I recently was at Calgary Fan Expo, where I had the privilege of plunking myself down at my cousin’s booth in artist alley. A lot of people go to Expo to see celebrities and visit nerdy shops, but my favourite activity is visiting all the amazing artists and developing art crushes.
I got a big crush on this one ladies interpretation of the fandoms she loved such as Studio Ghibli movies, Moana, and Alice in Wonderland just to name a few.
She has woven a message or story in each of her pieces of artwork that she almost had me in tears. I could see the pure passion she had put into each beautiful work of art.
It made me realize that I want to start adding stories to my art as well. Giving cards that are pretty are awesome, but what if you could add a piece of time or personality of the person you are giving the card to, then tell a little story to go with it as well. I think that would be so meaningful to the person you are gifting.
I wanted to make a card using Boys Best Friend Tobie that I coloured for the December colouring challenge. I have coloured it up to look like my Dad when he was a young boy. I didn’t realize I was doing this until I stepped back and thought wow! that looks like Dad when he was younger, including the black dog he had as a child.
I carefully put this image away knowing that I wanted to make a project based on the time period that my dad grew up in. Although there are things I would have changed (mostly adding more subtle hints to what my dad liked) I decided to let the paper help me tell the story of my dad as a little boy.
Storytime: My dad was a bit of a hipster and a trendsetter before that was a thing in modern society. He loved all sorts of music not just what was cool back then to like, this shaped his love for Jazz. I added a radio wave type background to the farthest paper to represent this.
The plaid was there to represent the time period I am trying to capture, and the numbers reminded me of the different board games like crib that he would play with his family.
I added a bright chevron to represent his modern ideas. I normally would not have added this if I wasn’t telling the story as it is bold and doesn’t fit the otherwise retro papers I was using. But because of the story, it adds a subtle fun detail.
Lastly, I added a thinking of you…
I lost my dad in 2015 from complications of his knee surgery operation, this has affected me deeply, but as I walked through Artist Alley I was realizing how much like my dad I am… He too had artist crushes and loved to talk to anyone about art who would listen.
I took this to heart as I wandered up and down artist alley, and it actually helped me be a bit braver to talk to people I normally wouldn’t. I met a comic book artist who was so friendly and gave me a big hug at the end of the show, a graphic novelest who was only 21 and has published 3 books already, a lady who sells nerdy bowties, but honestly, I think she goes to these shows just to ooh and ahhh over all the cosplayers, and an artist who touched my heart with her story telling.
I hope that I will keep developing artist crushes, and recommend that you do too! Also if you are giving a card to a loved one why not add a story in there as well.
Lots of hugs,
PS: If you want to check out the artist that inspired me please look her up on instagram her name is Sharon Leung