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Art

New Life In Yellowknife

By | Art, Blog, Personal, Yellowknife | One Comment
It’s been 2 weeks since I arrived in Yellowknife and it’s starting to get cold. They warned me it would get cold. But its not the kind of cold that penetrates deep into your bones. It’s fresh, and wakes you up. I find myself keeping the balcony door and windows open all the time. Sometimes I only realize how cool it is in my apartment when I step out into the rest of the building’s heated hallways.
On my first evening here I was greeted with beautiful clear skies, mild weather and one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen. Although it’s been cloudy ever since, the beautiful view I have from my living room widow does a good job of making the clouds seem less ominous.
I find myself in Yellowknife because my husband has a one year contract as a Lawyer with the Federal Government of Canada. When I first learned of this new opportunity, I wanted to take a break from having a day job so I could spend the next year working on my art. But my feminist brain said “cannot…live off…husband…cannot be… house wife…” So I secured myself an eLearning Contract. eLearning and education is my day job, and though I certainly love it, making art is what drives me. It’s what wakes me up in the morning, and keeps me working into the wee hours of the night.
Having a day job/contract won’t stop my art making. In fact I haven’t even taken a break during these last 2 hectic months. My husband went up to Yellowknife first, and I finished up the last 2 months of my work contract in Ottawa. All of our possessions went with him, so my computer was packed in a box. I still had access to my work computer and my drawing tablet, but I didn’t have a dedicated space to work. I lived in 2 different apartments, and never had a permanent desk set up. I was always on the floor, at a kitchen table, or in a cafe. I also decided to put all my energy into day job projects, which were fun, but took away from my own art.
I did however rekindle my love of life drawing in sketchbooks. I had gotten so used to working digitally, I had forgotten how fun it is to carry a sketchbook around and just draw everything. I drew quite a bit of my last days in Ottawa, then tragically lost my phone with a month’s worth of reference pictures, including shots from some of my final bike rides outside of the city. Shit happens though, and it could have been worse.
Artistically, I want to explore all the ideas I’ve put on the shelf over the years. I love life drawing, and I love cartoons. I’ve always just assumed each one should be on a different website, as each was a different part of myself. But I want to see if I can bring these two styles together. I’m not sure if that will mean making my life drawing more cartoon, or adding more realism and detail to my cartoons. I hope you’ll follow along as I experiment and work through these stylistic changes, and perhaps find a way to merge my two styles, instead of having two very distinct ones.

Till next time.

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New Project and Updates!

By | Art, Blog, Personal | No Comments

I haven’t abandoned you! I’ve been working hard on a new project, and I’m in an art show this Friday so I’ve spend the last month finishing my 3 pieces for the show! (if you live in Ottawa you should come! Adults only though! Click Here for all the info!)

It’s been an awesome year with lots of new opportunities for me.

The new project I’m working on is an Erotic Art site. I have spent a long time debating about weather I should feature sexy pinups on this site, but after much thought I decided against it. I think good quality, sex positive porn is a wonderful thing, but it’s not for everyone. I don’t want to present sexualized images to anyone who has come here for my activism, strong female characters and funny animal comics. Not that strong female characters and activism can’t exist in the same world as porn, they certainly can, but I have a specific audience I want to appeal to with my erotic art, and I don’t think it’s the same audience who will enjoy the work on this site.

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I will still be creating lots of work here, but I’ll be spending a little more time on my erotic art site as I build up my body of work.

I’m happy because now that I have a place for my erotica I can start filling this site with the amazing stories, characters and comics I’ve been sitting on all year, without worrying as much about what my “niche” should be. I’ll be a little more free here to post art which might not be marketable, but will be really fun to draw and share.

You won’t just find art on that site, but articles on my thoughts on porn, feminism, activism, sex, male gaze, and lots of other interesting topics that are bound to come up when a feminist draws porn.

So if you want to follow me over there too you can visit cutekink.com and all the appropriate social media links can be found there.

And if you want to come to the group Art Show I’ll be in this Friday the 8th of Janurary you can get all the info here

http://venusenvy.ca/events/filthy-dirty-art-show-3rd-annual-2016-01-08

I hope you’ll still follow me here, as 2016 is going to be a very exciting year for art!

