Fetch Francois WIP Picture

PLEASE comment if you fave! I worked hard on this.
(Real title, "Fetch Francois!" )

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 24 of Escape From Manitou Island [link] and is the theme of "No Time." In this scene, Redcoat Lt. Barrington has just become involved in a terrible incident in Chief Black Elk Horn's tribe, and Charmian, in a panic, has dragged him off for his own (and everyone else's!) safety. I thought of trying to illustrate that, but I have yet to get a good reference for a Redcoat (circa 1763!--*hinthint*) uniform, so I did this instead. A squirrel?
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 "Trouble Lurking" and I already have it inked in.
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.
*****

X'aaru waved his tail. "Further in!" he urged. "We can go way into the back of the cave. Nobody should see or hear us way back there!"

Charmian didn't offer a word of argument or agreement. Thomas and Stick-In-The-Dirt both helped her up and they made their way into the side tunnel and out of the little pool room. Tiiku, hovering in the path further ahead, turned and hurried on ahead of them, letting out a bark to announce their approach.

They made their way into a different cave from before, Khiieta joining them along the way; she and X'aaru shared an anxious look and Charmian could tell that they were communicating. After a moment they both lowered their heads and whined a little before continuing. Charmian put a hand up to her eyes and ground her teeth. The looks on everyone's faces told her that it must have really happened...but it simply didn't seem like it had...it felt just like something she would wake up from at any moment.

It happened so fast! How could that have happened--? WHAT happened--?

The demons turned slightly left and entered a large cavern which rivaled anything under Devil's Lake; several crystals had been set a bit awkwardly into the walls, doubtlessly by the demons themselves, and lit up half of the room in amber and the other half in blue-green. Charmian finally had a chance to see exactly where the three of them lived, and she saw how almost every little outcropping and ledge held some sort of trinket or bauble that had been picked up in various places--a geode here, a piece of colored glass there, a pinecone in yet another spot. At any other time she would have been amused over what counted as interior decorating among Ocryxes; as it was, all that she could do was make her way toward the pile of furs at the other side of the room, and sit down on the edge of it, rubbing her knuckles against her eyes. The others filtered into the cave and stopped in various locations, all looking as if they expected to be punished for something. Stick-In-The-Dirt and Niskigwun especially looked anxious, but none of them said anything.

"We have to get out of here," Charmian said after a moment, and all eyes turned toward her. She still didn't glance up at them. "Right now. I don't know what'll happen if we try staying." She finally lifted her head, and her eyes were red. "I need to get to Francois somehow," she said, just remembering, and feeling her heart twist in her chest. She'd heard the awful sound that Black Elk Horn had let out; no matter what her status with the tribe, she doubted that he would let her or Thomas or Barrington live, at least.

The others looked disconsolate. After a moment Marten leapt down from Puka's arms and scrambled toward her. He halted at her knees and drew himself up to his full height, eyes wide.

"I'll get him!" he offered. "They won't recognize me!" To prove his point, there was a little puff, and an instant later a red squirrel was standing before her, tail flicking.

Charmian bit her lip. "I know who he is! The hunter guy in the fur cap, right?" Marten added. "I hitched a ride on him the last time! You said he'd make me into a coat!" His tail flicked. "I'll bring him right back!"

"See if you can get Walks-On-The-Shore too," Charmian said dully. She reached to dig in her pack, pulled out the little snowglobe, and set it on a nearby empty ledge. "Francois will know him."

Marten bobbed his head, turning and scampering off out of the cave. Charmian's head lowered and the cave again fell silent; X'aaru crept toward the pile of furs and lay down upon it, his tail gingerly curling around Charmian's back just a little. After a moment or so several of the others sat down where they'd stood. Puka hunched in on himself; Niskigwun shuffled his wings, and Stick-In-The-Dirt and Moon Wolf both rubbed their Megis shells between their fingers.

Charmian's head lifted. "Are you happy now?" she demanded, and everyone--even Pakwa and Mani--jumped; they saw that her stare was focused on Barrington, who remained in the entryway to the cave, nearly out of sight; he winced and took another step back so he was in the shadows and the dim light couldn't reach him. Charmian's lip curled back. "I almost had Black Elk Horn at least tolerating me," she said, her voice pure venom, "but now, because of you, he'll probably want to KILL all of us! Do you know what they do to people who kill others here--?" she snapped, looking for all the world as if she were talking to the doorway itself, since Barrington was no longer visible. "They either ADOPT them, or they KILL them too! And Black Elk Horn doesn't ADOPT anybody!" She clenched her fists and stood up, her voice rising unpleasantly. "Do you feel happy now?"


Peepaukawiss (Puka) is from Ojibwa mythology and Marten is from Micmac mythology. X'aaru, Charmian, Thomas Leeds, Stick-In-The-Dirt, Tiiku, Khiieta, Niskigwun, Francois LaCroix, Black Elk Horn, Lt. Andrew Barrington, Walks-On-The-Shore, Moon Wolf, Pakwa, and Mani are © Tehuti.
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