Reading in the dark

If you, like me, have found yourself unexpectedly singing Bruce Springsteen adaptations (“Can’t start a fire! Can’t start a fire without a spaaaark… This gun’s for hire, even if yer just readin’ iiiin the daaaaark!”) or have a sudden deep-seated concern for my eyesight (don’t worry – I’m basically night-blind so reading in the dark is not just a bad idea but an impossibility for me), that’s actually not why we are gathered here today. (We aren’t gathered for a wedding either, which is what I always think when I hear the phrase, “We are gathered here today…”. But I digress. Again.)

The actual purpose of this post is to feature a series of illustrations by the inimitable Tori Stowe, a South African artist whom I dearly love. When she shared this series on her Facebook page earlier this week, I kneeeew I wanted to share them here. She graciously gave me permission – YAY! – so here they are. They’re captioned, “Finding friends in strange places…

The first image in a three-part black-and-white series of illustrations by Tori Stowe. To the right of the page, a large monster resembling an anglerfish appears. It has enormous teeth and eyes as well as an esca, on the end of which appears a lightbulb. By the glow of the lightbulb, you can see a small girl in the shadows of the image, to the left of the page. Her eyes are wide and her face shows an expression of shock and fright.
The second image in a three-part black-and-white series of illustrations by Tori Stowe. Here, the same girl from the first image appears to the left of the page, walking in that direction while holding a string. The string is wrapped around the monster from the first image, who is now fully in-frame. Its lightbulb esca appears above the girl's head and it wears an expression of obedience as it follows her.
The final image in a three-part black-and-white series of illustrations by Tori Stowe. Here, the same girl from the first two images is sitting to the left of the page, her back propped up against the monster she met in the first image and led in the second, which is seated behind her. Its lightbulb still appears above her head and by its light, the girl is peacefully reading a book.

HOW AWESOME ARE THEY?! I’m crazy about the final image in particular (for reasons that really ought to be apparent), but I love the progression and the story that follows from the first to the final illustration. If we can get over our initial fear of things that appear scary and/or intimidating, we might find more than meets the eye – something that could help us, or even a friend! We could also get eaten!

Happy Friday, everyone 🙂 Definitely check out more of Tori’s work here and follow her on Facebook and Instagram. She’s hilarious, immensely talented and also the coolest and wonderfullest human, and you won’t regret getting to know her. (Getting to know all aboooooout herrrrr! Man, I really have to stop singing in these blog posts…)

A cartoon-style full colour illustration by Tori Stowe, showing a cardboard box housing a woman with brown hair peering over the side, a black-and-brown dog looking forward and peering over the front edge of the box, and three types of stationery: a stylus, a paintbrush and a pencil.

4 thoughts on “Reading in the dark

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