Fear

_written by Cu_

This drawing was a totally new experience for me, as making it was the first time I tried to combine Indian Ink and brush for the sketch with digital coloring.

My approach was inspired by Yuko Ogawa, a Japanese illustrator living in the States. Thanks to her, I have discovered how elegant and natural the lines can be when done with a brush rather than with art liners. (Here is the link to her website: http://yukoart.com/)

I decided to draw this in competition with one friend of mine, who is also fond of drawing, though digitally orientated. He’s a few years older than me, but we have been working together on some amateur comics via the internet. As we both have progressed quickly in a short amount of time, we liked the idea of holding a competition on a Vietnamese forum for comics (where we actually met) to see whose work would get the more votes. We would both draw the same subject in our own style in limited time allowance (during one week, more precisely).

Because my friend knows the way I work and how I often get depressed whenever I mess things up, he chose the two words “no fear” as the main theme for our drawings. I agreed: the less concrete the theme is, the more interesting it will be to work on.

When I first started with the thumbnail sketches, it was quite difficult to come up with anything related to “fear” but which doesn’t show any of that emotion. In the beginning, I intended to draw a lion in the zoo, looking at all the visitors who stand at the other side of his cage and who laugh and point at him without a slightest respect for the once wild and free beast. However, when I went to bed and lied there with my eyes closed while still thinking about the subject, I saw me falling. Suddenly, I felt as if I was falling in a pitch-dark space without arriving at the bottom. Where I fell from was also a mystery. It was exactly one of the things that I’m afraid of: I often have that impression of descending from nowhere and to nowhere.

Even though I still find the lion and his cage a wonderful idea, I wanted therefore to draw my own fear. It is also the same feeling that I have when I can’t seem to achieve what I desire or whenever I realize how poor my skills still are in comparison with those of my acquaintances.

Despite this, the character in my illustration isn’t falling from nowhere and to nowhere, and that’s why there’s less to fear. He knows who will be supporting him and what he will have to face once he arrives at the end of his fall. These high buildings represent the modern society that we are living in: All the lights are lit, but there’s no obvious identity of those sitting in the buildings. People seem to be willing to lend a hand to each other, but it can be just a sense of obligation in most situations. We meet thousands of people during our life, but whose importance is not as considerable as of the one (or of a handful of people) we need and respect; and that important person will be the one reaching out to us, willing to help us and even supporting us from afar. He will definitely give us his hand and try to stop us from falling freely. Or at least, with such support, we can be falling without fear.

This is what I wanted to express with my drawing. I’m not sure if it met the requirement, but I was quite content with the fact that I was able to draw my own fear and what seemed to be its resolution.

The summer has finally come again; it is now time for more drawing and reading than any time of the year.

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2 thoughts on “Fear

    1. It’s my pleasure to be able to share my own thoughts and stories to others. There are also some nightmares that I had during childhood and that I can’t forget even after so many years. I hope that yours was not too unpleasant.

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