Still struggling to come up with good content for another episode of How Screwed Are They, Really?, I've decided to shift gears and instead mention some of the wonderful talents on DeviantArt whose stock photos have proven immensely helpful to my projects.
These are models I'd recommend to anyone else on here who is also active on DeviantArt and has projects in the pipeline that would require a face to a name. Most of these will be women, but I'll try to fit at least one male artist on one of my upcoming lists too.
Characters portrayed: Candi "Ciem" Flippo, Miriam "Sniperbadger" Flippo, and Marina Flippo-Baret from The Gerosha Chronicles.
While not technically a stock artist, and usually expecting to get paid for working with you, this model from Goblin City, NY is quite a visionary in her own right. The photo above is actually a more conservative picture of her. Some of her work can get...pretty steamy.
However, don't go drooling over her too much...this woman has standards, and expects you to respect them! But within those boundaries, she knows how to keep her audience hooked and begging for more. I've stopped counting all the half-sincere marriage proposals she gets on her Facebook page. But suffice to say, she could launch a thousand ships. Her photo distributors may not be very good about shipping, so be mindful of her store that payments you make are actually delivered. (I never got that 5'x7" print I ordered.)
You'll need special permission to alter her photos, but she's usually wiling to grant it if you ask nicely.
ABOUT THE CHARACTERS
Two obsessed vigilantes and a rock star
As Candi, she portrays a romantic-but-codependant/insecure teenage girl with centipede-themed superpowers who was taught since birth that it was her destiny to rid the world of the Hebbleskin Gang - a sadistic cult of alien transhumanists bent on world domination with a penchant for slicing open the stomachs of male political opponents and beheading female ones.
However, the organization set up to help her character in this journey, "SCALLOP" (run by her half-brother), proves to be very corrupt.
Because of this, Candi's personal crusade becomes even harder when she finds law enforcement harassing her constantly. (She is unable to keep her identity a secret to authorities for very long.) Her struggle to overcome her own codependency and nymphomania in a war-torn bad future makes things even harder yet.
She is eventually able to settle down and marry the man of her dreams. She is able to lead a quasi-normal life. (As normal as possible, when your alter-ego is a vigilante wearing an orange centipede costume and fighting crime with venom-tipped staple guns mounted to her wrists and brown stingers coming out of her wrists, shoulders, hips, thighs, and lower calves, plus little trinkets that let you teleport like Nightcrawler.)
As Miriam, Lee portrays Candi's non-powered sister - a super-hacker. However, Miriam's cyber-crusading catches up with her eventually, and she is gangpressed into the Chinese intelligence community. As Marina, Lee portrays a shy-but-lonely indie rock star who has a shotgun wedding with a used car salesman. Marina decided the life of adventure her sisters chose was not for her, and instead took to a life in free-spirit indie music. The touring bus and stage would be her way of life - when she wasn't at home with her new husband and son. Even so, she has to look over her shoulder for anyone who might mistake her for her sisters - those crazy vigilantes!
THE MAKEUP PROCESS
Since Lee is clearly way more Asian than anything else, one of the first processes to get her to match the Indo-Persian-Black-White / Blasian look of the Flippo triplets is to alter the shape of her lips and eyes. Her skin is also tanned in post, to give her some black "ghetto" touch - but only a touch of it.
The characters she portrays are all about 5'4" in height, and the same bodily dimensions as Lee herself. (Lee is 5'2".)
The model's sensuality matches that of Candi and Miriam when in committed relationships - where self-control becomes very difficult for them. With the exception of Marina, the Flippos won't hop under the covers with just anyone. And Lee matches that with her own standards of decency: only so far, no further, and not just anything, nor just anyone.
Getting her to look like Miriam and Marina was relatively easy. Getting her to look like Candi in civilian form took almost no modification, except to her face and skintone. In spite holding nothing back with her boyfriends, Candi's wardrobe is actually a lot more conservative than Lee's. So that limits how many photos in Lee's collection were of use to my project.
The Ciem suit takes the longest to paint on her. And to look convincing, it had to be skin-tight. Since Lee has high standards, she doesn't do a whole lot of truly nude photography. Which means I had to look for quite a while to find an image of hers that I could paint a Ciem suit onto.
