I Finally Made Some Characters

I have a few updates for you! I finished my triptych for my ART333 class. Take a look:

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All three of them together! 

So I completely scrapped the previous idea I had and decided to go for the above instead. I named it, “Dissolve.” I could talk about it all day but I’m going to save that for another blog post. Essentially, after having finished this, I was unhappy with the lack of personality the woman possessed. Sure, there’s some interesting things going on in the image, but that’s it. So, it spurred me onward into finally making up some character profiles for my comic.

I know it took a long while, but I just kept finding things that I had to go back and work on. I finally tried sketching some characters our and working out their basic details like my previous posts had suggested. Take a final look below:

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I know they’re just a bunch of preliminary sketches but I am so pleased that I finally got around to actually drawing some characters rather than doing warm ups endlessly. However, I think the work I did paid off. Character I had drawn previously were a little boxy and not very proportionate, but these characters I find to be more believable. I’m excited to continue working on my ability (or lack thereof) to draw diverse bodies, as this is something that I still need to improve on.

It has been a wonderful semester, and I’m glad that I set out on planning my world, because now it is in motion. I’m about to graduate, and so I’m going to have so much free time on my hands that I know I’ll finally be able to go into my art with full force and really improve my technical skills along the way.

Thanks for checking in on my progress, but don’t leave! I’ll be back and posting again soon!

Social Activism Online

Can social activism be meaningful and worthwhile online? Yes, it can. There is a concern that internet activism is creating a generation of lazy, good-for-nothing re-bloggers and re-tweeters who will do nothing more than click a button. I will not argue against that fact because it is true. There are plenty of instances in which the modern brain has tricked internet-goers that re-tweeting #blacklivesmatter is the same as actually doing something about the systemic racism and inequality that society faces today. However, the modern brain is not entirely wrong, either.

By re-tweeting and sharing movements, you are doing something. Granted, you could do more, and you should do more, but by tweeting and spreading the news, people will do more. By sharing and spreading these stories, people increase the involvement and population of the movement. By creating an online community that supports whichever movement it may be, it will extend the lifespan of the movement by keeping its followers up to date with any new information on the matter. Internet activism spreads information across the entire world. Therefore, millions more people can become involved. Compare it to the past:

Did information get immediately cast across the world through articles in a newspaper? Did delivery boys teleport across the world to get a letter to somebody? You know the answer to that. While it was not impossible to spread such information, it could take way too long for the information to spread, and it could easily be silenced. Letters burned, journalists fired, all sorts of things could prevent social justice movements from happening. With the internet however, it is nearly impossible to prevent the outburst of information. Even if an article is taken down, millions of people had the opportunity to respond to it, or take a screenshot to store the information for themselves. People cannot be effectively silenced on the internet, which means social activism has its place on the internet.

People take action when injustice has taken place to promote change in order to correct the injustice. Silencing the people is what prevented social activism. The internet considerably makes that less of a problem.

So yes, there is #slacktivism happening, but those who complain about it may guilt or spur any number of people into serious action because deep down they know that merely re-tweeting something about #feedthestarving or #blacklivesmatter doesn’t actually solve the problem.

Social activism and the internet get along great. It makes many things possible which haven’t been possible before. It gets more people involved, and it extends the lifetime of movements.

Online activism is more than worth it. 

My Favourite Show Used to be Code Lyoko

I’ve done the show a disservice.

I just tried to up my code game by frantically trying to code a mini scene in Scratch. It is a really cute website designed to get kids hooked on coding, but I must say; it is for all ages. I had a lot of fun doing the tutorial, trying out some games, and then trying to create on myself. It was honestly more difficult than I had imagined, and I learned that I knew nothing about coding. Here is the video evidence:

I had fun though; you can hear me giggling whenever something went wrong.

Serious thought though: Why do we not teach more coding to our students as a mandatory practice? The exercise it gives your brain is fantastic. You’re forced to think about cause and effect in a way that immediately takes effect as you’re doing it. It helps students become more familiar with thinking about their actions and their words. Also, it is a practical skill to have regardless. Our western culture is entirely dominated by technology yet we know so little about how it works or why it works. Teaching more students coding like this may help create young and innovative inventors. Teaching coding in such a way may help more women and young girls get into coding. The website does not market coding in any way to one particular gender; it is open to all!

This is a short post, but long story short: more teachers should teach their students coding, and the website Scratch is a great resource to implement such lessons into your classrooms.

Thanks for checking in!

Just Sort of a Reflection on Passions

Being in university is such an estranging experience to the rest of the world. It feels like we are constantly operating in our own little university-world. Everything revolves around university for me. What and when I eat, when I sleep, when I get coffee, when I work at my job; it all revolves around my schooling. Perhaps it is because I am in my final semester of my degree, but I am just so sick of my stress revolving around university, too.  Perhaps it is because I literally have not slept since 7:30am two days ago. Regardless, I’m done with dedicating every thought that passes through my mind to university. I want to take myself somewhere new so that I can see how creative I can be. I want to explore my place in the world before signing a contract to teach in some town I may never fit into. Not to mention, I have only ever known myself in a school setting. The thought of going straight out of school to begin my career in more schools without getting the chance to explore what its like to not be in school would suck the soul out of me. I know these thoughts sound depressing but to me, coming to the realization that I need a break is a huge relief in itself.

