I just started reading Manalive, by Chesterton, the other day. The only other book I've read by him so far was The Man Who Was Thursday, and I just loved that one (enough to pick up this book.) And lo and behold, it has already inspired a sketch! I did have some wavy wind lines up top, but I regretted putting them down as soon as the ink touched the page, so I whited them out, haha.

So far, this is what happened in the story:

A few individuals at a boarding house in early 20th century England are going about their mundane, uninspired lives on one particularly windy day. After an especially strong gust, a large man wearing gray-green clothes lands in front of them. He had a large yellow Gladstone bag trailing behind him. I think there was a green umbrella involved too, now that I think about it. He is chasing after a hat, all-the-while saying some interesting things. All of a sudden, one of the boarding house individual's hats fly off and into the tree. The strange large man leaps up (impossibly so) and scales the tree. He retrieves the hat from the highest branches.

In the aftermath, one of the ladies at the boarding house makes a comment about him climbing tidily up the tree. He replies, "I wasn't climbing tidily up the tree; I was tidying up the tree!"

I love Chesterton's play with the language. Yeah! One of these days I'll have to do some sketches from The Man Who Was Thursday!


This another scene from The Once and Future King that just begged to be made into a visual.

For some backstory, you must know that King Pellinore spent a great chunk of his knighthood tracking down The Questing Beast, which was an intelligent and playful creature that possessed the head/neck of a serpent, the body of a leopard, the hind quarters of a lion, and the feet of a deer.

Later on in the book, Pellinore leaves his hunt to help out in other matters. The Q-Beast ends up tracking him. Meanwhile, Sir Palomides and Sir Grummore notice that King Pellinore is depressed after being separated from his new lady-interest. To cheer him up, they decide to masquerade as the Q-Beast in an attempt to get the king to give chase and raise his spirits.

The scenes of Grummore and Palomides discussing and constructing and testing out the costume are hilarious. As are the events that follow. Check it out!

OH, right! "Tantivy!" is apparently an old hunting cry from the Middle Ages. Fun!

Giving a Hoot

A scene from The Once and Future King that has stuck with me was the introduction of Archimedes. He's Merlyn's owly friend. I mean that he is an owl. I'm not sure that "owly" is an adjective otherwise.

Anyways, young Wart (Arthur), fresh after meeting Merlyn, is introduced to Archimedes inside Merlyn's scatter-cluttered cottage. To Wart's surprise, the owl can talk. And as he finds out, so can all animals! But Archimedes is rather shy until he warms up to you. So, while Wart and Merlyn go into a particularly interesting conversation, one forgets about the owl (since he is being rather sheepish. An owl being sheepish. A showl).

All of a sudden, Wart hears a voice in his ear: How d'you do?

And there is Archie (ohhh don't call them by any nicknames; they do take offense), playfully nibbling on Wart's ear lobe. At some point during the Merlyn/Wart conversation, he had warmed up to the newcomer, and decided to introduce himself. The way that the author described the surprise just stuck with me. Luckily, I have retained my child-like imagination and can perfectly imagine it, haha.

Hocus Joke-Us

You! Having trouble pulling some sort of item out of solid stone? Do you crave to experience swimming like a fish, or perhaps flying like a spar-hawk? Want to talk to animals? Then you'd probably love being tutored by Merlyn, right?

Merlyn, from T.H. White's The Once and Future King, is a sometimes-muddled and always-entertaining sort of wizard/tutor. Of course, he's the same "Merlin" from Arthurian legend. Only in White's version of the story, Merlyn ages reverse of everyone else. As the story progresses, he becomes younger. Interestingly enough, in the book Hyperion, which I have also read, there is "Merlin's Sickness," where the afflicted individual ages in reverse. I assume until they turn into a fetus? I can't remember the specifics; it has been a few years. I'm not getting any younger.

Anyway, when Wart (young pre-king Arthur) first happens upon our friendly wizard, Merlyn is trying to draw water from a well outside of his ramshackled cabin. The image kind of stuck in my head (as well as Merlyn's attire), so here it is! I'll have more sketches from this book (which I am currently reading) on the way, so check back!

Why'd It have To Be Snakes?

Thankfully, I've not been influenced by the Arnold movies. Conan the Barbarian is a brutal, yet surprisingly clever and tactical warrior. All of the short stories (that have been compiled into several volumes work, by Robert E. Howard) usually deal with Conan saving some exotic damsel from the clutches of an overly-large snake, so that's why I drew this baby. Conan is a pretty neat anti-hero. All the bad guys say "He's such a barbarian!" And then you see that the moral is that he is the most...civilized?... character in the story.

