Monthly Archives: March 2015

‘A Marriage Ended’ The Graphic Narrative Process Part 1

A Marriage Ended Script 1A Marriage Ended Script 2

There are so many great short stories on this blog that conjures such wonderful and dark imagery and some of them will be turned into short pieces of sequential art. This is to show the creative process from written script to drawn image; First I take the script (In this example I have chosen ‘A Marriage Ended’) I read it and I start to making small thumbnail sketches and annotations, while at the same time I’m talking to the writer, the bouncing back and forth of ideas is one on the most important and fun parts of the process.

It’s easy in collaborations for communication to break down and certain people fall into their roles, the writer will see their words as something that cannot be tampered with, like it’s their baby, and the artist will think they’re more important because it’s their images that the audience will see. In a way it’s a “I don’t want your word balloons covering my art” and “I don’t want your art spoiling my words”, thankfully I don’t have this problem with Matt, the writer. I think we share a lot of the same ideas, almost telepathically.

This stage is mostly for my benefit, ideas crop up in my mind and it’s good to make a note of them while they’re still fresh, in case I forget, but others enjoy the doodles. Next I will take my notes and start some character designs and rough storyboards, while still taking to the writer. – Matthew Parker,


Working with an illustrator

Illustrator method

Working with an illustrator is proving to be an interesting and thought provoking project. Seeing my words come to life with some deft pen strokes, seeing what a visual artist sees as important points in my work is fascinating.  I’m fortunate I think to be working with an illustrator who I have come to know quite well, and who thinks at least somewhat like me. The questions he asks and the clarity of my own vision if the piece that he works to understand make me think more deeply about my own process.

I’m finding as I watch Matthew Parker work that I an inspired to revisit sone of my earlier pieces and work more depth and substance into them, refining the characters more fully and creating a more engaging scenario. It’s something that I think I would recommend to any writer. A different perspective on a piece, actually seeing your work visually created as someone else sees it is, quite literally, eye opening.


Time passes, sometimes quickly, sometimes dragging it’s weary feet along the carpetted floor of the third floor office suite. My mind, seeming to match the variation, at times boiling over with ideas, thoughts, the creative process, at others leaden, heavy, unresponsive yet still full to capacity of thoughts and memories. It never stops, this feeling of being overwhelmed, overburdened, and the more I see, the more I become aware of my mind and how it works the worse it gets. I have moments of sheer panic, unable to rationalise the maelstrom of conflicting thoughts and emotions, the hurricane force battering of sensory overload, the pressures of trying to form a coherent thought from the tangled skein that my mind has become. The simplest decision becomes a ordeal of Sisiphean proportions, a constant battle to create a calm place in my head where I can think rationally and carefully, a sanctuary in which I can formulate a response or come to a conclusion.

Time passes, yet the full mind remains, sometime working quickly, sometimes clogged and blocked by the myriad distractions and diversions of modern life, by the wall of sound and light and smell and taste and touch that bombards my senses. I know I must resolve this, I must find the place within myself that I can be free to think, to breath, to be, but it slips away, elusive…..

The lantern

The cold, damp air hung heavily as Captain Troy made his way over the rocks towards the shoreline. The fog, and the moonless night combined to hide him from the windows of the houses on the clifftop, his task tonight weighing heavily on his mind. His thoughts returned to the apparently chance encounter a week ago now, knowing he had drunk one or two to many measures of rum, sitting alone in the dark bar, head down, overwhelmed by feelings of regret, remorse. The shadow falling across the table as the stranger approached, drawing up a chair and sitting down. The voice, at once soft, but menacing, seeming to know every detail of the Captains career, ever indiscretion, every poor decision, every wrong choice, cataloguing the failures that had led a promising young captain to a back street bar at the rough end of the port. Then it came, the offer of redemption, a simple task, a chance to recover the fortune he had lost, a chance to drag himself out of the dark pit of despair he had fallen into. Such an easy route to salvation, one night, one mission, it sounded so easy, but he knew in his heart that the cost would be far more than it appeared.

The ship that was due to arrive was returning from the West Indies, a merchant schooner originally, now repurposed as part of Captain Morgans privateer fleet. Captured from the Spanish ten years earlier this would be it’s first return to European waters, and, if the plan that Captain Troy had become ensnared in was successful, it’s last voyage. The stranger had detailed reports of the ships compliment, cargo and route, along with expected arrival time, and the more he spoke the more sense the plan seemed to make. The ships crew were amongst the most feared and vicious privateers, a battle hardened and brutal company led by Captain Morgans eldest son. Their loss would be a saving in hangmans rope rather than any kind of tragedy, and the rewards of salvage would be merely a compensation for the risks involved. The strangers voice was almost hypnotic as he wove tales of horror around Troys rum soaked mind. The plan made perfect sense. A vrime against criminals is no crime, truly there can be no honour amongst thieves.

So it was that on that dark, moonless, foggy night, as the witching hour approached and the tide was at it’s peak, that Captain Troy unshuttered his oil lamp, holding it at arms length above his head, shining the light out through the fog across the water. He waited, not long, minutes at most, until he heard the creak of rope, the splash of waves against hull planking, the hushed voices of mariners preparing to make port.He swung the lamp as he had seen countless harbour masters do to when he had been in command of a vessel coming into port. He knew this shoreline well, the rocks hidden below the high tide, the eddies and currents that would draw a ship further in to it’s doom, and draw the sailors back out to sea, sealing their fate. He shuddered inside as he waved his lamp, a fake signal to a company of rogues, a once honourable mariner, his heart heavy as he lured the schooner to it’s awful end….

The photoshoot

Standing in front of the plain white back sheet, the powerful lights chasing every shadow from my countenance I stand, wary, eyes hooded, staring directly into the lense of the camera, it’s cyclopean single eye staring back at me unblinking. I can’t think of anything but staring blankly, my face impassive, emotionless, as the situation triggers a flood of memories, of being made to sit with my family as the dreaded photo albums came out, page after page of images of a childhood best forgotten, a past that I have no desire to visit. I blink, a reflexive reaction to the lights burning into my retina, waiting….dreading the click of the shutter, the captured moment, the emotionless brutality of the likeness unfettered by the filters that the mind puts over the eye of the human beholder. I have never seen a photo of me that I like, that’s the truth of it. In the uncaring gaze of the lens there is nowhere to hide, no way to wear my masks, I am exposed, naked, the real me on view for anyone to see, pinned to the photographic paper forever, caught out in my lie to myself.

A single tear runs down my cheek….