Your eyes deceive you not! TWO updates in two weeks! I don't remember the last time this happened.
My burnout-talk last week was partially prompted by stress from feeling like I've piled too much on my plate. I recently started working outside the home again, and losing 30 hours a week to a job while also juggling a lot of projects felt overhwhelming.
But I realized this week that I am, in fact, now free to turn down, among other things, commission work, which in all honesty I don't love doing but always feel obligated to because it makes $$. Now that I have a steady income again, I don't have to listen to the little voice telling me I should take on everything requested of me, and I told it "no" this week, and I don't feel guilty about it.
The truth is I find fanwork ten times more fulfilling than commission work and even sometimes full-on pro, published work, and when I have too much of the latter two and can't give time to the first, I get into a nasty rut and have trouble climbing out of it. One of the reasons the last page was messy is that I had spent most of my creative hours last week on somebody else's passion, and I didn't have much energy left for mine.
For this page I returned to a crisper inking style I haven't used in a while, to shake myself out of the laziness and fall in love with faces again, and I ditched the "thornbush" brush, which I didn't love as much as I thought I would, to return to a painterly depiction of the thicket. I love this scene; it's one of Taran's first truly fine moments. Though I don't feel quite back on game, yet, I like how this page came out much better than the previous (though I am grateful for all of your gracious and non-critical praise - I know some of the things I get picky over are barely noticeable to most, but they still bug me). Look at my boy in his Big Hero posing. He's so gorgeous here. <3
Love these panels, and this is probably the scene where I really started to root for Taran. I loved this aspect of his character and as we know it would have far-reaching implications down the line.
We see glimmers of his goodness throughout - you could say that his refusal to kill Gurgi when begged to do so is a bit of foreshadowing of this moment; his heart told him it was wrong and then the extra compassion he learns from Medwyn gives him the courage to stand up to Doli in a situation where the dwarf’s solution makes more practical sense. It’s such a character-defining moment! And with typical Alexandrian simplicity the story just whizzes right through it. I love getting the chance to slow it down.
I'm glad you're back for real! And the angles really emphasize the character dynamic there.
Thanks! Yep, dramatic angles all the way here!
Awesome tense moment!
That top panel is great and I love the art style on this page.
Thanks - yeah, it was about time I came back to this style; it helps me clean things up.
The "acting" on this page is really great.
Glad you think so!
Although everyone gets burned out every once in a while, I had no doubt it would be temporary for you.. you love this stuff too much, and there is too much of your heart and soul in it.
Yes Taran is having one of his finest hours here!! Young Taran, at least, has never been handsomer, or more noble...and Eilonwy is so impressed. 😉
Hahaha yes she is. He’s finally showing the boy she wants him to be, and neither of them even know it. Love this dynamic.
I love it! When Ts character comes through. We see the glimpse of who he is becoming and the values he holds closest to his heart.
Those good parenting moments.
Glad you are finding balance and getting settled. Lots of new things going on!
So happy you will finish this project.
It is a good parenting moment isn’t it? If this were my kid I’d be busting.
Great Belin!! Two updates in two weeks!!
I love, love, love the expressions. Fflewddur's face in the first panel screams, "Wait. What is going on?" (Although I also thought, after the fact, that he sort of has an expression as if he were wondering if he could let out a fart without anyone noticing. This is actually a compliment, I swear!!!)
Doli's utter disbelief bordering on fear that he's dealing with a crazy person and now has ANOTHER problem on his hands.
Then Fflewddur's almost blank shock, and E's confused "fish gape" also expressing disbelief with a touch of admiration and a feeling of her heart going out to Taran.
Taran's nervous and questioning resolve while swallowing his hear, however, takes the cake. Amazing.
Not gonna lie, Doli’s expression is one I have felt on my face reading certain things over the last few years. That horrified realization that yes, this person really is this willfully ignorant/stubborn/ludicrously prone to conspiracy theory…I’m afraid I have no poker face so it’s a good thing I’m usually not having these encounters face to face. Poor Doli, I so empathize - even though he’s wrong here.
