October Ink – Aliens, Autism and Christmas

 

Feeling Alien at Christmas

My subject for this week is Alien.  I’m quite fond of aliens.  Being autistic, I end up feeling like an alien from time to time just from being so different.  I think I feel this quite a lot in the run up to Christmas.  Everyone else seems to be enjoying it and looking forward to it but I dread the whole thing.

I feel loads of anxiety about finding presents which my family and friends will like and about giving presents of the right kind to the right people.  It always seems like an impossible task and unless someone tells me something they want I am really at a loss as to how to go about it.  Then there are all the parties and events going on at work and at home.  I really really dislike parties so I don’t go to any except the class party at school (which is part of my work and is fairly well organised and controlled).  Then there’s the Pantomime.  Every year our whole school  goes to the pantomime.  It’s really difficult – too loud, with audience participation.  I’d rather poke my eyes out with a sharp stick.  Luckily this year, thanks to an excellent head teacher, I’ve been able to be the member of staff who stays on the school site for children who, for one reason or another, are not able to, or dont’ want to go.  That is brilliant!

I think I would like Christmas more if people didn’t give presents and made less fuss about the whole thing.  Once we hit November all the shops start filling up with Christmas stuff – trying to sell us all sorts of rubbish to give to someone else.  Then there’s all the decorations making everything look even more busy, not to mention the demented Christmas music – it literally does my head in.

By the time this post goes out (I’m writing it in October half term) we will have finished our class Christmas Performance at work.  Of it all, I don’t mind this part of the holiday season; the children learn so much from working together, and having a goal, and being brave in front of an audience.  They grow up immensely through this one activity.  It’s beautiful to watch that happen and help it along.

 

Giger’s Aliens

As well as seeing the alienness inside my psyche I have also been fascinated by Giger’s Alien designs for years.  I think the fascination comes from them being both beautiful and somehow repellant at the same time.  So this week I decided to draw my own tribute to Giger.

It began as a landscape head portrait but the drawing seemed to want to extend itself into a full body.  Luckily I was using the first page of a two page spread so I could extend the picture if I didn’t mind the crease showing through the image.  I began in pencil and then inked it with a very narrow pen (0.2).  Then I added some stronger 0.8 lines to pick out the large forms within the body.  This came out as a reasonable outline drawing…

 

Then I began filling in the details and shading.  Rather than trying to ink a pencil drawing I tried to use my pens to draw directly, just as I would with a pencil.  I also added the alien’s right hand because having it hidden seemed odd.  Because the image is twice as big as the others I’ve done in my sketchbook, it took quite a while to do this but I was pleased with how it turned out…

 

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16 thoughts on “October Ink – Aliens, Autism and Christmas

  1. Thanks. Sometimes I think about the whole Christmas thing in reverse. For people who like it, they get it for 1 day in 365 with some extra days leading up to it. For those of us who prefer normal days we get 364 minus a few extra Christmas preparation days and other holidays, which is not a bad ratio!

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  2. I love the alien! Giger is the coolest. Have you ever looked up images of HR Giger’s bars? Like, for cocktails? You walk into this crazy world of pipes and stretched spines, it’s fantastic.

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  3. I agree. I was a bit worried about explaining how I feel about Christmas in case I irritate people who are happy with the Yule Tide Season. However, it seems that, certainly the over the top things about Christmas, annoy others too. I think it would be nicer if, with presents, we could do things for each other rather than just spend, spend, spend with money we’ve got in short supply. Really I think what we’re all trying to say with Christmas presents is just “I love and value you”. Being in Education helps me see this stuff because the things that mean the most at the end of term are not expensive gifts but honest encouraging words, especially from the children and their parents whom we serve. I’d weigh all the treacly music in the world against one genuine smile from a child, or friend or loved one.

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  4. “I think I would like Christmas more if people didn’t give presents and made less fuss about the whole thing. Once we hit November all the shops start filling up with Christmas stuff – trying to sell us all sorts of rubbish to give to someone else. Then there’s all the decorations making everything look even more busy, not to mention the demented Christmas music – it literally does my head in.”…Congratulations, you have a LOT of company. Especially, it seems, this year. I’m seeing many expressions similar to yours–above all regarding the meaningless gifts and the treacly music!

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  5. Thanks – I hope you have a great holiday too. I might go to our local Quaker Meeting on Christmas day – that would allow some space for quiet and simplicity. For me, my “alien day” is always going to be 4th May – Star Wars day… May the 4th be with you!

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  6. I am not a fan of Xmas either but suppose it’s more family history. Hope you find some quiet time and something you can enjoy for yourself or with other in a time and environment that suits you. Still wishing a happy Xmas as I believe we should not let ourselves alienate from the world and what going on around us. We don’t have to love it but respect the need of our fellow ‘normals’ 🙂 That’s what we expect of them, too Have a great alien time if you like instead 🙂 maybe we need an Alien Day once a year but with no big fuzz… Keep up the good drawings

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  7. If it’s any kind of comfort, I think you’ll find that many, many people are anxious about Christmas for similar reasons to yours. I agree with you about Christmas productions in school – I always wrote ours and many children (now as adults) remember the experience of performing positively and grew visibly in confidence during preparations. And, despite having written panto-esque productions, I still find their appeal puzzling. “Demented Christmas Music” is a great phrase that I’ll remember.
    Enjoy the break Jo and I look forward to hearing from you in 2019.

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  8. I am so with you on the unnecessary build-up to and hysteria around this time of year. And the noise!

    And what you say about autism and aliens—absolutely. Except I sometimes think many neurotypicals are aliens, particularly ones who think, act and react with a group mind.

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