The Art Project: Jo
Background: I commissioned several international artists to draw characters from BEACON and CATALYST based upon a few paragraphs of text. I chose a diverse array of styles for this assignment. From comic book to abstract, children’s fairy tale, and hyper-realistic, I wanted each of them to be able to express themselves in their signature styles.
This week, we explore Jo.
"She ran her hands through her long black hair one more time. She was one-quarter Cherokee and looked every bit of it, although she often got mistaken for Italian. She had big brown eyes and a high forehead, which she often joked was so big and shiny to accommodate her giant brain. She was short at 5’ 2” and very petite, but like with most short people – what God had not given her in height, He more than made up for in attitude. When out in the community, she tended to wear a black business suit, black stiletto boots, and her signature white glasses. She believed that her role as a Nazarene pastor required her to be more formal in dress, and as she considered herself married to Christ, she typically adopted all-black as her look. In the books, she struggles to stay moral and follow God's path while tempted with power, sin, and temptation. Jo is a BEACON, and vampires are drawn to her but they cannot kill her. That is a mystery never explained. Jo wants to show the vampires a better path and try and save their souls. For the most part, they aren't interested but love talking to a human like her."
Jo is a beautiful, complex character. She fears the parts inside of her that crave power and the animal part of all that is human. When she looks at you, she stares into your soul and challenges you to be the best version of yourself that you can be. The first artist, Qzoh, captures this look perfectly in his realistic portrait of the protagonist.
She's also consistently questioning why God put her down the path she's on. This introspective perspective is captured very well by Doan Trang, whose line art matches Jo's black and white perspective on life.
She also has a sharp wit and a wicked sense of humor, a quality shown in Ben Kincaid's comic book sketch. However, despite her intelligence and sarcasm, she remains vulnerable. The pink background captures this sense of innocence.
Diana Nemesu, our 4th artist, shows a departure from Jo's human side and focuses instead on her transformation as a Beacon. While none of my works are anything resembling children's literature (all would be rated R), I really enjoy the whimsical nature of Diana's work.
Finally, Naveed Anjum hits perfectly on the turbulence of Jo's life as she takes on her assignment in Newark, Ohio. Like trying to stand still in a storm, Jo braces herself for whatever comes her way.
Next week: Cain
Which is your favorite? Tell me in the comments!
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November Ellison's new book, Beacon, is a fresh take on the vampire genre by explaining vampires as electromagnetic entities. The book is critically acclaimed for the high-concept interpretation of the vampire romance category, driven by an incredibly complex and intriguing Christian female protagonist.