Night Mare #13: On Deck

Night Mare No. 13: On Deck

Night Mare #13: On Deck

Night Mare #13: On Deck

Night Mare paced restlessly, her hooves making a steady, hollow clip-clop clip-clop on the deck. They were too high to see flying fish, or even many birds – just wind, cloud, stars, and the ground, which merged into a muddy quilt far below.

“Doesn’t it get lonely up here?” asked Night Mare.

“Sometimes,” said Wiyoh. “Winds usually travel in families. Each ship belongs to the tribe of a Directional Wind, and the lesser, minor, and regional winds fall in from there. We break apart into smaller groups in summer, and meet up again for the fall migration.”

Night Mare wanted to ask Wiyoh why she was here, if it was a punishment or just a mercenary transaction, if she owed Father Time a favor or a debt, and if so, what for, but realized it might open up questions about where Night Mare was traveling to and why, and she didn’t want to invite that line of inquiry.

“Does the ship have a name?” she asked instead.

Wiyoh didn’t answer, and Night Mare wondered if the pilot was offended by her questioning. But Wiyoh’s gaze was fixed far in the distance.

“What…” she said, “…is that?”

Download the coloring page PDF: 
13 On Deck.pdf

Abe SapienSo, I started a figure drawing class this week. Three hours of nothing to do but draw; it’s just about luxurious. Even when I do have to pay a babysitter. I decided to take pics of my sketches and post them here to see if there’s any improvement over the next six weeks.

On a completely unrelated note, when I was done with the drawing above, I was pleased by how Wiyoh rather reminded me of one of my favourite characters, Abe Sapien (played by the inimitable Doug Jones) from the Hellboy movies. But who am I kidding, I love everything Doug Jones does. Even the creepy hand-eye monster in Pan’s Labyrinth.

Night Mare #12: A View From Above

Night Mare #12 - A View From Above

Night Mare #12 – A View From Above

Night Mare #12 – A View From Above

The moon hung lower and the sun swung higher as they reached the edge of the twilight lands, the murky border land that lay between the Dream Depository’s dominions and Earth’s realm.

Night Mare thought she saw one of the shadow mares moving through the clouds one evening, delivering terrors to waiting dreamers, but it was only a glimpse and she may have been mistaken.

Download the coloring page PDF:
12 A View From Above.pdf

So… I’m not sure if I should confess this or not, but half way through this page I decided I didn’t like the drawing… but I had too much time put into it to start over again. And even though it was finished for that Saturday, I didn’t post it. I just kept working on the next page. I think I was mad at my story? It’s taking me into uncharted territory and my drawing skills as they currently stand (rusty, very rusty) are getting a workout. And maybe some sore muscles.

At any rate, I’ve got the next two pages done, so even though I’ve missed some postings I will allow that I’m not entirely off schedule. Yet. Here is where I need the courage to keep going, because part of me would really like to just go back to some nice fluffy dreams and keep drawing flowers.

Ok, and the other problem is that some of these images I’ve dreamed up just don’t translate well to coloring pages. It’s an interesting constraint. When I was just drawing coloring pages, without a story attached, I naturally drew scenes that lent themselves well to coloring pages – lots of foliage, small detailed things, a certain kind of camera angle and size of figures within the image. Now, I want to draw things that are out of that scope – a wide-angle sky, say, or things that would be better shown by tone than by line – and I’m having to figure out how to accommodate both.

Actually, this one bugged me so much that I did a very quick rendering in color, just to reassure myself that it would turn out OK in the end. I still haven’t talked myself through that… so I’m just going to ignore it and move on.

(Inner struggle. Camera fade to black. Sound of furniture being thrown around.
Muffled: “NO WE’RE NOT. MAKE IT PERFECT.”
A heavy thump.
Camera resumes a bright and sunny visage, if slightly rumpled.

“Hi! Yes. We’re ignoring it and moving on. Nothing to see here. Move along, thank you.”)

