Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Poppy Fields

Elphaba: "Can I say one more thing? You could have walked away back there."
Fiyero: "So?"
Elphaba: "So no matter how shallow and self-absorbed you pretend to be—"
Fiyero: "Excuse me, there’s no pretense here: I happen to be genuinely self-absorbed and deeply shallow."
Elphaba: "No you’re not. Or you wouldn’t be so unhappy."
Fiyero: "Fine if you don’t want my help—"
Elphaba: "No, I do! ... His heart is pounding. I didn’t mean to frighten him."
Fiyero: "What did you mean to do? And why was I the only one you didn’t do it to?"
Elphaba: "Oh look, you're bleeding...it must have scratched you."
Fiyero: "Yeah...or maybe it scratched me or something."

I saw Wicked again on Saturday, and then spent Sunday in a coffee shop finishing off this drawing that's been in my drafts for about 6 months. It was actually one of the very first illustrations I did of Wicked, and spent ages as a hastily sketched thumbnail on my phone. I'd been working on it intermittently to get it finished recently, but seeing the show gave me the push I needed to get it completed. I'm trying to clear out a lot of my backlog as I have so many ideas lately and not enough time to see everything through to completion! Which isn't a situation I'm complaining about in the slightest, after the amount of art block I've had it feels great.

I really love this scene in the musical. I have a lot of feelings about Fiyero, and as much as I love it the musical really does him a huge disservice. I kind of get that they don't want to spend much stage time developing him as he's not the focus of the narrative, but there's no reason to make him a bit of a jackass at the beginning. In the book he's a tribal person of colour seeking an education so he can integrate better with the people of Oz and help his people in the modern age, and is generally a fish out of water who doesn't feel comfortable at Shiz and gets picked on for being brown and having tribal tattoos. And as much as Dancing Through Life is a bop, it's kind of insulting that he got reduced to a spoiled rich kid bouncing from boarding school to boarding school. And I like this scene because they make an attempt to tear that image down a little and show that he's a bit deeper than he seemed five minutes ago, and hint at the deep connection he and Elphaba share in the book.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Aaron Tveit

I've been experimenting with drawing with a simple Bic Original Fine ballpoint pen, and really enjoying it! I was originally inspired by a video by DrawingWiffWaffles where she mentioned that she went through a period of only drawing with ballpoint pen and she felt it helped her to improve her work due to the permanence of the marks forcing her to be more light handed with her sketching. It makes a lot of sense, right? I've also felt heavily inspired by TheGothicAlice's sketchbook tours (and I kind of credit her with getting me out of my art block tbh, whenever I feel uninspired I rewatch those videos and it reminds me of my purpose for drawing in the first place). TheGothicAlice does a lot of pen work too, often portraits, and as I've drawn a lot of portraits in the past and it's something I'm comfortable doing I figured trying it in ballpoint pen would make it a new challenge for me.

The first time I sat down to draw with the pen I was suddenly terrified of getting it wrong (which is pretty silly, it's only in my sketchbook and it's only experimentation anyway). The issue was I'd never used a pen for anything other than writing and outlining and didn't really know how to make it do anything else. So I did what I usually do in these moments and turned to YouTube for instruction and discovered Alphonso Dunn's channel - this guy is not only an incredible artist, but I really love his no frills approach. The trouble with YouTube is there's too many tutorials by people who don't know how to teach and too busy trying to be a personality, so you end up just watching them do the thing and feel no more knowledgeable at the end of it than before you watched it. Alphonso really explains what he's doing, and also the why and the art theory behind what he's telling you so it makes sense and you end up with the background knowledge to be able to transfer the skills to your own work.

Basically I entirely credit this guy with teaching me the skills to create this portrait. Also this is the second ever portrait I've drawn with a ballpoint, so I'm pretty proud of it just for that. My first one is a bit of a mess in comparison, but it obviously paid off as an experiment - which is why it's so important to create imperfect art.

© a soot sprite. Design by FCD.