Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Giant in front of the gate!

TUUUUUUUUUU….!!! The sound of the gatekeeper’s horn was desperately piercing through the air above the roofs of tightly packed houses inside the city walls. 
“Giant at the gate! Giant at the gate! - a few boys where shouting while running through the narrow streets toward the little town’s central square. It was Saturday, the market day, and the square  was packed with farmers, market vendors and all sorts of people who came to the town  to sell, or to buy, the local products. Upon hearing the word “giant” the crowd froze, and for a long moment they stood motionlessly looking towards the city ramparts and the gate.
Through the morning fog and the settling dust, they just could discern a massive shape that resembled a tower. At first they thought that it was one of the city’s  towers near the gate, but soon they realized that if this was a tower, it was unknown to them and a quite strange one as well, for it was covered with a long white hair, and it was moving.
Finally realizing that the tower is in fact a huge giant, they suddenly, all at the same time, started to run in all directions. Men shouted, women screamed, children started to cry. The market booths were thrown upside down. Vegetables , fruit, eggs and chees, all were scattered all over the marketplace. Dogs bluffed, horses neighed and hens flew over the heads of the panicking market vendors. Not being able to decide who to safe first, their goods or themselves, they run in circles mostly with the hands stuck in their hair….
This is a passage (not yet corrected and polished by a native speaker) from one of my new book projects about Giants, titled The Giants are Coming. It is a kind of a side project (one of many side projects that I tend to complicate my life with), that I work on from time to time, especially when I get tired from the more "serious" stuff. I found out that, for me, the best way to deal with that kind of tiredness is the combination of three things: a good stroll through the nature, a good glass of cold Belgian beer (after a day of hard work, of course) and a piece of paper on which I can scribble another silly giant.
About the drawing – It started as a homage to John Bauer, a brilliant Swedish illustrator and painter, who has died much too young. Than the drawing got out of hand and I found myself writing a story inspired by this funny and unpretentious composition. Later on I decided to offer it as one of the proposals for a watercolor commission that I am about to start with. In any case, it will be also a part of the book on giants, as I just have mentioned.   


  1. Petar, this suddenly reminded me of Heinrich Kley, are you familiar with his work? He loves giants and grotesque creatures causing mischief in cities...

  2. Hi Jason,

    I am familiar with the work of Heinrich Kley, and although he is a brilliant draftsman, I was never able to fall in love with his style of drawing. My pantheon of Gods of drawing starts with Arthur Rackham.
    Thanks for your comment.

    By the way, your Eowyn entry was quite good and distinguished, but if only the anatomy of the Eowyn’s figure was slightly better, I would have included your piece in the top 5 as well. In other words, the development of the drawing skills is a crucial thing. I hope you don’t mind me saying this…


  3. Great drawing Petar ! I would love to see a bit more of that tower though.

  4. Thanks, Larry!
    But, what tower, what do you mean? I am about to turn this drawing into a painting, so if you think that I should do some corrections within the composition in order to improve it, please tell me so. It will be much appreciated. After all, the world that is depicted in the drawing is your world, too. In fact, I think this world of giants and goblins and fairies is the true home of your heart. Right? Or am I just projecting my own dreams onto you…?

    By the way, and quite honestly, I keep on thinking about your beautiful sketches of trolls, witches and goblins. I must buy one, soon. I will dive into the samples that you have posted on you blog and let you know. OK?

  5. Petar, thank you, I really do appreciate your input on my Eowyn piece. I spent a little time making improvements (which can be seen further down this page - The figure is probably still quite stiff, but at least some improvement I hope.

    I have a real struggle with time at the moment, juggling work and raising a child during the day. I made a decision to do my best and learn a lesson on each piece, and move onto new work with that lesson, rather than try to overwork and perfect the previous image. A tough choice but it gives me something to look forward to with each new assignment.

    My thanks to Jon Schindehette, you and all the other artists who give their valuable time to the art community!

  6. Petar - it looked to me as though there were a bit more to see on the tower or gate where your guy is blowing the horn. I see no problem with the composition or the design of your piece. It just looked to me like maybe you cropped the bottom of the picture a bit for ease of scanning - or maybe it is just me wishing to see more of an already complete picture. There was not crit intended. And of course I would be happy to add something else to your collection.

  7. Jason – The revised version of Eowyn is better in terms of anatomy and proportion, indeed. I find your decision not to work endlessly on the same piece, but to move onto the next one with the lesson from the previous one in your mind very wise. If you can look at your painting that is not entirely to your liking and not get crazy at the same time but rather move to another one, it will definitely save you many gray hair and effectively stimulate your further development. That is something I was never able to achieve. With me it was always “victory or death”, with each piece. This attitude brought me far, but not without a significant price that I’m still paying.

  8. Larry – Your remark has much sense, for before I started with this drawing I intended to show a bit more of that tower. But, as a consequence of my rather nonchalant approach to the start of the drawing, regarding the size of the paper and therefore the composition of the future drawing as well, the giant got out of hand and became too big, and therefore there was not enough space left for the tower. But when I finished the drawing I realized that I accidentally have achieved a subtle compositional thing that I would never have achieved if the paper I drew on was larger. That thing is a tightly cropped composition that helps the piece to become in some way a bit “strange” (for my feeling) and at the same time helps emphasize the most important elements of the composition, or the story. I must admit that I have inherited a classical approach to the composition, that often tends to prevent me to make a different and more interesting compositions. In the case of the giant drawing, by putting myself in a “narrow” situation, I was forced to be more inventive in order to save the composition from becoming a dull thing or a disaster. The funny thing is that the limitations we impose on ourselves, often appear to be our allies, instead of enemies.

  9. Petar - I agree. Anything we can do to get unexpected results is good and will help us make better pictures. I really like the idea that you are painting this one in watercolour. I can't wait to see it.

    Best wishes !