Tuesday, October 6, 2015

From Fairytales to Shakespeare, a World of Fantasy at your Fingertips

(Scene from Repunzel)

When my daughter was three, she learned how to dress herself. She changed clothes so often, I was ready to tear my hair out seeing her clean clothes scattered across the floor. It wasn’t so much that she wanted to look different, but that she hated the feel of the clothes in the first place.

Her favorite complaint: “These clothes are dumb!” She couldn’t stand the itchy scratchy touch of fabric and seams against skin. Had she the choice, she would have preferred dancing around in her Birthday suit. Thankfully she got over this stage, but remained an emotional and temperamental prima donna. Today she is a sensitive and caring artist, mother and teacher, which explains all.

Artists feel life on a deeper level than most people. They see beyond what is actually there and delve below the surface to find the treasure that lies within. Their sensitivity may make their life and that of others difficult, but it also pays dividends in the outcomes that result. Certainly the artist is rewarded with a greater sense of joy and fulfillment.

If this makes you hard to live with so be it. You don’t need to apologize when your attention escapes into the Netherlands to join Pan. You are temporarily absent in mind and body, that’s all; you’ll return shortly. You’re not hard of hearing, either. You simply have one foot in reality and the other in the world of fantasy; always asking “What if?” and “Why?” turning your exterior world into unique creatures and landscapes shaped by your imagination.

As a child I was big on reading fairy tales by Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson. I literally entered a land of enchantment. I was there, walking the cobbled streets, hand-in-hand with my favorite characters. I could clearly see the colors, hear the sounds, and smell the smells of each adventure.

Being into your work is a requirement for success, but somewhere between birth and death we lose our sense of magic. We cease to “make-believe.” When the here and now is such harsh reality, we forget how to “suspend” belief in order to enjoy the present. Some people never do. You know them. They pick apart dramatic scenes in movies, finding errors in plot or photography. Instead of settling back to enjoy the ride, they put on their critic’s hat and blast away ruining it for everybody else.

As adults, Shakespeare provides a secondary world of make-believe. Tense, dramatic, and emotional the stories tell us about real people with tragic problems. Once your ear becomes attuned to the rhythm and flow of Old English dialogue, you soon forget the unfamiliar cadence of poetry and succumb to the voice of character, story and action. Stretching your interests and abilities can only add to the drama in your artwork and in your ability to think and to dream.

I hope you enjoy the stories and tutorials below: Bend with the will of the script and allow it to live and breathe in you. Allow yourself into the character’s minds and let them shape your thoughts and your dreams.

A tutorial and analysis:

Did you ever feel like an "Ugly Duckling" growing up? Guess what, we all did! The following video is dedicated to all "Ugly Ducklings" everywhere who have since grown beyond their insecurities.