Saturday, December 13, 2014


"Night was falling fast. The shafts of sunlight had vanished when the last thin slice of the sun was swallowed beneath the western woods. The pink snow drifts were going white again, the color leaching out of them as the world darkened. The evening sky had turned the faded grey of an old cloak that had been washed too many times, and the first shy stars were coming out.

Ahead he glimpsed a pale white trunk that could only be a weirwood, crowned with a head of dark red leaves. Jon Snow reached back and pulled Longclaw from his sheath. He looked to right and left, gave Satin and Horse a nod, watched them pass it on to the men beyond. They rushed the grove together, kicking through drifts of old snow with no sound but their breathing. Ghost ran with them, a white shadow at Jon’s side.

The weirwoods rose in a circle around the edges of the clearing. There were nine, all roughly of the same age and size. Each one had a face carved into it, and no two faces were alike. Some were smiling, some were screaming, some were shouting at him. In the deepening glow their eyes looked black, but in daylight they would be blood-red, Jon knew. Eyes like Ghost’s."

'“All those who wish are welcome to return with us. There is food and shelter at Castle Black, and the Wall to keep you safe from the things that haunt these woods. You have my word, no one will burn.”

“A crow’s word,” the woman said, hugging her child close, “but who’s to say that you can keep it? Who are you?”

“Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, and a son of Eddard Stark of Winterfell.” Jon turned to Tom Barleycorn. “Have Rory and Pate bring up the horses. I do not mean to stay here one moment longer than we must.”

“As you say, m’lord.”

One last thing remained before they could depart: the thing that they had come for. Iron Emmett called forth his charges, and as the rest of the company watched from a respectful distance, they knelt before the weir-woods. The last light of day was gone by then; the only light came from the stars above and the faint red glow of the dying fire in the center of the grove.

With their black hoods and thick black cowls, the six might have been carved from shadow. Their voices rose together, small against the vastness of the night. “Night gathers, and now my watch begins,” they said, as thousands had said before them. Satin’s voice was sweet as song, Horse’s hoarse and halting, Arron’s a nervous squeak. “It shall not end until my death.”

May those deaths be long in coming. Jon Snow sank to one knee in the snow. Gods of my fathers, protect these men. And Arya too, my little sister, wherever she might be. I pray you, let Mance find her and bring her safe to me.

“I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children,” the recruits promised, in voices that echoed back through years and centuries. “I shall wear no crowns and win no glory. I shall live and die at my post.”

Gods of the wood, grant me the strength to do the same, Jon Snow prayed silently. Give me the wisdom to know what must be done and the courage to do it.

“I am the sword in the darkness,” said the six, and it seemed to Jon as though their voices were changing, growing stronger, more certain. “I am the watcher on the walls. I am the fire that burns against the cold, the light that brings the dawn, the horn that wakes the sleepers, the shield that guards the realms of men.”

The shield that guards the realms of men. Ghost nuzzled up against his shoulder, and Jon draped an arm around him. He could smell Horse’s unwashed breeches, the sweet scent Satin combed into his beard, the rank sharp smell of fear, the giant’s overpowering musk. He could hear the beating of his own heart. When he looked across the grove at the woman with her child, the two greybeards, the Hornfoot man with his maimed feet, all he saw was men.

“I pledge my life and honor to the Night’s Watch, for this night and all the nights to come.”

Jon Snow was the first onto his feet."

Excerpt from A Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin
He makes everything beautiful in its time . . . Ecclesiastes 3:11

Monday, December 1, 2014

Astral Dendrites

Astral Dendrites

The large-scale structure of the universe, like astral dendrites

Or the cilia of a jellyfish, delicate stellar gel

When all of eternity bleeds into each other

And we stare at the back wall of the Universe

Echoes of incomprehensible structures

Flutter at the very reaches of our understanding

Primordial creation still radiates weakly

And permeates all of existence

A tiny spark of creation, swimming through infinity

Where gauzy tendrils of universe managed to congeal

Into clots of carbon atoms that can feel and think

About such as things 

As astral dendrites

Astral Dendrites - Poem by Brittany Ward
He makes everything beautiful in its time . . . Ecclesiastes 3:11

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Take What Is Mine!

"When she woke, gasping, her thighs were slick with blood.

For a moment she did not realize what it was. The world had just begun to lighten, and the tall grass rustled softly in the wind. No, please, let me sleep some more. I’m so tired. She tried to burrow back beneath the pile of grass she had torn up when she went to sleep. Some of the stalks felt wet. Had it rained again? She sat up, afraid that she had soiled herself as she slept. When she brought her fingers to her face, she could smell the blood on them. Am I dying? Then she saw the pale crescent moon, floating high above the grass, and it came to her that this was no more than her moon blood. If she had not been so sick and scared, that might have come as a relief. Instead she began to shiver violently. She rubbed her fingers through the dirt, and grabbed a handful of grass to wipe between her legs. The dragon does not weep. She was bleeding, but it was only woman’s blood. The moon is still a crescent, though. How can that be? She tried to remember the last time she had bled. The last full moon? The one before? The one before that? No, it cannot have been so long as that. “I am the blood of the dragon,” she told the grass, aloud.

Once, the grass whispered back, until you chained your dragons in the dark.

“Drogon killed a little girl. Her name was … her name …” Dany could not recall the child’s name. That made her so sad that she would have cried if all her tears had not been burned away. “I will never have a little girl. I was the Mother of Dragons.”

Aye, the grass said, but you turned against your children.

Her belly was empty, her feet sore and blistered, and it seemed to her that the cramping had grown worse. Her guts were full of writhing snakes biting at her bowels. She scooped up a handful of mud and water in trembling hands. By midday the water would be tepid, but in the chill of dawn it was almost cool and helped her keep her eyes open. As she splashed her face, she saw fresh blood on her thighs. The ragged hem of her under-tunic was stained with it. The sight of so much red frightened her. Moon blood, it’s only my moon blood, but she did not remember ever having such a heavy flow. Could it be the water? If it was the water, she was doomed. She had to drink or die of thirst. “Walk,” Dany commanded herself. “Follow the stream and it will take you to the Skahazadhan. That’s where Daario will find you.” But it took all her strength just to get back to her feet, and when she did all she could do was stand there, fevered and bleeding. . ."

