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The Significant Tree by ursulav The Significant Tree by ursulav
Throughout the width of the Empirical Hills, a traveller may be awakened in the early morning by the sounds of tramping feet and the tinkling of chimes. Suspecting a group of monks, or a troupe of entertainers, he will be surprised to see instead a small forest marching towards him on the backs of short, stocky figures. The figures are the treebearers, and on their backs they carry the Significant Trees.

While they travel most often in groups known as groves, the treebearers and their trees will also occasionally be found alone--but never apart. The treebearers sleep sitting up, still attached to their trees. While the rootballs are wrapped in burlap and strapped to the backs of the bearers, it's rumored that the roots themselves extend into the body of the treebearers, and that the two are literally one being. Regardless, the bearers travel with the seasons, to give their carefully bonsai-ed Significant Trees the very best light, temperature, and carefully chosen spadefuls of soil. Bright or pleasant sounding objects are tied into the branches of the trees, chosen, the treebearers claim, according to the whim of the trees.

How the Significant Trees--or the treebearers themselves--reproduce is a mystery. In age, they range from solemn youngsters bearing saplings to ancients bent under the weight of gnarled forest giants, but no one is quite sure where they come from, or for that matter, what's so Significant about them. (The treebearers themselves treat the question as if the questioner is an idiot--anybody can see they're significant, they're Significant Trees! Attempts to follow this circular line of questioning last until the treebearer gets bored or the questioner gives up, which generally takes about five minutes either way.)
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This little guy and his tree showed up in my sketchbook, and while I couldn't quite figure out a painting, he seemed to merit at least a fairly refined sketch. (Looks a bit like a relative of Sings-to-Trees. Maybe I just like guys with white hair and long noses.) 9 x 12 on Bristol, original for sale, prints available for $10, drop a note or visit [link] to order.
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:iconpanpanmomo:
PanPanMomo Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2007
Is this inspired by the book "The Voyage of the Basset"? Because some of your art really reminds me of that style! I love that book so much... If this is inspired by it, good show! If you don't know what I'm talking about you really ought to read the book. :heart:
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:iconheiko:
Heiko Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2006
it could be argued that the act of straping a sappling to your back, carefully caring for it and tying oddments into its branches makes it significant. I mean you wouldn't have asked the guy the question if the tree didn't stand out to you!
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:iconapeman505:
apeman505 Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2006
That's such a cool concept. I wonder how they get the new dirt into the root bundles without taking the tree off their backs...? Other treebearers must help each other. Heehee, I can just imagine this guy wandering around slowly, and if you talk to him he'd have a slow, deepish voice and an aloof state of mind. So awesome!
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:iconinkerbel:
Inkerbel Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2006
Oh, my gods. I'm writing a fantasy/science fiction/cyberpunk thing (Dwarves build motorcycles, one brand/model: The Clanghammer Troll. I would love to put some of these fellows in my story, may I?
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:iconrookinherrookery:
RookinherRookery Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2006
It is killing me to read your descriptions while I'm high. I think literally, I'm wheezing for breath. I have long meant to tell you, while I fell in glee with your art ages ago, I find your writing so hilarious, so *just right* it can be even more compelling than a painting.

You're so damn cool!
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:icondavie1337fablemaster:
why does it seem that this guy is really tiny, like a gnome or dwarf, even though he is carrying a big tree on his back? now I know it is a bonsai tree, but the aspect of perception is so funny to think about...

:clap: great job anyway! I'm your biggest fan, I like your anthro art the most.
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:icondavie1337fablemaster:
oh yeah, and could I have a try at coloring it? I'm not amazingly good at it, but I would like to try...
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:iconsweetie-smile:
sweetie-smile Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2005   Traditional Artist
lol.....all ur works are just sooooooooo creative...soo good....i just can't find any fault or any mistakes in ur works...it's just perfect!!
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:icontheblackwillow:
theblackwillow Featured By Owner Oct 22, 2005  Hobbyist Photographer
wow how kool, great idea!
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:iconreaper-of-xaviera:
Reaper-of-Xaviera Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2005
Ya know...This one is really interesting. I would like to see one of the elders with one of those ancient "gnarled forest giants" It would be so amazing. Keep up the great work.
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:iconssejbat:
SSEJBAT Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2005
erm...what to say...
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:iconnycterisa:
NycterisA Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2005  Hobbyist General Artist
You're right he does remind me of Sings-to-trees. Very contemplative and thoughtful looking. Hopefully trees don't come to him to unload their problems. :)
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:iconcometeoraine:
cometeoraine Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2005
The trees must have unbearably long roots if they are attached to the bearer themselves. For if not, then I don't know how the trees would be trimmed by the bearer.
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:iconkaerless:
kaerless Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2005  Professional General Artist
Gorgeous concept. . .may I have a go at drawing one?
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:iconursulav:
ursulav Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2005
Sure, feel free!
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:iconevanjensen:
evanjensen Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2005  Professional Traditional Artist
I remember a story frmo somewhere about trees that stay with someone from birth... and should someone kill one, it's like... pain of death type punishment or somesuch... damn, where did I read that....?
Ah well, I like the fella. ; ) Your pencils could use some volume... the seem kinda flat. Maybe some more middle-range darks...
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:iconinsertrandomnamehere:
You know, I know you've already outruled the possibility of writing children's books as you consider your tastes too weird or un-children's-bookish, whatever that excuse was, but I think you could easily compile a collection of your drawings, and write out your stories for them, and produce that as a book. Kind of like those fairy books, (I forget the author, but I remember there was a "Squashed Fairy Book," and others) where the author describes the personality and characteristics of each illustrated fairy.
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:iconalenyaroverkin:
AlenyaRoverkin Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2005
Have you ever considered making a children's or Fantasy art book? You've got the rare and wonderful combination of talent in both writing and art. I so enjoy seeing and reading each new art piece you put up! ^^ Such a creative and interesting mind you have - May it it never runs dry!!

