Severian rescues the dog, Triskele.
The latest in my slow, long-term project to illustrate one of my favourite SF novel series, The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe. This is the process journal for this piece.
...I laid my dog on a client's bed and cleaned him as well as I could with sponges I had carried down from the examination room.
Under the crusted blood his fur was short, stiff, and tawny. His tail had been cut so short that what remained was wider than it was long. His ears had been cut almost completely away, leaving only stiff points shorter than the first joint of my thumb. [...] His right foreleg was gone -- the upper half crushed to a pulp. I cut it away after I had sutured up his chest as well as I could, and it began to bleed again. I found the artery and tied it, then folded the skin under (as Master Palaemon had taught us) to make a neat stump.
Triskele licked my hand from time to time as I worked...
—The Shadow of the Torturer, chapter 4 'Triskele',
by Gene Wolfe (The Book of the New Sun)
Morwenna's execution — a scene from the science-fiction series The Book of the New Sun, by Gene Wolfe.
This is my process journal from concept to finished painting.
Morwenna whispered, "Will it be over soon?"
"It is almost over now." I had seated her on the block again, and was picking up my sword. "Close your eyes. Try to remember that almost everyone who has ever lived has died, even the Conciliator, who will rise as the New Sun."
Her pale, long-lashed eyelids fell, and she did not see the upraised sword. The flash of steel silenced the crowd again, and when the full hush had come, I brought the flat of my blade down upon her thighs...
—The Claw of the Conciliator, chapter 4, by Gene Wolfe
Well, it's been a long time.
What began as a small break in November 2021 (after Inktober) turned into an art drought about four months long, through Christmas and into this year. Unanticipated, and completely unwanted -- but, there it was. A whole lot of insecurities and old, unhelpful thought patterns reared their heads again. Add to the mix various IRL transitions and changes that were unrelated to art, but still influenced my life and state of mind.
So there I was, staring at an artist's block, unable to draw let alone sit down at the drawing table. And feeling a lot of angst about "did I make a mistake to take a break from art?", "why is it so hard to pick it up again?" and "is this block going to last for years, just like the last time?"
But a change came in mid-March. I'm not sure what unblocked me; I'm sure there were many contributing factors. One factor might've been making peace with not making art for now, and just enjoying that as a break. Another might've been calling this phase as what it is: a pause (albeit longer than expected), not a permanent end.
Whatever it was, I gradually returned first to drawing something, and then drawing regularly, and by the end of March, I was completely in the groove of making art again. It really felt like a drought breaking: the old habits and joys, the rush and the high of drawing something, anything, and the anticipation of "I want to do this again tomorrow!" -- all these came flooding back in.
I'm back now. And it feels good to be here again.
Currently, I'm resuming my usual drawing schedule and posting on social media again. I'm not sure what shape the Art Dispatch will look like this year: it might not be weekly anymore, but I hope to update regularly. We'll see!
The first two drawings I made on the way to breaking the drought. Familiar faces, and easy to draw -- of course it'll be my OCs, Vega and Zhael.
I made it to the end of Inktober! What a challenging and fun ride it's been. It's also a good time to take a short hiatus.
Still October: still Inktober and Drawabox. I've now hit my stride for Inktober, while striving to maintain an open, exploratory mindset for those drawings.
How are we already halfway through October!? This will be a quick Dispatch, because it's Inktober all month, all the time -- with a bit of Drawabox on the side.