"You took Meereen, he told her, yet still you lingered.

“To be a queen.”

You are a queen, her bear said. In Westeros. 

“It is such a long way,” she complained. “I was tired, Jorah. I was weary of war. I wanted to rest, to laugh, to plant trees and see them grow. I am only a young girl.”

No. You are the blood of the dragon. The whispering was growing fainter, as if Ser Jorah were falling farther behind. Dragons plant no trees. Remember that. Remember who you are, what you were made to be. Remember your words.

“Fire and Blood,” Daenerys told the swaying grass.

A stone turned under her foot. She stumbled to one knee and cried out in pain, hoping against hope that her bear would gather her up and help her to her feet. When she turned her head to look for him, all she saw was trickling brown water … and the grass, still moving slightly. . ."

"Dany watched him go. When the sound of his hooves had faded away to silence, she began to shout. She called until her voice was hoarse … and Drogon came, snorting plumes of smoke. The grass bowed down before him. Dany leapt onto his back. She stank of blood and sweat and fear, but none of that mattered. “To go forward I must go back,” she said. Her bare legs tightened around the dragon’s neck. She kicked him, and Drogon threw himself into the sky. Her whip was gone, so she used her hands and feet and turned him north by east, the way the scout had gone. Drogon went willingly enough; perhaps he smelled the rider’s fear.

In a dozen heartbeats they were past the Dothraki, as he galloped far below. To the right and left, Dany glimpsed places where the grass was burned and ashen. Drogon has come this way before, she realized. Like a chain of grey islands, the marks of his hunting dotted the green grass sea.

A vast herd of horses appeared below them. There were riders too, a score or more, but they turned and fled at the first sight of the dragon. The horses broke and ran when the shadow fell upon them, racing through the grass until their sides were white with foam, tearing the ground with their hooves … but as swift as they were, they could not fly. Soon one horse began to lag behind the others. The dragon descended on him, roaring, and all at once the poor beast was aflame, yet somehow he kept on running, screaming with every step, until Drogon landed on him and broke his back. Dany clutched the dragon’s neck with all her strength to keep from sliding off.

The carcass was too heavy for him to bear back to his lair, so Drogon consumed his kill there, tearing at the charred flesh as the grasses burned around them, the air thick with drifting smoke and the smell of burnt horsehair. Dany, starved, slid off his back and ate with him, ripping chunks of smoking meat from the dead horse with bare, burned hands. In Meereen I was a queen in silk, nibbling on stuffed dates and honeyed lamb, she remembered. What would my noble husband think if he could see me now? Hizdahr would be horrified, no doubt. But Daario . . .

Daario would laugh, carve off a hunk of horsemeat with his arakh, and squat down to eat beside her.

As the western sky turned the color of a blood bruise, she heard the sound of approaching horses. Dany rose, wiped her hands on her ragged undertunic, and went to stand beside her dragon.

That was how Khal Jhaqo found her, when half a hundred mounted warriors emerged from the drifting smoke."

Excerpt from A Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin
He makes everything beautiful in its time . . . Ecclesiastes 3:11

Friday, October 31, 2014

The Three-Eyed Crow

"Bran was falling faster than ever. The grey mists howled around him as he plunged toward the earth below. “What are you doing to me?” he asked the crow, tearful.
Teaching you how to fly.
“I can’t fly!”
You’re flying right now.
“I’m falling!”
Every flight begins with a fall, the crow said. Look down.
“I’m afraid...”

Bran looked down, and felt his insides turn to water. The ground was rushing up at him now. The whole world was spread out below him, a tapestry of white and brown and green. He could see everything so clearly that for a moment he forgot to be afraid. He could see the whole realm, and everyone in it.

He saw Winterfell as the eagles see it, the tall towers looking squat and stubby from above, the castle walls just lines in the dirt. He saw Maester Luwin on his balcony, studying the sky through a polished bronze tube and frowning as he made notes in a book. He saw his brother Robb, taller and stronger than he remembered him, practicing swordplay in the yard with real steel in his hand. He saw Hodor, the simple giant from the stables, carrying an anvil to Mikken’s forge, hefting it onto his shoulder as easily as another man might heft a bale of hay. At the heart of the godswood, the great white weirwood brooded over its reflection in the black pool, its leaves rustling in a chill wind. When it felt Bran watching, it lifted its eyes from the still waters and stared back at him knowingly.

He looked east, and saw a galley racing across the waters of the Bite. He saw his mother sitting alone in a cabin, looking at a bloodstained knife on a table in front of her, as the rowers pulled at their oars and Ser Rodrik leaned across a rail, shaking and heaving. A storm was gathering ahead of them, a vast dark roaring lashed by lightning, but somehow they could not see it.

He looked south, and saw the great blue-green rush of the Trident. He saw his father pleading with the king, his face etched with grief. He saw Sansa crying herself to sleep at night, and he saw Arya watching in silence and holding her secrets hard in her heart. There were shadows all around them. One shadow was dark as ash, with the terrible face of a hound. Another was armored like the sun, golden and beautiful. Over them both loomed a giant in armor made of stone, but when he opened his visor, there was nothing inside but darkness and thick black blood.He lifted his eyes and saw clear across the narrow sea, to the Free Cities and the green Dothraki sea and beyond, to Vaes Dothrak under its mountain, to the fabled lands of the Jade Sea, to Asshai by the Shadow, where dragons stirred beneath the sunrise.

Finally he looked north. He saw the Wall shining like blue crystal, and his bastard brother Jon sleeping alone in a cold bed, his skin growing pale and hard as the memory of all warmth fled from him. And he looked past the Wall, past endless forests cloaked in snow, past the frozen shore and the great blue-white rivers of ice and the dead plains where nothing grew or lived. North and north and north he looked, to the curtain of light at the end of the world, and then beyond that curtain. He looked deep into the heart of winter, and then he cried out, afraid, and the heat of his tears burned on his cheeks.

