Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Steadfast Tin Soldier

I read the Haugaard translation of Andersen's The Steadfast Tin Soldier (a.k.a. The Brave Tin Soldier), but I have yet to read the older translation.  (Though I can tell you right now I prefer the decision to use the word "brave" rather than "steadfast" in a fairy tale / children's story - not because it is a word that children are more likely to know, I just think it's warmer and more evocative of an emotion.)   I feel the need to mention this, as this blog has become nearly as much a study of the differences between the older and newer translations as it is a place for my little drawings.  As often is the case, the part of the story that screamed out to me to be illustrated was not necessarily a vital part of the story.  Nonetheless...

"Have you got a passport?  Give me your passport!"

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Daisy

What can I say about The Daisy?  It turned out to be much darker of a tale than I anticipated when I first read the title.  A short little story about embracing what pleasures life has to offer while you have the chance.  I've been dabbling in digital art of late, so here's my take on The Daisy in a quick digital drawing.
Bewailing its Lost Freedom

Oh, by the way, did I mention that the previously titled Steampunk Taxidermy series is finished?  Well, it is, and now I've taken to calling it Unnatural Miscellany, after the late 18th- and early 19th-century publication The Naturalist's Miscellany.  The final piece:

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Nothing But Meat

I wrote previously that I had an especially captivating image (in my opinion) selected to illustrate for The Magic Galoshes / The Goloshes of Fortune.  I went on to mention that I've been referencing no fewer than three different translations of Andersen in this project, so some discrepancies are to be expected.  The image I've chosen to illustrate this time is described thusly by Haugaard and H. P. Paull (translator of the online [public domain 1872] translation I've been referencing), respectively:

"Now he was crawling on his hands and knees through a butcher shop.  Everywhere there was meat and more meat."

"Next he crept on his hands and knees through an overfilled butcher’s shop; there was meat, nothing but meat, wherever he stepped..."

I prefer the Paull translation, personally.
Without further ado, here is a sketch I've done based on that line.  There is a pretty good chance that this sketch will become a painting or a more finished drawing one of these days, as I am rather fond of it.

Meat, Nothing But Meat

Thursday, November 25, 2010

More Steampunk Scans

Honestly, I'm still not completely thrilled with the quality of these scans, but at least they don't have the glare problem that plague those awful iPhone photos I take so many of.




P.S. - The Raven, probably the final piece in this series, is now complete as well.  I have no pictures suitable for posting here yet, but once I've got one, I'll post it.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Some Notes on Galoshes / Goloshes

In writing my previous post, I thought that "goloshes" looked funny (I could've sworn it was "galoshes"... Hm.)  However, both my public domain Kindle translation of Andersen and the online version that I linked to in my post used the "goloshes" spelling, so I left it that way, dismissing my suspicion as a mistake on my part.  Earlier on this blog I wrote that I was using the Erik Christian Haugaard translation for this project.   For the sake of integrity, I guess I'll come clean now and admit that I've been primarily reading the Kindle version these days for convenience - I love being able to save my little highlights as I go along and then browse through them so easily later.  Anyway, when someone else mentioned the bizarre-looking spelling of "goloshes" in my post, I decided to investigate.  Pulling my nearly-abandoned Haugaard translation (1974) from the shelf, I found that Haugaard not only uses the "Galoshes" spelling, but has also translated the title as "The Magic Galoshes," not "The Goloshes of Fortune," as so many other translators have done. The foreword of the 1974 volume mentions Haugaard's choice to make the substitution in the effort to be more accurate "in projecting the idea that the galoshes themselves were magic."  Okay.  That's not a whole lot of information.  Wikipedia yielded only that,

"'Goloshes' appears to be the older spelling of galoshes used previously in Great Britain. The spelling perhaps changed around 1920 to the present-day spelling. A discussion took place in November 2007 on the Victoria Web Discussion group."

So that explains why older translations use the 'O' spelling, and the 1974 Haugaard translation uses the more modern 'A' spelling.  Exciting stuff.  The Victoria Web Discussion Group, incidentally, requires a subscription and login to access their database (and whether or not a subscriber would be able to easily locate an obscure discussion on the word "goloshes" is yet another variable), so there ended my quest.

End the most boring blog post in the history of ever.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Now With More Words Than Pictures!

As another month has passed me by without progress on the Hans Christian Andersen project, I find myself compelled to readjust the focus of this blog yet again.  I suppose one could call it a success; as my mission statement of sorts (back in January) announced that the purpose of giving myself the "assignment" of illustrating Andersen's tales was to somehow trick myself into creating other art.  Since August I have been primarily absorbed in working on my Steampunk Taxidermy (working title) series.  October saw not only the completion of likely the most complicated piece in the series, but also my very first book cover design, a project I greatly enjoyed working on.  Now, a week into November, chilly, dark six o'clocks alleviate some of the guilt I feel for spending entire evenings chained to my desk.  Hence, the Raven, next (and largest) of my Steampunk drawings, is well on his way.

