For this week only (May 9 – 15) the first hit is free (if it’s the iTunes eBook). Now is as good a time as any to get yourself introduced to the series! The Season Two premier, The Dogs of Canary Island, is coming this summer in the Aphelion 2015 issue of Apsis Fiction.

More about Professor Odd here.

Professor Odd Season One

  1. The False Student
  2. The Slowly Dying Planet
  3. The Promethean Predicament
  4. The Elder Machine
  5. The Dragons of Geda
  6. The Monster’s Daughter

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Now that Professor Odd #6: The Monster’s Daughter is finally out I can share the interior illustrations I did for the special two-part finale! They are both graphite pencil on bristol board, and while the versions in the book were digitally adjusted/cleaned up, I’m also posting the original scan, since I think the texture of the graphite pencil looks cool. I was greatly inspired by the work of John Picacio, and I think it helped me in this case—since these illustrations are something of a departure from my natural style. As always, click the image to embiggen!

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Detective Final

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Subject 0D Final

Prints are available here (The Detective) and here (Subject 0-D). Maybe also check out the book?

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"Woman of Thunder" • Graphite pencil on 12"x9" bristol board • click through for full view!

“Woman of Thunder” • Graphite pencil on 12″x9″ bristol board • click through for full view!

© Goldeen Ogawa 2015. WIP shots on Tumblrprint available here!

Raise your sword up, woman of thunder
’cause they’ll try to take you down tonight
Get your arms up, girl of wonder
you gotta chase ’em down before they fly

A personal piece I’ve been working on, on and off (but mostly off) since September of last year. This one features Clara, one of the three main protagonists from my Driving Arcana series (Rotation One available here!) with her trademark sword and custom Yamaha VMAX, Unicorn. Now I’m thinking I ought to do matching portraits for Selene and Jill, the other two leads, but considering how long this one took me, I don’t know when that will be. XD

Lyrics are from her signature song, “Miracles and Unicorns.”

 

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Gildenvern Personal Work, 2015 • Print available!

This piece began as a test for me to practice gold leafing techniques with Sophie Klesen (AKA SoMK) at World Con last year, in London. I had a great time and learned a lot, but never got around to finishing it… until one afternoon, partially driven by not having created any new art in a while, I sat down with my watercolors and my new paint brushes with the goal of knocking it out in one sitting. This is the result.

(Had I given myself more time, I probably could have managed more details here and there, but it is what it is and what it is is finished so I’m not going to stress the small things overmuch. Besides, I think it looks cool, even if the gold leaf got eaten by the scanner. As usual. You can get a better idea of what the leaf looks like over here.)

Progress pics:

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Gold leaf, watercolor and white ink on 9”x12” bristol board. Original is for sale; drop me a line if interested!

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Goldeen Ogawa is a writer, illustrator and cartoonist. To keep tabs on what she is doing you can follow her on twitter @GrimbyTweets, and on Tumblr. You can also contact her directly.

 

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I haven’t had a really bad dream—a real nightmare—since I was seven or eight years old.

Before that I had terrible nightmares. Not frequently, but regularly enough that I remembered them. They terrified me; I’d wake up sweating, shivering, and sometimes crying.

These stopped abruptly after I had a dream that started out as a nightmare, but turned into something very different.

I was in a car. It was dark. The car wasn’t moving. I was strapped into the front seat. I was alone.

There was something in the back seat.

I couldn’t see it, but I knew it was there. My skin crawled and a lump of panic climbed up my throat. My first instinct was to scream for help, open the door and run.

But I could’t speak, couldn’t move, and now the something was crawling forward between the two front seats.

I was terrified by this point. Paralyzed and helpless.

And then out of nowhere came a coherent thought:

The something hadn’t actually hurt me. For all I knew, it was as lost and confused as I was. If I couldn’t move, I had nothing to lose by trying to talk to it.

I was able to turn my head far enough to get a look at this thing.

It looked horrible in that nondescript way things look horrible in your dreams. I remember large eyes—too large—and a small, puckered mouth. Everything about it was wrong and it made me writhe inside and whip around so I was staring straight ahead again. But it didn’t do anything, so after a while I forced myself to turn around and look at it again.

It was still there, still just staring at me.

I managed to unstick my dream mouth and said, as politely as I could:

“Hello, can I help you?”

And the something spoke. Its voice was like two wet rubber gloves being slid together, and I couldn’t understand a word it said (in my dream, it sounded sort of like “whup whuhhp”).

That scared me all over again, but when the something still didn’t do anything, it occurred to me that maybe it was telling me how I could help.

