Umbra, In Progress Pics, 2018

June 11, 2018

I’ve been doing a lot of drawing lately! Sometimes you’ve just bombarded with ideas, and you’ve got to draw them all out and then work on them one at a time. I get a lot of my ideas from my writing, and others just sort of come into my head (inspired by things, I’m sure). In the case of Umbra, I got this idea from my·bra

the fully shaded inner region of a shadow cast by an opaque object, especially the area on the earth or moon experiencing the total phase of an eclipse.

    the dark central part of a sunspot.
  • literary
    shadow or darkness.

My original character Azra, in a very Lost Boys almost (think more Legacy of Kain) type fashion suffers from Aquagenic urticaria. Or, in layman’s terms, water sensitivity/water allergy. Not all of the vampires in my writing universe suffer this symptom… In fact, Falco, a fellow Durandalite vampire, is an avid swimmer. Some suffer other allergies or problems, but most prominent is about 50% of their population suffers from a varying level of water sensitivity. Because of this, Azra has never learned to swim, and has at the very least a fearful respect of large bodies of water. It also makes drowning a very real possibility for him, along with the gore due to the severity of his water sensitivity. It is described by Falco that water sensitive Durandalites dissolved “much like sugar cubes” in large volumes of water.

It has always been a very open possibility to Azra that if in the event he really felt so strongly he wanted to end his life, he could dive into a lake, run into a fast moving river, or walk into the ocean. Very little if anything at all would be left of him after that — the tides would hopefully drag him out further and he’d just cease to be. It is with that in mind that when I draw scenes with Azra and water, it’s because of this looming threat that could both be purposeful or accidental.

Large bodies of water have more meaning to Azra than just that, though. As a way to face fears and confront something that could very well kill him, in times of stress, he finds solace in standing in front of the crash of hard ocean waves and yelling his fears into them — muffling and carrying away his voice with each splash on the shore. Couple this with liquid courage, and his intentions to merely confront the crash of the ocean with his voice can become fatal, as Falco often thinks. What if he had passed out along the shore close enough for the tide to come in around him? Even Azra would be unaware of this demise. Along with other memories involving large bodies of water — being saved from drowning by Falco, losing Falco by letting him pass through a lake, nearly sacrificing himself to save Gabriel from drowning, and others — the reasons for Azra + water are many, and can change from angry to lonely to sad to bitter.

I don’t need to explain all of this extra layer, however. It’s a longtime method (or rather, more of a glorified TV trope) to perform “suicide by sea”. There’s something that is strangely romantic about the idea of walking into the ocean never to be seen again, especially at night during the glistening of the night sky on the waves. It’s almost graceful in a way to think about, though it would mean a lot of pain for the actual person attempting it. Depriving yourself of oxygen and replacing it with salt water is, I’m sure, extremely painful and equally as graphic.

It is worth noting – I do not glorify nor attempt to glorify suicide. As a writer and an artist, I like to explore many dark avenues and where they may turn up for my characters. If you got to this page and are reading my words while contemplating suicide, please, tell someone. It doesn’t even have to be someone you are close with. You can contact people anonymously online to seek help. You will never truly know who cares for you and loves you, and out of the billions of people on this planet, you are not alone.

Still, I chose to depict this idea, of Azra walking into the ocean under a blood moon. It is both romantic and dark. I added the blood moon to give it an extra touch of ominous.

Umbra, 2018


Aimee Cozza is a freelance illustrator out of Southern New Hampshire. She graduated from the New Hampshire Institute of Art in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in illustration. Since then, she has been working in a variety of ways completing various illustrations for clients, friends, and for herself.

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