12-A-View-From-Above-color

It really does need a little bird shadow on the ground, though.

Night Mare #11: The Wind Ship

Night Mare #11: The Wind Ship

Night Mare #11: The Wind Ship

Night Mare #11: The Wind Ship

The black mare and the girl were hoisted on to the wind ship, and they set sail.

The wind ships were all different. If you were lucky enough to see one, you would never see the same one twice. Night Mare knew little else about them, except that they had a reputation for being temperamental and fickle, which seemed typical for an Earthlander. How could they be any different when everything around them was in a constant state of growing and changing and dying all the time?

At any rate, it was a fine day for flying. The sun peered at them from far below, and as the Dream Depository in the crook of the moon faded behind them, Night Mare felt her tension ease.

Download the coloring page PDF: 
11 The Wind Ship.pdf

Lots of stuff to share this week. I was trying to figure out what the heck a wind ship would look like, when I found what I thought was the perfect idea, in my sketchbook.

sketch_2907

Sketchbook: christifrey.ca

I still think there’s something more intriguing in the sketch, but that’s always how it goes… (Note landlubber idea of flags billowing backward, due to ship’s speed, before realizing they would be blowing forward, with the wind. Hey, I’m from Saskatchewan. I know all about wind. Ships, not so much.)

Then I looked at an amazing number of ships (nautical and aerial) online and, after much sketching, drew one I was happy with, although I couldn’t tell you why. It wasn’t until a day later that I realized I’d basically drawn the Dawn Treader on steroids. It’s probably the most mechanically and anatomically impossible thing I’ve ever drawn. Oh well.

Some cool things to do with ships:

More on the Narnia illustrations by Pauline Baynes
More on the Arabic saying drawn as ship from the British Library
More on the Calligraphic galleon (1180) from the Metropolitan Museum of Art

And also some cool images from Ahmed Aldoori (@ahmedaldoori_art on Instagram), who has some awesome drawing tutorials on youtube.

Night Mare #10: A Wind Traveling East

Night Mare #10: A Wind Traveling East

Night Mare #10: A Wind Traveling East

Night Mare #10: A Wind Traveling East

Suddenly a figure dropped through the tops of the trees. It was a girl with most peculiar headgear.

“You coming?” she asked.

Night Mare stared. She had a mouthful of kismet clover she tried to rapidly swallow.

“Name’s Wiyoh. Here’s what’s going to happen. The rope’s going to grab you and bring you on board. Kindly follow all instructions and refrain from using magical powers until your hooves are on deck.”

Night Mare was about to say she was perfectly capable of traveling through the air (and perfectly capable of having air travel through her), when Wiyoh interrupted.

“I know, I know – you can fly. You ever sailed on a wind before? Ship’s got ventus baromagnetum around it like you wouldn’t believe. If you want on board, in one piece, it’s best to let the ropes take you up. Ready?”

Download the coloring page PDF:
10 A Wind Traveling East.pdf

I tried something new this week – instead of a bunch of random leaves in the ‘forest’ frame, I used a pattern instead. Not sure how well it worked, but I’d like to experiment more with it in the future.

Also of note to plant enthusiasts (herbophiles?), the tall flowers in the middle ground are drawn from pictures of hollyhocks. I think I should plant some this year – I have fond memories of sitting on the steps at Grandma’s farm, watching fat bees bumble in and out of the hollyhocks and snapdragons. I have a real flowerbed now too, so might as well start filling it up.

Wiyoh’s outfit is partly inspired by steampunk aviation gear and partly by pictures of Muslim girls’ cosplay outfits, which I thought were quite ingenious. Search #hijabcosplay on Twitter or Instagram if you’re curious.

Housekeeping notes: The coloring page posted above is free to download, print and color! I love seeing finished pages; follow me on Twitter @christifreyca and Instagram @christifrey.ca, where I post sneak peeks, pictures of my horse (since I don’t have a cat), and other fun probably boring things.

