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Author Topic: Tyrannohotep's Art Returns
Tyrannohotep
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This is my "Africanized" reinterpretation of the Renaissance artist Michelangelo's famous statue of David. Of course, the biblical David of Israel would have probably looked Middle Eastern (and worn at least a tunic) if he existed at all, but my goal here was to put an African spin on one of the most iconic masterpieces of Western art history.

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This is another artwork of mine that's supposed to have some political symbolism. It's always been my perception that African and Afro-Diasporan women in our time are confronted with two hurtful, stereotypical images of black womanhood. The first is the ideal that black women can only be beautiful or desirable if they have lighter skin, straightened hair, or otherwise more "European" physical traits. The second is the "Mammy" or "Precious" caricature of black women as overweight, unattractive, and often sassy and loud. Together, the message these images send is that black women must be divided into light-skinned and attractive, or dark-skinned and unattractive. It's as if black women can't be seen as naturally beautiful without emulating the European look in some way. I believe this dichotomy does a lot of damage to black women's self-image, hence the phenomena of skin-bleaching and hair-straightening on the one hand and the disproportionately high obesity rates in the African-American community on the other.

Mind you, the intent behind this is not to hurt the feelings of biracial women, or women of any race who struggle with their weight. Nobody, regardless of skin color or body weight, should be bullied or treated unfairly for their appearance. I only mean to say that black women's image shouldn't be limited to light-skinned beauty in contrast to dark-skinned ugliness.

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This soldier from the distant future is the beneficiary of advanced prosthetic technology that has replaced everything she's lost in combat. Because I wanted more practice with futuristic characters.

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What if the Egyptian Queen Nefertiti's distinctive crown was really a special form of headwrap? It may not be that historically likely, but I thought it was a neat enough concept to doodle down in my sketchbook.

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And now for the colored version...

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What if the Egyptian Queen Nefertiti's distinctive "crown" was really a special form of headwrap?

Truthfully, I got the idea after seeing various photos of African and Afro-Diasporan women wearing their headwraps in a style emulating Nefertiti's crown. It made me wonder whether the original crown itself could have been a headwrap. It may not be that historically likely, but I still think it's a cool concept.

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This is a prestigious officer of the Roman imperial army. As you can see, this individual can trace his ancestry to one of the Empire's five provinces on the African continent. However, he could be stationed anywhere in the Empire's vastness, as the skeletal remains of African individuals have been uncovered from Roman colonial sites as far north as Britain.

This is a redrawing of a portrait I did last year. I decided to revisit the subject matter after reading a recent Twitter conversation where a prominent British"alt-right" propagandist (Paul Joseph Watson) was complaining about BBC portrayals of African people living in Roman Britain. Suffice to say the guy got schooled pretty good by people who knew better.

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Hathor, the Egyptian goddess of love and beauty, casts a flirtatious glance as she strolls through the heavenly Field of Reeds. Because when my muse is otherwise on the fritz, I seem to default to portraits of beautiful Egyptian (or other African) ladies.

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This is the penciled version of my flirty Hathor portrait, which I'm sharing for those who prefer my old-school penciled art to the digitally colored stuff.

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This is a portrait of Carcharodontosaurus saharicus, a cousin of Giganotosaurus which prowled Africa during the middle Cretaceous Period. It would have been a contemporary (and, in my own mind, maybe even a predator) of the giant fish-eating Spinosaurus.

To be honest, I drew this as a way to flex my paleo-art muscle once again. Dinosaurs were my first love, and when I was a kid they used to be the main thing I'd draw, but lately they seem to be taking a backseat to my human characters. I guess it's because while a lot of people out there like dinosaurs, art depicting human characters provokes even stronger reactions, and artists like me always like to get reactions from our viewers. But rest assured, I am never going to give up on dinosaurs.

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Isis, the mighty Egyptian goddess, ascends to the sky to cast another one of her magical spells. Will she bless someone who needs her help, or rain destruction upon her enemies?

I wanted her pose to look like a superhero this time. In fact, there was a superhero character based on Isis who got her own show in the 1970's and eventually became part of the DC Comics continuity. Unfortunately (but also predictably), they had to cast a European-American woman to play this African goddess.

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These three goddesses are the Greek Aphrodite, the Egyptian Hathor, and the Norse Freya. Each of them had love and fertility as part of their domains in their respective cultures. Also, this gave me an opportunity to draw a trio of women from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds.

