Fables of the raccoon and rabbit

So despite my best intentions to share something every day I haven't posted for a week now! Part of it is that it takes time to add textures and come up with the stories, but the other part is I have been completely sucked in to CreativeLive classes. They are amazing and quite addictive! Kind of a coincidence but the one I listened in on today is Storytelling with Alex Blumberg and it was incredible (still one more day if anyone wants to catch it). 

So anyway, if you followed my last few posts you already had a peak into the colors and how I came up with the names for the fables, the storyteller and the beholder. Besides the final results I'm going to share today a bit of the backstory, what ideas inspired me originally, and initial sketches.

The original idea for the drawings was about guilty pleasures or more generally games that are not played in the open, and my name for it was "the player". For an animal to symbolize pleasure I first thought of the pig, then the cat, which brought me to the Cheshire cat and the story of Alice in Wonderland. At the same time guilty pleasures reminded me of the movie Amelie, for example how she liked simple pleasures of life and playing innocent pranks on people. Interestingly, in scenes from Amelie and Tim Burton's Alice you can see both rabbits and hats

There are many different types of games and guilty pleasures. In the case of Amelie, she saw the world through stories and hid behind her pranks and fantasy because she was used to living in isolation and afraid of connecting with the real world. I can very much relate to Amelie in that way. Creating fantasies has also been my way to escape unpleasant realities and sometimes it was a more comfortable place to live in.

Who says rabbit and hats typically says magic tricks and magicians. That got me thinking about illusions and the idea of using a fictional animal, like the rabbit who grows antlers, the jackalope! And with that picture of Amelie wearing the mask I couldn't help but consider the raccoon, perfect to evoke secrecy and a bit of banditry.

That's started to be a lot of animals! If you look trough the slideshow below I'm showing how I evolved the concept through writing and sketches. Eventually I saw an image of those painted board with holes that people can poke their through, and my mind went haha! That's how I can have all my characters into this drawing and still have it be simple.

I went through a few ideas as well for finding the opposite drawing. I thought of trying to create an illusion with the jackalope and a cactus, and I can't quite remember why but in my sketches I also toyed with adding a zebra. Eventually while looking through images of Alice's movie, I saw green screen photos and that helped me see the opposite to any story is what goes on backstage!  So what would you see if you flipped those tree boards around and saw the actual raccoon and rabbit? Suddenly the magic is gone, everything is out in the open and the raccoon loses his mask to glasses, so he actually see reality now. He's seeing with the understanding of what's going on... from a storyteller he became a beholder.

If you're interested, to come up with the new stories for the drawing I searched for quotes from Alice in Wonderland. Here are the ones that inspired me: "You, he said, are a terribly real thing in a terribly false world, and that, I believe, is why you are in so much pain." "I can't explain myself, I'm afraid, sir, because I'm not myself you see", and "It doesn't matter if you believe me or not, but common sense doesn't really work here. You're mad, I'm mad, we're all mad here."