Assorted creatures

This is going to be a short one today. I’ve been busy with #NaNoWriMo and trying to balance jobs with art. It’s not easy, as many of you can probably guess!

Sometimes I think I could draw-slash-write a kid’s book or something like that, just because I love drawing wild friends like these. I wonder if parents will let their kids read my creepy books?

Well, whether they will or won’t, I have a feeling there are kids who would love it – after all, I was a spooky child myself.

But anyway, I’m not sure if that’s a path I’m willing to go down. I don’t quite have a story in mind, and something tells me that’s important *wink*

24 Days of Inktober 2019

I have tried to complete Inktober, and I could barely get started. So now that I can say that I was able to do 24 days out of 31 is awesome.

(Before you check out the gallery below…sorry for the crap quality. I was taking photographs to share to my twitter, and I haven’t had time to scan them in.)

To limit myself, I chose to confine my drawings to an 8cm x 8xm square. It ended up being something like a graphic novel, albeit only loosely connected. From the very first day, I felt like I was following a story that was baked somewhere deep inside my mind. I started to enjoy walking that route; I was taken to monsters and magic and the occult…it was very me, while being something very new. What a joy! I am definitely writing and drawing at least a mini-comic based on my hooded friends.

Some of them came out better than others, with my favourites being days 2, 5, 7, 11, 16 and 18. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished in general, but with those days I felt so inspired – and I think it shows.

I highly recommend doing something like Inktober, even if you feel like a newb. Also, there is typically a challenge for anything creative – and if it doesn’t exist, you can certainly make it up.

Building characters

Demon friend

Something I’ve started to become more and more comfortable with is creating characters with feelings and motivations. In addition, I love making these imaginary beings less and less human-looking. I think I’ve been improving a lot, but have work to do on anatomy. The only thing I can do about that is continue to practice; which I am, I promise!

I see this drawing as a person from another dimension; one where people have feelers like threads for hands, huge curved horns, fangs, and big glassy eyes…Intense looking, but otherwise very much like someone you’d know in our iteration of the world.

Updates!

sorting hat

Here’s a short update for my lovely blog visitors 🙂

It’s been a topsy-turvy month since I last wrote. The Artist’s Alley went splendidly, and so I’ve been ramping up my presence online. Here are some of the things going on:

1. I’ve been doing Inktober! Check out my twitter profile (@khadejalidraw) to see how it’s been going. Spoiler alert: really, really well! I can’t wait to share it all in one place (here) once I’ve completed it. 🙂

2. I started an Etsy store! Yeah! You can find it here! If you buy something, make sure to let me know you read my blog and I’ll throw in something just for you. *wink wink*

3. I created a ko-fi page. I have a link to it on the side, but here’s another one!

Thank you for reading and learning about me through my art. I have some more for you to discover in the coming weeks.

Before I leave, let me tell you something about the drawing I posted above! I didn’t just do it for the sake of it. I absolutely love this season; my art definitely fits in! This is an older drawing I made based on some witchy and autumn themes. It’s cool to see some of my older patterns; they exist, but in more evolved forms.

Walking further along

Tomorrow, I work my first ever Artist’s Alley! I’ve been reflecting a lot on my past works and how much I’ve developed as an artist.

No longer are doodle pages the majority of what I do. They are still a huge chunk of my time, and incredibly important (I cannot think of a way to truly express just how important they still are!). And yet, now I am finding myself drawing pages of sketches where I am specifically experimenting with skills I want to improve upon.

It’s like the doodles get my ideas or spirit out onto paper while practicing with the skills I have. The sketches where I am practicing a skill specifically use content that comes so naturally to me. I’m glad I spent so much time drawing purely from the heart as I have, otherwise fixing my attention onto skill-building would seem too daunting.

Check out the above pictures of some sketchbook pages I’ve shared on Twitter recently. I’m trying to improve the faces I draw, the perspective of important objects, and still life realism (respectively) in these pages. While they aren’t perfectly executed, I’m proud. Those are skills I’ve never felt confident in, but have always wanted to improve.

But in terms of my themes and the content of my works – they are still creepy, weird, and emotional. I’m still drawing lots of personal explorations, along with my monsters and more fantastical or abstract representations; I don’t fathom those will ever go away (or can).

The main thing I hope to achieve at the Artist’s Alley tomorrow is hopefully realistic enough: to have more people see what I do. Secretly, I hope that out of those people, I will have a chance to interact with the one who looks at my works and sees their own weirdness.

Grungy Friend

Today I’m showcasing one of my living creations. I didn’t really give it a name, I only knew that I was going for something bipedal when I started.

I feel like this monster’s about to read a poem in front of the mic, or get down on its knees during a performance.

a bipedal cyclopian monster with hair tendrils in the shape of arrows on its head sticking out every which way. Covered in wiry little hairs except for its two knobbly knees.

I started making wiry hair that curved upwards, and told myself I really didn’t want to draw a medusa (she already exists and her image goes on fine without me!). Since I’m rarely interested in creating anything remotely realistic, I didn’t stop myself from turning its hair turned into arrows. It’s something fun that doesn’t technically belong there, but I couldn’t be happier with.

Religious and Spiritual Themes

I’ve been noticing a spiritual/religious theme running through my drawings as of late, specifically the ones I take pictures of and post to my twitter account.

Look at these 3 works:

a drawing made in black ballpoint pen of a large flower poking out of two large leaves with a smaller vine of leaves growing out of its side in a spiral. signed KAM 2019
Untitled
a drawing made in black ballpoint pen named doorways to the same heaven. landscape orientation drawing of two door shapes on their side, each decorated very differently with a line separating them.
Doorways to the same heaven
a drawing made in black ballpoint pen named "place of worship" of a temple-like buliding. it has a dome on top, symbols and patterns all over, and a narrow archway decorated with a floral border, with a lightbulb hanging down the center.
Place of worship

I’ve put them in order of least to most obvious (in my opinion) 😉

I felt weird about leaning towards these religious images and ideas, so at first, I questioned myself. Am I feeling inadequate somehow, spiritually? Is there something I should be doing more?

Or is there something I should be doing less?

And yet when I look at these, I don’t see anything particularly troublesome, and I certainly don’t feel like anything is wrong. I know what was in my mind as I drew, and it was more about feeling unity than anything else.

The truth is that I have to accept that religious iconography is so easy to draw. It helps when I’m drawing without a plan, or when I’m feeling that making art is hard.

Being the first set of images I was given and encouraged to memorise, how is it surprising?

I mean, because Arabic is not my language, but I needed to know how to read it to participate in my religion, the Qur’an is full of symbols to me rather than a language*. And those pages were always adorned, and mosques are full of art!

When I feel proud of my upbringing, my heritage, or the cultures I’ve been exposed to throughout my life (due to being a Muslim and being brought up in the Middle East and Mauritius) part of it is about being proud of the images I have in the back of my mind.

That’s why looking for some broken part of me to act as answer means I’m misinterpreting what’s happening.

I think the art world loves tragic stories; loves spiritual conflicts. So people who paint religious icons are often seen as having a fixation on, or a desperate need to challenge, their religious history. While I do think that those reasons to express yourself are just fine, that prevailing metanarrative must have influenced how I see religious imagery in general.

The truth is that to begin with, the images make up part of an artist’s language, and there’s no positive or negative to it. The context is what builds it up and adds emotional depth. It’s what will tell you whatever else you need to know.

*I would like to invite anyone who hasn’t heard of Shahzia Sikander to look her up. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit she had a profound influence on me.