Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Merry Christmas!

The Cookie Thief  |  Copyright 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Final Page

This is the final entry in the Tumnus Journal, however, there's room for more... I just never finished it.
This is a stained glass window commission for "the North Tower in Cair Paravel." The windows are based "on the events surrounding the coming of the Kings and Queens - the two sons of Adam and the two daughters of Eve - and the sacrifice of Aslan."
I really enjoyed creating these and would love to make them sometime... if I knew how to work with stained glass. 
There's a few other pages in the journal, but I have shown you the major works. Maybe someday I will be able to re-work this into a published work.... but for now it remains a one-of-a-kind. Can't wait to show the kids.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Beavers

Here is a page for Mr. and Mrs. Beaver. One of my favorite characters from "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe." It's really just a sketched portrait of the two of them by Mr. Tumnus. For fun, I included actual pieces of birch bark into the trees. The little note under the portrait reads, "The Beavers love Birch. (Not the living Birch however - only the Birch that can never be awakened - The Beavers would never cut down a Birch madien!)

Below the Beaver portrait, Mr. Tumnus included in his journal a personal invitation from The Beavers to tea. The note beside the envelope reads, "A little note inviting me to tea; The Beavers were well known for their tea and I accepted any and all invitation!)
The envelope is hand-made with leather buttons. When opened, you see that it is lined with a Narnian tartan. (Not woven by me... just a cool looking fabric I had.)
The note comes out of the envelope and is written on a piece of Birch bark.

The note reads (in yet another handwriting style), 
Our Dearest Friend of the Forest, 
Please accept this humble invitation to our home for tea. It feels like ages since we've seen you - as you have been so often a guest or our fair Kings and Queens - may the Lion keep them - at Cair Paravel. We will be expecting you on Thursday for the mid-morning meal. 
Our humblest hopes, 
The Beavers

Our Pardons - You are more than welcome to bring your little flute - and any new tunes if you are so inclined! Our ears are itching for the sweet songs of a faun! And a day doesn't go by that I don't hear Mr. Beaver humming or singing your song of the coming of Spring! 
May the Lion keep you 'til you come!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The White Witch

This was probably an acrylic wash with pencil and gesso, and is another college friend. 
The text reads: 
I was at one time under the service of the cruel white witch. (Many Narnian's were forced to work for her at the risk of their lives - for she often turned them into stone.) When she learned of my artistic talent - she had me paint this portrait of her. I had only gotten this far however when I found Lucy by the lamp post. I wasn't able to turn in Lucy to the witch - which was my duty - and I was arrested only a few days after I helped Lucy escape. The witch was so angry, I was turned into stone before I ever had a chance to finish. I am glad however, for I was never able to place a crown upon the head of the witch and Lucy make a far better queen!
Lewis describes the queen as "... a great lady, taller than any woman that Edmund had ever seen. She also was covered in white fur up to her throat and held a long straight golden wand in her right hand. Her face was white - not merely pale, but white like snow or paper or icing-sugar, except for her very red mouth. It was a beautiful face in other respects, but proud and cold and stern."
C.S. Lewis form The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

This Image is sewn unto the top right corner of the image above. It was a sketch I had done for another etching in printmaking class, but it never turned out right. It's funny because I did so much research on this particular piece (medieval sleds, reindeer, etc...) but the design never struck me as good enough to etch into a metal plate. Fortunately I kept the sketch because it makes for a good story telling element for the journal.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Lamp Post