Now you know, the crow whispered as it sat on his shoulder. Now you know why you must live. “Why?” Bran said, not understanding, falling, falling.
Because winter is coming.

Bran looked at the crow on his shoulder, and the crow looked back.
It had three eyes, and the third eye was full of a terrible knowledge."

Excerpt from Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
He makes everything beautiful in its time . . . Ecclesiastes 3:11

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Character Design: Dr. Josef Sarton

Cute little Isaac Asimov holding an adorable robot. Aww.
Hello! Just as September is ending I am able to get in a blog post! I've been very busy of late, getting my first ever iPhone, trying to figure out its inner workings, and other such important matters of life. Oh, I've been drawing too, of course, haha. This post is going to be in relation to this post here that was back in 2012. (It is also connected to this drawing here.) That was my starting point of inspiration, and I haven't forgotten about it. No, it's just been brewing in my mind. Once I am finished with my Elijah: A Graphic Novel, I do intend and have always intended to continue creating graphic novels, which I am advocate for as an underrated medium, and I want to do a completely original, out-of-my-own-head idea. Science fiction is a genre that has been really speaking to me as of late, and I find that it is something that I resonate with very much. I want to create a science fiction story! Buuuut I don't really have any idea about science. They do say to write what you know. However, I do understand science fiction as a genre and then there is good ol' C.S. Lewis, who wasn't a science man at all, but he wrote his amazing science fiction trilogy, Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength. True, they were all more fantastical than science-based, but they worked! There is so much potential with science fiction that I think gets largely wasted now a days. It is more than just about space ships, planets, and aliens, but it is about humanity, exploration, discovery, and the unknown. True science fiction, at its heart, asks questions. It asks what it fundamentally means to be human. It asks if there is more to life than what is known. It grapples with ethical dilemmas, what is or isn't too far. Are there some things Man was never meant to do? Does Mankind have limits? Does the Universe? It keeps reaching and reaching, groping and yearning and seeking for things out in the Great Black. It is such a thought-provoking, and soul-searching genre, and no one has mastered it quite like the great Isaac Asimov. It is his work that got my caught on to science fiction, and it is his work that has largely inspired me for this project. I love his work so much. He may seem a little out-dated to us modern readers, since he wrote most of his science fiction before the concept of the modern day computer which has lead to our digital age, but I believe his work stays true. This is because his work always kept in mind the "bigger picture," seeing Mankind within the context of the Universe and his role in it. He also had the ability to not only ask the questions, but answer them in such a phenomenal and enlightening way. He was an explainer, even as much as he was a storyteller. Carl Sagan called him "the greatest explainer of the age." (Isaac Asimov certainly had the published work to prove this, having written and/or edited 500 works in his lifetime!) In short, he was a genius; and strangely, this outspoken atheist and humanist, is someone whose work I've been able to connect with in a way that surpasses even Lewis and Tolkien! And that is saying something. (Still love you guys!)

So, this was my starting point for the work I am about to show you. Allow me to introduce to you my first original character: Dr. Josef Sarton:

Dr. Josef Sarton Character Concept
Dr. Josef Sarton Character Concept
"Leave me to my work."
"And what exactly is that, Dr. Sarton?"
Dr. Josef Sarton Character Concept
"The Universe, as we know it, is infinite, yet this is not inerrant.
I am going to test the limits of this; and if I break the fabric of Reality in the process,
then that, in itself, would be knowledge gained.
I've been thinking about this character, obviously would be my main character, for about two years now, so I've finally been able to get him out of my mind and on to the page. Everything about him is very deliberate, how tall and lanky he is, the harsh, angularity of his face, and the set of his eyes, the lowness of his mouth, the clothes he is wearing, etc, even his name is deliberate. I probably won't go into much of the why behind all these things, you'll just have to wait, but I'll outline a couple of things. To begin with, science fiction is largely claimed by atheists and humanists, Asimov being a prime example of this, and I find that this is also another unfortunate aspect of the genre. Unfortunate in the sense that it should be so dominated by this one worldview, and that Christianity has no significant claim in it or even wants to have a part in that claim. It is that stereotypical divide, Atheist = Science and Christian = Faith, as if these two things, faith and science, are as diametrically opposed as the worldviews that hold them. Obviously it is an age old debate and understandable considering what science holds as what is true, proof of the existence of God, all those fantastical stories in the Bible, etc, but if we boil all that away, getting to the very roots of science and faith, right there, fundamentally, they aren't opposed at all, but are, in fact, quite harmonious. What is science? According to Wikipedia, the exact definition is:

"(from Latin scientia, meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe." [x]

What is faith? Wikipedia defines it as:

"Faith is belief that is not based on proof. It can also be defined as confidence or trust in a person, thing, deity, view, or in the doctrines or teachings of a religion, as well as confidence based on some degree of warrant. The word faith is often used as a synonym for hope, trust, or belief." [x]

Now, I believe that this is the main idea of faith that most people have, if not how everyone universally understands it, but I think it is wrong fundamentally. Faith is not belief based on no proof. This is how I would define faith, and what it truly is:

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." - Hebrews 11:1, King James Version.

Some may think it disqualifying that I use the Bible as a definition, but I don't think so. I'm not using the Bible as proof of anything, just for an objective clarification of the meaning of a word, so I think that is legitimate. So, faith is substance, faith is evidence. Our society portrays faith as if you just have to believe in a thing, and that makes it real. That by mere belief alone, based on absolutely nothing except on one's self, will make a thing true. Yet this is not so. Faith is a tangible thing with substance based on outside evidence that doesn't come from one person. However, it isn't how we would normally understand tangible evidence. It is based on the "not seen," something that can't be seen as with the human eye or man-made device, and the "hoped for," as in an expectation of a thing one desires. Obviously, that is where the whole disagreement comes in, but what I'm trying to point out is that science is the gathering of knowledge based on evidence and faith is belief based on evidence. Strip it down, taking out all the other factors, at the very core, this is science and faith. They aren't opposed, both come from evidence. What is opposed is how Mankind defines what is legitimate evidence.