Taran’s expression is my fave though. It didn’t occur to me until laying out the page that the situation could be as tense as his needing to physically defend the gwythaint from Doli, who despite his stature could doubtless win any conflict with him at this point, but just the hint of what could have happened - or at least what Taran is prepared to do, even if Doli never would have gone that far - really adds to the drama.
wOw...gorgeous page again. And Congrats on getting two out so fast!
I don't know that there is anything I can point out that someone else hasn't already, so I'll just say it looks lovely and leave it at that. Gotta add I love that "gulp"... :)
Thanks Peter! I appreciate that you always take the time to comment, even briefly. :)
No problem! As a young and very much less skilled artist, I always get a little thrill when someone notices my work and compliments it, especially if it is someone I don't already know personally...cause then I know its genuine. :)
Wow, so happy to see a new page! After that last post, I was thinking you'd take a serious (perhaps permanent) break. Glad you figured out some of the work/life imbalance that was leading to burnout.
Love the expressions. It feels like you have more fun with Doli's expressions than with any other party member's.
Oh I won’t ever take a permanent break - I am determined to see this book through to the end, and I will never leave fandom. If I’m ever silent for more than a year, you can reliably assume I’m dead.
Doli’s not being human, and being played mostly for comedy, make his face more flexible, haha.
A lot of people I talk to who have this series (or seen the movie) are really critical of Taran in the early books because of how full of himself he can come off as being. And while yeah, he had a lot to learn, moments like this make it hard for me to take those kinds of comments seriously. Taran's a good kid and always was. One of my favorite childhood heroes.
I feel like your series is doing him justice! :)
In fairness, he’s definitely obnoxious many times in the first couple of books - what teenage boy isn’t? That’s what makes them so relatable, and gives him a starting point for the arc he undergoes until the end. I think it’s a bit odd that people expect so much more of him from the first story. He’s a flawed hero but his heart is in the right place - like Huck Finn or Harry Potter.
Amen to that, too. Love the character development Taran goes through. Wish they had explored that aspect (and others...) more in the movie.
The quality of mercy is not strain’d,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
‘Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God’s
When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
That, in the course of justice, none of us
Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy;
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy. I have spoke thus much
To mitigate the justice of thy plea;
Which if thou follow, this strict court of Venice
Must needs give sentence ‘gainst the merchant there.
-The Merchant of Venice, Act IV, Scene I, William Shakespeare
Mercy is an oft neglected virtue in the eyes of those who seek to rule or to punish, but it is one that belongs to all: the young, the old, the weak, the poor, the wealthy and the powerful. Without it we become shadows of ourselves and cast darkness where it belongs not, both to the world around us and within our own souls.
Taran is a reminder to all who learn of him that virtues and principles are important to maintain even in the face of hardship or at the threat of one's very own life. Being practical is beneficial in many circumstances, but the choice of life or death for any living thing is a heavy burden to bear when approached casually. Where there is life, there is hope.
Ah, good quote, sublime, even!
And of course there’s always: “Many live that deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement.” Etc.
Where would be be without our Authors, I say.
I do confess that particular quote of Tolkien's has always resonated with me, probably most notably because Bilbo's pity and Gandalf's acknowledgement that Gollum's purpose may yet prove to be beneficial helped solidify my own principles relatively early in my childhood. As with Lloyd Alexander's works, and many others, I believe that the dispensing of wisdom through fiction is an invaluable tool for educating children and helping them learn early the values that will make them well balanced, respectful, grateful, happy and productive people when they grow up.
Amen ... and in Taran's case he is overcoming fear of serious harm AND, which can be worse for someone his age, fear of disapproval from everyone around him.
The ideals of mercy and forgiveness are most strongly associated, at least in the Western imagination, with Christianity at its best, but there are also secular ethical philosophies that equally require those qualities. Utilitarianism makes the minimization of suffering a terminal value, which means that doing harm, in self-defense or as punishment, can only be justified when it can realistically be expected to prevent greater harms in the future. My current favorite work of fiction, Eliezer Yudkowsky's fan-fic Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, makes this point in two of my most-loved passages. First this, from Chapter 85:
Sometimes Harry thought the deepest split in his personality wasn't anything to do with his dark side; rather it was the divide between the altruistic and forgiving Abstract Reasoning Harry, versus the frustrated and angry Harry In The Moment.
