Something a little different for me- I heard this song:
An image immediately popped into my head. It’s rare that that happens! It was a fun little distraction from my “proper” work, and a nice excuse to experiment with style and some new brushes in Paintstorm.
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a dragon in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a dentist.
You see- for all their bluster and burning- roaring and devouring- dragons have yet to invent the electric toothbrush- and consequently have very poor oral hygiene. One point to the humans I say. Indeed it’s a common theory that serious toothache is what makes dragons so narked off all the time. Thus it makes good sense to help them out with their gnashers just to ensure they don’t get all agitated and torch a primary school.
Dragon dentistry however- is not something for the faint of heart, nor the flammable of composition. It takes a special kind of expertise to look death in the mouth- and then fix his teeth with big tweezers. This is the job of Dr Earnest Pimm & Sons professional dragon dentists. Est. 1813
Here we see routine operation to remove a rotten tooth. Dr Pimm directs proceedings while second son Toby dons the asbestos suit (for safety) and operates the no 4 drill. Eldest son Arthur operates the saliva pump while 3rd son Anthony controls the nozzle. Of course the best way to placate a dragon while operating is to use sock puppets- a job which falls to the youngest Pimm- Maggie- who isn’t technically a son but isn’t worth changing all the branded stationary for either.
A new personal piece for the gallery. This one’s been in limbo for so long now that I thought I better put it out there and move on:
They’d been travelling for almost a year now, a long journey through fens and swamps, badlands and scrublands, across the cratered plains where the huge trees grew- nervously watching the skies and scanning the tall grasses. At last they had reached the rift basin. They were close.
Signe waded knee deep through the tepid waters. The heat was sweltering- an oppressive, humid, damp that stuck her clothes to her skin and never allowed a single moment of comfort. Ragna sat high up on the back of Torvald- resting atop the truffle baskets and scanning the horizon with her scope. So far from the colony you could never be too careful.
It would soon be time for them to return, back to the distant frontier colony with their precious cargo of meteor truffles- the vast luminous fungi that grew only at the site of fallen meteors. One truffle could keep the colony going for half a year- lighting, utilities, recharging the energy rifles- it was all powered by meteor truffles. But truffle hunting was dangerous business, there were beasts aplenty, vast and harsh wilderness to traverse, disease , injury and starvation an ever present threat. Many hunters left the colony each year never to be seen alive again.
I just finished reading Robert Fawcett’s “On the art of drawing”.
It was alright.
Fawcett himself was an en exceptional draughtsman and a respected illustrator in his time, overcoming the obstacle of his colour-blindness with his incredible eye for pattern, tone and composition.
That said, his writing did not provide the insight into his creative genius that I was hoping for.
Robert Fawcett is a great illustrator, but this is not a great book. His passion for the subject is clear, but I was hoping for more insight than I got, especially considering the length of the book.
One particular quote stood out to me:
“All this is perhaps a more complicated way of saying that drawing comes about by drawing, not by theory, not by shortcuts, and certainly not by eccentric experiment- but simply by drawing. Why students of the subject ever find comfort in reading about what is really a higher form of communication I will never know. That there is little comfort in writing about it, I do know”
Odd then, that he found the need to fill so many pages.
At the confluence of the great subterranean rivers, beneath the green glaciers and sheltered from the blinding snowfields lies the isolated settlement of Cavetown.
Many generations ago the nomadic tribes of the frozen tundra took shelter in this cave and have remained there ever since- their small band growing into the prosperous settlement you see today.
In the middle, towards the top- you can clearly see the temple garden where the high priests congregate. This is one of only three places in the cave where sunlight reaches, and where plants can grow, giving it great significance to the people. Only during festivals or ceremonies are citizens permitted to enter the garden, and fallen leaves from the holy red tree are worth a half-dozen catfish to the average villager.
To the left of the garden is the temple itself- its many lanterns burning fiercely. A typical example of Cavetown architecture- it uses a strong stalagmite as a central pillar on which the roof is supported- the roofs are thatched with long reeds that grow at the rivers edge in summer.
Towards the bottom right you can see one of the eel pools, where catfish and eels are farmed for food. They are also hunted from the lake far below and from the many rivers and lakes that extend deep beneath the mountains. High above some sacred finches fly. The local people believe the glowing birds are spirits of their ancestors, and tend to spoil them rotten. In return, the birds hang around, and their bioluminescent feathers provide a valuable light source to the villagers.
Light is a big deal to the people of Cavetown- so they adorn their houses with torches blazing with catfish oil, to show off their wealth and status. Light is also a necessity for navigating the precarious terraces and pathways that jut from the cave walls, so acolytes from the temple are tasked with keeping the pathway lamps lighted day and night.
I recently discovered the amazing work of photographer Jimmy Nelson and was inspired by his intense and beautiful portraits of tribal cultures around the globe. I heartily recommend seeing his work: http://www.beforethey.com/
Regrettably- I could only approach this new inspiration in my usual manner. So here’s a picture of someone in silly glasses.
The annual time traveller’s tea party was held this weekend (in 1862) I was lucky enough to attend – since I knew someone going I was able to snag a lift. I got the guests to line up and then we froze time while I painted them from life. It saves time you see, plus it’s impossible to get a dodo to stay still.
This illustration was done for Advocate Art agency’s annual “Head’s Up” calendar.