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Just a comment I made to someone about why I'm not into Pottermore, and that I thought was worth preserving.

I am so with you on this. I don't mind if it's not a closed canon, but it's so clear JKR is just pumping out any old crap to keep Sony happy and the money rolling in.

JKR said previously that Draco and Narcissa rejected Lucius and what he stood for after the war and never had anything to do with him again. Well, I never liked that much, but fine, it's internally consistent. I can always disregard it for fanfic. But then she turns around with Pottermore and intimates that Lucius and Narcissa are together and still both mutually bigoted, to the point of being frosty to Astoria because she won't raise Scorpius a bigot. So are Lucius and Narcissa together, or not? Did Narcissa reject Lucius' values, or not? Do all these people see each other, or not? Or... *drumroll* ...is JKR just making random shit up to keep making money off us?

I think there is some good in Pottermore. There are clearly some ideas she already had, like McGonagall's backstory, and those are okay. She's not revising herself at the expense of the story for profit with those. But, you know, she clearly dislikes her antagonists and isn't interested in their backstories, and is really offended that her fans like them, and basically wants to put us back in our box due to some misplaced sense of responsibility. I'm a grown-ass woman and I'm not going to go and marry a bigot just because I can sympathise with, and see emotional appeal, in the culturally-indoctrinated characters she wrote. If you don't want people seeing your characters in shades of grey, don't bloody write dystopia.
I've done a gallery re-arrange for ease of navigation. All the Harry Potter couples folders now live inside Fandom: Harry Potter.
My illustrated edition of Mark of Cain is finished! See it with the illustrations and text together here.
Poser fans (or, in my case, vendors who want/need to support Poser but don't otherwise keep track) - Amazon has Poser 10 on sale for $47 (about $80 off RRP at Smith Micro) and Poser Pro 2014 on sale for $229 ($270 off). It's not for download, you need to get it shipped.
I've written about Narcissa's hair here before, but both times I've been annoyed over someone's snark, and that's probably not the most constructive way to write. I thought I'd write a more measured version that can be linked to, and genuinely contribute to a conversation if/when I need it. People who've read my previous vents on this won't really find much that's new here, it's just a state of mind thing. (Although, there are a couple of teasers about fics in progress. So you might like to read for that. ;) )

So, to recap: Yes, I do mostly build my art around the black-and-white haired, movie Narcissa aesthetic. No, that isn't a popular choice. Yes, I know she's blonde in the books. And yes, I understand that a lot of people don't like it.

So...why do it?

The biggest reason is that I'm mostly a movie-based fan. I have read the books, an embarrassing number of times, but I was an adult with a young child when they came out, so I came to the fandom through the movies. Add to that, that I'm a Death Eater/Pureblood focused fan, and those characters are often more developed in the actors' portrayals, and often pretty one-dimensional in the books. Whereas if I were, for instance, very focused on Harry, I would probably lean more towards the books because he, necessarily, is better developed there. But as we've established, I was an adult when the books came out, so the schoolkids really didn't speak to me anywhere near as much as the society and political aspects. And my interest in Narcissa was directly related to Helen McCrory's portrayal, so I'm not inclined to whitewash her out of the picture. As a secondary matter, I also think Narcissa being blonde is completely illogical, unless Druella was having an affair. Her whole family is dark, going back generations.

That said, I actually do think there is a place for blonde Narcissa, and I will never criticise anyone for basing their art around her or preferring her. (Just please return the favour). She's pretty prominent in my Favourites. I have actually used her quite a bit myself, although more in the fic world. I have explained her blonde hair more than once as a choice on her marriage, a symbolic departure from her family of origin and alignment with the family she has joined. I also have a fic in progress where her paternity is a plot point - unknown to her and Lucius, she is the product of an affair between Druella and Abraxas, and as a result, a drop of her blood is able to be used for magical purposes by Tom and Bella. I have another fic in progress dealing with abuse in the Black family and Narcissa's hair changes to blonde in the context of her escaping to the Malfoys.

So I don't have a problem with purists who consistently prefer the books. And I don't have a problem with people who simply like what they like, and sometimes that's the books and sometimes that's the movies. I have things that I either prefer in the books myself, or just will use when it suits me. It's a bit idiosyncratic.

