My eyes are officially used up now

Oof.  I’ve finished my Antjie Donder drawing.  It’s too large to fit onto my scanner, so I had to stitch it together in Photoshop.  I love detail when drawing, but fiddling with digital details just gives me the horries.

I got some suggestions for what to put into Antjie’s pocket in my last post.  It turns out that she keeps a candle, some pencils, and what is probably a little bottle of Kloktoring in her pocket.

This drawing has been in my head for years.  The imagined drawing generated a story, a doll and finally, the drawing itself.

Antjie Donder comes visiting

As I explained in a previous post, the work I’m doing for the Comix show involves written stories, dolls and drawings.  In some cases the story came first, in others the doll did.  Antjie Donder came to life first as a doll, and then I created a story for her.  Here she is as a doll:

In the story she introduces some chaos into the life of a lonely little girl called Lauren.  A bit like the “cat in the hat”, which I used to thoroughly scare me.  Here is an extract from “Chasing Frogs”  in which Lauren first sees Antjie Donder coming down the road pushing her trolley:

Lauren climbed onto the couch and opened the window. She pushed her face against the burglar bars. The voice was coming closer. There was a noise like someone shaking a cutlery drawer and the tinny thumping of a small radio. Somebody was singing:

My naam is Antjie Donder, Antjie, Antjie Donder

First came a shopping trolley, filled to overflowing with bags, newspapers and various bits of junk. Behind the trolley was a woman,broad as an oak tree and dressed in an ancient ball gown that strained across her chest and shoulders. Layers of plastic sheeting was wrapped around her waist. She sang as she came.

Antie, Antjie Donder!”

She stopped when she was level with Lauren’s window and switched off the hissing radio. Lauren looked down at her in fascination. She had never seen anyone like this before. The woman’s face was as brown as leather and looked as tough as an old shoe. She had a great beak of a nose and her hair stood away from her head in coils like knotted horns. She looked up at Lauren and smiled.

Good morning, Madam! Got any broken things for me? Toys? Electric?”

Lauren laughed. “No, I’m not the Madam!”

So where’s the Madam, then?”

Oops, thought Lauren. Not supposed to speak to strangers. But what now? It would be rude not to respond.

My mother is not home.”

The woman smiled. She turned her head a little, peering past her hooked nose like bird looking at a worm. “Not home? That’s sad.”

Antjie’s outfit changed quite a bit from her initial doll form, to the story, to the drawing which I just started today.  Somehow what is possible to create on small-scale in scraps of fabric is different from what works in words, and needs even more adjustments when you turn it into lines on paper:

Looking at it now, I think I need to exaggerate her nose a bit more.  I want it to look like a hatchet blade.  Her hands also look far too genteel.  I need to make them rougher.  Maybe it’s the nails that are the problem… too manicured:

And that’s all for now 🙂

Coming soon…

So I’ve finished editing my collection of short stories, and sent my first letter to a potential publisher this morning.  Who knows what will come of that!

But the thing is, I will now have more time for other creative projects, so my blog will soon be getting a new injection of drawing. And who knows, I feel an animation coming on as well (^_^)

Watch this space…

Writing: The Polishing Stage

I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned it here before, but I’ve been writing a collection of short stories. I finished a rough draft of the last story this week.  It has taken me about a year to write ten acceptable stories, and what a pleasure its been!

I’m new to writing, and so still learning the basics.  I’ve gotten more confident, but still making so many mistakes.

Some things I’ve learnt:

  • Ideas take time.  Let them slosh around till one “bites” . Only write about something that excites you. More

Combing Sedna’s Hair

My previous post referred to the Inuit story of Takannaaluk, an powerful figure in Inuit legend.  This was my excuse to learn more about Inuit stories, and to do a Takannaluk – inspired drawing, as you can see. Takannaluk can be translated as “the terrible woman down there” or “the great one below”.    She has many other names but is best known as Sedna, so that is what I will call her.

There are many versions of Sedna’s story.  In some she marries a dog, in others she is so greedy that she tries to eat her father.  Here is my own version of her story, patched together from several sources:

This is the story of Sedna.  There she sits at the bottom of the sea with her long hair tangling  and all her creatures coming and going around her – the sharks, the seals and the all the little fish. When the hunting is bad the Inuit people say that Sedna is angry and has called all her creature to be close to her.  She is in pain and remembers who hurt her.

Long ago Sedna was a human girl, her father’s only daughter. She was beautiful and proud and many young men came courting her – but none of them were good enough for Sedna.  She was content with her life as it was and did not want to get married. More

Bonewitch at the Field Indaba

I had to attend a two day long meeting in Johannesburg this week.

I did quite a lot of drawings in between all the arguing, including this one of the Bonewitch from “Heart of Glass”.


She did not come out like I imagined her, so I will probably be drawing her again.  Hopefully not at another meeting.

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