Teegar Taylor

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Fan
Name: Teegar Taylor
Alias(es): Teegar
Type: fan artist, fan writer, fan poet
Fandoms: Star Trek, Star Trek: TNG, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Doctor Who
Communities:
Other:
URL: Teegar Taylor's Mr. Chekov Page ; Wayback link; another archive link
at Archive of Our Own
Deviantart page
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Teegar Taylor is a Star Trek: TOS fan writer, fan poet and fan artist who often focuses on the character of Chekov from the Star Trek TV series.

Teegar began creating fanart in about 1985. [1]

Some of her fan fiction can be found online here and in Jane Seaton's online fanzine The Book of Original Star Trek Fiction. Her art can be found here and on DeviantArt here.

In 1997, her story "Friend in Need" (co-written with Jane Seaton) came in second place for the ASC Awards Best General Story.[2] Her artwork has appeared in numerous fanzines. In addition to her art, she has written short stories which have appeared in Bill Hupe's Abode of Strife fanzine series. She also contributed art and articles to the art zine Artforum in the 1990s.

Print Zines in Which Teegar's Work Appears

Abode of Strife | Abode of Strife Who?? | Artforum | Back to Square One | Beyond the Farthest Star | Chekov: In Love and In Trouble | Chekov Uncovered | Cherish and The Chosen | Edge of Forever | Empty Spaces | Formazine | Fresh Beaver Tails | Grip | Hailing Frequencies | In a Different Reality | The Inward Reach | Laff Trek | Masiform D | A Matter of Honor | Mi-Anime | Nine | Nova Trek | Of Mixed Blood | Orion Archives: 2284-2323 Captain Sulu | Psst... Hey Kid, Wanna Buy a Fanzine? | Qubed | Rec-Room Rhymes | Resurrection | Sensor Readings | The Small Rouge One | Swap | Tales from Ten-Forward | The Trekzine Times | Trexperts | We're Sleeping Where?

Artwork Reviews

Her artwork was reviewed after it appeared on a cover of Trekindex:

Teegar's front cover for Volume II is a Spock portrait with an art deco motif. The stylized approach is appropriate here, but the likeness, while recognizable, is not as good as it should be, and she needs to hone her skills in gauging proportion. Also, she goofed in inking the circle that frames the figure, and she left the goof there. It should have been corrected or camouflaged somehow (and yes, indeed, I do know just how hard that can be. In a design whose success depends on clean lines and precision for an elegant appearance, there is no room for errors like that. However, her stippling here is excellent, achieving both delicacy and dimension in her subject, and a pleasing consistency in the border. Her back cover, a Picard profile with starfield and starship, is less successful, as is her interior piece—a starship with art deco border— which suffers from the failure to use clean, straight lines to complement her clean, attractive design.[3]

A fellow artist offered the following feedback on Teegar's "stipple" technique:

Also I was fascinated with Teegar Taylor's [article] "Tools of the Trade. I know all too well the headaches stipple drawing can give an artist. I enjoyed the way she supplied examples of her drawings to illustrate the evolution of her artwork. Stipple ink is a technique one cannot rush, and if it is, it SHOWS. It takes me 15-20 hours to complete a stipple and Ms. Taylor, it only makes me appreciate all the more your talented efforts.[4]
In 2010, her Kirk/Uhura portrait Midsummer Night was recommended on the Dreamwidth Fanart_recs community:
"Midsummer Night" - can be viewed here. The photo reference is the scene from the episode "Plato's Stepchildren." [5]
Why this piece is awesome: I like AUs, and this is Kirk and Uhura in costumes of a Shakespeare play, gazing at each other, cast as characters from Midsummer's Night Dream. I'm not much into Shakespeare (I know, a philistine), but this just looks nice and romantic on its own. Apparently the artist planned a story which didn't pan out, but some illustrations were done. [6]

In a review of the Artforum zine in Where None Have Gone Before, one reader commented:

The article on the use of Xerox paper as your art paper was written by Teegar Taylor, who explains how she arrived at this choice of paper. Ms. Taylor also gives the reader a very interesting look at her development as an artist with three samples of her work using stippling and pointillism ranging from an early Vulcan to the later Saavik. With these thought provoking and intriguing articles and the promise of articles in the future on nudity, adult illustration, portraiture vs. illustration, how to matte a piece, how to buy a piece of art, how to submit work to an editor, how to choose to illustrate a story from an editor's guidelines and more...[7]

