Monday, May 21, 2012

A is for Alice

Today marks the inauguration of AlphaBooks, the new weekly challenge by Ben Towle, Andrew Neal & Rich Barrett.

"AlphaBooks is the name of the game. We will be drawing ficitonal characters from books every week - one for each letter of the alphabet. On the first day (Monday, May 21), everyone will draw characters whose names start with the letter “A.”  The following monday, we’ll draw characters whose names start with the letter “B.” And so on!"

I decided to do a series of illustrated letters whose only restriction is that the book has to be one that I have read, preferably one that I've loved. Of course my A had to be Alice! How appropriate that she came first, since the book is one of my earliest & longest-lasting obsessions-- I still love reading it to this day.

I first encountered Alice's Adventures in Wonderland as an audio recording when I had a series of blinding headaches at the age of six. My mom would put me to bed with a hot cloth over my eyes (the treatment our doctor prescribed), then put on Alice to keep me company. I would drift in & out of a semi-hallucinatory state (which I now know to be a feature of migraines), absorbing Lewis Carroll's astonishing story. Painful as it was, it was a curiously appropriate way to experience Alice...

When deciding which scene to illustrate, I thought of Illustration Friday's prompt "sight" & remembered Alice's first sight of the garden, through the tiny hidden door. There are 3 "A"s in the picture... do you see them? (Click the image for a closer view.)

Acrylic on text scanned from a 1946 Random house edition given me by my dear friend Nat, ~5"x8"


  1. This is terrific! I wish I heard of this and I would have loved to joined. Sigh. it's too late now. I love your Alice!!!

  2. One of my favorites, too. I love to see your Alice--gorgeous, as ever :)

  3. Ces, (& anyone else who's interested) you are NOT too late to enter AlphaBeasts! The submit link is here:
    & you can submit any time. You needn't do them all if you choose not to. I'd LOVE it if you joined! (Also, thank you!)

    And thanks to you too, Elizabeth! I'm not surprised you're a fellow Alice fan... the Carrollian sensibility definitely shows in your work!

  4. I ADORED both of the Alice books as a child, and as an adult. One of the few personal possessions I have kept from my childhood is a hardback book with both ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND and THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS. There was a time when I memorized almost every poem in those books. I had been inspired by Kipling's KIM to sharpen my memory and observation skills (I wanted to grown up to be a ninja) by memorizing poems. I also memorized most of the poems in Tolkien's HOBBIT. I was a lonely child with lots of time on my hands.... I love your illustration, and I really want to join the challenge, but I have no confidence in drawing people...

  5. Debbie, I especially love the poems too! It's good to have a few poems rattling around in your head for when you are stuck somewhere & bored.

    Also, the characters in AlphaBooks don't have to be human! They just need to have a name. Humpty Dumpty or Shere Khan would do just fine! Several people did Aslan today. So join!

  6. I just love this little doorway, it's seriously darn cute but also just a bit twisted like all of Alice's adventures. Love the vines (in the shape of A!) crisscrossing in front, the slightly off-kilter angle and the great colors as usual!

  7. I found the three A's!!!!
    But I think it's better not to say and ruin the game for everyone else :P
    Alice in wonderland is one of my favourite books too and I love the way you show only her eye and little hand. It's a bizarre and mysterious way to introduce a character but that's the feelings you get when reading the book so it's perfect :)

  8. Took me a little longer to find the third 'A', but they're all there. Nice piece.

    Migraines at only 6 years old? Wow, that's young. I think putting a hot cloth on my forehead would make it worse, though. I like those cloth eye masks that you keep cold in the freezer.

  9. Simply love this - the detail, the dimension, that tiny key(OK, that doesn't begin with "D")...awesome. Would LOVE to join in the fun with this Alphabooks project, but I have enough trouble getting my one IF "assignment" each week!!! Can't wait to see what next week brings from you!!!