121/365 drawings: the Princess and the Trolls by John Bauer

The stimulus was ‘from a place I would like to go, but have never been’ which was a great way to do a lot of armchair travel. I looked up a lot of Iceland’s folklore, monsters and cryptids. There was a bleak sort of creature – like a type of ghost. I can’t find the link that described it and maybe it was a terrible dream? In essence, it’s a bird with the head of a baby’s skull. It comes about when a mother abandons her child in a black lava field. This was much too bleak.

I much preferred reading about the ‘hidden folk‘, Iceland’s elves. I can’t find the specific page where I read about them and found the image I used as a reference here. Using reverse image search, it seems to be commonly used and not necessarily Icelandic (John Bauer, the original artist, is Swedish). But a belief in elves is very Icelandic. They are thought to live in rocks, which is why Icelandic people do not want to disturb rocks or throw them. I like the myths of other countries. For example, Ireland has giants and having run around the rough edges of the Irish countryside, I feel like I get it. I see why this belief exists. I wonder if the belief in elves makes people want to leave nature alone, respect and conserve it. In that way, it’s not unlike the Australian Indigenous ideas of the land, its spirits and the need to show it care and respect.

This was so much fun to draw: strange, hairy creatures, furry cloaks, a glowing tiny girl, bright beads. I used a rougher, sketchy approach instead of the cleanest lines I can achieve, especially for the character at far left. I’m happy with the hands in particular. I like the glow of the tiny princess and the way the character at far right is holding its body and looking towards the viewer. So much fun! Stimulus: from a place I want to go where I haven’t been. Time: 60 minutes.

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