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Fables of the squirrel and the owl

Finally the temperature has started to come down a bit and since apple season is back I chose for this next round of fables to rework my drawings of squirrels and apple trees. It’s generally about how much we take in versus the room we have or how much we really need. The first fable, which I call the collector, is for the case where perhaps we take in a little more than required. And at the opposite end, the withholder tells the story of someone adept at things like holding back or living sparsely. Sometimes we can even do both.

The first drawing represents a generous type of person, someone that might bake batches of cookies and give them out to loved ones wrapped in pretty little packages, or buy several of one item to offer as gifts. Or it could also be someone who’s able to hold a lot of information.

I chose the squirrel as animal symbol because squirrels pack away food in prevision of winter. And as a tree symbol I went with the apple tree because of their sweetness and they can also represent information if you think of students taking an apple to their teacher.   

The general concept here was to depict a squirrel busy packing a tree with apples, showing that there is more than needed. Reading about squirrel symbolism I learned that they are also quite sociable so I added another squirrel at the bottom in the first rough sketch you see below.

I got stuck for a while, trying to find the opposite drawing, looking for something that could say grounding or filtering. Eventually I went back to the apple as a symbol of knowledge and got the idea of using the owl as an opposite for the squirrel. They are wise and would help the squirrel not go overboard with the apples.

The collector speaks about excess but it can be a lot of different things like being a packrat, a workaholic, too much facebook, or even too much thinking.

Choosing colors for the collector I thought the apples ought to be red, symbol of desire and passion, and also orange for enthusiasm and abundance. And somehow for the opposite I felt they should be a different color, like green or something. Eventually I settled on golden apples because they symbolize a treasure.

animal archetype illustration story

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