By Senior Airman Rose Gudex
21st Space Wing Public Affairs
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — What began as a small child covering an entire floor with paint her mom forgot to “keep out of reach of children” developed into something more than child rebellion.
Airman 1st Class Abby Morris, 21st Operations Support Squadron airfield management, is fresh out of high school and joined the Air Force for financial stability and, of course, to travel the world. Her passion lies in the art of creating, something that began when she was little and occupies most of her free time.
Morris said she began to draw at the age of 8 years old, but was creating things out of random odds and ends from the time she could walk. That’s what her mom told her anyway.
Ever since, she has been kept busy drawing and painting as her main forms of art, but also wants to learn to sculpt and sew.
As she got more into drawing and painting, Morris began to charge for her drawings in junior high, although it was mostly to cover the cost of the material and supplies she used. So many people began to make requests, Morris actually hated it for a while. It wasn’t the act of creating art she hated, but all the requests, favors, and people who wanted her to make something not her style.
“If I really liked the person I might draw them a quick doodle, but otherwise, I (needed to charge them because supplies aren’t cheap),” Morris said. “I really started liking it in my freshman year of high school, which is when I first decided I really wanted to be an artist.”
Her favorite type of art and what she said is also her style is anime, which is a Japanese-animated production. She was drawn to anime after seeing the shows, she said. Anime is created from “manga,” a Japanese-style drawing of comic books and graphic novels. Morris said it’s beautiful and becomes even more so when it comes to life in animation.
“I want to make a story people enjoy and will be beautiful to look at both in book and animation,” she said. “That’s when I started creating characters and trying to make a story.”
Each character and story comes from her own imagination, which is why Morris said she likes to work alone. If she worked in a duo, not all the ideas would be her own. By working alone, she doesn’t need another person’s approval or disproval and can create whatever ideas pop into her head.
After finishing a project, Morris said she really only shows it to her mom because others don’t have a critical eye to tell her what is good about it and what can be improved on, she said. Although in high school, she didn’t like art classes because there was too much structure and limitations on what she could create.
“I had a teacher tell me anime isn’t art,” Morris said. “I thought anything you draw on paper can be considered art. People splatter paint against a wall and (that is considered art).”
Morris decided formal instruction of what is and isn’t art wasn’t the path for her, so she created what she wanted and used the internet and online videos to teach herself techniques to improve.
In addition to formal education holding her back artistically, Morris said after joining the Air Force her creativity was hindered, which she expected. She said it wasn’t because of someone telling her what she created wasn’t good or that manga isn’t art, but rather that she’s just too busy with work to have as much time to put pen to paper.
Basic training was a good example of that, she said. All day, every day, was filled with marching, eating food too fast, training, yelling and more marching. There was no time to create, except Sundays. Morris said she found another manga artist and they would talk, share ideas and critique each other. By the time Sunday rolled around, Morris said she was full of ideas and was just itching for a chance to create.
Now that she is at Peterson, Morris has more time to work on the five in-progress stories she hasn’t quite finished yet. More than one story gives her diversity and allows her to always have something to work on, should she get writer’s block, she said.
As far as working as a full-time artist, the future is uncertain for Morris, but she said becoming an animator for Disney or a mangaka and create for a Japanese anime show are at the top of her list. No matter where she ends up, Morris said she’s up for the challenges of achieving her goals.
For now, Morris uses logic and reasoning for her job in airfield management and does the complete opposite when she puts pen to paper to create manga stories after she gets home at night and the creativity starts flowing.