Sunday, October 09, 2005

Illustration Friday - Lost - dragon and jackdaw

The Illustration Friday Topic is 'Lost' this week.
I already had an image in my portfolio that I felt summed up Lost; the Runaway Dragon , which i've posted below. However , I wanted to do something else for the theme.



Initially i was thinking of quickly doing something like being shipwrecked ona desert island but i thought this was a bit of cliché and i wanted to stretch the topic.

Then i thought about doing some keys or similar essential item that always seems to get lost no matter how organised the person is.

The keys idea made me think of jewellery and rings and losing things by theft. This made me think of jackdaws, which have the reputation of being very 'light-beaked' and fond of glittery things.

Jackdaws were often used in Victorian tales where something valuable went missing and low and behold the culprit was a jackdaw and not the wrongly accused skivvy. One famous gothic poem with the theiving jackdaw theme is the Jackdaw of Rheims, by Thomas Ingoldsby (penname of R.H. Barham.)

The illustration below is the jackdaw with a stolen ring - he's a little bit scruffy but not in the final sorry state of the Jackdaw of Rheims.
When i was young , my gran used to call them 'thieving jackdaws' all the time and for a while i thought 'thieving' was part of the name , like pied wagtail.

Jackdaws Corvus monedula are members of the crow family and like other crows can be taught to 'talk'. They are quite intelligent birds and they are very attracted to shiny things which gives rise to their reputation for theft.

Jackdaws used to be fond of living in chimneys which is why they were on hand to steal from humans. Bird authorities say that their reputation is undeserved and that no jewellery has been found in jackdaw's nests -however their reputation as thieves lingers on.





13 comments:

andrea said...

My son will love these -- particularly the poor lost dragon.

carla said...

I love both of these! The dragon illustration is just wonderful...he looks so cold and wet and sad, and the huge trunks and greens around him really do make him look lost in the forest. The jackdaw..well, that's just superb. I love the story and your little bit about thinking its whole name was theivin' jackdaw! I had a black cat once who had a real attraction to jewlery and would often be caught dragging my gold necklaces under the bed. We used to call him Swampo the Cat Burglar.

blondivontrap said...

I particularly like the contrast of the gold & blue ring against the black & white of the Jackdaw, but I also really like the cheeky look he's giving, just to see if he's being watched.

Tony Sarrecchia said...

The dragon looks so sad. Nice work.

isay said...

I like both your illustrations! I like-how the dragon is making itself warm under the tree trunk and leaves and lit’ burning woods. i like how you have made the head of the jackclaw with its gray color and looking fluffy!

Rowantree said...

Beautiful illo, dragon look so sad !

Catnapping said...

I like both of these, but my favorite is the jackdaw...happy with his found prize.

Toni said...

I love the dragon and I also love when you tell your stories about your illustrations and the jackdaw is no exception.

Yolanda said...

Both the illustrations and the jackdaw story are just lovely

Anonymous said...

Love both images ... the bottom one is my favourite - cheeky bird :)

Alina Chau said...

Love both illos!! Great ideas!

Holly said...

This is excellent. I love the story that went with it. Interesting.

Aravis said...

Really beautiful work!