Hero Sisters of the Grimm Fairy Tales

By | Art, Blog, Grimm Fairy Tales | No Comments

I was reading the Seven Ravens this week, and I realized it is extremely similar to another Grimm Tale, The Twelve Brothers. Not only that, but my husband had requested I do an illustration of the Six Swans, which shares elements as well. Each story has brothers turned into birds and a sister who must rescue them.  But the similarities don’t stop there, let’s explore them in more detail.

Sisters, Birds, Brothers and Blood

Here we have three tales, each about a sister whose bothers are turned into birds.

In all tales the sisters are the heroes who save their bothers, but they are equally condemned for things that are not their fault. In the Raven tales it is the sisters who are blamed for turning their brothers into Ravens. For the swans this sister isn’t to blame for their transformation, but she is wrongly accused of killing her own babies.

grimm blog sketches 2

Blaming the Daughters 

Seven Ravens

In the Seven Ravens it is the brothers who bring about their own trauma with their over eagerness to bring home some baptism water. They lose their buckets in the well and end up very late. Their father cries out and curses them to become Ravens! The boys are turned into Raven’s simply for being late! Their sister has literally just been born, and couldn’t be more innocent if she was still in her mother’s womb. Yet she is blamed for their curse.

Even the town’s people blame her, as we see here “However, one day she accidentally overheard some people talking about her. They said that she was beautiful enough, but that in truth she was to blame for her seven brothers’ misfortune.” Strangers are blaming her for nothing else but being born!

Twelve Brothers

The sister in the Twelve Brothers, suffers the same fate. Her only crime is being born and picking some flowers. It is her father, the King, who tells his wife if she has a girl he will kill all their sons so the daughter can inherit everything. Why does he do this?! He even prepares coffins for the sons! He has terrified his wife by threatening the lives of her sons if she bears a daughter, and brought her to constant tears. Nice guy.

When the Queen’s daughter is born the sons are pissed off and vow to kill any girl they see. How about killing any King they see? Since he’s the one who came up with the stupid situation in the first place.

After finding her brothers she innocently picks some flowers and the boys turn into Ravens. How could she have known this would happen? What’s so bad about picking flowers in your own garden?

Six Swans

In the six swans it is not the daughter who is too blame for her bothers transformation, but her stepmother. Later it is her new step mother (mother of the King she marries) who again tries to ruin her life! The stepmother attempts to convince the King his new wife has killed their new born children three times!

 

Sisters to the Rescue

Seven Ravens

The daughter in the Seven Ravens, despite being blamed for ever being born, is the only one willing to go search for her brothers. When she finds them (after literally traveling to the sun, moon and stars) she cuts off her own finger to use as a key to open a mountain and find her lost brothers.

grimm blog sketches 3

Twelve Brothers

After finding out her brothers had run away because of her birth, she sets out to save them.  After finding her brothers they live happily… for a while. When she accidentally turns them into Ravens by picking some flowers a random woman appears and starts telling her it’s her fault her brothers are ravens, and the only way she can save them is not to speak for seven years. 

During this seven year span a Kings finds her and falls in love. Luckily, being beautiful is enough for a King, even if you can’t speak. So they get married and she lives with him for a while. But her mean, old, step mother (of course) hates her because she is beautiful, and convinces the King to kill her. She is tied to a stake and a fire is lit beneath her. As she is literally burning to death she still doesn’t say a word. The seven year mark arrives and her brothers are returned to their true form. They save her just in time. She didn’t speak for seven years even when being burned to death.

Six Swans

In the Six Swans the sister must knit six sweaters for her brothers in order to turn them back, but to make this task harder she is cursed so that she cannot speak. Like the daughter in the Twelves Brothers, a woman without a voice is a perfect match for a King, and one finds her and marries her. Perhaps they like wives who can’t talk back? In this tale we again have an evil step mother trying to kill the young girl. Luckily she finishes the sweaters just in time, saves herself and transforms her brothers back into human form (almost…)

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Not So Happily Ever After

 So at the end of each tale the sisters triumphs and frees her brothers from the spells (one brother is stuck with a swan wing, but what can you do…) and the evil step mothers are either burned to death or boiled alive.