So, why did I just go into all of that? Because this idea is what I want to base this science fiction story idea off of, and the major thought process driving my concept design of my character. I purposefully chose to make Dr. Sarton look very monastic in clothing and style. His hair is clipped short to his head, very conservative, and his robes are long, black, and cover every inch of him, it is almost stifling. I wanted this religious, devout air surrounding him, though he himself is most definitely not religious. He's a hardcore physicist!

This next piece, then, is my final concept in putting all these ideas together:

Dr. Sarton
Everything in this art piece has a point and a purpose for his character and what I hope to achieve with his story. The room is dark and frigid, brooding, cloistered, and rather disturbing. The light shining behind him forms a halo around his head. He is intent on his work, measuring and calculating. There is an infinity symbol that is being dissected on his desk. There seems to be some sort of strange test subject in the background, and the eery red light shines down on something bizarre, his finger tips touching another set of fingertips. All the scifi elements aside, I wanted this image to have a strong religious feel to it. Not only with the halo light, but in the composition of the piece. I've used a very triangular composition. There is the triangle shape from the halo, to the diagram on the desk, to the experiment in the tube. There is also a triangle shape between the red elements of the experiment tube, the hands, and the protractor. There is a triangle shape within the protractor itself, then a triangle shape in the hands' fingertips touching. It is a very common composition, and used in many paintings of the Old Masters and beyond, which constitute a great portion of religious art. The triangle, with its three points, can also represent the Trinity, which adds to this idea. Finally, this use of the triangle in my composition was specifically inspired by Leonardo DaVinci's The Last Supper, where the Apostle John sits with his body turned away at a slant from Jesus, and that 'v" shaped space is created. I have Dr. Sarton positioned in a similar way, turned to the side, slanting a bit, and his arm extended out to create that space as it connects to the fingertips beyond. It is all in there, these ideas, even the fact that it is between Jesus and the Apostle John is not an accident, as Apostle John is described as "the apostle whom Jesus loved." (John 13:23)

So! This is a good portion of my thought process for this character and for my graphic novel idea and thus concludes my lengthy exposition! It still needs a lot of refining, but I've got Dr. Sarton down, at least. I would love it if you would leave a comment down below telling me your thoughts on my character idea/design! What do you feel when you look at my design? What is your impression of his character? What do you like? Do not like? Whatever you would like to share about this concept, please do! I would love to hear from you! This idea won't become a full reality for a long while yet, but I would love to hear feedback on these early beginnings. Thank you!

He makes everything beautiful in its time . . . Ecclesiastes 3:11

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Elijah A Graphic Novel: The Big August Preview

Hello, my loyal followers! I'm excited to announce for this month a big preview of my graphic novel I'm working on! Most of you know about it and I've posted several blog posts explaining my thought process and artistic choices. For those of you who may not know, stumbling upon my blog for the first time, Elijah: A Graphic Novel is an artistic adaptation of the story of Elijah the Prophet from the Bible, specifically 1 Kings 18. It is when the country of Israel, ruled by a disobedient king named Ahab, is under the thrall of false gods, the gods of Baal and Asherah. Elijah, a prophet of God, confronts the king and his false prophets with a contest in order to establish the one true God in Israel. They'll make two alters with a sacrifice, one to Baal/Asherah and one to God, and whoever's god answers by fire, he would be the true God of Israel. I chose this particularly story as my first graphic novel because I loved the imagery; the fire, the violence, and ultimately the dramatic answer. It is one man and his faith vs an entire country, its government, and established religion. The dichotomous interplay that happens is so starkly addressed in Scripture and I love that contrast between these two fractions. It is powerful. And I love the simplicity of the Scripture itself, as I chose to tell the story with just straight Scripture. This is because it enables me to really focus on the themes of the story and the symbolism of my images. My hope is to bring emphasis to this dramatic confrontation through my imagery and really convey the heart and ultimately the glory that lies behind this story.

I am now presenting a very special preview of my graphic novel! It has taken me quite awhile to get through these pages and my hope is to finish this graphic novel by next year. With this preview I hope to inspire all my viewers and followers and to show them just a fraction of what the finish product will be like. Trust me, it'll be worth the wait. Thank you so much for your support! Click on the image to see the PDF preview of my graphic novel! Please let me know in the comments if you have trouble viewing it. Enjoy!

Elijah: A Graphic Novel Copyright 2012 Danielle Pajak Illustrations

He makes everything beautiful in its time . . . Ecclesiastes 3:11

Friday, August 8, 2014


"I'm Kira and the god of this new world. In this world I am the law, and the one maintaining order. That is the truth. I am justice. The world's only hope. Are you going to kill me? Is that really the right thing to do? Capturing Kira, that may have been the just thing to do in the past. But now it is obviously evil. The mentality of the world has changed. Are you sure you want to capture Kira just for your own satisfaction? It's been six years since Kira appeared. War is the thing of the past. Most of the worst criminals have died, and the world's crime rate has gone down by 70 percent. But this world is still rotten. There are too many rotten people, so we must get rid of them. Humans have the right to pursue happiness and be happy. But because of a handful of rotten people, that right is easily snuffed. This is no accident. It is inevitable as long as those rotten people are alive. From the moment I got hold of that notebook, no, even before that the world had fallen as far as it could fall, and humans had rotted as much as they could rot. It all boils down to those who interfere with people's pursuit of happiness and those who do not. Those who are worthy of living and those who are not. Evil only gives birth to evil. And if those wicked people commit sins and run wild then the weak will learn to commit crimes, and even try to justify their actions in the end. The evil...the rotten people...must be done away with. 

