One-legged Darling

stylistic drawing of a bird-like creature with only one leg in black ink pen signed KAM 2019

Today I leave you with another monster. This beast is a little lopsided, a little unusual in shape, but that’s what makes her a beauty! She’s half a creature, in a way – or at least, that’s what I was going for.

Absolutely inspired by the simurgh tales, I’ve always wanted to be good at drawing birds or bird-like creatures (as well as animals in general). I’m not interested in ‘good’ as in ‘realistic,’ but ‘good’ as in ‘I’m proud of this.’ This is one step towards that goal.

I am thrilled to say that I also see a little of Shel Silverstein’s influence in this drawing, although it was purely subconscious during its creation. ‘Where the Sidewalk Ends’ influenced my sense of humour for life! It’s great, and also intriguing, to see how the things you love leak into your artwork.

Two Mind Maps

Today I’d like to introduce you to two drawings that are, to me, joined by a single thought: how easy is it to represent what I am thinking and feeling through art? A big question, for sure, that raises a multitude of others!

abstract art made up of curved lines, circles, patterns and symbols such as stars
Universe Soup, 2019

Questions, such as: how do you express your feelings about a specific thing without creating your own vocabulary, risking the alienation of the people who look at it? Or should you try to make the effort of using common themes and symbols to connect with others?

These are pretty big questions that lead to big artistic decisions! Artists have argued historically about how much one should be taking the viewer into consideration, like how much should be explained to them. And then we have the critics and art enthusiasts of all kinds, with their own opinions as the experiencers! So who should you listen to, as an artist? Your peers, your audience, your critics, or your heart?

I think that because art comes from you, you get to set the rules. So I may not like your art, or understand it, but I can respect that you did something that comes from you. To be fair, I expect the very same to be thrown back at me.

While I like making art that other people can understand, even if some parts of it are a little cryptic or too personal to translate. I know that some viewers’ own experiences and cultures are going to be a barrier to their understanding of what I’m trying to say, just as my own experiences will be a barrier to my own ability to communicate to them. I can hope that people get it, but I can’t depend on it. And it isn’t in my personality to dwell on things I can’t depend on! Therefore, I keep on doing what I am doing, as best as I can.

There is one thing I absolutely love, something that only depends on human beings acting like themselves.

abstract art made up of geometric shapes and lines
Learning collage, 2019

Both Universe Soup and Learning collage, abstract drawings I made earlier this year, are trying to portray something simple in each of them. It is more fun to me, and fulfilling, to let people see what I do and hear about what they see.

The first drawing, Universe Soup, has to do with how I view the vastness of space, while the other, Learning collage, speaks more to how and why I do some of my best learning through books. Every line I make has a purpose; every shape I use has a meaning. I wonder, reader, what you saw – were those themes obvious? Or did you see something else entirely?

And if it was the latter, would that be a failure on my part?

Mr Fangs

Gentle friends, I introduce to you a new member of the monster family! I’d like you to meet Mr Fangs.

I started his creation with the blobby shape of his eyes and face, but I did not complete his rounded jaw. Somehow, it became apparent that I was going to give this brother some teeth. And so I did! I went right for the mouth and everything else grew from there.

monster creature with two wide eyes looking at the viewer. It has two segmented legs and two large fangs coming out of its mouth, which is smiling. It has thin tentacles sprawled out from the back of its large, blobby head.
Mr Fangs is curious to meet you!

This drawing was definitely less intuitive and more planned. Well, more planned in my own way, which means not too planned but with some moments of clear thought and decision-making as I drew.

Did I want him to be realistic? I decided that the answer to that was a strong no. Thoughtful anatomy, then, was thrown out of the window. But did I want him to make some sort of sense, physically? Yes, because I wanted him to be a character one could relate to. So while he has two legs to stand on, they are ridiculously pointy like the toes of HIM from the Powerpuff Girls. And so on, and so forth.

Something about Mr Fangs is that I knew he was a kind soul. His character certainly dictated what he would look like. Before I knew it, his eyes were soft and welcoming, his hair tentacles warm and curious. He has the big teeth and all, but is he trying to menace you right now? Absolutely not. He even put on his friendliest collar to impress you.

In the end, I’m very pleased with this fellow and how he ended up. He really is exactly the type of monster I felt like creating.

Island Beauty

Lucky me! I’m currently visiting my home country of Mauritius. I drew this before arriving; not as a landscape that directly resembles features of the geography, but as an ode. As I’m sitting in the car on drives around the island, these are the impressions I get: green mountains, bodies of water, the curves of the landscape.

Now that I am here, I am too entranced by this place to draw! But my feelings of awe are side by side with sadness. We humans truly do not deserve this beautiful land. We never have. Since we arrived hundreds of years ago, we plundered the Dodo and many more of nature’s gifts. I fear that soon, these drawings and whatever is stored in our minds may be all that is left.

Snake obsession

After looking at some scroll paintings of the Zen monk Sesshu Toyo, I was inspired by the black ink patterns in some of his work, especially his clouds. I doodled for a while, and ended up creating some weird snakes.

(Click on the image to see it all big n pretty ;))

I have always loved and found snakes beautiful, soulless as their eyes look. What an awesome mix of gorgeous and scary! I love drawing them, and I’m really happy with these.

Her tears are tearing

I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus due to a huge life event that just happened – my wedding. I didn’t do much drawing or posting here or on Twitter (@khadejalidraw) but right now I’m slowly getting back into things.

I thought I’d start with a sentimental piece, to jump right in!

drawing of decorated connected eyebrows over two thickly lashed eyes. two ladel-shaped abstractions are hanging back to back, with the "spoon" parts facing outwards. on the right, the ladle is filled with water and a thick tear runs from the right eye into it. The left ladle has eyes made out of nooses.
“Her Tears are Tearing”

I’m pretty darn sensitive; most definitely a crier. This piece is about how my extreme emotional states are a beauty and a burden.

There are some things that should be kept to the viewer. However, there is something behind this work that informed my lines. The lens with which I see my life isn’t just coloured by my emotions. My emotions are the lens.

Resilient Hero

Video games. I play them a lot. I’m reluctantly close to the end of Spider-Man and I’m already thinking about what I’m going to play next.

Something that comes up over and over in video games, often very tediously, is the story of the hero. I get it for the most part, even if this narrative and character can seem repetitive in game after game.

No matter what I say though, I can’t deny how drawn (full pun intended) I am to the hero and their journey, just like everyone else.

So here’s my hero:

black pen drawing of abstract shapes filled in with patterns that come together to depict a hero character balancing on a platform, surrounded by intimidating shapes that surround the hero.
Obviously, platformers are on my mind

Sexless, abstract, colourless. Yep, that’s my hero!

I specifically thought about games like Ninja Gaiden (FULL DISCLOSURE: never played it, only watched) and Risk of Rain (played the ever-loving crap out of it) where you are stuck in between all these enemies and obstacles, and you die over and over trying to get past them.

For this drawing, I chose not to have a clear path for the hero to traverse, which is common in the type of game I’m thinking of. Instead, we see a paused image of them defending themselves stoically against all kinds of nameless terrors.

We all have heroic qualities that we are drawn to, and mine is resilience. That’s what I tried to get across. The hero is reaching out between what is thrown at them to show that they recognise an opening – and they won’t be surrounded by all this crap for much longer.

It might be one of my more empowering works!