What I have a problem with is people who act, in this one area, like book canon is the only canon and it's completely invalid to refer to the movie aesthetic, or even like it didn't happen at all. (That's probably the one that annoys me the most - I know perfectly well you probably haven't been living under a rock and probably have seen the bloody films, and you know perfectly well that I know book Narcissa is blonde, so don't be obtuse). And I take particular issue with it because it seems particularly targeted at this one character. I have never seen, for instance, someone posting on a Jason Isaacs inspired Lucius, "You know he doesn't have long hair, right?" or a criticism that a particular image of Hermione is too beautiful. I don't know whether it's a hating-on-middle-aged-women thing or what, but it seems like everyone cares oh so much more about this variation than all the others. I can post a whole picture full of movie-referencing aesthetics, not all of them in line with book canon, and the only one people will take issue with is Narcissa's hair.

Love her or hate her, movie Narcissa is canon too. If she's a dealbreaker for you in my art, that's okay, honestly. No one's making you look at it. Just don't act like she doesn't have a right to fictionally exist.
BeccaB323 has some great art recommended in her post Under 100 Faves: All Art Feature, including one of mine! There are some fabulous pieces there, so go check them out!
So, I'm doing some artworks for Lucius Big Bang. Lucius Big Bang tends to involve Lucius banging as many people as humanly possible (a big job, but according to some authors and artists, he's very well equipped for the task :) ). So my artworks for it are a little more, uh, sexy than usual. And my computer is in the middle of the walkway at home. I mean, my husband and 17yo and 20yo know what I do and all, but I don't really want them witnessing every minute movement of every, uh, intimate body part. Seriously. It's 12.30am on Monday (a school/workday) and EVERYONE IS UP. My husband is normally in bed by 9.30pm but tonight he's surfing the bloody web behind me! Oh - and posting isn't til late in the year, so there's delayed gratification involved too, natch.

I swear, this doesn't happen to people who render puppies and bunnies. *sigh*
Look, Daz, I get it. Skankwear sells. I've never minded that you sell it. But for the love of everything holy, can you please sell something else as well? My elves, gnomes, and genocidal witches like to have at least 35% of their flesh covered when they start trying to rule the world.
For those who have been following my project to create an illustrated edition of Elemental, it's done! See it here. Thanks to everyone who cheered me on!
So, I have fifteen minutes to kill while waiting for a file to process, so I thought I'd meander around a question I've been asking myself, which is: "Why Bellatrix/Voldemort?" I don't pretend this will be terribly interesting - it's mostly self-indulgent navel gazing - but heck, it's my journal, I can be boring now and then.

I don't mean why are they interesting - I think that's fairly self-evident to anyone who's given them much thought, or given some of the better fics a chance. There's a lot of psychological fodder, a lot of contrasts, issues with unreliable narrators - they're great fun to work with. The question I've been circling with some interest, though, is why have they resonated enough for me to devote pretty much a whole year to them with very little else (a fact which really strikes home when I look at my gallery). I've always had pet couples, but this is extreme, even for me.

It's an interesting one for me, because while I've always preferred morally ambiguous antagonists, I've never been particularly taken with characters who are mad or evil. (This is in nearly thirty years of fandom, eighteen of them online). Nor did I start out that way - I've toured my way around lots of HP characters and pairings, usually running them side by side and mixing them up. Bellamort started for me with a one-shot fic a year and a half ago, Folie A Deux - probably one of my best that year - followed by an artwork for a challenge a few months later (this one). The artwork inspired a fic, the fic inspired another fic, that fic inspired another fic, which inspired more art, and after a year of that, we're here with a ridiculous number of stories and artworks. It's been like peeling back layers of an onion - I've never had to actually look for ideas for these two. That is, of course, like a drug for an arty type. If anything, I was inclined in early 2013 to let my activity in HP die a natural death, since the fandom is dropping off a lot, but there's no natural death in sight for the moment.

So where's the resonance? Unlike most of my characters, I wouldn't say I actively like either of them. I don't mean that I dislike them, but I mean that the fondness is more in the vein of understanding than liking. I don't necessarily like Voldemort's ultra-utilitarian nature, for instance, but I get it, because I have a pretty strong strand of that myself. I don't necessarily like Bella's mad-obsessed tendencies and her fanaticism, but I get them, because there are echoes of that in my life too. In some ways they're both bits of me on steroids, even though I'm completely different to either of them.

