King Brutus, Keeper of the Flame, broods on his new throne

King Brutus on the throne. Illustration by Joe Cross. Copyright Joe Cross 2022.

Joe Cross, my illustrator, has been perfecting his craft as an illustrator ever since Mrs. C bought him an iPad just about a year ago.

If you follow my writing contests, you probably recognize his artwork. He has been illustrating the contest stories since August 2021, when he gave me a striking image of the nameless android in “After the Fall,” the dystopian Sci Fi story for my September 2021 Contest.

Android in Stockheim. Illustration by Joe Cross. Copyright Joe Cross 2021.

Since then, I’ve pushed Joe’s artistic abilities and strained his schedule with my constant demands for more illustrations for the writing contests. And he has never failed me.

Joe is not an artist by breeding, experience, or formal training. Until I recruited him–or perhaps he recruited me–he had not picked up a pencil to draw anything since he was a child. And then came the fateful day. We were chatting, and I was bemoaning the fact that I constantly need illustrations for my contests and other stories. The Globe Folio, an ongoing Sci Fi series set on a planet filled with beasts, bandits, and hovercraft, demands unique images at a voracious rate.

At the time, Joe was not an artist. He’s more of a Humanities guy. So it surprised us both when he volunteered to become my illustrator. I know he loves Sci Fi just as much as I do, and he loves reading the Globe Folio stories. But he claims to be neither a writer nor an artist.

We made a deal that as long as he provides illustrations for the contests, I’ll provide all the art supplies and classes I can afford. But mostly, Joe is self taught. He fills sketchbooks with pencil sketches, and he learns as much as he can about the Procreate app on the iPad. (It’s an amazing program, and only $10!) He constantly watches artists and how-to programs on YouTube. And he surprises me with every new piece he delivers.

Well, now there’s no question that Joe is an artist. He’s been the sole illustrator for my website for a year. He still considers himself a beginner, but I think he’s gotten pretty good. Of course, I’m just a scrivener, so what do I know?

As my illustrator, Joe’s primary job is to create a singular image for each of the contest stories. But for some time, Joe has been trying to illustrate the Globe Folio stories. Eventually, he would like to provide the main illustration for all of them. And, he even has hopes to begin providing the smaller illustrations within these stories. That’s a lofty goal. So far, we have more than 30 individual stories, if you count both parts of our many two-parter stories. But it’s great to shoot for the stars!

Details from “King Brutus on the Throne.”

With Joe’s permission, I am starting to release his illustrations for the Globe Folio stories. They come in no particular order. Joe draws and paints (digitally) an image for whatever story he thinks he can manage with his growing skills.

So here’s one of Joe’s early pieces from December 2021: King Brutus on the Throne.

If you enjoy this piece, please feel free to drop Joe a kind comment below. And if you’d like to read the story that inspired this piece, check out The Burning Flame by Frasier Armitage.

King Brutus broods on his new hover-tech throne. An orange seal of the Flame of Belmont burns at the top of his throne. Underneath, the hover tech casts a white light over the helmets and armor piled at his feet. Behind him, an open fireplace the length of the wall casts flickering flames in the gloomy chamber.
King Brutus broods on his new hover-tech throne. An orange seal of the Flame of Belmont burns at the top of his throne. Underneath, the hover tech casts a white light over the helmets and armor piled at his feet. Behind him, an open fireplace the length of the wall casts flickering flames in the gloomy chamber.

This is the winner of the Matthew Cross Writing Contest-June

The winner of the Matthew Cross Flash Fiction Collaboration Contest is Frasier Armitage I started the story below. See how Frasier starts after the red line and provides us with an action-packed, Sci Fi twist and a dramatic, cinematic ending worthy of the big screen. Sur Veil Lance BY FRASIER ARMITAGE AND… Continue reading