I don’t mind admitting the Necromancer was loosely based on Alan Moore, but that’s how I feel about all big bearded Necromancers – he’s pretty much the archetype for me. And the demon is, of course, based on me.(not really)
I think I drew the witch holding the flower and I hadn’t thought about the necromancer holding a flower but just sort of drew his arm up and then realised he could be doing the same thing.
It always looks like there’s a grand plan, but, honestly, it’s all made up.
As I once said on twitter, I’m clearly better than Van Gough because he never sold any work and I can keep my glasses on. (This was, of course, entirely a joke)
How to represent malign forces though? well, I grew up on British Boys comics where a stinky old shoe would have pong lines coming from it, so I played with adding a little green odor to the shoe, but it cut across it look like a proper painting (though I admit, there’s still a tint of greeny pong on the shoe if you look). But I switched to using it to represent a malign force. Creating a layer with a claw shaped mask in clip studio, then spraying a colour on that layer give me plenty of scope to experiment and move it around.
Hope it works, next week, I’m determined to draw a more meaty comic. But well, we’ll see – it’s been a weird month.
This particular Saint is St Denis and from a statue in Notre Dame De Paris. (Based on a photo from wikipedia in the public domain)
Ok, today – as I write this – Monday the 16th – Boris Johnson has announced that people should work from home, bars and large entertainment complexes should close and people should minimise travel in disruptions none of us will have ever experienced before (but may be how it must have felt when WWII broke out).
So it’s been a struggle to do anything. Plus, as it happens, some of these folklore tale tweets lend themselves very nicely to a narrative and some … less so. (I think the more sentences the better for me, but it’s been a weird day so I can’t be sure).
Anyway, I wasn’t sure what to do for this one, and googled around for some image reference and I found this.
I thought maybe just an isolated pic of this statue would be good, one drawn with some delicacy – a bolland-like rendering of the line I thought. (Whether I’m very far away from that or not is immaterial, it’s more about where I’m aiming).
Inked up digitally in Clip Studio, then on to colour using a mix of a flat fill, gouche brush (both the normal and dry brush) and then some rough water colour) I coloured it a stone colour and thought it needed a bit of colour (I’ll do that sometimes, mix in some green or blue or red) then I thought it would be interesting to add blood red pouring from the neck. The statues of these saints are curiously bloodless. So I liked the idea of adding something a bit more gory into this very sanitised vision of a headless saint.
I was 50 this year, born in 1969, the year the troubles really kicked off in Northern Ireland (I’m from Belfast) and I spent my formative years in the 80s worried about nuclear armgeddon while watching riots on tv. It’s easy to forget that art is important in that sort of environment. But it was for me. Comics where the thing that kept me sane. And while, my friend Rob and I often joke about how “well, we’d better get on and finish this comic because if we don’t… well… it doesn’t really matter”. Actually, sometimes making comics does matter. Sometimes it’s exactly what you need to keep you sane.
Originally posted to patreon.com/holdenreppion (where if you subscribe you’ll get to see the folklore thursday strips early!)
There’s a few things in the pot for this one. Firstly, I wanted to yank some influence in from Laika – I’d been looking at some of my older (’95) work and the stuff that is super cartoony still stands up. So I figured it’d be easy to revisit that style. But it’s not. It’s NOT.
So googling some Laika, and stealing ideas for how far to push things (my biggest sin is that I don’t push things any whee near far enough).
Panel one was tough, I knew I wanted something obviously sinful, but not too awful and I was teasing out the story that I wanted to tell. My original plan was to have the sin-eater present in panel one, either as a participant in a massive orgy (a plan soon curtailed when I remembered how time consuming crowd scenes are so) or as a background, but I just couldn’t figure out the best way to fit him in.
So shelving that problem, went on to the next panel. I don’t think I conceived of him as a vicar just yet, I figured there’d be someone covering up whatever the sin was, I thought wife then shelved that, then father, shelved that, then a vicar (could be a priest, but I knew this was scotland/wales so priest became vicar) then it occurred to me maybe they’re both vicars.
The Vicar here is best on a memory of Ian Paisley – all brimstone and fury.
The third panel, sin-eater, was gonna be drawn with detail, but I mapped it out and figured this works as a silhouette and I’ll take any way to save time.
Final panel, hammering home the idea it’s a vicar, I googled scottish churches, got that, for the background. Initial plan was to have our sin-eater plugging his six-pence into a bag full of them (to suggest this is a fairly frequent business opportunity) then I thought if I grabbed the girls in panel 1 it sort of suggests this was part of a conspiracy. And I liked that idea – the Vicar conspiraring to keep the dead vicars crimes silent not just from the congretation but from God, by using a sin-eater, and the sin-eater masterminding a plan to kill the vicar and earn sixpence for his sins. I felt it was delightfully Inside No 9.
Anyway, It may or may not work. But I hope it does!
You’ll have to apologise for my brevity on this one. I wish I had more time to draw it again. Some individual bits I like but then I feel like it’s less than the sum of its parts. Oh well.
