Tag Archive | Dragons

Patterns, motifs, and manifestations

We’ve been reading Beowulf in my British Literature class. For me it is like The Odyssey, I like discussing themes and from the literature, but don’t enjoy reading the actual literature itself. I don’t tend to go for the macho male hero who blinds cyclopses or disarms ambiguous monstrosities for my pleasure reading, but again I think the themes are very valuable.

The third story of Beowulf is particularly intriguing to those who have read The Hobbit. Tolkien was, of course, a big fan of Beowulf, and was actually responsible for bringing that story back into our curriculum. And the parallels between Beowulf and The Hobbit are so blatant sometimes. One very important theme in both stories is the idea of ‘the little guy’ becoming a hero, the one that nobody suspects, the one that seems far too naive and powerless. Have I ever told you that one of my favorite moments of The Hobbit movie is when Bilbo stands between the pale orc and the fallen Thorin? It’s a beautiful moment.

Another… motif, if you will, is the dragon. Dragons are the manifestations of greed (we see this in The Dawn Treader by C. S. Lewis as well). I found this quite interesting, mostly because it made me think about fairy tales– which we have been discussing in my Children’s Literature class. For instance, one of the motifs in Snow White is the mirror, which is the perfect symbol for vanity. And that could be considered one of the themes of Snow White, vanity and envy. Both, of course, are as prevalent in today’s culture as they were back when the tales were first spun. These are human weaknesses that persist through time, which perhaps is why we still have that kind of literature today.

It gets the imagination going, you know? You start to wonder if we have recognizable symbols for other weaknesses, like pride, selfishness, revenge, deceit, and so on. And you also start to notice that different objects, symbols, or motifs can apply to lots of different stories. For instance if we went back to the mirror; that can belong to Snow White’s Evil Stepmother, or it could belong to Narcissus. Or, the mirror is a bridge between worlds, like Through the Looking Class. Lots of stories involve these sort of seemingly ordinary ‘bridges,’ like a rabbit hole, a wardrobe, or a cyclone. It’s just so fascinating to see how it is all woven together, and then wonder what you can do with a structure that already exists.

Some people are amazing + info on my next image

Yesterday I had a pleasent surprise, a visit from an old friend. He was one of our former Home Teachers, but he and his family moved away in 2006 (I think) for military. Sometimes when he is back in the neighborhood, he will stop by and visit. I really don’t know if I have met his equal for cheerfulness and good humor. You can’t help but laugh when he’s around. And instant friend, and always good for a chuckle. And so open too! He was just visiting us for maybe twenty minutes, but he was showing us pictures of his famiy and sharing stories, it was wonderful to see him again.

Some people wow the world with their achievements and accomplishments, this guy make the world better just by being who he is, a happy, funny person who can just put you at ease.

When I was at BYU-I, one of the girls in my apartment complex had a similar way of making the world a better place. I remember when we first met her, my sister and I were walking back from our last classes of the day. And this girl met us on the way back to the apartment. She recognised us from church, and she began conversing with us. As we got closer to home, she asked if we liked homemade bread. Do I like homemade bread? Who doesn’t? So she invited us to her apartment and fed my sister and I homemade bread. And from that day on, she would often invite us to her apartment for food. Which is, by the way, the quickest way to my heart.

I have been incredibly blessed to have many other good people in my life. Family, of course. I love the fact that my older brother still acts as my counciler, even though he’s hundreds of miles away and I only hear from him once a week. And I’ve had great roommates. One of them baked a lot- which naturally endeared her to me. But she was also very helpful to me and my sister. She’s graduated now and I wish her the best in life. I think she’ll do amazing things. Some others… well, some it looks like I’ll be able to room again with 🙂

 

Now, my next image. The challenge was to do a guy. This isn’t really all that hard, I do draw guys you know. But it is hard to come up with something for them to do that would fill up enough of a page to make a good calandar image. Especially since it has to be different than things I’ve done before. But I did come up with something. I even harken back to the old days, when I used to draw dragons a lot. Basically, Drako (the name of the guy I ended up drawing) has a ‘shoulder dragon.’ Back when I was younger, I envisioned a domestic dragon that would hang out on your shoulder, like a parrot might, and that his diet consisted of meantballs- unlike full-sized dragons, who ate pancakes. So that’s what Drako has perched on his arm in this next image. The background has a stone wall in it. I couldn’t help it. I wasn’t sure what to do and… well… I liked the stone wall that I did in the last image, and it didn’t get a lot of response. But instead of taking up the whole background, it’s just a small wall in the back. Something an adult could probably climb over. The rest is hills and a few trees. I’m hoping to create a sort of misty effect as you go further back.

