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George Bernard Shaw
Tags >> fantasy

Examining Locations

Posted by: CSHoldsworth

Tagged in: study , photography , location , landscape , hagwood , fantasy , burnley , animism


Examining Locations - 'Hagwood'/ (A Hagwood Study)

Already in my blog posts, there is evidence of the influence this wood has over me. It was the insperation of the forest within 'The Travelling Man'. Every line and every image I had put into the story was plucked from the thoughts I've had whilst passing through the wood itself. In one of the images I drew for 'The Travelling Man', I even used an image of one of the trees that exists in the wood to depict the line 'Deeper and further trudged The Travelling Man into the forest of old, the twisted faces of the trees made his blood run cold'. This was the first line I wrote for the story, even though it appears in the middle of the poem. This occured due to passing this tree myself and being taken back by the trees striking and horrific, twisted face. I thought for a while about this tree and it became the source of my inspiration for the story I told.

Within Hagwood is countless dead and twisted trees. Although only a small wood it bares it own cliff side, rivers and bogs that can consume the largest of animals. It's a place that exudes an aura of death, loneliness  and menace, yet can be quite enchanting and peaceful too.
A usual occurrence is seeing a sheep one day, wandering in the wood and the next day it will be dead in a ditch. Almost as if the animal resorted to Hagwood as a place to die.
Thinking of this place as a grave yard would be a good resemblance. Not only because of the animals that get consumed by the forest, but due to anything that gets left behind seems to get swallowed by this place. In the summer the plants and grass thrive and raise up. In the winter they die and pull down through the boggy ground whatever laid there previously.
Example of the forest swallowing whatever is placed inside. In this case barbed wire.

As is the case with all old forests, there is a sense that the wood is always staring back at you. I often sculpt this wood or leave sculptures in it too. However, Hagwood has seemed to have crafted it's own sculptures/inhabitants of its own. A while ago I made a study of this entitled 'A Hagwood Study' and I documented Hagwoods inhabitants through the use of photography which can be seen below:

'A Hagwood Study: Hagwood Dragon'

As you enter the wood, you are first greeted by 'Hagwood Dragon' after this you are met with many others.
'A Hagwood Study: Hagwood Parrot'

'A Hagwood Study: Hagwood Demonic Trident'

'A Hagwood Study: Hagwood Happy Man'

'A Hagwood Study: Hagwood Rutting Stag'

'A Hagwood Study: Hagwood (Night)-Mare'

'A Hagwood Study: Hagwood Rhinoceros'

'A Hagwood Study: Hagwood Totem-pole'

You may not see what I see depicted in the photographs. My imagination was influenced by this forest to see what I saw. Other walkers may feel differently, experience and see other things, but Hagwood will take hold of you not like many other woods can. This place will remain a site I visit regularly, a constant home for my art and inspiration.


Water Babies

Posted by: GraphiteWeb

Tagged in: watercolor , sea , pencil , pastels , ocean , mermaids , girls , fantasy , drawing , custom , art


I had a great opportunity for a custom drawing this month. My fiancee Heather's sister Hilary and her husband Jesse have a sweet little girl named Cori. Her first birthday was this week. Hilary and Jesse have been living in South Korea for 2 years, as Jesse was stationed there with the U.S. Army. They got a new assignment and are now living in Louisiana... and luckily, we got to see them as they passed through town. Hilary contacted us about 2 weeks before they flew back to the States with an awesome idea for Cori's birthday present. She wanted an 11x14" drawing of the four cousins in the family: Lakin (9 years old), Addah (7½ years old), Cori (1 year old) and little Abby (3 months old), as mermaids in the deep blue sea. I loved it... and had a blast working on it!

I used the older girls' favorite colors: purple and blue for Lakin and pink and orange for Addah. For the little ones, I has noticed that Abby's hair and features really stood out in the pink coral romper she had on, and likewise, Cori was beautiful in her little green dress. I was really able to capture the four girls' personalities in this drawing and I am very happy with it. Hilary and Jesse were ecstatic and couldn't wait to frame the piece for Cori's new bedroom!


Writing a Guardian Land

Posted by: Caz


I've recently decided to explore a different avenue in writing Callous.  The series usually is grounded greatly in reality.  The main character, Rianne, is a relatively new physician who is struggling to come to grips with the world around her after dedicating so much of her life to studying in med school and specialty training.  This involved growing her up as a person rather than as a doctor.  To aid her in this task is her Guardian Duck, Cal.  The purposeful inclusion of Cal Duck in Rianne's life acts as my voice of suggestion rather than declaration, giving her clarity in formulating her own philosophy in life.  The series often takes place in the local hospital where she works, at a favored coffee shop, or at her home, all very "real" places.

However, I've taken the great risk of turning things around in Rianne's life.  Cal Duck and his fellow Guardians Mallard, Decoy, and Ling inject a fantasy element into the series and for a long time I resisted the urge to really explore that facet of Callous.  That is, until recently.  I thought, "hey, why not?" and took the plunge.  Hence the storyline, The Land of the Guardians where Dr. Rianne Nicah finds herself in the home world of her Guardian Duck friends.

Why did I find this such a risk? The comic strip has an almost 14-year history already with a decent following.  By changing things so drastically, even temporarily, I might have alienated these fans and damaged a well-established world, filled with characters, relationships, and personalities that I have cared for and nurtured to maturity.  It would be easy to think, "it's my series, I can do what I want" but I guess I'm just not that kind of person.  Switching genres is also against general cartooning wisdom (which is called such for a reason).

Eventually, I rationalized that such an adventure would aid the growth of the primary core of characters, that is Rianne and Cal Duck.  I've never really shown how much they mean to each other, especially after going through so much for so long.  It still is all about Rianne though, as she will develop herself further as a person through these trials.

Like much that I've done with Callous, the fruits are borne from doing away with reservations and just plain doing it.  Now I am having oh so much fun! Wink

Writing it is quite a challenge, however.  Shifting from a gag-a-day comic strip to a full-on continuous story while maintaining the same kind of energy on a daily basis is tough and is something I never did before.  I try to keep things at a brisk pace, even in moments that require expository "dull" proceedings, to keep readers interested and to maintain a certain daily flow while adequately contributing to an overall story.

So this is as much my own adventure as it is Rianne's!  And I hope you'll join me in this new undertaking.  Leave a note, I'm always open to hearing from readers, new and old. Laughing

You can find the Callous comic strip series at its home page at!

Thanks for reading and I hope to hear from you!




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