Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login
The Lives of Chrestomanci by AnneCat The Lives of Chrestomanci by AnneCat
One of my favorite authors of all time, Diana Wynne Jones, passed away on March 26th, 2011. I wanted to paint something to commemorate her -- she was such a gifted, creative, hilarious, sensitive, sensible woman, and I feel so deeply grateful to her. Her books were an important part of my life; many of my friends have been treated to my enthusiastic rants about her, and have seen the large portion of my bookshelves devoted to her novels. She is one of my major inspirations as a writer; she had a very intuitive, realistic grasp of human nature, and wrote vivid fantasy that upended conventions and was always fresh, unpredictable, and deeply satisfying.

This is an illustration of Christopher Chant, also known by his title of Chrestomanci. He is featured in several of DWJ's novels. Every object in the border is significant. Fans of Chrestomanci will remember his penchant for wearing fabulous dressing gowns, and for drinking tea with lemon.
Add a Comment:
 
:iconstarry-girl:
starry-girl Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
This detail is breathtaking plus you capture his different personalities. PS great composition
Reply
:icongothilalita:
GothiLalita Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2011
Oh my, you've managed to include so many significant details! It's all coming back to me now!
I think what I love the most is the entire composition! :heart:
Lovely, just lovely.
Reply
:iconannecat:
AnneCat Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Oh! Thank you so, so much! I'm really glad that the details bring the story fresh in your mind. :)
Reply
:icongothilalita:
GothiLalita Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2011
They really do! It's an excellent illustration! C:
Reply
:iconkironomi:
kironomi Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2011  Student Traditional Artist
wow, this is amazing!
I love all the details!
Reply
:iconannecat:
AnneCat Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks so much! :):):)
Reply
:iconcimorine90:
Cimorine90 Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2011
oh dang. definitly. :D
Reply
:iconlemurkat:
lemurkat Featured By Owner May 13, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
A absolutely splendid tribute.
Reply
:iconannecat:
AnneCat Featured By Owner May 14, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you so much! :):):)
Reply
:iconcharmquark:
CharmQuark Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2011
This is SO. AWESOME. That's one of my long-neglected favorite books ever--I left my battered copy on the beach in Florida in the 6th grade it's been on the list of childhood favorites that I need to re-buy and reread ever since. I love how you've captured its mixture of the whimsical and the entirely personable and familiar, and the border, and his dressing gown (I want one!) and how this really makes me think another trip to the bookstore is in order...
Reply
:iconannecat:
AnneCat Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Hehe! Thank you so much for the compliments! I have been wanting to buy a fantabulous dressing gown, now, to honour Diana Wynne Jones' death in the most apropos way I could think of. Well, you know, aside from writing creative fantasy novels, which will take considerably more time than buying a dressing gown.

I also just blew several gift certificates from Christmas on buying some of her books from Amazon. Mmmm books.
Reply
:iconcharmquark:
CharmQuark Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2011
I had no idea she died until I looked at the picture. I feel like she had some sort of metaphysical genius that was hovering just outside my range of appreciation when I read them as a kid, and that I would be totally justified in making a similar Amazon order... God bless a world where you can get any book you want mailed to yourself within two days. Not that there's anything wrong with the library--except when the librarians rake you over the coals for illustrating the books in their margins...
Reply
:iconannecat:
AnneCat Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Right now, I'm living in Madrid, so I'm at a bit of a deficit when it comes to libraries -- it's all in Spanish!

Yes. I don't know *what* I would do if I had to depend only on old-style bookstores, and asking people to mail me things. It's SO expensive to mail any private packages overseas right now, too.

And I absolutely agree; DWJ really does have so much awareness of her craft, and knows how to weave in the old and deep and powerful with the new and surprising and modern. I HAVE to re-read Fire and Hemlock. When I read that one, I actually tried so hard to figure out who was who and what was going on that I took notes!
Reply
:iconcharmquark:
CharmQuark Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2011
Oh gosh, I gave up on Fire and Hemlock, swearing to myself I'd have a go at it again when I was older... Thanks for reminding me!
Reply
:iconoboe-wan:
oboe-wan Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Ah, too lovely. I like the little Christopher circa "Lives" (I presume?), and the bossy teenage "Conrad's Fate" era Christopher, but really the adult Christopher in the foreground is my favorite. Look at his perfectly groomed raven hair! And that little expression of hidden amusement. Just love it. I also think the teacup and the hand holding it turned out particularly well.