There was a step beyond Abstract Reasoning Harry which he could take, given time enough to compose himself and the right surroundings; something beyond Abstract Reasoning Harry, as that was beyond Harry In The Moment. Looking up at the stars, you could try to imagine what the distant descendants of humanity would think of your dilemma - in a hundred million years, when the stars would have spun through great galactic movements into entirely new positions, every constellation scattered. It was an elementary theorem of probability that if you knew what your answer would be after updating on future evidence, you ought to adopt that answer right now. If you knew your destination, you were already there. And by analogy, if not quite by theorem, if you could guess what the descendants of humanity would think of something, you ought to go ahead and take that as your own best guess.
From that vantage point the idea of killing [spoiler redacted] seemed a lot less appealing than it had a few hours earlier. Even if you had to do it, even if you knew for a solid fact that it would be the best thing for magical Britain and that the complete Story of Time would look worse if you didn't do it... even as a necessity, the deaths of sentient beings would still be a tragedy. One more element of the sorrows of Earth; the Most Ancient Earth from which everything had begun, long ago and far away, ever so long ago.
He is not like Grindelwald. There is nothing human left in him. Him you must destroy. Save your fury for that, and that alone -
Harry shook his head slightly, tilting the stars a little in his vision, as he lay on the stone floor looking upward and outward and forward in time. Even if Dumbledore was right, and the true enemy was utterly mad and evil... in a hundred million years the organic lifeform known as Lord Voldemort probably wouldn't seem much different from all the other bewildered children of Ancient Earth. Whatever Lord Voldemort had done to himself, whatever Dark rituals seemed so horribly irrevocable on a merely human scale, it wouldn't be beyond curing with the technology of a hundred million years. Killing him, even if you had to do it to save the lives of others, would be just one more death for future sentient beings to be sad about. How could you look up at the stars, and believe anything else?
And this one, from Chapter 115. It's a bit spoilery, but the fact that Harry defeats Voldemort in the end isn't much of a spoiler in a non-grimdark HP fan-fic, and the fact that Harry is very different from canon!Harry because of something Voldemort did to make him that way isn't much of a spoiler in an alternate-universe fan-fic based around a stronger, smarter version of Harry, either. Here it is:
Harry looked back up at the stars. Here below the atmosphere the stars twinkled, they were embedded in the false dome of the night sky, stretched out across the wash of the Milky Way that glowed like a long ribbon, as if they were all close enough that you could fly up to them on a broomstick and touch them.
What would they want him to do now at this juncture, the children's children's children?
The answer to that also felt obvious, if it wasn't just the part of Harry that still cared about Professor Quirrell doing the real talking.
Harry had needed to do the thing he'd done, it had prevented greater evils, Harry couldn't have stopped Voldemort if the Death Eaters had fired first. But that thing Harry had done wasn't something that could be balanced by a not-necessary tragedy happening to one more sentient being, even if that being was Voldemort. It would just be one more element of the sorrows of ancient Earth so long ago.
The past was past. You did what you had to do, and you didn't do one scrap of harm more than that. Not even to balance things out, and make it all symmetrical.
The children's children's children wouldn't want Voldemort to die, even if his minions had. They wouldn't want Voldemort to hurt, if it didn't accomplish anything compared to him not hurting.
Harry breathed deeply, and let go of - not his hate - not quite his hate - he hadn't been able to hate his creator even at the very end - but even so, Harry let go of something. Of the sense that he ought to hate Voldemort, that it was a hate he was obligated to feel, for the endless list of crimes that Voldemort had committed for no good reason, not even his own happiness...
It's all right, the stars whispered down at him. It's all right not to hate him. It doesn't make you a bad person.
Well-written. I'm not enough of a Potter fan to seek out fic, but I can see why you appreciate this one so much.
Love your reply, Thracecius. I know I'm trying to have that quality of mercy in the story I'm writing. With some sorrow and high adventure, of course, but still going to have that in there.
