The Making of LexxFolk!

       A number of people have expressed an interest in knowing how the LexxFolk pictures (and their associated names) were created. It seems like a reasonable request - so here is a brief explanation. (Depending on demand, I may expand on these notes at a later date.)
       Firstly, the basics. I requested, or "borrowed" from websites, the pictures of the Lexxians I wanted to include, printed them out, drew them (yep, good ol' pencil and paper!), scanned them in and then worked on them in Corel4. Initially the process took me a long time - Splarka and Shukaido took about 7 hours each - but once I'd learned the limitations and capacities of the software I speeded up: the last few pictures took about 2 hours each.
       Where possible I asked each individual for their favourite colour: where this wasn't practicable I worked within my mental image and chose the colours myself. No-one has complained, so I suppose I was fairly successful!
       Regarding the names: sometimes these came to me before the image, sometimes while I was working on the picture: a couple of them were the result of considerable thought, and with two of them I gave up and just went for what seemed the easiest option.....
       The LexxFolk pictures were designed as electronic gifts for fellow Lexxians (from the Lexx Chatroom), and most people were both appreciative and positive about them. That being said, there are still two people who haven't even acknowledged their pictures, let alone given me any kind of feedback. They're both male: one is American, one Canadian. Make of that what you will.......!
       The pattern I was aiming for was one warm, one cool and one mixed set of colours on each line, as well as one of the more exotic portraits: with the exception of Searcher/WhiteKnight/Zen, I think I have accomplished my goal.









       HDS (His Divine Shadow) is my partner Ken, the nearest thing to the perfect man I've ever come across. Strong, gentle, considerate, caring, witty, intelligent, incredibly funny - he's wonderful. He also has the unenviable task of coping with me! He was the only person allowed to wholly choose his own colours. His name and eye-con is the eclipse, the "Sun Shadow". Our roles are interchangeable: when Ken is Sun, I am Shadow, and vice versa. Amongst other things he acts as the filter to enable other people better access to my writing - I have a tendency to assume that everyone is more intelligent than they really are (a recipe for disappointment if ever there was one!!) and this is often reflected in the first draft of my work. Ken points out where I am too obscure, or have presumed too much knowledge on the part of the reader, and suggests alternatives or clarification methods. Our partnership has enabled his writing to grow and evolve, too - once veering between the trivial and the stolid, his style is now warm, interesting and thoughtful - and great fun to read....
       He would like me to take out some of the adjectives in my description of him - but since they're all perfectly well deserved, they're all staying.....
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       Flare: my own portrait is nothing special. It's recognisably me, but intended to be mask-like. The eye-con (representing the Hadri galaxy) and the name are the most important elements of the portrait - I can weave dreams out of thin air if I have to, but I prefer to have something a little more substantial to work with (if you can call rust and cyberspace substantial!!)
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       For those few unenlightened souls who don't know, Lex Gigeroff is one of the writers of Lexx, and played His Shadow in IWHS (and the guitar-playing Klaagyan in Eating Pattern) - which explains the swirling eye-con. Lex came up with what is probably the funniest line of self-description of the entire project - "Self-description? Ummm... I once came third in a Lauren Bacall look-alike contest, if that's any help..."
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       Erith's picture is my overall favourite. Soon after it was completed she came to visit for a few days (and what a few days! I haven't enjoyed myself so much in years!!) and I realised that although the portrait is pretty good, nothing I drew could ever do her justice! Erith is dark, with astonishing silver blue eyes, and beautiful in the way the early Hollywood stars were beautiful - with a distinctive, powerful glamour sadly lacking in the insipid prettiness that passes for beauty these days. And she has an incisive, powerful intelligence to match...... We must play chess some day!
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       I knew when Binks described himself I wanted to include him - but then he disappeared to get married and I wasn't able to contact him for a few weeks. However, I finally saw his photograph and knew I'd been right.
