Inspired by my friend and artist Adi Elkin, who did a very nice illustration of the character she played in my Bloodshadows game (documented by wonderful writer wife Sophie Lagace) I thought I would also do an illustration of the character, “Chummy” Jones.
“Chummy” is an 11-year-old boy who woke up in Galitia three years ago with no memory of his previous life, but knowing how to do the things that an 8-year-old would know how to do, including sell papers. In Galitia paperboys are known as streetsingers because they sing the headlines to attract customers. “Chummy” has been selling his papers for three years now and trying to figure out where he came from.
He also has an imaginary friend named Gorge. Except that Gorge isn’t imaginary. “Chummy” isn’t really sure what Gorge is or what his relationship to “Chummy” is, but the creature has helped him in the past, usually by appearing and devouring people who give “Chummy” trouble.
I tried to give “Chummy” a bit of an Edward Gorey feel, but also dithered the illustration to give it a newsy look. I like the way the lines around the eyes and the missing teeth contrast, making the figure look simultaneously young and old.
This is a photo of the grain of a redwood burl. I used the etching feature to really bring out the lines. Looking at it, I found all sorts of things in the lines. Do you? Tell me what you see!
Spring is here, huzzah!
Honestly, I have always been ambivalent about Spring. I think that is partially to do with the climate – I have never had to look forward to an end to freezing, biting snow (as my blatant ineptitude at traversing even slightly icy ground when I visit Sophie’s family in winter attests), and part of it has to do with my allergies which yearly at around this time reduce my eyes to red pits of itchy misery and make me sneeze a lot (I used to get sent home from school due to my allergies because my eyes would swell up so much I couldn’t see). Spring really isn’t the happy occasion for me that it is for some.
But don’t get me wrong either – I don’t hate Spring. I look forward to the return of the American robin (saw my first one yesterday though I have been hearing them for over a week) and the Red-winged blackbird. The Spring migrations will be starting soon, and though I am not conveniently on a flyway the way I was in Humboldt County, I hope to scope out some good birding spots this year. The trees are starting to get their leaves back and the cherry and plum trees are blossoming. The salamanders are creeping out of the detritus and the whales will soon be migrating.
I miss the Spring rains, which have been so long delayed by our drought here. This year’s El Nino has dropped quite a bit of promised precipitation on us, which is great. Still I miss rainy days – meaning days where it rains all day.
Spring is a time of renewal and rebirth. It is a time of optimism and enthusiasm, when windows can be thrown open in our houses and our minds, where both our dwellings and our hearts can get a good airing after winter’s chilly embrace. It’s a time for getting out and walking around with a good pair of binoculars and an unknown trail.
Time to start peeking into the bushes again.