This illustration is part of the “When I was a Child” series I was commissioned to do for the Chen Bochui International Children’s Literature Award in China. I can barely describe how much I enjoyed working on this series. At current, I and have an additional piece I will add on to it on my own time and there may be many more in the future.
The story behind
The fort in this piece was the stage of many good childhood memories for myself, my brother and our friend Ry. It began as an old chicken coup. We had adopted a bunch of chickens but the night after they moved in, a fox dug underneath their coop and had itself a massive feast. The scene of the crime was nothing short of dreadful. The empty coop remained in the yard for a while, until my brother and our friend Ry had the idea to turn it into a fort. Being children, they had little concept of how to safely construct anything, so they used 5-inch nails to hammer in loads of boards.
The result: When you went into the old coop, it was like walking into an iron maiden. Our parents found it amusing, but sound of mind as they were, they got involved and helped us construct a new (much safer) fort. We children dubbed the place Hulen, which is Danish for a cave or a den.
The new fort had a much more sound construction. The first section (the house part) of it was mainly built by our parents. Ry’s dad put the main structure together and my dad provided the materials. However the boys didn’t think it was as much fun to build with our parents because they couldn’t just do what they wanted, so after the main fort was done, they decided to add-on their own section which turned into an uneven 3 stories tall tower. In my illustration, it’s only two stories, but I had to stick to a size format so I didn’t have room for another level. The photo I have of the fort was unfortunately taken before the tower was built, so I had to go by memory on that.