I also think there is scope for a reading of the Death Eater narrative that is highly utilitarian/principled, too. I don't mean that I agree with "the end justifies the means" - quite the opposite, actually - and I don't mean that I agree with hierarchically oppressive societies, either. But I do think that the Death Eaters generally saw themselves as fighting for a principle that had value in their own society, not just mindlessly pursuing world domination. We see strands of this all over the place. There is an ethic of sorts at work - a profoundly flawed one that ultimately results in profoundly wrong outcomes, but I don't think it's absent. The fandom really struggles with this, probably because JKR did. She had a very simplistic view of the Death Eaters IMO, even when talking outside the books. Things like the idea that no Death Eater could cast a Patronus because they'd never experienced true love/happiness. I don't agree with that at all - I actually think love is one of the few truly universal things that's experienced by good and evil people alike. How did Hitler love Eva Braun and simultaneously embark on a campaign of genocide in the millions? Don't ask me, but it's a story we see throughout history. Mafia dons, mass murderers, designers of systematised torture - almost all of them share the drive to bond. None of this is to defend any of it, but I find it fascinating teasing out how it all works and how these seemingly conflicting things can sit side-by-side. I think a big part of the appeal of the Death Eater narrative generally for me is the intellectual challenge of the war and the politics, which is entertaining for me where real-world politics just leaves me unbearably exhausted, because with the Death Eaters, there are no real deaths/human rights abuses/etc to taint the entertainment.

But mostly I think it's because a lot of what I play with hasn't, to my knowledge, been done before. My husband thinks I'm a bit of a narcissist because I like to read and re-read my own work, but the reason is simply that I wrote them because I wanted to read them, and they weren't already out there. That's probably really the guts of why I don't go within a mile of major characters. I don't dislike them, it's just that I can get my satisfaction by reading what other people have done. Not so much with these two. There are some great Bellamort fics out there, but not enough to satisfy a ravenous reader. :) This is one of relatively few pockets of the fandom, I think, that still really does have new conversations that haven't been explored. I'm sure there are lots of those pockets - the dynamics of the Dumbledore children, for instance - but I suspect that the fans of the major characters are mostly having the same conversations over and over again.

And my file has finished processing, so I'll leave it there. I promise to be more interesting next time. :D
I thought it was worth re-posting an excerpt from some meta I've written about Voldemort and love here. Not infrequently around DA, I see the Voldemort-can't-love thing thrown around as a reason that Bellatrix/Voldemort (or Voldemort/Anyone) makes no sense - interestingly, far more often than I see it discussed in the fic world. I find it quite fascinating that fandom, which tends to pride itself rightly or wrongly on not being conventional and not necessarily being tied slavishly to every facet of a character's canon-history, can't seem to comprehend that they could have a psychologically messy bond that isn't grounded in love per se. Though I wonder how much of that is that Voldemort is a 70+ year old disfigured man. I don't see many people suggesting that Lucius/Hermione makes no sense because, I dunno, she's a Muggle-born and he's a blood purist. (Don't get me wrong, I will read the occasional, really well-done post-war Lucius/Hermione. I'm just sayin').

But as it happens, I take serious issue with the Voldemort-can't-love thing anyway. Here's why.

With the greatest respect and love for the rest of the world she built for us, J. K. Rowling's pseudo-canon suggestions that Tom Riddle was magically prevented from feeling love due to the circumstances of his conception are ignorant, offensive rubbish. They're the magical equivalent of the suggestion that a woman's body can differentiate between sperm from willing sex and sperm from rape, and prevent conception from the latter (thank you, US politics). It's also unbelievably offensive and unfair to the many loving and loved people conceived under rape, impaired consent, seduction achieved through lies and manipulation, prostitution, and any number of other compromised and unfavourable circumstances.

So what effect did [Merope's use of coercion] have?

In my opinion, other than the practical knock-on effects on his living situation, not a thing on his childhood. I think his wounds are a lot less mystical than that. However, it is probable that before killing his father as a teenager, he searched his memories and learned the whole story.

He would have been horrified that his mother's downfall had been the fruitless pursuit of love from this weak, mean, unworthy man. Coming from Slytherin - a house that prized merit and had embraced him, a half-blood, on intellectual and magical merit - he would have been appalled that love even drove her to want his father in the first place. He would have been equally appalled that his father had rejected his mother (probably, in his view, a great and mighty witch) for such superficially Muggle reasons as being of poor social position and not pretty.