Initially I thought “this will be amazing”. But I just didn’t have the time, and there was a deadline. That’s the reality of comics, sometimes the job is compromised by the need to get the thing out on time. AND I needed to get it out on time. So I think it’s ok, just not what I wanted to do (and I mean, it’s rarely exactly what I wanted, but sometimes you surprise yourself or it gets close enough that it doesn’t matter.)
(I do feel like I might attack this image again)
Original version of the art had “KALI” which, thanks to twitter user @halfacanuck who said:
You mean “Kālī” (long vowels). “Kali” (short vowels) is the name of the demon-lord of the Kali Yuga.
When I get one of John’s tweets, I try and let them perculate around my head a little.. What does this conjure up? Is there a story in this, can i make it a story, and, sometimes… does this make me laugh?
This one I think I hit, very quickly on the idea that the Island of Dragons could be a wonderful little Richard Scarry city where everything is a dragon. I don’t know if it worked (initially I was going to trace a Scarry piece and just change all the characters to Dragons, I think the joke would’ve worked better, but it was a little too close to death by copyright infringement, so I went my own way). And I’m proud of the little “Scarry Movie 2” film showing in the Dragoplex (2 seemed funnier than just a plain old Scarry Movie)
On panel 3 I hunted and hunted for the exact outline of the Island of Dragons and just couldn’t find it on the map, defeated, and time running low, I traced around a couple of interesting shapes to give me my island (and the sea here was created by making a ‘rake’ brush in clip studio, which let me stroke a couple of lines to get those many many lines)
Hope you like it! (If nothing else, enjoy the little dragon lady feeding the little dragons scraps from her sandwich)
Addendum: As a kid, visiting the library was my first exposure to illustrated books – Asterix the Gaul, Lucky Luke, Tintin, and the books of Richard Scarry (which I loved even as I grew well out of their age range). I will always find those works charming, and I think my one regret as a parent is that we don’t visit the library enough (now, in my defence, that’s largely because we now have a massive kids book library in our home – our kids room had a small walk in wardrobe built into the room and we ended up gutting it and putting shelves in there so they’ve got an extensive library of books, but you don’t get exposure to things that will surprise you when you own your own library). Anyway, Librarys are good, and if you’re in the UK you should join one and then sign up for their digital stuff so you can access audio books, ebooks and magazines.
I wanted to tell a story, and specifically a love story. Linking readers through time to each other. Initially, because I’m the definition of vanilla straight man, it was a man and a woman but that just felt very dull – too much like the basis of a mid 90s rom com.
So I thought I’d make it a lesbian couple. Two women separated by decades, linked by a single book, and that became more interesting – one living a life in secret, the other much more open.
The book, The Well of Loneliness was suggested by John, I wanted a book that would’ve been old enough to have been around in the 20s (why the 20s? I wanted to dress the reader in something recognisably from an older time frame, this felt right).
The large selection of books in panel 4 is based somewhat on the book shop in Belfast Keats and Chapman – which my kids call “The Maze”
Anyway, the idea is the book opens a portal from present to past. Or maybe past to future. And maybe those people meet and kiss or maybe it’s symbolic. I haven’t decided.
Oh man, this was a hard one. Frankly, I found the idea of an avenging god of unrequited love absolutely appalling. And it was hard to figure out how to tell a story that wasn’t going to be… gross. I’m not sure I’ve done it. But at least it’s funnier than it might have been.
Unusually I sent this to John not fully formed, leaving the dialogue out of the bottom (when I write I usually hate every bit of dialogue I write. It’s the hardest part of writing for me).
I knew he (ie our little incel in the strip, not John) was gonna say something – and look, I actually really liked the drawing of him (and still do, I love grotesqueries – it’s how I was made) and I didn’t know if I’d have to scrap all of it and come up with something new.
Anyway, after mulling it over, I figured I could keep the art if I lightened the dialogue. I was going to add a voice from off panel of his mom (because of course) saying “Johnny your dinner!” “NOT NOW MOM!” but that was really over egging the pudding.
Still hope you enjoy it, I quite like his gross little face…
Is this the shortest comic adaptation of Beowulf? someone phone the guinness book of world records.
Oh I was so excited to get this tweet early from John.
I’ve never been into fantasy, I was hard wired for sci-fi, but as I’ve gotten older and come to understand just how much the sci-fi I enjoyed is really just fantasy with a different skin (sci-fi- it’s science – but science so advanced it’s indistinguishable from magic! so it’s just magic then? shut up brain)
But, and I dunno where the inflection point happened (certainly within the last 20 years) maybe it was Game of Thrones? maybe it was just a general boredom of sci-fi or maybe it’s the need to escape from reality into a world not permanently connected to the internet (and the news) but I’ve wanted to draw some fantasy.
(Actually, maybe it was from going to see Beowulf in the cinema in the 2007 film, which, for all its flaws, I rather enjoyed).