Art integrity has been something I've been trying to accomplish for quite some time. Due to my fluctuating and largely uncontrollable schedule, I have not been able to consistently produce art like I had planned on doing. The integrity issue is only found when examining all the promises
I've made over the years about my art. I have not kept my word about making several requests, which is something I cannot say that I am proud of. In this journal, I will also examine my issues with consistent uploads and attempts at working on larger projects.
First of all, my art schedule revolves around school, for the most part. The only times I can draw are during math, during science, or whenever I'm feeling rebellious against any of the other classes I'm in. I've traditionally never liked having people watch me draw, with their questions of "what are you drawing?"
and "who's that?"
and "wow, you're a good artist!"
That last one isn't even a question. I'm pretty bad at taking compliments: please just know that I take them to heart and appreciate them a lot, but it makes me feel kind of bad that I'm unable to sufficiently express my gratitude.
"How do you get so good at drawing?"
"I could never do that."
The answer to that question is always "practice", and there is no proper response to that statement due to my bad compliment-accepting skills. While I am drawing, I often know exactly what I'm trying to go for when I start, but my art does not often end up that way. I draw what I feel like drawing, or I draw to try and visualize something I've been thinking of. If I really wanted other people to know what I was drawing, I would simply show them.
I have always been self-conscious about my own art as well. I have had bad experiences in the past in which I could mentally detect that somebody has labeled me simply on the basis of what I draw. I have similar distaste for those who attempt to categorize my art, or make assumptions based off of it. I don't even show my closest friends (with maybe one
exception) what I'm drawing, because I never want to hear their opinions on it. It's either a pretty unnecessary opinion that might discourage my from finishing the work, or it's just an endless stream of questions that makes me regret ever opening up to the public.
"What's he doing?"
"Where is he?"
"Who is this character?"
"Is this canon?"
"Are you drawing (insert inane impossible action here that I am obviously not drawing)
"You should draw _______."
"Add _____ to the picture."
and one of the most awkward: "What is he from?"
The first two questions are typically asked immediately upon showing an unfinished sketch, which is obviously not descriptive and is incomplete. People still ask me. When I tell them, they will often ask "Why?" To which I cannot answer, because I typically do not wish to divulge plot points or I am otherwise not making a drawing for any reason other than to practice. Please do not assume that I am working on my "comic" thought, because the closest I am to working on that is thinking up ideas and drawing occasional sketches. For the third question, which is typically followed by the last and most awkward one, I am usually in a situation where somebody that is unaware of my characters has been watching me over my shoulder without my consent or knowledge. Quiet appreciation is nice, but I'm not making private sketches of ideas in my head to be appreciated. I will often say "my own character." Somehow, people still ask the most awkward question after I say this. Sometimes, I'll just say "Just a random character," or "I dunno." The former typically brings up the last question yet again. For the fourth question, which is only asked by certain people who have coaxed me somehow into revealing plot points about the man made of gold in order to get them to stop asking me, I do find it quite annoying when this is asked. It's often asked as a joke. Even so, I do not like showing most people what I draw, so when you ask me about something I didn't even like telling you about in the first place, it just reopens a metaphorical wound. No, if you see me sketching something that I then show you, it is not canon. Nothing I draw is canon unless otherwise specified. The same people who ask me this (more like the same person!) will also try and misinterpret my drawing for humorous purposes. Setting aside the facts that I do not like people joking about my art that I do not like to show in the first place and the fact that I dislike people misinterpreting my art when I am not even finished with it, there is still no reason to make up a ridiculous action that my character is so clearly not doing. A few minutes ago I was drawing a nice picture. Now you've roped me into a ridiculous discussion.
From the next two
does my greatest source of frustration (driving me to be antisocial with my art) originate. Yes, I know you want me to draw something. No, I do not take requests from most people. No, I am not adding your idea to my own picture. No, the man made of gold will not fight the man made of silver. There is no such thing as the man made of silver. The man made of gold does not have superpowers, and he is not weak to some miscellaneous, inanimate household food. No, he will not go super saiyan. No, he will not be in New York City. No.
