While reading Lynda Barry’s What It Is, I noticed that she used a lot of octopuses in the illustrations. This made me think of the sea, and is where I decided to draw inspiration from. To my great despair, I don’t own anything shaped like an octopus, so I decided on a pirate theme instead. Since part of the assignment was to try and incorporate texture, I decided cloth would be a good thing to use – it’s visually a flat sheet of patterned texture, which is perfect for that. Then, to add hardness and sharpness against the flexible softness of the cloth, I used scissors as the teddy bear’s swords. I included a bit of text from Camus’ Caligula to give a bit of story to the image – it is now clear this is a duel to the death. Another reason I chose to use this specific bit of text is because Caligula is an immensely tragic and upsetting tale (one of my favorites), and contrasts starkly against the playful softness of teddy bears with pirate swords.
For this project, layer masking was a very helpful tool. I usually just crop and erase to edit images like this because I hate when invisible pixels are counted as part of the image for things like transforming, but it’s nice to know how to do it. I’ve used photoshop semi-regularly for a few years now, and have usually been able to get the results I want through sub-optimal techniques and practices. It feels good to be learning better methods. In general, I hate working in digital environments; anytime I’m working on the computer, I feel my soul suffering a death by a thousand cuts, so to speak. I am plagued by near-constant, tiny inconveniences and obscure technical problems that I can’t find online. I appreciate how much easier many things are in photoshop and other digital creation studios, but those benefits are far outweighed in my experience.