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Monday, November 30, 2015

Appaloosa And Dinosaurs

The days spent in the hospital, lending moral support to my sick family member, and the rest of my family, allowed me to finish another drawing. Unlike St. Luke the Ox, I had started this one a few weeks previous. 

On that weekend, a family member had given me a copy of Robert B. Parker's novel Appaloosa. Of course, I've seen the movie version several times, but this was my first experience of reading Robert B Parker. I flew through the novel, devouring it in two days. I liked Parker's lean writing style, and enjoyed getting a little more insight into his story. 

One thing that surprised me was how true director and actor Ed Harris stayed to Parker's novel for the film version. The main difference was how he softened the characters, and made them more complex in the process. Take, for example, the role of the heroine Allie French. In Parker's novel, Allie comes across as a much harder character. She's almost like a carnivore of men. She can't accept her man unless he's constantly fighting for her. So she does things that purposely set her man, Marshal Cole, against others. She reminds me of those who sat in the Roman arenas, cheered on the gladiators, and booed if the match didn't end with a spectacular death. In Harris' film, Renee Zellweger's character comes across as more sympathetic. She may have difficulty controlling herself around powerful men, but she seems to truly love Cole, and not purposely instigate events that would cause him harm.

I suppose reading that novel influenced me. For one of the times I took a short break from devouring it, I started a sketch of dinosaurs in a western town.* Sitting in the hospital room gave me plenty of time to contemplate the drawing, and figure out how best to bring it to life. I even put shadows onto the ground, while I'd never attempted before.

Once while I was coloring, I heard a nurse beside me suck in a breath, and she said, "Wow! Are you a professional cartoonist?" I don't know about you, but that made me feel good, pardner. 


Dragon Dave

*Robert B Parker's novel, and Ed Harris' movie, utilize horses instead of dinosaurs. But then, no story is perfect.

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