By this point, Tom was either a sociopath, or - my theory - so self-protectively guarded with others as to be indistinguishable from one. I think learning the story of his mother would have sealed that choice, if it was a choice. The lessons he would have drawn would have been that closeness is dangerous, needing someone gives them power over you and takes your own power away, and the love of others is usually an illusion not to be trusted. We see the seeds of this mentality in his brutal reaction to Peter Pettigrew's expression of devotion (and Pettigrew probably, in fact, was devoted, given his search for Voldemort and caring for him in his most helpless form) - he insists that Pettigrew had helped him only from fear. The only expression of devotion that he seems to accept without argument is Bella's, which makes sense given that her devotion is completely without regard for herself. The more ordinary love based on mutual emotional benefit would seem, through his lens, false, self-serving, and dangerous. -- Excerpt from Meta: Merope's Legacy on AO3.

The other important thing to remember is that Tom could read thoughts, seemingly without effort or active spellwork. He could probably do this in childhood, and he lived in an institutional setting. To the un-nuanced child's mind, seeing the very flawed ways that people love, especially in that setting, would call the whole thing into question. Again, the single-mindedness of Bella's devotion might get past that.

Disclaimer: Irritable rant follows. If it isn't clear, this is not targeted to any of my regular companions on DA. There's a specific branch of Narcissa-hair-hate that's bugging me, not every person who didn't love it.

Several times this week, as every week, I've copped some sort of attitude over Narcissa Malfoy's hair.

For the uninitiated, Narcissa is blonde in the books, like her husband and son (and unlike the rest of her family of origin, who are dark). In the movies, she's first half-black, half-blonde, and then half-black, half-white. This was controversial, more so than most aesthetic variances, and I think a big part of it is that there was such a long gap between her first book appearance in Book 4 and her first movie appearance in Movie 6. So on top of people just plain wanting her blonde, and on top of a good whack of people disliking the specific black/white aesthetic, a lot had sort of "cast" her in their minds. Narcissa appears in art and vids as everyone from Nicole Kidman to Naomi Watts, to this day (which, of itself, I don't mind).

I'm not going to defend the movie's creative choice here. I can really fall either way, and I like movie-Narcissa as an overall presence enough to really not be too het up about it and to be willing to represent her movie likeness in my creatives. I can see some practical reasons for it from the movie-makers' perspective - a big one being the need for casual viewers to recognise key Death Eaters from a distance and without needing to remember faces - but I also get why people didn't much like it. That, I take no issue with. That's just personal preference, and one shared by probably three-quarters of my friends, and I myself like a blonde Narcissa in other people's art as much as the next person. My Malfoy favourites folder is full of them.

Where I start to get annoyed, and where frankly I start to dig my heels in and never want to do a blonde Narcissa ever again, is the implication that representing her movie likeness is somehow not a valid artistic choice. Someone asked me this week why Narcissa had dark hair in an artwork. I was polite at the time because I didn't want to call the person out publicly, and I still don't so I'm not saying where it was, but c'mon. That's a dick move. You know very well why. I'm using a figure who's the spitting image of Helen McCrory for crying out loud, in a whole fleet of movie likenesses. Hell, I've even started using my Voldemort likeness routinely, and I have actual philosophical issues with that one.

I'll admit to a certain amount of pique, and stubbornness, because I get this much more often than I should (and not just here - recently one of my artworks was reblogged on Tumblr as a platform for how much they hate Narcissa's movie hair, and I'm like, really? Do you have to shit on my artwork for that? There's no shortage of movie shots you could have used, you know). But there is also a double-standard here. Lucius is never described as having long hair in the books. It was Jason Isaac's idea. I've never heard anyone question why an artwork-Lucius has long hair. (If I were being really cynical, I'd suggest it was because we all want to f*** Lucius, so he gets a free pass from all that pesky book adherence). Bella's hair doesn't have its own zip code in the books. Hermione, if I recall, is not quite the willowy knockout that is Emma Watson, and I might be wrong, but I don't recall Lee being a person of colour, either. You can't tell me every person loves every one of those choices, but they don't attract the continual furor of Narcissa's.

