What is Bonfire Night? This celebration is big in England, but almost unheard of throughout the rest of the world. Held every fifth of November, Bonfire Night commemorates the day in 1605 when Guy Fawkes and several other Catholic conspirators were stopped in their plot – the Gunpowder Plot – to cause an explosion at the Houses of Parliament in London, in an attempt to violently and fatally dethrone the then-King of the newly-united Kingdom, James I. There has never been another attempt since, but the vaults are still searched at every opening of Parliament each day just in case someone has managed to sneak through.
The mainstay of Bonfire Night, however, are giant displays of fireworks and the eponymous bonfires, on which an effigy (a huge doll-like figure) of Guy Fawkes is burnt. In days gone by, children would walk around knocking on people’s doors to ask for a “penny for the guy”, though this has decreased in recent years due to the fear of stranger danger. Toffee apples on sticks lashed with gluey caramel, candyfloss and flame-roasted chestnuts are favourite snacks to munch on while watching the fireworks.
While Bonfire Night is very much a British tradition, it has managed to find its way to some other countries around the globe, including Canada. This gave me an idea for a drawing…
Inspired to get a gathering of Canadian Boys characters together to watch the fireworks, I mostly chose the lucky ones at random, though I wanted to include a select few straight from when my pen first touched the paper. I’ve never drawn a line of characters seen entirely from the back (to the viewer), so drawing this was something of a new challenge. The most fun part was colouring in the bonfire, allowing me to use a fiery range of reds, oranges and yellows, and lighting up the dark blue sky with fireworks drawn from metallic markers and glitter pens in rainbow colours for more realism.
Characters shown (left to right):
- Port Hawkesbury
- Jacksons Point
- Vancouver (carrying a toffee apple and a tuft of candyfloss)
Happy Bonfire Night, and if you’re going out tonight to see the fireworks, have a safe one!