Sunday, October 23, 2016

Composition and the Saami Lead Character in Badin and the Secret of the Saami

Badin and the Secret of the Saami close up abstract
The Queen of Sweden Meets Saami Leader Gaaktu
As I color the pages for the Badin and the Secret of the Saami graphic novel, I share close up screen shots from each finished page. You can keep up with them on the Black Rhino Illustration Twitter page and the Badin and the Secret of the Saami Facebook page. They are abstract and spoiler free.

Gaaktu is distinguished with his high collar—a characteristic found in traditional Saami clothing. The collar not only keeps one warm in cooler climates, but it is often decorated with symbols unique to one's particular language and ethnic group within Saami culture. Gaaktu and his ethnic group are entirely fictional. However they are distinctly South Saami—a language group that is currently endangered in Sweden.

Gaaktu in hat
If you read the graphic novel (due May 1, 2017), you will notice that I am very intentional about composition with this particular Saami character. I put him at either eye-level or above the Swedish characters as he symbolizes the value of nature and the original people in their connection to the universe. Yet, by his nature and behavior, he is the most humble and wise of all characters in the graphic novel.

Although the Queen (Lovisa Ulrika) is "powerful," so is Gaaktu. He is the "king" of his people and you will see that he is clear about his purpose in this life and that he will not tolerate her bigotry. Despite the fact that the Queen assumes he is there to petition her for something, she begins to discover that he is there for something she needs.

In this meeting with Queen Lovisa Ulrika, I don't want the reader to get the idea that the Saami people are inferiors in the Kingdom of Sweden. As Saami American activist Kurt Seaberg inspired in me over a year ago when I was writing the script: The Saami are active survivors in European history—not submissive or passive specters in the darkness of its shadow.

Learn more at the Badin and the Secret of the Saami graphic novel project official website. Mini-sagas 1,2 and 3 are available. Get the story behind the story and buy the Mini-Sagas today!