The volume I read was The Coming of Conan The Cimmerian, and it was actually pretty entertaining throughout. The timeline jumps around from petty theif Conan to ruler-king Conan and the settings jump all over the fictional land of Hyboria. Well, it is fictional, but Howard throws in a bunch of real countries just to give it enough relation to our world so that you think "Maybe these dudes did exist way back in the day." Lots of sword and scorcery. And "He looked at me funny, I'll punch him in the throat." It's pretty entertaining, haha.

Not that the movie "adaptations" weren't! The books are pretty classic, though. They're old! After all this magic and guts, I think one volume is enough to hold me over for a while, haha.

Dad's Ghost

This is from Matt Haig's "The Dead Fathers Club". The book is about an 11 year old kid, Philip, who's father has died in a car accident, appears to him as a ghost, and tells him that he's got to avenge his death before he gets caught as a ghost forever. That's the basic premise.

Upon reading the first chapter, it becomes evident that something is not quite right about the writing style in this book...then you realize that there is not one comma, apostrophe, or quotation mark in the entire book (ala Johnny Get Your Gun, sort of). However, it's great and I will tell you why I think so- Since the book is written from the point of view of a kid, the lack of pauses in the sentences make you read it in a way that sounds like an 11 would tell he story if he were talking to that's good.

Like an 11 year old kid, he's obsessed with certain things that are interesting to him- in particular, his pet fish and the Romans (whom he's been learning about in school). His class takes a field trip to Hadrian's Wall and must stay overnight. During the night, his father's ghost appears and tells him that his mother is in danger and that he must call her to get her out of the house. Philip reluctantly attempts to call with no answer. So, per his dead father's request, he steals one of the two school vans and attempts to drive it (a standard) the 4 hours back to his home to warn his mother in person. Of course, the teachers notice him leaving and chase him in the other school van and in a panic (and because he's 11 and driving a standard and being instructed by a ghost) he crashes the van into a tree. As the teacher is scolding him, he looks in the field beyond her and sees the ghosts of Roman peasants (not pictured because peasants are gross) toiling in the field and, among them, a fully armored Roman soldier. He zones out for a while and wonders if it's the ghost of Hadrian himself then gets a little excited about that and forgets that he's in massive amounts of trouble. The outcome: the school excuses his behavior on the premise that his dad just died and the kid should get a little slack. The moral: if your dad dies, you can do whatever you want. Also, ghosts are awesome.

The Doctor is In(sane)

Well, maybe not crazy...Maybe more "eccentric." Dr. Prunesquallor's laugh echoes in your head long after you put the book down. "Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha." The author (Peake) does such a great job of bringing out the uniqueness in each character of Titus Groan, it's amazing. The dear doctor is very much an intellectual. While he may seem aloof to many of the castle dwellers, his mind is always cranking away on something.

In this book, Steerpike seeks to weasel his way under the doctor's wing. By becoming the doctor's apprentice, he not only gets to learn from him, but increases his status in the castle and his influence over others. But this didn't escape the attention of the doctor, who figured something fishy was up with that kid.

This was the second sketch that I did that ended up being for this site (I haven't uploaded them in chronological order.) As I was drawing it, I thought "It would be neat to make a site where people could post skectches based on stuff they've read." That being said, this particular sketch was influence by the author's illustrations in the middle of the book. And I think Prunesquallor has a resemblance to Vash from Trigun, as well. Ha ha ha ha ha. But now I try not to let any illustrations (if any are present in the book) influence the sketches.

Oh Nice and Chubby BABBBBBY!

Nannie Slagg and the wee baby Titus are my next two explorations of the characters in Titus Groan, the first book in the Gormenghast Trilogy. And one day, I'll get a comment from someone who has actually read or heard of these books, haha.

Nannie Slagg is an extremely aged, tiny (note the proportions of her and the baby) wisp of a nursemaid whose duty is to watch over the heirs to the Groan estate. Namely, Fuschia and Titus. Mrs. Slagg is constantly fretting about everything (and nothing). She will let worry take over and lapse into a semi-comatose state. She says things like "Oh, my caution! Oh, my poor heart!" when feeling threatened or nervous. And pretty much anything makes her paranoid. So she says stuff like that a lot.

But she means well. Her poor heart completely belongs to the children and their upbringing. She is constantly concerned about her little Lordship, as she calls Titus.

Titus is the next-in-line heir to the Gormenghast throne. Such pressure for such a wee lad. The author, Mervyn Peake, made an interesting move in making the baby rather homely (but with wonderful eyes). And another noteworthy bit: The child never smiles, as if he is perpetually in a state of melancholy or concentration. You don't think of babies in that light, usually, right? Titus, being the titular character, is a focusing point for all the other denizens of the castle. They should all be affected by him; it is interesting to watch how people react to his existence. And I'm sure things will get even more interesting after he learns to talk, which I assume will happen in the next book in the trilogy!

And, before I forget, the title of this post is a reference to a line in one Animaniacs episode. If you know what I'm talking about, then you're laughing right now.