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Drawings of the Day

So I recently decided I was going to try to do a drawing a day.  Not necessarily a complicated drawing, but just a drawing of some kind.  The first day, I did a quick sketch inspired by a post by topum, about having to run to escape attack by geese.  I have no idea what topum looks like so this is very much a quick artistic representation of the whole geese problem.

Then we were re-watching Robin of Sherwood, so I decided to draw Marion.  This is just a copy of a photo, but it did take me two evenings, so isn't really a drawing of a day. Oh well.

I resolved to draw more quickly, and drew a picture of the Pilgrim of Brixham:  a nineteenth century sailing trawler which has been brought back into sailing condition by a group of volunteers who have come together as a small charity to operate Pilgrim as a working boat, doing sailing holidays and training sessions and so on.  They happen to be one of our customers, one of the more interesting ones too!   That was a fairly quick thing to draw, not least because I didn't put in any crew.

Next, I had an idea to draw Fingon and his knights, coming over the bridge to visit Rian in Nen Lalaith, inspired by this bit of song by hhimring.  Sadly, it did not go well.  I like the colour balance, but I couldn't get the riders right (I think it needed too much small detail for pastels) and my mental vision of the trees behind the bridge fading into the mist didn't work.   I worked on it for a couple of days and it just got worse and worse so I abandoned it at this point.  I still have a clear idea in my head of how I think it *should* look: all silver and blue on one side, with the Elves coming out of the shadow, and then warm sunny mortal tones on the other side of the stream around Rian.  Maybe I'll try again.


Possibly I should try it in acrylics: it's muche easier to do fine detail in acrylic, and you don't have the problem that the colour around the edges of small people comes off and muddies the whole thing. On the other hand, I am probably better at faces in pastel, as you can rework pastel a lot whereas acrylic tends to end up looking rubbery if you rework it too much, which is not good for faces.

In the short term, I decided to be less ambitious and just draw Fingon on a horse, on a bridge.  This went better, and didn't actually take that long to complete.

All the pencil drawings are on some A4 slices of card that I found in the the skip at the recycling centre.  I was supposed to be just taking in some boxes to get rid of them, but when I went up the steps and started heaving in boxes, I noticed that there were all these fabulous creamy rectangles of card, just sitting there in huge bundles.

So I stole a big heap of them, as many as I could carry. They are lovely to draw on and solid enough that you don't need any support for them, you can just hold them on your lap.   I don't know what I shall do with them all once I've drawn on them though, there are stacks and they are thick enough that I can't easily just shove them into a folder.  


( 22 comments — Leave a comment )
17th Sep, 2016 00:09 (UTC)
Ha ha, thank you! This is excellent. I'll put it on my desktop for while, hope you don't mind. Also, can I repost it in my journal with a reference to your post / journal? My journal is public but I see that so is this entry.

My favourite are the last two. The horse's facial expression in the last one made me laugh. I think this was partly because I remembered your recent "naked man on a horse" post.

17th Sep, 2016 08:04 (UTC)
Yes, of course you can link to it or take a copy if you like! As you say, it's public.

I did originally have a plan to add a stick-waving 5-foot granny, as you mentioned that fleeing these was also a feature of your life in Moldova but I ran out of time on my quick sketch :-D
17th Sep, 2016 21:54 (UTC)
Thank you, I did a post on it. Yes some grannies here have attitude, ha ha.
17th Sep, 2016 03:51 (UTC)
Those are proper geese -- both anserine and combative.

Fingon looks stern and noble, while the horse's expression is just this side of sardonic, which is pleasing.
17th Sep, 2016 08:07 (UTC)
I'm not sure about how the horse's expression came out now! I was aiming for 'curious and interested' but I may have gone a little too far towards 'wtf'.

Although, the viewpoint character here might be the young Turin Turambar, so possibly the horse has a touch of future vision and is providing a commentary on his later life choices.
17th Sep, 2016 08:35 (UTC)
I like these!

In the pastel one, the contrast between the silver and blue and the warm tones on the right you aimed at does come across. And I really like how you positioned Rian with her harp in the entrance and Turin down by the stream. I cannot see the riders on the bridge very clearly, admittedly, but I do get a vivid impression of forward movement and waving banners!

In the more detailed pencil drawing, Fingon seems to be riding more slowly and also is probably looking more solemn than he did in the pastels. I can see how it might be Turin's perspective--looking up, he first sees the horse looming and looking at him and Fingon looming above that....

I like the others, too--the geese are fun, and Marion's hair is good and the sails of the ship.
18th Sep, 2016 08:13 (UTC)
Hurray! I'm so pleased you like them.

Yes, with pencil Fingon I was aiming for remote dignity. I think perhaps I should have given him more bling. He'd probably be wearing some sort of crown, don't you think? Not sure if there was an official High King of the Noldor crown.

Maybe his horse would have a decorative headstall like Glorfindel's in Lotr, too.
18th Sep, 2016 11:32 (UTC)
I'm not sure about the crown question. There is apparently a canonical official crown of Nargothrond and an official crown of Gondolin (the latter only in HoME, maybe?). But the High Kingship of the Noldor seems to be a bit more intangible than that and I can't trace mention of an actual crown right now. Fingon's canonical headgear is a white helm he wore at the Fifth Battle, but that doesn't quite sound like everyday wear.
A lot of fan fiction (including mine) assumes there was some sort of crown, though--although it would be less likely to be an heirloom, under the circumstances and so perhaps have fewer associations.
Early medieval kings used to wear their crowns officially at Easter, Pentecost and Christmas, I believe--suggesting that, in between, maybe not so much. This is of limited relevance, of course.
18th Sep, 2016 13:24 (UTC)
I don't remember the crown of Gondolin so I think it's probably only in HoME. Although for me Nargothrond > Gondolin or Doriath every time, so possibly I missed it.

