The Tree of Hope

Symbolism and metaphor
“As a Storyteller, as well as an illustrator my task is to express emotions through the power of symbolism and metaphor. We don’t have to know or understand these intellectually more we just allow them to be what they are; age old understandings that traverse cultures and need no words to explain them. However here I have been asked to explain something of my thinking process in the illustration and so I want to include my use of symbolic and metaphorical references.

The Trees
“The Oak; It Represents Strength. Grounding. It acts like an umbrella protecting across the whole of the ‘Heaven’ of the illustration and even on the left side it continues to do this by being the paper that makes the books. Oak is also connected with Druids, groves, knowledge, and also Thor, thus Thorsday who represented strength. and is now one of our days of the week.

“Apple: the Apple represents Love. The apple is the shape of a heart of course. It represents the Goddess Freyja which became our Friday. the Apple tree represents Friday. Silver birch: represents new beginnings. It’s the tree of Sunday, day of the Sun and of course the sun represents a new beginning to a new day and another chance to begin again.

The Wren
“This little bird in the British Isles is known as the King of the Birds. It loudly defends its territory and despite its diminutive size will see off many larger birds. I had already drawn this lovely fellow for Jane Jackson’s beautiful book of Poems, so I have used that drawing as a central instigator and go between in the main part of the illustration.

The Cat
“Cats are often portrayed as familiar’s to wise woman. Cats and dogs also play strong and constant roles in stories and usually engender company and a source of solace.

Threes and Fives
“Keen eyes may notice the use of three’s and fives in the illustration. Threes are prevalent in traditional stories all over the world…they are part of our rhythm when speaking; thus, we often give three references to a point we are making. Threes are used to emphasis success the first two who try to overcome an obstacle fail but in failing the one who makes the third attempt is seen as even more successful because of the previous failings. So there are 3 trees, 3 Wrens, 3 egg shell fragments, 3 elephants.

Light and Darkness
“Essential to the illustration is the use of light and darkness. The Light that shines on the grandparents, The Light behind the Tree of Hope, The light that comes from above and bursts through the trees to illuminate the repeated journey of the 4 children  (the incomplete 4th, where the fifth is forbidden to leave yet the light beams out from behind her making the adults (we assume are parents or guardians) faceless but the symbolic barrier is actually broken) This child looks out to the world to the viewers conscience.

“The darkness can be all consuming, night never leaves us and can remove or destroy our feelings of Hope and loneliness unless there are others who know our situation.