Page 24 and 25 and probably the hardest for me, because I really held out hope that I would change my mind on the outcome. On the other hand, I already wrote the ending of the story back in November of 2015, and the outcome of these two pages are crucial to the story’s resolution.
Several different drafts of the page breakdown have come and gone, with the conclusion that the long-form, single panel page works best for this part of the story. Here is the script for page 24:
Full page panel: A waterfall takes up most of the page, with little Ophie perched in her tree on the left. Foam and spray from the river below take up the bottom of the page. Text takes up the middle portion of the page.
The Rake slowly, reverently unwrapped the package, he took extra care not to spill the small cakes and pastry (he had an infamous sweet-tooth, and cavities to match) that had been wrapped up within. He licked his lips, gathered his sling, and began to fling the sugary treats at the poor girl in the tree. Being as he was an excellent shot, the branches surrounding our poor, doomed child were quite liberally spattered with sweets.
The Rake opened his pack and prodded the excitable badgers within to action. The poor little creatures had been left in an intentional state of constant hunger, and smelling sweets nearby, the badgers furiously scrambled up into the tree, climbing in a most chaotic fashion towards the increasingly panicked girl above.
Ophie lost her nerves, and began to shuffle slowly away from the safety of her perch. She lost her footing on a patch of sugar-coated bark, and tumbled out of the tree.
He really is a despicable character; I have omitted several pages of his backstory just because he is so rotten… but I might bring them back in, those pages would be a lot of fun to draw!
Here is the original concept art for the Rake, from late 2015:
The deputy who compiled the report also wrote that several children said they “believe the clowns stay in a house located near a pond at the end of a man-made [trail] in the woods.”
I’m a pretty compassionate guy, and I would love for everyone in the world to be able to do their thing and not have to deal with the judgement of others for it. But CLOWNS? IN THE WOODS? And they have a squat-house by a pond? There is no amount of gasoline that could deal with this.
There is a prevailing custom in some older cultures, one in which you take extra care to cover the graves of the recently deceased with stones (or boulders). The reason for which might be as simple as not having any dirt around to backfill the grave, or, if you live in Ireland, it’s a lesson learned from ages passed.
Her name is long forgotten, but her legend lives on. Not for the beauty she radiated in life, but for the terror she harvested in death. She is the Dearg-Due, the Red Blood Drinker. She was once a legendary beauty, born to a family of means and highly sought after. Her heart, though, belonged to a peasant, which ultimately brought about her doom.
The young lady’s family had come into hard times, and her father wished to marry her off to a wealthy family to bring much needed funds into his coffers. A bride-price was settled, and the unfortunate woman was shipped off to her new husband’s estate.
Sadly, the groom was a terrible man. He relished acts of cruelty, and loved to inflict harm on his new bride. He would cut her perfect skin, and delight in the contrast of ruddy crimson against her pale, flawless flesh. When he wasn’t abusing her, he locked her away in a tower so that none but him could see her.
The young woman held out for hope that her beloved would mount a rescue, or that her father would come to his senses and ask for the marriage to be annulled. She struggled in this manner for several months, oblivious to the fact that her father was drunk with his new-found return to wealth, and that her beloved had perished in a mysterious fire.
Eventually, her will to carry on was extinguished. She stopped eating. She stopped drinking. She no longer resisted the cruelty inflicted upon her by her spouse. She renounced her faith, renounced her heart, and slowly, painfully, ceased to live.
The people of her village were devastated. Some, perhaps, knew what had been happening to the young woman but kept their mouths shut, and were now reflecting on their own complicity in her death. She was buried, and she was mourned. A great depression settled over the area.
The very night she was buried, a young man disappeared from his bed. His brother, whom he shared a room with, said that he dreamt of a beautiful song coming from the nearby woods, and a soft, soothing voice urging him to come and dance. He dreamt that his brother slipped on his shoes and climbed out the window, then stumbled off into the misty woodlands.
