Saturday, April 16, 2016

Saturday Revue April 16:Art Of Monsters

Ladies And Gentlemen! Please Put Your Hands Together For

Today I humbly present for your perusal one of the most lucid explorations of humanity and human loss that I've ever had the pleasure to encounter. It's called the Art Of Monsters, it's created by Helen Greetham, it can be read here and bought here. And I include the buying link, because this, dear readers, is one you're going to want for your own.
The story revolves around Hui and her ailing master, what it means to love and what it means to lose, what it means to rise and what it means to fall.

 The Rating

Wonderful, powerful, witty and affirming.

The Raves

The Art of Monsters will charm you from page one. It intersperses moving emotional themes with dry and sidelong wit, mixing the perfect alchemical brew of fun, mockery, difficult issues and zen-like acceptance of life in its style.

In writing, this story has captured the style of folk tales; simple, lucid and powerful in its simplicity. Each of the characters stands for an archetype we can all understand; Starving Artist, Misunderstood Misanthrope, Beloved Master.  The issues explored are as old as our species; the strive to become something more than we are, the hatred of our personal weaknesses, the love we have for the special people in our lives and our desperate wish to hold back time and hold on to what we care about.
Because these concepts are so universal the personalities of the characters act as grace notes on the theme, and the creator needs to do little to flesh them out. But what they do is cheeky, witty and engaging. Through their writing we watch a monster gain a soul, we watch an artist gain humility and perspective, and we explore what really makes us human. Writers from Kant to Socrates to Sun Tzu have explored these issues, but I don't think any of them have been as funny about it, or included jokes about alchemical mistakes and ponies that 'accidentally' get eaten.
The artwork supports the feel of the story in its naive watercolor charm and gentle color gradients. There's a child-like, engaging quality to the work that belies its skill in perspective, pacing and framing, not to mention research! The amount of research the creator has put in to detail when capturing a particular place and time in history is phenomenal. Even the food on the table is period. Don't let the art's casual fun fool you, this is a piece that someone poured their heart and soul into.

The Razzes

I only have on piece of advice for the creator; you may want to work on your profile shots when drawing heads; when you draw profiles they often seem a touch flat and off balance. Unless I miss my guess, it's because the heads are a little too narrow. Try studying the face in profile a bit more...or just ask Hui for a skull to study, I'm sure she's got one around...

The Revue

Powerful, poignant and beautiful. One you'll want on your bookshelf.

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