Hehe The poor guy looks so mournful - I hope his tree isn't sick, or does he always look that way? I wonder...
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:iconalenyaroverkin:
AlenyaRoverkin Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2005
"May it never run dry" I meant! I caught that error right as I clicked 'send' so of course I have to correct it since I hate such mistakes! XD Please excuse my editing mania... ^^;
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:icon109cita:
109cita Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2005  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
And here I thought that ALL trees were significant!

Perhaps 'Sings to Trees' lost his!
If you lose your tree, maybe then you grow taller!
Just a thought.
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:iconskeevy:
skeevy Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2005
There's something vaguely gelfling about his face...one of my favorite backstories yet, and although it seems from your synopsis very unlikely, I would plead for more sketches (and paintings...) along these lines. Yay trees!
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:iconjachra:
Jachra Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2005
His trowel should be at a more pronounced curve, methinks. Looks like it'd be hard to use that way!
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:icongigitheangrylemon:
GigiTheAngryLemon Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2005
I really like the idea...
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:iconlittlelynx:
LittleLynx Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2005
I love your stories, they're so very creative and they just give your drawings a different light to them. I truly enjoy your work. Thank you. :boing:
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:iconlani-san:
Lani-San Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2005  Student Traditional Artist
:lol: That's so great! He's so cool! I love the little chimes! :heart:
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:iconle-bel-agneau:
le-bel-agneau Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2005
great work!
you are soo creative
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:iconneko-neko:
Neko-Neko Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2005  Professional General Artist
Yes, my first thought when I saw him was, 'That's not Sings-to-Trees, is it? Noo, he's too short . . .'
I love the concept! OF COURSE they're Significant Trees! Anybody can see that. XD Lovely shading. I like the texture of the burlap sack covering the root ball.
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:iconlucanis:
Lucanis Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2005
haha wonderful!
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:iconleficia:
leficia Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2005  Student Artisan Crafter
i miss sings-to-trees!
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:iconskylanth:
Skylanth Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2005  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
I adore your stories that accompany your pictures, sounds like there really could be a group of wanderers that care for little traveling trees. Great work on the bark texture, and the little beads/doodads hanging from the branches are lovely and really bring out the fact that this is a Significant Tree.

Quite reminds me of those bristlecone pines, was that your intention, or were you going for bonsai (bristlecones basically do the bonsai thing on their own, don't they)?
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:iconglempo:
GLeMPo Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2005
Oh..i do find myself quite fond of these little men, he seems to run in the same vain as the book hoarder(?), from rising water. I hope to see more of the fine people, maybe even a female...=D
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:iconsarahmoule:
sarahmoule Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2005
your drawings and art mealts me
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:iconelvenkeruri:
elvenkeruri Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2005
Baubles! hehehe
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:iconbug-id:
Bug-Id Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2005  Hobbyist
Love his ears!!! And the tree!!!
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:iconthejackbull:
thejackbull Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2005  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
You have the most unique ideas.
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:iconredmagesalyre:
Redmagesalyre Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2005
Hehe! His feet remind me of Mr. Potatohead's! That would be cool unless if its a huge tree.
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:iconcassandra28:
Cassandra28 Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2005
Environmentalism gone berserk! :)
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:iconcassandra28:
Cassandra28 Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2005
Environmentalism gone berserk! :)
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:iconlilithx13:
Lilithx13 Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2005   Photographer
He does look like a relative...Nice expression as well.
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:iconloralye:
loralye Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2005  Professional General Artist
Tree! <3
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:iconthenitewolf:
thenitewolf Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2005
amazing!
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:icondisassociation:
disassociation Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2005
i want to live in your world
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:iconsoraame:
soraame Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2005
your drawings and the short clips that go with them always bring me a bit of childish wonder and joy, much like finding a beloved mother goose story long forgoten about. keep being silly and serious, it makes me adore you a little more.
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:iconlibriangoober:
LibrianGoober Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2005
lol; super cute! He kinda looks like sings-to-tree's long lost cousin in the nose. Are treebearers a form of elf?
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:iconkatimazie:
Katimazie Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2005
Ooooooh...

For some reason, I think that that would be a really cool lifestyle. ^^; At least it means that there's always fresh air and windchimes wherever you go.
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:iconstreetmutt:
streetmutt Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2005
Damn. Just when I think there's nothing really new around DA regardless of my searching, this pops up in my messages. Keep at it, :+fav: <3
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:iconcandycornsnake:
candycornsnake Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2005
very nice. remids me of a tanya huff novel in which a boy carries around his large magical bonsi tree. Very very nice pic.
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:iconnaughtykat:
NaughtyKat Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2005
very nice! You're really talented :)
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:iconxullraezauviir:
XullraeZauviir Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2005  Hobbyist Writer
I love the shading! I hope you plan to color this! :D
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:iconsonofnothing:
SonOfNothing Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2005
What a charming life that must be... I imagine that carrying a tree around with you has an amazing sence of zen to it.
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