Sunday, May 22, 2011

Creative Tuesdays: Tree

So, this post is coming a bit early.

This week's "Creative Tuesdays" excited me, as I recently finished a story for a comic book anthology where one of the characters was a tree! "The Warrior and The Nightingale" is my story, and it was published in "Samurai: The Graphic Novel," which came out in January of this year.

My story is admittedly downbeat (which is a bit of a change from the cards I often share for these challenges!) but I had a lot of fun creating it and drawing it. And, as one of my characters fit this theme, I thought to share a peek from my story.

"The Warrior and the Nightingale," is about a girl whose lover asks her to descend to the underworld and bring someone back. She does so to prove her love, and in hopes of fixing tragedy that suddenly struck their lives and shattered their relationship.

But before any mortals can even try and bring back inhabitants of the underworld, they must first get past the Guardians: a Nightingale and a Rose Tree. Mortals who want to get through the underworld's gates must prevail in a dangerous, near-impossible-to-win Samurai style battle against that Rose Tree.

If that at all sounds familiar, to any fans of Oscar Wilde, that is because the guardians of the underworld in my story are also adaptations of characters from his story, "The Nightingale and the Rose."

For those who do not know the story, here is the (rather watered down) Wikipedia entry describing Wilde's original tale:

"A nightingale overhears a student complaining that his professor's daughter will not dance with him, as he is unable to give her a red rose. The nightingale visits all the rose-trees in the garden, and one of the white roses tell her that there's a way to produce a red rose, but only if the nightingale is prepared to sing the sweetest song for the rose all night with her heart touching the rose, and sacrifice her life to do so. Seeing the student in tears, the nightingale carries out the ritual, and impales herself on the rose-tree's thorn so that her heart's blood can stain the rose. The student takes the rose to the professor's daughter, but she again rejects him because another man has sent her some real jewels, and "everybody knows that jewels cost far more than flowers." The student angrily throws the rose into the gutter, returns to his study of metaphysics, and decides not to believe in true love anymore."

The Nightingale from the original story sacrificed her life for love. Unfortunately, the boy does not appreciate her giving her life for him, and the girl he loved did not appreciate the rose he felt he wanted to give her so badly.

Thus, in my story, the Nightingale is a guardian of the Underworld who urges people not to make similar mistakes, and not to risk their lives for love. She tries and convinces mortals to turn back without risking any more than they have already. The Rose Tree, however, is a bit more malicious. He is both scornful of, and amused by, mortals who have grown desperate because of love. He knows there are awful risks (which I am keeping secret-ish in this description), yet he eggs on anyone who considers going to battle with him. The clip of my comic I've included here for "Creative Tuesdays" shows him doing just that with the main character of my story.

So, that's all I can say about it without giving it away! But for anyone who likes comics, I can say that the Samurai Project (the Anthology that the story I created is part of) is a great book, with many different art and story styles that still stuck to the same theme. The other cartoonists' stories are all very well done, and range from the alternative to the traditional, and I really liked seeing the breadth of style everyone brought to the project.

Since he explains it better than I can, here is a clip of Karl Altstaetter, Comic Creator and the Editor of "Samurai," talking about how it all came together:

If anyone wants to see peeks of the other stories (and a different peek from mine), they can be seen at the order page for the book:

To submit to Creative Tuesdays, please go to the most recent link at:

Excited to see what everybody else has submitted for this challenge! Also, my thanks to anyone who read through this rather wordy post of mine.


art2cee2 said...

Very creative story and nice illustrations! :-)

Christine said...

that's great, a tree as an actual character.

Birdie said...

Wow...that is epic! It reminds me in some ways of the Orpheus myth.
Great job!

linda said...

Lovely illustrations togethee with a wonderful story.

Heather said...

a great story! I love the way you illustrated the tree!!! idea to put it to a story, too! happy tuesday

EVA said...

Very cool and fascinating story! Great to get a peak at your comic side. :)

Missy said...

How cool for you being published with other comic artists! LOVE all the deatils in this!

Betsy said...

I love how you made the tree come to life with those branches and roots!

Kristin Dudish said...

Such wonderful details - it is so fun to see this side of your artwork... such great inspiration :)


Wanda said...

You really know how to make a story come to LIFE! Just love that scary tree...the details, the roots...your are a great story teller and artist.

Mmm said...

I've not read Oscar Wilde before, but you know, this reminds me of comic strips I did when I was a teenager. so fun to do, no? Great job, Donna. Glad it worked for CT too. you really draw girls faces particularly well.

craftydvl said...

Thank you, everyone, for all your kind words !! Mister Toast, aren't comics awesome? I'd love to know what your strips were about (-: My own are usually longer stories more than strips, but I'd love to learn the comedic timing/ability to make things a bit more concise, because strips are great. Do you ever read "Get Fuzzy?" Everyone should! Very cute and funny strip. Kind of like "Garfield," but methinks even better. This was a fun challenge, guys!

Holly said...

Fantastic story. Very poetic.