Why I Make Creatures, Part 1, The Artistic Side

Posted: February 7, 2018 in cartoons, Thoughts on art ministry and life

One of the things I think we creatives need to examine at times is our own motivations. What makes us do what we do? Well if you look back over my career as a creative, you’ll notice there is one subject matter to which I constantly return, and that s creatures. I love to make creatures. I’ve painted them, drawn them, sculpted them, I’ve put them on clothing, I even made a web comic that features them, but why do I do them? Well let’s examine that?

First, they are probably the first thing I started creating. There’s always just been something very exciting about creating something that only exists in your imagination. Combining elements of various elements. I remember this coloring book that I believe my Aunt Treva bought me when I was a kid. It was the only one I’ve seen like it. Instead of the traditional pictures on every page, this book had a piece of tracing paper between each page. You would trace half of one picture. then flip it over to the other page and trace the other half of the other page. All of the sudden you had a brand new picture of a half elephant half fish creature to color. It was awesome and before long, I left the book and just started doing it myself.

In my teen years, I did a lot of dragons and monsters. It wasn’t surprising, I was starting to get into rock and roll and a lot of the bands did that kind of dragon imagery. I loved the art of people like Roger Dean (Yes) and Kelly Mouse, not to mention the car guys like Ed Roth. My mom got a little concerned about me and my subject matter, but it had nothing to do with the devil or anything like that. Dragons and monsters were limitless. They didn’t really exist so they could be whatever I wanted them to be. There was a tremendous amount of creative freedom in things that did not exist, plus my childhood and teen years were kind of difficult and creating mythical things was kind of a refuge for me in my pre-faith days.

Later, I thought I wanted to be a comic artist. One thing that was always frustrating for me was the way people would read meaning into my art, especially when that wasn’t at all what I meant. The idea of combining words and pictures was really appealing to me, plus I’ve always loved to make art and tell stories and comics seemed to be an ideal vehicle for that. Plus this was in the first era of the Ninja Turtles, a trend that really fit into what I did. I never did get published in that realm, which I now know was divine intervention, but it did lead to some really fun freelance work and that opened the door to other things.

I guess the point is there are a lot of reasons I do what I do and examining them helps me to trace a lot of things. One thing that is prevalent in it all is the finger prints of God all over my career—the way He brought me through things and guided me on my current path. My art career has at times been a broken road, but it led me to this place, a good place, and I can’t wait to see where the road leads next.

How about you? Why do you do what you do?

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