Tag Archive | fairy tales

Uncertainty

The problem with art is that I have a lot of intrinsic motivation, but not much by the way of extrinsic motivation. In particular, I’m thinking of a salary. I’ve never really though I have much of a chance at making any sort of money on my art, but I guess I still maintained a hope that I was wrong. I get a lot of positive feedback from other people, in this last year I even got considerable praise from an art major. I give a lot more credit to compliments I receive from art majors. As for everybody else, they’re wonderful and good friends, but good friends don’t always make the best critics. It seems that even though I’ve been acutely aware of that fact, I still allowed myself to think that maybe something would come of my artwork. Looking at it realistically, however, it seems unlikely that I would even make enough to cover the expense of the art supplies. I don’t know why I’m pursuing this so hard, I’m not even an art major. I suppose I could make it into one of my clusters (which is like a half of a minor, I think it’s unique to BYU-I), but I have a hard time in art classes, because I keep comparing myself to others and art becomes stressful.

It’s ironic that people tell you to follow your dreams. When you think about it, it would seem like they’re trying to set you up for failure. You wake up from dreams after all (my dream last night included a high school classmate of mine dancing a Dancing with the Stars style number as the final act of an Extravadance performance.) I have the hardest time trying to wake myself up. I love art, I really do, but I kinda think it would be nice if I got myself to face reality before reality wakes me up from my dream. It wouldn’t be pleasant.

If only I could be sure one way or the other.

 

Anyway, on to a less angsty topic. I had meant to comment more about the relationship between Sandra and Yuki, the featured characters in my most recent image. They aren’t exactly the most sisterly of sisters, but they’re all each other has, until Sandra gets married off to the Fairy King and Yuki-onna starts chasing after a mortal. Of course they have their mother, Ivanna the Snow Queen, but Ivanna’s heart is literally the coldest in the world and she has no love for her daughters, or anybody. Sandra and Yuki are both capable of love, but it’s a struggle for them, especially with Ivanna teaching them that love is nothing but a lot of bio-chemical processes experienced by mortals which one must transcend in order to become free and powerful.

In my mind, Yuki was the one who would defy Ivanna more actively, and would be deliberately antagonistic. Yuki wanted to prove Ivanna wrong about love. But again, Yuki herself struggled with the concept of love, and can be a bit rash and thoughtless at times. Because of that, things turn a bit messy for her. This is where the fairy tale comes in. While she was working one day (think of her as an ice elemental, fey, a spirit of winter), she was seen by a mortal. She vowed she would kill him if he ever told anybody about her, and fey are bound by the vows they make. But the mortal was a handsome young man. She would appear to him later in mortal form, and they eventually get married. As the years go by, she looks more and more fey-like. He tells her one day that she looks like a snow spirit he saw once. According to her promise, Yuki must kill him, but she can’t bear the thought of it, so she breaks that promise– which bears fatal consequences for her. In a twisted kind of way, she died for love. Even in death she was defying Ivanna.

Sandra never gave as much thought to love as Yuki, until she was made part of a marriage of alliance to the Fairy King, who had a great capacity for love. That’s a different story though, and not based on a fairy tale, so I have to make it up myself, which presents a few difficulties.

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.

Concerning Fairy Godfathers

Being your own cheerleader isn’t easy. But I managed to use the guilty conscience trick to get some work done yesterday. As for how the image looks… I can’t really say as of yet. I’m trying something different, and I really don’t know how it’s going to turn out.

I actually took a break from art yesterday to indulge in a little writing. The first thing I played with was the idea of doing A Christmas Carol, starring Wyvren. I mentioned him briefly before, he’s the older brother of Drako and Kimodo- and he’s the Evil Overlord. He conquered the world when he was 15 and is still ruling now, four years later. Anyway, he would be my Scrooge. I’m still not quite sure how I would go about creating a story like that, but then- it’s a comic. I never once in my comic cared about making sense or anything, which is probably the only reason why I have gotten as far as I have in it.

