I figured, since I receive the most fan mail on the “Archangels Series” (for specific art, I actually get the most about my art instruction videos!), that I should start by talking about them.
I can’t really say for sure what my initial inspiration was for this series. I tend to just defer to my “love of archetypes.” As a child, I was somewhat fascinated with the concept of archangels. Something about a celestial warrior is just appealing to a young geek.
Once I decided to produce the series, next came the research. Although primarily web research, I made sure that all my sources referenced their sources. It seems most of the specific information about the details of the archangels comes from the Koran, the Kabbalah and the Grimoire of Armadel. Most sects list seven as the number of archangels, but many differ. I decided the best bet was to make a list consisting of any name that appeared on more than one list (Michael, Gabriel and Raphael are on each list). This way, I ended up with a list of 15 archangels: Michael (the general of the celestial armies), Gabriel (messenger, teacher, and destroyer), Raphael (healer and pilgrim), Uriel (giver of gifts, keeper of secrets, winds of change & guard of eden), Metatron (keeper of all celestial records), Azrael (angel of death and comfort), Camael (angel of war, judgement, victory and honor), Zadkiel (angel of mercy and freedom), Jophiel (angel of art, beauty, inspiration and illumination), Raguel (overseer and judge of angels), Raziel (angel of intellect and knowledge), Israfel (angel of music), Haniel (angel of love), Cassiel (angel or temperance), and Sandalphon (angel of paths & choices).
For some reason, I never really thought about the style in which I would produce this series. The idea of parchment-backed pencil illustrations seemed to be a given. Although I went back over Michael in Corel Painter and used blending tools (with a digital tablet) to smooth him, I decided against using this method on the remainder of them (Michael was okay to stand on his own since he’s the head-piece of the series).
A lot of people ask me what this series “means” to me. I made a concerted effort to make them religiously broad. This began with the combined research of Christian, Judaic, Islamic and even Pagan legends and lore. When working on each piece, I wanted to show some factor of positive energy that was related to their position as an archangel. For example, with Michael I wanted to show the kind of guy you’d have no problem taking orders from with the depth, wisdom and compassion in his face. I also wanted him to look like the kind of guy you’d feel safe hiding behind! I opted to go pupil-less on all of them to maintain that aura of “other-worldliness”.
Well, that’s all for now, but I’m going to post some pics of tattoos that fans have gotten of this series!
Check out these links to view merchandise with the “Archangels Series”:http://www.cafepress.com/jayfrench/399204 http://www.zazzle.com/jayfrench/gifts?cg=196065079340622420