Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Neighbors

I've read and re-read The Neighbors (a.k.a. The Neighboring Families) trying to think of something to say about it, but I consistently come up with nothing. Maybe I don't get it? It's full of conflicting interpretations of beauty and "the beautiful" and *SPOILER ALERT* there is a dead bird in it - something that always makes me a bit misty (even if that bird was kind of a jerk).

I've singled out the reference to ducks, "standing on their heads in the water." Fun Fact: Oscar Wilde would later adopt this quirky and adorable description of duck behavior in one of my favorite stories of his, The Devoted Friend (a dead-bird-free story).

"... there is no accounting for ducks, you never know what they will do next."

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Old Street Lamp

It will surprise no one who knows me that the image from The Old Street Lamp that inspired me was that of the lamp's trio of gutter-bound, would-be successors: a herring's head, a bit of rotting wood, and a glow worm. All of these guys claim that they would be suitable replacements for the lamp because they all ostensibly glow in the dark. Sure, we all believe the glow worm (a common term, I learned, for all manner of bioluminescent insects, such as fireflies - none are actually worms, although I couldn't resist drawing a worm here), but a piece of wood? a herring's head? The Modern Classics animated adaptation attempts an explanation for the wood, giving the dreary bit of driftwood the excuse that he is covered in a glowing algae. Unless the herring's head is covered in the same algae, I can't figure out why it would glow. I found no references anywhere else, legendary or scientific, to a glowing fish head. Anybody else heard of this?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

From A Window In Vartov

I've had this image in my head for a couple of weeks now. In fact, I meant for this illustration to be my Inktober #1, but the sketch never quite felt right until I tackled it again yesterday. (My Inktober drawings are all on my Instagram feed, btw.)

From A Window in Vartov (alternatively, By the Almshouse Window or View from Vartou's Window) is a sort of story within a story in which an old maid watching youngsters at play recalls her own tragic life and a local legend about a sacrificed child.

"An innocent child was lured with flowers, cakes, and toys into an open tomb..."

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

From the Ramparts of the Citadel

a.k.a. The Sunbeam and the Captive

I'm still intrigued by the discrepancies I run into when I compare translations of Andersen. It seems highly unlikely that From the Ramparts of the Citadel (Haugaard, 1974) and The Sunbeam and the Captive (Paull, 1872) - the two most common titles I've come across - derived from the same original Dutch. I've also seen this tale called A Picture from the Ramparts, which sounds close enough to From the Ramparts... to be two different translations of the same thing, but where does the alternative come from? Perhaps the Ramparts versions are just contemporary adaptations, but why? They are all adequate as descriptions of the story, although I find Sunbeam sounds somewhat less drab, and hints more at the story's true substance (and fits better with my silly illustration!) And now this post is nearly as long as the story itself. /end ramble

"...for birds twitter to the just as well as to the unjust."

Monday, March 31, 2014

The Little Match Girl

Surely you've read, or at least heard of, The Little Match Girl, one of Andersen's best-loved tales. When it came up in line for this blog, I couldn't bear the thought of doing yet another little match girl illustration like the zillions of others already out there. The other night, it suddenly dawned on me to combine The Little Match Girl with my other favorite story about dead children and cast her as one of Edward Gorey's Gashlycrumb Tinies. I only wish Andersen had given her a name, so as better conform to the "X is for X____ who ..," format.

ink on paper

Monday, February 24, 2014

Something is Rotten in Denmark

For Holger the Dane (or Holger Danske) I decided to try working in a looser, more naive style.  I bloody hated it.

They say you should, "allow yourself to make bad art," don't they? Mission accomplished.

"... he sleeps and dreams, but in his dreams he sees everything that happens in Denmark."
Copic & acrylic on scrap cardboard.

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Shepherdess and the Chimney Sweep

Just a quick post from my phone today - a rough sketch of Mr. Goat-legged-commanding-general-private-war-sergeant (AKA Major general-field-sergeant-commander Billy-goat’s-legs) from The Shepherdess and the Chimney Sweep

"It was certainly a very difficult name to pronounce, and there are very few who ever receive such a title..."

Graphite & chalk on toned paper.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone