The Boy and the Bear

What came first, the illustration or the story? I always keep my sketchbook with me to keep note of any ideas, snippets of conversation, or visuals that I like and keep it as a resource of (often very bad) ideas, but this one came easy.

For this illustration, I had one of those very rare moments where a visual was floating around in some invisible stratosphere and suddenly hit me like lightning. I couldn't rest until I got it out of my system! So I got doodling with a loose narrative in mind of a lost boy and a bear peacefully enjoying a fire in the woods.

Once I had refined the doodle and finished the illustration, the narrative became clearer. I wrote it like an extract, giving enough but (hopefully) leaving enough to stir intrigue. I'm itching to do something more with this one day when I'm more skilled at writing.  

Find the finished illustration and story below. I'd love to hear what you do to generate ideas and how you develop them!

   The Boy and the Bear     The boy tried not to look up or move a muscle. He felt the heat of the fire that he had made to keep warm start to make his eyes water as he tried with all his might not to blink. He grew very conscious of every little movement his body made with every slow and calculated breath he took.      The shadowy figure was now close enough to make out some hairy facial features from the corner of his eyes. No, it couldn't be. Yet it was... a bear!  Much bigger and more rustic coloured than the illustrations depicted in his much loved animal encyclopaedia back at home. In his hasty exit he hadn't packed anything but the scout kit he always kept in his pocket. He made a mental note that the bear might just seem bigger because of his strained eyes and the flickering light of the fire that danced around and threw shadows around the small clearing.       Then the most wondrous thing happened.  With a THUMP the bear had sat himself in an angle perfectly symmetrical of his own distance to the fire. This pleased the boy. The bear must have known how particular he was about these things. Or perhaps he too had an unexplainable appreciation for symmetrically aligned things.  A few moments passed that felt like hours when the boy dared to look up and get a proper look at his perfectly placed fellow. And when he happened to meet the beady fire dancing eyes looking back, he could have sworn the bear was blushing.

 The Boy and the Bear

  The boy tried not to look up or move a muscle. He felt the heat of the fire that he had made to keep warm start to make his eyes water as he tried with all his might not to blink. He grew very conscious of every little movement his body made with every slow and calculated breath he took. 
    The shadowy figure was now close enough to make out some hairy facial features from the corner of his eyes. No, it couldn't be. Yet it was... a bear! 
Much bigger and more rustic coloured than the illustrations depicted in his much loved animal encyclopaedia back at home. In his hasty exit he hadn't packed anything but the scout kit he always kept in his pocket. He made a mental note that the bear might just seem bigger because of his strained eyes and the flickering light of the fire that danced around and threw shadows around the small clearing.
     Then the most wondrous thing happened.
With a THUMP the bear had sat himself in an angle perfectly symmetrical of his own distance to the fire. This pleased the boy. The bear must have known how particular he was about these things. Or perhaps he too had an unexplainable appreciation for symmetrically aligned things. 
A few moments passed that felt like hours when the boy dared to look up and get a proper look at his perfectly placed fellow.
And when he happened to meet the beady fire dancing eyes looking back, he could have sworn the bear was blushing.

I have an edition of signed prints on my Etsy shop up for grabs too. The colours came out lovely and bright! https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/291271979/the-boy-and-the-bear-illustration-art?ref=shop_home_active_1

boy and bear pic 1.jpg