My point? I don't really have one long enough to justify the length of this rant. I'm not saying you should love Narcissa's movie hair. I'm not saying every Narcissa artwork has to look like Helen McCrory, in or out of character. I don't even mind if people I talk to regularly ask me, as a favour, to do just one as a blonde just for them just because we're mates. (I might even do one spontaneously just because you read the whole of this rant even though most of you hate Narcissa's movie-hair with all the fire of a thousand suns). That's all totally cool. But my patience with sucking up people acting like I should just completely stop depicting her in a way that is a close match for one branch of canon has totally run out.
Prompted by this artwork (not safe for work): deslea.deviantart.com/art/Dark…

As I noted in the comments to that work, this one was an interesting one philosophically because it made me think about how explicit I am willing to get with these particular 3D characters, who bear a really strong, borderline-photorealistic likeness of the actor(s) who played them in the source fandoms. I would draw a distinction between 3D, and work that constitutes a strong likeness but is clearly not a photo-style work - so, for instance, highly realistic drawings and paintings. However, I don't know if that's a "fair" distinction to draw. It's a gut reaction, more than a reasoned one.

For me, I think one important factor here is whether I think the actors might find it uncomfortable to see these borderline-photorealistic depictions of themselves in these situations, and that's only an educated guess on my part, but short of asking them, that's the best we can do. I draw on their own body of work in thinking about this. Helen McCrory has gone nude quite a bit in her career, so I think my threshold for Narcissa would probably be quite high. Whereas Helena Bonham Carter, as far as I know, hasn't - her sex scene in Fight Club was reportedly completely CGI'd and her sex scene in Henry VIII was soft-focus in silhouette. (I don't know every work she's done, though). As for Christian Coulson, I have no idea at all.

What do you think? Are there any hard-and-fast rules about this, or is it case by case? Or do we say that everyone knows these are not, in fact, the actors posing, they've chosen to allow their likeness to be associated with characters that do different things than they would, and there are no rules? Does the hyper-realism of a well-executed 3D render put it into a different territory and call for different rules?
Please note: I have copied this content over to a DA submission here: deslea.deviantart.com/art/Tuto… and won't be maintaining this journal entry with any further additions. I have done this because I can't add journal entries to gallery folders and I want it there with my own tutorials.

This is mostly for my own reference so I can add it to my Tutorials folder, but I'm happy to hear from others, too. What non-DA Daz/3D modelling tutorials have rocked your world?

In no special order, mine are as follows. I have marked paid tutorials as $ (cheap) or $$ (expensive), but this isn't a judgment on their value. If they're here, I think they're worth having at the price I paid. $ is anything under about $7. $$ is say $8-40 (mostly $20). I haven't used $$$ yet, but if I do, it will be for the very expensive pro ones (say $40+).

Basic DAZ Workflow
($$) Luxus Pro Training (really mostly about lighting, and also covers 3Delight render settings) www.daz3d.com/luxus-pro-traini…
($) Great Art Now - Camera www.daz3d.com/great-art-now-st…
($) Great Art Now - Lights www.daz3d.com/great-art-now-st…
($) Great Art Now - Postwork www.daz3d.com/great-art-now-st…

3D Modelling from Scratch
($$) Classic Bikini by Fugazi (absolute beginner guide to Hexagon) www.daz3d.com/classic-bikini
Easy UV Mapping designertoday.com/Tutorials/3D…
Morphs with zBrush 4colorgrafix.net/blog/2010/09/…
Issues in DAZ Texturising in ZBrush 3ddojo.com/yaf_postst270_I-thi…
ZBrush at Renderosity www.renderosity.com/mod/tutori…
ZBrush User Manual (which, amazingly for a user manual, doesn't suck) docs.pixologic.com/reference-g…
ZBrush ZClassroom pixologic.com/zclassroom/homer…

DAZ Autofit
These Daz threads have good coverage, but note they aren't nicely finished tutorials per se.
Making auto-fit clones (mainly making the clone, including use of de-formers - the clone morph setting is at the end) www.daz3d.com/forums/viewthrea…
More on auto-fit www.daz3d.com/forums/viewthrea…

DAZ Geografting
Geografting www.daz3d.com/forums/viewthrea…

DAZ Rigging
The following are basic docos, not full tutorials, but for starters:
Rigging 1: docs.daz3d.com/doku.php/public…
Rigging 2: docs.daz3d.com/doku.php/public…
Rigging from scratch (say, for a non-human figure) relies on selection sets, which Hexagon doesn't seem to support. Blender has a plug-in that does it - wiki.blender.org/index.php/Ext… - which I'm still researching to learn to use.

