"First" doesn't mean page one here; I'm starting partway through the book, trying to find a sequence of pages that will show as many representative aspects of the trip as possible - cycling, camp, cooking, towns, conversations with people along the way... it's not easy. These may or may not be the right pages but it's great to be underway with the final (?) at last!
Final doesn't necessarily mean final, as I'll probably end up wanting to re-draw some of these panels later on. But that's okay.
At this point in the story, the four have been on the road for almost two days, and have just arrived at their second camp.
After about five years of planning, researching, thumbnailing and pencilling... I've at last reached page 151 which is (I think!) the final page of Two Shillings a Day. Below is the draft of that last page as currently envisioned:
Now preparing for the inking and colouring... I'll aim to show regular progress here.
A delightful short film (3+ minutes) with a few quotes from and photos of Holding and some early camping sites, made by the CCC in 2014.
In 1908, eleven years after carrying out and writing his book about the world's first portable cycle-camping trip, TH Holding wrote The Camper's Handbook.
It's a massive 400 pages of very comprehensive detail on every aspect of camping, on which he had become a notable expert.
The section on cycle-camping includes this packing list.... all of which can fit, amazingly, in one large handlebar bag which was Holding's favoured means of carrying equipment.
I love seeing what things were considered essential then, and which we would still include today!
I realise I haven't been remembering to keep this blog updated, though if you follow my newsletter or Patreon you'll know that progress is being made! Albeit slowly... I'm currently drafting page 108 of about 148.
Here's a draft from a couple of weeks ago, as the four rode the seventeen miles from Maam, after they'd obtained hot potatoes from a farmhouse and cooked up an excellent lunch in the field, on to Cong.
I think I need to make that "huge piano encased in a box" a little bigger when I draw the final version, actually.
I was thrilled to be offered a guest spot in the weekly mailing produced by a superb filmmaker whom I follow. Adam Westbrook writes The Third Something full of "ideas, sketches and reflections on the creative process" and it's always deeply thought-provoking and entertaining, very highly recommended even when it isn't all about me! This one is, and I get to talk about figuring out my weird way of drafting this graphic novel, which finally got me unstuck and able to make (slow) progress on it. Click on image below to read.
This is a talk I gave at Laydeez Do Comics in London back in January 2020, about the making of this graphic novel from initial idea to the endless research to page layout methods and more...
Using the instructions from T H Holding's book for making your own tent, I worked out the size of this paper model to be in scale with my little grey man, putting his height at 5'8" which is a good guess for Victorian times. I wanted to have a reference for getting the relative sizes accurate, now they I've reached the part of the story where they've pitched the tent for the first time and started camping. It's still very difficult to imagine four grown men, one rather large, sleeping in such a space but we know they did!
This is, of course, a story about a cycling trip... but this is part of why I love it: diversions into all sorts of subjects, expressed in inimitable verbal style by the highly opinionated T.H. Holding.
READ THIS FIRST!
I'm making a true-story graphic novel...