Onto the most awkward question: "What is he from?" When people ask me this, all I can say is that "I made him up" or "he is my own original character." To the former, people often say "oh, cool, what does he do?" To the latter, they usually ask the same question, to which I respond "He is my own character. I made him up. He isn't from anything." Which is followed by the first response yet again. The people who ask multiple questions are those who are unfamiliar with the concept of an original character. They are usually far more suited to seeing fan characters. I accept this, but it's awkward to try and explain an odd and poorly-defined character who represents me for no discernible reason. Why should I have an original character? Why not just have myself? Those who ponder these cannot have their questions answered by me. It just is what it is. I do not like to explain my character for the same reason that I do not want to explain an incomplete work of art. Aaron is an incomplete work of art. I am an incomplete work of art. This is like asking me to explain who I am. Can you do that?
My reluctance to share any of my drawings limits the situations in which I can draw. I cannot draw in Humanities, because we have too much work and I am right by the teacher (also I'm not doing so well in this class because she refuses to actually grade
the huge projects we've done!). I can draw in math because I am usually done with the work early and I am not close friends with anybody in the class. I have recently gained the ability to draw in Chemistry because our new seating arrangements place me out of range of the prying eyes of other students. I am unable to draw in German because what free time we have is occupied by either the same friends I do not like showing my art to or with educating my partner (I have been paired up with a struggling student because I am doing so well). Last, but not least (ignoring PE for obvious reasons), we have APEC, where I am completely unable to draw both because I have two of my closest friends sitting perpendicular to each other and right next to me, and the teacher is not too fond of drawing when we should be paying attention. Thankfully, APEC has ended, and I will have time to draw while we watch a movie, but it's a really good movie, Papillon
, and I'm not sure I want to miss it. Upon coming home from school, I am extremely tired, and I often take a 3-4 hour nap. Then, I go to my mother's house, where I have access to my various computers. Now, I am still kind of tired, and I have homework to do, and I want to use this free time to watch youtube videos and socialize and such. The only real times I've had to exercise my creativity have been late at night when I am suddenly inspired to draw. I do wish I was in the situation my friend ~fawn555
is in, where she draws in most of her classes, and her friends have a great deal of respect and admiration for her art, rather than prying or annoying questions. I also admire her dedication to creating such fine character and clothing designs, whereas I only get to utilize my free drawing time to get down what is immediately in my head or what I otherwise want to practice. It is almost always the same, cookie-cutter man made of gold head and body facing left, usually with some kind of clothing change or expression practice of some kind. When I see her draw, it often compels me to do the same, but I restrain myself from doing so, as it would likely appear that I am simply copying her. I am, of course, doing just that, but only because it's what I've wanted to be able to do all along. She is one of very few artistic friends of mine, all of whom are female. Very odd.
That pretty much covers a majority of my issues with producing art in the first place, but there are more issues present in the midst of production itself. My projects are a mixture of little drawing experiments that never make it out of the back of my spirals, little practice sketches of my characters that are only there to reaffirm that I can, in fact, still draw, scrapped, incomplete scenes that typically occur when my drawing is no longer in alignment with my vision or my vision is otherwise lost, pretty neat drawings that I simply have not felt good enough to digitize and upload, beginnings of projects and ideas that never see completion, and half-completed big projects where progress has been slow. The strange mixture of art of differing levels of size, length, and importance make consistency difficult. I don't have the patience to see to the completion of many smaller ideas, because the original form that appears in my head fades at an unfair speed. I can't upload smaller pieces because I don't usually find them important enough (although there are many of them!); I cannot finish my larger pieces if I'm working on smaller pieces. The little arguments in my head over the importance of a project versus the time it takes to complete them also causes odd stutters in my work habits. A big project is less likely to be worked on because of how much more time needs to be put into it, with less results from that time put into it. I begin to question the end product that I am trying to achieve, and whether or not completing the project is any more beneficial to my art than the practice that has one into it without its completion. I wish I could say I have more experience with larger projects, but the longest I've ever worked on art has really just been on the man made of gold 3d model, and school projects. I work very well under limitations. My Christmas avatar is also an example of a long project, although it was a rather simple one. My inability to judge importance is a major limiting factor in partitioning my effort towards such projects. My fluctuating schedule makes it impossible to only dedicate a certain amount of time to each project, too. Most of my art is done in one or two sittings, and most individual images in my gallery have each taken me under 6 hours to make. I am personally against choosing speed over quality, so this is a bad habit I need to get over soon.