Night Mare #9: The Sleeping God

Night Mare#9: The Sleeping God

Night Mare#9: The Sleeping God

Night Mare #9: The Sleeping God

Night Mare took the letters Father Time had sent with her, and added them to the pile at the feet of the Sleeping God, careful not to disturb anything. The glade was quiet and sun-dappled, peaceful, and windless. Wherever the wind was, it was not here, yet.

Only a handful in the dream world knew her secret – that she was the one true night mare, retired and living a life of leisure. Much like Elvis. The official story, the one in the history books and on record at the Dream Depository archives, was that the original Night Mare had been shattered during the Wars of Attrition, and the Sleeping God had fashioned multiple copies of weaker beings from the shards. Like all the best lies, it was partially true. And the illusory mares were more than enough to deliver a scary dream to a dreamer.

Night Mare’s ears caught a sound, as if a great roar were sounding from a distance. Far above, the tops of the trees began to sway.

Download the coloring page PDF:
09 The Sleeping God.pdf

Housekeeping notes: The coloring page posted above is free to download, print and color! I love seeing finished pages; follow me on Twitter @christifreyca and Instagram @christifrey.ca, where I post sneak peeks, pictures of my horse (since I don’t have a cat), and other fun probably boring things.

Night Mare #8: A Visit With Father Time

Night Mare #8 - A Visit With Father TIme

Night Mare #8 – A Visit With Father Time

Night Mare #8: A Visit With Father Time

Father Time was rather deaf. He was also very tall. He barely fit in the cramped study at the peak of the Dream Depository, and there were always too many cats hanging around.

Night Mare could have caused herself to appear the same size as Father Time if she wanted, but she liked to stay as small as possible in his presence because she knew it would taunt the cats.

Father Time offered Night Mare tea, and the black horse declined, although she did accept two sugar lumps.

“Remind me again whose idea was it to let the pointy-hats run amuck in here?” Night Mare still had electricity in her tail, although the sugar was helping smooth down the last of the static.

Father Time frowned. “You know as well as I do it was the mice who asked for them to come in. Something to do with insurance paperwork. I suspect it allows the mice to get on with actually running things.”

“A pox upon insurance,” said the black horse.

“I’m perfectly aware of your opinions on the matter. I have bigger problems.” Father Time paused. “You have bigger problems.”

“Three and a half ages ago, we agreed to release you from your duties provided a suitable replacement or replacements could be fashioned. We created an army of night mares from thorn bush shadows and tiny pieces of your essence, to create and deliver the dark dreams to those we serve.”

“Three and a half ages ago, we agreed that illusion would suffice. And it has. The army of illusory night mares has served the Dream Depository just as ably as you, and with a good deal less grousing.”

“But illusory night mares have begun to disappear on the fringes of the dream world. We don’t know how, or why. It could be a fissure of REM disruption. We’ve had those occasionally. It could be rogue particles collecting fragments of terror for their own ends. Or…” He raised his bushy eyebrows.

“Someone could be looking for me,” finished Night Mare.

Father Time nodded. “I had sent someone else to look into this, actually, but they also disappeared. Very few know the true nature of the illusory night mares. If word got out, that they were only pale illusions, we would have to disbanded them. Thus, I summoned you.”

Night Mare thought fleetingly of warm nights spent playing in meadows with her gentle dream friends. She could have refused, fled, tried her best to disappear, but she knew that would not work. Father Time was asking politely at the moment, but if need be, he could fashion more elaborate persuasions. He had all the time in the world.

“I’ve consulted the Oracle,” he continued. “Her answer was ‘a bud, a rose, an acorn, a frost.’ I believe you must travel to the Forest of Seasons to seek answers.”

Night Mare was not often surprised, being a being of many centuries. But this was troubling. “That is in the very outer isles of the dream lands,” she protested. “Nearly into Earth’s realm. Even for me, it will be an arduous journey.”

“I know. That is why I have arranged for a Wind to transport you.”

