Tag Archive | Fates

Behind the mask

Recent success gave me a boost of energy. I’ve gotten the sketch down for my latest image, now I’m focusing on getting some color down. When it comes to coloring an image, that’s largely the grunt work part of the project. Formulated a concept and drawing it out, that’s fun and exciting. But color is a very important part of my work, and would be incomplete without it. Now, coloring this one will be interesting, because it’s so busy, it’s people heavy rather than giving more attention to the environment. Never have I created a calendar image with this many people in it. It’s really exciting, I’ve wanted to do a masquerade scene for the longest time, but never quite managed to get it until now.

 

This image is based off a holiday I created for the world in which most of my characters live. Masquerade Day was created by Twist, one of the Trickster Fate twins. Like our Halloween, Masquerade Day is a time to dress up in costumes and masks and take on a new identity for a time. But those who participate in the Masquerade tend to put more thought and depth into their costumes than we do as trick-or-treaters. The main themes of the day are identity, disguise, and concealment. Masqueraders keep these themes in mind and play with them as they consider what to wear, so that they create a guise with intrinsic significance.

 

For example, one of my characters is a fairy king. I figured he would be a Fool for Masquerade Day. In old times, like if you read Shakespeare or something (there are examples of Fools in King Lear and Twelfth Night) Fools are hired entertainment for royals or nobles (like King Lear or Olivia.) These are jesters, “licensed fools,” and because of their roles they were given a little more leniency by way of the sort of things they were allowed to say in court. Therefore, they’ve become a sort of archetype in literature, probably best demonstrated in King Lear. Because Fools have a certain amount of leeway, they can mock openly and speak freely against… well, people of authority, among others, exposing them as the real fools. As such, Tison the fairy king would think the irony of being a Fool incredibly delicious– then he could mock the way the kingdom was ruled, instead of actually doing the ruling.

 

This is also the kind of costume I would like to wear, were I to participate in Masquerade Day, so I made a cameo in this latest bit of artwork with a Jester’s mask. Meanwhile, I had to come with a different costume for Tison since I took his idea. I figured bird costumes were pretty simple. Then I did some research to see what different birds symbolized to see which was most likely for him. Then I discovered that was a bit tricky, because each bird could symbolize a lot of different things, and there were just a few traits that Tison had which I wanted to represent in his costume. Besides, I don’t have much by the way of credible sources in which to do this research, and that’s annoying. But at last I picked a Bluejay, which is associated with power used responsibly. Apparently it’s also associated with being pure and faithful. These qualities really suit him and I’m not sure of one that would work better.

 

Another character I included was Piper, the other Trickster Fate Twin. He’s evil, but charming. He typically dresses in black or green (to contrast with his red hair), but on Masquerade Day I figured he would think it fun to dress as he thought angels should. So he’s wearing a white suit. This, again, is a guy who would enjoy the irony of the costume– a guy like him wearing spotless white, including white mask with a soft smile. But his mask doesn’t have eyes, which kinda turns the whole thing creepy. It’s hard to trust someone, or tell what they’re thinking, when you can’t see their eyes. It’s unnerving when something weird is going on with the eyes– just think about some of the movies you’ve seen. And that’s just the thing, you can’t trust Piper. No matter how he presents himself to you, there will always be something he’s withholding.

 

Other ideas I had have made it into the image. For instance, I’ve always loved the Phoenix, which stands for new life and rebirth. I’ve also been interested with the idea of old age, it’s generally something people fear and yet I think there is something to be envied in the wisdom that the elderly can possess. I figure that one of the fun parts of Masquerade Day could be looking at other people are wearing and trying to figure out what they are trying to say about themselves or the way they think others see them with the costume (you can tell I’m a bit of a nerd, right?) That’s why it was so much fun conceptualizing the image.

 

Now the trick is getting it done.

 

News of the miscellaneous

This is the problem with social media; when you have both Facebook and a blog, and you put similar things in both- but use each for a different purpose. I mean, I write both in Facebook and this blog things I want to share with people. For my blog I will get a little more in depth with what I want to say. However, nobody really reads my blog- so if I actually want a chance for feedback I put it on Facebook- which forces me to be brief. Sometimes I’ll have things of Facebook that I also want on my blog.

Like this: We had a short lecture on the history of romance novels in my Young Adult Literature class 🙂 so much fun. And so validating to hear things voiced which I’ve known all along (i.e. lust does not equal love, stalking someone is a strange way to portray a healthy relationship, being hot doesn’t redeem a guy from being a jerk, etc.)

Additionally, there’s emails and Facebook messaging. Those are personal- maybe I want a specific person to read it (my sister, in this case). But maybe I want to share it as well on my blog post- it doesn’t matter if other people see it so long as the specific person does.