Actually, I was having difficulty with the background. Besides not being something particularly spectacular, I couldn’t find a way to link Drako to the background. See, while Lori was thinking about how all of my calandar images had girls, I was thinking “I wonder if the backgrounds feel to disconnected from the featured female, I don’t want them to look like an afterthought, even though sometimes that is the case.” And as for Drako, or any of my guy characters, he didn’t… shall we say… come with a background in mind. So I had to create one. And then, just before I started coloring, it seemed like I was missing something. It’s hard to explain these nudges. But I thought, ‘What I need is Kimodo in the background.’

Let me explain, I have made up these characters before. There are three siblings, Wyvren, Drako, and Kimodo (yes, I know, theme naming, deal with it). Before you ask, no- I have not written a story with them. All I’ve used them for is a comic that I wrote, purely to entertain myself- so it doesn’t make sense. But the advantage of writing a comic is that it helps you in your art. It helped me learn to draw people in certain positions, and to get better at hands in particular.

Anyway, I was thinking about Kimodo, because I was trying to think more of the story of the image. This has been one of the comments about my art in general that I hope to stay true to, and that is that my images have a story to them. And I didn’t think “This image was to prove to my sister that I can do guys in my artwork” made a good story. But there he is, with his dragon, and a wall and hills in the distance. So what’s he doing out there? Well, maybe him and his dragon are thinking about going outside the wall and into the unknown. And then Kimodo came to mind.

In the comic, the oldest brother- Wyvwren, is the Evil Overlord and Kimodo is going to succeed him. She’s only ten, but she’s preparing to be a world class Evil Overlord. Drako is either ‘assigned’ by Overlord Wyvren to chaparone Kimodo as she goes on her escapades, or Kimodo drags Drako along with her. Drako just goes with it. He likes being out and about and watching over Kimodo, even if he isn’t into the whole ‘world domination’ gig. In the image, she his already behind the stone wall, and is calling to him.

Slayers by C.J Hill, my thoughts

Well, seeing as I have always had a fondness for dragons and I like some of this particular author’s books (as I’ve said, CJ Hill is a pennname), I decided to give it a try. I don’t typically read fantasy books that take place in a modern setting (I haven’t read Twilight, just so you know), but I trusted this author to create something fun- or at least get a few laughs in. And that would be nice for a day of shuttles and plane rides

All in all, it was an engaging story. Some of the particular aspects of the dragon/ kinghts/ Slayers are a bit farfetched. But if you ignore that fact it becomes a nice frame work for some fun dynamics. Not my favorite romance that this author, but it’s not the worst either. My favorite character is a minor one (named Bess), which is a bit sad- I like it when the romantic interest is my favorite. However, it’s all nicely set up for at least a sequal (it didn’t finish!), so maybe there is time yet for my favorite character to get a love interest and then we’ll have lots of opportunity for witty banter- because I bet Bess would be good at that.

Here’s some of the funner quotes:

“Dr. B trusts her. So does Bane.”

Lilly let out a scoffing grunt. “Dr. B is an optimist, and Bane is a horse.”

“I’m only in high school, and I have a full schedule, and I’m flammable.”

Lilly let out a cought of disbelief. “Yeah, that’s it. One of the dragons will be feeling his way across the streets of D.C. with a cane clutched in its wing, terrorizing anyone who can’t suffle out of the way.”

“We might be caught, arrested, and sent to jail where we’ll spend the remainder of our days reading hate mail from Eragon fans.”