The other thing I toyed with was an idea I cam up with while watching Gargoyles. See, Puck is punished by Oberon, so that he can’t use magic unless it is for the protecting or teaching of Alexander. So it occured to me, Alexander has a Fairy Godfather. Of course. It makes perfect sense; Fairy Godparents exist as a form of punishment for naughty fairies. So I wanted to play with that idea. But the problem is need a story to play with it in. Best case sceanario, for me, would be to create a grandscale fairy tale world, with all of the old favorites. And Murdock (the Fairy Godfather I created for the purpose of enslaving to some fortunate fairy tale princess) would be mixed in amoung Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Jack the Giant Killer, and others.

But of course… I don’t exactly know how to do that. So I just played with it a bit. *Sigh* I could play with it some more, on the assumption that I will get better at creating stories if I practiced. It’s just… harder to feel like you are getting work done when you are still only able to play around with ideas.

Creative people rattle my mind

I wrote to my brother about my art, how I was feeling good about it until last Saturday. You may recall the mood I was in when I wrote that day. And Ben, like the awesome guy that he is, wrote back regaurding my artwork. He said that “art standing by itself is almost invariably of less value than art applied to something.” After illustrating this point, he gave this advice; “If I were to give you a suggestion it would be to see what you can do by way of combining your ability to create images with your desire to create a faerie tale feel, probably aming for an effective child’s story. Keep the story/writing simple and short and remember that it does not have to make sense completely to use your images to tell much of it.”

My first reaction was, “Oh my goodness, he thinks I should write children’s books.” Anybody who has actually been keeping up with my blog posts may recall that I have ranted about this before. Teachers and other people have told me that I could write and illustrate children’s books. I don’t quite remember what I said in that earlier blog post, but it was probably something on the lines of “Have you guys loooked at any children’s books lately?” Maybe I grew up to Dad reading The Eleventh Hour as a bedtime story. Have you guys read any Greame Base books? You should. They are gorgeous. But anyway, my mental reaction to the claim that I could write and illustrate children’s books has always been, “Don’t be rediculous.”

But I tend to give my brother a bit more credibility than my teachers or the ladies at my church. Because he’s seen the process. As I’ve said before, the experience that the creater has is way different than the one on the recieving end of things. Maybe I also give him more credibilty because he didn’t outright say ‘you could write children’s books.’ He always has an interesting way of wording things. And maybe it is also because he doesn’t imply that what I do could or should be published. It makes the suggestion less of a ‘don’t be rediculous’ kind of thing.

 

Well, I pondered what he said, and seeing as I’m having a bit of an artist block (featured guys are not nearly as easy to work with as featured females), I decided to look up Greame Base. This is so me. If all else fails, do a google search. So I googled him. And it turned out to be really interesting. Something you must know about me is that I love ‘behind the scenes’ stuff. I love watching special features and commentaries on movies, I love looking at all the background information that they give you on your program when you go to see a performance, and I like interviews and documentaries that talk about the creative process. I love, love, love it. I just eat it up. And I found an interview with Greame Base.

Such a neat experience. I mean, when you’re a kid (well actually, I think I was an early teen when I read some Greame Base books other than The Eleventh Hour) and you are looking at all these beautiful pictures (and they are gorgeous) it doesn’t usually occur to you that, “Hey, I could just hop on youtube and actually see this guy’s face and hear him describe to us who he is and how is work is created.” It just brings things a little closer. And the interview ended with a certain website (www.authormagazine.org) and there I listened to two more interviews; Tamora Pierce- who’s books I haven’t read, but I remember seeing her name as I walk through the selves of the library, and Louis Sachar- who wrote the Wayside School stories and will always have a place in my heart for that reason. And that was especially interesting, because not only have I read those books, but I’ve heard his voice reading those books on the book on C.D that I was listening to a few weeks ago. So I read his books, then heard his voice, and the interview was a video, so I could see his face. Also while I was at this site, I read an artical titled; Writing Sucks, Don’t Do It. Or something like that.

Facinating. Especially these people who make a living off of their creative works. That is crazy. It takes… faith, for lack of a better term than ‘crazy.’ Like Louis Sachar, when he was talking about being torn between law and writing and how he kept thinking, “I should get a job, I should get a job.” And then he said, “And I kept telling myself that for four years.” Then he realized that he had already made his decision, so he should stop kicking himself about it. Wow.