Like today when I was talking about writing. I have in my mind created a mythology loosely based off of the Greek Gods. I just like personifications of natural phenomena. I call them Fates, because they like to think they have a role in the destiny’s of mortals. One of the one’s I created was based off of cupid. Her name is Matchgirl, apprentice to the current Matchmaker. Obviously, these are the Fates that make sure you meet the person you are going to marry, and sort of guide you along the way; arrange coincidental meetings, open up certain topics of conversation, make sure you’re in the right time and the right place, that sort of thing.

Well, yesterday I was writing about how Matchgirl’s first solo assignment (without the guidence of Matchmaker) was to bring together the houses of the Capulet and Montegue through marriage. Those of you who know your Shakespeare know this doesn’t end very well.

Here’s the thing, I don’t really think that Romeo and Juliet loved each other. It’s like what I said before about lust not being love. I think that Romeo and Juliet is a significant story- but not because they really loved each other. Were it not for the feuding families, maybe Romeo would have courted Juliet openly, instead of feeling the need to marry secretly. Then, given time, maybe Juliet will realize Romeo has commitment issues and would dump him just like Rosaline did. Maybe Romeo would have realized Juliet needed to grow up a little bit and moved on with his life. But they didn’t really have the luxury to try it out and then realize they weren’t right for each other.

I guess what I’m saying is… the feud between the families ruined the relationship before Romeo and Juliet had a chance to end it? Maybe that isn’t right. Maybe that isn’t a very ‘literary’ analysis of what was really going on, but it’s what I get out of the whole Romeo and Juliet relationship. I really still think that the story of Romeo and Juliet is more about the feud between the families than it is about ‘true love,’ because it isn’t love- it’s lust. The feuding families is a far more valid theme, in my mind.

Spasms of geekiness

I blame it on the Heros of Olympus books. I don’t know what everybody else thinks it has going for it, but I definately love the way the Greek God’s were handled in it. Rather than your typical urban fantasy about contemporary life with vampires or fair folk thrown in, these books take the archetypal approach that I really like- and there’s the idea that the Greek Gods travleled with Western Civilization, adapting to those various cultures. Which is why you get those fun mixes of contemporary america mixed in with myth and the culture of ancient empires. Long story short, it was really great that I read these books after my Humanities classes about Western Civilization. And I way prefer that aspect of the books to the whole ‘save the world’ sceanario.

So last night, I was thinking about my Fates. I told you that I created them sort of to be like the Greek Gods. I learned about the Greek Gods when I was in fifth grade. It’s one of the things I most distinctly remember learning in fifth grade. I thought it was so facinating. That fuled a great deal of my love of myths. And of course my mind, that great melting pot, collected other myths over the years, and stories and fairy tales. Archetypal characters were something I enjoy, I’ve always had a soft spot for tricksters. I also had a love of anthropormorphic personifications. This probably stemmed from my love of fairies and nature spirits as a kid, I’m also pretty sure Discworld had a lot to do with that. But at anyrate, over the years all this cooked in my mind, and what I decided I needed were my own set of immortal beings that meddled with the destinies of their mortal wards. So I called them the Fates.

Anyway, I was thinking about these Fates, and I thought about Origin Myths, something we covered in my Heroic Journey class. Some origin myths show similarities to eachother, they call it patternism. There was often ‘order coming out of chaos,’ or it may include a flood or a lot of water, there would aslo many times be a ‘breath of life’ sort of thing- breathing into a clay figure and giving it life. This stood out in my mind particularly, I think it’s because maybe the myth I looked up for a homework assignment included this. But I thought about that, and then about some of my Fates, and I started working out how the Fates helped create worlds.

I wondered if  maybe Fates are not as immortal as their mortal wards think. Perhaps the Fates merely live longer than the worlds they have stewardship over. So Fates have the opportunity to be stewards over many worlds before they die, or their essence is recycled into a different being- like the way archetypes are treated differently in different cultures. Same sort of idea, different take. And so the essence of the Fates changes, giving the idea of immortality.

So then I had to figure out which of the Fates were around at the start of this new fantasy world, and which Fates came later- either born to the First Fates or created from the world itself- from the ideas, thoughts, dreams, desires, fears, and so on from that particular realm and it’s inahbitants.

Unfortunatly, I fell asleep by trying to think it all out, and trying to add in what I had learned from Humanities classes and such, trying to have it all make sense.

Maybe it doesn’t have to all make sense. It’s not like a lot of the Origin Myths really do. A lot of mythology doesn’t make sense. But it is so much fun to play with.

New Image: Akinra’s World

 

 

So this is that backburner project I’ve been talking about, the one I’ve been working on since before ‘I Call him Fred’

I sort of knew what I was doing when I started Akinra’s World. I knew that it starred Akinra, Dream maker, so I thought I’d stick in a lot of references to dreams that I’ve had. Only when it came down to it, I didn’t remember a lot of my dreams that had something visual to represent them. I had a dream where I slapped a guy I knew from school three times (that was a most satisfying dream), I have dreams where I’m perpertually late for school, a dream where I suddenly found a bunch of Calvin and Hobbes comic books in my locker that I had not read before (I should have put a reference of that in my dream…), and so on.

