Jun 28, 2010

Illustration Friday: Satellite

Robert Jordan Junior was eleven years old when he first read about Laika.
Laika, a stray dog plucked from obscurity by Russian Scientists, had been propelled into space on Sputnik 2 in 1957.
Most people thought that for Laika it was a one way trip.
But Robert Jordan knew better. 
Even though the Russians had claimed that Laika had either suffocated or died a painful overheated death in her small metal container, Robert Jordan knew the truth.
You see, the very night Robert Jordan first read about Laika, he had a dream.
In that dream he was an astronaut sent by Nasa to rescue Laika.
As so often happens in dreams, the details were hazy; but in his dream Robert found himself suddenly surrounded by light, tugged from his bed by invisible hands, then catapulted through the earth's atmosphere on a beam of light.
In seconds, and with a great sucking sound as the beam of light vanished, he came to a sudden halt, suspended in space, three feet from the rusting hulk of Sputnik 2.
And there she was, the   dog Laika,  staring at him through a porthole, grinning and panting with happiness, her breath fogging the glass. She was still alive after all these years, suspended Robert knew, by the Russian's  super secret  hyperchromatic barium refrigeration. She'd been left to circle the world for ever and ever, as one of mankind's first satellites. 
But did Robert rescue her?
I'm afraid that's still classified ---- but I can say that I saw young Robert the other day playing ball in the park with a dog that looked like a part-Samoyed terrier.
One thing I did notice though: the dog barked an awful lot.
Of course Laika, in Russian, means "barker."
But it's probably just a coincidence. 

What follows is a few variations on Robert's dream. Thanks for looking! Please pardon the layout... I'll get it right one day!


  1. I was wondering what you are going to do with IF's prompt. Isn't that awesome when others look forward to your interpretation? That's the sign of a very good artist, I think.

    The story is captivating. Thank goodness Laika did not turn into a dog barbecue!

    Thank you for your comments on my blog. I wonder what your art professor will say? Hmn....

  2. Mita is lucky. I am too tired so I won't vie for the top.

  3. Thanks Andrew, you always have kind words to me and my drawings, which I appreciate. Never arrive late to a party where one ends another begins. It is life! When some are going to the party, others are turning .. never finished.
    I really admire you, when I'll have 98 years I can not move, and you're surfing!

    Very good job, as always.
    This dog was vaccinated against rabies?

  4. Hi Andrew, I told a fib, I still haven't posted anything new, but maybe today! This is great, I love the story too. Your flexing your writing skills, I like that. Poor Laika having to float through space like that for all those years. I do hope that Robert rescued her after all. Great rust effect on the satellite.

  5. Have problems lately with IF prompts plus time (as in: my time). So I am just looking around - and I like what I see. And you have done your homework! (Dog type, the little capsule's shape and even the spelling of Laika in Cyrillic! Great job! I would not have been so meticulous, have to admit, although I should know all this - living under the Soviet Empire for 50 years made its impression on us all.)

    I like the rusty texture of your capsule the best and that you are rendering a lot of views of the same scene (not necessarily the same pic though) that tell us a visual story in the end.

    I am missing a bit your darker and more wicked side though, but never mind, it is just me I know.

  6. Khm... sorry, but I just have to do another

    [self correction]

    Although I never deny my age I actually haven't lived 50 long years yet - those words of mine above are ambiguous. What I meant is, the Russian Empire was in Hungary for 50 years altogether and I lived through exactly half of it. Not that it matters - but it does to me.

    Promise next time I am just posting my monologue in one comment.

  7. uhm....

    [self correction numero dos]

    spelling Sputnik in Cyrillic... I mean.

    God I need another coffee.


  8. WOW. I am just in awe of your abilities! Such talent Andrew...fantastic.

  9. Hhm. I really should be packing right now, but what the 'hay'!

    You know it's quite interesting that the Russians would send a dog that is part Terrier and part Samoyed, considering the clash of personalities? But then I suppose it's possible to have a 'good' combination between an energetic, naturally bred hunters that has a tendency to nip on boisterous children and a gentle spirited, friendly breed that is also known with a jolly sense of humor?? Not to mention that a cross breed like this could also be a yappy kind of dog that barks a lot? Yes, yes, I suppose the name meaning 'barker' explains it... I wonder if there's another name for males that means the same thing. :)

    You know, I do admire how your mind 'travels' the far distances. Congrats, Monsieur, this is yet another mind juggler. :)

  10. And I do hope Robert really did safe Laika. Ah, to be contained in a small space like that and sent to the depths of nowhere. Poor little thing. :)

  11. Hello Ces, thankyou for looking forward to my work. Hello Ces, thankyou for looking forward to my work. (did you hear an echo?)
    Are you on top today?
    That thing with the numberes is supposed to average the last 5000 comments. But I think it is broke.There is a comment cloud somewhere. I will dig that one up. I wish I could format my little pictures as well as you do!

