Wylie Beckert


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Illuxcon, a Long Drive, Two Queens, and a Jack Posted on 02 Nov 2015

This blog seems to exist mainly as a forum for me to post my regrets about not blogging more. I can't be too sorry, though; I've been squaring away a few commissions, getting in some work done on my card deck, and attending Illuxcon!

Illuxcon 2015 Weekend Salon

My booth setup in the 2015 Weekend Salon at Illuxcon

Illuxcon is a bit special to me because it's where I got my first in-person introduction to the fantasy illustration community; I've been attending since 2013, but this was my first year exhibiting in the juried show. I'd previously exhibited in the showcase (the first-come-first-serve melee that occurs late Friday and Saturday nights) - while the Salon was slower paced, I definitely preferred the schedule (10am-5pm, leaving the night free for bar crawls, catching up with other artists, and sweet sweet sleep). Another bonus of the Salon over the showcase: assigned seating with display walls and hanging hardware provided - in the showcase, the best spots always go the strongest, swiftest, and most cunning (I tend to end up in the back corner behind a pillar at these sort of things).

If the whispers of artists are to be believed, this was a pretty dismal year for sales all around (apparently a massive art auction took place shortly before the show, siphoning away a lot of the art dollars collectors tend to spend at IX).

For my part, I sold a few pencil drawings and small items, and a good number of prints - definitely enough to cover the cost of attending, but not as much as I might have expected given Illuxcon's track record over the past few years. I'm morbidly curious to see the numbers on how this year's show compare to previous years - but it seems that sales totals weren't tallied this time around (unless I just missed the call for numbers).

I don't think it will deter me from exhibiting in future years, though - as always, it was great getting to meet some new artists and hang out with my crew from the back corner of IMC again; the continued interest in the Wicked Kingdom series was hugely encouraging, and I'm glad to have had the chance to get the word out to even more people about the project. Also, Illuxcon is switching venues next year - moving from Allentown (which has never seemed especially excited to have its streets overrun by drunken illustrators for a week) to a larger space in Reading, PA. I got a chance to talk with show founder Pat Wilshire about the move, and it sounds like it's going to be an exciting change.

I wasn't allowed to buy anything this year (I've had to burn enough of my own art to make room for my upcoming move), but I was tempted. I did leave with some richly undeserved but nonetheless coveted original art - a sketch of myself as an orc by Micah Epstein, and an ink drawing of my dog Tiki reimagined as a dive helmet by Dan Chudzinski!

sketch by Micah Epstein

A portrait by Micah Epstein. (I'M SO BEAUTIFUL AS AN ORC, YOU GUYS!)

ink drawing by Dan Chudzinski

A tiny dive helmet for Tiki by Dan Chudzinski - Awwwwww.

As with most conventions, I spent the duration bleary with sleep deprivation, misremembering names and forgetting faces. Nonetheless, I got to see some amazing art and talk to some amazing people (although, naturally, I missed quite a few who I meant to track down - it's hard to see the whole show and man a booth at the same time). Some of it must have stuck, though - after the usual day or two of twilight sleep that follows convention attendance, I awoke refreshed, inspired, and ready to start painting! Just in time to realize that I had less than a week to pack for a cross country move.

Which brings me to the other major news: I'm moving! After about six years in Maine (which were thoroughly unenjoyable, but probably important to the larger Wylie Beckert character arc) I'm headed back to the west coast; this time, the destination is Seattle. "But it's cloudy!", you'll no doubt protest; to such objections, I reply with the traditional Maine greeting "Go die in a blizzard."

Since I'll be driving (and taking the scenic route) new art and blog posting will most likely be non-existant over the next month or two until I'm settled in the new location; with any luck, though, I'll be doing some sketching on the road. Be sure to follow me on Instagram if you want to see clumsy plen-air watercolors of the World's Largest Ball of Twine and other holy relics of middle america.

Link to my Instagram above. Follow!

Between commissions, moving stress, and Illuxcon prep (which takes an inordinate amount of time for what really amounts to "wrap a bunch of my paintings in bubble wrap; shake spiders out of my only jacket") I've managed to make some small progress on my Wicked Kingdom playing card series, with the Queens of Clubs and Diamonds and the Jack of Spades (I feel like the Spades have the deepest and darkest backstory of any of the suits; they're definitely my favorites at the moment, and the Jack was a lot of fun to work on). The Wicked Kingdom series will be taking a big productivity hit from the move, but I'm looking to start up again in late November, and with any luck will be ready to launch the Kickstarter in February/March next year.

