I did an art stream recently, and I have been talking about my art a lot to friends, so I felt like talking a little about my journey and my art.
Today I will talk about this particular piece, the yin yang fox and wolf in botanicals.
“Dance with me, in the joy of creation, as we craft a spell, weave a prayer, place a blessing and soothe our hearts.”
My original concept was to try to make a slight play on my fox logo, the sleeping fox, to include a wolf also sleeping, but both of them curled up together in a reminiscence of yin yang but also as my own concept. Then once I had nailed the idea for the sketch and how they should exist, because figuring out how well they should look, where the fails and snouts and bodies and everything should be and be satisfied with it took several sketches and doodles and a lot of tries to make sure the wolf and fox looked slightly different and it did not feel just like I had duplicated the fox and turned it grey; another idea came, you know how animals nest in the grass, that the long grass just surrounds them and I thought to do that for them so that they would have a background, because I am trying to add more to my art and not just leave it there.
Now, because the concept of this came to me due to conversations with a friend, once I was making it digital, a new idea made lodged in my head. Grass is boring, so why not find flowers, and even better, use floriography or the language of flowers to add more meaning? I then spent a long time pouring over books and cards about flowers and their meanings, and botanical books to get the way the flowers truly look or the colours they have.
I won’t specify all the flowers I added, because they are personal, but I can easily say that the marigold on top of the wolf tail represents my Mexican identity alongside the regular meanings: Comforts the heart; sacred affection, caress, sorrow, despair and grief. If you know me, then you would understand why this was such a crucial choice. But as I drew the flowers, I also knew I needed to add other little easter eggs, hidden meaning about things I cherish, that I find important (some of them are just gaming stuff like a Pokeball) and this suddenly grew into a labour of love.
Also, this was an odd process, out of my usual. I first drew the fox and wolf, then digitalized and coloured. I am not very big on colouring but I thought it would be nice to do it since my original concept was “simple” so it would not be very challenging. Then had the idea of the botanicals and many layers of meaning, and because I don’t feel comfortable sketching directly on digital, I printed the coloured one, drew around it and then digitalized that.
After that, came the longest part, slowly colouring each flower, plant and element. And given how much meaning it already had, I needed to make it count, to make it worth it. Hours and hours and hours poured. Every little spare time I had I would colour some part of it, erase it, and colour again until it was done.
And I was satisfied, for a bit. Until I decided to learn how to animate overnight a few weeks back, and had this crazy idea to animate the botanicals (I have also toyed with the idea of making them breathe but that is at the moment a bit too difficult for my skill, maybe one day).
Once again, I have poured countless hours into animating this piece. Spent more hours cleaning around each layer of the animation to ensure that no stray pixels existed, which no one would have noticed (a lesson I learned early on is to work at a huge resolution so that when you save and make it into a smaller resolution it doesn’t lose quality, so my canvas tends to be minimum 300 dpi and usually 1200 dpi), but I couldn’t ignore how important this piece was to me and therefore it deserved all that detail.
I remember years ago, not understanding why artists would talk about hours of work when I wasn’t spending all that time in a single piece. Or why they talked about how much of art was erasing parts and “cleaning”, and I kept thinking that was crazy, too dedicated or just not my style. But now I understand it, and I feel proud that I have reached the point where the time spent in a piece does not deter me from completing it. I am going for quality over quantity.
I have rambled a lot about this, but I hope it gives you insight into my thoughts.
Most of my art is incredibly personal, and is a way for me to process my feelings or to try to clear my head. Sometimes it is a way of expressing those feelings when I have no words or another way to express them. The time, the attention to detail, all of it counts.
And if you know the inspiration behind this, trust me, I have no regrets. I’d do this piece again in a heartbeat.