Friday, May 01, 2009

Illustration Friday : "Hierarchy"

From my recent "Grimm and Other Folk Tales Exhibition" more information here.

From The Three Billy Goats Gruff : to see the original, exhaustively documented development post for this piece go here.

I enjoy imagining the troll's life, what he's like, and what's the hierarchy of the land. Obviously trolls eat goats, but the troll (upper class) is overthrown in the story by the goat (peasant) but is the troll necessarily the bad guy? Everything's got to eat something. Maybe he can't digest grass. All the same, I reject the school of thought that would subscribe to the inherent virtue of the under-privileged and the inherent vice of the privileged.

The troll is ultimately more interesting to me than the goat. Justin had an idea that maybe the troll lost a wager with a king and was cursed to live under the bridge.

I like to draw trolls and monsters. And if you were to ask I'd tell you that I'm pretty traditionally minded in regards to the depiction of trolls, dragons, and monsters. I don't like "fractured" fairy tales or deconstructionist retelling of classic stories. That being said, I can appreciate when a classic story is retold in the interest of looking at the story or characters in a different light -- not when it's done for jokes or poking fun at fairy tale conventions.

An idea I had about the story (and this is something of a digression here) is maybe the troll is the protagonist of the story, not the goats. The troll is reputable, clean, and decent. He owns the bridge, owns the land. He tends for it, cares for it, but these interlopers, these reckless, filthy goats unseat him and squat, ultimately ruining the land and moving on when its worthless. (Admittedly this probably has something to do with my own thoughts on order and decency as opposed to the Marxist notion of the inherent virtue of the under-privileged and the inherent vice of the privileged.)

Ultimately this is not the route I chose to go with for the piece, I went with the traditional. Though in my piece the troll isn't bad, just annoyed.

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The Troll
from The Three Billy Goats

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Unrelatedly, if you like, check out my most recent project! : Terrible Yellow Eyes


16 comments:

Connie said...

A fabulous illustration in any case.

Darcy Melton said...

Wow. I love this. This is one of my favorite stories from my childhood. I had forgotten about it! Beautiful!

kathy hare said...

Amazing, a beautiful image..

DEB said...

This was my son's all time favorite fairy tale!

murphy girl said...

a fabulous sky and charming goat!

Bee said...

Fantastic illustration, love everything about it. Also a fan of the Grimms tales and this one in particular...although I do like your reworking of it too!

Katie White said...

Very wonderful image. Why does the troll in all its beastliness hide under a bridge? It could live anywhere. Again, wonderfully done.

Cathy said...

Fantastic, atmospheric illustration - love it! I once illustrated a book about a troll who was so upset at the way trolls were portrayed in 'The Three Billy Goats Gruff' that he became vegetarian!

eyecontact said...

Wonderful style. Great texture.

Sherry Rogers said...

Man oh man do I love the feel of this one. . .very dark and emotion filled. The face is awesome!

Beatrice said...

Very, very cool. I'm a big fan of traditional fairy tales.

rmsmi said...

Man. That is pretty awesome. The troll sort of reminds me of George Washington which makes it that much more interesting.

David Kow said...

so great!!!

Lynne Chapman said...

Great illustration. It's always hard I think, tackling a classic that's been done so many times before, but this is wonderfully original and really beautiful.

Lori said...

beautiful image ,unique

CATI said...

oh! I love this illustration!! I love the donkey and the troll looks so nice too!