The artwork for "Christmastime Once Again” was made after I wrote and recorded the song. I wanted to capture a moment that would embody what the song was all about. At first I thought about having people sitting around an outdoor campfire, shown in a distance with pine trees, and basically just illustrating what I said in the lyrics. Then I played around with whispy ashes/snowflakes/bells floating up above a fire, but both ideas seemed to be taken too literally from the song. (Here are the lyrics of the song)
I wanted to set up the imagery to be more about the deeper meaning of the song. So I did a session of writing/drawing in my sketchbook to generate ideas around the meaning of the song.
The first thing I thought about was togetherness, because I wrote this in the spirit of bringing my own family together (all the voices on the recording are my husband and kids). The chorus says "Hear the bell toll once again, gather your family and friends." and the style of the song is kind of a family sing-along. I wanted to challenge myself to write a song people would want to sing together.
The next thing I thought of was family traditions. The lyrics "Time falls and fades away. (Time lifts us again) It’s a circle game (Again and again) Wishes and woes of yesteryear, over and over again." are a timeless moment of circling around all of the warm and fuzzy Christmas memories built up over the years. Some are childhood memories, and some are memories when I became a parent. The children dancing around the tree represent me as a child, as well as me witnessing my own kids growing up. Traditions are made to repeat, but each year they get a new flavor as people and situations change and I kind of see it as a spiral or "circle game".
And then I thought of hope and forgiveness. The child reaching up in the center is the embodiment of optimism and being able to see life as poetry. She is also about forgiveness, and being able to rise above the "muck", or "drama" of relationships whether it be family, friends, or even strangers. This is also expressed in the lyrics "When will you come home? (Let our trespasses sleep) As we meet again (We understand) The hopes and fears of all the years bring us together again."
I also wanted to illustrate the lilting feeling of the song by using the lines leading up towards the star. They reflect the rhythm of the song and also kind of like streamers, or draping decorations. The suggestion of dancing further goes with the overall feel of the song.
A little about my materials and method: I used Faber-Castell artist pens on Strathmore Bristol Paper to do the line ink drawing. It is 16” x 16” (on 18” x 24” size paper). After reflecting on the song and generating a few sketch concepts in my sketchbook, I laid in light pencil and then the ink. Here are some early stages of the ideas.
To me, Christmastime is all about forgiveness and being able to share beautiful moments with family, so I was really excited to create this project. The whole illustration and song are all about deciding to live with joy despite seeing faults in others, or faults in the world as a whole. The moment our mindset is changed is the moment of the hammer on the bell. Then it is just up to us to "hear the ringing echoing"!
Hoe you enjoy the song/artwork and spending time with the people you love this holiday.
(You can also get it on your favorite streaming service under "Tether the Star")
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