Saturday, August 17, 2013

Way More Complicated than Necessary

As I've been working on the Anima Campaign and it's related comic, I've been coming across more and more issues regarding how women are portrayed in media, especially comics and games. I do in fact follow the Escher Girl and Hawkeye Initiative tumblrs because of these issues, largely because I find their ways of dealing with it humorous without making light of the issue.

On the whole, I agree that women are not well-portrayed in most media. Boob and Butt poses and battle bikinis are better represented than real woman. This is obvious and cannot be argued because the evidence is there. You can't miss it. Horrible anatomy is also prevalent for both genders (thanks Rob Liefeld...). That too cannot be missed.

Even what seemed like a step in the right direction has gone amiss, namely the Strong Female. This idea went from the light at the end of a tunnel of sexism, to embodying it further because the Strong Female is the only female allowed to show up in anything other than romantic comedies, usually as part of an otherwise all male group. Strong Female is violent in ways that the male characters wouldn't accept from the other guys but it's okay for her because she's the woman, she has something to prove and probably has Daddy Issues. 

To recap, we have: 
~ Women put in stupid impossible poses for the sake of sexy, because all women must have butts but also not have room for internal organs because that means they are fat.

~ Women who are supposed to be warriors put in clothing that is impractical and would likely get them killed over their male counterparts.

~ Women who are simply plot devices to make the lead male man up and take out the bad guy.

~ The so-called Strong Females who talk a big game and beat the crap out of whoever they want, but ultimately come off as insecure.

This doesn't bode well for anyone creating a female character for pretty much any kind of media.

Going down this thought path, I began to wonder if, in trying to solve the problem, it's actually become worse for the creators of the media, especially ones just starting off. It has me concerned about my own character in the Anima project and how she will be perceived.

First off, let me state a few things about me so that my poor Ageha will make a bit more sense:

~ I am not feminist in the classical sense. I believe men and women are equal but different and that difference is needed. It takes all kinds, as they say and all kinds includes men and women being different.

~ I believe that women are strong and capable, but I also think a woman's strength is different than a man's strength. It's hard to put it into words because I'm not just talking about physical strength.

~ I am a large woman, always have been and probably always will be to a degree. Women who look like literal wasps are not something I'm going to draw unless she's literally a wasp-women hybrid and then I will find some way for her internal organs to be in her wasp-butt.

Okay enough about me.


This is my Ageha. She is five-foot-nothing, slightly chubby, definitely chesty and though you can't' see it, the girl barely has a butt. Hips yes, butt no.

 She is, for lack of a better term, a ninja. She frequently wanders around in plain sight so she's not about to wear anything that scream "HI I'M TOTALLY A SUPER ASSASSIN!", so no random armor pieces or any of that nonsense. She wears the kimono because A) She likes it. B) It's comfortable and C) It's feminine.

This leads me to some of my concerns.

There are those would rejoice at the fact that Ageha is not showing copious amounts of cleavage. She shows a bit of leg sure, but she's wearing boots with no heel. So not bad.

It's the who she is and her circumstances that have me concerned that I will be blasted for writing. She is a tough little woman but she fights only out of greatest need. She is modest and feminine. Her greatest wish is to be a wife and mother but her circumstances won't allow this yet. She is the only woman in a group otherwise comprised of men, which I've recently learned is one of symptoms of the Strong Female Syndrome. There are some who would have problems with any or all of these things.

I know that I can't please everyone nor should I. I love Ageha the way she is. I made her that way for a reason and I shouldn't apologize for it.

It makes me wonder though, as I think about this in terms of Ageha, has trying to solve the issues of poorly done female characters made things harder for newbies like myself?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

An Artist's Confidence

Why must it be such a fragile thing?

I love being a creative person. What I don't like is being a creative person who is also PMSing, and has anxiety issues. 

It all started earlier this week when one of my Anima guys let me know there was a chance he wouldn't be there Friday. This isn't a big deal, it happens, especially when juggling birthday's of his girlfriend's family and they like to do things last minute. I received confirmation yesterday about which felt way too last minute for me but there's no amount of cranky that will change that. I was able to alter the session to make it work without him. So no big deal, right?

Well then another of the guys said he would be late. I wasn't worried until my husband pointed out that a little late for him has been super late for the rest of us so we may not get to much at all.

That was this morning. I went back to bed and pulled the covers over my head. A couple hours later, after having dreamed about the worst possible game session imaginable, complete with one guy giving another a partial buzz cut mid-session, my husband texted me.

