In which Rothgar, the sea bear, swims on through the depths and Songs of Albion comes to a conclusion.
I have been having some very similar thoughts to those of my writing partner Tom Radcliffe on finishing the last image for this project. We have been at this in one form or another since December 2008. I didn’t believe it until I checked my earliest drawing file. Wow. That’s quite a sustained effort. Of course it was mostly over the last year and a half that I was producing the actual images that we used during this past year – summer solstice 2011 to summer solstice 2012. The image above will be the last one. It’s due to be posted on Friday this week. I don’t exactly think it’s a spoiler – any guesses as to what’s going on?? Good luck! lol
As Tom mentioned when he was finishing up the written part, it’s a bitter-sweet moment… we enjoyed the work, learned a lot and yet it didn’t take off in even a minor way. 😦 Perhaps this was the wrong forum for our genre (something between a graphic novel and an illustrated story). Maybe it will grow wings as an e-book. Maybe it sucks. (We don’t think so – but hey, we’re biased!)
Anyway, for the next while I will be going back to random doodles until I figure out what is next…
UPDATE: Lovely poem from Tom for Rothgar the sea-bear
Rothgar swimming through the deep
where the darkness lurks and peeps
from out behind the quantum veil
hiding Fae who hang a tale
on English wanderers who lost
and won again, now tempest-tost
they set out on the Ocean Stream
to find a world not what it seems!
Tom (Radcliffe) and I are getting very close to the end of our year with Songs of Albion. I will write more about that when I complete the last image – 5 to go! The text is getting harder and harder to imagine into image form – thanks for the challenge Tom!! This moment is one of those when the normal linear experience of time seems to be suspended… anyway, if not clear, I hope at least it’s pretty! lol
UPDATE: New poem from Tom! Thank you 🙂
time’s soft turning inward form
finds two figures lost, forlorn
swept in silence folding in
stretching space in quantum din
branching futures forming trees
whose leaves are scattered in the storm
time’s soft turning inward form
I was trying something a bit different with this one – it’s based on a Currier and Ives lithograph but as usual hand drawn on my computer. Since the text of the episode for Albion that this image will accompany is based on Gray’s Elegy, this seemed appropriate. (The image title is the first line of Tom’s pastiche.)
UPDATE: Poem from Tom in the comments reflects the image beautifully! Thanks Tom 🙂
Beyond the edges of the scene
so much more is hidden:
a lowing herd, a village green,
a graveyard and a midden
a man abroad, a castle far,
an elder pile of stone
beneath a distant rising star
with history to atone,
a country church that’s seen the wars
between the sects and Rome
yet still remained, its open doors
a window on a poem.
Behold the poet’s lurking form
within the graveyard’s close
waiting out the dying storm
while the Moon’s arose.
I was pretty pleased with how this image for Songs of Albion turned out. I like the feeling of movement in the figures. It also amused me that they are just marching into the water to load up the boat.
UPDATE: New poem from Tom! It may give you some idea of what’s going on… but if you really want to know, read Albion!
Marching down into the ocean
unperturbed by wet or cold
making not the least commotion
bearing quietly their load
to the gig hard by the shore
where all are ferried to the ship
there unloading, stowing, more
until it’s time to turn and skip
back to land and back to village
where the packing’s almost done
without waste or loss or spillage
til the day’s full course is run.
Now the ship is fully burthen
laying low upon the tide
still the breeze begins to freshen
whispering of ocean wide
while the Fae wave from the beach
bidding visitors farewell
overhead the seagulls screech
time and tide the truth will tell
as the ship turns out to sea
sailors rig the canvas high
from their landward shackles free
rejoicing in the ocean sky!
Once again advance viewing of an image coming up in the next few weeks for Songs of Albion. Without the story it is not really possible to know exactly what is going on but that’s OK. I am trying at this point to use the illustrations to show vignettes, not the whole picture. For one thing, the whole picture takes way too long to draw and for another, the close up that hints at the whole can be much more interesting. Hope you agree!
UPDATE: New poem to accompany the image – thanks Tom!!
Intensely focused on the goal
the wheels of intellect engaged
each new idea tested, rolled
between her fingers, quick and sage.
Perhaps a lever lifting there
would raise it high into the air?
But no! The crushing force will break
the oaken planks of hull and strake!
Some another way to find
fulfilling all the hard constraints
remaining free of failure’s taints
dredging through the dark of mind
to create a truth that’s new
passing down the dark and through
Practicing drawing various facial expressions seems to be paying off. I am quite pleased with how this drawing for Albion turned out. She does indeed look like she is distressed and crying – just what the scene in question calls for. Poor girl.
UPDATE: Poem from Tom in the comments capturing in words what I tried to show in my illustration…
fractured fragments of a life fall hard
cold rain upon a bitter stormy sea
pouring forth the pain of broken shards
splinters of a soul by death set free
melting childhood verities secure
questions never answered but by tears
desperate moments seeking to assure
sorrow overwhelming hollow fears
face distorted anguish speaks in sobs
the inarticulation of her loss
marches down her visage as it robs
reason cast aside in tempest tossed
incoherent sadness sweeps her past
though everything still matters nothing lasts
Recently my computer drawings have all been for Albion, so here’s another sneak peak. Lady Belinda is ready for “war” apparently! Of course she has a new dress, hairdo and battle-parasol for the occasion!
UPDATE: New poem from Tom! She sounds as tough as she looks… (or maybe it’s all in her head 😉
Like Boudicca of old I’m fighting
for English pride and English soil!
With my parasol a-smiting
see me join in war-like toil!
My battle-dress in bloody hues
will spread to all the dreadful news
of my arrival on the field!
The enemy shall surely yield
when they see my fierce visage
topped by locks in horned array
like a battle-helm in ways
dispelling all my soft mirage:
revealing all my inner fire
promising a fight that’s dire!
The latest drawing for Songs of Albion. I have been falling a bit behind and my buffer is getting slimmer than I like… still, you won’t see this on Songs until sometime in March. So til then you can only wonder where Cat is going and why he’s looking so dejected.
UPDATE: A new sonnet from Tom for sad Cat.
So dejected and bedraggled
rejected by his lady-friend:
a tale that’s been so often waggled
by village gossips end to end
yet felt acutely by the subject
of each new telling of this object
lesson for all lovers spurned:
come close to fire and risk a burn!
To love and lose is worth the pain
and a solitary life
free of love’s tumult and strife
stills the heart and dulls the brain.
Though Cat might answer with his claws
a friend who argues for this cause!
At about the same time as Marlowe (last post) is contemplating his problems, Dru is somewhere else with problems of her own. I thought it was about time I showed our heroine… Decided to just show a suggestion of the background. I hope you can tell she’s on a ship.
UPDATE: In from Tom – new poem!
It seemed like such a fine idea
to cut the cable, setting free
this ship of fools, like wise Sophia
teaching him a lesson, see!
The deed is done, though now I wonder
if in my haste to steal his thunder
by leaving him marooned alone
I’m not mistaken in my tone?
Perhaps if I’d been less reproaching,
not let his people’s ways be mine–
though in my anger it seemed fine–
I wouldn’t now these doubts be broaching.
Now what’s that bumping on the hull!?
A bear, a duck, a wayward gull?