Night Mare wrinkled an eyebrow. “You haven’t brought a Wind in over the Dream Depository. It would violate several rules of precedence, not to mention physics. The pointy-hats would have fits.”

“Of course not,” rumbled Father Time. “It’s waiting for you near the grove of the Sleeping God. And since you’re going that way anyway… would you be so kind as to deliver this letter for me?”

Night Mare sighed. “All right,” she said. “You know he never reads them?” she asked gently.

“Perhaps,” said Father Time. “But at least he knows they’re there, and we have not forgotten him.”

Download the PDF coloring page: 
8 A Visit With Father Time.pdf

I’ve had this page drawn for quite a while, as you’ll see if you follow my Instagram feed, and it’s one of my favourites. Father Time’s cats just look like trouble. We’re finally getting into a good chunk of story here – I’m tentatively planning to gather these pages into a book at the end of the year, and plan on drawing a couple more pages to insert into this rather long chunk of text. Probably pictures of the shattering of the night mares, and the Oracle.

In other news, yesterday I was in at a local art supply store picking up a pad of watercolor paper and looking for a new Staedtler S pen, and the lovely gentleman at the counter said they were out. They cannot keep ink pens in stock, thanks largely due to the recent coloring book craze. This very serious art store had copies of Johanna Basford’s and a local artist’s books for sale… and had sold out of them before Christmas.

Also – MOST EXCITING – I have signed up for a figure drawing class this spring. Hopefully it fills up and goes ahead. Figure drawing classes are hard to come by, mostly because of the challenge of finding models. Go figure.

When I was taking art classes in college, we had some interesting characters for our figure drawing classes. One woman might have been a body builder or a stripper (ripped, very well tanned, Brazilian wax), another was an old man who had a faint air of exhibitionism about him. Different body types, all great to draw. But the best model we worked with was a local cafe owner. She was from Europe, had really great curves, and had the most down-to-earth relationship with being naked that I’ve ever seen. Life goals, eh?

Housekeeping notes: The coloring page posted above is free to download, print and color! I love seeing finished pages; follow me on Twitter @christifreyca and Instagram @christifrey.ca, where I post sneak peeks, pictures of my horse (since I don’t have a cat), and other fun probably boring things.

Night Mare #7: A Bureaucracy of Mice

A Bureaucracy of Mice

A Bureaucracy of Mice

Night Mare #7: A Bureaucracy of Mice

“May I see your Night Terrors licence?” asked the tall, thin secretariat.

Night Mare had been stalking the halls of the Dream Depository for several hours. She was not in a very good mood. Bureaucracy made her coat all staticky.

“I don’t have a licence,” said Night Mare. “I’m not required to have one. The only reason I’m here at all is because I received a summons!” *

“Most irregular,” said the secretariat. “You must have a licence before we can give you an appointment. Licences are applied for in Hall 2B on the 54th level, south side. You’ll need a temporary REM activation token from Requisitions before you can apply for one.”

The grey clouds that had been brewing over Night Mare’s head began to blacken and crackle with lightning and thunder. She raised a hoof and was preparing to unleash a torrent of blackness on the secretariat when a small voice piped up from the floor.

“Excuse me,” it said. “I believe Father Time is waiting to see you. And I believe you know where his office is?”

Night Mare peered down at the small grey mouse. He was holding a pencil in one of his pink paws. The mouse’s whiskers twitched.

“Oh,” said Night Mare. “I see. Thank you.”

She set off for Father Time’s office. She should have remembered the mice were the ones who ran things around here. Everything important, anyway.

* The Gesh people of Lower Nasbuti Bridge have a word for what Night Mare was feeling. The word, which begins with a screech and is quite unpronounceable in any other tongue, translates roughly to: “the nauseous, murderous, and curiously numb feeling brought about by rampant bureaucracy.”

Download the coloring page for Night Mare #7.