Lately, I’ve been day dreaming about what I’m going to do with my spare time when I am not constantly under pressure due to major projects coming up. I’ve been day dreaming about what it would be like to have my biggest cause of stress removed. What would I do with my time? After a really good chat with a classmate of mine, who has embarked on the exact same four year journey as I, I came to a conclusion. University is entirely hypocritical.

In my anti-oppressive education we constantly discuss how we can continue to dissect narratives that are overarching our society. We learn about classist, racist, and sexist narratives that dominate society and oppress those who fall outside of the so-called “norm.” However, as our professors collectively turn our eyes towards these narratives, they have been enforcing a narrative upon us, too. It is subtle, and behind the scenes, and taught as though it is a matter of fact. What exactly am I talking about?

The expectation that my generation will get a degree, and then work the same job until the day I die, or retire. The way professors talk about teaching is as if it is the only possible answer. The terms and phrases used imply this. Not a single professor throughout my entire degree has suggested that it is acceptable to pursue another career after completing an education degree. My parents assume that if I get a job teaching, I will be doing that for the rest of my life. My grandparents assume that if i start teaching, I will teach for the rest of my life. Everybody I’ve ever talked to about life after university has only always assumed that I will teach for the rest of my life. This makes me feel like a failure, because this does not coincide with what I want to do. I feel inferior because of my life decisions, when really, I should not feel this way at all. There is nothing wrong with what I want to do.

After my internship, I began to doubt that teaching was for me. Granted, a lot of things were happening during my internship that I will never have to deal with again, purely because of the way internships work. If I get hired, I am free to practice my pedagogy so long as I can relate it directly to the curriculum. I will not have to sacrifice my personal teaching philosophies in order to have the right to stand in a classroom. If I get hired, I will be able to be my own, independent educator. However, I find that the educational system itself requires a lot of work. The right people are not always in positions of power, and even if I receive a degree, get hired, and start working in schools, my power can much too easily be taken away from me. Also, in light of the recent budget cuts to education, so many doors have been closed on my face for my future career. The wrong people are always in power, and I am sad to say that teaching anti-oppressive education is no longer enough.

Let me say it again:

Teaching anti-oppressive education is no longer enough on its own. We have to do more.

But how? Everybody tells me that the first few years of teaching are the worst. During my internship, the most  common comment that I heard was, “You think internship is hard? Wait until your first year of teaching.” It was incredibly negative and disheartening and my colleagues offered no support of advice beyond that. I felt as though they were trying to alienate me further and further from the profession that I just spent the last four years of my life working towards. So many doors have been closing on me and my career and because of this, I had to step back and truly, honestly ask myself if teaching is for me.

When I took a step back, I asked myself, “Do I really have to do this?” But in asking myself that, I realized that I’ve only ever imagined “this” as “teaching for the rest of my life.” Nobody talks about taking a year off. Nobody talks about furthering their education before they move on to teaching.

In a talking circle in my class last night, a peer of mine said the following.

“I started my post-secondary education late in my life. I know a lot of you are in your early twenties, and you are feeling apprehensive about moving on to your teaching career. Let me just tell you, looking back to when I was 22, I never would have been able to do this, so all of you are already years ahead of where I was at your age. However, I just wanted to add that there is nothing wrong with waiting to teach until you truly feel ready.”

When my peer said this, I cried. I had been stressing and stressing about teaching because after my internship, I do not feel ready, I feel even further away from being ready than when I was in my first year. When he said this, it was the first time I had ever imagined doing something other than going straight into a lifetime-career. I knew I needed some time off, but now I’m considering taking a decade off from school.

My professors have pushed on me, subconsciously, that if I do not go straight into teaching, I would be missing out on certain experiences and important learning experiences by not teaching right away. This is not true. My professors made it sound as though the only experiences in life that will ever matter are ones that are directly related to my pedagogy and education. This is also not true. I began to see the world around me as locked away or unavailable to me, because my professors all told me over and over again, “You are a teacher for life now, so you better act like one.” This terrified me. I felt like I signed my soul to the devil and in a way, I did. There are so many things in life that I want to do that I can’t do as an educator purely because teachers are expected to be above-perfect role models for society. In our digital age, everything I do can easily be discovered, so I can’t go out and do anything that anyone could potentially take offense to (Which could literally be anything at this point) and so I feel as though I am chained to my degree. Except now, my degree is a 10 ton anvil that is popping my leg right out of it’s socket.

Over all of the years I’ve lived and been in school (which is nearly all the years I’ve lived), I’ve been taught that school is the most important thing. It will always be the most important thing I’ve ever attended, or facilitated. This is also not true. I digress.

Here is where I hope you’ll understand me:

If I’ve done nothing but go to school for my entire life and my entire future, I too will be pushing the subconscious narrative that school and post-secondary school is the only answer to how you can achieve success. My students will be just as diverse as Canada can get, and so to enter my classroom while operating in such a perspective, I am bound to push this onto my students. I need to get my head out of this post-secondary coma I’ve been slapped into.

