Newer Older

    I found him in the garage on a Sunday afternoon.

    ...He was lying there in the darkness behind the tea chests, in the dust and dirt. It was as if he'd been there forever. He was filthy and pale and dried out and I thought he was dead. I couldn't have been more wrong. I'd soon begin to see the truth about him, that there'd never been another creature like him in the world.

    ...Mina came in beside us. She crouched, stared at his face as dry and pale as plaster, at the dead bluebottles and cobwebs, at the spiders and beetles that scuttled across him. She took the torch from me, She shone it on his thin body in the dark suit, on the long legs stretched out on the floor, on the swollen hands that rested at his side.

    ...She touched his hands. She lifted his filthy cuff and touched his scrawny twisted wrists.

    ...Through narrowed veiny eyes he looked out through the door. Mina and I gazed at his face, so pale and plaster dry. His skin was cracked and crazed. His black hair was a tangle of knots. Dust, cobwebs, bluebottles, spiders, beetles, clung to him and fell from him.

    We saw for the first time that he wasn't old.
    He seemed like a young man.

    Mina whispered it:
    'You're beautiful!'

    (Extracts from Skellig by David Almond)

    This one was inspired by the extraordinary children's book Skellig by David Almond - about a little boy who discovers a strange, dust-covered, arthritis-riddled, man (or angel?) taking shelter in the crumbling garage in the garden of his new house.... its a beautiful story - and has been a long-time favourite of mine, so I thought I'd have a bash at drawing the character of Skellig - the creature in the garage.

    I've taken some artistic liberties - in the book he's too weak to lift himself off the ground, and so sits propped up against the wall, not on a splintered crate - and doesn't reveal his wings until later in the story, when Michael - the little boy - and his friend Mina - come to rescue him. But this way I could play more with the lines and creases in his clothes...


    Although the story of Skellig has a most beautiful and radiant happy ending, this picture was still a sobering one to work on... so while drawing I cheered myself by...

    ...dreaming of taking long road trips with Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros...

    ...and being enchanted by kinetic typography... (I never knew such a thing existed) – loooook here - someone's made a great Dapper Dan piece...

    Marvellous :-)

    frogmuseum2, caoseducado, and 46 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    View 1 more comment

    1. frogmuseum2 72 months ago | reply

      Great work! I shall now find and read that book...

    2. Steering for North 72 months ago | reply

      Thankyou! :-) Hurray, Dapper Dan fans unite! Get in a supply of hair-nets.... ;-)

      Thankyou so much, Mike - and wonderful to have you back here on Flickr again - really missed you! :-)
      Ooooh yes you must read the book - its absolutely amazing....You should be able to find a copy in a bookshop near you, but if you have no luck, we can get one for you:

    3. ErikBerndt 72 months ago | reply

      Thanks for introducing that interesting book.
      Never heard of it before...although similar (weak, pale and winged) figures are likely to appear in one of the many SciFi and fantasy series on TV. Apparently here's the source!
      A quiet sunday afternoon is the right moment for encounters like this.

      Beautiful work with fine spider detail.
      (And I wonder about your obsession with cobwebs...)

    4. Steering for North 72 months ago | reply

      You're most welcome! :-)
      I remember picking it up once as the title intrigued me, and then getting hooked...its only a fairly short story but a very powerful one - quite dark in places, but very beautiful too...

      You're right - those kind of figures do seem to turn up in sci fi and fantasy shows! :-) Perhaps its a symbol or a character type we keep returning to... and the idea of a fallen angel is incredibly evocative...

      Thankyou! Cobwebs...yes I do love drawing webs... there's something so aesthetically pleasing about the lightness of them - and how easy they are to draw - and yet the strength they imply...

      Its odd, as spiders - elegant and delicate and pretty as they are - still make me shudder a little...

      I remember the first time I really was hypnotised by the idea of cobwebs - in a symbolic / artistic way - was when I saw this episode of the excellent Jeremy Brett Sherlock Holmes series...
      Holmes is troubled by prophetic dreams of waterfalls, streams of falling dust, sharp-taloned women and beasts (see 7 mins 14 onwards) and interspersed throughout the episode are links and clues related to webs, ladies spinning, veils, hazy light and soft waves... and of the idea of being caught in webs of dream or un-reality, of becoming tangled in deceptions or stories...

    5. Relyn 72 months ago | reply

      Of course you know Skellig. Isn't it the most perfectly perfect book? I just LOVE David Almond's writing. I just LOVE your work, too.

    6. ~Whitney.Taponier~ [deleted] 72 months ago | reply

      fabulous drawing. love it.
      one of the most touching and moving children's books ever written. thanks for reminding me of it !!

    7. paperpenguin 72 months ago | reply

      Beautiful as always. I'm going to have to the book. You've made it so enticing.
      Now, kinetic typography? Wonderful! And Dapper Dan is from a movie that is one of my favorites. Funny thing I was thinking of the Cyclops scene just yesterday and wondering how fairly intelligent people could just sit and take a beating without batting an eye.

    8. leontine 72 months ago | reply

      I love that book.

    9. Steering for North 71 months ago | reply

      Thankyou so much, my friend - it IS the most perfect book - Almond's writing is like nothing else I've ever read - honest, moving, dark, tender and brave - and very, very beautiful... Many thanks :-)

      You're most welcome - big thanks to you for your lovely comments!

      O yes, do read the book - I'm sure you won't regret it, its the most unique and unusual and lovely story - and the made-for-tv adaption with Tim Roth is fantastic too... Glad you liked Dapper Dan! :-) Isn't it a brilliant film? I love the 'Damn, we're in a tight spot...' moment in the burning barn.... O and the Cyclops! That's genuinely scary!

      Me too :-) Its one of my all-time-absolute favourites, and something you can re-read and re-discover and re-appreciate again and again....

      Many thanks! :-)

    10. perseverando 69 months ago | reply

      These silhouettes are so effective and add magic and mystery I think. They remind me of Jan Pienkowski.

    11. Steering for North 68 months ago | reply

      Thankyou so much! :-) I'm a HUGE fan of Jan's work - specially his silhouettes - his amazing illustrations for The Thousand Nights and One Night were what inspired me to start working with silhouettes myself...

    12. macabresse 68 months ago | reply

      Skelling..just marvelous

    13. yoramlilach 67 months ago | reply

      Wonerful-- I love it !!

    14. Steering for North 67 months ago | reply


      Many thanks! :-)

    15. ghiro1234 [♀] 67 months ago | reply

      sei bravissima
      la tue immagini sono curate, semplici e molto affascinanti : )

    16. Steering for North 65 months ago | reply

      Thankyou so much! :-)

    17. 64 months ago | reply

      nice deep thought!................

    18. Shankha Suvra 9 months ago | reply

      And this describes me perfectly ... :)

    keyboard shortcuts: previous photo next photo L view in light box F favorite < scroll film strip left > scroll film strip right ? show all shortcuts