The border makes me realize that there's so much I don't remember from those books, though.... Throgmorten, of course, rings a bell, and the mermaids (poor, poor mermaids!), but I'm missing the significance of far too many of the other objects. Time for a reread, I suppose!

Loving as always the deep, rich tones of your very color-saturated paints. I'm still a bit wussy when it comes to watercolors, but you always remind me of how good it can look if you really put the paints on dark. I am also very impressed by the mottled coloring on the dragon and mermaid scales.
Reply
:iconannecat:
AnneCat Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you! You know, I had to do some research, myself, before doing the borders... I *tried* to think of all the relevant things on my own, but I got about as far as the cricket bat, industrial crane hook, the Place Between, and the ring, and then I was stumped. (Well, I had Throgmorten on there, too. He's hard to forget.) At least I remembered that much -- I realized recently that I remember almost *nothing* about The Pinhoe Egg, save that the grown-up bootboy was in a relationship with a woman who painted flower patterns, and there were a griffin and a unicorn. What on earth was the PLOT? Who was the main character???

Oh, I'm so glad the adult Chrestomanci's expression came through! It kept looking different to me from different angles, and I was afraid that maybe overall, he just looked a bit daft. Which, of course, he could be doing on purpose. But still.

For the record, I love your light, watery, airy use of watercolor, and I wish I could figure out how to utilize your style of painting! Every time I try, it just ends up too dark and heavy, and loses the luminescence that all of your paintings are infused with.

The scales were really fun to paint. Almost a happy accident -- the mermaids were probably the last thing I added to the picture, and then when I was painting them, I didn't have much of a plan. They just looked good really early on, so I stopped doing stuff to them. :)
Reply
:icongentlemenfromvenus:
gentlemenfromvenus Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2011
What a wonderful way to remember DWJ (I miss her so much! ;_;). Love the border details! <3
Reply
:iconannecat:
AnneCat Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Oh! Thank you so much. I'm glad you like it! :)
Reply
:iconanna-kinath:
anna-kinath Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2011
That's fantastic - I love all the details!
Reply
:iconannecat:
AnneCat Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks so much! :):):)
Reply
:iconwingedlioness:
WingedLioness Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2011  Student Traditional Artist
I love this! all the details showing causes of each life that was lost (even showing both versions of the causes) are wonderful. this is remarkable, it is good enough to be a book cover. It is an amazing tribute to DWJ's memory and if she were still alive she would have felt honored to have this drawn for her.
Reply
:iconannecat:
AnneCat Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you so much! "Good enough to be a book cover" -- that has to be one of the best compliments I've ever gotten -- but the last one you said tops even that. I do HOPE that Diana Wynne Jones would approve. I feel like she's given so much to my life and I wanted to make something beautiful to give to other people in return. I'm just sad that I couldn't actually show it to her.
Reply
:iconwingedlioness:
WingedLioness Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2011  Student Traditional Artist
:hug: you deserved the complement!

I feel the same. I want to make a tribute to her, but whatever I make, I know that I will never get the opportunity to actually show her. and that makes me really sad.

