Art Inspiration: Staff Cartoons Steampunk Tea Time: Final Portrait

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‘The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.’ Aristotle


‘This world is but a canvas to our imagination.’ Henry David Thoreau


‘If you can dream it, you can do it.’ Walt Disney


Inspiration and Imagination, something every artist needs and is elusive as an island of tranquility in a sea of chaos. Many people have told me that I inspire the children and people in general with what I do. Whether creating art, playing baseball or trying to improve my life, people say that I have inspired others to try new things and look inside themselves. I have always found this interesting because I get my inspiration from these very people. Whether it be a child asking me about Mythology or adults asking me about their children or even just talking to people about a number of different topics, they have inspired me to create and use my imagination to bring the impossible possible.

A prime example is when I draw the staff at my school as cartoon characters or caricatures. It started one year around Christmas when we have our Christmas concert and staff dinner. Always after the concert, we go out for dinner and we exchange gifts, such as a Chris Kringle. I wanted to liven things up and instead of giving Christmas cards, I decided to create my own with the staff members as a caricature.
This specific year the inspiration for the caricatures came from own person exploration of a style known as Steampunk. Steampunk is a subgenre of science-fiction and fantasy that came out of literary works such as Jules Vern and H.G. Wells to name a couple. But Steampunk can be best described by breaking up the word. “Steam” represents the era mostly the early industrial age around the Victorian Era. “Punk” represents rebellion or going against the norm.
The “Punk” or rebellion goes for going against what is expected on the technology level as well as societal norms. On the technology level you see cars that are steamed powered, flying dirigibles or airships the size and look of sailing vessels or steam-powered walking machines.   Yet when it comes to rebellion on the societal side it affects women the most. During this time women were relegated to subordinates to the men, covering up themselves, not taking up employment or independent behavior. That is why in Steampunk you will see many women showing cleavage or wearing short skirts and showing a lot of leg to show off their stockings.
It took quit a while to create the caricatures but once the staff received them they loved the cards and caricatures. In the next few weeks I will be posting a few of the characters from the cards because these people inspired me to create these characters. Hopefully they can spur imagination and inspire others.

Final Portrait


In the final image I gathered all the caricatures for a staff portrait. This is set in a  Steampunk style therefore I needed a Victorian Era background. I went through a few ideas, a garden scene, a drawing-room similar to something from Pride and Prejudice, a steamship (I do like ships) or a busy street in London. I went back and forth on what background I should have but finally I got an idea and that was perfect.
I say a background of a library from that era and I knew that would be the perfect backdrop. Yet what library should I use? I searched and the best one came from a favorite story of mine. I found an image of the library from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and new this was it. Beauty and the Beast has been my favorite story since I was a child and I fell in love with the Disney version the moment is saw it. That library background is magnificent and it would be perfect for what I wanted.
I added the caricatures in a line with myself in the middle. I seemed appropriate considering I am the only male working at the centre. The soft-feathered frame was added, quite simply, it framed the portrait. I them added my personal logo ‘Paul G” to the lower right but I was not sure what to call the portrait. Then the idea came to me. Whenever we had a PA day or I had some time I would make the staff a stop of tea. I would brew a pot of tea and then set up cups, sugar and milk for the staff like I would for any guests over for a cup of tea.   The staff enjoys the tea service and I thought it would be nice if I had these caricatures over for tea. Therefore the title came out to be “Steampunk Tea Time”.
After I gave the staff their individual cards with their caricatures, I presented this final portrait to them all. They were all signed and dated and to say that they liked it would be an understatement. They all loved the final portrait and I hope you too will enjoy the final portrait of “Steampunk Tea Time”.
Steampunk Tea Time - Final Portrait

Steampunk Tea Time – Final Portrait


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