On October 7th, TOMORROW! -the new boxed set of the first 6 Olympians books is officially released! That's six volumes, and a poster, so for each day leading up to the 7th I'll release a post detailing sketches, anecdotes, alternate drawings-- whatever I can find, really, for one of the books in the series. Today, I'll be covering the sixth book in the series, Aphrodite: Goddess of Love.
My first proposed title for Aphrodite's book was Aphrodite: The Power of Love, until me editor Neal Porter wisely pointed out that it put him in the mind of that old Huey Lewis and the News song, of course ruining that title for all time for me. Thank goodness he did, but for those of you keeping score at home, that's four title my publisher, and two titles me.
Here's my original sketch for the cover to Aphrodite: Goddess of Love. Note how much older Eros is here than how he appears in the final book. At this stage I was intending to include an abbreviated version of the story of Eros and Psyche, and so Eros needed to function as a romantic lead. I had to jettison that idea as it simply didn't fit, either space-wise or thematically. Maybe someday...
|Fun fact: Comic artist Simon Fraser now owns this original|
Above is the completed inks for the first cover of Aphrodite. Eros has swung to the opposite end of the age spectrum-- now he's practically and infant. But in First Second headquarters, this cover caused a bit of a stir-- some people in editorial thought that Aphrodite was too sexy and looked like a bimbo, and others, like me, thought her depiction was entirely appropriate. I wrote a long piece for the First Second Blog that you can read HERE which goes into this whole process in greater detail.
After a lot of back and forth, I altered the cover to match the more 'formidable, dread goddess' aspect that some elements of editorial envisioned her as. As is often the case, this cover was drawn well in advance of the rest of the book so that the cover could be included on the back of Poseidon: Earth Shaker, so they had actually not yet read my take on Aphrodite. Aphrodite might be a dread goddess, with the power to uproot your world, but she would never look the part-- she would smile and beam and you would love her with all your heart as she destroyed you.
This is the new 'final' version that appears on the back of early printings of Poseidon. Interestingly, looking at it now, her altered pose is more reminiscent of the original sketch than my original inked drawing. But I was not happy with this version. She was too angry...
Finally, after completing the book, I redrew the cover to reflect my understanding of Aphrodite upon the completion of Aphrodite: Goddess of Love. Eros is now at an age somewhere in between the two previous depictions, Hermes, Hephaistos, and Ares have been replaced by the Charites, and Aphrodite herself in the more friendly presence in the finished book.
Above is a page of roughs from the dummy for Aphrodite: Goddess of Love. Compare and contrast this to the dummy for Zeus: King of the Gods.
|That ghostly Hera looks annoyed/|
Very early Aphrodite design sketche. I always knew I wanted to give her an Eastern, Indian feel, and that influence was more pronounced here.
|I was practicing writing my name, apparently.|
Another very early Aphrodite sketch.
A super early visualization on the Judgement of Paris sequence of Aphrodite: Goddess of Love. I've always had a problem with that myth, depicting as it does the three most powerful goddesses in a very unflattering and sexist manner. I spent a lot of time thinking of how to portray that story in a way that paid service to the strong character of the goddesses.
A very early and risque (apologies) sketch of Aphrodite emerging from the sea at Cypress.
Early sketch of my favorite character in Aphrodite: Goddess of Love, Eris.
This was a piece I drew for my studio's sketchblog at about the time I was working on Hera: The Goddess and her Glory. The day's topic was 'apple', so I drew the moment that all three goddesses reached simultaneously for the Apple of Discord. I ended up using almost this exact composition for a panel in Aphrodite: Goddess of Love.
I drew this piece, Chocolate Aphrodite, for a charity auction. It sold for $75. I bet you thought I was going to say 7 billion, didn't you?
That's it for the goddess of love. Check back tomorrow, FOR THE RELEASE OF THE OLYMPIANS BOXED SET, a look at the making of the poster, and some sneak peeks at future books.