Sketches: Outlaws and Giants and Gods (oh my)
September 7, 2011 by CG Olsen
Since I don’t seem to have much time to post things these days, I thought I’d put up a few sketches– two used in my slides for my course, and then one doodle of a few of the more ornery saga heroes (plus a character of my own). These are all done in ArtStudio for the iPad, my favorite for quick sketches– but these are just 1-layer sketches, so don’t judge the program based on these lame doodles. The pictures for my first post and my “Born into Brothels” post were also done in ArtStudio.
These are pretty rough (I misspelled a lot of things in the first draft of one of them– let me know if I did this time too). I may make a “real” version of one or two of these at some point. Meanwhile.. enjoy!
Chart of the inhabitants of the Norse Mythological World. Loki is missing-- he should probably be a little fly buzzing back and forth (defying catergorization, that trickster). Some of the minor supernatural female figures (norns, etc) are in a box with question marks b/c they may at times be associated with fate and death and cthonic wisdom which seems to associate them with the giantish side of the paradigm. The chart is kind of a condensed picture of the mythological world as analyzed in Margaret Clunies Ross' book Prolonged Echoes (vol. 1).
A silly little thing I did while teaching Egils saga, Grettis saga and Gisla saga. The last two are outlaw sagas, both protagonists being described as the strongest men in Iceland. Grettir has a short sword-- the Freudian fun in that situation is made pretty explicit near the end of the saga. Egill is actually the only one of these guys to self identify as a Viking (see my post on Vikings: https://vikingsbooksetc.wordpress.com/2011/08/14/what-is-a-viking/), but all have a bit of the monstrous to them--and all are poets as well, b/c you aren't a real man in Saga Iceland unless you have both brains and brawn. Gunnar is a character of my own devising, and is surely the orneriest of them all.
Made reference to Ragnarok in my Norse Mythology course today, but since we aren't going to discuss it in detail until our section on eschatology, just gave them a quick peek at Surtr, who will join them again at the end of the world. As a professional in the field, I suppose I am obligated to tell you that Surtr probably was not supposed to look like this at all. Maybe he would have looked like burnt-out charcoal. Also, no horns (just like the vikings had no horns). He is associated with fire though, and comes from the south to fight with the gods at Ragnarok.