Darkfeline is a prolific member on the forums at GreatSexGames.com. The forums were created even before the Sex is Fun Podcast went live as a way for customers of our sex games to interface with each other. It is a safe place for non-vanilla thinkers to hang out and exchange thoughts and debate issues that affect human sexuality. From time to time, Darkfeline posted her artwork on the forum that ranges from sensual to downright erotic. I've long been impressed by her drawings and have even contracted her to draw a nude of my wife Jade which I gave to her on her birthday. Since Darkfeline is located somewhere down-under, she was forced to sketch a composite of Jade purely from photos I emailed her. Again I was impressed and Jade was ticked pink with her portrait.
Recently, Darkfeline created a new thread on the forum titled, "50 Sex Characteristics in Thirty Days," and soon began posting pencil sketches and digital paintings of the most striking sexual imagery I've ever seen.
KK: What do you call this series of renderings?
DF: Currently it has two names, both being titles I've used on various websites. "Thirty Days of Genitals" and "50 Sex Characteristics in Thirty Days". Turns out neither title are accurate! I didn't reach fifty, and not all images are of genitals! But these are the names I chose due to character limitations on one website and plain old lack of imagination for everywhere else. I did think of a few better titles, but I am saving those for future projects.
What inspired you to take on such an intense amount of work in such a short
period of time?
DF: A few things inspired me to do this. I wanted to seriously challenge myself. I wanted to learn more about human anatomy. I was also greatly inspired by the NaNoWriMo concept of 'unfettered creation' through allowing yourself to just create and let yourself make crap, if that's how it turns out. I have problems with being a perfectionist and I need to learn to work faster and to be less preoccupied with details or perfection when they really don't matter. My fiancé introduced me to the NaNoWriMo event and he participated this year, writing over 50,000 words in thirty days. That amazes me. It was his suggestion that I draw genitalia after I made a comment about how much I was enjoying illustrating a male nude. He told me about the NaNoDrawMo event that runs concurrently with NaNoWriMo drawing 50 images in the month of November and I latched on to that idea and ran with it. Thankfully I'm hardly the first to create images like these. Betty Dodson is a brilliant example, particularly of educational and sex positive images. I'd definitely call her work an inspiration.
You could say I was also inspired by the need for more education about male anatomy, spurred by my many conversations with males who feel deep humiliation and worthlessness because they've never seen another penis outside of pornography and have thus judged all 'penile normality' based on these extremely well-endowed male actors.
The heartfelt questions and testimonies that accompany the photographs at Erection Photos have been an immense inspiration. Their soft/hard gallery is a fantastic resource for people seeking to learn more about male anatomy, particularly in relation to the spectrum of length and girth and the differences between flaccid and erect penises. It's a brilliant website stuffed with examples of just how important accurate information is. In a sea of 'grow your cock' spam emails and Photoshopped advertising on porn
sites proclaiming that anything below 10 inches is tiny and pathetic, this
website is a mighty battleship, armed with truth and welcoming those seeking
refuge. That's probably a phallic metaphor.
KK: The images you've drawn are quite eclectic. What did you use for models or reference material and why did you chose these specific examples?
DF: Google has been my major tool for finding images and reference material. I looked through literally thousands of images of the human body. The images I chose to work from caught my eye for a multitude of reasons, the most common ones being aesthetic beauty, educational potential and complexity of detail.
To break that down further, I would say I chose images that I felt could not only challenge me artistically and look good, but would also showcase the variety of appearances present in the human body. I wanted to break down stereotypes, to make people think about their own desires and judgments based on physical appearance and ultimately come to appreciate all the amazing the stuff we have in our pants. Choosing images that weren't necessarily going to be easy for me to recreate proved to be one of the more rewarding aspects of the project, as I was extremely interested in learning more about my craft and how far I could go.
I have had some photos sent to me voluntarily and I'm still working on some images that have inspired me. I think those sorts of images can be all the more powerful, as I'm actually making connections with the person in the image and can get a more visceral insight into how a person feels about themselves and why.
Unfortunately, I haven't been able to speak with the people I have drawn and painted so far. I have no idea who they are. I didn't get a chance to say "Hey, I think
you're gorgeous", or to find out how they feel about themselves. Hopefully
I'll get more of a chance to do just that in the future.
