It Should've Been Me WIP Picture

PLEASE comment if you fave! I worked hard on this.
All right, I'm going to try to take part in the 100 Picture Challenge, or whatever it's called here. Basically, you draw one picture each for one of 100 themes. I just started learning how to draw human faces about two months ago. I was going to hold off on entering the challenge until I'd gotten bodily postures down better, but figured that if I waited that long I'd never get anywhere. So I know I still need a lot of work. Maybe doing this challenge will help me improve, maybe not. I like to hope that maybe someday I'll be able to redo this picture and it'll look a whole lot better. For now though, it's much better than what I could have done a couple of months ago.
This illustrates a scene from Part 111 of Return To Manitou Island [link] and pictures the theme of "Tears." There are LOTS of scenes with tears throughout all my series, but this was one of my favorite scenes to write, so I wanted to try drawing it, however feebly. This is Manabozho, the Ojibwa culture hero and trickster, and the scene included here is what you'd call somewhat "emo" so if that kind of thing turns you off, you'd better not read. But you'd be rather emo too if you just lost one of the people you love the most.

This is just the inked sketch. I cropped off a bit of the background for now. I'm planning on filling it all in with colored pencil, as that's the only medium I have, that and a photo program which mangles my pictures when I resize and try to up the saturation a bit.
Anyway...the next theme I believe is "Foreign" and I already have it sketched out.
This will be scrapped later on when I upload the finished version. Just wanted to put this in my gallery to brag a bit.
Criticism not desired as I already know all the flaws this has, thank you very much.
*****

Manabozho sat beside the still-rippling hole in the ice, his knees drawn up to his chest and his arms wrapped around them. He stared at the black water for so long that his eyes watered from the cold, yet he didn't even notice how they streamed when he blinked the sting away. He grasped Wabasso's flute in one hand, so tightly that his knuckles were going white, yet he'd forgotten about it long ago as well. The wind moaned high in the trees, yet he didn't even hear it.

He would have been thinking, furiously, except it was as if his thoughts had gone dead, and so not even words or images formed in his mind anymore. He would have been sobbing or screaming in rage, except feelings had fled him as well, and his heart felt like a lead weight in his chest. All he could do was stare numbly at the water, and not even think over why he was here, or what he was doing, or what he planned to do. The wind ruffled the feathers on his head but he didn't notice it.

Eventually, he could not stare anymore without having to blink continuously, which would have annoyed him, if he had had any feelings left. He lowered his head to his knees to shield his eyes from the cold, and for a while stared at the blackness there, until his eyes grew adjusted to the lack of light and he could see that one of his necklaces had fallen loose of his clothing and now rested against his chest. The rabbit fetish carved of shell. He stared at it in silence until its image was tattooed upon his retinas, and it took him a very long time to realize that he was in fact looking at the wrong side of it. It should have been brown with a black eye. The reverse was white with red.

Manabozho blinked. He took in a breath.

An instant later he was on his feet, letting out a scream that shook the snow from the trees and made the ice tremble and crack with the sound of it. He dropped Wabasso's flute, and picked up the nearest large item--a branch fallen from the weight of the snow--and lifted it over his head. Any normal person--even himself--would have had to drag it behind them at any other time, it was so large--yet he easily raised it and then brought it sailing down, the thick blunt end of it smashing against the ice and shattering it into pieces. He did this again, and again, and again, until chunks of white floated in a mini-sea of black, bobbing and sinking and popping up again with each blow, breaking into smaller fragments each time.

Manabozho continued screaming inarticulately as he pulverized the ice, dashing around the edge of the pool, smashing the branch at the frozen waterfall itself. A great hunk of ice broke loose and a gush of water followed it, splashing him, but he didn't care or notice. As soon as there was no solid ice left to destroy he started striking the snow itself, laying waste to the ground around the water.

"STUPID! STUPID FOOL!" he screamed as he went. "YOU SHOULD'VE JUST STAYED BEHIND! YOU SHOULD'VE JUST STAYED AWAY! YOU NEVER SHOULD'VE COME HERE! I TOLD YOU I NEVER WANTED TO SEE YOU AGAIN! WHY DID YOU NEVER--LISTEN--TO ME?"

Hitting soft snow was barely worthwhile, and so he now turned his attention to the trees themselves. "YOU NEVER HAD TO COME BACK!" he shrieked, striking the trunk of the largest tree within reach; he struck a second one, and a moment later shadowy shapes began drifting away through the woods, the manitous glancing back at him with flaring ears as they vacated their homes in search of safety. "I NEVER NEEDED YOU! I WAS JUST FINE WITHOUT YOU! I DID PERFECTLY FINE ON MY OWN! I NEVER NEEDED ANY OF YOU!! NOT FATHER, NOT MOTHER, NOT MUDJI, NOT PUKA, NOT YOU!!"

He started swinging the branch in circles now, spinning about madly and not even caring what he hit anymore. He glared up at the sky itself as if it were somehow at fault, and bared his teeth, his eyes flashing brilliant blue. "I NEVER NEEDED ANYONE BUT MYSELF!" he screamed. "WHY DID YOU HAVE TO COME BACK AND RUIN EVERYTHING?"

With this he flung his hand out, and the branch sailed out of his grip, plunging through the woods. Manabozho clenched his fists so tightly that his hands bled and threw back his head to scream at the sky, the rest of the manitous still remaining in the woods slinking away so he was at last on his own. He didn't notice them depart, just turned in circles and continued screaming at nothing until his throat went hoarse. Then he started kicking at the snow, driving it into messy piles and gouging up the earth underneath. Mud and water and his own blood splashed his clothing but he didn't care. He kept at this until his foot slipped out from underneath him and he collapsed, landing hard on his knee at the water's edge, and his scream cut off when he noticed a face looking up at him. His eyes widened when he saw the two feathers standing upright upon its head--Wabasso?--but then he blinked, and realized that he was staring at his own face. His sight began to blur, and his breath began hitching; a second later he cried out and slammed his hands against his reflection, splashing the water all over his arms and in his face.

"Why did you do it?" he wailed. "It should've been ME! I'M the one! I'M the one who's supposed to protect everyone! It should've been ME!"

He fell forward, hands still in the icy water and his face almost pressed to the snow, and started crying, awful sounds escaping him as his shoulders shook. The water slowly stopped sloshing and pitching, the little hunks of ice bobbing atop it, and the blue glow died from Manabozho's eyes. His fingers curled into fists, his hands bleeding and sore, but he didn't notice either of these, just drew his arms in toward himself, curling up as small as he could.

"I always followed you," he wept. "I was always one step behind you. But I'm grown now. It was my turn to be one step ahead. Why did you go?" His voice broke. "What am I supposed to do now?"


Manabozho, Wabasso/Chibiabos, Mudjikawiss, and Peepaukawiss (Puka) are from Ojibwa mythology.
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