Whew – snuck another one in under the deadline. The mice would not be pleased with me, not at all. The mice are, of course, a small nod to Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. If you haven’t read it, you probably should, if only because it explains the meaning of 42 and the importance of towels.

Also, I posted this on my Instagram account, but the architecture of this particular Dream Depository hallway was drawn from photos of New York’s forgotten City Hall subway station. Herringbone brick is the new bane of my pen and ink existence.

Housekeeping notes: The coloring page posted above is free to download, print and color! I love seeing finished pages; follow me on Twitter @christifreyca and Instagram @christifrey.ca, where I post sneak peeks, pictures of my horse (since I don’t have a cat), and other fun probably boring things.

Night Mare #6: A Visit to the Dream Depository

Night Mare #6: A Visit to the Dream Depository

Night Mare #6: A Visit to the Dream Depository

Night Mare #6: A Visit to the Dream Depository

Night Mare’s freedom these past few centuries had cost her dearly. But it had been worth it.

Every second of it.

Download the Coloring Page PDF:
6 A Visit to the Dream Depository.pdf

The official transmission from the Dream Depository continues, as we get a first glimpse of the city. On a technical note, this file is a slightly larger download than the previous pages – still only 1.1mb, so not too bad! Usually I change the drawing into a vector format before exporting to PDF, a process that smooths and cleans up any remaining messiness in the line work, but I found with this page I was losing too much detail in the small dots. What do you think? Are you a fan of the pointillism or do you prefer straight line drawings?

The coloring page posted above is free to download, print and color! I love seeing finished pages; you can catch me on Twitter @christifreyca and Instagram @christifrey.ca, where I also post the occasional sneak peek of whatever I’m working on at the moment.

To follow Night Mare’s Adventures, enter your email address in the sidebar (under Follow This Blog) to be notified when each new picture is posted. Thanks for coming on the adventure with us!

Night Mare #5: A Last Pause

Night Mare #5: A Last Pause

Night Mare #5: A Last Pause

Night Mare #5: A Last Pause

As she came within sight of the Dream Depository, Night Mare paused to contemplate what might happen if she did not obey the summons.

Nestled in the crook of the moon, the Dream Depository had been built layer upon layer over aeons, to serve whichever creatures of the age had need of dreaming. It demanded, in turn, the servitude of its dream citizens.

If she ignored the summons, it was likely they would fetch her anyway. It was just a matter of time.

Download the coloring page PDF: 
5 A Last Pause.pdf

The coloring page posted above is free to download, print and color! I love seeing finished pages; you can catch me on Twitter @christifreyca and Instagram @christifrey.ca, where I also post the occasional sneak peek of whatever I’m working on at the moment.

To follow Night Mare’s Adventures, enter your email address in the sidebar (under Follow This Blog) to be notified when each new picture is posted. Thanks for coming on the adventure with us!

Night Mare #4: Wynken, Blynken & Nod

Night Mare #4: Wynken, Blynken and Nod

Wynken, Blynken and Nod

Night Mare #4: Wynken, Blynken & Nod

Night Mare passed the Somniferey where Wynken, Blynken and Nod kept watch.

The Somniferey marked the beginning of the heart of the dream world, with the Dream Depository at its centre. Night Mare had not been back here in centuries – there were other, younger night mares who bothered themselves with the delivery of bad dreams these days.

As she passed by, Wynken stared and Blynken blinked. Nod did not wake up, although he may have noted her passing in his dream.

Download the Coloring Page PDF…
4 Wynken Blynken Nod.pdf

The transmission from the Dream Depository continues, as Night Mare makes her way into the heart of the dream world. The coloring page posted above is free to download, print and color! I love seeing finished pages; you can catch me on Twitter @christifreyca and Instagram @christifrey.ca, where I also post the occasional sneak peek of whatever I’m working on at the moment.

If you want to follow Night Mare’s Adventures, you can enter your email address in the top right sidebar (under Follow This Blog) to be notified when each new picture is posted. Thanks for coming on the adventure with us!