Archive for October 8, 2014

A Friend’s Inspiration

Animated characters are my forte. I get inspiration in weird places. No matter. They help me build an arsenal of scary, evil creatures that populate an imaginary magical realm. I want them to be new and fresh, with traits that have yet to be seen. With so much work out there, it’s getting hard. You look deep within for ideas. You look without for motivation. Whatever it takes to spark ingenuity is welcome.

Artists get inspiration in strange places sometimes. Picasso got it in women—not unusual at all. Cézanne got it in apples and oranges—mundane. Now Salvador Dali got it in melting watches on the beach. That’s eccentric and odd, in keeping with his personality. Animators are the same. They get charged up by anything in their surroundings that can be transformed into another time and place. Making the familiar strange is the definition of creativity.

You sit in front of your computer waiting for the ball to drop, for the mood to take you over, for the infusion of mystery and madcap–that is what makes art. In one case, as I was drawing from the depths of my gray matter, I remember something I saw on a friend recently—toenail fungus.

Toenail fungus is indeed the makings of ghoulish imagery. Evil beings can ooze a blackish yellow goop between their toes. Actually, the affliction lies under the toenail bed, but no matter! Viewers have to see it in all its ghastly glory. Sorry, friend. I don’t mean to insult you or to say you are hideous. It just makes for great gasps of disgust.

It is certainly not an infectious disease like the Ebola virus and nowhere near as serious. But you can rev it up for the right audience, make it nasty as heck like they did in this New York Times article. It is a simple thing akin to athlete’s foot but is hard to treat. It keeps growing, and gnawing away at your healthy feet.

My anime character will be otherworldly, of course, with tiny legs and giant feet. Claws will poke out at their ends like prickly cactus spears. The body will be thin, but the head enormous. It will fight for dominance with the feet. Hence the idea to add the flourish of fungus to make them stand out.

I can exaggerate the yellow color and the powdery texture to make it terribly unappealing. My friend just laughs. He hides his beneath a clean pair of socks and goes about his life as usually. My being will moan and groan with pain and roar with rage. He’s angry and ready to retaliate against the gods wielding mold and yeast. He turns from green to red when he looks at his toenails.

I hope this creative surge appeals to you as much as it does to me. Again, I get ideas where I can in all the weird and right places. Who knows? Maybe next time inspiration will come from a kitchen appliance or a faucet! There is always something you can do to transform the ordinary into the fabulous.

I Get my Best Ideas in the Shower

I like to think I am a creative. Who doesn’t? It saves us from the monotony of a bland life. I certainly admire the imaginative work of others in the fine and practical arts, especially in the field of animation. The Japanese anime tradition appeals to me the most in terms of imagery, draftsmanship, and expression. If I can’t do it myself, I can watch the ever-present streaming videos. Anime has been around for about a century and remains super unique. I have the habit of emulating the artists in this vein upon many an occasion. Dreams of conquering the field with my own characters, colors, and designs fill my sleeping (and waking) hours.

During the morning when I awake, I get my best ideas. As the shower head roars to life, and water washes over my moribund soul, I begin to conceive of ways of executing my fantasies. Since I am imbued with anime creations, I try to immerse myself in their folkloric tradition. They have a rich mythic path with religious and magical connotations. It is all part of a supernatural realm of gods and alien creatures that have some connection to Japanese history. If you can master the pronunciation of the titles you are a born aficionado.

I remain inert under the spray of a great shower as I think about my target audience and how far afield I would get—I don’t want to go too far from the fold. What genre would I use, like science fiction or fantasy? (Am I getting too esoteric for you?) Should I copy popular aspects of the Japanese style and borrow characters and stories? That would please me a great deal. So many questions are arising in time with the rising shower mist.

I twist the shower head to adjust the flow. It slants to the side and hits the tile wall of the stall abruptly. I move it back to focus the spray on my exposed face. Water pulsates as I move the lever to a new setting. My eyes are stinging, but are coming to life. I turn off the liquid cascade, towel myself down, and exit the bathroom. One more day and a new chance to change the world.

A shower is a great way to start off. You get creative right from the first morning thought. I don’t always get good results, however, but sometimes the ideas are distinctive and worth noting down. A daily shower is my ritual and hands-free rubdown. It massages my brain and spirit. It provokes and evokes in the way that only water can do.

I am floating on a cloud as I sip my freshly-brewed coffee and check my online emails. I reply to a few and jump over to CNN for the headline news. I look at my calendar and to-do list, and suddenly the excitement of the shower ideation is almost gone. The work day is beginning and a normal regimen is soon to begin. But not to worry. Tomorrow is another day.