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My three goddesses of love---the Greek Aphrodite, the Egyptian Hathor, and the Norse Freya---now have some color for further beautification!

Picking Aphrodite's skin tone was a bit tough as I wanted her to have a tawny Mediterranean complexion, but adding highlights made it seem paler than it was supposed to be. Also, I added a Norse valknut symbol to Freya's cheek partly to indicate her Norse identity, but also because I think "tribal" face paint looks good on ancient Northern Europeans.

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Somewhere in the eastern Sahara between 16-11,000 years ago, this pair of hunter-gatherers is scouting the dunes for food. The language they speak is Proto-Afrasan (or Proto-Afroasiatic), and it will give rise to a entire phylum of languages spoken across northern and eastern Africa as well as the Middle East. Examples of Afrasan languages include ancient Egyptian, Sudanese Beja, Somali, most languages spoken in Ethiopia, and the Berber and Semitic subgroups (the latter having arrived in the Middle East sometime before 7400 BC). The exact origin point of Proto-Afrasan remains unknown, but most likely it is somewhere in northeastern Africa.

A friend of mine* is working on an anthropology/archaeology book about various human population movements in and out of the Sahara during its cycles of climate change, and he and I believe the expansion of Afrasan languages across Africa and into the Middle East represents one of these movements. His project is what inspired this illustration.

* This would be someone on ES BTW.

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"Say you'll remember me
Standing in a nice dress,
Staring at the sunset, babe.
Red lips and rosy cheeks,
Say you'll see me again
Even if it's just in your wildest dreams."
--- Taylor Swift, "Wildest Dreams"

This started out as simply an African woman sitting on her legs, but then I recalled the Taylor Swift song "Wildest Dreams" from a few years back. The music video for that attracted some controversy because it was set in the African bush but somehow hardly featured any black people in it. Whatever your views on that, I thought the song would make for a nice (if ironic) "theme" for this piece.

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This is a quick portrait of Gaius Julius Caesar (100-44 BC), by far the best known of the Roman generals and statesmen. This was the guy who conquered Gaul (now France), romanced Cleopatra before Antony, and eventually got himself assassinated on the Ides of March. It was his great-grandnephew Octavian who became the first proper Emperor of Rome, thereby ending its phase as a Republic.

Although Caesar is supposed to looked middle-aged in my portrait (since that was how he looked in the bust I used as reference), I kept his hair dark because everyone else seems to color it this silvery-white color. I dunno how that convention came to be, since he would have only been in his mid-fifties when he died (so it should have only started to gray, if he was like most dudes).

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Cryolophosaurus ellioti was a large theropod dinosaur that stalked Antarctica during the Early Jurassic, around 194 to 188 million years ago. Back then, the continent would have been covered by temperate forests as a result of the warmer global climate. The distinctive pompadour-like crest on Cryolophosaurus's head has inspired the nickname "Elvisaurus" for this dinosaur.

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This is a character concept I designed for a personal fantasy project of mine. The story still needs to be outlined and written, of course, but this is what I currently have for the main antagonist. This dude, named Bao Yen, a fictional Emperor of China (in a sort of mythical past age) who wants revenge against the Egyptians for slaying his father in combat. He is ferociously loyal towards his father's memory and patriotic to an imperialistic extreme, but he has a spoiled mentality of entitlement and looks down upon all "foreign barbarians" (thought to be fair, so did most ancient Chinese).

I believe I have a soft spot for racist, imperialistic villains like this guy. That's probably because they have a lot of historical precedent that makes them frighteningly familiar to us in the real world.

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And now we turn to the heroine of my fantasy project, the warrior princess Nefrusheri of Egypt. She's a fierce, yet fun-loving, young lady who's quite a bit anxious about succeeding her father as Pharaoh, but she wants more than anything to earn his approval and carry on his legacy of strong and protective leadership. When the Emperor of China steals the Staff of Serpents which her father once used to defeat a Chinese invasion, it's up to Nefrusheri to retrieve it.

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While waiting for one of my game-design classes to begin, I did this portrait of the Egyptian "boy Pharaoh" Tutankhamun using my new set of colored pencils. They can be fun to play with, although right now the coloring still looks more uneven than when I do digital colors. I think I am improving in that regard though.

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Tyrannosaurus rex is curious about this little spinning thing that the young mammals have been fidgeting with lately. And I have to say I can totally relate to his feelings here.

