The Beginning of The Ender

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

In the future, mankind faces threat of attack from a bug-like alien race. To prepare for war, the government has started recruiting children to train to become war tacticians. At age six, children take an aptitude test in which passing means a ten-year training program on a space station.

In a society that only strongly disapproves of parents having more than two children, Ender Wiggin is born as a Third child, which causes him and his family a good deal of discomfort. It just so happens that Ender, even from the age of six, is an extremely bad-ass strategist.

The illustration above portrays a very young Ender. Every aspect of his education has been a trial since the government is always closely monitoring his abilities. His final "test" to be accepted into the academy was to be confronted by several older children who taunt Ender for being a Third and for "failing" his aptitude test. An educated shrouded in violence and war.

To assure that these children are removed as threats, six-year old Ender effectively neutralizes the leader of this pack to ensure that he would not be confronted again. This act gains him a pass into the next stage of his training.

The book is sometimes surprisingly violent, which is heightened by the fact that most of the characters are children. The book shows us a society that forces war upon children and really takes away their childhood and replaces it with tactics and service to "a greater cause."

Ender is constantly tested, harassed, and isolated from his peers, in hopes of "making him the perfect weapon" against the alien threat. Personal conflict, moral issues, war on all fronts.

It's a great book. I love it.

Underground Man

The Underground Man by Mick Jackson
Illustration by Blake Lagneaux

I finally started a Book Club (in January) and this quirky novel was our first pick. Great book - the main character was lots of fun. A child-like, geriatric aristocrat, "The Duke" is bewildered and fascinated by the workings of the world around him (which consists mostly of his home and a system of elaborate underground tunnels), and especially by the deterioration of his own body. The book chronicles his quest to get inside his own head ;)

The Duke's intricate comparisons between (and obsession with) maps and medical texts inspired my sketch.

More sketches to come as our Book Club progresses...

An Apple A Sketch

The Underground Man by Mick Jackson

The first page of the book started with the main character wondering what goes on inside an apple tree to make apples bloom. What sorts of intricate machinery sucks up ingredients from the soil and manufactures such a delightful little treat?

Well, I thought that was just perfect for a booksketch. Such an interesting idea for an illustration, and on the first page! I have a very good feeling about this book.

I kind of got carried away with this illustration. I'd say it took about eight hours to complete, colors and all.

Yes, I drew all of those leaves. I hope you appreciate them, Mick!