 

Creative people are crazy, but I have the highest respect for them. Moreso when I realize how crazy they are. It makes me wonder about the stuff I do. Maybe if I’m to actually do something with this, I’m going to have to be a bit more passionate.

I just remembered something from National Treasure.

Ben: “Go one step short of crazy, what do you get?”

Wriley: “…. Obsessed?”

Ben: “Passionate.”

Yep. So here I am knocked in to a contemplative stupor. Again. Human beings amaze me. “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio” and all that. And this was all put into motion by something my brother said in an e-mail. It’s all so very… interesting.

 

Scheherazade

Last night I was thinking about how I would like to write a story. Not so much because I like writing, but I like stories- and I would like to have one to play around with. I would really like to write a fairy tale, or a fairy tale retelling, or a story that took place in a world that combined fairy tales.

Well, a lot of my freethinking happens at night, when I’m laying in bed before I go to sleep. And for some reason I was thinking about Scheherazade. It’s not as random as you think. The other day I did a wikipedia search on ‘folklore.’ I just wanted to know what constitutes ‘folklore,’ and if I could find some examples of stories or something. And it had a list of links, to help you understand the differences between fairy tales, fables, myths, ledgends, anecdotes, etc. And somewhere in one of those links, I saw a link to Scheherazade. I knew, of course, that she was she told a thousand stories over a thousand and one nights, so that she wouldn’t be killed by her husband who killed all of his wives the morning after he married. ‘Well that’s pleasent,’ I thought. But I couldn’t quite remember why he had the urge to have all of these beheadings, so I looked it up. Apparently, he was upset because one day he discovered his wife had not been faithful to him. So then he would marry a virgin, and kill her the next day before she could be unfaithful to him.

Apparently, the guy takes the Queen of Hearts solution to his anger management problems.

Anyway, I was thinking about this last night, and I thought that the way you would turn the story into something more kid-friendly was to say that the reason Scheherazade had to tell a thousand tales was not so that she could save her life, but she had to do it to save his life. Save his life from what, you may ask. Well, in my kid-friendly story, the King is just so weighed down with the burden of being king, that he is resolved to run away and join the circus the next day. His wife isn’t too happy when she hears this. They had an arranged marriage, and they didn’t really know eachother beforehand, but the queen- Scheherazade, really likes the King and she doesn’t want him to leave her (the king is totally oblivious to the fact that his wife has a crush on him). So she tells him the stories, and then stops in the middle, so that he doesn’t run away to join the circus the next day so that he can hear the rest of the story. She keeps doing this, and by the time the silly fool catches on, he has started to love his wife too and doesn’t want to leave her.

Yeah, I know. The things I come up with just before dropping off to sleep. Hey, I never claimed stories were my forte. But I typed it up nevertheless. I actually set it up as a sort of frame story. A girl asks her Dad to tell her the story of Scheherazade, and her Dad tells her this story- which he considers more appropriate for a six-year-old than the original. If I ever did come up with more stories, or modified versions of stories, then I figure they would also be told as bedtime stories to her. If the style of the story is different (for instance, I can play one fairy tale retelling straight or do a parody- with a more comic spin to it) then the reason why they are different is because she asked someone else to tell her a story.

I figure if I keep this up… it may be another fifty years before I can create a story (or enough short stories) that’s actually any good. It may only be thirty years before I create some artwork that is really good.

Fairy Tales

I’ve decided I really like Mirror Mirror. I always love a good fairy tale, and when they are kept lighthearted and fun, that’s all the better. Besides that eye candy of a prince with a really nice, low voice, and of course all of the dwarves. I love listening to them bicker, especially around the dinner table. We sort of have dinner together as a family in my home, but we tend to be much more relaxed and spread out. But hey, if we catch on to the right topic, we’ll be going on for a while.