    Laura, thankyou for your kindness. Your last bunch of paintings photos are really something. I like the model as well :)

    Hola Roberto, Però segurament no és noranta-vuit? Jo li posaria a la meva edat. A la meva edat jo flota molt bé, així que el surf és fàcil. Ànec de busseig no és tan fàcil. :)
    M'alegro d'haver trobat la teva aquarel, tan delicat i fresc que són.

    Ràbia? Crec que el gos es inocular - però he de
    comprovar amb els meus russian contactes:)
    Hope that makes sense!!!

    Hey Karen, ahh shucks :) but seriously thankyou. The rust. I don't think metal rusts in space (don't tell anyone!!), but after all it's Robert's dream. I'm sure the dog was rescued. If not Robert will have to go back!

    Aha Kinga, so I have been caught practicing my Russian. You know I downloaded the font from Russian Orthodox Church site which had lots of free fonts. so I knew what the word sputnik looked like in Cryllic, but I kept hitting keys and couldn't match the word at all. Then eventually I grew annoyed and typed in Sputnik. And it worked heh. Then Laika. Maybe there is a moral. Life is simple - and so am I? Heh! :)

    Greetings Amalia. a very good luck with your packing. Are you going to the Himalayas? Just think how far you could see? Well I didn't know that about those dogs. You are very observant. I can see how you make such beautiful art. And can I see a metaphor in that last sentence?

  12. You are too kind, dear Andrew. I like your eye! You have a very, very good eye and your comments are very observant..I like that very much! Have a good night and again, I marvel at your abilities...truly remarkable work!

  13. Hi, merci pour ce gentil message laissé sur mon blog...
    A mon tour j'ai la joie d'admirer à nouveau vos merveilleuses créations qui me stupéfient à chaque fois par leur originalité et leur réalisation si parfaite.

  14. hello, tell me, how can i not say anything about this?
    i enjoy the story :))
    kinda cheer me up, seeing and reading this... you know i dont feel like drawing anything.
    so i thank you.


  15. Hi Shirley, gee thankyou for your first comment as well. I don'tknow how I missed replying to it. I love your watercolour work. You and Roberto I admire very much!

    Hey Martine Bonjour! It's great to have you back. I hope your trip was excellent. It's wonderful to read your French!

    Mita! Your new header is just so good! I hope that soon you are back to drawing. You would be a loss to us if you don't! See I am selfish :)

  16. i love the story! and wonderful illustrations. very glad laika is alive and romping around :) and that his great sacrifice is remembered!

  17. Impressive. I love the story and the series of pictures. You're making me feel very lazy -- or maybe that's motivated to do more next week?

  18. Andrew! This is unreal! I mean... I know its unreal, but your work is unbelievable. There I go again! What I'm trying to spit out is: its taken my breath away, and my tongue apparently. The expression on Laika's face is incredible. Its so real! And the satellites around. The details are astounding. I bow to you.

  19. Whoa! He has a skull and crossbones vest! Highly appropriate for this mission. And obviously space-proof. Love this story, Mr. Finnie. And fantastic images to go along with it. It would make such a wonderful book, no?

    Whenever I see space pictures, I hear David Bowie.......

  20. Hey Andrew old pal! Fantabulous! I really think that Laika was one of the scientist's dogs. She was always barking and He said, "One of these days, if you don't stop barking, you're going to the moon Laika!" He told everyone she was a stray. So I'm glad she found a more loving home with Robert. Your eye for detail and layout is amazing! This is one of my faves of your. How do you get so much done in a week? Is there an Andrew clone that just illustrates?

  21. Just when I think I have a favorite of yours... you go and top it once again! I love this!
    Fantastic work!


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