Evil people who are beyond saving have no choice but to die. But rotten people do not equal death. So I must cut deeply into the root of evil that has shaped the world into what it is today. Justice will be brought upon evil people. Justice will also be brought upon those who harm others. That is all you have to do to change people's way of thinking. They'll start realizing the right way to live as human beings. The right to be happy, that is something that everybody has equal claim to. It must be so. But that is not something you get by harming, deceiving, or even killing other people. To pursue your happiness without getting in the way of others, while respecting the rights of others, that is the way humans should lead their lives. Once the world changes, people begin to change. They become kinder. But those who still commit sins even after that are failures. Under ordinary circumstances, humans should have continued to evolve as the greatest creatures upon this earth. But we were actually regressing...a rotten world. Politics, law, education...was there anybody around who had the ability to correct the world? But someone had to do it. From the moment I got hold of the notebook, I knew that I had to do it. No...I knew I was the only one capable of doing it. I knew that killing people was a crime. But that was the only way to correct this world, and one day, people will accept that as being righteous. I had to take the role as Kira and do it. This was a mission that was entrusted to me. I was chosen to make amends for this rotten world, and to create a truly safe and ideal world. With this notebook...would anybody else have been able to do this? Come this far? And continue doing it? Would anybody else have been able to use just one notebook and lead the world to the right path? There are only those stupid people of low caliber, who would have used it for personal interests and selfish motives. I never thought of making any profit from this. I am not like those crooks who make money by forcing their ideals upon the weak. Those are the type of people who harm this world.

That's right. Only I can do it...I am the only one who can create a new world, be on top of it, and guide it correctly...Think about it. Do you want to return the world to the rotten way it used to be? Do you want the minds of the people, which have already started to change, to change again? You know it as well as I do. There are those in this world who are better off dead. There's nothing wrong with exterminating pests, so why is it wrong to kill people who are pests to this world? Do you really want to put an end to Kira here? Is that really for the good of this world? What good will it do to arrest me now? It's only going to make you happy, right? If you claim that this is to avenge L's death...then that is an act of folly. What you see before you is Kira...but also the god of this new world."

"No. You...are just a murderer. And this notebook here is the worst murder weapon in the history of mankind. If you had been a normal person and had used this notebook once out of curiosity you would have been surprised and scared of what had happened, regretted what you would have done and never use this notebook again. To speak of extremes I can actually understand those who would use this notebook for their personal interests and kill a couple of people, and even think that they're normal. But you have yielded to the power of the notebook and shinigami and have confused yourself with a god...You're just a mass murderer. Nothing more and nothing less."

"And you will be like God …” - Genesis 3:5.

*Excerpt from Death Note Volume 6 by Tsugumi Ohba 
He makes everything beautiful in its time . . . Ecclesiastes 3:11

Thursday, July 10, 2014

New World

Love the symbolic irony of this piece!
"For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God . . ." - Genesis 3:5

So, this is my first update of July. I know I skipped June, but with the Phoenix Comicon and then a two week vacation, I didn't have much time for creating new work. (Well, actually I did, but nothing I could have blogged about. Hehe.) I'm making up for it this month as I have gone full blown work mode! Must create all the things! The Sting Chronicles is in pre-production for our film; the film that will be the climax for our 2 season Youtube web series. We will be starting production pretty soon, and thus why I have been churning out posters, concept art, and storyboards. I actually wanted to do a Sting Chronicles post this month describing all the inner workings of my thoughts while creating these new works. However, I realized that would be giving too much away for the movie, so you all shall just have to wait to watch the film and then come back for my full in-depth conceptualizations. For now you can see my new work either via Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. Actually on Pinterest I've started an Art of the Sting Chronicles board, where I shall eventually post up all the artwork I've done for the show. So, yes, follow me on Pinterest and see the latest from Danielle Pajak Illustrations! Also I started a Tumblr!

So. Bored. I guess it's time to break out
my plans for a new world order.
For now I'm going to go full on geek mode and completely freak out about my latest obsession, the anime series called Death Note. (Prepare for major spoilers and geeking out!) Death Note is about a young man named Light Yagami (very ironic), who is a handsome, spoiled prodigy and is completely bored in school, with people, and with life. Finding humanity to be disgusting as a whole, Light happens upon a notebook that he saw fall from the sky, simply called Death Note. Unbeknownst to him, a shinigami named Ryuk, a Japanese death god, dropped it into the human realm, for he too was bored. Immediately there is a connection drawn between Light and and this death god, Ryuk, and from that point on the table is set! Death Note is part of a shinigami's power that if they write a person's name in it, that person will die. Shinigami's use it on humans as part of a way to keep themselves immortal because they get that person's remaining life by doing that. It doesn't work the same way for humans, as in it doesn't extend their life, but they can still kill and control with it. Light, thinking himself a "chosen" one, decides he is going to rid the world of all that is rotten and evil about humanity, and usher in a new era of peace and, the crème de la crème, in this new age he would be the god! He begins to test and push the limits of Death Note and kills prison inmates, thugs, and all various sorts of bad guys while using this book. Of course, these mysterious deaths draw the attention, the awe, and the fear of the people of Japan and the world and they begin to call this unusual vigilante, Kira, the Japanese pronunciation of "killer." There is some debate on whether he is a murderer or a savior, but either way the powers that be find these abnormal deaths just a wee bit unsettling, and so they hire the world's greatest detective, who is simply called L. L keeps his identity hidden, but he has solved all that is puzzling, obscure, and bizarre in the world. No problem or riddle is too great for him. L, who is emphatically of the opinion that Kira is no savior, but simply just a killer, takes on the case, and in that moment L and Light become intellectual combatants, each desiring justice, each of them geniuses, and the whole story, basically, is a high stakes mind game between these two characters. It is. Amazing.