Thank you kindly, Smoit, the world can use more authors who advocate for mercy, which is not always an easy thing to offer or render appropriae
If you finishver decide to share your work online, please let us know where we can read it. I could always use a tale of high adventure with all it's trappings (sorrow, romance, swashbuckling, etc.). There's too few real adventure stories these days it seems, at least in the movies. Everyone seems to want super heroes and grim dark "realism". Give me Indiana Jones, or Krull, or The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, or even something slightly more modern, like Secondhand Lions, any day of the week. :)
Is this the first time that Fflewddur does not intervene to stop the in-fighting among the kids? What a difference an axe can make!
BTW, where is Hen Wen? Didn't Taran tell Eilonwy to hold her leash?
Fflewddur has a response next page, right now he is stunned that this is even an argument, because he is more inclined to agree with Doli and thinks maybe Taran is being crazy here.
Eilonwy handed Hen’s rope off to Gurgi, who was absolutely not interested in seeing the gwythaint up close.
(NotTheHarp) running your own office or having a job are two totally different worlds. It is hard to say no and to balance when you have enough for a certain period. I do a lot of repair work and i can hardly say no for new jobs, always afraid somehow the work will not come at some point. I put a lot of effort in learning to plan and to schedule work this last two years. Still, agenda is a mess now and then. If so, i really have to keep myself from grabbing a guitar and just play to forget haha!
Nice you put a new page so quick! And a nice one! Indeed his first scene where he lifts himself above the the average Prydainian assistent pig keeper!
I love this. It's beautiful. :)
I love the calm determination on Taran's face.
Nice Taran portrait here!
Wonderful scene of Taran facing Doli! I always thought it was so neat how he wanted to raise the Gwythaint, perhaps to tame it away from Arawn. Remembering what Medwyn said about them... Was it Medwyn who mentioned it? Darn it, Robert E. Howard has distracted me from my goals of re-reading TCoP with Conan!
Yea, it was Medwyn who told him their history and he’ll reference that in a little bit.
Been reading the books at a crawl and found these out of the blue, what I nice surprize. Didn't expect to see fan activity like, currently!
These improved QUICKLY too!
There’s plenty of fan activity! Sadly about 3/4 of it come from me, at least at the moment - but between fanfiction and art over the years, the series is more solidly represented than you might expect. Hope you’re enjoying the read!
These are wonderful!!! Thank u for making this story into comic form I love it and you are soo talented!!!
These are beautiful! Love this book series I can't wait to see more!!! You are very talented!!
Thanks so much, I'm glad you are enjoying it!
Such a moment of bravery for Taran.
Remember this is before he was "Dear old Doli" He was a new comer and a powerful unknown. For Taran to stand up to him like this is a true defining moment for his character.
You captured perfectly the emotion of "Completely terrified but I'm going to do the right thing anyway" Good Job!
That's true, and so far Doli has been nothing but cantankerous and belligerent, so Taran really does take a big risk here - or at least believes he does, which is just as good.
I didn't realize you were updating again! Welcome back! I feel you on the burnout on long-term projects and sacrificing your time to other people as opposed to pursuing creative pursuits you love and care about. I'm glad you've been able to find a balance and wish you the best of luck on the new job. The art is absolutely lovely as always and the panel of Taran with the low-end perspective is BRILLIANT to show this hapless tween intimidating a hardened dwarf warrior because he knows what's right. I also love the panel with Eilonwy and Fflewddur witnessing this moment of character from him. You can tell behind the eyes, they're recalculating their assessments of him and that's so hard to convey, but you nailed it.
I also wanted to say thank you for the inspiration to take up digital art! I've been a fan of this comic for *years* - I remember checking for updates while waiting for my mom to pick me up from piano lessons in high school and now I'm a senior in college which is insane, but I finally got my hands on a drawing tablet this summer. I've always really loved your style and wanted to learn from it and the Chronicles of Prydain are part of what inspired me to start writing my own stories, so this is a comfort comic for me in many ways. Your dedication to completing this project is nothing short of staggeringly impressive and I'm happy to await every update. Take the time you need for yourself! The story (and your loyal readers) will be waiting for when you feel up to it.