Feel free to comment with yours!

And, that's dumb...you can't add one of your own journals to your faves or folders the way you can other people's. Go figure! Oh well, I'll compile whatever I get from my own collection and other people into a DA "submission" later.
A friend of mine asked this in another forum, about the Biophilia Illustrated Edition, and I thought it was worth posting my reply here, too.

One thing that occurred to me though: was it a deliberate choice to give Voldy more nose and a less reptilian face or is this just the building blocks of the program you use to create this art (I am totally not familiar with those programs so forgive me if this is a stupid question..)

Not a stupid question at all, and it's a bit of both. It does get harder to distort the nose the more extreme you go, because there are internal shapes involved. (That is, it's not just the nose itself, it's also the nostrils). I could do it, with a lot of work, but once it started to get into that territory, I guess I started to feel uneasy.

I've never been 100% comfortable with how JKR, to some extent, and more so the movies managed most of the Death Eaters (Malfoys excluded). It was like there's this rather ugly shorthand at work, that ugliness/deformity/poor hygiene = evil, and I've never been comfortable with that. I mean, okay, Bella's hair and teeth can be explained away by Azkaban (although in some shots she has this pronounced overbite as well, which Helena doesn't have and it wouldn't have been Azkaban). And some of Tom's ugliness can be explained away by the rebirthing, but only some. His teeth should have been immaculately clean, for instance, even if they were poorly shaped - they were brand new - and the thing about red eyes just seemed silly. The whole idea of Voldemort's backstory, even if JKR played this down for present-day Voldemort, is that he's a tragically damaged and horrifyingly dangerous human. And there's no apparent reason at all for people like Goyle and Macnair to have been physically ugly. I mean, I'm not saying they should all have been beautiful either, but there was a bit of a beautiful-good-people/ugly-bad-people thing that left a really bad taste in my mouth.

So when the time came to do Voldemort, I did a really nice likeness of Ralph Fiennes (with nose), but I knew I would need some sort of deformity for Biophilia because it's a plot point, although it's never described in detail. So I altered the nose as far as I could with the tools in the main composition software, but when the time came to export it to modelling software to finish the likeness, I sort of thought, you know, I'm really not sure I want to go there. Which was a bit of a break for me, because I do like my movie likenesses, but...yeah.
Title: Volunteer by AnastasiaMantihora
Subject: Luna
Why: A lovely whimsical piece. Luna is trying to convince the Hogwart's owls to deliver a letter for her. It seems that the poor things have been scarred by her missions before! Luna is beautifully drawn here, elegantly slender with long flowing hair, yet not idealised - she's still very much Luna. And the owls have so much character, each communicating apprehension and displeasure in a different way.

Title: Helga Hufflepuff by lemonade8
Subject: Helga Hufflepuff
Why: lemonade8 is a longtime HP 3D artist, and - as far as I can tell - one of few. There's so much that I love about this piece. I love that she takes the yellow and black colours of Hufflepuff - a combination that I've never been fond of - and makes them really beautiful together. I love that the artist gave real thought to the character, as shown in the accompanying notes, and communicates a character rather than just a visual, which is less common for these historical characters about whom we don't know very much. From a technical standpoint, I love the lighting, too.

Title: This Isn't Love and I Know by neverlandforever
Subject: Bellatrix Lestrange/Voldemort
Why: These two, and the others in the series of related artworks, have a fascinating style to them. They are essentially cartoons, but this is no ordinary cartoon. There is amazing emotion and humanity in these very messy characters expressed in deceptively simple lines. Voldemort is simultaneously emotionally inaccessible and vulnerable, while Bella is both superficially submissive while also taking the lead to bridge the chasms between them. Really, you won't believe what this artist can do with a handful of lines and shades.

Title: Fred and Angelina's Wedding by leelastarsky
Subject: Fred Weasley/Angelina Johnson
Why: A beautiful celebratory scene. The artist intends it to be Fred and Angelina in a Fred!Lives world, but I love that you could also take it as George, with Ghost!Fred unleashing light and joy behind them. There's also amazing texture in the clothes and the whole scene.

