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.