The first project I was given was titled ‘Words To Draw By’, which lasted a week.
The start I used a mixture of materials (ink, charcoal, fineliner) to create marks inspired by adjectives. (Need to photograph that exercise still.) I kept this very monochromatic to focus more on the marks.
After this, I started looking at how I could incorporate these marks into a story. I chose 5 characters, and then added an adjective in front of their title, so I ended up with
- A decaying wizard
- A swift steed
- A flamboyant prophet
- A fiery beast
- The bold one with something to prove.
Once I’d decided on my characters I started doing designs using appropriate marks and colours. I either made some marks and then developed the character from the marks or I tried to draw the character by using a particular kind of mark. The characters sort of developed as I create the story. The ‘flamboyant prophet’ ended up just being a colourful entity with legs, and no other body parts, and the ‘bold one with something to prove’ ended up being completely different from what I originally tried to sketch out. Most of my original design from her ended up being scribbled over because I didn’t like the way it was working until I started drawing the actual story itself.
I then started work on my story. It went something like this,
So the ‘bold one with something to prove’ is feeling really sorry for herself because she’s just been dumped. Her now ex-girlfriend left her for a knight or a dragon slayer or something like that because they were more fearless and brave and went off and killed things so that made them better.
So she’s walking along the road all sad, when all of a sudden this incorporeal being of colour or something appears, and makes her jump. She’s like ‘omg whats going on who are you’ and the incorporeal being of colour or something replies ‘i am a flamboyant prophet, i have seen your future, you must listen to me’ .
So our protagonist is like ‘wow okay’ and the prophets tells her ‘you must go and find the fiery beast that lives in a cave, high up in the mountains’ and the bold one is like ‘yeah! thats what i’ll do to win back my love, i’ll go slay the fiery beast’, and runs off, ready to begin her quest. She’s so enthusiastic to get on her way that she doesn’t hear the prophet calling after her, telling her that she was only supposed to go find the beast and definitely was not supposed to kill it, but its too late.
The bold one decides she might need some help with her quest so she goes to visit the decaying wizard for some advice.
He says he can provide her with weapons to slay the beast, but at a terrible cost. She tells him ‘i’ll do anything’, and then he says ‘as you wish’, and she closes her eyes and braces herself for something terrible to happen, but then nothing does happen and she opens her eyes and looks at him and he’s just holding his creepy skeleton hand out and she’s like ‘what’ and he was like you must give me your socks’ and she’s like ‘what’.
So she gives him her socks, and he transforms them into a ice sword and shield. He catches a swift from outside his house and changes it into a steed for her to ride to her destiny.
She takes her new weapons and her swift steed and rides them off towards the mountain to slay the fiery beast.
(I think that black blob in the middle of the page is where I might have dropped my paintbrush at some point)
She finally reaches the cave where the beast lays, and follows the flames towards the beast’s lair. She has her weapons ready to fight, but when she finds the beast, its laying in the cave looking very dejected and forlorn.
‘I’m here to slay you’ she tells it, and it just looks at her sadly and says ‘go on then’. The bold one is confused, ‘why aren’t you trying to fight me’ and the beast says ‘because I am sad and lonely and I don’t want to hurt anyone’. The bold one puts her weapons down, ‘wait, so you’ve never hurt anyone?’ The beast shakes its head, ‘no, and I’m not even really beast, I was just cursed by a guy who thought that just because he was nice to me I would marry him and when I told him no he said that I’d friend-zoned him and I didn’t deserve to have anyone be nice to me ever again.’ The bold one is shocked, ‘that’s awful, is there anything I can do to help?’ she asks and just like that the beast disappears into a cloud of smoke and flames.
When the flames die down and the smoke clears, the bold one see’s a fiery girl standing where the beast once stood. The girl stares down at herself like she can’t believe what’s going on. ‘What happened?’ the bold one asks, and then fiery girl says ‘you broke the curse by being nice to me!’ and the bold one is like ‘seriously? thats all it took?’
Then they leave the cave and ride away into the sunset on the bold ones swift steed and become the best of friends and eventually fall in love and get married and everyone lives happily ever after.
I really enjoyed most of this exercise. I wasn’t overly keen on the mark making workshop at the beginning, but I love designing characters and making up ridiculous stories. I’ve never been very good at carrying something on to the very end, so I usually avoid doing things like comics even if I really like the idea of it. You can tell I was slacking a bit by the end of this I think.