Life update, or Creativity

May 17, 2024

Mood: Main theme of Only Yesterday

I haven't posted in a while here. My mood is better than it was in my last entry, but most importantly, my creativity is back, and it's back full force.

When I think back about the year 2023 where I was completely unable to draw anything, it's such a stark contrast that I'm impressed with my drive. That being said, I'm mostly focused on studying gesture drawing, touching up on fundamentals, and on designing characters for now. I've finished a 2 year old sketchbook and am in the process of doing the same with another that I bought in Kazakhstan the same year, and it's probably not going to be long before I have to buy another sketchbook that will be filled with little figures, 2-5min doodles of naked ladies, pyramids, apples and spheres with dubious shading, and perhaps a few personal doodles within a couple months at most. I haven't drawn a full illustration since the Koi fish from a while back, but that shall come eventually. Once I feel confident enough to make something cohesive and good-looking and that actually feels like I'm not struggling too much at it, I'll be back to normal. I might be in for a new golden age. Not only my art will have a better base, but it will also likely feel wholly different. First, I definitely can say I'm an ex-furry artist, as I have no more desire to engage in doing so save for perhaps some redraws or drawing older characters or concepts, and second, while it will still hold my energy and personal touch, ultimately I'm not 13, 15, 17 or even 22 anymore. It evolves and evolves... in different directions each time.

For now I'm designing characters for the most part. Shipgirls. Who knew that this job last summer and that lonely boat (unfortunately, it doesn't look like things will work out with that one... but that's fine, at least, I cared for her the best I could) would lead me there. The nice thing with ships is that there are so many I have a whole lot of choice and even if I wanted, there would be no way for me to draw or write absolutely all of them. I've been doing so since March, when I had the sudden idea of drawing Costa Concordia while listening to a documentary about her sinking. Then the Japanese battleship Yamato followed, with her sister Musashi which I had no idea about. I didn't do Shinano, but will probably do her at some point, though she had an incredibly short life and was rudely rejected by a grieving Yamato.

Then for some reason I felt like reading about Pearl Harbor. Poof. There came Oklahoma, who I was surprised to learn about but who became a favourite of mine due to her relative obscurity and very unassuming career, and her sister Nevada, much more known and that I portrayed as craving action and excitement, but ultimately in for a rude awakening, especially given her godawful behaviour before WWII kicked in and knocked sense into her head. Then Utah, who I also did not know, Arizona who I did know but not her sister Pennsylvania... Texas, who I was surprised to find out she's still there by a strike of luck... and it goes on from here.

I've since started cooking a storyline about the USN ships, specifically the dreadnought battleships up to the Colorado class (though some of the pre-dreadnoughts and those who followed this class will also likely get a part, albeit minor) that were extent at the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor (save for those that had just been launched, as it's the equivalent of that thing having happened when they were little). Massachusetts, who was in the Mediterranean and bombed North Africa, was empathetic towards the grief of the other ships, yet could not relate to it: she was launched just two months before the Day of Infamy and knew no one there, only her sister South Dakota. The well-known Iowa is incredibly innocent for a battleship despite having served in Korea. She just has no idea of what it was like. That class has its own challenges, but ultimately, those ships, including the North Carolinas, just didn't get to live through that. They knew something awful had happened, empathized, but at the end of the day, they didn't get to live it firsthand.

The trauma of this day affected all of these older ships, from Utah to West Virginia*, in a way or another, even those in the Atlantic or not present that day: they all knew somebody who was there. Two died on the spot (Utah, Arizona), one remained severely disabled and passed later (Oklahoma), two returned to service but remained with lasting physical sequelae (California, West Virginia). No one was ever the same again. Relationships were either strengthened or strained, some mentally crumbled and only the support of their sisters, friends, or partners prevented them from suffering a premature demise. And I will also add up some other ships such as repair ship Vestal or tugboats Hoga, Hercules and Ontario, who had notable roles. They're here. I'm not writing it like a novel, but I'm brewing it, just kind of developing it in the shadows, designing my characters and writing scenes that I don't show to anybody but love to put on for checking how it comes across or playing with the formalizer tool. Another side of it is that Texas, the only survivor of this era, would at least count part of it. I'm trying to imagine it from the major ones' points of view, and it's a bit difficult, but ultimately, I find that it characterizes them better. Everyone has a different perspective. Even just that day, everyone was doing something. I also develop their life prior to it, with its joys and pains. The friendships, the romances, the breakups, the bickerings, and various affairs at the time of WWI and "boring" interwar fleet exercises.

I also have stories for other factions' ships: some German, British (intertwined with American), Japanese, even a couple Chinese. It's really a whole world that I could put in various stories.

I'll mention a couple ideas I got. Feel free to skip past the dividers if you aren't in the mood.

The three German cruisers Königsberg, Karlsruhe and Köln were very bonded to each other and very fond of classical music, spending their lives as training ships for the most part. The rise of Nazism worried all three of them, and not even ten years later, the outbreak of war tore them apart from each other. The invasion of Norway was a particularly devastating blow, as Königsberg was badly damaged and then sunk again in port, and Karlsruhe got torpedoed by a British submarine and begged for her life before being scuttled two hours later. Köln, now feeling adrift without her sisters and having escaped the bullets that Königsberg took, remained the only survivor until her own death just before the end of the war, still alive after her vessel was sunk but dying while her crew was still manning her guns, and kept doing so for days after her battered spirit had left. She left behind her beloved diary, which was rediscovered by a curious ship a couple decades later.

