Character Designs for a Fantasy Story: Queen of Earth. Pencil and colored pencil on toned paper. 9”x6”
The Roman Juno is a goddess of marriage, fertility, and youth or vital energy. It seemed only natural, then, to combine her with Ceres/Demeter, goddess of agriculture, since, in ancient ritual, sexual fertility and agricultural fertility were often conflated, and since Juno’s ever-renewing natural vigor maps so well onto the renewal of earth with the seasons. It’s also very appropriate, given that the king of the gods is a sky father, that their queen should be an earth mother, as had been the case, in the first generation of gods, with Ouranos and Gaea.
I had a hell of a time designing her outfit. I had originally given her essentially a Roman matron’s outfit, but it looked neither youthful enough nor unique enough. The look I settled on is inspired by (the Romanized version of) Isis, who is also a queen goddess and was often compared to Demeter, combined with some Egyptian, and some fanciful, elements. The snakes represent the chthonic aspects of an agricultural deity: agriculture deals with burying things in the ground, after all. There’s a practical aspect to this too, as snakes eat many of the small critters (mice, rabbits, various bugs, etc.) that tend to destroy crops.