Several days passed, and the young man remained missing. Search parties were sent out, and returned without news. Finally, the boy was found; pale, lifeless and limp, in a ditch that ran alongside the graveyard. His body had been drained of blood, countless lesions and cuts marked the skin all over his arms and chest.
Panic settled over the village; one of their own had been murdered, and the graveyard had been vandalized as well. The grave of the greatly wronged beauty had been defiled, and her corpse was nowhere to be seen. People began to whisper of dark forces being at work, and wished ever harder that they had intervened before the young woman had perished.
The tragedies that befell that tiny village went on for years. Young men would wander out into the mists, never to be seen again. Children would sit up from their sleep, muttering about the wonderful songs they heard in their dreams, and struggle to leave their homes. Newly born babes would disappear in the night. Search parties were sent out day after day, but they, too, began to go missing.
Those poor folk that survived knew in their hearts that the creature that preyed on their young was one of their own creation, a fiend born of neglect and silence in the face of cruelty.
The little village grew smaller, the fields grew fallow. The woods began to creep closer to people’s homes. The water in the streams tasted of copper. Eventually, the people of the village had the good sense to flee, and never return.
Some say the Dearg-Due is still there, wandering the woods and calling out, singing a haunting siren’s song of loss, tragedy and yearning.
One thing is certain, though; the legacy of the Dearg-Due can still be seen to this day, at cemeteries all over the country. Graves, once filled, are topped with stones, all to discourage the recently dead from returning to settle the grievances left from life.
It’s been a roller-coaster of a month. Sales on Grimmleigh’s Beastly Oddities are still clocking in at a better than (I) anticipated rate, which is really super exciting. The down side? Well, I really need to get more work done on the follow-up book, Grimmleigh’s Classic Monsters.
I have two completed pages, and I am applying lessons learned from the first book to these images. First off, I’m drawing the backgrounds separately, which is allowing me to experiment with the sizing of the characters on the finished page. This should cut down on characters getting clipped during the print process, since I am going for a full bleed on the layout.
Here’s the background for a daycare center:
Now, with the Vampire Brides from last week:
Concept sketches are done for another 8 monsters, so I will be spending the next few weeks getting those ironed out, backgrounds rendered, then layouts. I aim for 23 coloring pages in each book, plus stories, so it’s a bit of a process!
Progress on Grimmleigh’s Morbid Stories for Dreadful Children is coming along nicely, with page 23 posting to Tapastic last night, and pencils for page 24 and 25 in the rough stage. I am hoping to get back to a weekly posting schedule with that story!
Going back through previous pages, I realized that I need to go back and re-work a number of pages. Some of the previous pages are formatted differently, and I need to get a unified font size in place. Luckily, that will just make everything flow better, so I am happy about that. I also realized that I forgot to even introduce the Miller, which is probably just a smidge confusing.
The real challenge for this next week is going to be Salt Lake Comic Con. I have a ton of panels, three live recording sessions of Geekshow, and a role playing game scenario to create. That being said, I’m setting a personal goal to keep daily posts going here!
The other big project around the labs has been Morbid Tales for Dreadful Children, which has been nearly a year in the making. The most recent page finds the Rake taunting little Ophie Miller; breakdowns of the pencils for this page, as well as the script, were posted earlier this week.
Once I have my pencils done for a page, I scan the image in and do the inks and shades on the iPad Pro. With this page in particular, I took the time to add some atmosphere to the shading. I really want to add a sense of beauty to the setting, even though it is full of mayhem and murder.
Here’s a time-lapse video of the process, I hope you enjoy it! Just a word of caution, though: I uploaded the video in HD, so it might take a moment or two to load!
This week we’ll look at Victor Fries, another down on his luck resident of Gotham who has had several unfortunate run-ins with Bruce Wayne’s alter-ego.
