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January 21, 2013
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The Wasp by TD-Vice The Wasp by TD-Vice
Who knew that I'd ever feel myself confident in making an illustration to one of my favoritest books ever, a novel that muchly formed my mindset when I was a young teen, made me love sci-fi and all kinds of spec-ops thematics and generally had been a great partner - if you can say so about the book.

This is my rendition of Eric Frank Russell's "Wasp", depicting it's protagonist-terrorist James Mowry disguised as a Sirian and nervously eluding the planet's secret police force, the Kaitempi, while parading as one of them.

I tried to maintain a subtle nod in this rendition to classic science fiction coverart, with smooth transitions and bright dramatic colors. It was also a fun experiment in designing the garb of the characters, since in the book they were portrayed as space-azns of sorts in their social structure.

And of course it was uber fun to design the gun, another tribute to the retro feel - I strayed away from the cylindrical forms of classic rayguns, but still I think managed to achieve a distinct look.

Wasp is a 1957 science fiction novel by English author Eric Frank Russell. Terry Pratchett (author of the Discworld series of fantasy books) stated that he "can't imagine a funnier terrorists' handbook." Wasp is generally considered Russell's best novel.

The title of Wasp comes from the idea that the main character's actions and central purpose mimic that particular insect; just as something as small as a wasp can terrorize a much larger creature in control of a car to the point of causing a crash and killing the occupants, so the defeat of an enemy may be wrought via psychological and guerrilla warfare by a small, but deadly, protagonist in their midst.

Set in an unspecified time in the future, the plot centers on protagonist James Mowry and an inter-planetary war between humans (collectively referred to as "Terrans") and the Sirians (collectively referred to as the Sirian Empire, from Sirius). The war has been in effect for nearly a year as the story begins. The Terrans, while technologically more advanced in most respects to the Sirians, are outnumbered and out-gunned by a factor of twelve-to-one.

The Sirians are a humanoid species that share many of the same physical characteristics as their Terran enemies. Some of the more noticeable differences are their purple-faced complexions, pinned-back ears, and a bow-legged gait. In terms of government, the Sirian Empire is reminiscent of asian totalitarian states they frequently employ a much-feared secret police force named the Kaitempi (an obvious allusion to the Japanese Kempeitai, or Kaimina Tempiti); they censor much of their media, and they actively seek to quell any opposition to the government or the war through the use of violence and intimidation.

The novel begins by introducing James Mowry as he is being recruited by the Terran government to infiltrate enemy lines; to become a "wasp," in the sense portrayed in the opening passages of the novel. His recruitment is somewhat less than voluntary: Mowry is offered the alternative of conscription and assignment to the front. His dossier states that he can be counted on to do anything, provided the alternative is worse. So persuaded, he accepts the assignment.

It was an extremely pleasant experience to work on this piece.
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:iconrobby-the-robot:
Robby-The-Robot Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2014
Eric frank Russel is a GrandMaster.  His short story Dear Devil, about a letter an Earth girl sends to her Martian teacher is wonderful.
I have been a fan since the 1960s. I haev read writer Allen Dean Foster use to communicate with Mr Russel.
 I remember an episode of STNG where Picard becomes an WASp of sorts. I guess this them goes back.
 Check out his other short stories for great reads.
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:iconbelazikkal:
Belazikkal Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Purples, green and yellows. Makes me think of the chosen colour palette for Watchmen. Supposedly nasty to look at, but you somehow make it work.

There are some mistakes in it, most notably Mowry's off-line left eye, but I don't think it detracts from the picture overall. The wasp is a bit hard to see at first glance, but I assume that was intentional?

The saturated blue skyline feels a bit odd, to be honest. On the other hand, you have a well thought out background and you are starting to manage the whole limitation of detailing to quite the eye. The Sirians in the background are integral to the picture, but by having our eyes drawn to Mowry first, we are going to sympathise with him first and foremost, not question whether there is a bigger picture here we're missing.
It works to bring some real tension into this picture, tension further strengthened by the fact that the colour choice is outside the standard for pictures like this.

Overall, I enjoyed this picture.
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:iconflammenverferotto:
FlammenverferOtto Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2013
Эта повесть стала моей маленькой отрадой в бытность пионервожатым. Мне интересно, кто-нибудь ещё её помнит? Я, правда, представлял содержимое по-другому(ни разу не латино-ацтекским), но так-гораздо лучше.
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:iconnurglingcowboy:
NurglingCowboy Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013
Would you recommend I read this book?
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:iconzetsu-0-sakura:
Zetsu-0-Sakura Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013
The detail on this is tremendously done, on the uniforms and the flyers. The gold and the green on the uniforms and the purple on the skin works out really well together. :nod:
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:iconhumanatis:
Humanatis Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Very cool! I love older sci fi books with their sometimes weird yet enjoyable artwork, and this is spot-on. Before I even knew that was your goal, it's what I thought. Nicely done, like always.
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:iconkittythesilence:
KittyTheSilence Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2013  Hobbyist
ЧУМАА..кожа.блески.все дело в этом:з
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:iconkontagen:
Kontagen Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2013  Student Digital Artist
I fucking love the skin color those guys have. It seems very, well, alien. Armor is also spot-on, but I miss a slightly more dynamtic perspective.
The wasp also seems to ruin the background a bit. I'd probably put it somewhere else or remove it.
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:iconzarim:
Zarim Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2013
I think I just got the next thing on my reading list. Good old classic sci-fi! I'd never heard of this one, so thanks for the rec!

Good work on the art, although the coloring technique feels a little...I guess murky? The color palette and the aesthetic are very classic book cover, I appreciate this piece a whole lot. It just feels a little blurry, I think.
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:icontd-vice:
TD-Vice Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It's weird how american classic sci-fi is oft unknown to americans)

I wanted a soft look, I guess)
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