I'm an Artist/Mom who loves painting nature, illustrating life, writing comics, and baking bread on cold Colorado days! I find inspiration from the beautiful Rocky Mountains and playful antics of every day life with my sweet family.
I studied painting under a private tutor for 5 years. Currently I am here as a member of Society for Visual Storytelling to polish my illustrating skills.
I have participated in art shows, done private commissions and even started a comic. I can't wait to learn more!
Posts made by juliepeelart
RE: PODCAST FEEDBACK NEEDED
@Lee-White Thanks! I think this is a really interesting topic! I think about it in terms of character designs. We have some norms especially in animation. The main character needs to be the most appealing, and the supporting characters appealing, but not quite a cool and the bad guy kind of alarming so forth. This is so engrained that we can usually spot a potential, villan, love interest or main character just from the movie poster. Do we then end up casting or drawing in a stereotypical way because that is how storytelling works to achieve that? It would be an interesting project to create a classic squad that works together. (Leader, brains, plucky comic relief, techie, emotional compass) and a Nemesis core (Bad guy, second in command, Enforcers). And then mix up the physical characteristics from the typical mix. Sometimes we see that done purposely (short bad guy etc) But it would be a good experiment. Maybe put them on dice and see what you get over and over. This would be easiest with skin and hair color, but body type and ability gets more challenging. Usually our main character is very cool and fit.
RE: PODCAST FEEDBACK NEEDED
@Lee-White I think this is a fantastic subject and I hope that you are able to put together something. I can't wait! Here are my thoughts.
Should artists be able to draw characters from different genders, cultures, body types and ability levels? YES! I feel like it necessary in today's diverse environment. Representation is important, especially in community or classroom spreads. I want it to be part of my wheelhouse. The question I have is how? How to do it respectfully and well, naturally. There are a couple of nuances here that I have thought through.
Level 1: Physical Attributes
I have noticed there are is a lot of media that solves this problem with what I call the "Magic School Bus Fix" Each character representing a different hair color/skin color/ethnicity/personality. (Think "Rogue One" for movies). That seems to be a pretty accepted approach. So where do we get into trouble?
Problem 1. Is each character is presented in a stereotypical way across a body of work or the industry? (Is the black kid always in gym shorts and the Asian always super smart and the blonde always popular and dumb?) (@Will-Terry did a great podcast on this with Tyrus Goshay https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56UfBZzaM0w )
Problem 2. Are the characters drawn using recognized, unflattering stereotypes. Or contributing to something that is known to be racist or discriminatory. How do I know what things to avoid? Are there resources for this?
Problem 3. Is the main character always the same gender/color/body size/ability level (ie- Is the kid with the wheelchair or glasses always the supporting character?)
Most illustrators I would guess would be expected to be able to pull this method off well, if they can tackle those three problems. Where it becomes difficult is when we add culture. In the "Magic School Bus" everyone is essentially Americanized. They wear t-shirts and jean and act and act in a similar way. If we want to branch out to make a richer illustration how do we do it without offending? This is such a difficult topic! And I don't have the answer. Partly because we all have different experiences and want to be represented. Here are some things I have picked up on.
Level 2: Culture
Point A: We ALL have different experiences. Ignoring that leads to stereotypes again. Not every black person is from the American South, some are from Brazil, or Africa or Europe or, well anywhere, and they don't all have the same story or background. So it would not be authentic to give their stories all the same treatment.
Point B: Should the story be told by a person with that background?
Louisa May Alcott famously found her place in the writing world when she took her publishers advice to write about her own experience. I can see how a picture book written by someone who has experienced something can be potentially more powerful than one written by someone who has only researched it. That being said, illustrators are often paired with authors because of their skill to tell a story. And I believe that we can and should learn about the experiences of others and it builds community to work together to create something beautiful.
It also depends on the story being told. If the story is about Mrs. Frizzel and the digestive system is it really important to include more diverse cultural clues than hair color? If the story is about a Russian family immigrating somewhere, should the author/illustrator be Russian? When it comes down to it, do all books with minority main characters need to be explorations of origin? "The Snowy Day" by Ezra Keats was groundbreaking because his main character was an African American boy doing normal play-in-the-snow-kid-stuff. It wasn't a book with social commentary, and the pictures aren't that detailed. It is an enchanting snow day book and he decided to be inclusive with his art by choosing a look for his main character that would reach more kids. Keats is white. His take on diversity was powerful!
Point 3 Research and Collaboration: Where can we find resources?
If we do take on a book that deals with culture and experiences outside of our own we need to be prepared to do a lot of research and collaboration to create to best thing that we can. Get outside and find a group of editors to check to make sure it is not offensive. (Think Disney and "Moana" they worked very closely with the Hawaiian people to make a movie they both could be happy with.) Are there groups for this?
Point 4: Retelling can be Compelling
So is it okay to tell stories in your way if you are clear that is your intent?
We retell fables and stories all of the time, and I think it is beautiful. I have seen Cinderella done and redone with different cultural twists. Telling someone they can't share a story seems counterproductive, and a good way to forget culture. Maybe that is cultural appropriation? Giving credit can help ( for example state "This is a retelling of the parable about the chessboard and the rice.") This is such a sticky thing!
I think that if you are going to tell someone's story, be their voice by learning what they want you to say. And encourage lots of people to tell their own story so the whole world can be richer.
RE: Modern Idioms Fantasy-ized - Looking for Critique
These are really clever!