It is important that I described all of that to you in order to understand the art piece I've created. You see, Light is this character who sees himself, well, of the light. He thinks he is establishing justice and that he, out of everyone, is this special being who has the abilities and the heart to bring about a new world. Immediately Light has set himself up above all the rest, a god amongst mere men. As the plot and counter-plot thickens around him, Light becomes more and more deeply enmeshed in these beliefs of his superiority and godhead, to the very bitter end. Yet, in contrast, we have L. He is eccentric, childish, and obviously a little arrogant, but what I love so much is that despite everything, and that's a huge despite, L comes to actually love and admire Light. Light becomes his friend. It is basically a bromance! Except one of the bros is a psychopathic killer. Awesome, right? So, we have Light who continues further down the path of superiority, whereas L ends up down the path of humility. Now here's where it gets so awesome! In my absolute favorite scene of the entire anime, L deduces that he's going to die. He, himself, cannot beat Kira. He realizes that he has been outwitted, the great detective L, has in effect: lost. In the scene L stands in the rain (there always has to be rain) and Light comes to join him and they have a conversation of symbolism, before returning inside. Once out of the rain, they have to dry off, and L quietly begins to dry and massage Light's feet. A little awkward, (L's pretty awkward), but in that moment, I instantly saw this:

"Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him." - John 13:3-5

L takes the humble position. He doesn't see Light as his enemy, but as his friend. Once I was done bawling, inwardly of course, I realized that Light, in his delusions of creating a new world, was being shown a new world right then and there! Light feels he has to make the world a better place, because it is so evil, and so justifies his psycho killing sprees and self-worship in the name of that, but L, humbly, shows him an entirely different way. It is a way that submits, humbles itself, and yes, even lays down its life. Though L doesn't literally lay down his life, he does submit himself onto death quietly, deciding to show an act of love towards the very person responsible for his death rather than taking revenge or hating him. It is such a powerful and beautiful scene. Here are some caps just because I must share my love for this!

Oh my gosh! He's like an adorable, sad Japanese panda!

I'm totally unaffected by your adorable panda ways of humility, L.
So after all that analysis, yes, I shall finally show you my art piece:

Obviously, I wanted to create this "yin yang" effect in my piece as a way of contrasting the concepts of Light and L. Usually in the manga artwork, L is shown crouched down (because he has such bad posture hehe) and Light is placed on higher ground, but I wanted to flip that. I wanted to show the true state of things, as Light is chained to his world of death, while L is in the light, looking on, extending a hand towards Light in love. The top shows the shinigami Ryuk and a creature of my own creation, based on descriptions of the heavenly creatures described in the Bible. They have their hands extended out holding an apple. The apple has two connotations in the story, and the one I'm using it here for is the forbidden fruit, or contrary-wise, the fruit of the Tree of Life. "The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." - Genesis 2:9. In Japanese culture the shinigami is a death god, that as wikipedia describes it, "invite humans toward death." Furthermore: "And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” - Genesis 2:16-17. And: "But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” - Genesis 3:4-5. So, the shinigami Ryuk, like the Serpent, invites Light towards death, due to the lie in Light's heart that he can be like God. In contrast to this, the fruit of the Tree of Life leads to eternal life; and in the end of this story, as the credits quietly role, we see Light laying in the pool of his own blood, and before he closes his eyes unto death, Ryuk having written Light's name in the Death Note, the spirit of L stands looking on, humbly victorious. The name of the last episode of the show is "New World." (Commence uncontrollable sobbing. Inwardly, of course.) So, that's the name of my piece, New World, a title of irony for Light, but a title of truth for L.

I'm sorry for all the major spoilers, but you must go watch this anime! It is more than its twists and turns, though those are incredibly exciting and intense in of themselves. This anime excellently combines the supernatural with deductive reasoning, a detective story with a morality tale, and an intellectual thriller with a deeply meaningful story. Watch it! It's instant on Netflix! That is all. :-)

He makes everything beautiful in its time . . . Ecclesiastes 3:11

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A Billion Years Too Late

A Billion Years Too Late

I think I was a few million years too late
My mind was out by the Orion nebula
A thousand years was not too long to wait

My body rooted to the stolid Earth
My will was flowering around a planetary nebula
I think I was a million years too late

I knew I was born from the core of a star
My thoughts shooting from the center like cosmic rays
A million years was not too long to wait

I’m empty, disconnected, where is my mind
It’s floating light years away, trying to bid an ancient planetary system goodbye
I think I was a million years too late

A tether like a fading radio beam
Connects me to you, across the light years, and I’ll see you again
A million years is not too long to wait

I’m empty here while my thoughts are spiraling at a superluminal rate
Around a spent galactic core, dying and sedate
Billions of years was not too long to wait
But still I think I arrived just a couple billion too late

This is the first of two illustrations I'll be doing for Brittany Ward's poetry book! As I mentioned in my previous post, I wanted to emphasize this idea of vast, nebular worlds in juxtaposition with the intimate, microscopic spaces that I find in Brittany Ward's poetry. I explained that I was going to use colors as a representation of that, i.e. blue/greens/ yellow-greens for the macro world and reds/oranges/yellow-greens for micro. This one represents the former, and I think it is so perfectly fitting with the poem it is illustrating. The imagery of the poem reflects concepts of vast distances, in space and in time. The observer in the poem is trapped and yet completely disconnected. There is this idea of spiraling, floating, fading, and dying. The poem is very empty, full of longing, regret, disappointment, and finally loss. The imagery was so clear to me, its complete detachment, but also the largeness of it all; the largeness of the years, the largeness of planetary systems, and the largeness of the stars. I wanted to express all this feeling and concepts so I used an encroaching landscape, massive in scale, with it and the sky filling the space; emptiness visualized through the composition. Then the distance is symbolized through the soaring comets in the sky; or they could also be stars as the planet rotates to represent the passing of time and to show that spiraling and spinning movement conveyed in the poem. Of course the entire piece keeps that movement fluid, as the all the contours flow in to and out of one another. Then the figure in the foreground is enmeshed to the earth, but also floating, so there is idea of trapped weightlessness. The intimate and small observer is entangled, fused, and then lost in this powerful cosmic reality.