This does NOT mean that I am abandoning the Hans Christian Andersen project.  Quite on the contrary, I've had a delicious (literally - but that's all I'm telling for now!) image from The Goloshes of Fortune in my mind since July. (Thank you, Kindle, for documenting just how long it has been since I read it...)  If you haven't read The Goloshes of Fortune (and you probably haven't), I highly recommend it.  While not all the Andersen tales I've read so far have been worthwhile, this one is lengthy, but a delightful read.  In fact, I highlighted several lines that I was considering for my illustration before I came across the one that I absolutely had to use.  If I haven't convinced you to read it already, maybe these will whet your apetite.

"Their shapes were too graceful, their complexions too delicate, and the cut of their dresses much too elegant.  They were two fairies.  The younger was not Fortune herself, but the chambermaid of one of Fortune's attendants, who carries about her more trifling gifts."

"In a very few seconds the watchman had travelled more than two hundred thousand miles to the moon, which is formed of a lighter material than our earth, and may be said to be as soft as new fallen snow."

"The materials of which it was built seemed just as soft, and pictured forth cloudy turrets and sail-like terraces, quite transparent, and floating in the thin air."

"The first heart he entered was that of a lady, but he thought he must have got into one of the rooms of an orthopedic institution where plaster casts of deformed limbs were hanging on the walls, with this difference, that the casts in the institution are formed when the patient enters, but here they were formed and preserved after the good people had left. These were casts of the bodily and mental deformities of the lady's female friends carefully preserved."

"Then he entered the heart of this man's wife; it was an old, tumble-down pigeon-house; the husband's portrait served as a weather-cock; it was connected with all the doors, which opened and shut just as the husband's decision turned."

Saturday, October 9, 2010


For those of you following along at home, the Frog is finished (except for a minute finishing touch that I can't - for reasons beyond my control - fill in yet).  Also in my flickr photostream is a better scan of the Moose.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Two Birds with One Post

It's high time I posted a proper update to the ol' bliggity-blog. Therefore, having slacked long enough on illustrating The Emperor's New Suit (a.k.a.: The Emperor's New *Clothes*), I took the opportunity to get in some tablet practice while I was at it. The result? Not too shabby, I think - although it's really just a rough sketch - but the tablet (as I may have mentioned) causes me to feel that I am drawing without the use of my dominant hand.

Anyhow, a bit about the drawing itself: I decided that the Emperor should be of a somewhat ambiguous sexuality and clad in his custom royal undies (not invisible themselves), and wearing an expression half-cocky, half-insecure. He's not sure if he's naked or not, but he knows he's the center of attention. It really turned out to be quite a fun figure-drawing exercise. Something I haven't done since college, and miss terribly - it's loads of fun. While I can draw the female form (or a close approximation thereof) entirely out of my head, I require a reference for a man's body. Otherwise, I tend to draw them all shoulders and biceps: lanky and bizarre-looking. This brought me to the problem of finding a suitable reference photo. Googling "naked man" or "man in underwear" is probably unwise, as was my first idea: trolling the Deviant Art stock photos (not recommended). Then it came to me: where is there an abundance of notoriously bad, bordering-on-amateur-softcore-porn photography with a totally gay bent to it? American Apparel, that's where! So that's where I found my source image. This dude even had the expression I was looking for on his face. Score.

How well it fits him!

A note about the panties: Yes, this was the part I was originally excited about drawing; purple undies with little crowns on them. The crown idea didn't work out like I'd planned (probably should have been working with a higher-resolution image) and they metamorphosed into fleurs-de-lis. I'm just as sick of those things as anyone else, but for some reason it worked. I'm sure anyone in NOLA would be clamoring to get their ass into a pair of these.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Side Project

Actually, this blog is the side project, but to get to the point, I haven't done any H.C.A. drawings recently; mostly because I've been wrapped up in another project that I'm really excited about. I've been working my ass off at it, so I actually have something to show for it. Woot.

Working title: "Steampunk Taxidermy"



Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Another Re-post

No, I'm not just dragging my feet because it is inevitable that I must draw a naked man for my next tale. I actually have other things going on, and this project is suffering for it. In the meantime, I am uploading a new scan (with crinkly background edited out - sketchbook paper is no substitute for watercolor paper: some obvious wisdom I should have considered when I was working on this drawing) of my Princess and the Pea watercolor from a few months back. Enjoy.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Mermaid II

I said I'd replace that dark photo of my Little Mermaid drawing with a scan, but it has grown on me, so I'm leaving it where it is and uploading the scan here. Better? Worse? Neutral?

