Drawing Excalibur

I’ll be writing a longer blog post in regards to Undiscovered Voices, but this is the work that got me to the final.

I’d stumbled into this style by chance, but felt that it would be most appropriate. As the competition was for black and white art, I especially wanted to produce a piece that was decidedly black and white and as striking as possible.

My biggest influence for this piece were the original illustrations for the Just So Stories – a blend of decorative and symbolic storytelling – Merlin’s head came about because I wanted to frame the piece – and the frame needed to have a reason and a purpose. The trees are dead and dormant – this was winter before Arthur wakes Britain (and the Dragon) from sleep.

I’d recently re-read The Sword in The Stone, so there’s a lot of Wart in this Arthur, and of course there’s Archimedes watching. The Dragon, though, was John Boorman’s Excalibur. I needed to show Arthur at his most vulnerable and at a point of a dramatic change of fortune – and not all for the better.