More of my work:
My entry to the Five Parts to a Character Contest hosted by
Below is my artist's statement and everything you ever wanted to know about my new character, Eton, pictured above.
This started out as a fun little challenge for me, but in the end proved to be more of a personal contest against my own abilities (and at one point, the forces of circumstance). From the beginning I wanted to use the hardest combination of traits for my character. I wanted to flex the walls of my creative box to make room for a believable and realistic character that originated from seemingly unrelated qualities. The first five traits that I choose included: Athletic, Couch Potato, Doctor, Can't keep a job, and Insipid.
I felt That I wanted to add other personal characteristics from the list that would help define my already chosen five. I chose easy things like Strong, Lazy, Student, Homeless, Wears Glasses, etc. Eton was beginning to take shape. I realized halfway in that I kept adding and adding till my selections became harder and harder to integrate into Eton's personality. That is when my true challenge came about. I put it upon myself to create a character out of all the traits provided (with some of my own thrown in) and still stick to my original goal of a believable character created out of seemingly unrelated qualities.
Here is the full list of traits minus the ones I made up myself:
Missing a tail
Can’t keep a job
Talks to Animals
Furry in denial
Not a unicorn, but has a unicorn’s horn
Wears oversized clothes
Fanatical collector of dA prints
I spent a good part of October writing and rewriting Eton's story. I've used a shorter version of it down below to illustrate each main characteristic listed above. During the end of October and the rest of November (till the 14th) I sketched and then started to paint. My second challenge was to take what I created in words and transform it into a single visual reality. My first attempt was a cluttered unbalanced sketch with too many elements for the eye to follow; it lacked flow. So I reworked it again. And once more till I was satisfied. By this time my project had evolved into a larger undertaking of personal growth as an artist and a character developer.
Then my computer caught on fire. I was half way through with my painting when this happened (Luckily I was not on my computer when this took place; I was asleep.) At around midnight, a tree limb took out our power, but before it did it sent a surge that fried part of our Xbox and my computer. I remember the light and sound was so violent it made me jump right out of bed. Most of my computer was salvaged when the circuit breakers were flipped, but I didn't know if any of my work would be saved. I told myself that if it was erased I would still find a way to finish the contest in the next two weeks (even if my entry was only half as good as the original.) Another bit of luck came about when my computer was fixed with a new power converter. All my files and software were safe! I was ecstatic as you can imagine, and religiously saved my painting to an external hard drive from then on.
So I present to you the end result of my personal challenge.
Name – Eton
Age – 37
Species – Mutant Reptile with “Furry” Gene
Reptile, Mutant, Curly hair, Furry in Denial, Wears Glasses – Considered a reptile, but somewhere on his mother's side there was a “furry” ancestor. Out of all his brothers and sisters, Eton inherited long curls of hair. He denies that there is anything furry about himself. If asked, he insists that the locks are variants of feathers. The fur was really a rare mutant gene that developed somewhere in the long lines of his family. Eton also inherited bad vision like most of his family, so he must wear glasses to read and write.
Strong, Athletic, Missing half his tail, Famous – His strength and athleticism come from years in the military. He's not sure how he's managed to retain these attributes so long, but knows they will go missing. Just like his tail did - blown off in a battle. A battle that earned him not only a purple heart, but unnamed fame. Not a soul knows it was Eton, but during that significant confrontation he singlehandedly infiltrated the enemy's stronghold, and murdered all commanding officers present. It was an astounding victory, but Eton did not feel his actions were celebratory. He took his purple heart and left. There are still tales of the famed happening, all as wild and speculatory as the next.
Alien – Eton was stranded in this place after the war with no way to get home; Not that he wanted to anyway. By his own choice, he resides as an illegal alien.
Doctor – Eton was also a medic in the armed forces. He hardly uses this skill anymore; only for self preservation. Hates to see people die. He just can't take it anymore, and refuses to work as a doctor.
Fidgety, Blushes easily, and Sensitive – Women make him nervous and he finds that he fidgets with his glasses when he is uneasy. He hates the fact that he blushes easily. He is always nervous around crowds and can't handle social situations. Prefers to be alone. Puts on a cold exterior to hide his sensitiveness. He really has a lot on his mind. Thoughts about the world, himself. He puts it all down on paper and captures it in his photographs.
