I'm a big fan of the Kalevala. Anyone who has let me ramble about the beautiful flowing poetry of the Friberg translation (and Gallen-Kallela's illustrations) has probably regretted it, as I will always do my best to quote the first paragraph from memory and usually fail miserably. There is also a great bit in Runo 19 about the smith Ilmarinen forging an iron eagle to battle a massive fish that has me itching to do an illustration of the scene. I mean come on! Big Iron eagle! Neat! The sketch below is not that scene. It is, instead, a funny little creature out of my sketchbook who really wants to be an iron eagle, so he makes a sort of eagle suit:
The faded drawing in the background is a Celtic version of an eagle. Someday I will actually illustrate Ilmarinen and his Iron Eagle. Just not today.
And because I can't resist, I'm going to share the first paragraph of the Kalevala which is, in my opinion, one of the most brilliant beginnings ever written:
I am wanting, I am thinking
To arise and go forth singing,
Sing my songs and say my sayings,
Hymns ancestral harmonizing,
Lore of kindred lyricking.
In my mouth the words are melting;
To my tongue are hurrying,
Even against my teeth they burst.
You can read more here.
One of my fantasies is a week of campfires in the wilderness where Christopher Lee reads the entire Kalevala out loud.