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Little Mermaid

What can I say about my Little Mermaid drawing? No obscure references this time, just a mermaid... of the little persuasion. I wanted to give her a frilly, fancy goldfish tail. 'Nuff said.
This is a bad photo, taken on impulse immediately following the drawing's completion. I'll most likely replace it with a scan when I get one.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

More Travels

I so enjoyed creating my illustration for The Traveling Companion that I turned it into a painting. I'm quite happy with how it turned out, but the credit should really go to Liquitex Soft Body acrylic, without which this piece would not have been possible.

Next up: The Little Mermaid. Those of you familiar only with the Disney version, feel free to read ahead.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Naughty Child/The Traveling Companion

The Naughty Child, while conjuring fantastic images of an aged pedophile taking a drenched and naked child in out of the rain, I was in no particular hurry to illustrate it. In fact, it became something of a roadblock, keeping me from this project for... *gasp*... three months now! For shame.

So I finally scribbled something that is not so much an illustration of the story itself, but kind of a silly reinvention of the iconic "cupid" character.

Sorrow and many a heartache

While I was on a roll, I managed to put down Murakami's Dance Dance Dance long enough to read The Traveling Companion. It inspired no shortage of images that I would love to put on paper - the glass-eyed, handlebar-mustachioed, wooden puppets were awfully tempting - but I couldn't say no to a princess' garden dripping with the skeletons of dead suitors.

It was really a doleful garden for a princess.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Inchelina, better known as Thumbelina. Drawn entirely on my iPhone with the SketchBook Mobile App.

Oh no! I must have deleted this picture from my flickr account!
I will try to dig it up and re-post it ASAP!

EDIT 1.2.2011: Found her! She was still in the SketchBook App's gallery on my old iPhone.

Something Was Ticking Inside

Thursday, March 11, 2010


This is really what this project was for in the first place. Nothing gets my brain thinking about what it really wants to do, or would rather do, than having a specific task to complete. Not wanting to illustrate the next Andersen tale I've got lined up to work on, I managed to eke out this Decemberists-inspired piece.

The Whores And Hounds

I wouldn't go so far as to say it's finished, but it IS more finished than it's ever been before.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


It seems that I may never finish reading Inchelina (a.k.a. Thumbelina), let alone creating an illustration for it. In the meantime, I've done a watercolor version of my kickoff illustration: the one I did for The Tinderbox. Purple and yellow - Huzzah!

Menacing or Cowering?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Little Ida Is SO Emo

A normal person, confronted with the task of illustrating Little Ida's Flowers, would surely fill a page with brightly-colored, dancing flowers. I however, am no normal person, and I don't trust my imagination to be able to shake the influence of Disney's Fantasia in attempting such a thing. Surely, this little b&w girl is nothing new or original to anyone who has ever, say, shopped at Hot Topic; but I had fun drawing her anyway.

Why do my flowers look so sad today?

Furthermore, I've noticed a pattern. This must be some element of old Danish folklore: in two out of four stories, a character attempts to revive someone (or something) dead by having them "sleep" a night in someone else's bed. Little Claus tried it with his grandmother, and here, Ida tries it with her flowers. (Spoiler alert: neither of them met with any success; both of their subjects remained dead.)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Princess And The Pea

A more familiar story, The Princess and the Pea; and a more successful drawing. And yes, it's been illustrated many times before.

A real princess

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Little Claus and Big Claus

Playing a bit with watercolors. Not particularly inspired by the demented tale of Little Claus and Big Claus, but here is Little Claus' dead grandmother nonetheless.

Driving To Town With My Grandmother

Monday, January 25, 2010


Inspired by blogs like One Drawing For Every Page Of Moby Dick, the fanciful art of May Ann Licudine (and others), and my current preoccupation with fairy tales; I hereby announce a project I am undertaking for 2010 in an effort to stay motivated and be productive (and fun isn't bad either). I endeavor to create an illustration for each of Hans Christian Andersen's stories - some 156 in number - hopefully by the end of the year.
To what extent the illustrations will be fully finished pieces of art is as of yet uncertain. It is likely that the degrees of "finishedness" will vary greatly, from crude pencil sketches/doodles (I am rather fond of what Matt Kish is doing with found paper lately) to full color illustrations. Who knows? Some may graduate into actual paintings once my *studio* is fully functional.
As for now, I present my first interpretation; one for Andersen's The Tinderbox.

Eyes As Big As Teacups

Note: For those interested, my source is the translation by Erik Christian Haugaard; not necessarily the same as linked above.