Monday, January 11, 2016

A Dream is a Wish Your Brain Makes

Once upon a time, nearly three years ago, I had a dream about the Hunger Games.  It was an alternate ending, where Katniss and Gale fled District 12 and lived in the wild.  They escaped by going down some stairs next to the highway, into the woods.  But that detail is irrelevant to this story.

Now, this next part will also seem irrelevant but just go with me.  One of my favorite artists in the whole history of art is N.C. Wyeth, an American illustrator.  And one of my favorite paintings is an illustration he did for Robert Louis Stevenson's The Black Arrow, of trackers in the snow:

So beautiful, misty and silent.  Can't you just feel the cold?

(If you want to see some other glorious N.C. Wyeth illustrations, check out the Scribner's illustrated editions of Kidnapped, Treasure Island and Robin Hood.)

Now where was I? 

Well.  I had this idea, some three years ago, to illustrate my Katniss and Gale dream as my own version of the trackers in the snow.  I immediately sketched out a very tiny doodle, and...that was it.

It's been on my yearly goals list ever since but always went undone.  Why?  Well, procrastination covers many excuses.  In this case it was covering my fear.  Yes, I admit to being too afraid to even start this project.  I had many extremely valid concerns, such as: What if it turned out terrible?  What if it was hideous?  What if I had to give up?  What if it was hideous?!

So instead of trying, I put it off.  You know, until some future day when I woke up to find my skill set had miraculously expanded to include N.C. Wyeth impersonation.  

But last month, in a rare moment of uncharacteristically reckless courage I thought to myself WHY am I waiting and WHAT am I waiting for?  I said to myself, Kyle, no more waiting!  It's time for doing!

And so, I did it:  

(And yes, my ridiculous inner critic whines about how no one would mistake it for an N.C. Wyeth painting.  I shush it by examining the bow and arrow, whilst nodding contentedly.)

I persevered through the ugly phase(s), I pretended to know what I was doing, I agonized over basically everything.  But mostly I just worked.  And isn't it strange how if you just do a thing, it will get done and you can say hurray and eat a celebratory milkshake?  

There's probably a life lesson in here somewhere.


  1. It's fantastic! I can't get over all the little bits and all the big bits. The background, the bow, the posture, the foggy breath. Post it on the art blog!