Rogue Princess Suite 2024

Rogue Princess Suite 2024

“The opposite of regal.”

My Rogue Princess Suite comprises 40 pencil drawings measuring 17 inches by 45 feet, and was inspired by the young adult novel Rogue Princess by B.R. Myers, (Macmillan, 2020.)  All titles are quotes from the book.

Rogue Princess is a reimagining of Cinderella, that takes place on the high-tech, energy-starved feudal planet of Astor.  Aidan, the Cinderella character, a lowly kitchen chore boy, is smarter, more sensitive and sympathetic than any of the seven princes from the Four Quadrants of the galaxy, who’ve just arrived seeking Princess Delia’s hand in marriage.

Delia would rather be a sword-wielding Queen’s Guard, or a diplomat, or go to university than marry, but reluctantly accepts her duty as eldest daughter to a strategic marriage that will secure the energy her planet needs. 

Aidan and Delia are thrown together on a spaceship they simultaneously steal to escape their situations.  Aidan shows Delia the dark side of her kingdom, where starving kids pick through giant dumps to earn a few coins.

I first listened to Rogue Princess in Lucy Brownhill’s magical reading on CDs from the library. I started doing a few sketches, just for fun, but the project took hold of me, just as the story had.  The otherworldly, fairytale setting freed me to create all kinds of costumes, scenery and technology.  Before long, I was drawing every day and writing about the process.  

The book’s themes of memory, free will, poverty, environmental destruction, sexual awakening and interracial romance resonated with me, as well as some of the events mirroring my own life: the recent death of my mother, and my failed attempt, twenty years ago, to save the Elephant Tree, a century-old horse chestnut.

For months, I was embarrassed to show anyone my drawings because illustrating a sci-fi fairytale didn’t seem “serious” enough.  In the art world there’s a hierarchy of mediums, sizes, and subjects, which I disagree with.  Big oil paintings are considered more important than small pencil drawings, and war a more important subject than romance.

Finally I gave myself permission to create whatever I wanted, threw out embarrassment, and started to show the series.  People responded with pleasure, excitement and a desire to read the book!