Staff Cartoons: Steampunk Tea Time


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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.

 

Steampunk Woman 01

 

The first caricature is a staff member that I have known since I started, she also happens to be my boss. I wanted to show her, as with the other staff, her feminine side while also showing the rebellious side. I decided to draw her with a long dress and a top that would be typical for the time. Yet I wanted to show a lot of cleavage as well. This is the rebellious side that she has shown to many people being a woman boss where many would not. I also gave her a wild hairstyle to also emphasize this.

Well she enjoyed the caricature and the riské look of her character as did the other staff. I hope you enjoy the first steampunk caricature from “Steampunk Tea Time.”

Steampunk Woman 01

Steampunk Woman 01

 

Steampunk Woman 02

 The second caricature happens to be of my supervisor. With this caricature I wanted to really show a women rebelling against what is thought of acceptable of women during this time period. She happens to be oriental and I know that there is a rich history of strong warrior women in many Far East cultures, therefore I wanted to show this. I drew her with a traditional English or western style Victorian clothing but she has a low-neck line that revels her cleavage. But her rebelling does not stop there. I also included a traditional Samurai sword to give her a fierce look to let people know that she is not someone to mess with.
She enjoyed the caricature as well as the riské and fierceness look that she is portrayed in her character. I hope you enjoy the second steampunk caricature from “Steampunk Tea Time.”
Steampunk Woman 02

Steampunk Woman 02

 

Steampunk Woman 03

 

The third caricature is a bit different from the other staff. She is s wonderful teacher and tough as nails but I can see the sophisticated side in her and I wanted to show this. I began with the giving her a long dress that a traditional lady of the time period would wear. But I still wanted to show her feminine and rebellious side and that is why I gave her the cleavage.
I also gave her shear flow to the exterior of the dress with lace to depict her status of a lady. Yet the parasol is a bite different. If you look closely you will notice that the centre part of the parasol is a rifle barrel of a gun. She maybe a lady, but watch out for that tough side, she will get you all the time. The other thing is that she wore something similar for Halloween, but I had forgotten about that when I created the caricature. Funny how things worked out.
She enjoyed the caricature as well as the rebellious aspects the character portrays. I hope you enjoy the third steampunk caricature from “Steampunk Tea Time.”
Steampunk Woman 03

Steampunk Woman 03

 

Steampunk Woman 04

 

With the fourth caricature I wanted to depict this staff member a bit differently than the others. She is an amazing teacher and musically talented does not begin to describe her. She is a wonderful person to talk to and I wanted to show a bit of an oriental flavour to her caricature as well as show that she is an attractive woman.
I wasn’t too sure how far I could go when depicting her as a sexy/beautiful woman, therefore I opted to having her show some leg and some cleavage. But I wanted to have some rebellious or riské element in her caricature so I gave her a sheer blouse for her shoulders and arms. Something that was not acceptable in the Victorian Era.
I also gave her a couple of weapons that didn’t look like weapons until I told her and the staff. Her fan is made of brass and is used for cutting and slicing like a sword. As well I added metal chop sticks to the bun in her hair that she can use as a weapon as well. Women of this time period was seen as docile and show them as a warrior or in any aspect of authority was considered rebellious.
When she saw her caricature she was happy with the results and liked the different rebellious and riské aspects of it.
I hope you too will enjoy the fourth steampunk caricature from “Steampunk Tea Time.”
Steampunk Woman 04

Steampunk Woman 04

 

Steampunk Woman 05

 

With the fifth caricature I wanted to show that she is a beautiful woman with a bit of a wild side. She is an amazing teacher who cares a great deal for the students under her care. She shows her soft caring side with the students and she is very genuine with them. But she has a fun-loving side that many people do not know. That is why I drew her in a high skirt that shows a lot of leg.
I drew her wearing a dress cage but the skirt is smaller in the front than the back. Of course there is usually a dress over it to cover the cage, but I wanted to show a bit of rebellion with her. This way she can show more leg than what was acceptable during the Victorian time. I also drew her with a puffy shirt with a low-neck line to show some cleavage, again the rebellious side showing. As well the colour pink is to help with showing her feminine side.
She enjoyed the caricature with all the rebellious aspects within it, as did the rest of the staff. I hope you too will enjoy the fifth steampunk caricature from “Steampunk Tea Time.”
Steampunk Woman 05

Steampunk Woman 05

 

