Tuesday, January 26, 2016

A Troll for You and a Troll for Me

Troll from Atom's Monster
Something about trolls fascinates me. A troll in my first children's book, Atom's Monster, is the
catalyst for change, helping the boy hero to move from fear to courage--though not in the most comfortable way! I wrote the story for my 4 year old son Atom, when he was having nightmares, and found that the story was loved by many 3-5 yr olds.

The troll isn't TOO scary; as Atom says, he "doesn't look as though he eats little boys"! In fact, his beard and patched pants might have reminded the real Atom of his beloved papa.

We imagined trolls in the woods a generation later, when Atom's son was 4 years old, and a very different troll emerged. For one thing, the boy's fears and frame of reference were different.

 I think the troll my grandson was afraid of was based on the troll under the Freemont Bridge in Seattle--a monster bigger than a house! It eats VW's for heavens sake! And to think there might be trolls such as this in our woods--pretty scary!

 He would not go into the woods after that, even with his grandmother. Something had to be done.
Troll; work in progress

The boy's parents suggested he could make friends with the trolls by giving them fish heads, and so a new Troll Story was born.

This troll needed to be scary/not scary. It needed to embody the strangeness and wildness of the woods, but not be overpowering, so  I made it wild and animalistic, but childlike.

The teeth, the fir, the ears, the whiskers, all make it animalistic--almost cat like. Since the family has cats, this brings a familiarity to the troll, making it less frightening.

The big head and eyes, childlike expression, and bare tummy with the belly button showing make it even less threatening. Size is important, too. This troll is actually smaller than the boy.
Troll; work in progress

This story is a work in progress, and I will be showing drafts of it, along with published and unpublished paintings from Atom's Monster and my coloring storybook, Peacock Princess, at the Vashon Tea Shop, during February and March.

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