Sword and Soul Artist: Paul Davey

I was made aware of Paul Davey while perusing the random art section of Blacksuperhero.com. A fellow member posted a stunning piece of work by him and I immediately sought him out. I found him at his Deviantart page, http://mattahan.deviantart.com/. His gallery stunned me with his beautiful work and I immediately knew I was going to commission him for work. At the time I was working on the background work for an upcoming YA novel, Amber, and thought Paul would be the perfect person to bring my African American heroine to life.  An that he did!

Paul is a young artist residing in Jamaica. His artwork is very popular online; do a search and you’ll find it populating sites all over the world. He has a contrasting style I’m my opinion, his warm colors and youthful images suggest youth but the expressions on the faces of his subjects hint at a worldliness beyond their presumed ages. It’s an interesting blend that makes his world easy to engage and hard to look away from. I always find myself wondering what the character is thinking. His work is so intriguing to me that one of his images, Betta Listen, has inspired me to write a story based on it. I’ll post it soon.

Dossouye by Paul Davey

Fortunately I’m not the only person that has utilized Paul’s talents for Sword and Soul imagery. My fellow publisher, Uraeus, has also commissioned him to create a series of wonderful images of Charles R. Saunders’s warrior woman Dossouye. Again his blend of youthfulness and seriousness stands out in his work.

Paul also contributed two images to Griots. He is the artist for Valjeanne Jeffer’s story Awakening and Phenderson D. Clark’s story, Skin Magic. Please visit his site to get a real feel of this young man’s incredible talent. You can be sure you’ll see more of his work representing Sword and Soul. Here’s his link again just in case you missed it the first time:

http://mattahan.deviantart.com/

Griots: A Sword and Soul Anthology

Fourteen writers. Fourteen artists. One unforgettable anthology. These are the words I use to describe Griots (pronouned GREE-ohs), the first (but not the last) Sword and Soul anthology. It’s a book thirty years in the making, a spark that was lit when Charles R. Saunders first put pen to paper to write Imaro. Finally there is a book that can be referred to as an example of what Sword and Soul is and could be.

The idea for an anthology emerged not long after I completed my first novels. As I began to network in cyberspace I came across other writers who were very interested in African based fantasy. Some had even written stories that I considered Sword and Soul, only to have them rejected for various reasons.  I was very interested in how other writers would meld the wealth of African culture, tradition and history into the sword and sorcery genre. So about a year ago I contacted Charles and said ‘Let’s do an anthology.’ We wrote up a submission guideline and sent it out. Initially the reaction was sparse, not because of interest but because many writers were intimidated by the task. Some writers weren’t confident they could to the genre justice because of their limited knowledge of African history and culture; others felt they weren’t allowed to because of their non-African roots. But we assured some and comforted others that we weren’t looking for historical expertise nor were we looking to exclude. We wanted and encouraged different interpretations and visions.

And then there were the artists. As most of you know I love illustration. One of the things lacking with Sword and Soul is the visual interpretation of the genre. Sword and Sorcery is filled with various images inspired by countless novels. Do a search for the genre and you’ll be inundated by images, the most outstanding those of Frazetta and Boris. I know I shouldn’t expect the same for Sword and Soul, a subgenre that is still in its infancy. So I wanted to encourage such work. So in addition to the stories we would include illustrations inspired by the stories. Just as with the writers, many of the artists had such images in their portfolios while others had to struggle to create a suitable image. All were excited by the challenge; for many it was the first time they’d been asked to create a fantasy image based on African culture.

After a year of selecting, editing and creating we introduced Griots on August 20th at Onyx Con. The response was enthusiastic, and it has remained so since the introduction. I’m not going to list the stories and artists here; Charles has done an excellent job which you can read on his current blot, The Griots are Here! (http://www.charlessaunderswriter.com/). I hope you enjoy Griots just as much as Charles and I enjoyed making it. You can purchase it at my site, http://www.mvmediaatl.com/;  as well as Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Griots-Anthology-Milton-J-Davis/dp/0980084288) Be sure to let us know what you think. Sword and Soul Forever!