Comments by the Artist: 2019

In 2019, Teegar discussed her early art and techniques:
some early art (1985) by Teegar, this example with some editorial comments
When I started out, I had a style very influenced by classic comics and illustration. I shaded via crosshatching. I quickly started to work to master the "stipple" style of shading because it was lighter and more in vogue with fanzine artists and editors. In retrospect, I wish I'd been confident enough to go with a more bare-bones style with no shading at all. Stippling was very time-consuming and physically demanding. I blew out my wrist in the early 2000's and couldn't draw at all for a long time. Back in the day, there were so many artists who were so very good at this method that people were very critical if you didn't do it perfectly. If your tiny dots were not tiny enough (which could be a problem with the copier, not you) some reviewers had the nerve to suggest that you needed to be buying more expensive pens and complained that your characters looked like they "had acne." Now, though, I post my old pictures on my DA site and the kids are agog. Just this morning a commenter was like, "Wow, is this some kind of 3d digital technique?" and I wrote back, "No. Just a whole lot of lil' bitty dots." [8]

In 2019, Teegar discussed the zine Edge of Forever, differing approaches to editing and encouragement, tact and professionalism, creating art in print zines, the different trajectory of fan artists, the importance to fan artists of the zines Artforum and Psst... Hey Kid, Wanna Buy a Fanzine?, and more.

Jordys and Sandy – and later Michael – were, in my experience, all real sweethearts to work with. Probably the clearest demonstration of their highly diplomatic and nurturing approach is encapsulated in the fact that when I was going through my stack of letters from them, one of the very first things I found was a rejection of a cover illustration I had completely forgotten about. Getting a cover illo rejected was a really, really, really big deal for me usually. The style of pen and ink drawing I did meant that I easily put twenty to thirty hours into just inking a full page composition. A rejection was an occasion for much tears and foot stamping at my house.

There was a different editor (who I will not name – not for fear of hurting his feelings or reputation – but because, with my luck, he’s probably still alive and would insist on arguing me down on this) who rejected a requested cover in the same sort of circumstances the EoF editors did. He wasn’t an artist and hadn’t given me a lot of guidance about his preferences, then wound up with art from me that just wasn’t what he had anticipated given what I’d done previously. However where Sandy and Jordys wrote a long, careful letter stressing how much they valued me, acknowledging how much time and effort had gone into the work they were rejecting, and apologizing for any miscommunication, Editor X came off as a total jerk. He was like, “Hey, I can’t draw, but I’ll go ahead and mock what you did in the following ways…” assuming I’d have a sense of humor about the whole thing. And I after thirty hours of inking, I didn’t. At all.

Whereas Sandy and Jordys were very “we still want a cover from you, but we’ll understand if you don’t want to after all this,” Editor X’s attitude was more like, “Hey, I’m a Big Name Fan and you’re not, Little Art-girl. So if you want to have access to all the Glory That Is My Publishing Empire, you can just keep guessing what I want this cover to look like… or not… up to you.”

Long story short; I ended up replacing the rejected cover with a published one in both case. With Jordys and Sandy, I forgot about the incident entirely. With Editor X, it’s the first thing that pops into my mind whenever I see his name.

[Thing is, my story was a] generic, off-the-shelf, he-might-not-have-even-realized-I-was-a-woman story. That was just [name redacted's] baseline behavior.

I can remember after suffering through this experience going to my fanzine friends and saying, “Hey, I did this cover.” And they were all like, “Ew, no. We hate that s.o.b. Don’t be a scab and work for him.” And I was much with the big sigh of relief and, “Sure thing – and be sure to put me on the distribution list to get the memo on this sort of situation so I don’t make this mistake again, okay?”

The cover assignment had come out of the blue and I was at a point in my fanart career where I was really flattered to get it – until I realized it was probably because everyone else on a rather long list had turned him down.

Still it was kind of nice to know I’d made it to the point where I was on the list, at least…

I went to Susan Lovett’s page to look for “Courts of Honor” and stopped to read a little about her experience working her way up as a fanzine artist and was surprised how much like mine it was. Like me, she did what they told you to do in the Welcommittee handout for artists. You were supposed to make up a little portfolio of your work. (I think I sent three Xeroxed pages of drawings – one page as if I were illustrating a story, one cover, and maybe an illo for a poem?) Like me, the great Susan Lovett (who I had assumed sprung fully grown from Michaelgelo’s forehead, sprouting black velvet renderings of “The Professionals” in dueling attire from every pore) was ignored by many editors, or received rejections that ranged from kind to blunt. She even started at around the same time I did (1980) but went far further far faster.

[Suzan Lovett] was definitely in the first tier of artists. By that, I mean those who could sell their artwork at conventions and demand commissions for artwork in ‘zines. There were only a handful of these top tier artists. I think all of them did nudes and sexually explicit images. Well, maybe not Warren Oddsson… I think he just did portraits. But it was much more common that if you wanted to really make it into the big time as a fanartist, you had to break into the slash market.