It was the real name of his character, completely not the one I had given said character when he gave me nearly nothing for backstory. We worked it all out and he's using the name I gave as his character's family name and the one he picked out as his character's first name. So again, no biggy. It was all worked out well.

Except that he's upset that I may have fibbed to keep something for his character a surprise. I don't even remember this at all. I'm trying to, but there was one point when he was talking to me about his character while I was half asleep. This is the only time I can think of that this may have happened. I feel bad about it because this is not what I intended. But it's kinda become a thing now...

Regardless of the fact that a lot of this is out of my control, I feel like I'm a terrible GM for this and if I were better at it, this wouldn't have happened. Add in whacked out hormones and I'm a mess.

Hopefully this gets better soon.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Meeting Myself

I was going to be productive today but the late night and poor sleep quality messed with those plans. But more than that, I had a little conversation with myself today and I began to see that I've been trying to force things upon myself that I'm simply not wired to do. I see myself a litt more clearly now.

As much I as want to be a homesteader, I really would only be able to keep up with a garden and some backyard chickens. As much as I dream of owning a dairy cow and a dairy goat or two, they are far more high-maintenance than I think I can handle. Maybe in the future, but certainly not as I am today. Let me get a few kids under my belt and check back later.

I do aspire to dress better but I will always be a jammies gal. I see no need to wear make up most of the time, cosplay and weddings being the exceptions. I would rather wear knee-high black boots to a wedding than heels any day and have done so twice. I don't know what my style is yet, but I've been gravitating toward skirts more than I ever recall.

Out of all the things I do, I prefer comic creation and sewing/knitting to all the other things. Sure I love cooking for people, and many other things but not as much as those things. I love the freedom comic art lends to a story, freeing me of  burden of description that just writing must have and lending a voice to my art. Sewing and knitting are similar, freeing me to have something to wear that's my own and no one elses. All other creative pursuits pale in comparison.

I want children so badly it hurts sometimes. I'm working on ensuring that it doesn't become an idol in my life, but that doesn't change my desire for them. I've come to the realization that it will always hurt initially when someone I know announces they are having a baby, especially when they are younger. It's hard to wait for something so deeply desired, but then I remember that someday I will be announcing it and it may hurt another woman who is where I am now. For now, my battle is against jealousy and its one I intend to win.

Visuals that others may find weird or just "whatever", I find striking. The queen xenomorphs of the alien series are beautiful to me despite the fact that they're horrifying hell-beasts. As for the mundane, I find male backs a stunning piece of biological architecture while most people are kinda' "meh..." unless there's a well-proportioned butt involved. I've discovered that this is a positive aspect of my creative outlook and I should embrace it more often than I do.

I am an introvert with social anxieties and probably always will be. I just happen to live in a world that prizes the extroverts more but that doesn't make me less then they are. I do not hate people but being around too many for too long will drain every ounce of energy I have from me. Being with those I know well and care about doesn't do this to me for the most part, but I still need to decompress afterward. 

I have flaws, many of them in fact, but I should not be ashamed of who I am. I am fearfully and wonderfully made after all. 

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Hiatus Apparently

Apparently a hiatus was in order for me. Things have been odd so that doesn't help me much in keeping up with the things I usually do. The summer cold didn't help either.

What really got me thrown off though, is Anima. I have dived into this world with pretty much everything in me, creativity-wise. Sure I have a lot of other stories but there's just something about this campaign that has grabbed me and will not let me go.

Some of it is that I have a great group of guys as my players who have given me such a diverse cast, I find myself fangirling all over the place about them. They are not the typical kind of group I would put together which makes it that much more fun. 

I mean, seriously, who would have thought to put together this group:

* A martial artist/pharmacist who is apathetic about everything except his intense hate for anything dark (my hubby's character).

* An ex-merc who is terrifying with a sword, especially if you are dark/blood mage or pirate, yet lately has been having to be Captain Dad.

* A quiet psychic warrior with ADHD, who also looks a little like a tiger.

* An intensely derpy dark mage who loves everyone despite the fact that he drives everyone else crazy and has a love for pirates.

* A bisexual, nearly divinely gorgeous light mage who is epically unfortunate, particularly in his love-life.

* A ridiculously pale woman with ninja-like skills and penchant for blushing who starts everything by hiring the others to help her find someone who bound a crazy artifact to her when she was five (this one's mine). She also has a crush on one the above guys, but isn't telling anyone who it is.

