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Gaia (Ink)

Updated: Mar 13, 2023

Drawing of floating woman with cybernetic babies by Preston Cram

The pen and ink drawing for Gaia was created late last year immediately after Unleashing the Cataclysm. Despite the fact the two pieces have very different energies, they feel like twins to me – or perhaps two halves of one whole. Where Unleashing the Cataclysm was tapping into anger and aggression and a profound need for change in my life, Gaia represents the calmness, rebirth, and acceptance that followed. One also carries traditional masculine energy while the other has traditional feminine energy.

The two pieces are the same size and the same drawing style, each with a large main figure connected to smaller beings by cords and wires, and they were each conceived during a period of profound change in my life. I will get into more details about the inspiration and symbolism for Gaia when I share the color version, but for now I'll focus on the actual drawing process for this one.

As always, the initial drawing began using 2H pencils on Bristol paper. I had a sense of the general theme when I started, but allowed myself to run wild with the cables, machinery, and how different objects connect with one another.

There was fairly steep challenge for me in making sense of all the cords and wires, and the initial sketching process actually felt similar to scribbling. Just fast, loose mark-making to rough out the general shape and direction of objects. Then I went back in with a darker pencil and attempted to make sense of all the lines I'd put down and clarify details.

Once the pencil art was in a place, I inked it using Winsor & Newton black Indian ink and a combination of round brushes and a 102 crow quill.

Due to repeated revisions, Gaia turned out to be the most time-consuming piece I've done in a very long time. I originally drew the central figure to be alien in appearance, but the more I worked on the drawing the more I felt she needed to be relatable and human-like. So, again and again, out came the eraser. Even after I inked the drawing and scanned it into Photoshop, I made further revisions to her face, hair, and some of her proportions.

I almost abandoned this piece more than once, partly because of how long it was taking, but also because the art I made after this one felt like it shifted into a darker, more serious style. But it's been important to me to finish Gaia all the way through, complete with color, as it was made during an important transition in my life and helps tell the story of the evolution of my recent drawings.

I’ll share more details about the specific imagery next month along with the full color art.


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