KK: In this collection, We see lots of different mediums used to render the art. What were the benefits and drawbacks to each medium? Which is your favorite to work with?
DF: I primarily used graphite pencils because of familiarity and the advantage of speed. It's much easier to work quickly and loosely with pencil and there's something very primal about it; smudging with your fingers, making thick lines and dark shadows, feathery definition and squiggles and fine outlines. It's versatile and relatively easy to erase, if you don't press down too hard. The disadvantage that is, to me, the most poignant is that while you can explore texture you cannot fully express the amazing variations of color present in human skin. While gray-scale images do look good, I think that when you are exploring the beauty and variety of the human body, color is an element that is just as important as texture and shape.
Unfortunately I only made one watercolor image, though I am very pleased with how it turned out and the myriad reactions to it. Vulvas can be incredibly brightly colored and I wanted to try to capture both the color variation as well as a sense of density and fleshiness. The medium is surprisingly flexible. You can have rich color variation or subtle, bold lines or feathery, blurry ones. You can create complex detail or work with looser, more expressive and vague movements.
Some watercolor paintings tend towards the floaty, delicate end of imagery. This is a quality I felt appropriate for an image of a vulva, for words like 'delicate' are often used to describe inner labia. This particular vulva however, while it is candy pink and bright, its inner labia are thick and highly textured, lush and flushed and layered. Expressing such ample, beautiful lips with a teeny paintbrush and watery paint seemed a chance far too fun and interesting to miss!
Watercolor paintings can be done quickly, or take a surprisingly long period of time. Sadly I tend towards the latter, particularly because I can be a perfectionist.
The sheer amount of detail in most of this work would have made it too time
consuming to complete very many paintings within the month. Another downside was that I need the light quality to be 'just right', otherwise I
can't always see the paint on the page properly. Colors get washed out under
artificial lights. I tend to work mostly at night, and the perfect light for
watercolors is natural daylight.
I hope I'll be painting more images like this in the future, because its a medium I sorely miss using.
The remaining four images were created purely digitally. This is the 'new frontier' for me. I'm primarily a traditional artist, but I've been trying to learn more about digital art over the past few years and, like watercolors and pencils, I am self taught. One of the biggest disadvantages with being a self taught digital artist is that you often get overwhelmed by the tools themselves. I'm sure I only know about a fifth of the range of possible uses. Most likely less. I'm using traditional mindsets in a digital medium and they doesn't always translate very well. Thus my progress with learning has been slow.
This project, however, has boosted my learning process and more importantly my confidence. My normal approach with digital art is to draw something on paper, scan it, then work from there. I work with multiple layers, sometimes a dozen or more, messing with filters and effects. With the four digital images in the "Thirty Days" project, I worked entirely within the graphics program, 'painting' with a tablet and pen. I used only three layers; a base color, all the rest of the color and line work, then a final layer for the signature so that I could move it around till I found the right spot for it to go. For me this was like flying to Japan with only a small English to Japanese manual and a handful of memorized phrases. That's how alien this creation process can feel; terrifying, exhilarating and challenging.
The main advantage is that I have the ability to undo the lines and shapes I'd made and do them again. Or, to continue the metaphor, a little gadget mind-controlling whoever I'd been using my terrible Japanese on, so they'd forget what abominable things I'd just said and I can try again. Possibly a bad metaphor... But you don't get that with most traditional media and it is a very powerful advantage indeed.
At the moment I'm not sure if I can pick a favorite medium. Their various advantages all appeal to me immensely and I adore the final look of a finished work in each medium. The disadvantages tend to fluctuate in importance from day to day, such as convenience, color variation needed, light quality in my environment and simply the knowledge of how well I can render the precise image I have in mind. Some mediums are better for various subjects and moods than others.
I believe digital art is at the forefront of my mind of late and I'm still in the
New Relationship Energy phase with it, if you will! I'm still learning so much and
have plenty more to explore. The romance with traditional mediums will never
fade, but digital art is the current crush. I guess I'm polyamorous for paints,
pencils and pixels!
KK: What do you intend to do with this collection now that it is finished?
DF: Even though part of me is disappointed that I didn't reach the 50 mark, I'm still very happy with the number of images, their quality and the reception they've received. It has been an energizing, humbling and overwhelming experience at times. When my motivation ebbed I re-read the hundreds of comments on the existing pictures and couldn't help but be inspired by just how important it is for people to see and understand how varied and gorgeous humans are; all shapes, sizes, colors, sexes and gender identities. I've been moved to tears several times by people saying how good they felt looking at them and how many finally felt normal.
