This fantasy-themed set of commissions that Paul commissioned for his girlfriend Jonelle make us endlessly happy. The illustrations, created by Denitsa Trandeva, have a super fun backstory that Paul was kind enough to share with us in the Q&A below.
To commission art of your own in this style, swing by Denitsa’s character illustrations commission page. :)
ArtCorgi (AC): What inspired you to commission these illustrations?
Paul (P): I inspiration was very simple. I’m a nerd. I like nerd things, like fantasy worlds and stories. My girlfriend, Jonelle, LOVES fairies and horses. So, I thought, let’s get her drawn as a fairy and myself as a centaur.
AC: I love the wood nymph and the fairy twist you added- it makes these illustrations feel like they’re right out of a mythological story! Why did you choose to have yourself and your girlfriend drawn in these mythical forms?
P: A big portion of why I commissioned these works is because we haven’t been able to find much fantasy art (fairies, princesses, etc.) featuring a black person as the subject. We go to the Michigan Renaissance Festival every year. There are a ton of very talented artists showcasing their fantasy art, and we found not a single portrait of a black person. It’s just not easy to find. I’m not sure if it’s because the artists just don’t think to divert from their own skin color, or if it’s because fantasy art and things of that nature just aren’t as popular within the black community. What I do know is that it bothered me every time we would search and search, and Jonelle would look disheartened at not finding something SHE identified with.
I was also bothered by internet search results. I figured that the internet would hold the answer for sure. I would be able to find all kinds of black fairies online. No. Even a search of black fairy on google brings up a lot of white fairies with dark attire or themes. It’s a shame. I did find a couple artists that did black people in fantasy roles, but their work just wasn’t what I was looking for. One of the two must have known she had the market cornered on black fairy art, because when I emailed her about commissioning a portrait of Jonelle, she said her prices start at $600.00. I don’t think so. That’s why it was such a blessing when a random Art Corgi ad popped up in my Facebook news feed. Once I saw how it worked and that I could set how much I wanted to spend, I was overjoyed. Our anniversary was coming up and I knew exactly what I wanted to commission.
AC: We’re big advocates of going off the beaten track and commissioning art that goes beyond the bounds of “please copy this photo in your X style”. What advice can you give to people with regard to making their portraits and original art as fun and unique as yours is?
P: As far as going off the beaten track goes, If I can get a portrait put into illustrated or painted form, that is a really cool thing that would look awesome on my wall. On the other hand, I have an artist at my disposal. I can have them draw a recreation of a photo of me and my brother, or me and Jonelle. OR. OR. I can commission pictures of Jonelle and I as a wood nymph and a centaur falling in love, and racing through a meadow on a beautiful summer’s day. I can commission pictures of my brother and I surfing in the ocean on the backs of great white sharks while we shoot ninjas and aliens out of the sky as we escape the Kraken sent by Poseidon because we stole his trident…with fireworks because it’s also the fourth of July. Recreating a picture in fine art form is cool. Imagining something out of this world, balls to the wall, insane fantasy fun is way better.