As a “gap” project for my portfolio, I’ve decided to start on new character designs for my future holiday special, “The Golden Pinecone”.
Cybele (si-bill-ee), named for an Anatolian goddess (also known as the Magna Mater, or “great mother”), is a genderless water creature that dwells in Lake Chitali, at the outskirts of the Land of Lo.
It is considered, like most Lodians, a hybrid of plant and animal, and cannot survive out of the water. It has three stages of transformation: pod (much like larva, attached to the parent), juvenile (free-floating), and parent (rooted).
Pods develop at the end of hundreds of tendrils protruding from the parent, and are released by the force of the next generation growing behind them. This gestation process takes seven years. The small size of a released pod increases the potential of being eaten by other water creatures, or other such demise.
Surviving free-floating Cybele (juvenile) continue to float on a 70-year long expedition to gain insight and knowledge that extends beyond any other creature in the Land of Lo. This is possible because each generation of pods absorbs the knowledge of the parent, and it continues through life only to add more. Not all water creatures in Lake Chitali are water-bound, and many bring tales of adventure from the shore. Assimilating those stories with its profound intuition, a juvenile Cybele develops vicarious experiences.
Mature Cybele end their journey after 70 years, by swallowing a large golden pearl created from the song of Ko the giant oyster, Claviger of Pearls, then sinking to the bottom. Fortified by the pearl’s energy, they take root, and sprout the tendrils that will start bearing their own pods. Once it becomes a parent, it creates thousands of offspring in the remainder of its lifetime.
Pods possess a strong incandescent light glow that changes colors according to emotions being transferred telepathically. Pink means love, green means confidence, red means fear, and so on. It is because of these translatable lights that adult Cybele are considered oracles. They are often visited by travelers on a quest to find meaning or guidance in their lives.
Seekers must swallow a pearl themselves in order to find the Cybele. To find a golden pearl, the only kind that allows the bearer access to the deep underwater realm of Lake Chitali, they must first find Nacre, the Mother of Pearls, who actually lives by a stream in Lodila Valley. She will bestow the proper “golden ticket” upon those she deems worthy, and give them precise instructions on how to find the oracle.
The seeker will follow those instructions, which includes swallowing the golden pearl, and finds the Cybele, presenting it with a question. At this time, the creature begins channeling emotion to provoke thoughts of logic and new perspective in the seeker. The Cybele then absorbs the life experience of the seeker, through a tendril that connects with the pearl in their body, and provides the “answer” they need, in exchange.
Once the pearl’s energy has been fully absorbed, and the seeker has reached revelation and epiphany, they are then released to float back to the surface, equipped with the new insight. Odis, the giant octopus, Claviger of Waves, ensures the floating seekers are returned safely to shore.
For example, a seeker may have lived an empty life of loneliness, never having experienced true contentment of genuine love from another, and may be consulting the Cybele oracle as a last hope for answers as to why this has happened to them. Upon approaching the Cybele, the large tendril will reach out to the seeker and touch its heart glow from the pearl they swallowed. The pods will then respond with pink glowing lights, and the seeker will experience pure and genuine love for the first time.
That emotion will provide a realization that they have not encountered before – perhaps a dear friend whose affections were dismissed is pointed out to them – and they will be released to float back, knowing they must embrace the love being offered, in order to feel that emotion again.
Someone who has lived a life of complacency and servitude may be provoked to feel anger, and be inspired to change their situation for the better, and so on. Anyone may seek answers, as often as they wish, as long as they have swallowed a pearl. The experience is quite intense, so most Lodians only need one to set their lives on the right course.
Please know that I am foolish in so many ways, and that I do not expect people to “approve” of things I share my opinion about.
So many artists I know get very excited when they start using digital programs to create, and tend to overshare their process (again, my opinion only). I see incredibly talented analog artists often sharing digital work before it looks anywhere near complete, or strikingly different in quality than their previous work, with the intention to sell prints. I do understand the excitement, I promise I do, but as someone who was raised by an over-sharer, it sometimes makes me cringe when I see someone who is a fantastic artist posting something that truly does not represent them or their abilities yet, and trying to sell it. I know it seems judgmental, but I do hold out to see as they improve – and they do – and celebrate that success for them. I just hold a certain standard for my own art before asking someone to pay for it, and sometimes feel like people get swept away by the efficiency of it all.
I had a couple of cute line drawings that I made one summer, during a weekend of camping and debauchery, and held onto them with the intention of someday painting them in. Over the years, I would start to digitally color them, but never really liked how it was coming out.
When I invested in my iPad Pro, I decided that these two pictures were going to be the guinea pigs for me to get accustomed to not only the tablet, but the program Procreate that all of the digital artists around me were raving about. So, I started to work on them the way I would usually do in Photoshop in the past – creating the outlines, then coloring on the layers underneath. The brushes – oh, the brushes! – made what used to be a one-session creation into a two-week long experiment in textures, colors and opacity. Did I mention there is a LIGHT PEN?!
So, I’ve done it. I finished it – it looks and feels finished to me. It looks beautiful to me. Please let me know what you think – I would love some interaction on this blog!
Having never been very consistent with online creative outlets, such as blogs and social media, I sincerely appreciate every “like” and “follow” that You gift me.
I recently committed to a digital upgrade by investing in an iPad Pro and Procreate. So far, I’m enjoying exploration in Brushes – there are far too many! I have been working on my first official creation in this format, and I’m so happy with it so far, I can’t wait to show you here.
For those of you who have just jumped on this random bandwagon, I will be posting my visual art, along with the origin or a story that goes with it. I am currently compiling material for a full length animated feature film for the Land of Lo, as well as writing a script and re-creating character design for a short holiday special, “The Golden Pinecone”, an adaptation of a children’s book I wrote many years ago. My main focus is animation, and converting my artistic style to digital in a way that I feel still represents my aesthetic – which, to this point, has been watercolor and ink, with bright colors, sharp contrast, and psychedelic slant.
I am writing the script in tandem with a script-writing class – very convenient! – and want to apply for an Adobe Creative Residency next spring, in order to fully realize a 25-30 minute animation on my own. So, please join me for the journey. I am very excited about what the next couple of years will bring for me, and would love to share the experience with You!