This year has been rough. And if you have come out alive, you should be commended for your efforts. Seriously, give yourself a round of applause. It’s been a year filled with a myriad of disappointments and changes in the world. Too many have lost loved ones and in America, we’ve had to deal with disgusting incompetence from our government, from federal to local. A lot are saying it, but we really are living through an unforgettable moment in history. “Where were you when?” will be a popular phrase when talking about 2020. Even though the answer most likely will be (should be) at home, social distancing. But in the darkness of this year, there’s been some light. And that’s been evident by our series, LIFT OFF, this year. A series where we highlight up-and-coming artists and their work. Through the pain, through the ineptitude from those in charge, artists create. Telling their stories, the world’s stories, through their vision, and relating it to us all.
This piece is starting off reflective because that’s the theme for today. Looking back at how far you’ve come. Respecting the past but charging head-first towards the future. Today’s artist is the ultimate example of that mindset. She made the most of her 2020 and we couldn’t really think of having a more talented artist join us for our final Lift Off this year. We’re proud to welcome the artist known as Fell Hound.
You might recognize Fell’s art from her extremely popular Kickstarter comic Commander Rao. A sci-fi one shot filled with deep lore, charismatic action, and beautiful colors on every page. It’s a hell of an entrance for Fell into comics and one that the indie comics community took notice of this year. In Commander Rao, we see a theme in Fell’s art that’s common if you follow her on social media. And that’s incredible designs and badass women characters. Also, Fell has a style you will always remember. It's a style that is positively unique and full of life on every page. It's a style highlighted by dynamic set pieces, deep color, and brilliant lighting.
Another word that comes to mind when looking at Fell’s art is weight. There’s an incredible sense of it in every piece she delivers and in the pages of her comics. There’s a story deeper than what we’re looking at on the page. This person, this character we’re seeing, has been through so much. Book upon book could be written about their triumphs as well as their struggles. Truly, this is the sign of a great artist. It’s not hyperbole to say that Fell is on her way to a superstar career with art as emotional and palpable as this.
Take a look at some of her past work below.
The piece Fell turned in today goes back to her roots. It’s a piece inspired by her comic, Do You Believe in an Afterlife? The comic follows lovers Arid and Claire as they navigate through a war they can’t win. Fell mentions that this was the comic that opened doors for her in the world of indie comics. And with this, she was able to build stronger connections with others in the comics community as well. It’s a stunning piece that is vibrant and lifelike, just like all of Fell’s art. It tells the story of Arid and Claire better than our writing ever could.
The first thing that might catch your eye is enormous thing their running away from. Or maybe the lighting effects and color used here. Always popping, always vibrant. But…maybe the pair aren’t running at all. Perhaps they’re just circling around, trying to get a better shot and tear this thing a new one. The look on their faces stands out here as well. Fell does a great job with faces and conveying emotion past just happy or sad. Arid and Claire are two seasoned vets, judging by the scars and smirks on their faces. They are living for this moment and they’re comfortable in just about any life-or-death situation. As long as they have each other. It’s that blend of action, emotion, vulnerability, and toughness that makes every piece Fell delivers amazing.
Enjoy the piece below as well as Fell’s words about what this piece means to her.
“In 2019, I started doing practice drawings about this soldier named Arid who fell in love with an army mechanic, Claire. Oh, and they also rode motorbikes and wielded giant axes and were trying to fend off a killer robot invasion!
I originally did 6 of these illustrations loosely telling their story and that’s when people started asking me “Hey, is this a comic? Where can I read more?”. The heartwarming support inspired me to expand their story. The only caveat was that I was still SO NEW to sequential storytelling and digital art. Since I didn’t have a lot of comics experience and was just kind of slowly learning along the way, the final product became what I called a “comics zine” – a mix of comics, prose, and illustrations, all coming together to tell Arid and Claire’s journey. Thus, Do You Believe in an Afterlife? was born. This was the comic that opened more doors for me. Through its journey I got to meet and befriend so many great comic folks. I learned so much in making it from talented peers. I got my first comics collaborations and anthology pieces thanks to this comic. And in the end, I got the motivation needed to make Commander Rao and push myself further. I feel a little embarrassed admitting it sometimes, but…my biggest art inspirations don’t really come from traditional comics. That's not to say I don't have any (JH WIlliams' Batwoman is my gold standard, god-tier comic goals). But mostly, I take a lot of my art inspiration from online folks like Banished Shadow and Marceline2174. Video games are also a HUGE influence. Did you know Arid’s name was a homage to the A.R.I.D from one of my favourite indie games, The Fall by Over The Moon Games? I owe a lot of where I am now to this comic zine and the wonderful people I met along the way. This month marks the one-year anniversary of Do You Believe in and Afterlife? And that’s what this piece is, a return to something that helped me lift off."
This is the end of our Lift Off series for 2020. We’d like to thank anyone who has read these and a huge thank you to the artists for participating. It’s part of the values of Black Hole to support indie creators and this has been a fun experiment and one we hope to continue in the future.
Thank you again to Fell for taking part in this. You can find her on Twitter @FellHound_ you can also check out her portfolio at fell-hound.artstation.com
And last but not least, you can buy her comics here: https://gumroad.com/fellhound