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Bright Eyes
By swandog   |   Watch
2K 416 40K (1 Today)
Published: April 27, 2006
© 2006 - 2019 swandog
(Edit: Oh wow!! :D Thank you so much for the DD feature, `savagebinn! :aww: :faint: And thanks to all the rest of you for your faves and comments; I deeply appreciate every one of them! :heart: :love:)

My finished submission to the "Symphonies in Fur Minor" Music Portfolio, in which various artists get to illustrate songs using anthro characters. Many awesome artists participated in this folio; 33 of them in total! The CDs have a really neat and fun way of viewing all the artwork as well. There were only 300 of these CDs printed, and all my copies have been spoken for, but perhaps some of the other artists involved may still have a few for sale. My chosen song was "Bright Eyes", sung by Art Garfunkel (written by Mike Batt), which was featured in the Watership Down movie, and is among my top 5 favorite songs. The movie is likewise among my top 5 favorite animated movies and the book IS my all-time fave book, so I figured it was time to pay it the homage it deserves. :)

This image features the rabbit deity triptych, with the central char being the Black Rabbit of Inlé, patiently waiting to harvest the souls of the warren rabbits; he is not evil, but like the Angel of Death, is only doing his job. He wears a necklace of both predators' teeth and claws and a rabbit's skull and vertebræ, and has markings resembling moon phases. The stylized sun with the rabbit's eye is Frith, giving life and warmth to all creatures; his rays are made to resemble both tree roots and flames. And the rabbit hero El-ahrairah is the star constellation, guarding and inspiring his beloved progeny. The stylized clouds are creeping fog, and the hill in background is the real Watership Down hill. The dying rabbit (in the movie, it was Hazel-rah, but here it's just a generic rabbit) is in a yin-yang symbol because it's hovering between life and death, light and darkness, like the sky surrounding the scene. The other rabbits are watchful of what they can see and hear, feeling relatively safe and content as long as they have each other (like the little one dreaming), and fearful of the death and darkness they know they all must face. They ready themselves for that long journey and yet never lose hope or faith in life, which they ever struggle to cling to.

Here are the lyrics to the song:

"Is it a kind of dream,
Floating out on the tide,
Following the river of death downstream?
Oh, is it a dream?

There's a fog along the horizon,
A strange glow in the sky.
And nobody seems to know where you go.
And what does it mean?
Oh, is it a dream?

Bright eyes,
Burning like fire.
Bright eyes,
How can you close and fail?
How can the light that burned so brightly
Suddenly burn so pale?
Bright eyes.

Is it a kind of shadow,
Reaching into the night,
Wandering over the hills unseen?
Or is it a dream?

There's a high wind in the trees,
A cold sound in the air.
And nobody ever knows when you go.
And where do you start,
Oh, into the dark?

Bright eyes,
Burning like fire.
Bright eyes,
How can you close and fail?
How can the light that burned so brightly
Suddenly burn so pale?
Bright eyes."


You can listen to it (and watch clips of the movie) here: [link] or [link]

Refs: [link] [link] [link] [link] [link] [link] [link] [link] [link] [link] [link] [link] [link] and [link]
Image size
1246x1467px 1.45 MB
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Comments (403)
Leathurkatt-TFTiggy's avatar
Leathurkatt-TFTiggy|Hobbyist General Artist
Not only do I have the DVD (I grew up watching the movie), I have the original book and "Tales from the Watership Down" as well.

Childhood Memories by Leathurkatt-TFTiggy
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EllyGirl2809's avatar
EllyGirl2809|Hobbyist General Artist
It's a great movie and a very moving song, I believe that your artwork reflects the song and it's meaning to the movie well.
It's visually appealing and brings a feeling of nostalgia for me of the movie.

(I think it fits from what I can remember at least. When I saw Watership Down I was young and it scared me quite a bit, lol)
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swandog's avatar
swandog|Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you so much! <333
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EllyGirl2809's avatar
EllyGirl2809|Hobbyist General Artist
You're very welcome ^_^
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QuazarShark's avatar
Huh I've looked through your gallery a few times over the years, but somehow never saw this.
This must be such old hat to you artistically at this point, but it's still a really wonderful thing to find!
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Jakeukalane's avatar
Jakeukalane|Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is so awesome I love it so much, I have no words... :heart:
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DragonHeartLuver's avatar
You've Been featured in my "HONORARY DEVIATION FEATURE" ^^ :hug: [link]
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OnePurpleShoe's avatar
OnePurpleShoe|Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
I favorited this piece years before I read the book. Now that I have, I feel like I can appreciate it that much more. You've really captured the spirit of the story.
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Peurankasvo's avatar
Peurankasvo|Hobbyist Digital Artist
Wow, this is amazing! You really have determined all of the tinyest details. Great! Watership Down Was (and still is) one of my childhoods favorite movies. (:
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bakalobo's avatar
bakalobo|Hobbyist General Artist
Wow. I knew a lot of thought went into this before i read the description, but every inch of it seems to have significant meaning. I don't think i've ever attempted a piece with nearly this much ... ... symbolism. Also my favorite book!
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TheTaoEngine's avatar
TheTaoEngine|Professional Digital Artist
epic illustration of such an emotionally charged book. :)
Reply  ·  
SaraaLuna's avatar
SaraaLuna|Hobbyist General Artist
The Black Rabbit indeed. Only doing his job; trying to keep nature balanced, and continuing the cycle of life and death for the rabbits, Hazel-rah included (though you did say the one in the middle wasn't him.) I love the colored pencil/marker coloring, and this is just composed so well. :heart:
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SkekLa's avatar
SkekLa|Professional General Artist
GREAT JOB!...FAVE!
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kevynne's avatar
kevynne|Student Traditional Artist
oh i see thanks for the info anyways awesome artwork
Reply  ·  
kevynne's avatar
kevynne|Student Traditional Artist
am just asking due to the style and art may i ask are they aboriginal or ancient australian or something just asking
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swandog's avatar
swandog|Professional Traditional Artist
I'm inspired by many types of iconographic-style art (Aboriginal, Byzantine, Art Nouveau, Celtic/Norse knotwork, Oriental, Native American, African, batik, medieval tapestries, etc.), but this image wasn't based on any particular one. :)
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MrCheckpoint's avatar
I actually just watched watership down the other night along with plauge dogs im liking the pic
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BatmanWithBunnyEars's avatar
It's striking how the large rabbit looks evil at first, but he reveals his harmlessness by gently surrounding the bunnies with how hands. He awaits their souls, but he does not pursue. The detail and the symbolism are both stunning.
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LadyFiszi's avatar
LadyFiszi|Professional Digital Artist
Absolutely awesomeness.
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meatloaf7593's avatar
May I use this as a tattoo?
Reply  ·  
swandog's avatar
swandog|Professional Traditional Artist
Sure, if you'll link back to this image if you post a picture of the finished tattoo to your gallery here (or to other sites). :)
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meatloaf7593's avatar
Absolutely, I love your art, and I'm amazed that you have been on DA for so long.
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swandog's avatar
swandog|Professional Traditional Artist
:aww: :heart:
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