 

Meanings

There are several interpretations I read of these tales. One interpretation I found was that these tales represent a time when sons would be sent to war, and would perhaps die, leaving the daughters to inherit the family wealth. But the daughters would be under the watch of their fathers, perhaps making reference to the Kings causing all the trouble in these tales?

There are other interpretations we can explore:

  • The daughters who lose their voice are seen as polite and alluring. They are married off to Kings without even a saying word! Is this encouraging the idea that women should be seen and not heard?
  • The Evil Step Mother. Such a trope, but let’s really dissect it for a minute. We have young beautiful maidens and older step mothers. The old mother is always jealous of the younger girl, with no cause. These stories often pit women against each other, older women against younger women. Even if the young girl triumphs in the tale, an older mean woman always “gets hers” in the end.

Though these are negative interpretations, but let’s not forget that the girls in these stories are badass heroes who save their brothers from their feathered fates. They work against all odds and show incredible strength and determination.

 

Why draw these tales?

Why did I choose these stories to draw? I was definitely attracted to these stories because of their strong female heroes. But I also wanted to draw them because they all hold some very interesting visual elements, a flock of Swans, a murder of Ravens, and young girls fighting against adversity. I thought it would be striking to illustrate three different tales with very similar elements.

 

Why are these tales so similar?

If you read my last post you’ll know that the Grimm tales were taken from oral folk tales passed from mother to daughter. When folk tales are passed around orally, the story tends to change like a game of telephone. Characters, settings and even the endings may change from person to person. I’m only exploring the Grimm Fairy Tales for this art series, but it the similarities between tales gets really interesting when you start to look at different writers from different cultures. I hope that’s something you’ll start to explore on your own.

 

A Grimm Art Series

By | Art, Grimm Fairy Tales | 2 Comments
Why do we still Love the Grimm Fairy Tales ?

Why are the Grimm Fairy Tales still so fascinating when they’ve been approached by so many artists already?

When a story is retold by so many different voices, it becomes more like a myth. We start to reinterpret it, looking for different meanings and adding in our own. I also like to think it’s because our society has a fascination with darkness (as much as we pretend we don’t). We love to know the deep dark origin of modern fantasy tales. We love these dark stories because, we know that the world is a scary place, and things don’t always turn out as you expected.

 

Grimm Fairy Tales Have a Formula But….

Rapunzel Curly HairIf you’ve read a lot of the Grimm Fairy Tales you’ll notice they have a very repetitive formula – someone is mean, lazy or rude and they “get theirs”, while someone else is humble, hardworking or kind, and things work out for them. Usually this “working out” involves getting just enough treasure to live a humble life, but not too much treasure as to make you lazy and self-righteous.

 

There seems to be a very obvious formula, except when there isn’t… There are those few tales where you finish a story, look up from you book and think “what the heck did I just read?!”

 

They Were Originally Created by Women

What is fascinating about these tales is not just that they are dark, they are also a surreal glimpse into the morals of the culture they came from. These fairy tales started as folk tales, told by women to their daughters, granddaughters and each other. They were warnings and guidance, as well as lessons on how to behave. The two Grimm brothers complied theses oral folk tales into a book. So we have stories that were created by women, but written down and reinterpreted by men. If we look at the Disney franchise we could easily say they have been retold by men again.

But the Internet is a wonderful place for artists, and so many women are retelling these stories in their own way. They are doing this through art, storytelling, costumes, doll making and all sorts of other mediums. It seems so fitting that women are retelling these stories in their own voices and exploring the versions written by men from a female perspective.

 

My Next Art Series

Cinderella PumpkinsThe fascination has caught hold of me too. I have always loved these dark stories, so I’m starting an Art Series inspired by the Grimm Fairy Tales.  I want to focus on the tales that have a female lead, or at least a female who has a strong supporting role. In these drawings I will linger on the darker aspects. I hope to point out the parts of these tales that are so strange, they don’t quite seem to work out well for any of those involved. I hope to be inspired by the original dark tales of the Grimm Brothers, while bringing my cute cartoony style and my female voice into the visual conversation.

 

What Are Your Favorite Grimm Fairy Tale Characters?