Insipid, Grumpy – Most find him a tasteless and uninteresting street urchin; not worth a second glance. He likes it this way. He does not want to draw any attention to his little corner of the world. He tries his best to stay unnoticed. Usually stews in his own thoughts and is grumpy most of the time. He does not smile like he used to before the war.
Lazy, Couch Potato, Homeless, Wears Baggy Clothes, Fashion Obsessed, Messy, Can't keep a steady Job, Unicorn Horn – Now he just sits around on a tattered pink couch under a metal awning down a dusty side street. He spends most of his days here. Writing, thinking, petting his cat. The place is a mess just like his oversized clothes. He has a long standing joke with himself; he claims, with all sincerity, that he must stay up-to-date on the “grunge” fashion trends. A fashion obsession he developed to keep people away from him. Eton won't work any kind of steady job. Any money that he does earn comes from odd jobs that he prefers to forget about after they are finished. The only hint as to what these jobs might be comes from a single Unicorn horn laced loosely about his neck. It's nothing of subsequent value (since unicorns have integrated into main stream society and are not a rare site anymore), but it is an eery warning for anyone who gets close enough to see it. Not many Unicorns part with their horns easily.
Photographer – When he does go out, it is usually at dusk to prowl the streets. He takes this time to photograph things he sees. He loves abstract photography, photo journalistic pictures, and self portraits. He uses a make-shift dark room out of tarps in his ally to print hap-haphazardly from. Most materials he has acquired through thievery.
Diligent, Writer – Keeps a journal of his life, thoughts, photographic interests, cat, anything that might happen that day. A bird, for example, landing on his metal awning. He might talk with it. Discus the weather, politics, and such. He feels that writing is one of the only things he is truly good at anymore. He thinks about the day, many years after death, when someone may find his journal. Or Not. He thinks it a more likely possibility that it will decay, as he will, into to ashes of the earth. Forgotten. To some this would be a sufficient deterrent, but he keeps writing. This indulgence is for him alone.
Talks to Animals, Loves his Kitten – The only living things he feels comfortable conversing with are animals. Maybe it's because they can't argue back, maybe it's because they don't stare at him with disgust like the occasional passer-by does; the kind that takes the time to notice another being besides themselves occupying the side street. Or, maybe it is because the animals seem to be at peace with the world, or perhaps numbed by it. Eton can relate to that feeling. Loves his cat; a stray kitten dubbed the name Jaeger, which means hunter in it's simplest form. Eton remembers the term from his military history lessons. It was a term used to describe sharpshooters from a war so distant in the past, it is almost forgotten now. The term germany sounds familiar to him too, but he cannot remember the relation to the Jaeger sharpshooters. Perhaps it was a person, or a place, or a type of primitive gun, however, he does not care to remember anything about wars now.
Student – Came from a wealthy and educated family. Learned at the finest school for higher education. Took to the arts and medical practices. After parents death through a bombing, decided to go into the military. Told his friends he wanted to help build a better future, but most knew it was for revenge. Now, much later after his discharge, he considers himself a student of the omnipresent atmosphere that surrounds his day to day existence – the simple teachings of the world.
Glutton, Thief, Collector of DA Prints, Nerd, Failed Artist, Adores Fella – A glutton, but not in the way you would think. He devourers literature and art, stolen of course. His written favorites consist of Vonnegut, Keyes, and strangely enough – Lewis Carroll. The classics he calls them. During his life, the government has ordered a mass burning of art. It used to be books in the past, but now art is more difficult to come by. He finds that prints are the easiest to horde (and hide when necessary). He prefers his stolen prints to come from DA; high quality images created by the rebel artists of the era. He adores such audacity. This is his only claim to nerdom, a feverish obsession with the unpopular, and misunderstood. After the war, Eton tried to sell his own art. Due to his lack of talent and his paintings' controversial subjects, Eton lost money. He spent some good jail time for it too. During his time in prison he first learned of deviantART's efforts to revitalize art as an underground movement. He came to admire DA and it's mascot Fella so much that he got a tattoo of Fella on his right forearm. He is proud to represent Fella even though he can not afford to buy his prints.
Zombie – Eton is the embodiment of the proverbial walking dead. His body still walks the earth, but his spirit died along with the war. He walks through the city at dusk with his camera, snapping absentmindedly, people going out of their way to avoid him. The only joy he receives comes from picking the brains' of his literary idols and artistic heroes.