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Every year I say that this year was harder than the last, and this year was no exception. I had at least 30 pieces when I went through the gallery the first time. And even after whittling it down, I had more than 15 that were my "absolute best." After a bit of hair-pulling, I managed to get it down to (almost) 10.
I do want to note that at least one of my true top-10s could not be published. It is a piece by IrenHorrors
and it's a future scene that would have been a huge spoiler. But I wanted to mention it because I love it so much, and I love Iren's work.
So, without further ado, my top-10 faves from 2014 Relativity art. (And Jim's top-5 on the backend.)Note that we limited our choices to canon Relativity art. There are just so many amazing pieces for cross-overs and collabs, it would have been too much to pick from. Also, note that I try to limit my choices to one piece per artist to spread the feature love.
Best TeaserI decided to segregate the teasers this year because they really are in a category of their own. The artists are usually given very specific details on the scene to draw and the results are their interpretations of my scribblings. So, with that in mind, I looked at all of the teasers this year and picked my favorite.
This was SO hard. I got so many amazing teasers this year. But at the end of the day, this piece by CristianaLeone
is the one that gives me the most "feels" time and time again. The body language of these two is amazing. You can tell everything you need to know by looking at them. The animosity between Michael and Tony is at the core of Relativity, and this picture sums that up perfectly.
10.I really don't like to "cheat" and pick 2 for one spot, but I literally could not decide which one I liked more, so it was a fair tie. Here are my pieces for 10th place.
When a writer has a character in their mind, it is often difficult to get an art piece that truly fits their mental image. I mean, an artist can't see in your head. So, when one hits really close to the mark, it's an amazing feeling. David Bruce is a minor character, but he's one of my favorite in the series. This is totally how I imagine him, which makes me squee so hard. Astral-Muffin
did an awesome job.
I had the privilege of doing a series of trades with Maryneim
this year. I adore her photo-manipulations and was excited to have many of the core characters created by her. However, out of the lot, this one is my favorite. Vincent has such a compelling backstory, and this sums up so much of who he is beautifully. The way Mary pieced together the elements and created the "dark mood" is fabulous.
A future story (though not too far in the future). This piece floored me. jadeiteEye
managed to capture the scene perfectly. The lighting is gorgeous, and the fact that she created silhouettes dead-on to the characters just blew me away. I love this so much -- it makes me want to write this story. That's the sign of an amazing art piece.
When I imagined this scene, I had no idea how well it would turn out. Gnewi
did an amazing job capturing the emotion of the moment. The expression on Ravenswood's face speaks loads, and the fact that a stake is peeking out from his side creates deep mystery. Such a powerful piece, and one of my year's favorites.
It can often be difficult for an artist to totally capture a scene based off of descriptions and refs. That said, this piece is so dead-on, I love it. The dynamic posing, the characters' expressions. It truly speaks a thousand words. You don't need to know the characters or series to get an idea of what is happening here, and that is what makes it a great piece. I love Smoludozerka
's work, and this one is truly wonderful.
This was the year we made a decided effort to focus on commissioning art of the villains. This piece by ekkimu
does an amazing job of showcasing five of our core villains. It's a lovely companion piece to the one she did last year
, featuring another set of five. I should also mention that her picture of Bling in this set is my all-time favorite picture of the character, and the one that closest fits my mental image. Maravilloso!
There is something so compelling about a scene of unexpected passion. Though this situation happens later in the series, the art is one of the most beautiful and compelling of the year. I think I have gotten the most comments about it from strangers who are not familiar with Relativity--which is always a lovely surprise. CristianaLeone
did an amazing job of interpreting a very small scene snippet. I love everything about this. Gorgeous.
I have to admit, I have the hugest art-crush on jen-and-kris
. I adore their work, and this piece they created for me early this year is simply lovely. It's extra-special as it has dual meaning, depicting Sara from later in the series, but also being a cathartic as I used it as a way to help me deal with the death of my mother. The pose, lighting, and Sara's dress just blow me away every time I look at it. Amazing work.
To anyone who follows me, having this in the top-3 spot will be no surprise, as I've featured it several times over the past months. Phanthro is one of my oldest OCs (created when I was in my teens), and for all of these years I never had a firm idea of what he looked like. This piece *is* Phanthro, and I'll never be able to imagine him any other way. ThreshTheSky
has done a ton of portraits for us, but this is one of my all-time favorites. I love it. And a nod to Smoludozerka
whose design this was based off of.
This year, FranciscoETCHART
did 3 covers for us. While we love them all, this one just stood out in a special way to me. So much emotion is conveyed in the piece. The tension between Dark Flame and Black Torrent, a smug Rune and his mummy minions (I love the way Fetch drew them), and so much more. But my true favorite is Master Blankard in the corner, mirrored with the other key element in his "story" -- the firey parachute ride. This piece blows me away, and I really came close to giving it #1. But there was one piece that pulled at my heartstrings a little more this year...
I know myself well. When I first saw this piece at the beginning of the year, I said to myself, "I love this so much, it's going to be very hard for any other piece to knock it out of my top piece of the year." 11 months later, I was right. I adore this piece. fdasuarez
managed to capture Matthew Bruce perfectly. Her job on the uniform is spectacular, and the look on his face conveys so much about the "future Yule." This picture also has a special meaning to me as it is a connection to my mother who passed away this year -- she was a proud Marine. A simply stellar work of art which will always be one of my all-time favorites, and takes the top spot this year.
As I mentioned, I could have easily done a top 20 (or 30). Honestly, there are so many pieces I grappled with putting in the top-10. Nevertheless, the following are my honorable mentions. They are all special to me for one reason or another.
Since we have such varying tastes, Ravenswd always insists on listing his faves of the year. Though he just does 5 -- because the other 5 would be ones I already picked.
In no particular order...
There's a lot I love about this picture by Captain-Savvy
. The fact that the boys all look different, but you can still tell they are brothers, is awesome. Though, my favorite part is Sara. This is the time in her childhood where she creates her superhero persona. The artist didn't just give her a makeshift Dark Flame costume, but thought about what a kid would have available to use, while keeping in mind her location (South America). That blows me away.
This is the scene in "Highway Robbery" where the heroes run into some shifty kids. Those kids look like they are up to no good! jen-and-kris
did a great job of depicting the juvenile delinquents -- which makes it even more funny that Overcast ultimately ends up trusting them. Fantastic detail on the clothes.
I'm not sure if this depiction ever happened in history, because the boys look like they're about 5 and they actually meet when they're 12. But I like this picture because Sleyf
manages to capture the spirit of their friendship. If Michael, Tony, and Andy had met at a young age, this would have been how they would have acted. And, who knows, maybe they would sneak off as pre-teens and do this anyway. It's a playful piece which has a kind of "Calvin and Hobbes" feel to it. I love it.
To say he doesn't look happy is an understatement. You can tell he doesn't want to be doing this. It's that sentiment that defines Cricket, and is what makes this piece so great. Not to mention that phil-cho
manages to capture the look of the character closest to how he was originally imagined. Win-win.
This is a great "dynamic" pose for Dark Flame by FranciscoETCHART
. It's an eye-catching piece which I find myself never getting tired of looking at. The color gradients are amazing, especially on her hair. A similar gradient is used on the logo behind her which ties it all together. Also, the coloring on the clothes is fantastic. Even her facial expression - tough but still a bit uncertain - is perfect. Overall, one of my favorite pieces of all time.
See the top picks for 2013