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Mammoth Task

Richard Bell’s Wild West Yorkshire nature diary, Friday, 6th February 2009, page 2 of 2


I WAS drawing this mammoth late last night as I revised one of the comic strips for my Walks in the Rhubarb Triangle before uploading the whole book to my printers in South Wales in the early hours of this morning.


The comic strips are just a small part; I’ve also drawn 9 picture maps and dozens (seems like hundreds) of pen and water-colour vignettes of landscapes, buildings and other points of interest.



It’s been good to experiment with different approaches. In my regular observational drawing I don’t have to concern myself with storytelling but drawing these historical strips has been a bit like directing a film.


For instance in the meeting of the characters in my first version of the first frame in one of the strips (right), I have them shaking hands in the church-yard. Simple.


Well, no; as this is the first frame, how are readers going to know which is which. Rather than have one character say: ‘Welcome to Rothwell Church Mr Cryer - I’m Gibson, the parish clerk’ I can can tell  the

story visually by having Gibson opening the oak door of the vestry.


And what would Gibson look like - I simply fall back on stereotypes to tell the story quickly; pince-nez spectacles to show he spends a lot of time looking at documents and make him look as dry, dusty and ancient as the parish registers. But I guess a casting agency antiquarian bookseller of 1832 would look like that too!

Thursday, 21st June, 1832: Wakefield antiquarian bookseller John Cryer visits Rothwell Church to see Mr Gibson, the parish clerk

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