Thursday, March 30, 2017

Let a Smile Be Your UMBRELLA on Illustration Friday

"Why a mime?" asked three people.

     I really didn't have a definitive answer to give any of these 3 people. So here goes... My Answer:

     Have you ever had cravings for a particular kind of food?  You know, the kind of cravings where you'd saw your arm off and lop in on the counter, if it was necessary, to procure some of whatever it is that you're craving? Well drawing is alot like that... well not exactly like that. You wouldn't saw your arm off... because you'd need it to draw with... maybe a leg... Or maybe you'd just draw an arm or a leg that was sawed off... hmmm... there's an idea.  I digress. 

     My point is that sometimes you just get a real "craving" to draw something in particular.  Something really fun that maybe you haven't drawn before and you just can't stop thinking about it until you grab a pencil or pen or whatever you draw with, some paper and just sit down and draw; draw until your arm falls off...

     Well, I exaggerate some. However, draw-cravings are real, even if no one thinks about them in that way. And I don't mean in an I just got an epiphany from my artistic Muse kinda none-sense... just a plain and simple want for drawing something in particular.  For me, this week, I ended up wanting to draw a mime.  Even though the topic was UMBRELLA, I just had it set in my mind that the next time I have pencil and paper in my hands, it would be used for the greater good of drawing Mimes, however great or good that does them. lol.

     To be honest, at first, I thought that UMBRELLA would be a great opportunity to redo a piece that was super rushed to put together. It was an IF Friday project, for "Rain" as the topic.  I was just so very disappointed in the out come of that whole illustration. I imagined more with it and it just didn't come out in any satisfactory way.  So I thought maybe this week's topic would give me a second go at re-doing that one... but honestly I really was not feeling it, so I put the pencil down almost as soon as I picked it up... you just can't force yourself to draw something that isn't going to work out... sometimes. Sometimes you have to, but that is another story to tell for another day and about another project.

     Later that same day I started to have the draw-cravings for something... You know... like when you know you CRAVE something really good, but you just have no idea what that REALLY GOOD something may be... until you just do. lol. (vague and ambiguous, I know it may seem... but I promise #TheStruggleIsReal)  So I was on a smoke break, having french fry cravings from the actual oil that perfumed the outside air when IT HIT ME. The draw-craving made itself known and I knew right at that moment, stomach growling and belly-aching over wanting french fries that it knew we couldn't have. I MUST Draw a Mime, and Mime, a Thousand Mimes.

     Once you know what you crave, as well as with food, you want it immediately and also in its most minimum and maximum form simultaneously. Logically it doesn't make any sense, sounds strange to describe it in words, but emotions are notoriously illogical so it's OK for it to feel both small and massive at the same time.  So I thought about what I wanted to do with my Mime and an UMBRELLA, since the Umbrella was really the Genesis of this whole thing. If I'm completely honest with myself, I probably picked up the mime on my subconscious radio that waves in and out of my life and mind. There probably is something to be said about the things your subconscious mind notices throughout the day that your conscious mind does not even pay the slightest bit of attention to.  There probably could have been a Mime on a TV commercial playing as I walked through the waiting room at a doctors office. OR I might just dream about silent clowns out of courtesy to anyone that might be sleeping nearby... Dreams on MUTE... now there's another neat idea for an illustration.  ANYWAY, my point is that maybe a Mime has popped up here an there around me lately but has just escaped my notice. Honestly he should just have shouted at me and we could have arrived at this illustration much sooner. That would, however, make him a clown and not a mime... Perhaps he could have punched me...