Which Grimm Tales do you love the most? Do you have a story or character you’d like to see me tackle? Let me know in the comments section below! I’ll be posting some sketches of my first illustration next week. There will be updates here on my blog, but be sure to follow any of my social media accounts to see sketches, progress pics and the occasional shot of me working hard in my little living room studio. 🙂

 

Happy Halloween Gift!

By | Art | No Comments

I love everything about October. Autumn leaves, cool temperatures, warm spicy beverages, and of course Halloween!

Gothic Lolita Halloween Girl

I wanted to create a fun little Halloween girl to brighten up these darker days. When I finished her I realized she’d make a perfect desktop background! So click on the link at the bottom of this post to get a Free Wallpaper of this Spooky Girl to keep you company while you work!

Click here to open your free wallpaper!!

Gothic Lolita Halloween Wallpaper

Elemental Nymphs

By | Art | No Comments

My friend and fellow artist Constanza gave me a challenge on twitter to draw a Nymph. I love drawing creatures from myths and legends so I jumped at the chance. My first drawing was a wood nymph, but after one I couldn’t stop, so I decided to do one for each of the 4 elements. The wood Nymph has turned into an Earth Nymph and joined her other elemental sisters here.

 

Earth Nymph

Air Nymph

Water Nymph

Fire Nymph

Game of Thrones Inspired Gothic Lolita Fan Art

By | Art, Fan Art | One Comment

I love Game of Thrones. I got hooked on the first season of the show, then went back to read  the Song of Ice and Fire series. I’ve wanted to draw some GoT fan art for a while, and with the new TV season starting it seemed like a perfect time. Instead of drawing actual characters from the series I thought I’d try something a bit different in the way of “fan art”. Here are six Gothic Lolita outfits inspired by some of the first houses introduced. The colors I used are the house colors, so as much as I wanted to draw a Targaryen outfit inspired by Daenerys’ white hair and purple eyes, I restrained myself! Enjoy!

Stark Gothic Lolita

Lannister Gothic Lolita

Baratheon Gothic Lolita

Greyjoy Gothic Lolita

Targaryen Gothic Llolita

Tyrell Gothic Lolita

Dogs in Coats Process

By | Animals, Art, Blog, Process

I wanted to share my process for my Dogs in Coats illustration. It was a really fun process and a lot of people loved these dogs, so this lets me share a few more.

Inspiration

It’s been an extra cold winter here in Canada, and after seeing all the adorable critters bundled up against the wind and snow, I absolutely had to draw them. Some of the dogs in the final illustration are from my own imagination, but many of them were inspired by real dogs. The boxer in particular was a real dog! And she definitely looked like she hated her flowery jacket. When I would see a dog I loved I’d try to snap a picture, but if I couldn’t I’d draw a sketch when I got home as quickly as I could.

Process

Any illustration I create starts with a series of loose thumbnails. This is probably the most part of the process, it’s where the energy and movement of the character is created. An illustration that’s created straight from a first sketch will often end up looking stiff and lifeless.

Tibetan Spaniel Illustration
Jack Russel Terrior Illustration
Pugs Illustration
Lundehund Illustration
Collie Illustration
Pit bull Illustration
Pit bull Illustration

As you can see from the sketches there were many dogs who didn’t make it to the final illustration. I loved all the dogs I sketched out, but time made it so I had to pick the best ones. After I’ve picked the best sketches I re-draw them and refine it. I scan the refined sketch and ink it digitally. Right now I’m in love with Manga Studio 5. The pens have a nice soft feel that works really well with my line work.

Here’s a mashup of my process, sketch, inking and color.

Greyhound illustration

This was a personal project, and I loved creating these characters so much I’m already planning out my next project with them. They are just begging to have a story written about them.

Monday Comic – Summer is Coming

By | Art, Comic, Uncategorized

I posted lasts weeks comic on all of my social media, but I forgot to post it here on my site! So if you don’t check my social media here is last weeks comic! On that note, I’m going to take a break from the comic this week. I like supplying laughter on Monday’s, but I feel like the comic is a bit aimless right now. I want to take this week to think about what direction I want to move into with this weekly comic.

Biking with Lip Gloss