Medieval crowns look terribly uncomfortable, I always think.
18th Sep, 2016 11:51 (UTC)
A decorative headstall would at any rate seem rather more in tune with a ceremonial visit than with a risky attempt to rescue fugitives from the Nazgul.

(In my own 'verse, Noldor don't really conform to Legolas's rules about elvish horsemanship--I guess I suspect Legolas of going a bit hyper-Silvan on the journey to Rohan. And I confess I wish, just a bit, that Tolkien hadn't caved in and inflicted that headstall on Asfaloth, just for the sake of consistency, pretty as it is.)
18th Sep, 2016 13:45 (UTC)
Ah! now here I have MANY opinions.

I think the headstall and bells on Glorfindel's horse are all part of the 'there are few even in Rivendell who can ride openly against the Nine'.

Unlike Aragorn, who is like Middle Earth SAS, hoping not to be noticed by the bad guys until decisive action must be taken, Glorfindel is not undercover. He is a helicopter gunship of ME: the bad guys can hear him coming and they KNOW he is bad news, so unless they are at the Balrog level, they get out of the way.

I also assume that Glorfindel's bling, and the beryl that he leaves on the bridge, are not merely decorative but actually have a power of their own: not anything like the Rings, of course, but maybe something more like the Lembas that Gollum cannot eat, or the smell of Lorien on his hands which he finds repellent. Or even the threat of Sting in Sam's hands, when we see it briefly through goblin eyes in the tower of Cirith Ungol.

Glorfindel does ride with a saddle, of course, so I suppose Fingon might too. I believe saddles can be more comfortable for the horse in terms of weight distribution? But I'm OK with the idea of Elves in general preferring to ride without bridles, or at least only using bitless ones. The idea that Men aren't quite so good at riding so invented the bit seems convincing to me.
18th Sep, 2016 15:08 (UTC)
I can at least follow that side of the argument--and, in fact, I've always believed the same thing about Glorfindel's beryl.

Of course, Glorfindel seems to have his limits as a helicopter gunship--otherwise we wouldn't end up with Frodo's desperate ride across the Ford. But as he is capable of chasing away individual Nazgul, when not all Nine of them are together, maybe the Black Horses have learned how to recognize those bells...

To be honest, I wrong-footed myself into my position when I myself needed a jingle of a bridle--and realized afterwards that in my case, at least, substituting bells would definitely not do. If it is possible to have bit-less bridles that is good news as far as I'm concerned.

But I also feel that, when the weight of armour and the distractions of battle come into play, both horse and rider might appreciate a bit more help--not all First Age horses can be like Shadowfax, surely.
18th Sep, 2016 16:38 (UTC)
I think the problem of the Nine is that there are Nine of them! Glorfindel is like a falcon among swallows, it's hard to pick out one and do anything about it!

Bitless bridles are definitely a thing, I have a friend who rides who is a big fan. People who ride entirely without a bridle usually seem to use a neckrope, which might have a ring on it? Or there are halters, which might have jingly metal rings without implying the bling of 'headstall'...?

I don't know. I am not a rider. But I don't really like all the fiddly tack they sell for dogs, I would prefer ideally to have the relationship with the animal at the point where you don't need to pull and tug. Asking a lot for us mortal humans, but with a thousand years of time, you could get your timing and your body language comprehension skills to be *really* *REALLY* good!

Aaaaargh elf envy. The curse of Numenor!
18th Sep, 2016 17:55 (UTC)
I loved my dog deeply, but without tack she would have got herself killed multiple times a day, at least when she was young.
You seem to be much better at dog-whispering than I ever was!
But I do get the elf-envy.
20th Sep, 2016 07:45 (UTC)
As you're talking elves, I'd expect some type of fillet rather than a true crown, if there is headgear of some kind.
17th Sep, 2016 08:54 (UTC)
The horse is splendid. And it did make me think of your bareback rider of the other day - frankly your rider is wearing much more appropriate clothing. And I'm sure the horse appreciates it.
18th Sep, 2016 08:09 (UTC)
No saddle or bridle, in elf-fashion too.

( I admit that on occasion when drawing people on horseback I have sometimes forgotten some of the many many straps. This time it was deliberate!)
17th Sep, 2016 09:10 (UTC)
I think part of the issue with the riders in pastel is proportion: they are rather too big for their horses.
18th Sep, 2016 08:03 (UTC)
Well, partly - but that's because each horse and rider is only about the size of a fingertip, and my white pastel sticks are also about the size of a fingertip, so minor adjustments like 'make this horse slightly bigger' are hard to achieve.
20th Sep, 2016 07:38 (UTC)
Fair enough! I haven't used pastels in ages, so I'm a little fuzzy about the difficulties.
19th Sep, 2016 18:50 (UTC)
I love the geese - they're very Dark Lord of Derkholm!
19th Sep, 2016 19:08 (UTC)
I particularly like the ship, and Fingon / Rian.
( 22 comments — Leave a comment )

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