     So I started thinking of what my mime would be doing in this illustration. I then thought that this could be another creative writing project (which it still may be) but I didn't want to draw a child mime. No. I wanted to draw a full-sized one. So the idea of writing an entire short story about this character began seeming to me like not only a bad idea but the wrong one.  It seemed like the wrong way to express what this character was doing for me.  So I thought of the cool idea of writing my own nursery rhyme (which I will do soon for this) but not in the short amount of time (a week) that you have to complete an Illustration Friday challenge.  I decided that if I was going to write a nursery rhyme for a mime, then I would want it write it in a fair amount of time. ;0)

     SO I will save the Nursery rhyme for a future creative endeavor. I seriously want to go back and reread all of the nursery rhymes from my youth and take a closer look. Analyze and dissect them to see what really makes them tick... tock. The mouse ran up the clock... or was the mouse dissected... or was he exhilarated or exhausted... that's quite a run, really. (I really would love some Fries right now. God I love potatoes!)  I would want to do that before attempting to write my own as I would want to fully understand and emulate those timeless classics. The entire point of this Nursery Rhyme diatribe is that through the process of contemplating a possible nursery rhyme "plot," my mime suddenly had not only a name but also what he would be illustrated doing.  Maurice the Mime would be flying through the air, quite by accident, as it was gong to be a very blustery day.  I wanted him to be holding on to his umbrella, Maurice's now chosen method for travel, and blowing into it so as to stay afloat when the air was less full.  He would travel around the world this way.  Not really the plan he had in mind for his day when it began.

     I liked this idea for the simple reason that it was a good analogy for life. It's unexpected, you rarely end up anywhere near the place that you thought you would and you are going to have unexpected bumps, stops and detours along the way.  I loved the idea of expressing this sentiment with my little mime in the simplicity of a nursery rhyme.  So that will be on my creative agenda to complete very soon... and of course, I'll share it with you all once it is complete. I love how clever fiction can be. No matter how fantastic the story or characters seem to be, there is always that nugget of true reality hidden somewhere underneath, like a pea under fifty mattresses waiting for a princess to be bothered by it.  It may write quickly or it might be an arduous task. It's difficult to gauge and estimate from this side of the endeavor.  I will say this about it, though: The shorter or more simplified the text for poetry or prose is, the more difficult it is to get to write it.  It's like distilling, You start off with alot of stuff then you have to cook it down and cook it down and cook it down to where every word matters and is 100 percent relevant and necessary. It's challenging, but it's fun  and healthy to challenge yourself. And perhaps that, also, could be analogous to lives led.... I'm not certain. I'll have to "stew" on that one. lol.

     In terms of the process for this illustration, there isn't much to say that I haven't said previously in previous posts. My method is the same: Sketching, Drawing, inking, scanning, digitally tweaking, digipaint or digicollage... etc. This character was fun to create, though. I did have alot of fun in the sketching part of the project (the part where you get to play around with the visual decisions of something before it really begins to become concrete. Sometimes that's fun. Other times it's tedious.) This project, that part of it was fun. I enjoyed playing with the proportions of his facial features (since he is a mime... he should be somewhat exaggerated.)  I also enjoyed stretching his body out as if he were a wad of chewing gum.  Even the next day (You know... THE NEXT DAY... That morning after you've stayed up late to complete an artistic endeavor, went to bed thinking it could be the best or the worst thing you've ever done but you are too close to it to really distinguish between those two extremes, SO... you go back The Next Day to look at it again to decide after rest whether you were touched by a Divine sense of inspiration or if you exhausted yourself making garbage...) It's a scary moment. It truly is sometimes.

     So... The Next Day, I looked at it the next day and still just LOVE it. I really do.  It's fun just to make art for the simplicity of satisfying that Draw-Craving you get from time to time, if you get it.

     Just one more thing before I go: One of the 3 people that asked me why I chose a mime this week, B, mentioned something to me after I showed him the finished illustration; something that was an interesting interpretation that I hadn't intended originally with this piece. He said that he liked it, of course, but the part of it he liked the most was that the mime was blowing into the umbrella, creating his own destiny.  After, B, said that, I said,"Yes. Of course. That is exactly what I had intended." lol
But, truth be known, I had not. I wished I had. I think I am going to "borrow" that interpretation because I like that alot when paired with the illustration. It's an interpretation that truly is a "breath" of fresh air.

     Lastly, to all of you out there, if you find yourself craving something whether it's a food or a drawing or a TV show or a book or exercise or some other activity... Remember, there's good health in a little moderate indulgence from time to time. It's OK to say yes to it on the occasion. You'll live longer and happier; your destiny is what you make of it. 

Until next time, friends,
Keep sketching, keep thinking, keep laughing and most important of all, 
keep making art.