Sunday, April 29, 2012

Grimm Notes (see also: "Slithering, the Simplest of Gaits")

So if we're Facebook buddies, you already know about the recent call to artists which got me super excited. If not, here's the deal: in celebration of the 200th anniversary of published fairy tales by the brothers Grimm, the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House is asking artists to submit artwork springing from one of nine selected tales. How cool is that? On the one hand, these stories have centuries of illustration, tale re-imaginings and other artwork already, so what's new to say? And yet, they have also survived as long as they have, due to their complexity and weirdness. Of course, if you managed to come up with something intriguingly fresh, that would be a nice feather in your cap, right there...Even so, I ruled out a handful of their nine from ubiquity alone: Red Riding Hood, unless you knock on my door with a stunning basket of goodies, I'm SO not venturing near your Grandma's house.

Flipside: The White Snake is new to me and up my alley. Insight and power through transgressive eating! Talking animals! False accusations! I am about half-done the initial sketch for a prospective design. In some ways I love it, but worry it's a little too classic-leaning. It'll be a larger woodblock, with lots of carving details and possibly some hand-coloring post-print. Other notions are floating around my noggin; I'm currently in this sketch's pacing stage. Half of it is taped across the dining room table and I keep walking past, glancing over as if it's some person I'm trying to assess for conversational interest.

This is also the image gathering stage, which is meandering, but ultimately fruitful.

The hair band: surprisingly difficult to weed out. Heh.
I won't lie: the image searches for snakes and ants had me cringing numerous times, especially given a recent rise in popularity for my house as an ant destination. Luckily not snakes. Please no snakes, I say, just as I recently said please not the transmission. Hmm,  going that route, my next actual house problem could grandly surpass the snake worry... Hobgoblins, here we come!

Other Crittery Tidbits:
A search on snake scales yielded a study about "Limbless Locomotion," which has a great ring, doesn't it?

Figure 1.  How do land animals move without legs? Limbless animals tend to be long and slender, such as the corn snake shown above. One benefit this gives them is the ability to hide in narrow spaces under branches and leaves.  To move along flat ground, snakes use a variety of limbless "gaits" analogous to a horse's walk, trot and gallop. We study here the simplest of the snake's gaits, slithering.

Please consult figure 4 for my favorite part, "Enveloped in Cloth." Hee.

A raven search yielded a man's interesting blog post about a raven warning him away from danger.

Ravens also led me to some good photos posted on a pigeon forum; riiiiight, if Bert were real, he'd totally be on here! I was lured in by the novelty of it. The pigeon fanciers have the expected discussions -- common pigeon diseases, where are you in training your young bird, "Hall of Love" photo memorials, etc. Plus, it totally schooled me on one of those things I knew nothing about but was weirdly certain of: namely that pigeon racing exists. It's alive and well and at least a few people are out there "Looking for some good white racing pigeons..." Ginger: mea culpa, my apologies, you're totally right, pigeons are raced. But you knew that already...

Will post design photos when farther along...

Good Night and Happy Week, Everyone!


  1. If you want to talk snakes sometime, let me know... there's more to snake-dom than just the pet-trade albino boas... for instance there's the elephant trunk file snake, which is as close as a real snake gets to looking like a Muppet... you could check out Harry Greene's wonderful book with great pictures (you'll get fewer pet-trade or hair-band pics, for sure)...

    (trying not to sound overly-enthusiastic about snakes... and failing, I fear)

    Anyway I'll go read the story, as I have never heard of it before. Good luck to you!

    (and sorry for gumming up your comments by going back to fix typos. sheesh!)

  2. Hi Jennifer! I am SO sorry for the lack of response. I applaud your enthusiasm! I must confess that the snake aspect of the sketch so far does not win points for loyalty to a specific breed...or accuracy. But! Have also been thinking of an alternate design, so it may behoove me to see if Harry Greene's snake book is in the library. Thanks so much and hope you are well!