Victoria and Albert Museum

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The Cockerel And The Jewel

The Cockerel And The Jewel

My submission is an illustration based on one of Aesop’s fables: ‘The Cockerel and the Jewel’. The brief was to illustrate a story that is old but also highly relevant today. The fable tells a story of a cockerel who, when scratching around for food for himself and his family, finds a jewel. The cockerel remarks that, while the jewel may be highly precious to it’s owner or to another who knows its value and use, he has no use for it and therefore it is worthless. He would rather have one grain of corn than all the jewels in the world. I feel that this thought of how value is relative is relevant today to everyone, as it holds a double meaning; firstly, it intimates how people’s needs differ, and the potentially misguided value we place on things that we don’t really need in our society. On the other hand, it could be argued that the cockerel was being proud or ignorant; he could have gained a lifetime supply of food in exchange for his jewel!

I created the illustration using a mix of traditional and digital methods; first, pencil and watercolour, and then colouring digitally and using imported textures from my own photographs to add some life to the piece.