One of my favorite literary scenes - the mysterious lamp post in the middle of a snowy woods. I've drawn/painted it a hundred times. It's the perfect contrast of light/dark, nature/man-made, warm/cool... with variety and repetition. All things I teach in my Design class that are staples for good design. (The imagery is also used as the name of a DHARMA station on one of my favorite television shows, LOST, where it serves a similar function.)
This page was fun. The large image was an etching from my Printmaking class at Indiana Wesleyan University. I loved that class and if I had a printing press - I would incorporate etchings into my illustration work. I also sewed Tumnus' original sketch onto the top corner. (A sketch I made from a photo of a lamp post I took outside of Buckingham Palace in London, England.)
The text reads: The Lamp Post. Truly a mysterious place. Legend has it that the lamp grew from the fresh earth at the beginning of time. Some say it has origins of another land - of the Land of Adam & Eve. Either way, or even if both are true - the lamp is a beauteous sight and I have always enjoyed spending time there. The light burns always, as if by some magic - and magic it must be - for this is the very spot where first I found Lucy, way back during the reign of the White Witch. How Lucy came to this place, I'll never know - though she has explained it to me a thousand times (something about a city of War Drobe within the land of Spare Oom - but you never can tell with daughters of Eve.) Anyway - it all must be within the power and plans of Aslan - for shortly after her arrival, all of Narnia changed and the ancient prophecy came true! Long Live Aslan!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Tumnus' Self Portrait

Tumnus begins his journal with a self-portrait created "by looking into a still pond." C.S. Lewis describes Mr. Tumnus with "a red woolen muffler round his neck and his skin was rather reddish too. He had a strange, but pleasant little face, with a short pointed beard and curly hair, and out of the hair there stuck two horns, one on each side of his forehead." The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.
I drew quite a few Tumnus' while in college, but this was my favorite image. The model was a good friend whom we all called, "Crazy Dave." I guess you can see why. (Thanks again Dave.) 
I just started reading The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe with my kids and it's really fun to see their excitement and curiousness over Narnia. I can't wait to show them this journal. 

An interesting note. This sketch helped me to get  my first freelance with Focus on The Family. The art director liked the loose background. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Opening Pages

The idea behind this journal was to make it seem as if it was actually created in the Land of Narnia - and somehow made it's way to Earth. Each page is not only adorned with text and/or illustrations, but is also weathered and worn to appear as if it is an ancient text that was created in the forests by woodland creatures. (The page to the left was stained with coffee.) All text is handwritten by myself with a traditional pen dipped in ink.
The first page sets the stage for the remainder of the journal. It is an official, royal request by Queen Lucy the Valiant to her dear friend, Mr. Tumnus. 

I, Queen Lucy the Valiant, with the special consent of King Peter the Magnificent, Queen Susan the Gentle, and King Edmund the Just, do hearby appoint Tumnus the Faun, to recreate in journal form our beloved land of Narnia and the miraculous wonders that have occurred here within - least we forget.

The second page is penned in Tumnus' own hand, and gives further explanation into the book. I won't rewrite the entire thing here, but I will give some highlights. 

This journal, though loose in form and design, will attempt to capture the land of Narnia as seen by and through me. It is a record of what I have seen, who I have been, and the amazing things I have been apart of in my simple life - where the unexpected it true - may all that you see and understand bring glory to the great Lion himself.

I pray this journal may defy the sands of time, so that many generations of Narnians - and men for that matter - will know of our amazing land, and the sacrifices that were made to keep it so. May the magic of the Birch Maidens - of whose leaves and wood I have used generously - weave their eternal beauty within the pages of my journal, and the strength of The Lion hover over it's covers.

Notice the leaf print on the top right corner of the page. During the process of weathering the pages, I tied a stack of paper together and buried it outside in the leaves for a number of weeks. When I dug them back out, the leaves started decaying on the paper and left those great prints. What a happy accident.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Tumnus' Journal

I know I keep blogging about past work, but I recently showed this project to my Drawing class at Union University, and their excitement over it re-inspired me to blow off the dust and bring this book back into the light.
As a high school graduation gift, three good friends bought me my first set of C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia. I read the entire series the summer before I started college at Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) - and the impact was so powerful, that I began to use the stories as the basis for most of my projects in art school.
After I graduated from IWU, I decided to begin the process of binding some of my favorite pieces in a book. The project morphed into a vintage-style Narnian journal. The book is unfinished, but I thought I would post some of my favorite pages over the next few weeks leading up to Christmas. Enjoy the book.