The painting process in Photoshop CS2 can take anywhere up to 5 hours - the kind of tedious work you'd expect from the makeup crew in X-Men films to get Mystique actresses to look like that character!
What hours and hours of makeup can do.
Actual shots of Candi in the Ciem suit are limited; because she is one of actually very few truly "costumed" heroes in the Gerosha Chronicles. And her suit is quite obviously inspired by the Raimiverse Spider-Man costume - which also has a lot of small parts that require intense attention to detail!
All around, if you are a rich man and want Lee for a project, I would strongly recommend her.
Character portrayed: Anita Hallot, Camelorum Adventures
Admittedly very shy in real life, Susan is absolutely adorable as a model. She fares from New Jersey, and is probably one of the best things to ever come out of that state. She only asks a few things from those who would use her stock for photomanips: credit her on DeviantArt, send her a link to the manip, and credit her photographer.
ABOUT THE CHARACTER
The last woman you'd ever expect to find behind bars
Anita Hallot is way more socially confident than the model portraying her. She is a goofy, giddy, flaky radio personality who was framed for shooting a propeller stunt plane out of the sky - one which then crashed into a cotton candy factory. It happened at an air show. Confused as everyone else, she kindly said goodbye to the crowd saying: "Guess I'll see you all again in five years - maybe."
Because of questions with the evidence, they allowed her to run her radio show from inside Camelorum Correctional - provided that 90% of her salary went toward paying for the damages. The woman who set her up, Rita Rigatoni, was eventually captured as well. Rita narrowly avoided being sent to Alpacalorum Mental Asylum instead, given she was balls-off-the-wall insane as "Twisted Noodle, the World's Most Notorious Prankster."
Anita is an absolute darling, even inside the big house. Though, she does slightly resent Carly Rancine for jinxing her uncontrollably. Now, her mere presence causes planes to malfunction and crash - often by nose-diving! Camelorum had to become a no-fly-zone for commercial jets - merely to avoid casualties associated with simply being too close to Anita's aura.
The girl who is bad luck to planes is sent to this poor man's SCP Foundation of a joint, and gets a cellmate in the form of Gwen Indot - whose aura causes ferrets and weasels to explode in fireballs. Gwen is also the by-product of being framed for arson by Rita, only to wind up jinxed by Carly. Neither Anita nor Gwen are good at fighting, so they rely on their wits and social engineering to avoid conflicts. But if it comes down to it, Anita defends Gwen. Over time, the Jens and Emily teach self-defense to the two ditzy girls, so that they don't have to wait for the guards - or Candace - to come to their rescue all the time. (Candace is already too busy, given she's absurdly popular.)
Worst of all for Anita, she has to be taken places by boat, balloon, or basically anything except a plane. (For obvious reasons!) So no Con Air for her!
Anita's favorite song is "Walking on Sunshine," and she even taunted a DUI suspect once with a render dubbed "You Drank Too Much Moonshine." She gets a warning for "bullying" for that one, because the song was too funny and the man became overly demoralized by hearing it.
THE MAKEUP PROCESS
With the way Susan was wearing her hair for the shoot inside that decommissioned jail in some of her stock photos, she pretty much looked to a T like Anita. All I really had to add was alter her uniform to look like a modern orange jumpsuit, rather than a classic black-on-white striped one. Admittedly, the paint-over in the picture below could've gone a lot better.
All around, Susan is a wonderful model, and one I'd very much recommend to inspiring artists. Just remember to keep it all modest and PG: the artist is shy, and would be readily turned off by the kind of sensationalism and sensuality that others (like Lee) are willing to consider. If you REALLY want to push the envelope, I'd recommend you take your chances with LuanaLani instead. As always, respect the artist and their limitations. They exist for a reason.
Characters portrayed: Stephanie Barrin / "Strawberry" droid main remote pilot (Pilltar, Pilltar 2, Pilltar 3, Sodality); and I've seen Harry Potter fanfic sites use her stock for Ginny Weasely.