Steampunk Woman 06

 

 With the next caricature I wanted to something a bit different then the other staff. She is a wonderful person and is a great teacher. She is so soft-spoken that I was not sure if I should depict her as sexy or a tough female character. I decided to depict her as a Victorian Lady with a bit of a wild streak in her.
I drew her with a very conservative jacket but it shows a bust outline with a ribbon going down the middle of the chest. I also drew her with a parasol that matched her outfit and adorned with lace indicative to the period. The top hat was also for that time period with blue ribbon. This is some a bit against the tradition for women to wear men’s clothing.  
Yet the more riské aspect was the high cut skirt showing a lot of leg and her blue stockings. It is not too daring because I was not sure if the person would be up for this look. Of all the people I drew she was the one person who I was not sure of her reaction to the caricature. Though it does go well with the overall caricature.
When she saw the caricature she enjoyed the look as well as the rebellious aspects within it. I hope you too will enjoy the sixth steampunk caricature from “Steampunk Tea Time.”
Steampunk Woman 06

Steampunk Woman 06

 

Steampunk Woman 07

 

With the next caricature I wanted to depict this person differently than the others. She is a smart and wonderful teacher and I wanted these aspects to be part of her caricature. Therefore I drew her wearing men’s clothes and holding books.
You may be thinking; why are those two things so significant in this caricature. During the Victorian era women were just beginning to assert their right for equality with men. Education was a big step to emancipating women from society’s stereotype of what was acceptable for women. Women became doctors, lawyers, professors and even pushing the issue to get voted into office. That is why I drew her holding books and wearing men’s clothes. It is a rebellious gesture to society that women will not sit back and be told what they can and cannot do.
The other fact that she of African-Canadian decent and being an educated woman is telling society that she is rebelling against what society says she can do. We think that today women and people of minorities should be treated equally but it had to start from somewhere. One hundred years ago these ideas were considered subversive and immoral. That an African-Canadian woman could be an educated professional was seen as ridiculous. Thankfully times have changed and this caricature is a tribute to the person’s spirit and strength that embodies everything those pioneers wanted to accomplish.
When she saw the caricature and I explained its meaning to her and the rest of the staff, they all truly enjoyed it. I hope you too will enjoy the seventh steampunk caricature from “Steampunk Tea Time.”
Steampunk_Woman07

Steampunk Woman 07

 

Steampunk Woman 08

 

The next caricature is another staff member whom I have known since I started working at the school. I have worked with her for many years and I can say she is without a doubt a strong, independent woman whom I admire greatly. This person is someone whom I can trust and even use her as a sounding board in matters of curriculum and personal matters in my life. She is someone who is not afraid to speak her mind on any subject matter and I truly appreciate this from her.
This is where I got my inspiration to draw her caricature. During the Victorian era, strong woman were not seen as an asset and they were looked down on as second-class citizens. Not to mention people of minorities had a difficulty time getting an equal footing, when you add women of minorities into the mix, there was even more inequality. I wanted to show her independence and strength by depicting her as an aeronaut/pilot of a dirigible (airship). Something a woman would have never gotten an opportunity to do. Yet I now she could do it without any debt.
I began by drawing her wearing an aviator’s hat, leather jacket and white scarf. Something pilots wore in the early years of aviation. I also drew her wearing a skirt and high boots to show that she still has a feminine side to her. If you look closely is holding gun and I modeled it after Han Solo’s gun in Star Wars. He was the tough, independent type and I wanted her to have the same type of persona.
She saw the caricature and loved it, as did the other staff. I hope you too will enjoy the eighth steampunk caricature from “Steampunk Tea Time.”
Steampunk Woman 08

Steampunk Woman 08

 

Steampunk Woman 09

 

The next caricature is a staff member whom I had just started working with that year. She is a wonderful person and great teacher, yet I did not know her well enough to create a caricature that was too riské. However I did know her well enough to see a rebellious streak in her.
Therefore I decided t draw as a lady with a parasol that conceals a pistol. I started with drawing her man’s top and a vest to accompany it. I then wanted to show her feminine side so I drew her with a layered skirt that a lady of the time period may wear. Though the skirt was high cut showing a lot of leg that enhanced her rebellious side. I topped her caricature literally with a small top hat and a hairstyle that showed a bit of her wild side against the powers that be.
She saw the caricature and loved it, as did the other staff. I hope you too will enjoy the ninth steampunk caricature from “Steampunk Tea Time.”
Steampunk Woman 09

