In the land of the Pthalo Jungle Kingdoms, in the misty tropical city fortress of Viridia, lives a mighty fierce but very kind princess named Sarae. She holds men at their word, seeks justice for the weak, and will one day rule as the finest queen of the kingdom. She may wear beautiful silks and gems, but she has the grit and strength of a tomboy, and most enjoys her horseback rides with the Viridian Knights. She’s said to inspire honor and respect to the men she rides with, and is a welcome figurehead in moments of battle.
Here she wears the gown and tiara of wisdom during her ceremony to be formally announced as princess on her 25th birthday. This ceremony denotes that she is ready for leadership after a grueling assessment of her judgement and skills. If she fails the Crowning Trials, her title as queen will be put up to a vote of candidates by the majority of those who pay taxes in the kingdom. This testing for fitness to rule and democratic replacement of rejects was put into place after the ancient king Yerda the Crazy, who became a tyrant after his 18th birthday and was forced to be overthrown by the Knights of Viridia after a much debated secret assembly to discuss the fate of the crazy King. Since the Trials, the kingdom has enjoyed relative stability for thousands of years.
Here’s a coloring page and short story from a magical new storyline I’ve created about a fantasy culture of dark skinned kingdoms in a wondrous jungle. Inspired in part by african culture, part renaissance classical fairytale, and part my own fun and wild imaginings, this will begin a small series of circle portraits featuring beautiful black women depicted as the lead in fantasy tales: princesses, fairies, and elves.
I was inspired by my recent chat with Emma (@giraffemilklady on IG) about a friend she has whose daughter felt marginalized by the predominately white princesses in fairy tale stories, movies, and art. It got me thinking to how I mostly draw white women: not out of hatred or intentional exclusivity, but out of an unconscious gravitation to drawing characters who sorta look like me. But even though I have mostly Irish heritage, (and why I love celtic stories and myths, because it’s part of my family’s heritage) – I also have some native american blood, and I realized how little they are represented beyond the stereotype. Now I am making a more conscious choice to intentionally be more inclusive of all ethnicities in my work going forward… and include them in my fantasy pieces too.
I believe this will better represent the amazing beauty found all over the globe, and at the same time allow colorists the freedom to practice their skin tones of any color with my pages. This doesn’t mean I won’t ever draw a white lady again – but rather that I’ll make sure to mix it up more often and be more inclusive.
This is the beginning of a beautiful new storyline, and I hope you enjoy the journey with me!
Coloring from the Community
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