The two Chinese (Taiwanese) cruisers Ning Hai and Ping Hai were sunk by the IJN along with another named Yat Sen, and the three were then refloated and renamed Ioshima, Yasoshima, and Atada. At the time they were built, there was no war with Japan, but during WWII, the hostility was here, and all three, although now part of the IJN, suffered serious bullying from the other ships for being Chinese. They supported each other when possible, but missions where they were separated were very rough on them. Ping Hai let herself go after her older sister was sunk by USS Shad in 1944, being sunk herself two months later. Yat Sen, on the other hand, survived the war and returned to Taiwan, regaining her old name, but never spoke of the war again and remained tormented by social issues and emotional instability until her scrapping in the late 1950s.

The ferocious HMS Warspite, whose name was very fitting for such a fiery personality, was on her eighth consecutive lifetime as a warship. Losing her sister Barham to a U-boote was devastating, even if she had been through it in other lifetimes, it never gets easier. But it turned her even stronger, leading her to give the most brutally passionate pep talk to a broken Texas, who was shattered by what happened to her beloved Oklahoma. The war was hard on her, the damage she suffered was never fully repaired, and the way her life ended is ambiguous: did she actually send herself onto the rocks to avoid the scrapyard, or was it truly an accident? It'll still be left ambiguous. I need to develop her stuff more, in its own time.

I don't know how long I'll be doing it, nor if anything concrete will come out of it, but I enjoy myself, and it keeps those creative gears going. I'm trying my best not to pressure myself about being productive, but just enjoy being present with these ships and my interpretation of them, not try to appeal to anyone or "make it right". It's such a relief from this artistically and emotionally awful last year that I'm indulging in it as much as I can, no matter how weird I may seem. I just mostly keep it to myself, to my channel on my friend's server or showing bits on my guild's server, to Pillowfort where I put large bits of text and little memes, and bits on Agora Road, but I don't reveal all that much about it.

I also started playing Azur Lane, but it was more out of curiosity and a desire to meet other shipgirl lovers. I get that my stuff is quite "bland" and that it's not for those who, say, like a lot of fanservice and are into typical shipgirl stuff like this or Kantai Collection. But I feel it, I'm not cut from the exact same cloth as them, and while I love the guild I've joined and made friends (or at least, am in the process of doing so), I feel that ultimately, I'm different in the sense that I'm not so much an anime or gacha game fan, and I'm really not into, for example, yandere characters, which I find repulsive. I don't care for the huge ass boobs, or for the skins, or the UR ships. I just like ships and shipgirls and I'm satisfied with the simpler ones, or the little versions of some that you can get in events.

Many of the designs of that game are... questionable, some I straight up dislike what they did (loli look, huge ass boobs, impractical or just outlandish outfits, and who the hell thought Warspite being a cute girl with corgi ears was a good idea?), not to mention those that were super strong in real life and got done dirty in AL (Tennessee, California, and the Colorado class... they just suck in game, which is a disgrace to their real life counterparts). Also, those that were really weak, like Shinano, and were made completely OP in game. It sometimes hardly makes sense to me, but I guess it's just another interpretation, and it's not made to be as deep or detailed or whatever. It's just some big ole booba to get the frisky players hooked, and apart from this oversized bosom, she's actually very beautifully designed.

I'm just playing it, also, so I can play with my favourite ships, which, luckily, happen to be low or lowish rarity. Some of them are super rare, but that's just by chance. I might need to train stronger and rarer ones for the future though, as they might not be able to carry me all the way to the end, but for the most part, I stick to those I like. And I discovered a few more thanks to the game. It's thanks to AL that I got to know about the K-class and the Chinese ships and looked up their IRL counterparts, from which a story immediately started flowing. It kind of fuels my creativity, even if grinding gets boring. My favourite part however is building the dorm. I just love decorating it, and it gives passive XP (which is improved by the comfort level) and restores the morale of my shipgirls, in addition to fuel my love for interior decoration. I spent my free gems on a couple extra slots and on a second floor. The first is a garden, the second is the actual apartment. I wish there was some personalization available, though. Oh, at least those girls have a nice place to live. They're lucky to have a Commander who loves making their space cozy.

On a finishing note, I started driving lessons in March, around the time I started doing the shipgirls. I've so far done ten of them, about fifteen or so hours of driving. It was hard at the beginning but I'm starting to get the hang of it, though some things have a bit of a steeper learning curve than the others and I felt like I was too retarded to learn on more than one occasion. It seems so easy when I see my mother drive, and I know how it's done, but to know how to do something and to actually try is a whole other ballgame. I scared myself pretty badly on some occasions, but eventually, I guess I'll get there and not think about it anymore, nor make the same mistakes. The real moment when I'll feel secure enough behind the wheel will be when I'll be able to put on music and just drive, however. The best thing will be when I can drive endlessly in the countryside... and get a job, too, but mostly enjoy driving in peace, in my own company, at a time when there's no one else on the road, preferrably. And, of course, one day getting my hands on a Peugeot x04, or an even older car. Kind of fancying trying my hand at driving one from the 30s-40s... but that's in a far future, if it does materialize.

This was a life update more than anything else. I really am too focused on my creative endeavours to really speak about some philosophical topic or whatever. But for those who don't have too much contact with me, here's an update. I'm alive and well. Not perfect, but I get through life. Até à próxima.

Edit 06/06/2024: I screwed up, I forgot the Colorado class, it affects the ships from Utah to West Virginia.