Turning back, which was easier now, I said:

“I’m sorry, I can’t understand you.”

And it was like the terror which had encased my mind burst, like a soap bubble pricked by a needle. The something wasn’t terrifying anymore; it was just strange, and a little lost-looking.

Whuuhp whup,” it said, sadly.

It couldn’t understand me, and I couldn’t understand it. So we stared at each other awkwardly until I woke up.

I haven’t had a nightmare since.

I still have bad dreams, of course. Brought on by anxiety or stress or just a weird, upsetting jumble of images and feelings as the result of my brain uncluttering itself. But they’re not nightmares. Any time I feel that creeping sense of terror that used to develop into a nightmare, there’s a piece of me, stronger than the terror, that turns around and asks the equivalent of “hello, can I help you?”

I’ve kept this experience to myself for over twenty years now, but after recently sharing it with my family, it occurred to me that it might help other people to hear it too. Because I realize now, that dream has had a huge impact on the way I deal with fear in the waking world.

To wit: I don’t run from the things that frighten me; I look at them closely. I try to figure out why they frighten me. A lot of the time it turns out there’s nothing really to be afraid of—or I’m actually afraid of something else. Even when it is something legitimately scary, understanding it helps me deal with it reasonably and rationally, which always makes things less terrifying.

I think we can learn to do this without having deeply powerful and meaningful dreams, of course. But I also think lot of my inner strength in the face of adversity stems from the fact that I was as terrified in my dream as I’ve ever been while I was awake, and I conquered that. There is nothing more frightening than our own imagination, as any writer will tell you. So what’s left to scare you after you’re not scared of that anymore?

Many years after I had this dream, I picked up a copy of Sandman by Neil Gaiman, and was a little bemused to find the message of “DREAMS ARE IMPORTANT” repeated over and over again. It fits, of course, with the theme of the comic, but to me it seemed a little heavy handed. I knew just how important dreams could be. I’d known it since I was seven years old.

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Goldeen Ogawa is a writer, illustrator and cartoonist. She is not sure if this anecdote will actually help anyone conquer their own nightmares, but at the very least it’s an interesting example of how powerful our dreaming minds can be. To keep tabs on her waking life you can follow her on twitter @GrimbyTweets, and on Tumblr. You can also contact her directly.

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Last year I was commissioned to do a series of Elemental Horses based on the four classical Greek elements. Ignis (fire), Aura (air), Aqua (water), and Terra (earth). They were themselves done in the style of my Planet Horses (Jupiter, Saturn, Ouranos and Neptune) from 2013. This year, I’m revisiting both series, beginning with the addition of the two missing elements from the Wu Xing (wood and metal).

Hint: click on the images to see them at full size!

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Elemental Horse: Ligno (wood) Personal Work • Print available!

Ligno (wood), draws inspiration from the Gypsy Vanner for her shape, and the Giant Sequoia, manzanita and scrub oak for her tree-based parts. Despite being tedious and time-consuming, it was a fun challenge doing all the leaves, and I’ve learned a lot from it.

Progress pictures here!

Mixed media: black ink and watercolor, colored pencil, and gold paint pen. I created her sigil (at bottom right) to resemble a tree with roots and branches. Original sold at Further Confusion.

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Elemental Horse: Ferro (metal) Personal Work • Print available!

Ferro (technically steel, but here used to represent all metal), is mostly damascus steel with a healthy dollop of mercury, bronze hooves, and golden eyes. I chose damascus steel because I felt the swooshy, almost organic patterns contrasted nicely with its form as the strong, sharp blades it is usually used for. The mercury represents the fluid, flexible nature of metal, and I’ve draped it over Ferro in a manner reminiscent of an Appaloosa’s blanket. For the horse I drew inspiration from the trotting breeds, notably the Standardbred. Horses are often depicted at the canter or gallop, as those gaits tend to lend themselves well to beautiful, dramatic poses, but for this final installment in my elemental series I wanted to highlight the grace and power of that often over-looked gait: the trot.

Mixed media: black ink and watercolor, colored pencil, and silver paint pen. Ferro’s sigil is, like those for fire, air, water, earth and wood, of my own devising. In this case, however, I have incorporated elements of the Chinese character for metal in the Wu Xing, 金 (jīn). Original sold at Further Confusion.

I do have a couple more pieces planned along these lines, which I hope to have finished in the first half of 2015. This will bring my total of horses in this particular style up to twelve, which I hope to make into a calendar for next year. Stay tuned!

