Actually it’s not wet at all, at least not in the literal sense.

Although I’m sure Gravestown has it’s fair share of gothic downpours the theme behind Deluge is more about sensory overload, an idea I explored in the first Gravestown piece Arrival.

The above drawing is a new representation of Emma, the lead character and unlike Arrival I’m thinking of keeping this one a little less busy, as a way of showing her growing awareness of what it all means. The information input is still there but it’s not so overwhelming..

But then again, she hasn’t met the vampires yet…

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First Gravestown piece finished.

I had originally intended to start this fine art journey with Gravestown, but the Pendle and Spirits of place idea came about and I got sidetracked, which is not unusual for me, so getting back to Emma has taken a bit of time.

During that period, my approach to the size of the pieces changed and they’ve become smaller. Which doesn’t mean I’m not going to do bigger ones at some point but for the moment I prefer to work at 22” x 32”, which is quite big anyway but not big enough for the original two Emmas. The second one will actually work on a piece of board I have in the studio that is only a bit bigger (23” x 33”) but it’s big enough, so that takes care of her. The first Emma is a different proposition altogether and needs a much bigger board so she’ll have to wait, plus I’m thinking of trying a different approach with that piece but more on that when I’ve thought it through.

Original Artwork : £290.00

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The Gravestown Graphic Novel: What is it and Why Has it Taken So Long?

So, Gravestown. What’s that all about then?
Gravestown was, originally, a concept created by my work colleague and friend Roger Gibson as part of our regular role play evenings. The participants: me, Mike, Paul, Anna, Helen and Sharon (there was another chap involved in the early days of our sessions but to my shame I can’t remember his name… but I suppose it was over twenty years ago so perhaps I can be forgiven) were part of a detective agency that investigated weird crimes in a weird place. And believe me, Gravestown is a very weird place. It had a fabulous, gothic, unworldly feel to the whole thing and was demanding to be adapted into a comic.

Rob and his friend and sometime collaborator Mark had a stab at this back in the late 90’s when I was publishing Sapphire and I put it out as an additional Ariel Press publication. Sadly it didn’t get past issue 1 and the idea got stuck on the back burner along with a number of other foolhardy ideas until Rog and I came up with a comic that actually did sell: Harker. That’s a story for another time but the success of our self-published version of Harker led to Titan Publishing taking it on and releasing the first collected edition as a hard cover graphic novel. That, in turn, led to Titan signing us up to create a Gravestown comic series that would then be adapted into a graphic novel. After a pretty good start the work faltered under the pressure of my having to earn a living but after a few stops and starts it’s finally been completed. Roger now has to script it and then we’ll be off to Titan to sort out a publishing date. All very exciting!

The only problem is that the publishing world works very far in advance and Titan have a particularly hectic schedule, which means it could be a year or more before the book sees the light of any comic speciality shop and a long wait before the fruits of our creative process can be appreciated. Which brings me back to the fine art. It occurred to me (things sometimes do) that I could use Gravestown as part of my Spirits fine art project, which would help fulfil my desire to create some fine art and also set up some pre-promotion for Gravestown in lieu of when it eventually appears. Plus, there may be some people who just like the art and want to hang it on their wall.

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And here’s me thinking this project would be straightforward. Fool!
Apologies, but it’s all got a bit stressful so I’m going to have a bit of an offload…
The accompanying drawing is of Emma, and she is the first part of a series of pieces that will use comics as a theme. I haven’t abandoned Alizon but I’ve been forced into a break from her as I haven’t yet found a decent medium for collaging – I have a pot of ‘Yes’ paste on order which should do the job so hopefully she won’t be neglected for too long.

Emma is the lead character in a graphic novel called Gravestown (more information will be forthcoming but first I need to have my artistic wail of self-doubt) and I had decided (finally) that it would be really cool to do these pieces relatively large, about 4 foot by 3 foot. It hadn’t occurred to me (typical I’m afraid) that producing pencil work at what is, at least for me, much much bigger than I’d done pencil work before, would result in an increase in the time spent creating the drawing and also a corresponding increase in difficulty.

I didn’t find this with Alizon as I’m planning to use a fair bit of collage in that piece and so the portrait of her is relatively small, but with Emma, well, in short, I’m struggling a bit… I haven’t quite reached the ‘oh my God why did I ever think I could do this!’ stage but it has certainly been a somewhat humbling experience.
On the plus side, artists are supposed to suffer for their art so apparently I should be grateful. Not sure I’m ready to embrace that particular philosophy yet but if things don’t get easier as the project progresses I may have no choice…

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