Title: Tom and Minerva by leelastarsky
Subject: Tom Riddle/Minerva McGonagall
Why: Oh, I love this piece, from the classical border to the way Min really looks like a young Min. I love the way the characters have this clean-cut 1940s couple thing going, until you look closer and he's gripping her neck in a way that's quite controlling and sinister. I love the shadow of a snake sliding up her thigh and the symbolic suggestion that he's infiltrating her. A very clever, as well as visually beautiful piece of work.

Title: Azkaban by LadyMothwing
Subject: Azkaban, Dementors, Bellatrix
Why: This compelling piece is of Bellatrix in Azkaban, in shadow, looking out at the moon and the Dementors. There's something deliciously disturbing about these Dementors, particularly the way the one on the right just sits and watches her, still yet predatory. They're also exquisitely drawn.



So, for Rectober (that's recommendations in October, for the uninitiated), I decided to focus on fanart. And since I love lots of art, I decided to make my criteria for a Rectober rec that the artwork had to have a tangible emotional or interpretive dimension as well as a pleasing visual. All recs are worksafe.

Title: Lucius by Ognivik
Subject: Lucius Malfoy
Why: A very simply yet starkly rendered Lucius portrait. I imagine this as taking place immediately after Azkaban, as he takes stock of the world and life into which he has been released.

Title: This is War by czarinna
Subject: Draco/Ginny
Why: This very simple piece depicts, poignantly, but with a very light touch, two people suddenly on opposite sides of a war.

Title: Tonks Sketch by Emmanation
Subject: Tonks
Why: There are very few non-Natalia Tena Tonks artworks that really capture me, but this is one of them. A deceptively simple piece that really captures the spirit and mischief of the character.

Title: Lord Voldemort by vijaster
Subject: Voldemort
Why: Apart from the breathtaking technique, I love the way this shows Voldemort almost meditating on the destruction he is about to wreak.

Title: Tonks - Thanks by Callista1981
Subject: Tonks
Why: A very canonical image of Tonks, but with just enough interpretation to get a glimpse of the steel of the character - steel she must have had to jeopardise her career by joining the Order, and to be trusted enough by Mad-Eye to be brought in to begin with, but which authors and artists rarely capture.

Title: Moaning Myrtle by Prydester
Subject: Moaning Myrtle
Why: A gorgeous interpretive Myrtle rendition, capturing perfectly her moody and sulky side in a way that is oddly endearing.

Title: Bellatrix Lestrange by LeksaArt
Subject: Bellatrix
Why: This painted piece has thick, bold lines, as though roughed out in half an hour. Yet the slope of her features, her inquisitively focused eyes, and every line of her bearing tell a very precise story about who young Bellatrix was and what made her tick.

Title: Dear Tom by chicxulub
Subject: Ginny and Tom's diary
Why: Oh, my. This one is creepy. We see Tom's shadow literally feeding on Ginny's thoughts. Delicious and terrible all at once, drawn in a deceptively childlike style.

Title: Witch Dream by hallmarccus
Subject: Lily and Petunia
Why: A sadly iconic representation of the chasm between two sisters born into different worlds. Petunia's heartbreak seeps through the page.

Title: Mad-Eye Moody by vijaster
Subject: Alastor Moody
Why: This classically-styled portrait of Mad-Eye carries a vague impression of a jaded, craggy, old-school cop. Which, I suppose, is exactly what he is.

Title: After Fight by Ognivik
Subject: Malfoys
Why: Lucius draws his devastated family close after the final battle. This is equal parts defeat and survival, trauma defining the lines of their bodies as they unite in a single unit.

Title: Deathly Hallows by MoobyWoo
Subject: The tale of the three brothers.
Why: Oh, wow. This amazing watercolour is steeped with the weight of Death's claws, dragging even the sky down.

Title: The Last Horcrux by elezar81
Subject: Voldemort and Nagini
Why: A fascinating piece that deals with the question of what, physically, occurs when one creates a Horcrux.

Title: 4 Privet Drive by Daaakota
Subject: Harry and the Dursleys.
Why: A visually charming picture of a household scene on first glance, giving way to reveal one hungry child watching the cooing indulgence of the other. Somehow this one drives home the mundane horror of the Dursleys' neglect.

Title: Luna Lovegood by AdamWithers
Subject: Luna Lovegood
Why: A whimsical line drawing in which Luna is quite literally moving to the beat of a song that no one else can hear.