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My original character Nefrusheri, an Egyptian warrior princess, practices her martial arts skills with her khopesh sword in hand. I wanted to portray this character in a more dynamic action pose than my last drawing of her, in which she was simply standing.

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Han Qiu is another character from my little fantasy project, which I am calling "The Staff of Serpents" for the time being. He leads the Shaolin monks whom the Chinese Emperor Bao Yen sends to steal the enchanted Staff of Serpents from Egypt. Han Qiu doesn't really have his own vendetta against the Egyptians, nor does he approve of the Emperor's vengeful and imperialistic agenda, but his Shaolin training compels him to obey his superiors (since honoring one's master is a major precept in the Shaolin belief system, at least as I understand it). You could say he's a reluctant right-hand man for the bad guy in this story. Oh, and the missing eye and scars on his chest are from a tiger attack he fought off in his youth.

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It's going down between two of the mightiest fighters of all time, Bruce Lee and Tyrannosaurus rex. Need I say more?

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My original character, an Egyptian warrior princess named Nefrusheri, is striking a pin-up pose here. I wanted this to look like something you'd see on the cover of Maxim, Playboy, or some other men's magazine. If such magazines existed in ancient Egyptian times, I'm sure princesses like Nefrusheri would love to pose for them.

I'm still working on the outline for Nefrusheri's story by the way. Right now, the first and third act have been sketched out, but for some reason the second act remains murky (and this isn't the first time that has happened to me).

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I made this map for a fantasy project of mine which I am titling "The Staff of Serpents". The story is supposed to be set in a fictional, mythic era of gods, heroes, and sorcery sometime in our world's ancient past. As you can see, the setting's emphasis is on cultures from northeastern Africa and Asia, with the story's two most important civilizations being pharaonic Egypt and imperial China (the plot centers on a conflict between these two powers).

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Amset is another original character from my fantasy project "The Staff of Serpents". He's the Egyptian princess Nefrusheri's younger brother, who is studying to became a High Priest of Ra. He's even more rambunctious and prone to trouble than his big sister, but he still loves her with a fierce protectiveness and joins her on her quest to retrieve the Staff of Serpents. Unfortunately he also suffers from xenophobic tendencies; he really doesn't like non-Egyptian men hitting on his sister (originally xenophobia was going to be a character flaw of Nefrusheri's as well, but I felt it made more sense for this character instead).

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This is my take on one of the most infamous scenes from late Egyptian history, namely Cleopatra VII's legendary suicide by snakebite. An 1892 painting by Reginald Butler inspired the composition here, but this moment has been a classic subject of historical illustration for centuries.

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Time for another character from my "Staff of Serpents" fantasy project, Pharaoh Heru of Egypt! He is Nefrusheri and Amset's loving dad, but he is constantly frustrated by their not taking their royal responsibilities as seriously as they should. He's particularly worried about Nefrusheri since she is his planned heir to the Egyptian throne. Also, he's the character who once used the Staff of Serpents to defend Egypt from a Chinese invasion around ten years before the events of the man story. The freckles on his face are inspired by the actor Morgan Freeman.

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Here is yet another character planned for my fantasy story "The Staff of Serpents". Isokrates is an inventor of Greek descent who lives in Egypt with the Pharaoh's patronage (his parents were mercenary immigrants). He's the prototypical nerdy type, smart and educated but also obsessive, reclusive, and socially awkward. Isokrates also has the hots for Nefrusheri, but her brother Amset doesn't want him or any other foreigners near his sister. Nonetheless, Isokrates joins Nefrusheri's quest to retrieve the Staff of Serpents since they will need his inventor's skills to make the journey.

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"Staff of Serpents" Main Cast
This is a round-up of the main characters from my fantasy story, which I am tentatively titling "The Staff of Serpents". The story takes place in a fictional, mythic age of heroes, monsters, and magic, with the main conflict pitting the empires of ancient Egypt and China against each other. Our protagonist is the Egyptian princess Nefrusheri, who must retrieve her people's sacred Staff of Serpents before the vengeful Chinese Emperor Bao Yen can use it to summon a weapon of mass destruction. Joining her will be her rambunctious brother Amset and the nerdy Greek inventor Isokrates. Can they pry the Staff out of Bao Yen's clutches before it's too late?

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The hartebeest (Alcelaphus buselaphus) is a species of African antelope that roams the dry plains of Africa. They eat mostly grass and travel in herds ranging between twenty to three hundred individuals. Although their range is now restricted to the lands south of the Sahara Desert, in ancient times they were present in the northern parts of the continent as well. They probably would have been one of the several antelope species that Egyptian pharaohs and nobility would have hunted.

