Wednesday, December 3, 2008

My Happy Place: December Hyogo Times cover

For Assistant Language Teachers, December in Japan means cold. Whether huddled before a kerosene heater or under your kotatsu, this is the season for seeing your breath in your apartment (or my kinda gross favorite: seeing steam rise from the toilet as you use it...).

In this spirit, I considered an image with a class being conducted in a frozen wasteland, students in their uniforms (girls still insanely in their officially-required skirts!), with polar bears and penguins in attendance for pronunciation practice. (Of course the focus would be L's and R's...)

However, I simply couldn't face it. Ladies and gentlemen, I just had to go to my Happy Place. And this Happy Place is what I drew. Maybe you'd like to spend the winter there, too. Plenty of room in the pink castle...

In actuality, this is all just a giant rationaliation for a drawing I had the urge to make after seeing one of my student's drawings of a unicorn, or Pegasus or something. As my English club kids sat discussing their school festival project in Japanese, I sat sketching out the composition for my idea of the girliest drawing I could imagine - something that would have been on some 4th grade girl's Trapper Keeper.

I couldn't fit in the group hug between the teddy bear, kitten and puppy, but maybe next time. I'm kinda proud of the dolphin's splash and the sparkles. The grass was purple at first, to push the insane "Barbie - isle - at - Walmart - feel" that I was going for, but the green really helped the wee cutsie primary-colored citizens of my Happy Place stand out better.

I've realized that its so much easier for me to get my shading completely worked out on the sketch beforehand than to do it later on the computer, which I use primarily for color and emphasizing the shading I've already done. The flexibility of digital colors has really allowed me to experiment while letting me retain the sculptural quality that I like in drawings.  

Some things I wanna work on are 
-Really integrating the pieces that I make separately because initially I am unsure about composition... in my October cover, I made all the figures together in one drawing and its one of my favorites... can get back to that approach.
-Seamless use of imported textures.  I really try to use textures that I find in my everyday life, and stay away from internet finds, even if I alter them beyond all recognition.  The ingredients matter in voodoo spells.  Regardless of where they originate, tho, I want them to blend better. Upcoming personal projects demand this. 

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