Now that the month is over and the project thus complete, I'm keeping it up on the various websites I upload to, particularly Hentai-Foundry which is where the bulk of the amazing
commentary and conversation is. I won't make any one pay to see it, as I don't
own the original images and I feel rather strongly about the need for detailed,
anatomically correct educational pictures. The fact that they are pretty hot at
the same time is a plus, but for me it's not the most important factor. I hope
to create more pictures to further explore the spectrum of human appearance and
make a more diverse resource for others.
KK: Did you notice yourself getting aroused as you worked on this project? And if so, do you find that arousal helps keep you motivated and inspired, or does it distract you?
DF: Interestingly enough, I didn't get as aroused as often, or as deeply as one might imagine. Towards the beginning of the project when I was concentrating more on creating sexy stuff for fun and to drool over, yes, I did stop every so often and think to myself "Man, that is one sexy vulva/cock/butt/boob" and get aroused.
But the further I went into the project and the more the emphasis tilted towards educational images, I found myself being less physically aroused and more mentally and emotionally moved. Art is meant to elicit emotional reactions. While zooming in on the amazing detail of the folds and ridges in a human scrotum, I was moved by how complex we are. While painting dusky caramels and blushing pinks on an incredibly large clitoris, I was moved by the reflected light off such tender, sensitive skin and thought of how fragile we can be, how vulnerable our bodies are. I called that particular clitoris the "Hypno-Clit," because it was incredibly distracting just by being unusual, shiny and delicious.
In a sense my mind was aroused more than my body. I was inspired by a reverence that swelled after I stopped merely looking and truly saw. Upon the first few looks at a glans or a nipple or the swell of a hip, you register desire, you feel physical responses and your interest is perked. But when you look further and really see the body, it becomes more than a set of sexual characteristics, more than just flesh. It's a person. It's a living, breathing individual with feelings and desires.
Then the image shifts from abstract collections of shapes and colors, through to allegories of desire, fertility, identity and personal power. These are concepts that both motivate and distract me just as much as sexual arousal. It is no wonder at all that genitals are fetishized and that images and sculptures and totems are created to celebrate, venerate, augment and impart that power. I am in no way surprised that these features are exaggerated in art and that the search for an 'ideal body' often involves some sort of augmentation to enlarge these characteristics. Our genitals are a source of personal power, of confidence and self expression. When we are made to feel as if these fundamental parts of our bodies are inadequate, our confidence and personal power are deeply damaged.
This is what distracted me. The embodiment of such power and beauty that often left me in tears. This is what turned me on. Empowering people. Exploring the
infinite beauty of the human body. It's more than just titillation to
me. You could call it a form of worship. At the very least it is a
KK: What's next for Darkfeline?
DF: Right now I'm settling back into commission work. I have far too many ideas buzzing around, however, and hopefully I'll be able to harness that fire in my head to bring more projects into being. I would love to continue to make images like these and to continue learning about the human body at the same time as increasing my artistic skills. I have so much to learn in both regards.
I hope to find more ways to reach people and help bring about much needed changes when it comes to sexual education, even if that's just by painting cocks and vulvas and posting them where people can find them. Hell, I'd love people to commission me to paint their cocks and vulvas. That would make me incredibly happy and increase the amount of educational, beautiful imagery I have to share.
I also have other Sex Ed themed projects in mind, dealing with sexual identity. Hopefully they will be fleshed out and fully realized at some point in the future.
It's very possible that I might start a blog, though I am rather timid and awful
with keeping journals or writing regularly. Writing is much, MUCH harder for me
than art, and as they say, a picture paints a thousand words. So often its
easier for me to 'say' something with a picture. I also struggle with anxiety
and the fear that I really don't have anything interesting or important to say
and I'm nowhere near confident that this isn't the truth. Perhaps a blog would
help with that? My partner is being very encouraging in that regard and I know
I'll have a wonderful bloggy assistant if I choose to start one!
Maybe that's the next challenge.
You can see the entire collection as well as more work from Darkfeline at http://www.hentai-foundry.com/profile-Trixalla.php
Write the Author: Kidder Kaper