Seriously, this is such a great cast, I'm kinda beside myself with creative awe. I'm waiting on the details for the ex-merc at this point but since his player has been working very hard on him, I'm more than willing to wait. 

Session Four is this Friday. I'm so excited ^^

Monday, June 3, 2013

Anima and My Creative Mind

Sorry I've been gone so long. I've been sitting on a number of post ideas but none of them were really working for me. I debated doing a post about how women are treated in comics art-wise then I realized that it is such a controversy. I'd much rather enjoy scrolling through the Escher Girls Tumblr and laugh at the atrocities against anatomy than state my own opinions. Getting into it too much takes the fun out of some of it.

I debated posting about the continuing adjustments I'm making to my Fluttershy cosplay but as we had to cancel going to JAFAX, I'm not currently working on it.

I debated things I cannot even remember.

Finally I have something. This past month, I started down a new path, that of Game Mistress of an Anima Campaign. I've been wanting to do this ever since my husband bought me the original core book a couple years ago. And now it's finally happening! Squee! I have five players who are fantastic at characterization, a very open world to play with and a brain that won't stop coming up with ideas to throw at them. My guys are also hilarious. Last session, several of them stuck their d4s to their foreheads and declared themselves to be Dice-icorns. My husband stuck two and then three to his forehead, becoming a Diceson and a Diceratops.

The part that is most fun for me is all the art this inspires me to do. I already knew going into this that this campaign is destined to be a comic but I didn't know I would be this excited about it. I have to wait a bit for the actual art part of the deal though because I don't have all the information I need about the characters from the guys as yet. I guess I'll be working on transcribing the script from the recordings. It will be a challenge because all of us have serious ADD during the sessions but it's at least something.

I feel like I'm kinda boring since that's pretty much it for that part of my life right now.

I'll leave you with my latest artwork, a full design of my character Lark Meadows. Steal her and I will throw things at you.


Friday, May 17, 2013

Confidence Acquired!


See this beautiful piece I did this week? This was a redraw of a piece I did ten years ago. I am super proud of this. Would you like to see why? Of course you do! At least I hope so if you're actually reading my blog. ^_^



Woo look at that DBZ hair! But more importantly, look at that progress. I was in a funk of not thinking I'd actually improved. I'm so glad that my friend Kuroi Tenshi had done her own 15-year comparison and thus inspired me to do the same, only with ten years since I've only be taking art seriously that long.

Okay I feel like I'm tooting my own horn here, but I'm super excited to see just how far I've come. I've been trying really hard to stop comparing myself to other people when it comes to many things, art included. Comparing myself to myself is the only way to go. And now I see how much I've grown.

Combine this with the help I received with drawing men and I feel so much more confident in my abilities. I was honestly afraid to move forward with my stories because I did not think I could do them justice. Yet I look at Firestorm and Andiago up there in their first incarnations and how they look now and I can't help but feel so excited to keep going.

Never let someone else's progress get in the way of your own. Never.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Emotional Blergh

Well, I'm actually awake three hours after getting up to make the hubster's breakfast and lunch. This was supposed to be the normal but it hasn't been since Shuto Con, mainly because that was the same week I kicked the hormonal birth control. My body is suddenly having to make all it's own hormones again and it got a little cranky with me. That's a small price to pay for better health though, so I've been taking it was it comes.

As for the Blergh part of the title, things have been a little nutty around here as of late. I won't go into details right now, but the situation has not been good for my heart. It's left me feeling raw emotionally and the hormones are just making it worse. It's also been terrible for my journey toward contentment in my circumstances. At least I can look at that one as challenge.

I have learned some things about myself through this though so I guess that's good. I can correct some of those things that need correcting and be thankful for the others.

I just wish my immediate solution to all this wasn't crawl back into bed and hide from the world.

Instead I'm going to listen to Arrietty's Song and Spiller's Theme from The Secret World of Arrietty over and over again because they make me happy.

I can at least end on a good note and post a preview of what I've been up to art wise:


Clearly this is far from finished but I'm very happy with how its turning out so far. The woman is my OC, Luna, who has to put up with those three Links for the sake of Hyrule. Insanity follows. 

The best part of this piece so far is that I've proven to myself that I can actually draw men. I honestly thought I was lost to all hope in regards to that one. Thanks again Kristie!