Fan(art)uary roundup #1 – doodles and media reviews

Fan(art)uary: beloved characters, every day in January. Inspired by Sam Orchard of Rooster Tails comics.

For all of January I’ll be drawing fanart of a favourite character each day, inspired by the lovely Sam Orchard of Rooster Tails. Each weekend I’ll be posting a roundup here, but if you want to follow day to day, follow me on Instagram. Of course, it’s still worth it to catch up on the blog, where I’ll be writing a bit more about what I love about these characters and the media they originate from.

For this week, I’m focusing on Thlayli/Bigwig from Watership Down by Richard Adams, Sherlock Holmes from Sherlock BBC, Gerund from Rice Boy by Evan Dahm, and Elphaba from Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire.

Thlayli/Bigwig from Richard Adam's "Watership Down".

Day 1: Thlayli/Bigwig from Watership Down by Richard Adams

For day one I’ve drawn Thlayli/Bigwig from Richard Adams’ Watership Down. I love this book dearly, I read it once a year. Thlayli is a beloved character to me because in my mind he symbolizes a lot of characteristics I aspire to: loyalty, courage, strength, and kindness. I go so far as to say he’s one of my favourite characters of all time. Some day I really want to get some awesome ink of Bigwig!

If you’ve never read it, I can’t recommend Watership Down enough. For the sheer fascination of the curious lives and habits of rabbits in the wild, it’s worth a read. Adams painstakingly researched rabbit life in the English countryside with R. M. Lockley, author of a great text in its own right The Private Life of the Rabbit. But the story is gripping in every classic sense: adventure, mystery, terror. Adams does a great job of anthropomorphizing the rabbits in his story without taking away their innate rabbitness–they’re not just animals upon which he’s haphazardly slapped human characteristics and customs. The rabbits’ world is completely their own. Pick up a copy, you won’t regret it.


Sherlock Holmes in Sherlock BBC.

Day 2: Sherlock Holmes from Sherlock BBC

For day two, Sherlock Holmes a la Sherlock BBC. I like the quiet, sort of lonesome portrayals of Sherlock. So here he is alone in his flat making origami in “The Sign of Three” from series 3. Side note: the wall paper pattern is so horrible to draw, haha.

There’s certainly some issues I take with Sherlock BBC, like the various queerbaiting that takes place, but there’s still time left in the series. I’m anxious to see how it resolves! That being said, I think it’s a great update and tribute to the original spirit of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. The incorporation of modern technology, the increased emphasis on the age difference between Sherlock and John, and the attention to how Sherlock’s eccentricities hamper his ability to interact in a modern context are all welcome additions. If you enjoy crime shows, I’d say Sherlock BBC is worth a look.


Gerund from Riceboy.

Day 3: Gerund from Rice Boy by Evan Dahm

For day three, Gerund from Rice Boy by Evan Dahm. I loved Order of Tales and I love Vattu, but in my heart of hearts, I connect most with violence eschewing, sandwich loving Gerund. A lot of great stories are about ordinary beings thrown into extraordinary circumstances, and the comics at (Evan’s site where you can read everything!) are no exception. Definitely check them out!

I really love Rice Boy and I have a hard copy on my lovely graphic novel shelf, but it actually didn’t catch my eye initially. I started out reading Dahm’s work with Order of Tales when it was still in process and I followed it closely until the end, reading it all the way through multiple times. It took me a few tries to get into Rice Boy, it starts a little slowly compared to the whirlwind of Order of Tales, but I’m very glad I did. All of Dahm’s work takes place in the same universe, so if you like one story, you can feel fairly confident you’ll like another.

Dahm’s most recent and ongoing story is Vattu. Even moreso than Order of Tales and RiceBoy, I feel like Vattu keeps the anticipation and curiosity high from update to update. Despite Vattu having 600+ pages and so much having taken place, it’s constantly building. The overarching purpose of the story is still a mystery to me, but it’s amazing to watch the threads of different lives in Overside come together.


Elphaba from "Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West" by Gergory Maguire.


Day 4: Elphaba from Wicked by Gergory Maguire

For day four, Elphaba from Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gergory Maguire. I love the books and the musical in different ways, but life for Elphie wasn’t great in either. So here she is in a happy moment, reading in her dorm room at dear old Shiz.

The entire Wicked series is a fascinating journey through Oz and a lush re-imagining of the original The Wizard of Oz story by L. Frank Baum. Baum’s book was for children, and the themes of the story are pretty black and white. Some people are inherently good, others are inherently bad–no delving into the motivations of “bad” characters, or even how we come to decide what is or is not “wicked”.

The musical Wicked uses this as their overarching theme–“are people born wicked or do they have wickedness thrust upon them?” asks Glinda the Good in the opening number “No One Mourns the Wicked”. Maguire’s book series (The Wicked Years) on the other hand, which includes Wicked, Son of a Witch, A Lion Among Men, and Out of Oz, delves deeply into the tumultuous politics of the land of Oz. From animal (or in this case Animal) rights to provincial relations to religious and political scandal and intrigue, Oz feels very real.

Even if you were never a fan of the original Wonderful Wizard of Oz or if you were terrified of the flying monkeys, for example, The Wicked Years series is worth checking out. I haven’t had a chance to read Out of Oz yet, but I’ve found the other instalments all worth reading.

I (mostly) love Maguire’s portrayal of the relationship between Galinda/Glinda and Elphaba. And although Elphaba’s influence is felt throughout the series, for obvious reasons, she’s largely absent after Wicked, which makes it my favourite of the series.

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