Making impressions


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!


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