Steampunk Woman 09

 

Steampunk Woman 10

 
The next caricature is a staff member whom I had never worked with officially but I did help her whenever I could. She is a great person and teacher, yet like other persons I had just began working with that year I was not sure if I should create a caricature that was too riské. However I did know her enough to know that she had a strong spirit and I wanted to show this in the caricature.
Off the bat I wanted to draw her wearing pants and in the style of an adventurer/explorer. Women of the Victorian era were seen as cheeky making a bold statement wearing pants or men’s trousers. She portrays this adventurous spirit when she works with the students and when we talk. I still wanted to show her feminine side therefore I drew her with a leather corset as well as a short-sleeved blouse that showed off a bit of cleavage. With her hair I wanted to continue the rebellious/wild side of her personality.
She saw the caricature and loved it, as did the other staff. I hope you too will enjoy the tenth steampunk caricature from “Steampunk Tea Time.”
Steampunk Woman 10

Steampunk Woman 10

 

Steampunk Woman 11

 

The next caricature is a staff member whom I have not worked a lot with but we got along very well. I am always impressed by her devotion and enthusiasm to the students who comes up with amazing activities and is a kind and sweet person to be around. With her caricature I wanted to explore and show a different side of her. Yes she is a sweet wonderful person but she is also fun to be with and an adventurer. I knew that creating something riské would be alright with her but I also wanted to show her tough side that many people don’t usually see.
Right away I wanted to draw her in a skirt but not a traditional one. I wanted to have her wear leather straps as part of the skirt to look almost like light weight armor. Something a femme fatale may wear. Continuing with the leather theme, I draw her with a leather corset that doubled as a jacket. I did not want a loose-fitting jacket so I incorporated the corset idea. This way it would be form-fitting and show off a little cleavage.
With her hair I have seen her once in a while wear it in a braid and I thought it was a good look for her, therefore I draw her with a couple. I then added a hairpin with feathers to help enhance her look. I then added boots, bracelets and a flintlock pistol as finishing touches to her caricature.
She saw the caricature and loved it. She thanked me repeatedly but her smile was the best thank you. I hope you too will enjoy the eleventh steampunk caricature from “Steampunk Tea Time.”
Steampunk_Woman11

Steampunk Woman 11

 

Steampunk Man  (The Captain)

 

The last caricature of “Steampunk Tea Time” is, me. After creating all the staff caricatures I also had to create mine. Yet I had already created one and I could not improve on what I had already created. I had created it as a character in a story I had started about a year earlier, The Captain and the Baroness.
This is a story I created for someone special as a birthday present for them, but I decided to continue the story after a time. I was going through some difficult issues at the time and indulging in my creative side helped me through it. The story was loosely reflecting the issues in my own life and when I wrote chapter three I was going through a lot of change. Therefore I decided to change the look of the character ‘The Captain’ in the story. The character was my caricature of me dressed as a pirate, aka Jack Sparrow. So I changed my character and my new caricature was created.
I began by basing his outfit on that of a naval office during the Victorian Era. He is a captain after all so it made sense. I drew him with grey pants and a vest and a royal blue jacket overcoat with gold trim, then I added a white poufy shirt, a royal blue Ascot tie and black riding boots. This is in the steampunk style; therefore I added two holsters with side arms.   I added a small dagger to his right and a rapier on the left with a couple of belts. If you look closely, the rapier guard has an inverted engraved image on it. It is a falcon symbol. I am Maltese and adding a falcon creating the idea of the Maltese falcon went well together. The last touch of the outfit was a pocket watch hanging from his belt. It makes sense; a captain needs a watch to help navigate. The hair was very similar to my hair and the beard and mustache (Van Dyke) was very similar to the one I had grown at the time, and there you have it.
The staff did not see this caricature until the final group portrait and they all loved it. A few had a couple of things to say, yet I did tell them that I did create this caricature as a character in a story I wrote. If you want to see and read the chapters I posted you can click on the link below.

 The Captain and the Baroness

 I hope you too will enjoy the twelfth and final steampunk caricature from “Steampunk Tea Time.”  Next week i will post the final portrait with all the caricatures.  
Steampunk Man - a.k.a. The Captain

Steampunk Man – a.k.a. The Captain

 

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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