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Lj Idol Week 17: The Caged Bird
cap, captain miss america

this is a picture of a marshmallow Peep chick imprisoned by lots of Peep bunnies.

Author's Note

The process is important understanding this piece. For the inking and gray wash on this comic, I used the tip of a turkey feather shaped to a fine point, like a paintbrush, which accounts for the unevenness of the line thickness and some of the "feathery" quality to the lines. I felt like using the bird feather made my medium appropriate to the topic prompt.

For those of you who are visually-impaired, the above comic has no words in it whatsoever. I thought it would be interesting to see if I could write a story which was conveyed without any text. I just wanted to note that before going on to the transcription below. I'd like to consider the transcription a completely different piece, based on the same premise, rather than what I had in mind when I draw the original piece, and it is only meant as an extra for the folks who can't view images, rather than an explanation of the story in the comic above!



Let me tell you the story of the best beloved bird that ever could be.

As I dawdled one day on the bendy branch of a sweet sapling, the wind whistling through the wild woodland, I heard a wonderful warble the likes of which I'd never witnessed.

I struck out to seek it, singing my own sweet strain in salutation, and it answered me in echo.

Ascending into the air, I was elated as appeared out of the ether a tall tower trilling with that tremulous tune. Further I flew, and found that bewitching ballad lilting from a brilliant beak.

Such charm! Such chanting! Such feathers framed her fine-featured face! Such livid luster lit her eyes! What was she? No sallow sparrow was this alluring avian! A peacock, perhaps, the perfections of her plumage paramount? A splendorous swan?

But captive she was, her wings clipped, for there were no bars on her cage, her window wide open. Still she sang, as sweetly as the sap that runs from the sugar maples on the river's edge.

I answered that aria with my own nervous notes, a meager melody and a tenuous tweet, cowed even to be in the company of this creature and her consummate crescendo.

So I descended downward, alighting on an ancient oak, and, about to consume a colossal caterpillar, I thought, what a grand gift for my divine dove, that prisoned pearl in her tall tower! Bearing the beast in my beak, I brought it to my beloved, who chirped cheerily.

What song! And to know my present precipitated those peeps of pleasure! What joy!

Then, with her wing, she unwove a splendid strip of satin from her raven ruff and held it out to me-- she returned my regard! What thrill I felt in my humble heart!


I don't know where I got the idea to sing. But as soon as I thought of it, it seemed really weird that I'd never thought of it before.

Technically, I have two mothers. I don't know which one I hate more. My first mother is the one I don't know. She's the one who traded me for a cabbage. A cabbage. I don't know about you, but I'd like to think I'm worth a little more than a cabbage.

Which is what my second mother always tells me. She prizes me, she says. She loves me more than anything, and she'd do anything for me, and I know she would, but she treats me like a necklace and keeps me locked up in this stupid stuffy tower. Maybe I'm not being fair, because I have plenty to eat and lots of nice things, but it would be nice to have a friend.

Today, I made a friend. I decided that if Mother wasn't going to let me out, I might as well try to bring someone to me. So I went to the window, and I was going to scream, but I decided if I screamed, someone would think I was in trouble, and then Mother might get in trouble, and that wasn't really fair, was it? So I didn't do that. Instead, I sang as loudly as I could.

And would you believe it? I heard someone singing back! Well, something. Because it was birdsong. I sang again, to see if I was just imagining things. And it sang back! Again. So I kept singing, and then this little brown bird came and perched on my windowsill! I don't know what kind of bird it was. I don't know a lot about birds. But it was either a swallow or a sparrow. Something with an s. It was really cute!

So I sang to it, and it sang back! And then it flew away! Just like that! No warning or anything.

But a few minutes later, I heard some scratching on my windowsill, and I ran up to see. And it was there again! But it had a giant caterpillar in its mouth! And after it flapped around a little, I got the sense that it wanted to give the caterpillar to me! As a present or something! So I took it, and it was this big old fuzzy thing! It was so funny looking, I laughed out loud. And then the little bird started singing again. It sounded so happy that I liked the present it brought for me. I'm really lad it didn't try to make me eat it or something!

So then I took the ribbon I was wearing in my hair, and I untied it, and gave it to the bird, and it picked it up in its little beak, and flew away. But I don't think I've seen the last of my new friend.

Now, if only it brings me a cute boy next time!

This entry was written for therealljidol Week 17: The Caged Bird

I actually liked this story quite well even before the last 12 frames were added!

Hahahaha which was like half the story. I had a server fail so I moved everything! Now it should be good! Thanks!

Girl, fix your metadata. Also, this comic was really pretty and I loved the transcriptions.

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The Peeps don't really go with the story but they are so full of marshmallow goodness, I couldn't resist!

And thank you! I got about a paragraph in before I decided to rewrite the girl's point of view so she sounded like a modern-day teenager. I hope it isn't too jarring.

One of the most delightful entries all season!!!

Thank you! Although it is severely lacking in invisible chickens.

i want a bird to bring me a cute boy too. hopefully not the same cute boy as you... that would just end in tears. but before the tears it would have to be some big showdown or something. wrestle each other sumo style or something like that. LOL
loved your entry. glad i can read everyone's now... it took me forever to finish mine.

Well, this cute boy is for the girl in my post, not for me. Also, I think we have very different taste in cute boys, so we could probably settle it very easily if it came to fisticuffs!

Love it :)
And read the visual impaired version too, I liked reading both :)

Thanks! emo_snal started encouraging me to write something different for the transcripts, and even though it is more work, I think it comes out pretty well that way!

So much love for both versions!! The art was just... wonderful, and the story really did get across through the style and the shadow and light. One of my favorites!

Thank you! I think it is awesome when folks I have known for a while who aren't participating in LJ Idol take the time to read and comment, so thanks so much.

This one was so sweet. I love it!

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Haha, thanks! I don't really think I am-- some of them I've never used before, and I can feel my ineptitude with them and the struggle to make them work for me, but I feel like sometimes that rawness contributes to my art! I actually felt like by the end of this piece, I had become so comfortable with the feather that my lines were too precise, and I had to work to get some of that grit back into the illustrations.

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This entry made me smile. I had my husband look at the comic and he described it further for me.

I just want you to know how much I appreciate you putting the effort into your descriptions. Many would not do this and I really can't say how much I think it's great!

Aw, thank you! Although the more recent descriptions are definitely because emo_snal really encouraged me to up my game on them. I feel like I want everyone to come away from reading my entries with something they can enjoy, even if it's not exactly the same experience.

Loved it, loved it, but for me the most awesome thing was that it was inked with a FEATHER!

That is indeed made of awesome with sprinkled win.

And the peeps made for the perfect mood setter.

I was tempted to do an entire entry with Peeps but you know what prima donnas they are!

And thanks! I love when I'm able to use the theme as an inspiration for the process I use.

Absolutely love this! It is so endearing. I also find the fact that you made the comic with a feather kind of magical and symbolic. <3

Thanks! I do love when I can incorporate the process into the theme. It is more fun that way. I'm really glad you liked it!