I finally finished the initial drawing today for this scene where Simpleton kills the Wild Boar. I started it back in the winter of this year. When the year started, I would create drawings randomly for various scenes of the Singing Bone without committing to one in particular until it was fully realized in my head. I knew this particular drawing, that I called “Fatal Blow” would be an ambitious one and I went back to it many times before finally going “all-in” when I finally figured out the angle I would take with it.
June 2016 - The Singing Bone
Again, Herge has been an inspiration for me in my approach to the Singing Bone. What can I say about this beautiful panel that he drew? So much talent. I’m almost shy to put my work next to it, but I simply wanted to illustrate a point. The idea of duplicating a character within an image to show movement is something he did beautifully, and I figured what better place to use that device than the climactic moment when Simpleton kills the Wild Boar? I initially drew Simpleton in a way that was much closer in appearance to the Haddock in the panel above but it did not work. Simpleton needed to stab while haddock was swinging. Also, it felt as though I was borrowing too much and forgetting the essence of what I was trying to do. Still, the birth of my approach for Simpleton came from seeing this panel for the ‘Secret of the Unicorn’.
We are now about halfway through 2016 and despite not having finished a Singing Bone drawing in a few months, it has been a very productive year. Multiple drawings have been started in parallel. Unlike the last 2 years, my attention has not been split between various drawing styles. I have no exhibition to deal with, and I am not pursuing illustration contracts or dedicating time in exploring more realistic visual approaches. Whenever drawings do not turn out the way I like I simply redo them, without a moment hesitation and with much less frustration than in the past. I’m also not rushing through the drawings with an eagerness to get them out and I am enjoying the process of creating them and feeling the story. It takes the time it takes. I’m not questioning the path I am on as often as I used to and I’m grateful for this new found focus.
For some reason, perhaps because it is a bit foreign for me, it feels so fragile. Part of it self esteem issues, and I resent that fragility in myself, but the important thing is the I have grown aware of it and I am thankful for that. It helps me avoid familiar traps, and change. This is the longest that I’ve focused on any project without deviating onto something else. I can be my own worst enemy, and several things have lead me to deviate from a project, whether it’s seeing something that inspired me, a desire to step away and focus on something new or simply questioning myself and the worth of what I doing. I think I’ve reached the point where I just want to finish what I’ve started.
When I had less time to draw I would talk about it more (as though I was trying to keep that part of myself alive or relevant), and I didn’t like that. Keeping the process of creation to myself has been nice. Talking about it with others can take away from the intimacy that I need to create. Things need to be expressed visually and processed through my feelings. The shifting between accident and conscious realization is beautiful. All the small moments get lost when forced to verbalize. A feeling or impulse to do something is a true gift, and I’m thankful for it.
I was very happy with this drawing when I had finished it but I’ve come to realize that it doesn’t quite fit the story that I am telling. I don’t like the fact that the ‘complicated’ or ‘evil’ brother is grabbing the woman that way. It was originally meant to reflect his corrupt or questionable nature, but it feels too vulgar and it doesn’t add to his character. Most of all, I don’t like the fact that simpleton carries the boar’s head in front of everyone to see. For the eventuality of the story to be believable, it’s important that no one sees that he was the real hero of the story. Despite this drawing being a step forward at the time and a lot of fun to do, it will have to be redone. The credibility of the witnesses may be questionable, but I do not want to have to explain something like that as it feels like extra baggage that is not really needed.