Drawing Lessons: Lesson Three: Oh! The Perils

For once, I have a story about my adventures in sketching characters that doesn’t involve bad art–at least not in the traditional sense.

This is Peril, or Alistair Godfrey, as his parents called him.


It’s been several weeks since I’ve updated the character pages because of Peril, which is strange because from the beginning I believed he would be one of the easier characters to present.  Instead he’s proven the most difficult so far.  Even worse than Ash, which is saying a lot.

Book one of The Eleventh Age has been completed for some time now, and while I’ve been going through the usual rigamaroo as a new author trying to gain notice in the publishing world, just one more unknown in a sea of countless unknowns, all looking to be discovered, I’ve also been hard at work on book two, which naturally means that in my mind the characters are all different people than who they were at the beginning of their story, or even at end of book one.  In building this site, I have had to be very careful not to allow the changes the characters experience through the course of the writing to taint how I present them to the world.  This sweet-faced boy was a massive challenge for me in that respect, because he is one of the characters who is most changed from book one to book two, and as I drew him (repeatedly), those changes were visible in his eyes, in the hardness of his lips.  I had to put him down, go back and remember who he was before, so that I could show you the Peril Elli meets on her sixteenth birthday.

Heraclitus is quoted by many a philosopher as having pointed out the inevitability of change as a constant, the river’s flow being an apt metaphor for the universal flux we experience not just from day to day but from moment to moment.  On this Plutarch writes:

“It is not possible to step twice into the same river according to Heraclitus, or to come into contact twice with a mortal being in the same state.”

This is a beautiful truth that is so easy to miss, as we are only privileged enough to experience the changes within ourselves as we meander through this life.  Too often we fail to realize that anything we see of other people, even those we love and hold most dear, is just a small glimpse of who those people are at one bend along their stream.  Like a river, every person is always flowing with new waters gained by their own experiences. Each of us is polishing our own boulders into smooth pebbles and cutting our channels deeper as we go.

To live is to change.

Peril will never again be the sweet-faced boy in this picture.

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