Wylie Beckert: Queen of Clubs playing card illustration for the Wicked Kingdom deck

Queen of Clubs, 11x17" oil, acrylic, and watercolor on paper

THE QUEEN OF CLUBS, or so she might have one day become - destined to cover her face and sit by the fire among her aunts, or die in childbirth like her mother - had she not forged her own war-club and followed the tracks of a foundling she-bear into the forest beyond her father's high walls.

None can say for certain what became of her, although there are hunters from the borderlands who claim to have seen her among the trees: a warrior maiden clad in iron and ragged pelts, more animal than human, with lichen on her armor and wildfire in her eyes. Legend names her the Bear Queen, and only the very brave or very foolish would venture to set a snare in her woods.

Wylie Beckert: Queen of Diamonds playing card illustration for the Wicked Kingdom deck

Queen of Diamonds, 11x17" oil, acrylic, and watercolor on paper. Original available.

THE QUEEN OF DIAMONDS: a title held by the eldest of the chosen girls, blinded by oleander, who trade the deceptions of their earthly eyes for inviolable vision of smoke and stone. In the temple beneath the mountains, they are taught to read the language of the true-sighted; the histories and philosophies lost to the rest of the four kingdoms are revealed to them in the darkness.

Upon the death of the Queen - often an early one, as the work of a vessel is not without its costs - a new girl assumes the title; by her vows she will be silent until such time as the stone speaks through her in a voice as old as the world - a voice that whispers the fates of men and foretells the rise and fall of kingdoms.

Her counsel is sought by kings, heroes, and other wanderers in the dark.

Wylie Beckert: Jack of Spades playing card illustration for the Wicked Kingdom deck
THE JACK OF SPADES: once the hope of his kingdom, heir to the prosperity of endless river valleys; now a gibbet of sunbleached bones overlooking scorched earth and blackened fields.

The legend outlives the man: a flaxen-haired prince who left his palace to work the fields with the common folk, and took up arms to fight alongside them. With his death, the royal lineage of the House of Spades was extinguished, and the King issued a final decree: that his son's body would keep its lonely vigil over the battlefield where he died until it saw the four kingdoms starve for their transgressions.

Each year, on the eve of his death, every field in the kingdom is burned to ensure a late planting and a scanty harvest - lest some unscrupulous peasant risk feeding the enemy in exchange for a few coins. Only two plots of land escape the ritual that has become known as the Prince's Harvest: the king's own gardens, lusher by the year, and the ravaged fields beneath the prince's eternal gaze; there, whatever weeds may grow from the hallowed ground are permitted to flourish.

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Jonathan Rockwell:

I don't know if you are interested but did you know when you get to Seattle you will be roughly 800 miles way form Stockton California. Home to the largest Collection of JC Leyendecker originals. I highly recommend you take the time to visit. That is if you want to be surround yourself with some of the greatest illustrations of the 20th century.

08 Dec 2015 03:16 pm

Wylie Beckert:

I LOVE Leyendecker! I'll definitely have to check that out now that I'm on the proper coast again :)

08 Dec 2015 03:44 pm

Jonathan Rockwell:

I thought you may be a fan. You can see his style in your work (well that's what I see). The museum is called The Haggin It's a distance but worth it. I believe they have up to 60 works by him but I could be wrong. They feature half but they are expanding to fit more.

08 Dec 2015 06:46 pm

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Forget Me


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02 May 2017
Process Tutorial: Ink & Watercolor

09 Mar 2017
The Art of the Self-Directed Project

09 Jan 2017
Wicked Kingdom Playing Cards on Kickstarter

14 Jun 2016
New Work: Quanta Magazine and some Wicked Jacks

31 Jan 2016
Illuxcon, a Long Drive, Two Queens, and a Jack

02 Nov 2015
Betta Magick

15 Aug 2015
A shop, two queens, and some process videos

01 Aug 2015
Newsdump, Summer 2015

16 Jul 2015
New Work: Thousandfurs

08 Jun 2015
Wicked Kingdom: The King of Diamonds

03 Jun 2015
Wicked Kingdom: The King of Clubs

17 May 2015
Wicked Kingdom: The King of Hearts

03 May 2015
Wicked Kingdom

15 Apr 2015
New Work: Fairy Brew

06 Mar 2015
Month of Love: Forbidden Fruit

01 Mar 2015
Month of Love: Love is All Around

19 Feb 2015
Month of Love: Diamonds

09 Feb 2015
Every Day Original: Sunset Ride

16 Jan 2015
One Fantastic Week

14 Jan 2015
Every Day Original

15 Dec 2014
New Work: Sword of Purpose

10 Dec 2014
New Work: The Nutcracker

18 Nov 2014
New Work: The Journey

05 Nov 2014
The ArtOrder Artists Series launch

20 Oct 2014


WICKED KINGDOM www.wickedkingdomdeck.com | REIGN OF SIN www.reignofsin.com