Patrycja can be fun to work with, but do bear in mind that modeling is a side hobby for her, not her main pursuit. She has brains and beauty, and the former takes up a lot of her time. She recently finished a degree program at her school. While not super-well-known to the US market, she is a pretty big deal in Poland. She's not rich, and certainly lacks to glamor and glitter that Lee Loo La likes to put on. However, there's a certain warmth and soul to her that is lacking in many of the other models I've edited photos from. Her soul shines through in her work, whereas Susan dabbles and Lee runs her operation like a business. She is probably one of the most conservatively-dressed models on my list, and that's saying something when compared to Susan.
ABOUT THE CHARACTER
Like a female Iron Man
In Pilltar, Stephanie is a gifted 15-year-old mechanic who takes after her father - a man separated from her preachy and insecure legalist of a mother as he deals with therapy after suffering a mental breakdown on the front lines in Iraq. Several years have gone by, and Stephanie's parents are trying to get back together. Due to Ron's talents, Seth Lambrelli - the privately-wealthy owner of Lambrelli Labs - decides to offer Ron a job. However, Seth has secretly had his eye on Stephanie the entire time. He befriends her in the neighborhood one day over her suspicions that one of the teachers at her religious high school is not what he seems. The two have long talks; but things take a dark turn when a cannibal cult begins terrorizing the neighborhood - with girls Stephanie's age being the prime targets!
Stephanie teams up with Seth - who is on disability leave from his own company - to build a remote-piloted neighborhood watch droid capable of doing what most neighborhood watch cannot. The 3-ft.-tall device that adopts the mind of its remote pilot as a "brain suit" has a pill bug-like backside, hence Robotic Pillbug Avatar, or "Pilltar." The Pilltar experiment goes especially well - though the cult leader turns out to have superhuman strength and wrecks quite a few robots before escaping.
In Pilltar 2, Stephanie is piloting her own Pilltar droid, a pink one dubbed "Strawberry." Terrorists plot to launch an EMP attack over Des Moines, and Stephanie and Seth try to intercept the plan. However, their increased use of Pilltar and Strawberry to diffuse riots leads to Seth getting sued. Stephanie's efforts to defend her boss, while effective at destroying the opposition's argument, go unappreciated. She is exposed as Strawberry's pilot, and charged with contempt of court. However, Seth and Ron are able to get her out just in time to be Strawberry again, as the terrorists up their ante and take the town hostage. However, one of the EMP blasts succeeds, and fries one of the Strawberry droids. This sends a feedback loop to Stephanie's headset, one which malfunctions and causes her some mild brain damage. She is able to hold herself together just long enough to save Des Moines, before being hospitalized for her injuries.
In Pilltar 3, the cannibal cult leader returns and wants revenge. Seth has died of liver cancer, and Ron takes over as Pilltar. Father and daughter begin a road trip to move their company to Oklahoma. And the cult leader returns with his own evil version of Pilltar to pick a fight. It becomes a road trip from Hell, but the family overcomes the great evil of their past.
In Sodality, trying to protect Candi (and later her new husband Jonathan) from assassins goes horribly awry, leading to Stephanie having to use Strawberry's self-destruct feature at very inconvenient times. This leads to her having to deal with some vindictive property owners that want to press charges on her. But as her mental health deteriorates and her hallucinations get worse, she is eventually transferred to a hospital. This forces her to retire from being Strawberry, costing the Sodality a valued member. As she learns, not everyone is cut out to be a superhero. (But her husband comes back for her, and she now has a talking ceiling fan, so all's well?)
THE MAKEUP PROCESS
Patrycja looks so much like the splitting image of Stephanie, that all I really had to do was enhance her hair a bit and change the color of her eyes to match the character more. Otherwise, I barely had to change a thing. Strawberry droids are separate entities, even if she remote-controls them. Depicting one requires a totally different process.
If Patrycja isn't too busy, some of her stock just might be right for your project. You can find her on DeviantArt as Pathyelisia.