Oh this is so nice to hear - congrats on making it through school, on your own creative pursuits, and thank you so much for following for so long. It's so heartwarming to know people are still checking in, and finding new things to appreciate, despite my snail's pace at updating! Many thanks for the visit and the comment. <3
You know what's interesting? It just struck me, looking over the comment thread here, that I haven't seen another comic on here that gets this much attention. Admittedly, I am rather fastidious and hard to please in my comic tastes, but still. Yours never fails to produce a vast outpouring of support, banter, discussion and dissertation on practically every page...sometimes almost (but never quite) as enjoyable to read as the comic itself.
So I guess I am trying to say, that that is significant, and just goes to show the excellence of what you do. I am not trying to be flattering here, I truly mean it when I say that this is quite likely the best comic series on ComicFury, in terms of art, story and execution.
So, yeah. Just thought I'd throw that out there.
That is high praise indeed! I have noticed the tremendous amount of engagement, too. I don't compare mine much with other comics, because this one is so unique a story compared to most genres on this site that it's really apples and oranges, and I sincerely wish that more of the excellent works here got the feedback they deserve. But I think the community we've all built here is very special, and the level of thoughtfulness and intelligence in the comments is due a lot to the age of the average Prydain fan. Most of us here are somewhere above 30, lol, and this is not to disparage my younger fans, who show their intelligence and maturity by being fans of the Chronicles. I just observe that at this point, young adults who have grown up in the "smart device" generation are very accustomed to showing their appreciation, if they do at all, by a single click of a "like" button, rather than by feeling the need to expound at length. Phones do not make typing a comment as automatic an impulse as it was when I was starting to create fan material 15 years ago - and even then, probably only one out of a hundred readers/viewers actually commented. The "golden age" of internet fandom was brief - I remember it, and I miss it, but I have something like a little microcosm of it here, frozen in time, thanks to how enthusiastic Prydain fans are to discuss these books. I'm so grateful for it and for all of you.
It's funny you put it like that, cause as a younger guy (27) I sometimes feel far older than the rest of my generation. I can't stand smartphones, and I am lost at sea when it comes to social media, so its almost as if I actually do belong to an older generation.
I like your standard of intelligence and maturity, too: being fans of the Chronicles. :) I wonder though if it is enough to be a fan of your work...cause to be honest I never really could get into the originals the way I can into your adaptations. Something about the style Lloyd used just didn't jive with me. But the story and characters are spectacular, and your passion for them has brought them into my life, where otherwise they probably never would have. So there's that. :)
I've *so* enjoyed your work on this site (both this comic and the others), your art on DA, and especially Daughter of the Sea! I really, really, really hope you keep updating this comic frequently.
Thank you, Bill - I SO appreciate your comment over on the fic page; you can, by the way, own a physical copy of Daughter of the Sea, if you’re interested - I had it printed as a book and can do more at any time.
I won’t ever abandon this project, though certainly my updates aren’t as frequent as we could all wish. Keep checking in and meanwhile I do hope you will read the books!
I'm glad to hear of your enthusiasm for this project. This is one of several comics on my RSS feed reader so I'll certainly know when there's an update.
I looked up some information on the Prydain series (reading it is certainly on my TODO very soon list) and realized I've had some contact with it before. Back when Disney made The Black Cauldron, my kids liked it and there was a point-and-click adventure game for our Atari ST which I bought for them (and me). That was longer ago than I'd care to admit. :-)
I'm really impressed by your storytelling skills, both visual and in textual form. Keep up the great work!
Ahh, yes. We do not speak much of that abomination film in these parts. Though I conceded, that for anyone who did not have the books to compare it to, it was a groundbreaking piece of work and did fit in well with the run of sword-and-sorcery fare popular in the 80s. It will always make me sad, though.
Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. Bless me priestess for I have sinned. :-) :-)
In my defense, my daughters were 12 and 9 when that movie came out and it was Disney so, of course, they wanted to see it. I'd never heard of Prydain then and only heard of it a couple of weeks ago and made the connection a couple of days ago.
Love Eiloney and Fflewddur's shocked faces!