I admit it. I got really, really stuck - to the point where I'd stopped working on this for a couple of months (!!) - all because of the beginning of the second sentence to the right. I so wanted to show my characters seeing Castlebar from the hill. I know what road they were riding, and I followed that road on google streetview a million times trying to find a place where the town might've been seen from.
Okay, there is the matter of 120 years having passed, but basic topography must remain, and given the town today being far bigger, it should've been even more visible. Are there trees or buildings in the way? Or....?
Eventually I hope to go to Ireland and follow the route and see for myself, but in the meantime I went about it a different way; this is after all only a draft and will all be reviewed later.
Another issue being the colours of the buildings. I've seen good old photos to base these panels on, but of course all in black and white. Guessing at plausible colours for the time being.
It's time to finalise what these guys look like and exactly what they're wearing. It's a fairly limited choice, either a "lounge" or a "Norfolk" jacket, in colours ranging from tweedy green to brown to grey. So here are my current ideas for Holding, Frank, Little Billie, and Beaumont, respectively.
"The costume adopted by the Cyclists' Touring Club (organised in 1878 as the "Bicycle Touring Club") is upon the "all woollen" lines and may be recommended as at once neat, sanitary and durable. A special West-of-England tweed has been adopted for the outer garments, the pattern being a small grey check. Flannel, in two different thicknesses and all wool... is made of the same pattern, so that if the rider wears a shirt of this material the absence of a wasitcoat is not noticeable, a material gain in very warm weather... The coat may be either a "Lounge" jacket or a "Norfolk" : vest present or not; and the nether garments, breeches, trousers, or knickerbockers..."
"The beautifully coloured litho Plate we are giving with this issue illustrates one of the most popular types of jackets worn at this season of the year, viz., the Norfolk jacket. There is scarecely a sport in which it is not used, whilst for golfing, cycling, pedestrian and fishing exercises it is considred by many to be the ideal garment. Our illustration shows it in its simplest form, viz., with one pleat up each forepart and down each side of the back. Large patch pockets are added to each side, and the general get up of the garment is loose and easy fitting. ... It usually forms part of a knicker suit, the cap being of the same maerial, and the hose made of similar colour to the suit."
-- The Tailor & Cutter, 1896
"He had on his new brown cycling suit - a handsome Norfolk jacket thing for 30s - and his legs .... were more than consoled by thick chequered stockings thin in the foot, thick in the leg."
- H.G. Wells, The Wheels of Chance, 1896
Sure, we cyclists have potholes and all sorts of bad surfaces to contend with but at least the roads are generally paved (thanks to campaigning by early cyclists, but that's another story). Two WIP panels from page 30.
Clearly this beginning is going to need a little explanation in a short intro... like, for one thing, the author sometimes speaks of himself in the third person, and calls himself The Skipper at times.
Here I'm explaining the process from deciding on the text, to layout, to first draft, to final (??) artwork.
Or rather, lack of buttermilk. Draft of two pages in Holding's book which has expanded to nearly four.
I've been looking forward to drafting this bit where Holding goes on at some length about the need for people to make the effort to get on with each other, rather than rise to unintended provocation or get upset about silly behaviours. He writes this just after the part in his book where he finds the Bantam bicycles being ridden by two of the party really aren't up to the job, and are slowing everyone down terribly. That's why his arms are pointing like that on the left-hand page -- which will be on the right-hand side in the book, rather than these two being facing pages like they appear.
In Holding's book, there's a fair bit more but this seemed plenty to get the point across. One more paragraph I sort of wanted to include but haven't, follows below. Should I?
"May I presume to say that I have had twenty years cruising in the company of many and widely varying men, and each, of course, with his varying mood. This has given every condition possible for criticism and even differences, not to say, sometimes, offence."
Since I'd decided to take up the challenge of #inktober again this year (that is, an ink drawing every single day of October), I thought I might as well use it for what I most needed: getting better at drawing people, and getting used to drawing these bikes from 1897 and, in the final frame, having a go at character development for the four guys in the story.
This is my entire graphic novel, Two Shillings per Day, all 138 pages of it in rough draft form. Very very rough. Post-it notes in a binder, some not even with pictures, still moveable around if it's too text-heavy in places (very likely) or I just want to change the layout of a page or two (I hope not TOO much of this).
I photographed the whole thing because I had a lot of trips away in May and wanted to take the work in progress with me, even camping where I was playing music at a festival, and the thought of losing it..... well, doesn't even bear thinking about. I doubt if I would have the heart to start over again...but I would have to, eventually.... This made it risk-free and I got some good hours on trains to work on it.
Weirdly, seeing it all laid out like this makes it somehow seem more possible! I even had to count the pages to see if they were really all there. It's a lot, especially as I've never made anything this large before, but I actually think it's going to be doable.
Watch this space.
READ THIS BIT FIRST
I'm making a true-story graphic novel...