In fact, the idea behind this sketch came to mind while I was working on the first scene of my story "The Staff of Serpents", wherein my protagonist Nefrusheri is hunting some hartebeests with her brother.

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Having fun with ancient Egyptian chicks in modern-day outfits here...

The word "hotep" means "to be at peace" in ancient Egyptian, but the Egyptians actually would use the phrase "em hotep" (in peace) as a greeting. However, omitting the "em" in the phrase made for better alliteration with "homies".

(And yes, this girl's get-up is based on my earlier character Nefrusheri, from whom she could very well be descended.)

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And this would be the colored version...
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This is my interpretation of Pharah, the Egyptian character from the Blizzard game Overwatch. I've never actually gotten to play that game since it somehow doesn't seem to be available on Steam, but I've seen so much Pharah fan art when browsing DeviantArt for Egyptian-themed pieces that I wanted to do my own take on the character.

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This is the titular object of my fantasy story The Staff of Serpents. It's what Bao Yen wants to steal in order to conquer and enslave Egypt, and it's what Nefrusheri must retrieve from his clutches. Originally this was going to be a sorcerer's invention powered by human blood, but then I decided that I preferred the idea of it being a tool of divine origin that only Pharaohs and other rulers could use (since they often had a special connection to the gods in many ancient civilizations).

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My sister recently said that the classic "Venus de Milo" statue is her favorite piece of artwork ever created, which inspired me to do my own "Africanized" interpretation of it (although I had considered doing something like it before). The original statue is from the ancient Greek culture and may depict either the love goddess Aphrodite or the sea goddess Amphitrite (the latter being Poseidon's wife).

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The 1966 song "Devil in a Blue Dress" by Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels is what influenced this piece's color scheme, as well as the background of blue flames. I don't particularly like music from the Sixties, but songs from any period can sometimes be a goldmine for artistic inspiration.

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These soldiers from ancient Egypt and Kush (left and right, respectively) are fighting one another, as these two African kingdoms along the Nile often did. Their cultures were related and influential on one another, but the Egyptians and Kushites seem to have competed with one another with animosity as fierce as that between, say, the Japanese and the Koreans. They even took turns conquering one another. In the end it was Kush that appears to have had the last laugh in this game of war, as it continued to thrive in northern Sudan while Egypt languished under the thumb of Persian, Ptolemaic, and Roman invaders.

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This young babe seems to be absorbed in her music while hiking through the local park. It must make for relaxing exercise, but we can only hope something like a cougar doesn't sneak up on her while she's oblivious.

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It is a truth universally acknowledged that you do not want to be in close proximity to an infuriated Tyrannosaurus rex. The reasons should be self-evident.

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This is something I doodled in my sketchbook while waiting for my Windows 10 to update itself (believe me, the latter process took MUCH more time than my drawing did). It's my original character Nefrusheri simply standing with a spear in hand.

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Tyrannohotep
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This character's name is Intef, and he's from the same world as my warrior princess heroine Nefrusheri. He's a leading warrior of the Mazoi, a tribe of warlike desert nomads who are ethnically related to Nefrusheri's Egyptian-based people despite their very different culture. I actually do have a short story in the works where Nefrusheri and her brother Amset bump into this guy, but suffice to say it's not a pleasant encounter. Intef's outfit here is drawn from certain Egyptian portrayals of "Nubian" archers wearing red loincloths with green diamonds on their belts.

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Tyrannohotep
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Hypatia of Alexandria (370-415 AD) was a female philosopher, mathematician, and astronomer who worked and lectured at the University of Alexandria in Roman-controlled Egypt. Despite the gender prejudice that prevailed during her time, she nonetheless won respect as a brilliant academic by her contemporaries as well as later historians. Unfortunately this did not save her from the wrath of fanatical Christian monks who had her dragged by her chariot down the street, stripped naked, beaten to death, and then burned. Some historians believe that Hypatia's death marked a tragic end not only for a woman of her intellect but for the intellectual tradition of science and philosophy which she represented, hence while it has been called "the end of classical antiquity".

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Tyrannohotep
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Back in the summer of 2015, I saw on my social media feed a meme that was basically telling women of African heritage to all be "queens" instead of twerking like "hoes". I thought it was a sexist slut-shaming meme and so drew a twerking Nefertiti in response to it. Now that two years have passed, I've redrawn my counter-meme because I felt the message was still relevant and deserved better artwork than what I could produce back then.

