• Sarah Coomer

I've recently been working on a project I am thinking of as 'Gormenghast for the under 5s', It's the story of a tiny kitchen girl, Dot, who has no memory of anything but living in the kitchen. She befriends a rat and ends up following him through the bewildering maze like citadel.

The vast unknowable sprawl of Gormenghast always really fascinated me. I haven't got time to reread it at the mo (I read for about 20 seconds a day before I go to sleep so Gormenghast trilogy, by writer and illustrator Mervyn Peake, would take me about 47 years to get through) so I can't really remember it in that much detail. This is good for my current purposes I think, because I'm not trying to recreate it. I do remember that it features some very horrible people doing some occasionally unspeakable things, but I promise there will be no extreme violence, serious burns OR starvation in my little story. Probably.

I have, at the present time, only a vague idea of how Dot will get out of the castle and find her way back to her real home, but as with most of my illustration projects, the story is largely there to hang my illustrations on. I heard Chris Riddell saying something quite similar the other day, and if it works for him etc.

So far this whole project has been done on Procreate on an iPadPro, rather than my usual mix of traditional and digital media. This is largely because it's quite difficult to get to my studio at the moment, because once I'm up there I'm relatively inaccessible (hurrah!) but currently the artwork is having to take even more of a back seat than usual, me being chief / sole cook / bottle washer / schoolwork wrangler / pet foofler / general everythinger. I'm not complaining, needs must etc, but it's really made me appreciate even more than usual the accessibility of an iPad when it comes to working on the hoof...

Finally here's the very truncated version of the video replay of the latest illustration, so you can see exactly how much faffing about goes on when I'm drawing. Procreate lets you choose a 20 second version, which it has somehow cut down from a 7 minute odd version (NB: this does not mean it took me 7 minutes to draw. According to the app stats, I have already spent 9 hours and 11 minutes on it. And I'm nowhere near finishing. Hey ho!)



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