Title: Voldemort by AthdaraSeleya
Subject: Voldemort
Why: I've always thought the makeup area of Harry Potter got the Death Eaters just a tiny bit wrong, dehumanising them in ways that didn't really make much sense. (I really don't buy that there is a correlation between moral depravity and indifference to dental hygiene, for instance). This sketch is unmistakeably movie-canon Voldemort, but with just enough adaptation to render him recognisably human.

Title: Bellatrix and Narcissa by ashellkova
Subject: The Black sisters
Why: Gorgeous, interpretive piece that presents Narcissa and Bella as older and harsher than I would. However, there is real urgency in the way Narcissa stares at Bella. I imagine this taking place when Bella first came home from Azkaban.

Title: Mudblood by rawenna
Subject: Snape and Lily
Why: A fantastic symbolic piece centered around the rift between Severus and Lily, arising from the Mudblood incident. Both characters' pain is shown, along with fragments of the consequences that would reverberate beyond the end of both of their lives.

Title: Snape by Queen-Uriel
Subject: Snape
Why: A really haunting portrait of a young Severus, adapted from images of Alan Rickman as a young man. One imagines that it has just dawned on him what he has become a part of in his efforts to be accepted.

Title: Andromeda by a-lise
Subject: Andromeda Black
Why: A beautiful watercolour of Andromeda as a schoolgirl. There is a brightness about her, a willingness to engage with the world around her, and an undercurrent of steel as well.

Title: Malfoys by zajelimilogin
Subject: Lucius/Narcissa
Why: A really sweet sketch of a young Lucius and Narcissa, very much in love. Delight is visible throughout the lines of Narcissa's face.

Title: Bellatrix by HitoFanart
Subject: Bella
Why: A stylised image of Bella, who is depicted here as a powerful force of nature in her own right.

Title: Chagrin by HitoFanart
Subject: Remus/Tonks
Why: The only representation of the angsty Remus/Tonks arc that I've really loved. Beautiful and stylised, with vulnerability in both Remus and Tonks, but the set of her jaw makes clear that while she is wounded, she isn't broken.

Title: The Silver Doe by Scatharis
Subject: Snape
Why: A gorgeous manipulated scene of Severus in the woods with his Patronus. There are hints of the melancholy and repentance of the Snape redemption arc here, underlined by the nearness yet separation between Snape and his Patronus, the best part of himself.

Title: Unbreakable Vow by thanfiction
Subject: Snape, Narcissa
Why: A stunning sketch of Snape and Narcissa, holding each other intensely as they make their vow. This rendition is much truer to the book than the one we saw onscreen. The Narcissa in the sketch is the Narcissa who threw herself weeping at Severus' feet, and clutched convulsively at his cloak when he agreed to help her.

Title: Bellatrix by Chanterelle-007
Subject: Bellatrix
Why: A saucy, mischievous Bella as a young woman, with deep, rich curves in the lines of her eyes, cheeks, and lips. They speak of a defiant, intelligent woman who will never quite toe the line.

Title: I Wish by ellaine
Subject: Snape/Lily
Why: There's no shortage of Snape/Lily Erised artworks out there. This one, however, is unusually stylised and rather delicately sad. The angst is drawn in the fall of his hair, in his hand clutching the floor, and in her gentle yet oddly detached demeanour. However, it is also a rather shapeless thing, creeping around the edges rather than dragging the viewer down.

Title: Conjugal Visit by nami86 (drawing) and rockabella18 (colour)
Subject: Lucius/Narcissa
Why: A rather desperate moment between Lucius and Narcissa in Azkaban. There is hunger (of all kinds) in the hollows of Lucius' cheek as he kisses her, nurturing and tenderness in Narcissa's patient response, and renewal and restoration in the lovely gold tones around them.

Title: Death of Dobby by LolaInProgress, Last Best Lieutenant by snowyblackrose, and His Most Faithful by NeverlandForever.
Subject: Bellatrix/Voldemort
Why: Three really excellent cosplay photos that capture fragments of stories, as opposed to people just dressing up.

That's all, bye-bye!
I'm a thirtysomething woman with a particular interest in sketching people and couples. I dabble in other media and subject matter, but I always find myself coming back! My usual medium is a range of lead pencils, and I've lately started working with premium tracing paper as it allows very delicate work without paper fibres getting in the way.