More Dreamwatchers

A couple weeks ago I announced my upcoming webcomic. It’s still happening.

Today I’d like to tell you about another of the characters. Those who spend time with her call her Jazzy.

Jazzy is one of the youngest of the dreams, only a few days old when we meet her. A little girl wanted to be a ballerina for about a week, and she was the result.

Jazzy is particularly  interesting to write because she is nonverbal. Classic ballerinas don’t talk on stage, after all, and she came from a dream about being on stage. Instead, Jazzy creates images in an effort to express what she is trying to say. Sometimes it works well. Sometimes it does not.

A snippet of college life

You wake up at five thirty and can’t fall back asleep. Just as well. Gives you extra time to double check the final draft of your paper. You dress in the dark so you won’t wake your roommate, and that means you’ve probably forgotten something. You don’t figure out what it is until you’re on the bus to campus. The necklace you’ve been fiddling with in an effort to replace biting your fingernails.

By the end of the day, all your fingernails will be bitten to the quick.  They’ll sting all week. Oh well.

Campus is quiet and gray at seven thirty in the morning, so it’s a short line at the library printers to get your paper printed out. A formal art analysis of a painting no one has heard of. It took you forever to start thinking in the right terms for it. Your schoolbag’s wheels are loud and grating behind you when you head to class. The alternative is an aching back, so you ignore it. Mostly.

You eat breakfast on campus after class. Should have shopped for  groceries over the weekend. But the food’s good. You stare at your phone as you munch on a cinnamon roll, trying not to think of all the ways your paper was insufficient, even though it was the best you could do.

But there’s another assignment due today, so there’s no time to stress too much. You find a quiet chair in the library, pull out your tablet, and draw. You’ll worry about how the comic you’re making fits into this, that, and the other art theory later.

When you finally feel like the line and color work are good, you take a quick break on Pottermore. Your Patronus is a unicorn. Nice.

You work on spinning yarn as you listen to the lecture in your next class. It’s part of an assignment. Making and then knitting the yarn for a scarf to donate. The yarn isn’t coming out perfectly even, but it’s close enough.

It starts raining as you head home. The leaves on the sidewalk don’t crunch the same way when they’re wet. You’re still a little surprised that there are leaves. The desert is in your bones.

There’s a cleaning check tonight, but first you have to write up that art assignment. Talk about the process of making your little comic. Take pictures of the initial sketches, marker on newsprint, before you switched to making the finished product digitally. Why did you decide to make a comic. What is it trying to say. How does it fit into the context of contemporary art.

Eventually, it’s as good as you’ll ever make it. You submit it, eat an Oreo, and start washing dishes. You’re sweeping when the RA comes for the cleaning check. You pass. Barely.

You make a breakfast burrito and call home.

Announcing Dreamwatchers

I’ve mentioned projects I’ve been working on the past few months, and today I’d like to announce  one of them coming soon to an Internet near you: a new webcomic called Dreamwatchers.

It’s taking longer to put together than I’d planned, because life does that, but it’s finally at a place where I feel like I can tell you all about it, though it won’t be ready to hit the web till late October or thereabouts.

In Dreamwatchers, dreams are places that minds build and spirits visit, but they are also places where people live. Using a somewhat loose definition of ‘people’ and ‘live,’ that is. They’re the superheroes and imaginary friends born from childrens’ dreamscapes, monsters from nightmares, and mythical figures who all, for one reason or another, lasted longer than one night’s dreaming before fading away.

The character in the above picture is one of the oldest of those people, head of the Council of Deaths. Currently, she goes by the name Morgue. She used to be the Morrigu. She and her council play an important role in keeping the darker side of the balance of dreams. They butt heads with the Dreamwatchers, who keep the lighter side of the balance, quite frequently.

Morgue is technically an antagonist, but she’s one of my favorite characters anyway, and not just because I want her t-shirt. She knows exactly how scary and unpopular she is, and  doesn’t let it get to her or stop her from doing her job. Someone has to do it, after all. When she’s off the clock, she’s actually pretty nice. Not that she’ll admit it.

Dreamwatchers is something I’ve been thinking about and developing for a long time. I’m excited to share it with you all.

On Pain

Pain kind of sucks.  I’m pretty sure we can all agree on that.

Sometimes, though, pain (especially the emotional kind) can  be very useful. In Brandon Sandeson’s Stormlight Archive, the heroes have to have a “broken soul” before they can gain their powers. The cracks and scars in their souls make room for  the Nahel Bond to form.

The pain of their pasts becomes power in the present.

In real life, pain is used to fuel action, leading to people fighting for positive changes in society or scientific discoveries or beautiful works of art or music.

Have you listened to “Gavi’s Song” by Lindsey Stirling yet? You need to listen to it.

I’m not saying we need to encourage more painful events in people’s lives or take medications from depressed people if we want more powerful works of art–please, please don’t take our medications. Depression is more than just sadness and makes art harder, not easier. Van Gogh’s paintings  from when he was getting treatment  tended to be better than the ones from when he wasn’t.

I’m saying that there’s plenty of pain in the world already. It’s healthier to use it than to gripe about it.

Sometimes it’s really hard. It has been for me this week. But it’s worthwhile, I hope.

Digital Art Adventures

I purchased a tablet recently for school and art, and so far I love it. The drawing programs work exceptionally well compared to my past efforts at drawing on desktop computers.

And apparently  I don’t get to put more than one image in this blog post. That’s lame.

Anyway.

Drawing digitally  is a very different experience than drawing on paper.  You can turn on different layers, move things behind each other, decide that the little doodle at the bottom of the canvas needs to be more prominent and enlarge it, all kinds of really cool things.

That said, since I recently changed my major to pre-art, and my current classes are encouraging me to push beyond the accepted conventions of what art is, I have to wonder what else I could do with it. Why pretend to be drawing on a “canvas” when it’s clearly a file type completely separate from the traditions of painting? If I hadn’t been influenced by the work of digital artists before me, would I really be wanting to do things a certain way?

Maybe, maybe not.

But I do enjoy doing pieces like the one above, which works primarily within the scope of traditional art while also incorporating things that could only be done properly on a computer. That was a fun piece to work on.

It’s going to be a great semester. Best wishes, everyone.