Screencap from Europa Report 2013. Beautiful.
Something else I wanted to mention briefly was another inspiration for this piece, which came from the film Europa Report. It is an independent film that came out last year, and I just want to give a shout out to this amazing and beautiful film! Recommended to me by Brittany, it tells the story of the first manned mission to Jupiter's moon Europa in a documentary-style, point of view from the camera narrative. It is about the awe, the glory, and the sacrifice of discovery, a true work of science fiction! A very powerful film, even with its simple premise! What inspired me for this piece, though, was the landscape of Europa. The stark white, glacier cliffs loomed above the explorers in the film and stabbed the inky depths of space which went on and on and on. Not having a huge budget, the film was able to capture most effectively the power, the emptiness, the wonder, and the absolute hush of a completely alien landscape where no man has ever disturbed. I wanted to encapsulate some of that in my own piece, which, I believe, is so well expressed in the poem it illustrates as well. So, as you enjoy my piece and Brittany's poetry, also go watch Europa Report!

Well, I hope you've enjoyed this post! There is a lot going on at Danielle Pajak Illustrations at the moment, so keep checking back, as well as follow me on Twitter and Facebook! Don't forget Pinterest!

A Billion Years Too Late - Poem by Brittany Ward
He makes everything beautiful in its time . . . Ecclesiastes 3:11

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

My Avengers Project: A Little Old-Fashioned

Steve Rogers: Aren't the stars and stripes a little . . . old-fashioned?
Agent Coulson: With everything that's happening, the things that are about to come to light, people might just need a little old-fashioned.

I'm excited to announce that I have officially finished my Avengers Project! Yay! (Cue happy dance!) It has taken me awhile, but The Cap was a hard one to do for me. The first film left a lot to be desired and there were some great stuff in Avengers, but nothing that really delved into this character. Captain America Winter Soldier gave me a lot of material to work with and I love the challenges Steve Rogers has been made to face since being transported out of time; and our poor, straight-laced hero is challenged with a lot. The first film showed his unyielding resolve in the face of his enemies, but it was all so easy. He went in, got the job done, and that was it. The Cap makes saving the day literally look like it is all in the day's work. That is, until he he awakes to find himself in the chaos of the 21st Century. The world he is tossed into isn't as black and white as yesteryear, and Steve Rogers is persistently being told through people or circumstances that he must change, accept, and adapt to it. Despite his stubborn quip of "Don't hold your breath." to Nick Fury, Steve is faced with deciding what is the right thing to do in a world where good guys and bad guys blur together and where "Don't trust anyone." is the mantra of the day. What I love is seeing how Steve face these challenge and changes them instead. When Nick Fury gives his conundrum of world where a man can decline the Nobel Peace Prize because "peace is not an achievement, but a responsibility" and yet still plan the genocide of millions of people, Steve reminds him that trust is still viable and real and that without it, you become ruled by fear. Nick Fury concedes leadership and allows the destruction of Project Insight. When Natasha explains that hiding behind masks is a good way not to die and makes her remark that maybe Steve "is in the wrong business," Steve turns it around, showing her that honesty is a good way to live and that maybe she is the one in the wrong business. Natasha, touched by Steve's faith in her, and after having all her covers compromised, goes to rediscover herself. Then, most challenging of them all, Steve is faced with his best friend Bucky Barnes turned enemy, the Winter Soldier. Despite the impossible circumstances that his friend is now a brainwashed assassin, Steve chooses to believe in his friend, surrendering himself to trust him, even to death. "I'm with you 'til the end of the line." Barnes, remembering that line, is able to surface just enough to save Steve's life and to go seek out answers to who he really is. Over and over again Steve's steadfastness and faith proves true, changing the world to what he desires it to be, rather than accepting it as it is. So, despite everyone telling The Cap to get with the times, Coulson's above words from Avengers proves more true than even he realized, that this crazy, chaotic world, after all, just needs something "a little old-fashioned."
I now give you, my piece!

I think the imagery is self explanatory, but I really wanted to convey Steve's resolve and steadfastness. He is one solitary figure, fist clenched, face set, shield held tight, as if steeling himself from any onslaught or challenge. As usual with my pieces, I like to keep a organic flow of shape and line, and though I wanted to show the solidarity of the Captain, I needed to keep the piece fluid. My solution came with making the Captain flow into the image of a tree, both bringing vividly to mind the roots of a tree holding fast to solid ground as well as keeping the piece moving freely. Then, of course, the colors of the piece are strongly red, white, and blue. He is Captain America after all, all "spangely"and old-fashioned. Also, before I end my post, the image of the tree also came to my mind because of a quote I had read on the internet from a random comic with the Cap. I think it is one of his famous quotes from the comics, but when I read it, it pretty much sums up everything I'm trying to convey on who Captain America is and why he stands out as one of the greatest superheroes. Here it is: "Doesn't matter what the press says. Doesn't matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn't matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right. This nation was founded on one principle above all else: the requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world - 'No, you move.'" 

Here is a detail of the piece:

Thus ends my Avengers series! Yay! I don't think I'm quite done with the Marvel-verse just yet, though. Captain America Winter Soldier gave me a lot of inspiration, and I'm currently working on a Nick Fury piece! So, I'm kind of playing around with the idea of doing a SHIELD series! Woot! Since I'm really loving ABC's Agents of SHIELD as well. I'm kind of obsessed with all things Marvel right now, so I think it is highly likely there will be future Marvel themed pieces coming up! Oh, and also don't forget, I shall be having my Avenger's Series for purchase at the Phoenix Comicon!

I know I’m asking a lot. The price of freedom is high. It always has been. That’s a price I’m willing to pay. And if I’m the only one, then so be it - but I’m willing to bet I’m not.

He makes everything beautiful in its time . . . Ecclesiastes 3:11

Monday, March 31, 2014

Brainstorm: Brittany Ward's Poetry Book

As a continuation from my last post, I now present the front cover of my friend's poetry book. I'm calling the illustration Brainstorm. My goal for this piece was to capture the macro and micro worlds of Brittany's poetry and the lyrical dreaminess. Some of this was experimentation for me, since I didn't know quite exactly how I would make this come together, particularly with color. I didn't want it to get too bright and colorful, but  the alien vividness of the orange-reds, yellow-greens, and blue-greens seem to be working for this piece. The color scheme gave a sci-fi edge to the piece, but I also thought the colors could represent the two distinct worlds and their coming together. The flesh tones could be the symbol of the micro world, pulsating veins, the rush of blood, and the closed, intimate space of microorganisms. The blues and greens could represent the emptiness of space, the remoteness of galaxies and their stars, and the vastness of worlds and ecosystems. I really wanted to capture this idea of remote intimacy, personal landscapes, and immense inner worlds which make up Brittany's work. I intend to carry these concepts and color schemes into the rest of the book's design, really bringing emphasis to them. I'm going to be drawing two illustrations to incorporate into the book, and with these I shall get a chance to further express these ideas. For now, I hope you enjoyed this piece.

