Eugenides fanart and The Queen’s Thief series

And so I was delayed in posting this. Can you wonder? I’d never sketched an adolescent boy before.

But now, meet GEN! A thief, a young convict, boastful but keen eyed, petulant yet remarkably reserved, elusive and mocking but dangerous when angered.

The Queen’s Thief series is something remarkable. Each book chooses a different perspective, a different voice to tell the tale, but at its centre is always Eugenides, the one who was named after the God of all thieves.

Book #1 introduces us to Eugenides or Gen who claims to be able to steal anything. His journey begins here and takes us through three more amazing periods of his life, all from varying perspectives. Where The Thief is told from Gen’s point of view, The Queen of Attolia places us on the shoulders of several important characters. Then in The King of Attolia we watch Gen struggle with himself as he accepts his destiny mostly from the second hand perspective of a common soldier in the palace of Attolia. A Conspiracy of kings is both the continuation of Gen’s journey and a chance for us to see his world through the tribulations and triumphs of a young friend, Sophos.

In the first four books Turner has tugged us by the hand and flown us over many parts of her world. She has pulled us deep into court intrigues and held us distant as we watched countries war. She has given us a romance that is both hard to understand and yet perfect for the man Gen is growing up to be. When I recommend this series to my friends I make sure that I warn them that it gets really going from book #2. Personally, I don’t agree. I think book #1 was splendid. It gave us the world from Gen’s view and I fell in love with him despite his very unreliable narrative because it is from here that Turner begins to give us pieces of the puzzle that is Eugenides. But The Thief was not written mostly for an adult audience as the next three books were. The Thief would appeal to ten year olds and thirty year olds alike. It wasn’t a personal journey as the others were, the first book was an adventurous quest. The beginning.

There is a short story, a sort of prequel that is free to read. In it, Gen is ten years old and he already has his priorities set. He’s a very determined young lad and not much fazes him. But he’s also lonely. He plans, he conspires, he tricks and beguiles and through it all he can trust very few people. And the few he slowly learns to take into his confidence, we learn to respect too. They deserve to be his friends.

I can’t review all the books here properly without spoiling them. Every book has something in it that begs to be discussed but also ruins the surprise for new readers. So I’ll do a spoiler post in the near future just to talk about the stories I love so much.

With this series, Turner gave us a hero we can’t forget and stories that are unexpected, heart rending and triumphant. And now we hear that in the fifth instalment (the long awaited 5th book that doesn’t even have a release date yet!) we may very well be rewarded with elephants. Gen will like that very much!



sketchy attempts 2

Recently at a commencement ceremony, Neil Gaiman gave a very popular speech where he said something that resounded very loudly with the writer in me –

“Most of us only find our voice after we’ve sounded like a lot of other people.”

I’ve often read advice to that effect – find one author, read all his books and try very hard to copy his style. You’ll learn more from this than any other way. And I agree with that. So, I thought that perhaps we could use this advice in other areas of learning as well. (Yes, I know that we already do. That the very basics of teaching is to make the students copy and practise. But I hadn’t realized what that meant before. That it wasn’t such an old fashioned idea after all.)

I’m teaching myself to draw. The figures on the left and below are of the ‘Common Man‘ by the cartoonist R.K. Laxman who has been drawing political strips for The Times of India for the last sixty years.

The guy here is very famous in my country. (They have a bronze statue of him in Mumbai). I copied him out of a collection of Laxman’s cartoons I got out of the library recently. I’ve been sketching dozens of his figure for the last two days. So, I’m sharing these with you.

ImageI’ve never had lessons, so I find this way of learning really quite brilliant. I’ve learnt to draw so many simple expressions. Cartoons are very different from the life sketches that I want to do, but still…it’s fascinating.

sketchy attempts

I begin with the ever charismatic and amoral Brian Kinney and the only guy he would ever even think about changing for, Justin.

Yes, yes, I know they look nothing like the guys below, but really you must make allowances – this is only my seventh sketch since I decided I wanted to be a great, unappreciated, undiscovered artist.

Here they come, the Beautiful Ones… below is the shot I used from Queer as Folk.


And the second one I have to offer is…

I’m calling him ‘Angry Guy’ – under him is the image I found by googling the same phrase…

That’s all I have for now. I wish I had started sketching earlier in my life. I’m 23 now and am being told regularly that I’m already too late to the party. Hey, can I help it if I’m a late bloomer? And sometimes you are the last person to understand yourself.

Anyway, I’ll write a post with books in it now. =)