       Binks is gorgeous, both physically and to chat to, one of the loveliest men I've encountered in a very long time. His photo immediately called to mind the regal nobility of a Mayan or Incan God-Emperor, which in turn reminded me of my visit to the Museum of the American Indian in Manhattan (that was an experience in itself! We got off the tube a couple of stops too soon and ended up walking through Harlem....). The South American exhibit - where I spent more time than in the whole of the rest of the Museum - was called "Where the Jaguars are Exalted": even now, years later, those words haunt me. So Binks became a sacred Jaguar, the being that encapsulates, for me, the wisdom and mysteries of those ancient peoples. I just wish I'd been able to really do him justice.....
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       Do I really need to explain where Icarus' picture came from?!
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       Holosapien is a very talented woman - a fine musician and a writer, as well as a graduate in Space and Planetary Physics, and possesses a keen interest in the paranormal. Searcher seemed a highly appropriate name - and her eye-con is a stylised representation of a radio telescope, for those who are interested!!
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       Splarka's picture was one of the more difficult ones to do. It really doesn't look very much like him - I worked from an atypical photograph and my imagination. Enchanter was the first of the portraits I did, and looks a little simple compared to some of the others - to me, at least.
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       Mira's was one of the more complex pictures. The name refers both to her fondness for zebras (a couple of friends of mine draw a wonderful comic strip called the Zen Zebras - a rock band comprised of 4 human/zebra-hybrid females!!) and to an enigmatic element in her character: Mira comes across as being much more mature and perceptive than her chronological age. I wanted to add a slightly mysterious look to the portrait - she's the only Lexxian without an eye-con (I'd hoped the contrasting sides of the face suggested the Yin/Yang symbol, but no-one has commented on it so I guess it didn't work!). The streaks in the hair are partly zebra-stripes and partly lightning flashes. I'm pleased with the portrait, although I don't think it really does her justice!
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       Jeff66 I got to know pretty well - I cast his horoscope for him, which allowed me to see the less obvious side of his character! The eye-con is a stylised DNA strand, symbolic of heredity and his Zodiac Sign (Aquarius) amongst other things, while the name has resonances - for me - of both the chivalry he keeps well hidden, and the lusty, vigorous nature of the real Mediaeval knights (as opposed to those wishy-washy romanticised creatures you find in popular fiction).
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       I am not happy with kais_girl's portrait. The colours are OK, and the overall image conveys the impishness I was trying to express - but there's definitely something missing. I shall be reworking Pixie at some point in the future - if I can ever find the time.....
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       Shukaido's picture was another complicated one - not for the drawing, which was extremely straightforward (except for his request that he not be looking directly at the viewer!) but for the eye-con. I wanted something Japanese, but my initial ideas - Mt. Fuji, a stylised crane, a chrysanthemum flower - were either too difficult to fit into the small space, or too obvious. Then I hit on the idea of a kanji character.... A couple of hours of net-searching later I found the one I wanted - "I", meaning "will", "desire", "mind", "heart", "thought". Shukaido hasn't given me any feedback about the portrait, which puzzled me, since he has a reputation for great politeness. Perhaps it was an oversight - or perhaps he hates the picture so much he can't bear to speak about it!
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       AmberSky: This was one of the easiest portraits - I simply "unstretched" the stretched photograph in her basement and used the colours in the "Amber Skies" sunset photo. To link in with the sky image the gold objects in the picture are clouds - not flames, as one person thought!
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       Cobolt's picture was done as a favour to Amber, and is probably the one I'm least satisfied with. All I had to go on was Amber's (necessarily biased) description and the photographs she sent: as a result this portrait is pretty much no more than a straightforward adaptation of a photograph, which is why there's no real character in it. The name refers more to my frustration at not being able to define his character than anything else. I really know nothing about him - other than that he hasn't acknowledged the portrait......
