I had an urge to be apart of something. I figured that’s what we are meant to do, as creatures we all conglomerate towards each other with varied similar interests, longing to belong. searching for soul mates, deep friendships, meaningful relationships of any kind, we humans crave it. as appealing as being hikikomori sounds, they’re still communicating to others via the internet. realizing I had no community, I felt obligated to join the bigger picture somehow.
I met a friend involved in the tokyo art scene as an aspiring art director, working at galleries. suddenly some opportunities arose and I decided to push myself to accomplish something. what, I didn’t know. I knew I needed deadlines or I would never get anything done. everything else was up in the air. I kept putting off picking out what photos I wanted to submit to the independent artist exhibition. a week extension, a week more procrastination.
I finally forced myself to view my collection. I picked out what I was drawn to, and narrowed it down. I picked similar color tones and an atmosphere that made me feel a vague nostalgia. the images began to tell a story together. they were taken over the span of a year, but together they told the story of an alternative future world in one day. they were of mundane images of tokyo, that japanese people ignore every day. I was fascinated with the city as an outsider. I thought my story could show that tokyo isn’t always what it seems, that if you change your mind, there is another universe right in front of us. I liked the images on their own, and I liked them even more as a storyboard to a sci-fi anime from a past future. such as a retro 1950s nuculear family prediction that we have already surpassed (2010 and no flying buicks, sorry, ’50s) I named it “retro neo tokyo”. a new tokyo future from the past. an alternate story telling of tokyo. to make the mundane exciting, to bring attention little details that I hoped japanese people could look at closely and re-examine.
Every single day for the past couple of years, I have been really annoyed with myself for not drawing. I keep telling myself to make the time to get back into it, but I never know where to start. I began to draw again when I moved to Japan, being inspired by all the art I loved there. although, I kept only focusing on fan art. I was drawing characters created by other people in the forms of other artist’s styles. it was fun to do, but then I got on myself again for not not creating anything original or finding my own style.
I just get overwhelmed when it’s time to put pencil to paper. so many things to draw, so many styles in so many formats and mediums… and colors! I rarely finish a drawing all the way. I get attached to the sketch or stupidly worry if I put pen to it, I’ll ruin it. it’s dumb, I know. I tell myself to just DO IT but my brain goes in all different directions. I keep saving all this wonderful art I see on the internet for inspiration, but… I just stare and wish at it.
I even tried to just get in the habit of drawing even it was garbage. searching the internet for “meme challenges”, but none were too inspiring. they did all start with “DAY ONE: SELF PORTRAIT”. self ports are the only thing I am confident in. I can draw an overly ambitious and wishful thinking picture of myself any day. so I started one, but decided to try drawing myself in my favorite artist’s styles, just to get back into the swing of things.
When I was in Japan I bought a lot of art books. I drew this Mamiya Oki piece first, with an old hair cut of mine from last year (I don’t need 20 self ports of me with blonde hair and a hat at the moment, so I’m time travelling my self-ports here). I wore this korean men’s hooded sweater a lot to look like a jedi to match my padawan braid(s). I was super pumped it wasn’t too bad of a sketch. it would look better colored, and clearly there are some things out of proportion, but not bad after months/years of drawing next to nothing.
I am super pumped to work more on this sketch!! I have always been fascinated with Hirohiko Araki’s work, although I have never read JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure manga (on my to do list). The portrait I am doing of myself is from my 25th birthday dance performance outfit. I thought all the shiny jewels and chains would be an easy similar style to draw. I can’t wait to color it (although I am nervous!!).
The great thing about copying other’s work you admire is to really get into the details of the picture. I would look at grand scenes by artists and think “WOW that looks so good!” but when I sit and study it closely, I notice things that I personally would have thought looked weird to draw or not been satisfied with had I done it myself. It teaches me not to be so hard on myself and to look at drawings as a whole.
The best and ultimate advice I got and will always give about drawing is–”it is 99% observation” (and practice, but duh). I learned that when I was 9 in a drawing class at the boys and girls’ club. the teacher had us draw bugs bunny’s head. I drew it better than her (she observed a line coming out of the wrong place, and I corrected her with hawk-like observation… I must have sounded like a brat). I still have the drawing, it looks straight outta looney toons, not gonna lie. I was a talented kid. if I kept up with it, who knows where I would be now. but I didn’t. it’s just a hobby.
I just want to create things. keep my hands off the keyboard and mouse and physically make something to be excited or proud about. I hate wasting time on the all-consuming internet. I want to leave behind physical objects that came out of my mind and then existed because I created it. I get carpal tunnel if I’m on the computer too damn much.
life is too short, let’s make things!