April 3rd, 2012


Eagle Bigbang : Art for Where the Hills Run Red

Some months ago, I concluded that I really, really must do some work, and that therefore I should not participate in the planned Eagle Big Bang festivities.   Then that demon_rum persuaded me that I could do some charcoal drawings, and that would be quite quick really.  HAHAHAHA.

I had no idea which author was writing what from the list of story synopses, so I picked more or less at random the now complete story  'Where the Hills Run Red' from a brief synopsis even more delphic than most of the rest.  

I was curious.  What would I have to illustrate?  Would it be lurid, graphic and disturbing?   Would it involve entangled naked gentlemen?  Most alarmingly, might it be hideously badly written?   Whatever it was, I was sure it would be an interesting technical challenge...

Then I got the early draft through, and WOW!  I had picked quite by accident, a meticulously researched, very well written story that was very solidly grounded in a very specific landscape - across two times, modern and ancient.  The feel was a little Alan Garner, I thought.    Specifically, it is set around Mam Tor and Winnats Pass in the Peak district, and is very clearly somewhere that the author knows very well and describes vividly.  The draft arrived with a brilliant set of reference photos of the setting, a scan of the guidebook and loads of location information... I climbed into google maps and began perambulating along lanes, gasping at the views.

Charcoal was definitely not going to be good enough (I can't do landscapes in charcoal).  Acrylics seemed the only medium where I stood a chance of doing the landscape porn justice.   At one point I realised that none of the reference photos were from quite the right angle, so I sent my author scurrying up a hill fort to take photos from the top...

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