I have been planning a Three Billy Goats Gruff picture for about five years, since I lived in Philadelphia. I still have all of the original sketches, which show some of my original ideas about the work.
Here you can see how I first used myself as a model to get the body position of the goat: I had planned to have him walking across the bridge, looking over his shoulder. I imagined him walking like a person would, hesitantly. The clothes had to go.
You can see that the troll in the composition sketch above is huge. He doesn't live under the bridge, he exists in its same space. He has trees growing on his head, in the vein of Theodor Kittelsen. My friend Alison brought me a troll book of his from Norway which I still page through for inspiration.
This was the troll sketch I liked the best. The path that cut across his face is the bridge. I had a hard time composing an image where you could see all of his face and the goat at the same time. So, it languished for five years.
After moving to NYC, my husband and I spent a lot of time in Central Park. It's the one place in the city, thanks to the century-old efforts of Frederick Law Olmsted, where it seems like monsters could actually exist. A few months ago I came upon the plan to make the Central Park troll, using the bridge we most commonly used, on the south-eastern border of the Park. Here's the final result!As you can see, my troll has stayed the same, but now he is a true bridge troll, living in the bridge's shade, and none too happy about it.