PROCESS: Aster’s self-portrait
I partnered up with Aster and we began interviewing each other. These are the few questions I asked her:
Me: When was the last time you felt sad? Why?
Aster: It was over the death of my hamster. To certain people, maybe dogs are more important than hamster but I rely a lot on my hamster for emotional support. Hamster’s life usually lasts for about 2-3 years but mine died after 1 year 8 months – it was a difficult time but yeah. I couldn’t get a hamster ever since then. But only recently I got a bird 🙂
Me: Your biggest dream?
Aster: I’m hoping to hold down graphic design as a day job, more outside of that on publishing webcomics – looking to publish them! I’m starting to promote it this year, going to comic conventions and all to gather a following to get readers and have funds for my comics.
Me: What are some of the things people do, or what makes you feel like “oh my god, this is so touching” and makes you feel touched internally?
Aster: Animal! Films! I think the small things that people do. I used to be less receptive on what people do but as I age I become more sensitive. With things people do. Or even films that used to not make me cry, I watch them now and instead I feel more emotional. And even after reading a really good book or a good film – because ah shit it feels like the journey ended.
…..(after continuing convo and thoughts – this is something she said that kept ringing in my head too) and I think being vulnerable is more honest.
Me: What are the kinds of movies draws you in?
Aster: Psychological stuff. But now I like watching a lot of wholesome movies. Like fantasy movies! I like steampunk movies, like Hugo! Like a very mechanical fantasy world, with airships and such.
Me: If you could pick an animal as your spirit animal to relate to your inner personality, what would it be?
Aster: I could see myself as a bird, more specifically a chicken. It puts forward as something/someone important but yet an animal of prey. Or a lemur as it is fun, cheeky and playful.
So from the snippet of the interview above, you could see that I highlighted some of her words that gave me inspiration for my ideation. I drew out a few rough sketches.
I decided to stick to the first and further develop on it. It has the qualities I see in Aster when we were talking. It didn’t feel like I was interviewing her but more of getting to know more about my friend. I know now she has a big heart and soft at times (just like me!) and that is okay. She loves fantasy things but mainly into the cooler mechanical aspect such as Steampunk, hence I use that as one of my biggest inspiration for the sketch. (see below to know what stuff makes ‘Steampunk’ – complicated machinery and such)
Aster also showed me some of her favourite works. Most of them are comics, graphical novels such as the ones below.
Some are really cool animes.
And even interactive illustrations which you can check here: http://www.sbs.com.au/theboat/
What I notice from all of her favourites is that they have a similar touch to their styles: and it is the focus on shadings, as well as lines. That became another inspiration to my stylised drawing of her portrait.
So I began drawing before inking them. The reason why I decided to do traditional for hers was that I could then easily create texture/shade with ink. I wanted to create shading using the dotting method and lines.
More process work:
As seen below, I use lines as well to create the shades in certain parts of the ‘machine-bird’.
In the end, it resulted in this:
I created a big machine heart with a machine-like bird/chicken because I saw that Aster saw herself as the “fierce chicken” that she told me about because sometimes it’s aggressive and moves fast. But I also gave it wings because Aster saw herself as a bird too as a reflection of her inner personality. I gave it a big heart in the middle because of how she is sensitive and that is what makes her a wonderful human being. She is into the cool mechanic-fantasy and I wanted to portray that part of her in here. The reason for the tied up books the bird is carrying is to show that she is into books, into a world of her own when she reads something or watches something. The leaves were an added touch to show how in fantasies there is always nature in it and so I thought it would be nice to draw some in it.
FINAL: Aster’s self-portrait