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Goldeen Ogawa is a writer, illustrator and cartoonist. To keep tabs on what she is doing you can follow her on twitter @GrimbyTweets, and on Tumblr. You can also contact her directly.

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Happy 2015! I’m excited for this year, and also a little overwhelmed. So many plans, so many hopes and dreams (and a few fears). This morning I begin work on a novel I’ve had planned for years. It feels a bit like sitting at the top of a roller coaster in a thick fog: I can’t see where the tracks go, but I know it’s gonna be a wild ride.

The novel’s working title is Star Walker, and if you follow my twitter you can watch my wordcount progress—plus totally spoiler-free and relevant (and irreverent) notes on the process.

I’m also hard at work on making pictures. Here are some progress pics of my latest personal piece, Ligno (ink and watercolor wash, gold paint pen, and colored pencils):

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Ligno is part five of my Elemental Horses series that began as a set of commissions in 2013-2014. That series including the four traditional Greek elements: Fire, Air, Water and Earth. Now, I’m completing the series by adding the missing two elements from the Chinese set (fire, water, earth, wood, and metal). Ligno here represents wood, of course. The original for her and Ferro (metal) will be going to the FurtherConfusion art show in a couple weeks.

Best wishes to everyone, and I hope 2015 treats you right!

-G

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Goldeen Ogawa is a writer, illustrator and cartoonist. To keep tabs on what she is doing you can follow her on twitter @GrimbyTweets, and on Tumblr. You can also contact her directly.

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Click image for full view.

Click image for full view.

Mother Chaoscolored pencil • personal work • PRINT AVAILABLE HERE

The Greater Demon Fairig as she is depicted in her capacity as the creator-god, Mother Chaos, who brought the wild energy of the void into the world and triggered the first explosion of proto-life. Although she is nominally considered a benevolent deity, Fairig’s maternal instincts are somewhat inscrutable; she brings destruction more often than creation, preferring merely to provide the basic materials and let others deal with fashioning them into order. Though often given a womanly likeness by human artists, Fairig’s true form—as is the case with her true name—remain a mystery. She is also known to appear as a three-eyed, blue lioness, with a yellow mane and wings made of rips in the fabric of reality.

A personal piece I’ve been plodding away at since May. Fairig is an old character of mine who appears a little different each time I draw her. For this piece I was inspired by both religious iconography and trading card illustrations: it represents Fairig as a god-figure, bringing about (if not directly overseeing) the creation of the world. There is a barren planet beneath her, and a newly-formed moon low in the sky. Behind her is a starscape based on this picture of the horse head nebula. It wasn’t until after I colored it in that I realized it matched her own colors, causing her to blend into the background a little bit. Upon reflection I decided this was exactly what I wanted, since Fairig is not just her physical manifestation, but all the forces and raw materials of chaos—here amply represented by a cluster of young stars in a giant cloud of gas. For this reason I’ve drawn her mane and tail blending into the nebula, connecting the two. It suggests that Fairig’s true form is something closer to that of a nebula: so huge and powerful as to be viewable only at a great distance, the fantastic animal in the foreground merely a physical approximation; an avatar of her personality.

The fact that this avatar is a lion-taur with four arms (two of which are wings) and seven eyes (one in the palm of each hand) and scythe-like horns tells you really all that need be known about said personality.

Fairig has yet to appear in any of my published stories, but her son, Tobius, is the eponymous hero of two comic books.

Media: Colored pencils with white ink on 12”x9” illustration paper. Prints here!

"Mother Chaos" detail. Click for full view.

“Mother Chaos” detail. Click for full view.

Goldeen Ogawa is a writer, illustrator and cartoonist. To keep tabs on what she is doing you can follow her on twitter @GrimbyTweets, and on Tumblr. You can also contact her directly.

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These are (rather bad) progress pictures of the frontispiece illustration for “Subject 0-D,” the second half of the two-parter Professor Odd season 1 finale, “The Monster’s Daughter.” Below, you can see the cleaned-up pencils with early shading, the rendered image, and lastly the finished piece alongside the print-out guide I used as a reference for the lettering (I had scanned in the sketch and placed the text in photoshop, before printing it out again).

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Graphite pencils on smooth 12″x9″ Bristol Board. This illustration (along with the matching frontispiece for part one (“The Detective”) will appear in the Professor Odd #6 issue coming next year, but the story will be debuting in the Perihelion 2015 issue of Apsis Fiction, coming December 2nd.

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Goldeen Ogawa is a writer, illustrator and cartoonist. To keep tabs on what she is doing you can follow her on twitter @GrimbyTweets, and on Tumblr. You can also contact her directly.

