Vision Seeker 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 is a scene from Part 114 of Return To Manitou Island [link] In this chapter, protagonist Charmian has decided to seek a vision to find the lost spirit Wabasso, and the other characters decide to help her out as this is her first time really trying hard for a vision. She goes to Arch Rock, the Passing-Over Place of souls, in the hopes of reaching the Spirit Road and convincing Wabasso's spirit to return to the living. I chose this to represent the theme of "Silence," as Charmian has to just sit here and try not to concentrate or think about anything too hard in order to catch up with Wabasso...and so silent it is.

This is kind of an odd drawing as I wanted to show both the far away view of Charmian seated atop Arch Rock (I used a photo reference for that--and yes, looking at Charm's little huddled form to the right, that's about how big the real Arch Rock is), as well as a closeup of her face, so that's why there's basically a big head floating in the sky.
This is just the inked sketch. 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 "Questioning" and I already have it mostly 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.

"Um...going now," she said, and turned to walk over to the stone bridge. She sat down atop it and fiddled her fingers a bit; Mani was the first one to turn away, hanging his head and trudging off into the woods with a whistle of farewell. White Deer got a look of surprise on her face, tugged on her father's arm, and whispered something in his ear; Stick-In-The-Dirt looked equally surprised, and they both ran off without so much as a word in parting. Charmian furrowed her brow to see them go so suddenly, only to notice that Thomas still stood on the other side of the chasm. He gave her a look that said he wanted to say something, but didn't speak.

Charmian sighed. "Don't worry. I wouldn't have any idea what to say, either."

He blinked. Then he flushed a little, but came walking toward the Arch himself, having to pull himself along on hands and knees to reach where she was sitting. She followed his progress with a puzzled frown, and was so absorbed in wondering if he knew what he was doing that she completely wasn't expecting it when he craned his neck forward and kissed her. Her eyes grew huge, but it was just a quick kiss, and he was already scrabbling back toward land before she could even put her hand to her mouth. She was relieved that he decided to go without saying anything, because right then her voice stopped working.

A few moments later White Deer and Stick-In-The-Dirt returned. White Deer climbed up the rock easily, not paying much attention to what she was doing; she draped a blanket around Charmian. "If it gets cold," she said, matter-of-factly; then, "You can also wrap yourself in it, to shut out all the light; I've heard this helps, sometimes."

"Oh." She hadn't known that. She pulled the blanket around herself. "Thanks." White Deer next held up a little stone, which Charmian looked at curiously. "What's that do--?"

White Deer blinked, then reddened a little. "You...put it in your mouth, and it keeps you from getting thirsty."

"Oh." Charmian took the pebble, feeling a little stupid; after all, just about every other rock around here seemed to be enchanted, why not this one? She looked at it a bit, still wondering whether it had any medicine in it, before deciding that it was just a rock and putting it in her mouth. "Thanks," she said around it.

White Deer clambered down off of the rock and Stick-In-The-Dirt came up in her place. He clung to the rock like a barnacle, gritting his teeth and glancing down over the edge at the lakeshore almost a hundred and fifty feet below. He held out his hand, and Charmian got ready to grab hold of it, but all that he did was rub his fingers against her face. She felt something cool, and thought that she smelled something burnt and woody.

He crept a bit closer and rubbed some on the other side of her face. When he drew his fingers away Charmian saw that they were coated gray; she touched her finger to her face and drew it back with ashes upon it. "If the spirits pity you," the medicine man said, drawing her attention, "then you may be more fortunate." He pulled his hand back, tilted his head as if examining his work, then gave her a look and turned away. White Deer stood and watched him as he cringed and edged his way back toward land.

"Thanks," Charmian called again. White Deer gave a little wave, after which Stick-In-The-Dirt took her hand and led her away. They disappeared into the trees, and Charmian was left sitting atop Arch Rock. She examined the odd state that she had been left in--wrapped in a blanket, with a pebble in her mouth, and ashes on her face--before sighing and settling down.

She gasped and nearly jumped when she saw that she wasn't entirely alone, just yet. She had to blink a few times before she recognized the figure now standing at the edge of the woods, staring back, because he looked so different. Her eyes grew when she realized that it was Manabozho. He still wore his winter clothing from the Fairy Realm, only he was soaked and spattered with mud, his hair and feathers bedraggled and dangling. Drying mud was smudged across his face, and his eyes were red and raw, shadows hovering beneath them; her own eyes wandered down toward his hands, to see that his fingers were dirty and bleeding. It looked as if he'd been dragged all the way down Main Street and back by a team of runaway horses. She couldn't believe that she hadn't even noticed his state, back when he'd first entered through the Fairy Arch.

Charmian's brow furrowed, her eyes wide. "Manabozho...?" she asked, uncertainly.

He continued staring at her with that strange glassy-eyed look, before hesitantly stepping from the woods and limping her way. He stared at the ground the entire time. She watched him in silence as he climbed up the rock, stopping several feet away. He was grasping something in his hand but his arm was bent at such an angle that she couldn't see what it was. He looked as if he wanted to speak but couldn't.

She stared at him for a moment or two. "I'll do everything I can, Manabozho," she said softly.

His feathers quivered, as if he flinched. She saw his eyes grow glassier. He bit his lip, then held out his hand. Charmian looked down to see a mud-coated flute balanced on his palm, and she sucked in a breath, her eyes stinging.

"I don't know how to play it," he mumbled, looking ashamed. "But I thought...maybe..."

His voice trailed off, cracking in his throat. Charmian reached out and took the flute, pulling it slowly toward herself and wiping the mud from it. Her vision of it blurred and she had to rub at her eyes, remembering how it had last been used here at Arch Rock. She cleaned it off as best as she could before tucking it into the blanket. "I mean it, Manabozho," she said. "I don't know if I can do anything...but if I can, I will. If I can, I'll bring him back to you."

He finally lifted his head a little, his eyes wet and wary. He looked completely different from the way she was used to seeing him, cocky and snappy and swaggering; this Manabozho looked as if he wished to crawl into a cave, and never come out again. She hoped that he believed her, and thought she saw the tiniest bit of hope in his own eyes, before he lowered them again and turned away. He climbed down and made his way back to the trees, leaving muddy footprints behind him. Charmian looked down at them and saw that even though he was wearing moccasins, they were stained in such a way that it looked almost like he left the prints of a rabbit behind him.

Her eyes flooded and she wiped them dry, taking in a breath and letting it out. She made certain that the stone was situated properly in her mouth, huddling in the blanket and clasping onto the flute as if it alone would keep her from falling off of the rock, and shut her eyes.

Manabozho and Wabasso are from Ojibwa mythology. Charmian, Mani, White Deer, Stick-In-The-Dirt, and Thomas Leeds are © Tehuti.
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