Thinkin’ ’bout Thinkin’

05 I'm Aiken Drum

I’m very excited to see my artwork used in the video for the song Thinkin’ ’bout Thinkin’ by the band Cuz (Mike Watt and Sam Dook). The song was inspired, in part by, the story of Aiken Drum as told by Scottish poet William Nicholson.

This all came about after I sent Sam Dook a link to my Chantonbury Ring comic, inspired by his song The Wheel and the Ring.

The video was animated by artist Esther Springett.

Watch the video here.

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Many thanks to Sam and Esther for making this happen!

Dr H

One Girl Goes Hunting: Latest Artwork

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John Swogger has created brilliant new artwork for our joint project One Girl goes Hunting.

We’ve both talked before about the challenge of finding the right way of presenting the characters and the story on the page. John has done a tremendous amount of work drawing and redrawing Kat-ya and finding a way of recreating the cinematic sweep of Studio Ghibli animations on the page.

His latest images perfectly capture the Ghibli-style big skies and dynamic landscapes that first made me want to write One Girl… The action sequences look brilliant too, with John’s perfect pacing and layout drawing the reader into the story.

I could keep writing about John’s artwork, but I think you’d rather just look at it for yourselves…

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Noggin the Nog

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Drawing the Deskford Carnyx sent me off to hunt for two picture books – Noggin and the Ice Dragon, and Noggin and the Moon mouse by Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin. At a very young age I had seen the animated TV show, but my love of Noggin the Nog was confirmed by the picture books on our bookshelves (presumably bought in the 1960s for my older sister).

Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin are most famous for Bagpuss, Ivor the Engine and the soon to be revived Clangers. However, the Saga of Noggin the Nog, with its northern setting, its mountains and dragons and Viking ships, shields and helmets (as well as a liberal sprinkling of magic) really fired my imagination.

The stories were inspired by the Lewis Chessmen (on display in the British Museum). Thor Nogson, captain of the Guard, bears most similarity to these Norse carvings which date to c. AD 1200.

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Peter Firmin’s wonderful drawings show a wealth of research into Norse archaeology and imagery. The book cover art and the opening  titles on the animated films are decorated in the knots and swirls of Viking art with rune-style writing. In King of the Nogs we see a boat being built in the Viking clinker tradition. And (here’s the link with the Deskford Carnyx) the heralds in Noggin’s court play an instrument that is a relative of the carnyx – the lur.

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There are (knowing) anachronisms too. The clinker built Viking ship is loaded up with boiled eggs and cocoa from the village store (which looks like a 1960s grocers). The Nogs are also keen on a good cup of tea and a nice slice of hot buttered toast.

If you haven’t ever encountered Noggin the Nog I urge you to head over to the Dragons’ Friendly Society and the Smallfilms Treasury to find out more.

Top of my book wish list at the moment is Isabel Greenberg’s Encyclopedia of Early Earth. I can’t help thinking that my interest in this book is linked to my childhood love of Noggin, Nooka, Graculus the green bird and the strange northern landscapes of The Northlands.

Caveperson Days! or Way Back When

I have just discovered that one of my favourite Sesame Street sketches is widely available to watch online.

Sometimes called Caveperson Days, sometimes Caveman Days, the Sesame Street team have a lot of fun with furs, ug-speak and anachronisms. So suspend your archaeological knowledge, and go and enjoy Bert and Ernie bickering in cave-speak.

Plus you learn how to cross the street safely.

Click on the picture to watch Bert and Ernie in action.

Dr H