Hello everyone! It's been a bit of a stretch between weekend sketches, eh? If you've read my previous blog post you'll know I've been on a bit of a journey with my relationship to art. This does extend a bit into my feelings about sharing it, but I will need some more time to ferment my thoughts on that.
Otherwise, I've gotten back into thinking about Sol, Nyx, and their story that currently only plays to the exclusive screen in my head. Though that might change by next year.
I wanted to share some art I had been hoarding of them. Well, not necessarily hoarding since most of these can be found on my Pillowfort account. But if you're someone like my mom and don't go there then this is for you! I figure, since it's the spooky month why not share what I had that fits the season, like cool wereforms and glimpses into some more of Sol and Nyx's demon hunting?
I'm definitely trying to keep the indulgence levels stable with these two, even though I'm on the edge of turning their story into something I will be sharing outside of myself and a handful of close friends, and Sol's Divine Beast Form is the threshold. I love designing super-powered forms (or their "Final Forms" if you like) of my characters. This is definitely a holdover from playing a bunch of JRPGs in my teens; stuff like Final Fantasy 10-X and 12 and Tales of Symphonia. But it's always, or at least very often, the villains in those games that get that cool final form. And not that villains aren't cool in and of themselves, I just like the idea of my protagonist getting a rad burst mode, a beast form, or a divine/ascended self.
Usually in JRPGs the villain's Final Form represents a full corruption of the self, a point of no return where they become truly monstrous and lose all their humanity, which often makes it easier for the player to put the villain down. And I wonder, what does it mean when the protagonist has this form and at some point fully embraces and enjoys it? Because usually (and I know there are exceptions to this) a protagonist's embrace of their inhuman half is a tentative one filled with doubt. It's a constant struggle for them to keep their humanity despite this other side of themselves.
Anyways, I hope y'all have a nice Halloween. I'll likely be having a good time offline and I hope you can too!
Oh boy! It has been a bit!
I spent most of what remained of summer and the start of the autumn getting out and touching grass, going for bike rides, spending time with friends and around my community, and focusing on my day job. It's been nice! I've also been taking this time to think about my relationship with art and drawing and how it has changed over the past decade.
When I would draw as a kid/teen/young adult it was this very spontaneous thing. Who cared what the final result looked like? The act of drawing felt so good. Building anything out of my hands became a triumph. But as I improved at drawing and to an extent writing and could make money off of it, something started to shift and I felt myself losing that simple joy I got out of just drawing.
While getting out and about this summer one of my frequent trips would be bike rides to the many parks around the city to sit down to draw, sometimes alone and sometimes with friends. I had allowed myself the simple pleasure of drawing what I saw and playing around with the shape and colour of the thing by laying down texture using lines or just slapping wet blobs of watercolour everywhere.
I felt like I returned to the primordial source of art, how it just feels good to make a mark on a physical surface. It feels nice to look at nature, at the physical world, and interact with it in a un-intrusive way by drawing it. Letting myself scribble sketches of bushes, tree branches, and a couple messy sketches of an inchworm that had crawled onto my pencil case made me feel like the metaphorical chains clamped around my wrists had loosened.
It's a weird thing making art for money. Artists deserve to be paid for their work, and please don't take this as me saying that they shouldn't, because I do like being able to afford groceries, but it does feel weird when art becomes a source of income. Creating art is such a natural human thing. Art is communication. It is one of the ways we say to the world "you are here!" and one of the ways we say about ourselves "I am here!" I also think it can also be translated further to "I love the world and I love that I am in it!" It just sucks that capitalism says back to us "sell this love so you can keep living."
And with that proclamation art becomes something that is ranked, that has a hierarchy. What kind of art makes more money over the other determines what kind of art has value. It then becomes harder to enjoy something as simple as drawing because there are now all these new variables to consider like speed, and polish, and detail.
But I guess that conundrum could apply to most forms of labour under capitalism, because even though art can be a pleasure to do it is still a skill and a form of labour. We want to get better at knowing the world and ourselves through art so we practice at it, at least that's what I think. Learning and practice can be a pleasure. Drawing has gotten me to learn things I don't think I would have normally. I've learned about the way some trees grow, the way the human body moves, what makes light reflect off of fish scales the way it does, and I feel full with this new knowledge.
There is also so much to learn about the drawing process itself like the way water flows off of a brush, or how much pressure to put on a ballpoint pen to keep the line light enough to replicate the kind of gradient you can get with a pencil. I've learned about what my own body can do to get across the message I want to send, be it to myself or to the world.
When it comes down to it, no matter how our relationship to art is influenced by social structures, and how well someone draws within those structures, drawing just feels good. The past couple of months helped me remember that.
Hello, my name is Gisele! I'm a cartoonist, editor, and writer living on the cold shoulder of Canada. You can support me and my work through Patreon.