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Tyrannohotep
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This girl, in all her curvaceous beauty, comes straight outta Compton! What happened was that I was practicing a pose of a girl walking straight towards the viewer, and then dressed her up as another cool "gangsta'/urban babe.

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Tyrannohotep
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From her perch atop a mossy tree bough, this huntress examines something of interest in the jungle understory below. It might be prey, or maybe a predatory dinosaur she should keep an eye on. Or it might be a curious stranger, such as an explorer from afar, visiting her domain...

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Around 152 million years ago during the Jurassic Period, Seismosaurus hallorum stomps across the North American savannas in the face of the approaching rainy season. Seismosaurus is one of those dinosaurs that I fondly remember from my childhood books, but you never hear about anymore. I believe it is now considered a large species of Diplodocus (in which case its scientific binomial would be Diplodocus hallorum). Which I personally consider a shame since Seismosaurus ("earthquake lizard") is much more evocative in my opinion.

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Tyrannohotep
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While waiting for my Unreal Engine class to begin one evening, I passed the time by doodling in my sketchbook an interpretation of the classic Egyptian "Table of Nations". Originally excerpted from a funerary text known as the Book of Gates, charts like this compared the Egyptian people themselves with surrounding nationalities in Africa and the Middle East. Conventionally, the Egyptians would represent themselves as having dark mahogany-brown skin, the people of Kush further up the Nile as almost literally black (much like some South Sudanese today), and the people of northern Libya and the Middle East as having the lighter tan color we associate with the Mediterranean basin today. Unfortunately, this time I couldn't fit a Libyan individual into the picture due to the paper's size constraints, but I would probably color him a shade of tan similar to the Middle Eastern representative.

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Elite Diasporan
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quote:
Originally posted by Tyrannohotep:
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While waiting for my Unreal Engine class to begin one evening, I passed the time by doodling in my sketchbook an interpretation of the classic Egyptian "Table of Nations". Originally excerpted from a funerary text known as the Book of Gates, charts like this compared the Egyptian people themselves with surrounding nationalities in Africa and the Middle East. Conventionally, the Egyptians would represent themselves as having dark mahogany-brown skin, the people of Kush further up the Nile as almost literally black (much like some South Sudanese today), and the people of northern Libya and the Middle East as having the lighter tan color we associate with the Mediterranean basin today. Unfortunately, this time I couldn't fit a Libyan individual into the picture due to the paper's size constraints, but I would probably color him a shade of tan similar to the Middle Eastern representative.

Looks dope.
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Tyrannohotep
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^ Thanks! Have a digitally colored version:
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Tyrannohotep
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A lone Deinonychus antirrhopus scouts for prey deep in the jungles of Early Cretaceous North America, circa 110 million years ago. Deinonychus was a larger cousin of Velociraptor that was actually even more influential on the design and portrayal of the Jurassic Park "raptors". Since Deinonychus fossils have been found in groups together with the much larger herbivore Tenontosaurus, some paleontologists have proposed that Deinonychus could have hunted bigger prey in packs (or at least uncoordinated mobs).

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Tyrannohotep
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Believe it or not, this entire scene began as a simple practice sketch of female back anatomy. But then I had to give the character clothes and a background. I drew my inspiration from the Biblical myth of the Queen of Sheba visiting King Solomon in Jerusalem, as well as the former identification of Sheba with the Great Zimbabwe civilization. Realistically speaking, Sheba was more likely located somewhere in southern Arabia rather than Zimbabwe, but I felt a Queen of Sheba from Zimbabwe would present a stronger cultural contrast with the Middle Eastern setting of Jerusalem than one from Arabia.

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Tyrannohotep
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"Baby, you light up my world like nobody else,
The way that you flip your hair gets me overwhelmed.
But when you smile at the ground it ain't hard to tell,
You don't know you're beautiful.

If only you saw what I can see,
You'd understand why I want you so desperately.
Right now I'm looking at you and I can't believe,
You don't know you're beautiful,
That's what makes you beautiful."
--- One Direction, "What Makes You Beautiful"

This one started as a random portrait without any particular theme, but then I thought back to the old One Direction song "What Makes You Beautiful" which is about an attractive but insecure young woman who doesn't realize how alluring she really is. Maybe this is the girl they're singing about?

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