For whatever reason it seemed like all the dreams I was thinking of that day (and I had a bit of a brain freeze with trying to remember all the dreams that I had remembered) didn’t have a visual. I only managed to stick a few in. The flamingo, for instance, is represent of the dream I had where my house was invaded by flamingo people. The cellist (who’s harder to see, now that everything’s colored) is a reference to the dream I had with the Piano Guys. Have I mentioned this one? I was sitting on the piano bench next to Steve, which was wrong because Steve was the cellist. But he played the piano for me and then gave me a hug. It was a nice dream :). And then I tried to put in a reference to the dream where I was sitting at a table with my friends for church, and then one of the guys from my sunday school class who moved away several years ago arrived, and practically tackled him with a hug. I should have knocked him to the floor. I think he complained that my nails were digging into him. It was interesting, because I woke up wondering ‘why him of all the guys I know? That’s random’ I didn’t know quite how to draw a reference for that though.

A couple of other things, the butterflies actually represent dreams themselves; fast, flighty, and fragile. The spiderwebs have twofold meaning. One is that my sister Lori had a dream where she took a spider web and folded it up. But she had to be careful because there were beads on it. The second meaning is that they represent dreamcatchers. I always thought dreamcatchers were cool, and I think that when I decided that dreams were like butterflies, it clicked that dreamcathers were like spider webs. Now, they say that nightmares get caugt in dream catchers, and the good dreams are allowed through. So, since I created a Dream Maker, I decided that there needed to be a Dream Eater, who would eat all the nightmares. And so I created Arnika, the Dream Eating Spider, who dwelt in Dream Catching spider webs. The beads, obviously, are put in there to please the all mighty Eater of Nightmares.

Anyway, as I started working on the image, it became quickly clear that I really had no idea what I was doing. I knew that the image was to be colorful, that color would make up a lot of the image, and usually once I lay colors down- I get a sense of where the next color will go and how it would look. But I didn’t really predict this. But it seemed to work. Akinra takes the persona of a young girl, innocent, and apparently full of love for flowers and rainbows. But is it all a facade? Are dreams really just nonsense stories created from a child’s imaginiation, or are they works of art of which mankind has the least understanding? Dreams are more than they seem.

Creative writing

I’m not a writer, but I have an incredible fondness for stories. Good stories make me really happy, that’s one of the reasons why I love books and movies so much. Unfortunatly, I have a really difficult time coming up with stories on my own. It’s sad really, I’m surrounded by writers. My mom has written several novels (amoung other things), my older brother and one of my younger sisters has actually written a story, another younger sister wants to create visual novels professionally, and the youngest wants to be a writer when she grows up. And then there’s me.

Well, I like creating characters. I think it was a year or two ago when I decided that what I really wanted was a set of characters that were kind of like the Greek Gods. I’ve always had a thing for… what would you call it? Anthropormorphic personifications? Giving certain occurences people-like qualities. Like the fact that when you play Dungeons and Dragons, the dice sometimes seem to have a mind of their own- because they love the story. That sort of thing. Or if Karma was actually an imortal being. Or a being who controls nature. I like those kinds of things, so I had to create some of my own. I mean, I didn’t really want to actually use Greek Mythology, though the Percy Jackson books are evidence that it  can be done well. So I created a group of beings called the Fates, because they like to play with the Fates of mortals (sometimes the mortals don’t always cooperate).

Some are even featured in my artwork. The one I most commonly like to do is Wisp, the Winds of Fate. But I’ve also done one of Akinra, Dream Maker. Basically, she takes the freefloating thoughts, ideas, and memories from people’s minds, peices them together to create the dream, which then flies back into the person’s mind when they sleep. The dreams take the form of butterlies; fast, flighty, and fragile.

Autumn Wind    Releasing the Butterflies

So this morning I wrote a story about how Akinra was originally much more powerful, because she could enter into people’s minds when they were awake. People’s mental capacities are a lot greater when they are awake, so she had access to a lot more thoughts, ideas, memories, etc. So when she peiced the thoughts together, she could actually make comprehensivle stories, rather than the kind of stuff we usually get in our dreams. And then she would put the thoughts back into their minds, so that they would be part of the story and act out the roles she wrote for them. In essence, Akinra started treating them like characters from a story she was writing rather than acutal people. Needless to say, this caused problems. So another Fate stepped up to counter her, a spider, who wove a web to capture Akinra and then she inserted a venom to dull Akinra’s power. So now Akinra can only get into people’s minds when they’re alseep and haven’t got the mental capacity to fend her off, and so she makes dreams. And the spider (named Arnika- Akinra backwards, which gets confusing because they look a lot alike) goes into hiding because now all the Fates are nervous of her venom, and her children take up the work of Dream Eaters. Basically, if you have a Dream Catcher by your bed, then a Dream Eater lives there to capture and eat the nightmares, while letting the other dreams through.

*Shrug* There’s not much I can do with a story like that, it’s just a sort of legend or personal mythology that keeps me entertained when my mind has nothing else to think about.