The Illustration Friday topic this week was “electronic”, and since I’ve been regretting my (unavoidable) inability to enter the Folio Society illustration competition, my thoughts were on Diana Wynne Jones’s books, and the unexpected co-appearances of magic and more contemporary technologies.
So here is a Howl, of Howl’s Moving Castle, as loosely suggested by a scene that is in the book, but not the movie!
And here is the original piece, with my hand for scale.
This instalment of the Dalek Game is another Diana Wynne Jones Dalek! This time it is for the very splendid Howl’s Moving Castle, because a remote-controlled Dalek is the sort of thing Howl (book-Howl, not movie-Howl) would bring home, and this is how Sophie would react if not given time to adjust.
Please note the distinction between book-Howl and movie-Howl. I adore the Studio Ghibli movie. It is gorgeous, rich, odd, unexpected, breathtaking, enchanting, hysterical – all the things the book is, but in very different ways. Characters change sides, ages and genders, old ones disappear, new ones appear, the Castle grows legs and the fire demon becomes adorable (I’m okay with that).
The movie amps up the war themes and advances the technology but loses the John Donne riddles. It catches Sophie’s strength but not her power. And it perfectly renders the troubled, vain, flamboyant Howl, but leaves out the drunk, soccer-playing, fast-driving, computer-savvy side of his character.
I love this book very much, and it is almost time to watch a course of Welsh movies and find someone to read it to again.
After the sketchcrawl and the moleskine exchange, a quick and simple scratchboard illustration this week!
Sophy Hatter, putting Howl’s blue-and-silver suit back together again, after she cut it into little triangles to make a patchwork skirt, after it was stained but before it grew out of control. I was tracking down extracts of the book online (I’ve no idea who has my copy) and I’d forgotten how that suit is all through the book, right from Howl’s first appearance. And I remembered how much I liked it and how much I need to Read It Again Right Now (the movie is wonderful, but only really bears a resemblance to the plot of the book for the first half hour).
Seen in person, this is a very small illustration: 5.5cmx5.5cm (just over two inches square). The colour version (below) is about life-size, but you can see that larger on Flickr if you click on it.
I’m not sure about the black circle background yet. It is an effect I generally like (especially in chapter headers) but am still experimenting with. I think it might work better with an ink drawing or with at least a cleaner background. I’d like to do a more frenetic version of this picture as well – this is rather calm.