This brings me to my next issue of plot, continuity, the creative story-making process, and the development of a largely abstract character such as the man made of gold. All of these things are difficult to complete or accomplish, I have found. In terms of plot, there has only been one in my head. Nothing is on paper at the moment. I have several major plot points, but I have yet to solidify my story or anchor any sort of moral
to it. I want it all to be a story of power, responsibility, and personal issues that are prevalent in many peoples' lives. A story worth remembering, a story that can be related to, and, most importantly, one that provides valuable insight and leaves an impact on whosoever takes the time to read it. In the past few years alone, I've had terrible and moving emotional and mental experiences that are each quite worthy of a story of their own, but some of my most prevalent issues have yet to find an answer, so I'd like to see to it that they get solved before I can really bring myself to a true, final resolution to my story. Among the vague plot points currently encompassing the whole of the story, I have yet to expand my cast of characters to be meaningful, plentiful, or to even include a true, primary antagonist. In writing that sentence, it came to me that I don't need a physical antagonist. However, the status of "Mario Jackson" who I had originally decided would be the rival or the man made of gold has been revoked, in order to maintain the originality of my story and its characters. Taking somebody else's combination of Mario and Michael Jackson is pretty much the opposite of creativity, and I don't know how such a character could have been taken seriously as an antagonist. In regards to the seriousness of my characters, you might notice that my current cast of three is both limited and ridiculous. You have the man made of gold, who is an odd and not-well-defined protagonist, missing various facial features and generally not looking fully human. You have the Melon Prince of Gold, who, although extremely plot-relevant, is a completely ridiculous concept and is borderline detrimental to the nature of the story as a whole. I'm going to have to change his status of "norse god" if I want to keep some theological and character originality. The borderline mystical aspect of his current, if unexplained role in the story has me wondering as well: how deep should this be? How far can one push metaphorical notions before they are perceived as detrimental to the suspension of disbelief, or undermining to traditional spiritual beliefs among actual religions? Not to make generalizations, but there seems to be a habit of misinterpretations among those who are dedicated to their religion. When you introduce something, like, say, a modified notion of "heaven" or "hell" or "judgement" that is intended to simply be a metaphor of life's trials (hypothetically), how far can you go with it before the audience might accidentally be convinced that you're imposing legitimate beliefs rather than plot points? There's so much I still don't know. The Melon Prince of Gold needs work. The Man Made of gold himself is an ill-defined character. He has so much unused potential at the moment. He is far from an everyman, yet he is also not the quintessential of any particular emotion or concept, making him difficult to connect to any moral, as he is a very unique character. I will need to invest in what he does share with many, and I will also need to focus on the strengths and weaknesses of his contrasting qualities in order to appeal to as large an audience as I can. Speaking of audience appeal, that's another issue. I want it to be a comic. At the same time, I want it to be a novel. I also want it to be a television show, a graphic novel, and a movie. Referring back to my previous point of how unrealistic the man made of gold is, marketing a character so unlike an actual human being is difficult for people to relate to. A "cartoon character" as he may seem might not be received with the notion of seriousness that I need. His absence of defined facial or anatomical features is intended to cause you to focus on his character and who he is as a whole, rather than his outward appearance. Another issue comes with attempting to populate the world in which he lives. It will have elements resembling those of our world, while at the same time being completely original. At the same time
, I need to make it simple enough not to have people spin it off and make it or perceive it as being too complicated. It needs to be simple enough to have a non-visual description be completely possible, and the appearance of the world has to not be significant to the plot. With the issue of humans, how am I to add them in? If I make them all look similar to the man made of gold, he loses his originality and the entire thing takes on a more childish and cartoony feel. The man made of gold is a slightly childish and cartoony person
, which his appearance is supposed to represent. I find myself unable to develop other characters without making them practically identical (due to lack of facial features such as corneas or noses), and I cannot make them look like ordinary people because it seals the man made of gold off from being particularly able for one to relate to. Making him an outsider, alone in the herd, an outcast, even. I need him to blend with the society while, at the same time, being distinct from it. This will involve devotion to stretching my artstyle to cover more variations on appearances. It's doable, but I'm not sure how doable. There is also the issue of how complicated the story needs to be to get my point(s) across. I don't want it to be anything like the lord of the rings, where diehard fans can spout out infinite details about pointless things, and where those who don't care can sum up the entire plot in one sentence. It needs a balance in which the plot may be explained in a level of detail only slightly less by an unappreciative fan (which I hope there to be few of!) than a diehard superfan. I need to leave wiggle room to feed the imaginations of those who have them and to cater to the detailed descriptions desired by those who don't.
