A Dizzying Tornado of ART!

Ok, here’s what’s been going on in the life of Kelci, aspiring graphic novelist:

The graphic novel script I’m currently working on is…making slow progress. I’m almost disappointed in the fact that not a lot has been added compared to the last graphic novel script I’ve done.

HOWEVER, I’m more proud of what’s going on in this particular novel script. The characters are really emotionally investing themselves, my scripting art style is switching from weird stick figures to scribbly fleshy figures, and the subject matter is something I’ve been wanting to write about for years.

I’m also reading a spectacular novel called Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs.

READ IT! That is all.

Also, I have now obtained my own personal copy of Blacksad in hardcover!

You folks have NO IDEA how long I’ve coveted this book! The art is just beautiful, and the story behind it is even better. I’d say it’s gold, but it’s black…BLACKSAD.

You see what I did there? ;3

Man, I’m just jumping topics tonight.

Back to the topic of art, I’m glad to say that the painting class I’m taking this semester is challenging me to make comic work (which I’m excited about) on a deadline (which I’m excited and terrified about). The deadlines are actually imposed by myself, since Gordon, the instructor of the class, didn’t give us deadlines or a syllabus. It’s really exciting for me, because I just keep thinking, “YES! This is what art classes should be!” I don’t know how the other students feel about it.

Because of the graphic novel script and the painting class, this means I’m busy, BUT I should soon be updating more. I make no promises (mostly because everytime I make them on this blog, I keep breaking them), but I intend on posting up pictures of my paintings from class as I finish them.

Also, I’m giving a presentation of my comic work as an Artist Showcase in my residence hall in November, so I’ll be gathering and making artwork for that, as well. I’ll do my best to keep you folks posted.

Ok, now I need to rest up, because tomorrow I’m working all day.

Today’s Food for Thought: Original Sin?

I found this quote in a book about mythology, and I had to share it:

“When the Roman Empire fell in the West, St Augustine, bishop of Hippo in North Africa, reinterpreted the myth of Adam and Eve and developed the myth of Original Sin. Because of Adam’s disobedience, God has condemned the entire human race to eternal damnation (another idea that has no biblical foundation).” –Karen Armstrong, “A Short History of Myth”

It amazes me to think that original sin was an idea conceived by man, and was never part of the original doctrine.

What do you folks think?

Stealing, or How I Rediscovered My Inspiration

The one thing that I learned when I went on my trip to the Navajo Reservation in May was what was important to me and why it was important. For me, my art is important, and now that it’s my (pretty much) ONLY focus in my spare time at college, I find myself being happier and finding artistic inspiration and working wherever I go.

For instance, I found inspiration at a gallery showing in the Fine Art Building on my college campus.


The exhibition was called “FOCUS” (if memory serves me correctly) and was a showcase of award-winning high school student art from the Northwest Ohio area. I’m sure many of these students got scholarships, and if they didn’t, they should have.

Yes, there were a few works that I felt didn’t meet my standard of “awesome art!” However, I did find works that constantly made me say,

“Why didn’t I think of that?!”

This book (besides being fun to flip through) was just one example of what I’m talking about.

And you know something? For an artist, that’s healthy.

It means you’ve just been inspired.

At least, that’s what I believe.

In my opinion, if you see an artwork and think or say to yourself, “That’s cute/cool/meh/fun/interesting,” but don’t think of much of anything else, then sure it’s visually pleasing. However, it’s just eye candy: something for you to look at that doesn’t get your juices flowing.

In other words, it’s not artistic inspiration.

However, if you find yourself looking at something you genuinely like for whatever reason, and then say to yourself, “Seriously, why didn’t I think of that?!”….that’s inspiration.

The reason it’s inspiration (in my line of thinking) is because it’s in a medium that you appreciate and they’re playing with either a principle, a technique, a material, or a subject matter that you yourself thought of doing, but never got to do. Now that you’ve seen someone actually do it, you know that it’s not only possible…but it looks great to boot.

I had actually thought of a technique like this, but didn’t know how it would play out. Now that I do….

So what do you do once you see these new artistic inspirations in play?

Do what an artist does: STEAL THEM.

This is not functional whatsoever, but I WANT.

Does this mean you steal the artwork itself? No. That’s RASL‘s job. Your job, as the artist, is to think about the principle/technique/subject matter/material/blahwhatever that inspired you in the piece, and take that thing that inspired you. Then play with it, and place it in your work.

