April 2017 - The Singing Bone

The Singing Bone Brothers

Brothers of the Singing Bone

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To distinguish between the two brother in my first rendition of the characters, I simply added hair and moustache to Simpleton. The idea was that Simpleton, in the end, was his own worst enemy, and he is killed by an extension of himself. The idea still appeals to me, but it felt a bit too rushed of a reveal.

The understanding of seeing part of myself in the evil that hurt me comes further along the journey. After all, how can I learn to forgive someone who never sought to express regret? In these early moments of the story, a clearer distinction still needs to be made between the person being hurt, and the person doing the hurting. I also found a new opportunity to highlight Simpleton’s naivety by making the brother much more menacing in appearance and having Simpleton seemingly oblivious to it. When he presents the boar’s head to his brother, it is with a big smile, despite the brothers’ aggressive charge and demeanour, he is not the slightest bit afraid. After all, at this point in his life, he has no reason to believe that was is traditionally a source of love and support (brother, family) would turn out to hurt him.

In the end, perhaps I can have the ‘evil’ brother shave off his hair only to reveal a striking resemblance to Simpleton underneath. Only with empathy, and seeing parts of yourself in others, can the story be complete. I have grown to understand that this story also reflects my own struggles and feelings of betrayal from a person who was once my closest friend. I still hold onto that hurt, and I need to work through it.

The Singing Bone

Where a new face can come from

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Sometimes I can get ideas for drawings in the most unexpected places. In this case, a simple workout at the gym and noticing a sign on one of the machines I was using yielded a new face for one of the dwellers at the inn. I ended up naming her “Jana”.

My approach to this part of the story was a little more emotional. I started to give name to the characters I was drawing and assigning them stories in my head, even if they were not hugely important to the story itself. I did not want the drawings to be purely visual, I wanted something behind it that had life and a belief in the existence and importance of this world beyond the physical. That, in turn, I believed, would feed the visuals.