Character portrayed: Velithia the Cherisher / Cherinob, the Angel of Radioactive Death and Destruction, Cherinob, Cherinob 2, and Cherinob 3
Better known as "Faestock" on DeviantArt, Australia-based Jessica is by far one of the most angelic dames I have ever met. There is a sort of sweetness and purity that emanates from her that is hard to match anywhere else. So it's fitting I picked her to portray a tortured angel in a world that aims to be stylistically similar to Underworld.
In 2015, she briefly had to deal with a cruel smear campaign, which she documented on her YouTube channel. But she overcame, and the attackers are now nowhere to be found.
Jessica has one of the largest stock libraries on DeviantArt, with something to suit the tastes of nearly every artist (except the fetishistic ones.) I am honored to get to work with her, even if very indirectly. It's now hard for me to imagine anyone in the role of Cherinob except her, as she's become the gold standard for the character's likeness.
ABOUT THE CHARACTER
Like Selene meets Ghost Rider.
Velithia was part of the Defenders of Natural Order, a green-trimmed division of the Communacadrim (that normally had blue trims.) Her original assignment was to imbue compulsions of love and conscience into human hearts to encourage natural-but-holy longings for love in and care for others.
She was also there to ensure narcissism didn't creep into anyone, leading to the betrayal of natural affections for lusts which betray and corrupt the Vocational Destiny of nature itself. (Today's sexual revolution extremists would have a conniption fit over her, in other words.)
However, the War in Heaven proved costly. In spite being mode-locked on the side of good when her Volition Dilemma timer wore out, her former friend Kritchobol became mode-locked in his rebellion against God. Kritchobol grabbed a hold of Velithia and tried to ensure that she was dragged to Hell with him - before the Great Chasm made a direct route return to Heaven impossible.
She was able to break free - but not before being impaled in the left shoulder with Kritchobol's sword. A shard broke off inside of her, trapping her to wander the Earth as a humanoid "manifestation" until her appointed time of release. The shard also corrupted her angelic powers, transforming her into a vengeful spirit that sought to protect humanity while punishing demonic manifestations that were assuming humanoid physical forms - with extreme prejudice sending them back to Hell.
Yet, doing so came at a terrible price: turning her into a walking nuclear reactor. She must constantly find safe ways to drain her gradual buildup of radioactivity, lest she become an even greater danger to humanity than the hellions she seeks to protect humanity from!
Her name means "she who turns the grass black," and is fitting for how her power works. Her maximum dose is 22 MRad, easily more than 2,000 times the dose needed to kill a man. She uses a "mesh" (which is painful to maintain) and temporary manifestations of a futuristic suit of armor (that she can wear less and less often as time goes by, as the suit has a half-life of durability) to protect mankind from herself.
Science labs, X-ray machines, prisons, nuclear plants, and even the Earth's core itself can only keep her contained for so long. But when she is called to action divinely and breaks her shackles, this metaphorical radioactive phoenix comes roaring back - unleashing Hell on her enemies even as she sends them back to Hell. And if she isn't careful, turning whatever town she visits into a nuclear wasteland! (Needless to say, world leaders find her mer
e existence extremely inconvenient.)
It's like Underworld, but with angels and demons instead of vampires and werewolves. The human Boris Heminski even tries to be Cherinob's boyfriend - though he ultimately realizes they're better off as just friends. (It'd be like Twilight if Edward had the power to nuke an entire continent, and Bella was a construction worker instead of a high school student. And she didn't completely suck.)
THE MAKEUP PROCESS
Jessica's library goes back and forth between her redhead phases and her blonde phases. However, Cherinob has always been red-haired. So
I make it a requirement that all hair is turned red for depicting Cherinob. When excited, her eyes glow radioactive green. The "mesh" is an overlay of green paint in Photoshop set to "Dissolve" layer mode, and then blurred after being merged with a dummy layer.
Shots used are designed to indicate that she is an action girl on par with anything Kate Beckinsale can do - but using smoke, ash, and glowing green things rather than blood, guns, and fangs, to achieve her end goals. The real artist is nowhere near as tortured as the character she portrays. Give her a chance sometime for your projects, and you probably won't regret it.
I've worked with plenty of other talents, but I'll discuss the rest next time. Happy editing!