Water is hard. I don’t mean in the jump-from-too-high-go-splat sort of way, either. It’s hard to draw. Fluid, in general, doesn’t like to be constrained to two dimensions.
The latest pages from the Miller’s Daughters see the ultimate demise of poor Ophie, and that meant some water needed to find its way to paper. It turned out pretty nicely, and will be even better when I add shading later this week!
The second page shown is the Rake, sauntering off out of the woods, his murderous mischief quite managed.
A friend of mine recently remarked that some plumbing problems we were having were due to Vodniks; my confused, vacant-eyed response led to a really fun story about some Czech friends of hers that blamed Vodnik on any plumbing problems that came up.
It’s been a few months now, and as the resident Cryptozoologist of Salt Lake City, I decided to do a little digging on my drippy little house guests.
The Vodnik is the Slavic cousin to the Russian Vodyanoy, a far more sinister fellow (they are all males) that haunts lakes and rivers. The Vodyanoy are frog like creatures, with aged bodies, froggy faces, fish tales, and long, stringy beards and hair. They paddle about on half sunken logs with their webbed hands, looking for unwary locals to drown. They seem to like wandering about without any clothes, too. Sound familiar?
The Vodnik, by contrast, seems more human like in features, although they are a greenish tint and tend to be covered in moss. They wear tattered, cast off clothing, and also loiter about lakes and rivers. Unlike the Vodyanoy, which are mostly malevolent, Vodniks can be beneficial or dangerous, depending on their mood.
One area that Vodyanoy and Vodnik overlap is that they keep little ceramic containers with them, in which they store the souls of people who have drowned in their domain. The crockery is considered currency to these folk, and a large collection of souls is a sure sign of wealth and influence. If the crockery is opened, however, the soul escapes in the form of a bubble, leaving the vessel it was in worthless.
Fishermen and people who make their living on the water will leave offerings of tobacco to the vodnik, in hopes that they will leave them alone or help them in their industry. A vodnik who feels slighted may attack local water features, such as dams, well, (possibly plumbing) and locks. This behavior has also been reported with Vodyanoy.
As I was proofing earlier pages of the Miller’s Daughters, I realized I had made a pretty big mistake. I had missed an introduction of the Miller himself, and went from a nice scenery page to a page detailing the family dynamic of the Miller and his children. Oops. Over the weekend I put together a new page to introduce the poor old chap, and thought I would share. Here are the finished inks for the page, followed by the same art with shading.
I’ll be adding text to the bottom of the page, and amending the text that was on the original second page of the story!
I’ve been trying to get a page a week finished on the Miller’s Daughters, but it’s not going quite as assertively as I would like. No bother, really, progress is still progress. Here is the newest page:
The whole series can be found here… There are still some edits that need to be done to the long-form story, but it’s still a pretty entertaining read!
Salt Lake Comic Con just wrapped day one, and I am shot. Happy and deliriously shot, though. I moderated 3 panels today, one about our cultural fascination with magic, and two on table-top gaming. I really appreciated seeing how many women are getting involved in gaming, it’s refreshing to see a paradigm shift in a traditionally musty, man-centric hobby!
I must apologize for not being as on top of posts as I had hoped to be, but I am going to accept my limitations and realize that I might not be able to hit the post count that I would like. Instead, I thought I would share the origins of Grimmleighs from a few years back!
In 2010, I asked my wife if she would crochet a Nessie for me. We stitched a panel of muslin to it’s head, and I painted a face on it. It was primitive, but it was also an amazingly fun project to make. That was the first Grimmleigh, and we went into a pretty steady production mode for several years. Ultimately, we must have made over a thousand of them!
Ultimately, we couldn’t justify the amount of work involved with the amount of money we made. We had a hard time charging what we should have for them, since we really just wanted to share our cool little monsters with everyone that saw them!
A lot of what you see here has carried over to the monsters I included in Grimmleigh’s Beastly Oddities. I really missed seeing these goofy little creatures, so I am pretty happy to have the “legacy” of Grimmleigh’s live on!
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!