Don’t get me wrong, I think education is the best thing that has ever happened to me, but I cannot allow myself to push my perspectives onto my students. I like being able to share my experiences with my students but how can I relate to students who do not want to move on to post-secondary? I need to live a little.

This is why I will be moving away from education for a few years. I’ve never lived a life outside of school. I’ve taken a summer class every summer, or attended a camp every other summer. I have, in every sense of the word, never not been in school. What I hope to achieve by taking a few years off is life experience. I want to travel and meet all kinds of people who do not necessarily fall into the post-secondary community and culture. It is not the only life that exists. There are many ways to live one’s life and I want to get out in the world and experience this for myself so that when I eventually decide to teach again, I can come into the classroom with a well-rounded, not-naive perspective that myself and my students will benefit from. If I decide to go back.

Developing my World

Baby steps! I thought I’d swing by and upload a few more pictures of the notes I’ve made, and talk about the research I’ve been doing. I will include some images that have served as inspiration for me as well.

Here is the progress I’ve made the past few days:

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I’ve been building on the religions of the world and trying to establish if it should be for sure a real thing, or if its all speculative. Do they have proof of their higher power, Fate? Does she actually exist, or is it something they’ve conjured up? Do people have visions? I decided that their higher power literally, actually exists, and visits the world in significant times and places. Nobody questions her existence. Therefore, how does each culture worship her? Do they worship her? These are questions I have yet to answer.

Here are some images from a folder that I’ve labelled as “inspiration” for my learning project:

It is hard to explain exactly why these images spur my imagination, but they inspire me to create fantastical worlds in which my characters may interact. Moving forward, I’d like to try and sketch out a few characters and try developing more informational profiles first, and then move on to actual art of the characters. That’s all for now.

Thanks for checking in!

What Am I Really Doing?

I want to make my own comic.

Which is why I chose anatomy and diversity in drawing as my learning project.

I’ve been dreaming about this since I was a little kid. My best friend and I would go to the lake together and spend hours upon hours just dreaming up characters in a fictitious world. We used to create maps and design clothes and houses and stories and we would be endlessly caught up in a world of fantastical creatures that we had made up on our own. Now that we’re both older, we’re trying to create our own separate worlds. In some ways they’re very similar, purely because we’ve grown up together for so long that its quite difficult because we too are quite similar.

If this is my end game, then before I can start actually creating characters, I need to have a world established. If I make my characters before I make my world, they may not suit the environment, nor will they make sense in the story. I can’t make a New York Times publisher walk into a world of vampires and dragons. It just wouldn’t make sense.

What this means is that I’m now working on two different strands of my project. I’m practicing my basic drawing skill and anatomy, but I’m also working on creating an environment/universe in which my characters will interact. I cannot have one without the other.

So far in practicing anatomy, I’ve just been occasionally practicing (all over my class notes, in my sketchbook, and sometimes even in my text books) basic foreshortening. A cylinder is a great shape to use for this practice because it generally makes up half of the body. The arms, legs, neck, and even somewhat the torso are cylinders when the body is broken down into basic shapes. Therefore, I’ve been drawing cylinders everywhere. I won’t bore you with twenty pictures of cylinders, so I included my most recent one below. It really isn’t anything special, but it is important to practice drawing these shapes in different perspectives so that when I try to piece them all together, I’ll be able to make a body out of it.

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In regards to building a world, I’ve been trying to figure out everything that even needs to be considered in order to create a world. I’ve purchased a few books, my favourite being the image below:

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The book is great but there are no visual cues or examples to really go off of, or no recommendations as to exactly how I should organize all of my planning. It recommends everything you need to think of, but makes no recommendations on how to put everything together, which is rather unfortunate I would think. Either way, I jumped face first into my planning.

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I had to take into consideration everything. What types of land masses exist, what times of biomes exist, what different kinds of islands are called, what type of faith(s) exist in the world, how the world came to be, and so on. Then, depending on the land mass, the environment, the weather and so on, it changed the kinds of resources available to the people. Did they have electricity? Do they have magic? How do they organize their communities? Is it a patriarchy? Is it a monarchy? Is it ruled by spirits? There are so many things to consider that I’m finding myself overwhelmed.

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My notes seem a little strange because I don’t really have names for anything yet, but initials and abbreviations will do for now. Obviously I’m just starting this so of course nothing is supposed to be finished and ready to go. This will be a really long process that could potentially take decades, but I’m in it for the long haul.

In this post I had talked abut how making a list of names can benefit the writer because you can establish cultural connections to the names.  See mine below:

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I tried colour-coding based on the different cultures around the world I’m trying to make so that I have a bit of a reference for myself when I start creating characters that are from various places around the world.

This is all I have for now. As usual, thanks for checking in!

 

Making Realistic Characters

In light of my previous post, I’ve done some research on how to make and draw characters that are more believable. The first link that I investigated immediately gave me a lot of insight: