here are some of the illustrations that i did for a new folk strings book by Warner Bros.

canadian errant

this drawing reminds me of my dad, don. as i was making it, i thought it must have to do with the many hikes we've shared. the first one we took, in alaska i think, ended with don in the shade of a tall root heavy tree looking at a lake then back at me. the most recent hike was much shorter, only a couple of hundred yards across pedernales falls, but it ended with each of us dangling our feet near the water and talking at length about life.

i studied the errant's hat this afternoon though and something else came to mind. when i was in third grade, my school threw a halloween party. my dad dressed up as "mister natural." i don't remember the costume perfectly but it did include a soft suede hat, a walking stick, and a medicine bag. all the kids wanted to look inside the medicine bag because it had lots of small cool things inside. like a boar's tusk.

several years later, i found out that there was a comic book character called mister natural. "how cool is my dad" i remember thinking, "that he would dress up as some obscure comic book character!" the comic book character was a sex crazed nudist though. not what my dad was going for.


every few months, i'm hired to draw a bunch of people dancing. long before i even considered myself an illustrator actually, i was commissioned by a teacher to go to a ceili and draw the dancers. i drew a crowd of people carousing, spinning, clapping, and singing. i decorated one of the men in a nimbus of celebratory flame. "what if," i remember thinking to myself, "i could actually make a living doing something like this?"


this was drawn for a japanese folk song about cherry blossoms. the editor asked for a pagoda to show through the branches. i liked the drawing more and more as the building took shape upon the cherry branch. it looks to me like an elaborate birdhouse or something more mysterious. once she saw it, the editor selected it as the cover illustration.

© 2003 rama hughes