Now I'm apparently trying to treat this like a novel. A novel would actually work better in the sense of character development, because a nose is something that does not need to be specified on a character. A graphic novel is more of what I'm going for, but it also cannot be heavy on wording. I have huge amounts of respect for the mangas that spawn huge, popular animes, for their effective deliverance of unique characters and powerful messages without overbearing amounts of text. The fact that I have never delved into the depths of making a comic or writing a story beyond a few extant attempts (which haven't gone poorly, but haven't seen a great deal of professionalism put into them) will make this project even more difficult for me. Considering the amount of work that needs to be done and the fact that it is currently a one-man job from scratch means that this could likely take a very long time. Years, possibly.
In fact, years, probably
. I decided to do a little bit of research on the creators of several graphic novels, comics, literature, and such. It seems that a lot of them really produced their best or most well-known works at later ages, typically around a decade older than I am (I am sixteen at the moment). Another concerning issue is that I will abandon this project like I did with the last (although not particularly educated) attempt of mine to create something of a large project of similar length and importance. Once, many years ago, I resolved to create an animated movie within my lifetime. An adventure comedy about the adventures of two friends through space and across worlds in order to save each other and accomplish their dreams. It sounds a lot better when I put it that way. In reality, it was about a squirrel from space, an ordinary panda, and a miscellaneous third friend of undisclosed species going from making trouble in school to getting into extreme and crazy adventures. It's sounding a little better the more I say it. Anyway, it was pretty much abandoned a while ago. Now both sound like they could be wildly successful some time in the future, if I follow through with them.
Last issue, I promise! Careers. What in the world do I want to do? I'm an artist with the mind of an engineer. I want to write and make stories. I want to innovate and design things. I want to make great art for the world to see. I want to educate people. I want to be in a leadership position. Where do I begin? What do I need to learn for these? Where am I supposed to go to get what I need to do this? What of a potential future relationship? I've had a small internal conflict between two major goals of mine: love and success. Would I be willing to compromise my education for love? Even if I zoomed across the country to be with somebody I care about (which, you know, I am completely inclined to do on a whim anyway), there is the issue of my own education. Say, hypothetically, an imaginary girlfriend pursues education in Kentucky, for whatever reason. Because my dad was in the military for 20 years, I get free tuition to any California college. I can live relatively easy while still getting a great education in California, but the ensuing difficulties and impracticalities of a long-term long-distance relationship may instead provide detrimental. If I journey to Kentucky
(remember: still hypothetical), then I would face the difficulties of tuition, first of all, and increased tuition for being out of state, at that. I would also face the issue of locating a more local-ish college that suits my needs. There's also the small and unlikely chance that I could get a scholarship to somewhere, which could trouble matters more. The issue is: both love and education are big parts of my aspirations for the future. I may need to compromise on one of them. Which one am I willing to make a compromise on? It's more than likely that I am willing to make a compromise on love in order to pursue a better education. If the love was that strong, it would still last. I need to actually be in a relationship before I can worry about this issue more. I'm certain that I want a relationship a lot more than I want to not have to deal with the issues prevalent in a relationship.
Now I'm off-topic, and, if you take this and paste it into word as 12pt Times New Roman single-spaced formatting, I have written six and a half pages on these matters. I've waited until the morning after writing this to post it.