The text and paintings on The Trowbridge Chronicles are taken from the illustrated journal of Violet Trowbridge, a shrew that once lived in a village deep in the Olympic Rain Forest. Each new post will represent a portion of Mrs. Trowbridge’s journal.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


Mrs. Trowbridge was very traditional. When something new came along, she was reluctant to embrace it. Case in point, the day when a tattoo trend swept through the forest...ladybugs were having their shells repainted, with new designs "tattooed" on. The trend began in the Hoh Rain Forest to the north and spread south to Huckleberry Hollow in the Quinault Rain Forest.

This is the charcoal foundation sketch for Mrs. T's painting. To learn how she made her charcoal sticks, see Cat's Claw.

Mrs. T sketched some of the ladybugs after their shells were tattooed.

One of my most memorable days ever was last summer when I trekked into that place deep in the rain forest where Huckleberry Hollow once was. (See Trowbridge Story) I instantly recognized this moss covered mound from Mrs. T's journal. The resemblance is so striking, I'm reasonably sure that this is the very place where Madam Lucy Ladybug opened her tattoo parlor so many years ago. The fungus growths are called Shelf Fungus (Ganoderma applanatum). The underside has a pleasant scent.


Brad Smith said...

Nice! Glad you finally got the illo up.

Princess Pepper Cloud said...

your stories are like a new discovery that make my heart swell, i was astonished to see the photo after reading this entry in the journal... what an exciting life Violet is having... thanks for sharing her story!

Debra Cooper said...

The ladybug tattoo parlor is great. Your story and illustrations work so well together, I eagerly await the next one! Your photo of the fungus reminds me of when the neighborhood kids would get together to play with matchbox cars. It took a good amount of time to pick the right car and we would all scatter to find the perfect spot (like the crotch of a tree or moss covered mound) to build our houses out of sticks, moss, goldenrods or whatever we could find. The rest of the day was spent creating the perfect house and just when we were done, it was time to go home. A great memory.

Geninne said...

Oh my God! This is just awesome... Your illos just blow me away EVERY time. Love the atmosphere you've created.
You are one talented illustrator!
Loved the lady bug with the "orange is beautiful" tatoo, made me giggle.

Tulipland said...

your stories and illos are so great ! laydbug tattoo is a wonderful idea and they sure are lovely :D

Rob Mackintosh said...

Very creative.

ValGalArt said...

Oh Bron, you are so very, very talented! This is so delightfully wonderful in every way! I love this!!!

Rrramone said...

Do you need a special permit to visit inside your head? I would think so. :-) Very imaginative stuff!

disappointed said...

I just know that the trowbridge saga is going to be a highlight of my newfound IF life!

your ladybirds are so lucky!

Roz Foster said...

Beautiful work. I always enjoy your illustrated stories and Mrs. Trowbridge--who I think should definitely get tattooed!

Alina Chau said...

What a lovely idea!! Great illos!!

The Whippy Curly Tails said...

So sweet. I don't have a shell, but would love to join the ladybugs. It looks like such a fanciful quiet place! Awesome!

Toni said...

I look forward to your entries every week now. I feel like a child waiting for my bed time story. This is so awesome. thank you so much for sharing and all your creative talent

tiffinix said...

You really have made something incredibly magical. This is one of the best ideas - and fantastically executed ideas on illustration friday. Your amazing!

Doug said...

I saw one of those ladybugs around my house the other day. It's back said "Born to be Mild" ...I'm sure she had it done in Huckleberry Hollow.

Uh... are you sure that's a real photograph? I think you just stuck some pancakes in the moss and shot a photo... but I'm not telling anyone.

ratlion said...

This is great! I was wondering how you would do 'tattoo'..I mean, Mrs.Trowbridge did'nt sound like a tattoo person to me :) handled it the stories too

Ginger*:)* said...

I am so glad Mrs. Trowbridge thought to sketch the ladybugs after they had their little tattoos. Her journal gets more magical with each entry.

The Whippy Curly Tails said...

You are welcome! So glad you came by. Have a great day to you Mrs. T & the magical rain forest.

Roz Foster said...

Hey, Neighbor! I'm relatively new to the Puget Sound area and had to look up where Puyallup was, but there you are! Now I know where your artwork gets all that green. I'm looking forward to the paradisical spring (which has already begun its first gorgeous wave)! Seems like Mrs. T lives in a perpetual Washingtonian spring. Lucky her! And lucky us for living here.

creative kismet said...

Again quite amazing. I love how you incorporated tattoos into Huckleberry Hollow. So fitting for the ladybugs to be getting tattoos! I am always so tickled by your stories every week! Lovely!

Suzan said...

Love the lady bug tattoo's. What a great idea. Excellent illo.

Kim Carney said...

Fellow Puget Sounder! That is so wonderful.

HARDWAX said...

Your stories are so much fun to read, I feel like I know Mrs Trowbridge. Your artwork is so appealing and sweet for these stories, love the tattooed ladybugs, especially, orange is beautiful.

carla said...

Oh wow! This is so fabulous! I have enjoyed the few chpaters of the chronicles I've read, but I think this my absolute favorite. We have hundreds of ladybugs all over our would be fun if they could look like your tatooed bugs! The butterfly from last week is exquisite too...gorgeous work on the reflection!

AndyDoodler said...

Awesome. Again- beautiful world you've created here. I'll be sure to try and travel to it often. I would've never thought to use an intense warm color in the bkgrd- but it obviously works here- it stays back, beautifully punches things up, and helps hold it all together. So thanks for some entertainment, education, and your visit too.

ian russell said...

Ladybirds or ladybugs just cry out for customised artwork - their shiney little carapaces.

Great theme, beautiful work.

eriesargonaut said...

Wow, this is incredible. I'm bookmarking this website.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

WOW! Absolutely wonderful--did I already say that? I now I thought so last time, too!!!!!

I love ladybug tattoos! YAY!

The Tart said...

Hey Bron you should see this on a Blackberry, your little world makes my crackberry worthy!
Big smooch,
The Tart
I can't wait for more...

aoisart said...

Lovely indeed! Cute story, too!!

Amy Zaleski said...

I absolutely adore the ladybug tattoos. How clever you are! Beautiful work as usual. Are you publishing the Trowbridge Chronicles? Thanks also for stopping by my blog.

Twisselman said...

Your posts are always a treat... Great art and wonderful stories to go with. This time a beautiful photo to boot. Love it all.

Gabe said...

This site is just fantastic! I laughed out loud when I read the bit about the tattoo line already being 14 inches long. The whole project is immersive...thanks for the experience. Oh and thanks for visiting.

Chuang Shyue Chou said...

Wow! The ladybug hill is simply charming.

You have a very individual means of expression.

And to see the expanse of your work.. I am still exploring. WOW!

anhdres said...

here from illofriday, but really liked how you make that old look with that ancient paper texture and your subtly desaturated tones and careful lines. really nice.

katzdontbark said...

i really enjoy this site...very creative and inspiring..i have a soft spot for goblins myself...they tend to have a gained themselves a bit of a bad rap...
as for your your drawing style and your knack for storytelling, very talented

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