He makes everything beautiful in its time . . . Ecclesiastes 3:11

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A Planet-Sized World Layered in the Brain

Deeper by Audrey Kawasaki
Helloooo. Before the lovely month of February ends I wanted to give an update on the recent goings on here in my artist world. I've mostly been very busy with preparing for Phoenix Comicon 2014 (yay!). I'm really excited about it and all that I'll get to offer. Meanwhile, check out my Elijah: A Graphic Novel Facebook and Twitter! Also, check out The Sting Chronicles (Facebook/Twitter), because exciting things are going on there as well!

For this post, however, I wanted to focus on the latest project that I'm working on. It is collaboration with my friend Brittany Ward. She's going to be publishing a book of her poetry and I'll be designing it as well as adding in a few illustrations! I'm thrilled to be doing this for her. It has long been our plan that if she would ever publish her work, she would want me to do the artwork for it, and now it is going to be a reality! I have always been very much inspired by her poetry and a great admirer of her work. Her poetry is filled with vivid and poignant imagery of space, the extraterrestrial, and the love of all sciences, biology, physics, astronomy, etc. It spans macro and micro spaces of the universe while remaining intimate and personal, conveying deep longings, hushed wonder, and beautiful, though often times sorrowful, inner worlds. Her work has such strong visuals and concepts that make my mind alive with the powerful and surreal images. My desire is to create images that will really display her beautiful work, capturing the feelings of the words as well as my own feelings as I've read them. An artist who has rather inspired the direction I wanted to go in is Audrey Kawasaki. Both Brittany and I really love her work. Her style is unique, otherwordly, bizarre, introspective, and atmospheric. Some of the emotions that are evoked her artwork are very similar to the ones that come from Brittany's poetry. Here is some more of Kawasaki's work:

Left: Inside Me Still
Right: Offering
(Inspired by an Asian artist yet again!)
I love the movement in her pieces, the surrealistic flow of shapes one into another, her muted tones, and sultry and dreamy atmosphere. Kawasaki also likes to paint many of her pieces on wood surfaces, which adds to the organic flow of her work. I really wanted to capture that same lyrical movement in my own illustrations, delving deep into the poetry's words to bring out the vibrancy of life that dwells within them, a lilting, celestial cadence to the brain.

I've only just begun work on it, but I wanted to show the beginnings of what will later be the book cover. I shall be piecing them together and applying a little Photoshop magic! For now enjoy these snippets and be looking forward to this lovely book of poetry by Brittany Ward, entitled A Planet-Sized World Layered in the Brain, which shall be available for purchase!

Thoughts slowly drip through

A calcified membrane

A stalactite accrues

Decades of memories 

Layered in the brain

Layered in the Brain by Brittany Ward

He makes everything beautiful in its time . . . Ecclesiastes 3:11

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Sons of Asgard II

It is a new year of 2014! I apologize for not being able to post a blog in December. It was a very hectic month and I wasn't able to get around to it, but it doesn't mean I wasn't hard at work. If you follow me on Pinterest, Facebook, or Twitter, you'll be able to see all the work I post when I don't want to write a blog about them. So yes, I'm keeping at it as well as preparing for the Phoenix Comicon and working on The Sting Chronicles. I do hope you follow me and my projects on other social networks! You can go to the links on the right side of this page. Thanks!

Anyway, so, for this month I am posting something I've been working on amongst all the rest of what I am doing. It is another Loki and Thor piece. (Yes, this is literally what I think about all day.)

"I wish I could trust you," he said, regret filling his voice.
"Trust my rage," came the soft reply.
The events of Thor 2: A Dark World are still revolving around in my head. I just love the direction they have been taking Loki's character as well as his relationship with his brother Thor. Despite being utterly disappointed that the Marvel One Shot: All Hail the King is not about Loki, I still have enough to chew on until Loki makes his appearance again in the Marvel universe. In this piece, I was inspired by two artists, one of which I've mentioned here before, Arthur Rackham and John Bauer.

Right: Brunnhilde is Enraged by Arthur Rackham
Left: Freyja and Svipdagr by John Bauer
Arthur Rackham usually always inspires me and his work is always in the background of my psyche, influencing my work. I've been kind of pursuing the works of John Bauer, which I'm liking a lot of as well. He has a very whimsical style with a lot of movement, which I love! In these inspiration images particularly, I've also been channeling some Norse Mythology along with illustrative movement. I wanted to make my concepts of Thor and Loki a little more authentic looking compared to the glittery and glossy Asgard of Marvel. Not that it isn't beautiful, because it is, but I just wanted to add some texture to my concepts here. As for the concept behind this piece, I'm expressing the complicated relationship Thor and Loki have. They are brothers and will always be brothers, but there is a great chasm between the two of them as well, as each is walking on a separate path. I have Thor in shadow, showing how Thor must feel in relation to Loki, reaching out towards him, but cast away from him. Loki coils back in isolation, unyielding and firmly rooted in his way. Yet, borrowing movement from Rackham's piece and Bauer's work, both Loki and Thor are flowing together. Movement goes up from Loki's figure to Loki's helmet outward to the tree branches, back down to Thor and his cape which flows right back into Loki. They are inexplicably linked despite everything and no matter how far away they are from each other, they may end up meeting together again. Here's to hoping!

"It's all right. I'll tell father what you did here today."
"I didn't do it for him."

He makes everything beautiful in its time . . . Ecclesiastes 3:11