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New Project and Updates!

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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…)

grimm blog sketches 1

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.

 

Why I don’t draw “Real Women”

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robot woman

I can’t believe I still hear this buzz term being thrown around. I find it a little disheartening that so many women still don’t see the problem with it. I understand the sentiment, but saying that there is a “real woman” means that there is also a woman who isn’t real. Who, then, is this fake woman parading around acting like she is “real”?

I get that it’s about women’s bodies, but that’s even more reason not to use the term “real”. For a long time women who didn’t look like 16 year old supermodels have been made to feel inadequate. Women have been held up to a standard that is impossible to reach. But those slender 16 year olds are still women, and they didn’t make the choice to look the way they do. What about the 16 year old girl who could be a model but doesn’t want to be? The skinny teen girl who likes wearing baggy t‐shirts and shorts and stick her nose in a book? Are we telling her she’s not “real” because she happens to look like the current female ideal?

What about Trans Women? When we say “real women” what are we saying about trans women? When we live in a world were some women were not biologically born as women. So is the term “real” even appropriate anymore? Real seems to denote that a woman has certain qualities (curves, blemishes, small breasts, female reproductive organs) while “fake” women have other qualities (no curves, no pores, no body hair).

So I don’t draw “real women”, but I do draw women with vastly different body types, backgrounds and gender identities. I love strong, complex, female characters. I want to see more of these characters represented in stories. But I won’t empower some women, by disempowering others.

 

 

Dogs in Coats Process

By | Animals, Art, Blog, Process | No Comments

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.

frustrated artist

How I cured creative block, by drawing for fun

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I have so many personal projects I want to start that when I sit down to draw I often end up in “paralysis by analysis”. I think about everything I want to create, and become so overwhelmed that nothing gets done. The less I draw, the more frustrated I become.

Sometimes it’s easier to work on a project for a client because the idea is fleshed out, all you just have to draw. When you’re drawing for yourself, you can come up with so many reasons for NOT drawing a particular project, that you’re stuck in the planning phase forever. It’s not enough for me to only work on client projects. Working on the projects I feel passionate about is what wakes me up in the morning.

Recently I’ve been thinking about where the resistance to drawing what I love as come from. I did some “time travel” and found a few particular moments.

One of these moments was when I was in University. I was sitting with some friends in the animation studio and we decided to take a break and look at art online. We shared artists we loved, and one that I shared was an artist who drew rather pretty girls. When we looked at this artist’s work, a friend of mine said “Drawing girls is easy. Anyone could do it, it’s just a bunch of curves”. I was mortified. I loved drawing girls and my drawing station was filled with pinups. I felt so ashamed, as if she was talking directly to me (she wasn’t but we love to project don’t we!). I became so self-conscious of my pinups from that point forward, I just couldn’t do what I loved anymore. Even when other people told me they loved my work, I couldn’t get those words out of my head.

pinup_shame

I was searching for something else to work on, which should have been easy because there is an infinite amount of things to draw. But when you’ve had the rug swept out from under you it’s hard to just jump onto another project. I tried to focus on drawing other things I loved, just to get back into the habit. For me this was anything in the Fantasy genre. Then one day in a drawing class one of my teachers said “don’t add sci-fi or fantasy to your portfolio”. I understood what he meant, and why he said that. I knew he was talking about portfolio worthy pieces, not personal work. But I was still so fragile from my last ego blow all I could think was “oh no! Everything I do is cliché!”

dont_draw_fantasy

I was young and easily impressionable. I was so concerned about not being cliché, lame or drawing things that were “easy” that I paralyzed myself into not drawing at all. Drawing became stressful. I had embodied a feeling that if something was fun to draw, it must not be mature. Real art had to be hard and painful, otherwise you were just playing. I know this way of thinking is crazy now, but it wasn’t until recently that I realized how that feeling has followed me for the last decade!

In an effort to turn off this negative thinking, and nurture my inner child artist I’m going to spend some time drawing things that I really love drawing. I think by allowing myself to have 100% fun with a project, I can get my focus and discipline back. My current personal project is a series of pinups of subculture girls. I have such a deep love for different subcultures, in particular the Goth subculture. Even though my fashion choices are quite diverse these days, I will always consider myself a Goth at heart!

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I don’t want to spend any more time looking back and thinking about the work I could have done, I want to move forward from here. I’m starting my art making process by drawing things I love to draw. I won’t critique the work until it’s done, not during the process. After I get my flow back I can start to work on those bigger (epic) projects, for now expect to see Jaymie working in her element.

Sacré-Coeur Basilica Sketch

European sketchbook and a new outlook on motivation

By | Art, Blog, Travel | No Comments

After returning from an amazing 2 weeks in Europe (Germany, Italy and France) I was worried I’d lose the creative momentum. The last time I was in Europe (and the first time as well) was when I was visiting my boyfriend, now fiancée, in Germany. He was there for work, and I got to benefit from the free hotel ;). The experience was magical to say the least. I know that this feeling is normal, for those of us who aren’t experienced in travel. I visited so many galleries, and became incredibly inspired. I was soaked in art by the I had only ever read about in my art history books.

Notre-Dame Cathedral Paris Sketch

Notre-Dame Cathedral Paris Sketch

I came back to Montreal determined to paint. I prepared over a dozen canvas’ of various sizes. I planned my pieces, took photos of friends, buildings, animals. I had a huge series worked out. I started with pencil sketches, I starting 3-4 drawings at once so I could paint in an inspired whirlwind till the wee hours of the morning. I was so motivated. That motivation lasted approximately 5 mins. I don’t know what happened, but I let the motivation die. Time passed and I made lots of lists, lots of plans about what I would create. But I didn’t create anything. I somehow I still thought I was a painter, even though I wasn’t painting.

Cologne Sketch

A Cologne Street Corner

A lot has happened in 4 years. I’ve learned a lot about creating art, and giving myself unrealistic expectations. When I give myself an unachievable goal I fail and get depressed. I stop working all together. It has taken 4 years (more if you count the time before that when I was in the same unmotivated cycle) but this time, upon returning from an inspiring trip, I have not dropped the creative ball.

Rhine River Sketch

Castle Along the Rhine

 

Munich Marker Sketch

Munich Marker Sketch

How did I do this? First, I gave myself small goals. I didn’t expect to paint 5 paintings a day like my old self. Even if I only did one sketch I gave myself a pat on the back. Achieving these small goals was so motivating I achieved more than I ever had before. Not just on my paintings, but illustrations, comics and writing. Of course the process is a lot more complicated than this, but I wanted to share a few insights into my creative routine as well as sharing some of my recent work. Here are some sketches from my trip.

Venice Sketch

Venice Buildings

 

Venice Sketch

Venice Buildings

 

I don’t usually draw architecture, I’m not very skilled at perspective and sharp lines and angles. I enjoyed looking art featuring well rendered cityscapes and buildings, but I would always rather draw humans or animals. I’m infatuated with the soft shapes of the human form, and if I do draw backgrounds they tend to be landscapes. But after sketching countless buildings from different European cities, I can honestly say that I’m now a fan of architectural drawing. I have found joy in drawing buildings when I approach them with my soft and sketchy style. If I have to draw them perfectly I’ll get too frustrated and quit. I want to get even better at drawing architecture, I want my drawings to be more precise and realistic. But for now I’m allowing myself to approach it with a softer hand, I’m really enjoying the process.