Like Selina and Harvey before him, Victor has taken to hiding from the authorities in the slums of the city. Police are afraid to do more than cursory patrols of the area, and even the Vigilante sticks to the outer fringes of the slums to enact his “crusade”.
Dr. Victor Fries was a brilliant Cryogenics expert who had pioneered a life-saving procedure that could suspend a person in “deep freeze” until cures for their diseases could be found. Eager to start live trials on human subjects, Victor put his terminally ill wife Nora through the (ultimately successful) procedure.
Lucius Fox, CFO of Wayne Industries, found the cryonics pod that Nora had been suspended in. Using his discovery as leverage, Fox forced Victor to use his knowledge of super-cold elements to plunder riches from unbreakable safes around Gotham. During one of these heists, a chemical reaction caused an explosion that doused Fries in a volatile compound that dropped his body temperature to near arctic extremes.
Surprisingly, Victor Fries did not die. Unfortunately, though, his sanity was shattered. His extreme body temperature makes him fragile in typical Gotham weather, which has caused him to retrofit an old Soviet era diving suit into a walking cryogenics lab. Dubbing himself “Mister Freeze,” Victor haunts the streets and alleys of the Gotham slums, plotting his revenge against the man who destroyed his life.
Not in some theological “I really should have done that one thing instead of that other thing” sort of way. More like a “these are so freaking cool I am going to sell all my blood to buy them” sort of way. I’ll get back to that in a minute.
Look, I love monsters. Anyone who has checked out more than one post on this page knows that. Anyone who knows me personally really knows that. And by monster, I am an equal opportunity enthusiast of anything in the para-zoological sphere; give me your faeries, your kelpies, your poor huddled goblins.
So, when someone does something monstrously cool, I kind of fall for that project. Yesterday, I stumbled upon Mythic Articulations. Check this out:
That’s the skeleton of a wetland fairy. I can’t get over how cool this is! Could you imagine having one of these sitting on your desk, or under a glass dome? I’m thinking about getting one and using some acrylic glazes to give the bones a patina.
This little bundle of nightmare tonic is the Tooth Fairy skeleton, and seriously couldn’t be any cooler!
I was wandering around the site, checking out the cool skeleton art posters, skulls, and the other monster skeletons when I saw something that took the air right out of me. How freaking cool is this?
Yeah, that’s a Chupacabra skeleton in a can. It’s a model kit, kids. And because the folks at Mythic Articulations made the bones with ball-socket connectors, these kits are completely poseable.
Here’s a werewolf for those of you into more traditional horror tropes. I prefer the fairy skeletons, personally; I really want to fill my studio with little skeletons under glass!
The price range might seem a bit steep on the surface; most of the skeletons are over $60, but there are art prints and books available for less than $30. Compared to a lot of collectibles they are actually pretty affordable, and your money is supporting a small business that creates unique and imaginative art.
Mythic Articulations uses state of the art 3-D printing technology, and makes each monster to order. You can check out all of their monsters here, or purchase them directly from their Etsy shop.
Odin’s Day again? Time for another look at what’s on the workbench!
Work on Morbid Stories for Dreadful Children continues, with Volume One: The Miller’s Daughters about two-thirds finished. Here are the pencils for page 23:
I am laying in digital inks now, and will feature a time-lapse film of the finished art on Friday! For a look at the scripted breakdown of page 23, take a look here!
The next coloring book is underway as well, with pencil concepts making way for some background art. First up, a Nosferatu who has the unfortunate job of Sewer Inspector:
Here’s the finished inks for the sewer:
Rough concept for the Phantom of the Opera, who landed a terrible gig as a Karaoke DJ:
These will be featured in Grimmleigh’s Classic Monsters (with terrible jobs), which I am expecting to have available in late September!
And these two are super rough speed sketches that I put together while watching old Hammer Horror movies the other night. The tree scene will probably be used with a vampire or in one of the fairy tales, and the graveyard will be for a Slavic grave goblin:
I really am drawn to floating apparitions in the woods…
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