I would have liked to try this idea in scratchboard, but time did not permit and it is too cold to work at the large desk in the annex this time of year, this late at night. So this is a pencil sketch interfered with in Inkscape then coloured in Photoshop. I don’t like the roughness of the lines – I would prefer a cleaner, black and white image with hands that look less like an anteater’s claws.

I didn’t want to do something too maudlin or brooding or sentimental, so I decided to go with the idea of sleepers who are always lying around forgotten in old stories – waiting until they are needed or remembered. Arthur and Wenceslas and sleeping armies and ladies and castles and, on occasion, countries.

The line of poetry is from Walter de la Mare’s “All that’s past”:

Very old are the woods;
And the buds that break
Out of the brier’s boughs,
When March winds wake,
So old with their beauty are–
Oh, no man knows
Through what wild centuries
Roves back the rose.

Very old are the brooks;
And the rills that rise
Where snow sleeps cold beneath
The azure skies
Sing such a history
Of come and gone,
Their every drop is as wise
As Solomon.

Very old are we men;
Our dreams are tales
Told in dim Eden
By Eve’s nightingales;
We wake and whisper awhile,
But, the day gone by,
Silence and sleep like fields
Of amaranth lie.

So I may not have succeeded in being unsentimental :) I wasn’t thinking of the first verse when I drew this, but it may have been in the back of my mind along with certain lines from Prince Caspian.

Walt Bistline’s "Sleeping Knight" photograph used as reference.