Below this were the second tier of artists. This was as far I ever got. When you reached this level, editors started to contact you, instead of the other way around. You got chances to design covers and – most importantly – you got to work in color sometimes. Pencil was expensive to reproduce. Color was expensive to reproduce. But it looked soooo much better than cheap photocopies of damned pen and ink – which is what you were stuck with if you were…

Third tier. The hoi polloi. This was entry level fan art. You had to do pen and ink whether or not you were good at pen and ink because that was what photocopied best and cheapest. And even at that, you couldn’t have expansive areas of black in your image because that photocopied badly. Editors liked for you to limit your drawings to neat quarter page squares – because that was easy to fit into a page layout. Editors frequently kept your original art. I’ve seen different explanations for this, but one definitely was because back in those days “cut and paste” was not a name for a program function. It was something you did with scissors and rubber cement. And at the end of all your effort, fanart from those below the top tier didn’t get a lot of recognition. When I was reading though the material for “Edge of Forever”, I was wounded afresh by some of the reviews for the art. All the ‘zines in this series were very professionally put together and, in my opinion, always carried a very nice selection of well-reproduced artwork. However, even this ‘zine was the target of this sort of broadly dismissive review when it came to art - “The art found in fanzines isn't usually worth looking at and I prefer it when editors either leave it out or use it sparingly. Fortunately, there's not much of it in EOF III. and that there is is uneven in quality.”

Part of the problem was that a lot of these reviews came from men who would preface such statements by saying they didn’t know anything about art… and then plow blindly forth with insulting statements. And if you look on Trek BBS or Deviant Art today and see the kind of subject matter these sorts of guys do tend to prefer in the imagery they consume -- a) highly detailed pictures of starships b) pictures of ridiculously large-breasted women in abnormally tight Star Trek costumes and c) pictures of naked, ridiculously large-breasted women representing various Star Trek alien races) you can see that no, fanzine art back in the day was not servicing this audience’s desires at all. It’s no wonder they thought it was a waste of paper.

Not that I’m still mad or anything…

Well, these were reasons why “Artforum” and “Hey, Kid, Wanna Buy a Fanzine?” were important milestones for fanart. Those two review-zines in particular were not just some rando bonehead spouting about what he didn’t like. These publications were first tier artists honestly critiquing art and production values. These were people who had come up through the ranks of fanart and actually knew what they were talking about giving you the unvarnished truth.

I think that “Wanna Buy” in particular must seem terribly harsh today. Internet publishing today is entirely different from how the Zineworld was in the mid-1990’s. Today there are only minimal barriers to absolute amateurs getting a story or some art onto a world-wide forum like tumblr or AO3. It just seems natural therefore to be kind and gentle with your constructive criticism. You very well could be dealing with a fifteen-year-old publishing their first story at any point. It make sense to have a “Oh, we’re all just having fun and learning together!” attitude.

It was that way in ‘Zineworld too for a long time. Then in the mid-90’s, we woke up and realized that many of us had been doing this for twenty-five freaking years. People had editorial boards and submission procedures. ‘Zines cost hundreds of dollars to produce. Consumers were paying around $25 plus shipping and handling for publications they frequently had to buy blind through the mail or just on the word of some dude who didn’t know anything about art and judged story quality by the number of Klingons zapped. Unscrupulous and mean folks were screwing artists, writers, and the ‘zine buying public over in hundred different ways. Things needed to be said. Sometimes some very harsh things needed to be said.

I still admire the fact that so many of these first tier artists used their privileged position to go out on limb and honestly point fingers at unfair practices, bad behavior, poor quality, and demand that we ask better of ourselves as a community.

I wasn’t in a position to say it at the time and still to this day do not have neither the internal fortitude nor the lack of a gag reflex it would take to properly deal with the [name redacted] of the world. [9]

Gallery

Fanzine Art

Online Art

Resistance Vas Futile. Colored pencil. 1994
Chekov In Trouble. Colored pencil. 1994
The Dragon and St. Pavel. Colored Pencil, 1996.

References

  1. from a personal email from Teegar to MPH (February 2019)
  2. harmony_bites. ASC Awards Winners - Trek: TOS, 17 July 2009. (Accessed 04 December 2010)
  3. from Psst... Hey Kid, Wanna Buy a Fanzine? #2
  4. LOC in Artforum issue #2.
  5. comment by Teegar
  6. Midsummer Night - Kirk/Uhura by Teegar (SFW)
  7. from an issue of Where None Have Gone Before.
  8. from an email by Teegar, sent to MPH, quoted with permission (February 2019)
  9. from an email by Teegar, sent to MPH, quoted with permission (February 2019)
  10. artist's notes on Archive of Our Own (2019)
  11. The artist writes: "This is a pretty standard sort of cover treatment, but it was special to me at the time because this is one of the first color covers I did. Color covers cost extra to produce, so it was really a mark of Bill Hupe's faith in me that he gave me the chance to do this one. The original artwork was in colored pencil. I'm afraid this one is a little "dotty" because it's a scan of a colored copy instead of from the original." Source: from the artist's Deviant Art gallery.