Smile For Noko 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 33 of Return To Manitou Island [link] and depicts baby Chakenapok just following his birth...I'll let the snippet of story tell you the rest. I don't think he was born with his flame tattoos, but I drew them in anyway because what's an evil bloody baby without them?
I just realized I didn't give him pupils! Oops. Oh well...maybe next time.
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 "Silence" 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.
(This scene is rather spoilery!)


"Noko." Manabozho stepped closer. "What are you talking about?"

"Wenonah did not die giving birth to you," Nokomis replied.

Both Charmian and Manabozho stared at her in disbelief. "She...didn't?" Manabozho whispered, then shook his head. " told me, Noko. It was too difficult for her...she died right afterwards, right after naming me. She wasn't strong enough."

"This is not the truth," Nokomis said. She looked down at the floor, and ran her hand along the wood, as if tracing something there. Charmian's eyes followed her movement, although she saw nothing.

"After you were born," Noko murmured, "your mother did name you...and these were the last words she spoke. For then she was overtaken by agony...all she could do was scream, and scream..." Her fingers halted and she shut her eyes. "Wenonah died as she gave birth to your younger brother...your twin...Chakenapok."

Charmian sucked in a breath. Manabozho stared at Nokomis with what she would have called shock, if the word had been strong enough to describe his expression.

"I...have a younger brother...?"

"Chakenapok?" Charmian echoed. "Chakenapok is Manabozho's brother?"

Nokomis nodded. "His birth was violent...Wenonah could not stand the pain. She died, before she could even name him...and so this was left to me. Even as little 'Bozho cried I held his brother in my arms and named him myself. Chakenapok...the Flint. He whose very birth was hard and sharp, and burned like fire..."

The yellow eyes of the shadowy apparition in Charmian's dream--surrounded by fire--flickered in her brain, and she shivered. Then she lifted her head, a thought striking her. She glanced at Manabozho, but he still seemed too dazed to bother asking. She leaned forward on her hands, peering up into Nokomis's face.

"Nokomis, if Chakenapok is Manabozho's brother...then what happened to him? You said Manabozho grew up alone except for Wabasso...and Chakenapok isn't where did he go? And why?"

Nokomis shut her eyes again and sighed. "Would that these were questions I never had to answer...for I feel that as soon as I do, you will both hate me, you especially, Manabozho...though answer them I must, if my spirit is ever to be clear." She opened her eyes now and met Charmian's, and Charmian nearly started at the hard look in them. It was something she wasn't used to seeing from the kindly old woman.

"From the very moment he was born," she said, and her voice had taken on a hard edge as well, "I knew that he was trouble. He did not even come into the world as most children do--it was only by luck that Manabozho came first, for Chakenapok fought his way out, as if merely being born were not good enough for him. He practically tore his way out of poor Wenonah, as she was in too much pain to push him out. The way she bled after he was born...perhaps it is best she died so quickly, rather than witness such a dreadful sight...

"Still, although I knew my poor daughter was dead...I tried to keep my head together, for her children...Manabozho was already crying, and quite loudly, as he had no one to feed him...but Chakenapok..." She shivered now, and the gesture filled Charmian with dread. When she spoke again her voice was hardly above a hoarse whisper, yet somehow it still carried throughout the Tree.

"Chakenapok did not cry even once...I never saw any tears come from his eyes. They were not normal eyes...for they were pale those of a wolf. And instead of crying, he merely opened his eyes, and looked up at me...and grinned..." Nokomis shivered again, and drew her shawl more tightly about herself. "He had teeth, pointed ones...very small, but I saw them. And claws upon his tiny fingertips...they were still lined with the blood of his own mother, the one he'd killed, just to be born into the world...I had hoped it to be just misfortune, yet when he smiled at me like that, I knew...knew that he had killed her as surely as if he had plunged a knife into her heart...and he had meant it. I do not know how or what happened...but that was no child Wenonah was a mitchi manitou of some sort, a bad spirit, a demon even...for no child has eyes and a grin like that, and no child laughs after he is born instead of crying. For when he opened his mouth to grin, he let out a was a babe's laugh, but it was more than normal child laughs in that way. It chilled my very bones to hear it. I knew he was no sane creature. I knew that if he were allowed to grow up in this world, he would bring pain and violence and sorrow to all he would meet, just as he had brought them to poor Wenonah. I looked at little Manabozho, still crying in his basket at my side...and then I looked at Chakenapok, lying on the furs beside his dead mother, still grinning and laughing and staring at me with those yellow eyes...and although I hated the very thought of it, I knew what I had to do."

She lifted her hands into the air, pantomiming holding onto something large and round, and then dashed the invisible object at the floor as hard as she could. Charmian winced, cringing in on herself and shutting her eyes tight at the horrible vision that passed through her head--the sight of the dead woman lying bloody on the furs, the squalling baby in his basket, the old woman staring at the other leering, laughing child, before bringing the rock plunging down at his head...fortunately the vision faded before she could see what followed, though she still sat in the Tree with Nokomis and Manabozho, and the story was still a true one. She rubbed her arms, feeling queasy again, although not from the whiskey this time.

"I knew that the only way to spare the Island from such a creature," Nokomis said softly, "was to see it dead."

"Only he's back now," Charmian said, and the old woman nodded.

Nokomis, Manabozho, Wenonah, Wabasso, and Chakenapok are from Ojibwa mythology. Charmian is © Tehuti.
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