Guarded

Today’s drawing was the most difficult for me of all the Inktober prompts — for several different reasons. I had a good idea in my head, but while I could visualize what I wanted to create, I couldn’t bring that vision to life. What you see below was my fifth attempt at creating a “junkyard dog” sort of monster.

My first sorry attempt looked like some sort of weird cat. Next I tried making a more wolf-like dog. Sad to say, I still can’t draw a wolf. Next I tried a cartoonish dog by following a “how to draw a dog” tutorial. After a few tries I came up with Monsterus guardus caninus, who doesn’t look all that fearsome or frightening.
Inktober 13 Guarded

And here’s where the prompt became even more difficult. The dog I drew is definitely friendly, and my heart goes out to him. Why? Because he belongs to Exploding Brain Boywho loves him, but Cruel Stepfather feels that a dog is worthless if it isn’t mean and threatening.

“If he can’t guard the damned house, what good is he?” Cruel Stepfather often says. He doesn’t treat the dog any better than he treats his stepson. He insists on keeping the dog chained as he attempts to train the dog to become vicious. He’s even named the dog Killer.

I want to believe that one night while Cruel Stepfather is sleeping Exploding Brain Boy will slip outside and unchain the dog. I hope, too, that the dog runs far, far away.

2018 DividerOh, the educational facts! I must not forget those. Did you know…?

  • There are estimated to be around 400 million dogs in the world.
  • Dogs are able to digest a variety of foods, including vegetables and grains.
  • Dogs can distinguish odors at concentrations nearly 100 million times lower than humans can.
  • A dog’s hearing range covers frequencies from approximately 40 hertz to 60,000 hertz.

2018 DividerBut back to Killer, the reluctant guard dog. Have you ever drawn something and later wished you hadn’t? Have you ever created a work of art that — in some way — disturbs you? Maybe this sounds foolish to say, but drawing this friendly pooch and putting him into a dysfunctional family has been a difficult experience. Several times I’ve thought about ripping up the drawing and forgetting that I ever drew this dog.

Art is visual, yet it still has a narrative. Even simple drawings can tell a story, and the story of Killer has messages within that I’m still trying to figure out. It’s obviously about personal identity and also about the expectations others put upon us. I sense a lot more in this little drawing, as well.

Creating Killer has been a very emotional experience for me. I don’t understand all it means, but I know there’s a message there. I hope someday I do understand.

 

15 Comments

  1. never EVER destroy your art, please! Buy a folder, label the folder as ” disturbing art” or something like that, and put the art you are tempted to destroy in that folder.
    The dog is a work of art and it fits so well with your adorable dysfunctional family drawings.
    I cannot wait for more drawings about the family. Do you have a last name for the family? I think the name will come when all the characters are on paper.
    So proud of you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for helping me through this. Drawing “Killer” really was disturbing. It’s the first time I’ve ever had such a strong reaction to anything I’ve drawn. The other characters are “human-like” and I see that as empowering for them, no matter what their circumstances are. But animals…well, that’s a different story. I see Killer as being an innocent victim, chained to a situation from which he can’t escape — at least not without help. You’ll be meeting the uncle soon, and a friend of Exploding Brain Boy will be showing up on Thursday. I’m about ready to create the mother, too. And then I want to spend time drawing more fun doodle monsters — with a few inspired by Borges. 🙂

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      1. it’s okay to feel overwhelmed by your art, especially when you produce something disturbing or not aligned with your perspective. But, art has the unique gift to pull out unexpectedly the demons and the angels hidden in our conscious, subconscious, and unconscious. 🙂 Thus, we welcome art in all its forms and magical or disturbing manifestations. and , if you feel truly uncomfortable with something, lock it in the ” disturbing folder” for a while. or write a reflection, a diary entry, or a nasty email to art and its nasty tricks. 🙂
        You might end up with an illustrated short story on the dysfunctional family…who knows…

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      2. Creating these characters has certainly been an interesting experience. I’m keeping them together. Later I will go through all of my Inktober drawings. Seeing them “as a whole” will be very revealing, I think.

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  2. Two things. First, I felt this same way when I did the illustrations for one of the stories for the September Slam, the eating one. A well done story but thoroughly alien to me and with disturbing themes, that in normal life I would not choose to draw. At least they were not my thoughts, which was good, but also it was a strange feeling, like being inside someone else’s thinking a little too much. And two, I’ve made art from my own thoughts that has disturbed me. I have always chosen to try to understand what is it about it that is bothering me, and then to amend the piece or if I have to, get rid of it, throw it out, whatever. I don’t believe in keeping the ugly even in a folder. Understand it, take in its lessons, and then get it away from me. I also don’t keep old letters and so on, for the same reason. I just want to move on. Having said all this, I think your drawings are leading you somewhere and I am impressed by your reflectiveness about the process.

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    1. Thank you, Claudia, for sharing your thoughts. It’s strange in so many ways. It’s not really the drawing itself that disturbs me — I rather like the friendly dog with his drooling slobber — but it’s all the emotions that came out after I drew him. I didn’t begin with any intention of building a storyline around him, but it happened inside my head. That’s what I wish I could erase. I don’t want this dog to be chained up to an unhappy existence. I just want him to be free to lick and slobber and run and wag his tail. I guess it will be up to me to create a happy ending for him. 🙂

      Like

      1. I think your last sentence is the key. I know just how you feel. Imagination can be very strong and sometimes I think it’s bringing up things I don’t like or don’t want to think about. I agree with you about the dog. I hate being confined, and this drawing made me feel the same way you did. I think his chain should actually be made of sausages, he finds out, and he eats his way out and runs free!!!

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