keep up the stellar work. :D
Reply
:iconannecat:
AnneCat Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
If you DO end up making a tribute to her, please let me know -- I'd love to see it. :)
Reply
:iconwingedlioness:
WingedLioness Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2011  Student Traditional Artist
oh yess I will :D do you have any other DWJ artwork??
Reply
:iconannecat:
AnneCat Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Not on DA yet, but I have a pair of little Howl and Sophie portraits that I'm going to scan and upload. Right now they're black-and-white -- I will try to paint them, but they're on a paper that might not take well to paint!
Reply
:iconwingedlioness:
WingedLioness Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2011  Student Traditional Artist
I can't wait to see them! good luck with the painting!
Reply
:iconannecat:
AnneCat Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks! I'm going to scan the b&w today, and maybe paint sometime this week.
Reply
:iconlala-lana:
Lala-lana Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2011
This is stunning, I could just get lost in it. I adore DWJ too, I have read the Chrestomanci books many times and I am currently reading Eight Days of Luke for the first time.
Reply
:iconannecat:
AnneCat Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks so much! I'm glad you enjoy it -- and that you enjoy DWJ, too. Eight Days of Luke is a good one; I remember that when I was reading it, for some reason it reminded me strongly of Harry Potter in the beginning, which made me think that J.K. Rowling must have read it at some point in her childhood. And Neil Gaiman based his book "American Gods" on it.
Reply
:iconthat-poor-tyrant:
That-Poor-Tyrant Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2011
This is awesome. Seriously. I love how you work with colours, and all of the details are fantastic. I love the panel with the dragon: the vibrancy of the fire beside the dark, but equally vibrant, dragon, then set against the pale blue... It's really beautiful compositionally.
Reply
:iconannecat:
AnneCat Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you so much! I was particularly pleased with how that fire came out. :) I'm very glad you enjoy the picture, and thanks for taking the time to commment.
Reply
:iconhawaiiansockmonkey:
Hawaiiansockmonkey Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2011  Professional Filmographer
I love it! Especially the rather brightly colored dressing gown! lol...and Thogmorton looks properly devious.
I also really like what you wrote about Diana, it's so true. She was one of my biggest inspirations too.
Reply
:iconannecat:
AnneCat Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Aw! Thank you for the nice comments, and the add! I'm glad to hear that Diana Wynne Jones was such an inspiration for lots of people, and not just me. :)
Reply
:iconavthreads:
AVthreads Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2011  Student General Artist
I love the details in this, wonderful drawing! I didn't know about Diana, what books did she write?
Reply
:iconannecat:
AnneCat Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Ooooh, so many! Here's a quick, non-comprehensive list:

Charmed Life, The Lives of Christopher Chant, The Magicians of Caprona, Witch Week, Conrad's Fate, The Pinhoe Egg (these six all take place in the same world, with recurring characters, though the protagonists are different in each of them)

Howl's Moving Castle, Castle in the Air, House of Many Ways (again, not a series per se, but they all take place in the same world)

Hexwood
The Homeward Bounders
A Tale of Time City
Eight Days of Luke
Deep Magic
Fire and Hemlock
The Tough Guide to Fantasyland
The Dark Lord of Derkholm
The Year of the Griffin (this is a sequel to Dark Lord of Derkholm)
The Power of Three
Cart and Cwidder (and the other 3 Spellcoats books)
The Time of the Ghost
A Sudden Wild Magic
Archer's Goon
Dogsbody
Black Maria
The Game

Have you read any of them, now that you see some titles? :-D
Reply
:iconavthreads:
AVthreads Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2011  Student General Artist
I don't recognize any of them, but I'll probably try checking one out next time I'm at the library! :)
Reply
:iconstarlene:
Starlene Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
I've unfortunately no idea about Diana Wynne Jones's books, but I do know a good picture when I see one... :D
Again, such admirable level of detail! I especially like the dragon near the bottom (it reminds me of Sleeping Beauty, my favourite Disney movie), and the left border with the skulls and tower is weird in a really nice way, too. And it looks so good how the mountain landscape is featured in the middle and then continues to the right border. Just great as a whole!
Reply
:iconannecat:
AnneCat Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks very much! I am also a big fan of Sleeping Beauty; and one of these books happens to include a purplish-black dragon, as well. I'm glad you enjoy the painting!
Reply
:icondoughboycafe:
doughboycafe Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2011  Professional Writer
wow, what can I say about this. It's really amazing. All the little details in the amrgins to start with, from the way you painted the tiny details on the skulls to the little scales on the fish and the dragon, the soft glow of the fire, the smooth paint onf the staircase. I'm so impressed by your painting.

