Thursday, January 31, 2013

Reading list.

Books waiting eagerly to have their pages turned.

I'm on GoodReads now. I don't review like I did here in Current Reads, but I enjoy keeping a record of which graphic novels I've experienced. A while back, I had a hell of a time trying to remember one and Googled vague plot points for hours. And it's worse for nonfiction. I went to our main city library and stumbled up and down one aisle for 30 minutes, asking two different staff members to help me find a much-needed book on African nomadic architecture. I couldn't remember the title or the author, searching the catalog seemed pointless, and apparently the Dewey Decimal System makes zero amount of sense to me. Imagine my increased capacity for headdesking when the title "African Nomadic Architecture" popped up as soon as I got home.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

More studies.

I wanted to practice some earth textures, so flipping open "Tibet: The Secret Continent" by Michael Peissel was a great place to start. Oh, Tibet.

And then my studious model posed for me a bit.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Breaking down barriers.

I've been doing a lot of thinking about my story, namely from a "what will people think?" perspective.

I have known for some years now that my main characters are really just reflections of me. Whose aren't? I come from an apparently pretty abnormal background of well-concealed emotional abuse, mental illness, and the struggle of separating sexual identity from personal worth. Then, the ensuing rebellion and looking to the other extremes to find something better. This is some heavy stuff, and it comes out. How will it be interpreted? I hope some background information can save me from looking like a very, very strange person. Or at least explain why that person is very, very strange.

Melodrama is a tone I'd like to avoid in my storytelling, but I guess I've felt pretty melodramatic at times.

See, my father was a fanatical atheist Darwinist. Growing up, I heard a lot of talk about who was and wasn't fit to survive, who "deserved to" or "should" breed, and explicit rules about who I could and couldn't date (women, as well as men of color, being on the "you can never come home" list - and I better have white grandkids, or else). He pointed out every biracial child on television, made it pretty clear that women were subservient, and freaked out about recessive genes - namely blonde hair and blue eyes - being lost in the gene pool because they were marks of superiority. There were also a number of conspiracy theories and firm words about my not supporting mass genocide of an entire region (that I was actually secretly researching and finding artistic inspiration from). I experienced a lot of anxiety, repression, guilt, depression, anger, and fear as a result.

So I think it's no surprise that one way I cope with and challenge all this extreme thinking in my fantasy macroculture. Homosexuality is pretty widely accepted, women are more free with their bodies, bloodlines are considered secondary to the forces of reincarnation, mutations happen fairly frequently, and there's tons of interbreeding between the races. We start off with folklore of peoples of specific colors and, due to the melting pot, everyone gets mixed up and we see a lot of different skin tones, eye colors, etc. I intentionally took a lot of different features from races here on earth and mixed-and-matched them. I can't ignore the way I intrinsically notice racial features and genetic lineage, but I can at least channel it into a world where the interpretations are not so hateful and negative.

And when racism, genocide, homophobia, etc. does happen, you'll see it through the eyes of characters that are struggling to find their way through it all. The conflict is going to be intense and with pretty steep consequences. My childhood was definitely that!

A biracial couple from a tribal region. Because of this match, the child will likely be sterile, but neither of them cares. The spirit lives forever. That's the world I "live" in when I draw.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Life drawing.

A spouse takes on a lot of cost-effective roles, one of which is a nude model that doesn't require payment or leaving the house. Thanks to my husband, who is a super good sport. Foreshortening terrifies me, but I love the shoulder/armpit/upper arm area so much that I'm willing to work through it.

Once I get warmed up and feel comfortable with anatomy again, I like feeling the different thick-to-thins slide off the graphite oh so naturally. Made up people! Whee!