Illustration Friday: Fail


An illustration for an as-yet-unwritten article (or essay or… there are other possibilities for this) on the Chronicles of Narnia, tentatively titled “Did Susan Fail?” (or “Did Lewis Fail Susan?”). I’m not ready to give away my conclusions yet.

This picture takes up most of an A4 sheet and is much larger than I usually work. You can see it closer to the original size here.

It is pen and ink and about four hours work on the pencil and final. The pens were unipin Fine Lines, 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, 0.5 and 0.8. I had hoped to use my dip pen and new nibs on this, but convenience dictated the unipins.

Now I’m exhausted and my elbow hurts. If I had my time over, I would do a bit more research and put more symbolism in (I had vague plans for the design on the other side, but that will have to wait until an appropriate topic comes along). The research I did do was fun. One reason I like illustration is the research – it appeals to that part of me which likes to read the encyclopaedia.

Oh, and by way of comparison here is one of the thumbnail roughs for the picture, slightly larger than actual size:

Illustration Friday thumbnail

Comments and criticism are, as ever, welcome.

11 thoughts on “Illustration Friday: Fail

  1. You never cease to amaze me. You do Pauline Baynes proud. This is breathtaking – so detailed and clean! Did you make any mistakes? I always do when I use pen, but I can never spot yours in your finished work. I like the whole concept, the shading, the fact that it’s on a horn, her hair, and of course the vines. You are always exceptional when you do curly and intertwining designs. :)

    Suggestions for other side, if you want them: Aslan. Depending on your vision of things, he might have an arrow in his paw. Or Susan might be kneeling in front of him, or hugging him.

    (I reminisce: “Oh Aslan! Aslan!” It gets the same reaction from me as “Daddy, Oh, My Daddy!” in The Railway Children. That ecstatic beamishness.)

  2. Thought your name looked familiar. I was reading your blog for half an hour last night, but I don’t think I commented on anything.

    What initially struck me, after the figure and the delicate linework, was the perfection of the ends of the horn (particularly the left open end). I was staring at that for several minutes last night, trying to figure out how simple lines of ink could look so beautifully three-dimensional.

  3. It looks like etching to me. Very detailed works and very interesting design. I know it is a hard work but at the end you have a great work to impress people. Cool.

  4. Thankyou very much, all! Brine, that was one of the ideas I was going for, as if it were a representation of an artefact.

  5. Hi! Excellent illustration and thank you for tackling the interesting topic of Susan’s failure (Or C.S. Lewis’ failure?) Definitely a topic I’ve thought about quite a bit as I’m a huge fan of the books.

    I’m planning on incorporating an image of Susan’s horn into a tattoo I’m getting and I’ve been looking for illustrations everywhere. I absolutely love your work and wonder if I could have your permission to use this image for my tattoo?

    Thanks so much!

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