But that’s off topic. The point is that I like the movie. I think I can safely say it is my favorite production of Snow White (I have not seen Snow White and the Huntsman). And now what I really want is more fairy tale movies. I may just be minorly obsessed. I would very much like to come up with my own fairy tales, so that it wouldn’t matter if there weren’t any other fairy tale movies for me to watch. Maybe I could write one some day. I do not, as of yet, possess much talent in the realm of writing (it’s difficult to practice when you also possess little talent in the realm of ‘coming up with story ideas’). But I love stories and characters. They make me happy. And it would be great if I could get to the point where I could, at least, write a few little fairy tale shortstories or something. They wouldn’t have to be long, just… fun. Cute. Interesting. You know, like my art is sometimes cute or interesting.

I really have been working on my images, I promise. The thing is, I was getting tired of Wisp’s picture. Sometimes it seems like the longer I work on an image, the less I like it (remember the image with Bree? I liked that one. It didn’t take me long to do). So I switched to my backburner project with Akinra and I’m not sure whether or not I like it. I’m not even sure I want to post it on Facebook when I’m done. I probably will end up doing it I suppose. But I do have those two images that I’m working on. And I’d like to finish one of them so I can start a completely new one, hopefully one that I will actually like. In the meantime, I get the feeling I’ll be doing a ‘backburner shuffle’ with these two images. Wouldn’t it be great if I could just work on one, straightforward image?

More geekiness- this time about stories

Wow, so Janette Rallison, an author I have mentioned before (also known as C. J. Hill) was doing a book give away on her blog- you leave a comment and random.org will decide who gets the book. And wonder of wonders, I got a book. I tried only for one other book, My Unfair Goodmother (which continues to be my favorite of her books- I heartily recommend it and My Fair Godmother, which comes first). I haven’t gone for any of the other ones because I already have most of my favorite of hers on my kindle. It was actually great to have them while I was in the ‘short story’ section of my English class winter semester. Something I learned: a lot of short stories in litereature are really depressing/ disturbing, so it was great to have some cute romances to save my sanity.

But I tried for this book because it was by Shannon Hale. To my knowledge, I have never read any of her works except the graphic novels Repunzel’s Revenge and Calamity Jack, both of which I enjoyed. Mostly for Jack. But I looked at the two blurbs at the Shannon Hale books on this blook giveaway, and they looked interesting. They seemed to have that fairy tale aspect that I just love in books.

I have a thing for fairy tales and fairy tale retellings. I can get really geeky about them. I’ve been trying for a long time to figure out what the appeal of fairy tales is. But I like what’s said in one of the Special Features of The Princess Bride: “They’re magical. And no one knows why.” And that was William Goldman who said that. So I’m going to leave it at that until I or someone else can really explain why I love it so much in a way that makes sense.

But I will say that some of my favorite books ever are fairy tale retellings. I first started really getting into books with Patricia C. Wrede’s Enchanted Forest Chronicles. I loved those books. In fact, I kept rereading it so much that I’m a bit sick of them. And then as I read more and started compiling a list of ‘favorite books,’ many of them were fairy tale retellings. At the top of the list is The Nightengale, by Kara Dalkey. Also included is Snow white and Rose Red by Patricia C. Wrede, Entwined by Heather Dixon (the Twelve Dancing Princesses), and others. I’ve already mentioned My Fair Godmother and My Unfair Godmother, which is really great if you like to add a modern, teenage romance twist to it- which normally isn’t the sort of thing I go for, but it was pulled off really well here- and as I said, I recommend them.

But I realize, it’s more than fairy tales. Legends, and mythology- those get me too. Love them. I think it was fifth grade when our curriculum first introduced me to Greek mythology. Greek mythology is wierd, but it had stories. And I like the stories. And yet it’s only recently that I’ve started reading the Percy Jackson books. Actually, I listen to them on C.D when I color. I just finished Book 2. Why haven’t I read these sooner? Oh yes, because I watched the movie first. That was a stupid thing to do. No wonder I lost interest. You can’t get all of the stories and mythology into a movie.

And that’s only Greek Mythology. There are whole other cultures with their own myths and legends and stories and it’s really fun to read them. Or to watch them, if Disney or someone else gets a hold of them. I love what they did with Tangled.  I’m SO looking forward to seeing Brave. And I have since before the concept art came out.