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       GfXProd's portrait was one of the later ones - and it's one I'm very pleased with. I don't know a great deal about him, except that he does the most amazing, beautiful animations - see GfX Productions! (He also likes blowing up starships!!) The "alien" image came to me almost as soon as I'd decided to do the picture - I originally considered Starsmasher as a name, but that only conveys destruction: I wanted a name that included creation. Novae (which for me has resonances of flashes of inspiration, creation coming from destruction, and the vast resources of both space and the human mind!) seemed perfect. The colours symbolise the deep blue of space and the gold that is created in the heart of stars.
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       I had a lot of difficulty with the picture of Tribs - mainly because the only photograph I had to work from was a tiny image in an RPG group photograph on his site! Nevertheless I'm pleased with it. The name is a pun: in the photograph he is carrying a crossbow, and his nickname in mIRC is short for tribble - and, of course, tribbles bolt their food!
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       Windmaster is another portrait I'm particularly fond of. To some extent it's quite fanciful: JiB's self description stated he was a beer-loving windsurfer - hence the colours: water and light ale! His eye-con is a stylised windsurfing board, and I've repeated the image of the sail in the shape of the hair (which is imaginary - JiB has short hair, but I wanted to convey movement). From this, the significance of the name should be obvious! (When JiB read it, he came back with - "You've obviously seen me after a curry and a couple of lagers!")
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       The picture of Dragonrider is another favourite - and should also be pretty self-explanatory. Cookie didn't see it in advance - since, by her own confession, she can't keep a secret, I didn't tell her anything about LexxFolk until the page was complete. The colours aren't anything like her favourites, but she loves dragons, and these seemed to be appropriate....
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       Burntime's portrait was a joy to do! Of all the photographs I was sent, his was the clearest and easiest to work from - clean, well-defined planes and angles, and good shadows. I wanted something fiery but controlled, and a name that suggested guidance and clarity: I'm happy with the result.
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       Watcher was a difficult portrait to do. The only picture I had of Denzo was several years old, and I'd had no real opportunity to get to know him - he was almost always online to the #lexx channel, but tended to "lurk" in the background, keeping an eye on things (I assumed!) and only occasionally dropping in to chat. So I'm afraid there's not a lot of character in the portrait. (On the other hand, you could argue that the image and the name express what I knew of him perfectly!). Nevertheless, given the circumstances, I'm pleased with the way the picture worked out.
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       Throatwobbler_Mangrove (TWM) proved a little difficult to pin down: I'm not totally happy with the picture. The image is fine, and I'm pleased with the colours, but it's lacking something. The name refers to his musical abilities (he has a great singing voice!) and is also intended to convey a sense of invention and creation: the image I had was of a chivalric troubadour or minstrel. I may work further on this portrait at a later date.
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       (Tosca - I know you've been looking forward to this! I just hope you're not disappointed!) I'm very fond of this one.... The first time I "met" Tosca we 'clicked' immediately - something that has only happened to me twice before (with Ken and with my second oldest friend Kim....) The photograph she sent me was another goodie - clear, well-defined and beautiful!! It shows her with what I can only describe as a smouldering pout, and it immediately suggested the name Siren. But Tosca is also sympathetic and perceptive, and needed something to convey an element of empathy and mystery as well - hence "Psi"-ren. I've tried to stick as closely as possible to her favourite colours, and the jewel eye-con is designed to show that she's a real gem!
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       Moonwitch. I'm pleased with the way this has worked out: it was a complex concept in the first place, and I believe I managed to blend all the elements almost perfectly. The photographs I worked from (three in all, the most of any of the portraits) showed three different aspects: the sultry, the mysterious, and the knowing. There was a feline element, and a cool, almost-aloofness, and at the same time almost a teasing smile! Briseis said her favourite colours were dark purple and spruce green - she's ended up with luminous ultra-violet (not quite the moon shining on snow, but I'm pleased with the effect) instead of purple, and the green is rather darker than what I understand to be spruce, but on the whole it works well.
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Original page created September 20th 98.

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