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One of the questions I get asked most frequently (and sometimes rather impertinently) when people learn of my profession is something along the lines of “how on earth do you make a living at that?”

They don’t always phrase it exactly this way, but this is essentially what they are asking. How do you earn a living writing stories and drawing pictures? Which is actually a little rude, I think. I don’t ask the barista at my favorite coffee shop how much she’s paid per hour, nor do I ask my dentist what his annual income is. Of course, the difference is these are both professions where people have some sort of pre-existing framework for how the people involved earn money: by wages, tips, service fees, etc. Most of the time they are curious about the how of my income, rather than the actual amount of it.

It’s still annoying. Not only because my profession, despite being incredibly rewarding and important, does not pay very well at all, but because there are so much more interesting things to talk to an artist about.

When I was at World Fantasy this year I heard a lot of talk about how people are going about keeping body and soul together in this brave new era of electronic media and crumbling traditional edifices. It is important and relevant that we think about these things, since its difficult to create and publish material when you don’t have enough to eat or a house to live in, but it is also important to remember that life is a transient state, and ultimately the measure of our existence will be taken in the quality of the art we leave behind. In other words, our work, divorced from its capacity as a means to earn money, is worth looking at for its own merits.

Perhaps the most thought-provoking and interesting conversation I had about my writing that weekend took place, not at the hotel or in a conference room, but around the dinner table of my “conservadox” Jewish great-aunt and great-uncle, who invited my Wonderful Mother and I for Sabbath dinner on Friday.

My great-uncle was extremely interested in the kinds of stories I was telling. He’d listened to my “How Riding Got Her Red Hood” short story, and wanted to know if I thought I could use my stories to promote tolerance in the world.

“Intolerance,” he told me, as only an octogenarian Jew can, “is a grave danger to our world. And what you are doing, here, with your work, you have a talent, a power, that not everyone has. And what I hope you keep in mind, moving forward, is how you are using that power.”

Not a single breath was wasted on worrying about how I was going to earn a living while exercising this power. That I would write books, and that these books would find an audience, and be read, was a given, as far as my great-uncle was concerned. He wasn’t interested in the capitalist side of the writing business—only in the creative aspect of it. It was a most enjoyable dinner.

When Ursula K. Le Guin gave her acceptance speech for her National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters she took a more direct approach, but I think she and my great-uncle would get along fabulously. They are both much more concerned with the transcendent quality of modern literature than they are with the money-making aspect of it, which is a refreshing change from the constant barrage of “but how many books have you sold?” sort of questions I usually hear. It is especially encouraging seeing such opinions coming from someone like Le Guin, whom I have admired for years.

While one must admit that a writer needs a certain amount of business acumen simply to navigate the rapids of the publishing river, those skills must ultimately come secondary to our true goal: to produce art that changes the world—for the better. Whether it is by creating tragedies or drama, comedies, comics, fantasy epics or science fiction romances, if you are—to adapt Le Guin’s words—an artist of the imagination; a realist of the larger reality, your ultimate calling should not be the accumulation of wealth or fame, but the creation of transcendent work that will remain, echoing down the ages, long after our flesh and blood and bones have turned to dust, after our homes have been eaten by the jungle (urban or woodland), after the currency we were paid in has lost all meaning, perhaps after even our planet is abandoned.

The best authors, the ones I look up to—Connie Willis, Le Guin, Diana Wynne Jones—have not and do not seem to restrict their writing to what they or their publishers deem profitable. I once heard Willis say, “I just write the books I want to read.” This has certainly been the foundation of every story I have ever written, long before I ever heard Willis speak, and it continues to be the deciding factor in what I choose to write.

In recent years, however, I have augmented this maxim: I will not write what I think will be popular now. I will write what I hope will be enjoyed now. And in ten years. Twenty. Fifty. A hundred. If financial success should come to me in my own lifetime, hurrah! If I am favored with popularity and critical acclaim, fantastic! I shall use it like a trampoline to propel to even greater heights the stories I would be telling anyway.

Because I have been thinking, very hard and for many years, about the power I hold as a teller of stories. And though my ultimate goal—to use those powers for good—is relatively simple, its implementation is complex and variable, and looks to keep me well employed (if not necessarily well paid) for a lifetime that, I hope, should last as long as that of my great-uncle, or Ursula K Le Guin.

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Goldeen Ogawa is a writer, illustrator and cartoonist. To keep tabs on what she is doing you can follow her on twitter @GrimbyTweets, and on Tumblr. You can also contact her directly.

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