Making impressions


Where I left off...

Filed under: Haunting Locations — loretta @ 12:20:52 pm

I’m very glad to say the blog is back, but it doesn’t have all the functionality it’s supposed to, so I ask you to bear with me until it is fixed.

I had a great time at the Fortean Times Unconvention 2008. Unfortunately I didn’t get to see the papers but it was nice to speak to people directly and find out what you think about the cards. We were quite busy and I will return next year as long as they don’t shift it to another season, even though this year attendance was down, as were the number of stalls. I took a helper on both days, so I am very grateful to my niece and nephew for coming along. My niece brought her hand made fridge magnets and clip on ‘Skulls’, which went down very well indeed.

A few people said that some images reminded them of pictures they had seen, or the style was reminiscent of another artist. I hadn’t seen any of the pieces they referred to or heard of the artist, although I pick up ideas and motifs like everyone else, without noticing. Sometimes a person would buy a few cards and then hurry off to their friends, start pointing at one and talk excitedly with their friends about it, as if it had some resonance for them.

A few people made enquiries about reproducing the images, I look forward to hearing from them. I was also asked about producing prints and I am happy to do so. I will formerly set up a way of buying direct after I have worked out the options but please contact me if you are interested. All in all it was a positive experience.

I am very grateful to my niece who is going to run a stall for me in Camden market. I hope she does well; she is also selling her own line of spooky knick-knacks and t-shirts.


New Ghosts for Christmas

Filed under: Ghostly Inspiration — loretta @ 06:40:43 pm

Last week all the new Christmas ghost designs were finally sent to the printers and are available from today. There are two new designs similar to last year’s cards and four images based on the writings of M.R. James. It’s been quite an interesting journey and far less straight forward than I would have liked, but I hope you like what’s been produced. As regards the Jamesian cards I have tried to be faithful to the original stories but have used a little artistic license occasionally, I think the images have not strayed too far from those created in the writing.

From top left to bottom right Oh Whistle and I’ll come to you, a portrait of M.R. James plus phantoms, A Warning to the Curious and the Rats.
James\' Christmas Ghosts

The two other images were made to compliment the original set of four cards and I hope you find them pleasing.
Christmas ghosts

Finally many thanks to those of you who have supported me in this strange endeavour, I have enjoyed creating these spectres but it would be impossible to do without your encouragement. I think I will try to incorporate more designs from writers of the supernatural every Christmas, I have already had requests for Sheridan Le Fanu and of course there is Dickens too.

I hope you like this years offerings, perhaps I will see you at this years Fortean Unconvention.

O' Rats

Filed under: Ghostly Inspiration — loretta @ 06:39:27 pm

Bringing a ghoul to life from the pages of a Jamesian ghost story is no small task and I admit to approaching it with some trepidation. His horrors are more terrifying for not being clearly described and leaving more to the imagination of the reader. So you must forgive me if the pictures I have drawn do not exactly match those that you imagined when you read his stories.

I started by briefly sketching the fours scenes I had planned and chose O’ Whistle and I’ll come to you to attempt first: a deserted beach, a dark sky and something else. This was proving to be more difficult that I had thought, the first attempt had the ‘something’ as too small and insignificant so that there was little more to the picture than a dramatic beachscape, nothing forbidding or scary at all. I headed back to the story to check out the scene, and chose a different but similar passage to base the picture on.

Even so, I was driven to distraction and ended up moving on to a simpler sketch. This was an image from The Rats. This might not be everyone’s favourite but M.R. James’ wonderful description of the bogey man made up for a fairly uneventful story line. The sketch I first made had something familiar about it – it took a while for me to realise but weirdly it resembled one of my siblings. Although I am sure he won’t thank me for seeing a resemblance.

My brother Marco?

The final drawing, was not very different to my initial idea and is very simple. I checked back on the story and whilst I cannot promise that I have not used any artistic license at all I hope I have stayed as close to the original as possible. When I showed the picture to friends and family I got some strong responses so I seemed to have captured James’s sense of horror, I just hope it doesn’t put anyone off their Christmas dinner!

Spirits in summer - designs on demand

Filed under: Ghostly Inspiration — loretta @ 06:38:31 pm

The bright sunny days (mostly) of an English summer are definitely not the best time to be thinking about ghosts and the supernatural. I am looking for inspiration for my new Christmas card designs for 2008 as the green Hereford country side rolls by my train. With summer in full swing it is not easy to get yourself in the spooky mood and certainly not a Christmas one.

From my carriage window, the low saddle shape of British Camp stands out on the horizon, a reminder of antiquity and antiquarians. I would dearly love to create Christmas designs based on the stories of the antiquarian academic and writer of ghost stories, M.R. James.

This would be no simple task however. His words have brought terror to millions with subtle turns of phrase that make hair stand on end. Although many images came into my mind when I read his stories, I am not sure they would readily lend themselves to a picture in the real word. With these stories I would want to capture some of the sinister sensibility they give - no easy task.

M.R. James’s stories are popular because they are very good at conveying horror and transfering fear from the page into the mind of the reader. But his ghouls are rarely seen directly or in their entirety, rather their unspeakable nature is hinted at. They are normally half seen, at a distance or hidden and by the end of the tale they may be only half understood. It is this mysterious quality which makes them more terrifying and it is this that makes the designs much harder.

How would you approach creating a design for something like ‘Casting the Runes’? There is not much seen of the actual entity and you might be tempted to just draw the demon. If you have ever watched the film adaptation ‘Night of the Demon’ (or Curse of the Demon) you will know that openly displaying the source of the fear can remove all sense of scary from a viewer.

I think the demon shown in the film (see below) was kind of cute:
Rather sweet monster in Night of the Demon

Still, I intend to create a set of four images based on some of my favourite stories. I have sketched a few design ideas based on events in the following which I hope will be suitable: ‘The Rat’s’ and ‘A Warning to the Curious’ will provide two designs. ‘O’ Whistle and I’ll come to you my lad’ is probably my favourite and I hope to extract two designs from the story.

If the designs look like they are possible and I manage to create something worthwhile then I will post the results within this blog. I rather suspect many will end up being scrapped and I will be casting around for more tales to draw from.
James - The cause of all my troubles
James - The cause of all my troubles

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