These owls have inspired me to be more whimsical yet delightfully detailed in my art.

Should you feel guilty about this? No.

People play with ideas all the time. It’s perfectly ok.

If you want further proof that it’s all right for an artist to steal, go read this entry by Austin Kleon on the subject. Not only does he find a way to justify it in a more articulate way than I could, but he gives you WAYS TO DO IT.

Now what inspires you varies from artist to artist. For me, personally, I’m inspired by a few things:

  • Whimsy
  • Fine details
  • playing with the form/presentation of the piece
  • playing with the shapes/colors of the subject matter
  • bold, passionate colors
  • a straightforward, yet thought-provoking, message

The image above is inspiring to me because it’s straightforward (it’s an advertisement for a high school play) but it’s thought provoking: Why are the figures portrayed like that? Is it in stark black and white because the play talks about shadows versus light? I could, of course, answer these questions, but asking them is the fun part, and making up the answers even when you don’t know them is even more so.

This teapot inspired me to play with form: Not all teapots need to be perfectly round.
This inspires me not just because this looks like my friend Tori, but because it uses blacks and reds boldly.
I just thought this piece was too cool. It’s a box, with a clock face on the top. It actually runs!
This presentation had a very poignant message: it addressed the issue of human trafficking in Toledo, and how many of the victims are little girls. It’s a straightforward message, but it’s also thought-provoking.

 So did this post inspire you? What kinds of art/techniques/etc are you inspired by? Let me know in the comments!


Don’t Forget To Be Awesome.

Back at College! And Other News

Yesterday I moved in to my dorm room (that’s right, I’m a senior and I still live on campus. I like campus life too much to move off it). Pictures of my newly-settled room may be coming soon. ;D

So as a teaser, I’m gonna’ post a sketch from my sketchbook.

This is Greta. She’s a main character in one of my graphic novels. In her story, she goes to summer camp, only to discover that there’s a cabin in the woods nearby that leads her into an imaginary world called Shadow Land. Unfortunately, in Shadow Land, she’s been branded as a wanted criminal because of a scar on her neck. It’s up to her to find out why.

I already have the first 5 chapters of her story written, but I haven’t converted the script to a rough comic form yet. I’m hoping that over the next few weeks I can do that.

Also, remember that challenge I did where I made a graphic novel script in one month?

First, I’m going to post some sketches of that over the next couple of days.

Second, I’m thinking of doing the challenge again in September. I have a 220-page sketchbook ready, and I have a story idea. So I think I’ll jump on it, even with school and friends and family there.

Anyone want to join me on this challenge?

Sketches! At last!

God I suck at updating this blog. I should get back to posting sketches, because I’m not very eloquent with words.

I kept a sketchbook when I went to Arizona back in May. Here’s some of them, taken by my phone’s camera:

These are some of the ruins at the top of Chaco Canyon in New Mexico. We went there in our first two days of the trip. I loved looking at the ruins of the kivas, or the round houses. People who study the ruins say some of the smaller kivas may have been homes, while the larger ones were ceremonial rooms.

It fascinates me to think that people lived in these small spaces, and it ignites my imagination to think of what a finished kiva would look like and what happened within it.

This one is the blurriest picture I’ve got, mostly because the pencils are REALLY light. In this one, we were at Canyon de Chelly in Arizona, and we got the chance to watch the sun set over Spider Rock, which is a pair of giant columns that stretch up to over 1000 feet in height. This was the first time I ever recall being afraid of heights, because we were so close to the edge of the cliff as we watched the sun set. I think that was part of the beauty of watching the sunset was knowing that you were on the edge and that at any moment you could fall. It scared the piss out of me.

This is by far my favorite sketch. This was drawn at the top of the Black Mesa in Arizona as the other students and I explored Amos Johnson’s property (Amos Johnson is a Navajo Tribal Council member, and let us stay on his property for a few days). James thought it would be a brilliant idea to climb this particular standing rock. Once he got to the top, he looked down at all of us and said, “…I don’t know how to get down from here.”

After laughing at him, I drew him and the rock.

I hope to be posting more sketches soon. I’ve got SO many sketchbooks and awesome ideas I’ve been playing with this summer. I don’t have a scanner, however, so you folks may have to put up with cell-phone quality photos unless I can get my camera and computer to like each other again.

Don’t Forget to be Awesome. :D