His robe is so fantastic, you get ever little curve of cloth and all the ripples in the patterns and everything, it looks so vibrant and realistic.

The faces are also so expressive. I don't know Chrestomanci because I have not yet have the pleasure of reading a DWJ novel (apparently that will all change soon), but I feel like I get such a great impression of his personality from this painting. The way you bordered it, the colors you chose, it pulls the painting together in a neat and vivid way. I'm so impressed by it, one of your finest works to date, to be sure!

I know somewhere DWJ can see, and she is happy you created such a fitting tribute to her work. <3
Reply
:iconannecat:
AnneCat Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you so, so much for the detailed comment. I'm glad that Chrestomanci's personality is conveyed so strongly. Now, if you read the books, you'll have to tell me if your pre-conceived notion of him from this painting matches up with what you read!

I was particularly proud of the skulls, the staircase, the dragon's flame, and the cat panel. It always makes me so happy that, when you look at my art, you seem to zero in on that kind of little detail right away!

And thank you, very sincerely, for the kind comment about DWJ.
Reply
:icondoughboycafe:
doughboycafe Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2011  Professional Writer
<3 always
Reply
:iconileranerak:
Ileranerak Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Christopher Chant will always be one of my fav characters of DWJ.
Reply
:iconannecat:
AnneCat Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Mine, too! He's so fully-developed as a person; I love seeing how he evolves into the person we meet as Chrestomanci.
Reply
:iconileranerak:
Ileranerak Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
and all the little details in your picture are astonishing! I'll try to name them, not in a partiular order...
There's Christopher's rainbow-colored scarf the old lady gave him before going to Chrestomanci castle. And the toys people from the almost-anywheres gave him.And there's a wall hanging with many silver objects (or is it the mirror? I don't remember)XD. I can also see a mermaid's tail, and the dragon that killed him once. Throgmorten, too and I think that's the wall Christopher got stuck into while dream-traveling. There's that spear the people from the Asheth temple used you know what for...The ring that Gabriel de Witt used to confine one of his lives. The cricket bat, the instrument Tacroy needed to spirit travelling,the tower where Christopher fell and died...again,there's the tiger skin they used for the disguise along with the jewelry, the cliffs on the place between and those 3 Christophers that are: Little Christopher in his pajamas when he traveled to the anywheres and Christopher in his pageboy attire from the Stallery mansion in Conrad's Fate, and Christopher as the Chrestomanci we all love.
whoa that's too much...
Reply
:iconannecat:
AnneCat Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Wow! I'm so happy all of that was clear to you! :):):) Did you happen to see the curtain rod next to the spear? And the industrial crane hook behind the cricket bat? ;)

Seriously, I'm madly impressed. You even recognized the scarf that Mrs. Pawson knitted for him! I didn't remember it until I was re-reading bits to do this picture.
Reply
:icontreacle-miner:
Treacle-Miner Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2011
How lovely! The border is especially great, and I love all the colors.
Reply
:iconannecat:
AnneCat Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks very much. :)
Reply
:iconentirelyinsane:
EntirelyInsane Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2011
...Goodness, that's cool. Apparently, I REALLY need to read these books, now...
(gah, another thing to add to the to-read list...)
Again, I am madly jealous of your illustration skills. The border turned out beautifully! Is this seriously watercolor again? My good grief.
And I do endorse fabulous dressing gowns and lemon tea, just as an aside. (;
Reply
:iconannecat:
AnneCat Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Aw, thanks so much!!! I'm quite happy to hear that you endorse such lovely habits, as well. I feel like I ought to go and buy myself an utterly fantastic dressing gown in tribute to DWJ. Or maybe just because I'm hankering for one now. Or both.

Tis watercolor. I think I've almost got it down!
Reply
Add a Comment:
 
×




Details

Submitted on
April 8, 2011
Image Size
987 KB
Resolution
1000×1249
Link
Thumb
Embed

Stats

Views
1,783
Favourites
50 (who?)
Comments
67
Downloads
15
×