Today’s Muse is Jonna Jinton, a Swedish artist who celebrates the winter and who has me convinced she’s actually a fairy. Her cinematography and artistic eye are absolutely breathtaking.
I especially love her singing ice recordings. They remind me of Connecticut in the wintertime, when I’d go out to listen to the river ice crack. It’s such a peaceful, ethereal experience to sit in the dark and listen to the ice sounds.
One of my favorite dates with my husband was a trip out to the boat launch at Lake Lillinonah, where we sat in the truck bed with sleeping bags and hot cocoa to look up at the stars and listen to the ice.
Today’s sketches were inspired by “Elliot,” the novel I’m writing now. Elliot is the second prequel to the Keepers of the Wellsprings series after “Mya.” It’s about a boy who can shapeshift into a fox and travel through the Dreaming to places all over the world.
This week’s Friday Fantasy focuses on one of my most favorite influences: Brian Froud, who was behind the design of my favorite movie growing up, Labyrinth. Except I was always annoyed that the one appearance of fairies in that movie was so short! And Hoggle was fumigating them! If you’ve seen Labyrinth, did you ever notice that Jareth mistakenly calls Hoggle Hogwart at one point? This was way before Harry Potter came out.
His were the first illustrations that really inspired me to start drawing fairies, too. I loved how real and earthy the fae in his drawings seemed. The first book I got of his was his paperback “Faeries” way back in the 1990s. I loved that book forever, until it finally gave out and pages started falling out of it. Then I got the 25th anniversary edition, but I still kept the old, tattered one. I still look through it often, and every time I do notice new, glorious details mixed in with the familiar ones.
This month I’ve been reviewing chapters of my upcoming Call of Sunteri audiobook, and there’s a scene during Penny‘s narration where I couldn’t help but think of this Froud illustration:
Azi is trapped in the dreaming in the darkness, and she stumbles on a mysterious group of drained, fallen fae who are desperate for her help.
Way back in 2011-2012, most of my days were filled with caring for my young son. Every Thursday, we’d go to the mall to see Rocknoceros and meet Daddy for lunch. One day I took a chance and did an illustration for Colonel Purple Turtle, a character in one of their songs. They loved it, and eventually it lead to my very first children’s book! That of course led to this video, which is only two minutes long but took months to prepare for and 10 hours to film! I did the drawing pages for Coach Cotton’s beginning stop-motion animation, the felt animation pieces, and the claymation figure at the end.
It was a huge learning experience and so much fun to collaborate with the guys in Rocknoceros. I even ended up painting a backdrop that was displayed at one of their shows in the Kennedy Center!
So my message for today is do some things for fun sometimes and dare to show them to the people who inspired you. You never know where it could lead!
Trekking Tuesday features journeys to interesting places which have played some part in inspiring my writing. Today, I’m inviting you to Candlewood Lake in Connecticut, where I grew up.
According to Natalie Clunan of Only in Your State, “In 1926 Connecticut Light and Power had a plan approved to construct a man-made reservoir to produce electric power. It took 26 months to build the dam, clear forests and flood more than 5,000 acres of land.”
The history of the lake is fascinating, and I invite you to read this article if you’re interested. According to them,
“…beneath the lake’s pristine surface, deep within its murky depths, were the remains of an old town called Jerusalem. The town had been flooded in the 1920s when the lake was made to help Connecticut Light & Power generate electricity. In addition to buildings and homes, the story goes, the town’s graveyard had been swallowed by the waters.”
My paternal grandfather was there when they flooded the land to create the lake, and I remember my maternal great-grandma telling me stories about what it was like before the lake was there. My family spent many, many weekends on Candlewood Lake. Family picnics on the beach, my dad waterskiing while my mom drove the boat, me and my sibling playing in the water together.
Today’s Monday Muse is author/illustrator and political cartoonist Chris Riddell. He has illustrated several books for one of my favorite authors, Neil Gaiman, and his style is very loose and free. I love watching his Instagram videos of free drawing in his sketchbooks. If you’re on Instagram, I definitely recommend visiting his feed to watch his drawings to music. @Chris_Riddell And me, of course. 😉 @m_sheldrake