• Robert Martel


Spring is one of my most creative seasons of the year (Autumn being the other) when not only do I produce a fair amount of work, but often with new and very different subject matter and materials. With March just around the corner I thought I would dig a couple of older pieces out of the art vault before I drop out of sight for the next two months.

For the first piece--an ink and watercolour pencil illustration of Cuchulain, the great hero of Irish mythology--I referred to Alicia Austin's gorgeous piece found in Legends of Valor, the fifth book in the Time-Life Books series The Enchanted World (Brendan Lehane 1984, p. 6-7).

I remember being pleased with the piece at the time but now that look it my eyes keep returning to the poorly proportioned arms and the claw-like thumb on his left hand. In the end my illustration is a sad copy of Alicia Austin's beautiful piece. I suppose that is why I still enjoy looking at my piece, namely because it evokes the feeling I get when I sit and stare at Alicia Austin's stunning work.

Cuchulain after Alicia Austin, watercolour painting

The second piece is based on Scott Gustafson's wonderful rendering of the mischievous and playful Peter Pan. For this piece I did not refer to Gustafson's paintings from Peter Pan, published by Viking Books (1991), but to A Treasury of Children's Literature (Houghton Mifflin 1992, p. 195). I remember having difficulty with the face and neck but at the time I was simply too impatient to re-work the unsuccessful parts of my illustration. I am pleased with the watercolour work on Peter's tunic, as well as my overall rendering of the sword.

Peter Pan after Scott Gustafson, watercolour painting

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#copying #mistakes #PeterPan #Cuchulain #childrensbooks #AliciaAustin #Scott #Gustafson

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