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"Issue 9" is the 9th issue of the 2017 Steven Universe comic series published by KaBOOM! Studios and the 17th issue overall.

Synopsis

Steven, Lapis, and Peridot take a crack at drawing and painting during art lessons with Vidalia.

Plot

The comic begins inside the Beach House where Steven is drawing. Amethyst enters the room and asks him what he's up to. He explains that Lapis and Peridot are working on an art display for The Barn and have requested him to make something. Steven shows Amethyst a crude drawing of Lion and asks her what she thinks. She attempts to be polite, but her compliments become the opposite of her intent when she ends up continuously mistaking Lion's paws for other parts of his anatomy.

Steven is crestfallen and expresses his desire for someone to help him improve his work. Amethyst suggests that Vidalia may be able to do this and leads him to her house.

Amethyst greets Vidalia and asks her if she'd be willing to lend Steven some advice on his art. She agrees and looks at the drawing of Lion. Seeing his potential, Vidalia offers Steven some art lessons. He graciously accepts and asks if he can bring some of his art friends as well, a request that is approved as long as Amethyst takes on the role of art model during the lesson.

Now at the Barn, Steven tells Peridot and Lapis that he volunteered them for some art lessons with Vidalia. They are both skeptical that a human could teach them more than they already know about meep morps but agree to attend once they realize Steven has his heart set on them all going together.

With the arrival of her students, Vidalia introduces the first lesson: figure drawing. She suggests that they focus on the force behind Amethyst's poses rather than copying what they see.

Vidalia goes around to offer critique after the drawings are completed. Although they all receive their fair share of feedback, Peridot brushes off the criticism she receives and instead lets the compliments go to her head. She inadvertently sparks jealousy in Lapis when she begins to brag that her expertise as a meep morpist has been recognized.

For the next lesson, Vidalia explains that they're going to try longer poses by painting while Amethyst shapeshifts to give the artists variety. This time, Steven and Lapis receive compliments while Peridot is told that she may want to hold her paintbrush the other way.

A rivalry begins to brew between Peridot and Lapis. The former accidentally splashes paint onto the latter's work, who retaliates by doing the same. This initiates a chaotic paint war. When Steven's art work becomes a causality, he tells them to forget he suggested taking art lessons in the first place since only negative things have come from it.

Steven makes his departure and Peridot and Lapis apologize to each other. They admit that they let their jealousy of each other's techniques get the better of them and are told that they shouldn't compete and should instead improve on the points that they admire in each other's work.

With this advice, Peridot and Lapis agree to start a collaborative piece. They find Steven at the Beach House and show him that they've fixed all the art work that had been ruined in the paint fight. As a means of apology, they also show Steven a new piece that they drew of him, Peridot, and Lapis holding hands. The comic ends with Steven accepting the apology as the trio return to Vidalia's house to resume their art lessons.

Features

Characters

Locations

Cover Gallery

Trivia

  • The original pitch for the comic featured the main Crystal Gems as Vidalia's students. After Lapis and Peridot moved into the Barn, the pair became Vidalia's students instead to better reflect their interest in art. [2]
  • The plot of this issue comes from Kraft's own experiences from when she was working freelance and seeking artistic improvement. [3]
    • Peridot's disdain for criticism originates from Kraft's own habit of digging her heels in against critique. [4]
  • Vidalia's "advice and enthusiastic art talk stems from the things [Kraft] was learning at the time." [5]
    • The advice Lapis received was partly based on Kraft's own struggle to adapt outside of her usual "delicate, flowy line work" [6]
    • Kraft tried to incorporate the best advice for kids or anyone just getting into art when writing the feedback Vidalia gave to Steven. [7]
  • The choice to make Vidalia a fun art teacher who sparks inspiration while still sharing her own insights came from Kraft's own experience with "mechanical" art teachers who were more focused on technique rather than fun. She imagined Vidalia to be the opposite.[8]
  • The streak of green paint that Peridot smears across Lapis' face resembles Malachite's facial marking.

Cultural References

  • Lapis and Peridot's paint battle shares similarities to the video game Splatoon, where anthropomorphic squids utilize paint against their opponents.
  • The manner in which Peridot kicks open the door to the Beach House while yelling Steven's name mimics a certain meme featuring Candace from Phineas and Ferb.

Continuity

  • Amethyst returns as an art model for Vidalia.
    • Amethyst has also modeled for Peridot, doing so in the episode "Back to the Barn".
  • Peridot and Lapis' hobby of creating art to display in their barn is mentioned by Steven.
  • Lapis fears that she may force too much control with her art, an indirect reference to her experience of being Malachite with Jasper.
  • The drawing of Steven, Peridot, and Lapis holding hands is similar to the one Steven drew in "Barn Mates".
  • Peridot holds her paintbrush the wrong way, similar to her holding a broom the wrong way in "Log Date 7 15 2".

Errors

  • Amethyst is erroneously wearing her debut outfit despite the fact that she has regenerated prior to Peridot and Lapis moving into The Barn.
  • Steven is missing the star on his shirt in a panel on page 22.
  • Peridot asks Steven what painting is despite having already done so in "Back to the Barn".

References

  1. Steven Universe (2017-) #9 – Boom Studios
  2. "At the time I wrote up the pitch, Lapis and Peridot hadn’t moved into the barn yet... I thought it might be more fun to rework it with Lapis and Peridot instead... it would be more relevant since Lapis and Peridot have been shown to have an interest in art." - Grace Kraft on tumblr
  3. "Around the time I was writing it, I wasn’t in the best of places. I was working freelance while still looking for my next full time job. I struggled to manage my own time and motivate myself toward artistic improvement. - Grace Kraft on tumblr
  4. When I was younger I definitely had a tendency to be stubborn about only drawing what I wanted to and not learning basics, just like Peridot in the comic. I still do have a tendency to dig my heels in against critique and it’s something I try my best to improve upon. - Grace Kraft on tumblr
  5. Much of Vidalia’s advice and enthusiastic art talk stems from the things I was learning at the time! - Grace Kraft on tumblr
  6. "Vidalia’s crit on Lapis’ work was partly based on my own struggle to do work outside of my more delicate, flowy line work" - Grace Kraft on tumblr
  7. "In Vidalia’s advice to Steven, I tried to write in the best advice I wanted to give to kids or anyone just getting into art (and advice I wish I had more of when I was a kid)." - Grace Kraft on tumblr
  8. "When I was younger, I had a few art teachers who were more focused on the more technical side of art, almost making it mechanic and sometimes taking the fun out of it. So I wanted to write Vidalia as the more fun art teacher I imagine she’d be." - Grace Kraft on tumblr
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