Saturday, June 27, 2015

Dark Night of the Soul?

This could have been a card with positive implications, with keywords such as "Provision." But when you look closely, all the Brownies look really unhappy: some of them even look angry, while others look like they are almost overcome by the load they are carrying. Given that, I thought it best to make this a kind of equivalent to the Five of Pentacles in a Tarot deck, if possibly a version with a better outcome: perhaps the card is saying that you may be under a lot of stress right now, but look at what you're accomplishing, and in the end you will have a lot to show for your strenuous efforts.

This must be one of Palmer Cox's very earliest Brownie drawings. It is taken from the first, original Brownie collection: The Brownies, Their Book, and again if you look closely you will see some very atypical things. None of the recognizable "character" Brownies are present, they are all "generic" Brownies. Furthermore, they seem more specifically child-like; barring only a couple of bearded gnome-like types, they have fragile, over-developed foreheads and infantile features: not the expressively cunning faces of the later Brownie drawings. There are even a handful of Brownies in this drawing with antennae!!! Now that's weird. I colored them greenish to separate them from the normal type. Even the clothes they are wearing are less distinctive and refined than in later drawings, with some Brownies seemingly wearing one-piece leotard-like suits. That's something you never see in the later illustrations. It all goes to show how the characters grew and became more refined over time.

-- Freder.