Have you ever felt over the moon on your birthday? Well, I have, a week ago! I would not consider myself a book worm, although the one I got for my birthday brought me to my knees. So on Friday morning the mail man handed me in a parcel with a green tag that saying ”artbook” on it. Took me a while to grasp that, but the moment I flipped the cardboard packet and read the name of the sender I knew exactly what is inside.
”Song of the Sea. Artbook’ straight from the Cartoon Saloon.’ In my hands it looks even better than online. And feels so too! Thick blue book, heavy with pictures and light with text. The artbook covers most of the creative process behind the multi-award winning animated film ”Song of the Sea” that was released in 2014 and has been inspiring me ever since. It tells a lot about the initial ideas for the animation and different alternatives for scenes and characters developed by Tomm Moore himself with Adrien Merigeau and dozens of other people alongside. It’s like sneaking into the backstage of a good musical.
The animation is saturated with Irish mythology, towards which I have always had romantic feelings. Most of the characters are based on Irish gods and goddesses, and even though I am not very familiar with them, a lot is told through the narrative in the film. However, having read about the character concepts which are briefly covered in the book, I have even more appreciation for the animated piece. The film shows beautiful allegories between the grandmother of the protagonists and Macha, who is the owl queen and originally the goddess of war in Irish mythology. Another one, heartbreakingly majestic is between a sailor father who is a widow and a mourning rock Mac Lir, the god of the seas had lost his beloved one and had been turned into a rock by his mother Macha who couldn’t stay to see him suffering.
There is indeed a tremendous amount of work done in order to communicate these parallel stories to audience of all ages, but also, there’s so much that slipped through my eyes while watching the film that I had only realised while digging into the artbook. If I had watched the film dozen of times there would probably still be loads to discover and I am so looking forward to doing it. It has already had a high influence on my style and in a way, the use of color, however, I think the book communicates this specific and beautiful mindset that people who worked on the film had, this incredibly sensitive approach to storytelling, that I would love to adapt in the long run.
The ”Song of The Sea”, is an ode to the Irish folklore, inspiring me to look at my own roots and maybe create something involving Baltic Mythology. It imight be just as rich and poetic and with a good dig in and a fresh head I think I could possibly do another picture book, the Lithuanian folklore-themed. That would embrace my homesickness which is hopefully close to the end. Wish me luck!

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