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  • Writer's pictureTina Ritchie

Drawing Dragons in a World Gone Mad

Nothing blots out the dark, bleak present like a white-hot dragon’s breath. 

(Paintings from memory after sketching)

I have often used fantasy as a means to escape. The castles, swords, and demons of fiction are undeniably preferable to the cities, conflict, and evils of our reality. Why should I settle for drawing the structures and visions of this world, when other worlds beckon from beyond my imagining? 

(Drawing from memory versus drawing from reference)

I deal with a lot of guilt regarding this topic. How can I just escape when others need me? Why am I sitting here drawing dragons when I could be out in the world, helping real people? What’s the point in drawing silly pictures?

(Sketches from artworks in Spectrum 25)

In these cycles of guilt and doubt, I have to remind myself that art is a powerful tool, and should be valued. Art has helped me to live, and I’m sure many others would say the same. I think of the artists who inspired me—artists like Tolkien, Chopin, and Miyazaki—and I begin to realize: the art that helped me most was more than mere escapism. 

(Sketches from reference and imagination)

Art is a way to better understand the world, and our role in it. Art helps us to explore the meaning of humanity—of our purpose, of evils and truths and our capacity for good. Art can help us become better, wiser, more empathetic versions of ourselves. Art can help us heal, help us grow, and accompany us in both grief and celebration. Art, in many ways, is the expression of life itself. 

(Sketches for Susan L Markloff's Rise of the Raidin Graphic Novel)

We need art, and life and beauty and truth especially in times like these.

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