of Flame" from IDW Transformers comics, Windblade, and Combiner Wars as the subject matter of course, although this one has no alt mode and her design crosses into my Heavy Metal background, so I was strangely comfortable with that. I chose April 8th as the deadline. An interesting coincidence is that the last time we did something like this was with Magic the Gathering's Akroma, which was posted to Vigistry on April 7, 2007, so almost exactly ten years ago we last challenged ourselves like this. The third contender is another Transformers artist, Erika Skerzz, who recently tag-teamed with Amy on some official Hasbro material. That's some real Transformers talent.
I went with my Heavy Metal style for this. The triple circle composition with the swords, portal, and cape frame her in, and the crisscross of the hammer, cape, and far right sword draw you toward the flame. I used to do all my coloring in Photoshop with airbrushes, masks, and way too many layers, but now I do it by hand with colored pencils for one-step blending.
Amy used watercolors, and the end result is a very bold and vibrant masterpiece. The best part is the metallic gold accents she put on last. A photo of the finished piece caught the sheen very well. Trust me, holding a flame in hand and circles in the background weren't criteria for this piece; it just so happens that my wife and I think a lot alike.
Erika's work has incredibly clean lines, and her final coloring shows great depth, dynamics, and mood as she contrasts the cool glow of the moth to the warmth of the mistress, and the composition with the cape and the cropping is very powerful, too!
I can honestly say this challenge worked for me. I've been in a rut and needed to get something done. I was a bit nervous about giving myself a tight deadline, but I actually finished with five days to spare. Never considered drawing Mistress of Flame, but I really like how we all did. Like Ironhide and Trailbreaker in an Indy 500, with a run-in by Skywarp, the winners are us!