Vimy 1917-2017

Today marks the centenary of the beginning of the Battle of Vimy Ridge (April 9-12, 1917). The Allied victory cost the lives of 3600 Canadians (along with, lest we forget, an unknown, but no doubt horrifyingly high number of Germans). Among the dead was my great-great-uncle, Lt. William Henderson Gregory, killed by shrapnel while leading a charge up the ridge on the first day of battle. He had just turned 27.

 

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“In a Station of the Metro” by Ezra Pound (1913)

Two illustrations inspired by the American poet Ezra Pound’s famous and famously short poem, “In a Station of the Metro,” first published in 1913.

I have no experience with Chinese and Japanese brush painting, and it is known as a technique that takes at least a whole lifetime to perfect, but it’s the idea that counts. Perhaps I will return to this theme once I’ve had a little more practice with this painting style.

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Sneak peek at Battle of The Plains of Abraham graphic novel (inked version)

I am currently at work on “Each in His Narrow Cell,” a graphic novel recounting the siege of Quebec and the Battle of The Plains of Abraham in 1759. In revisiting this pivotal moment in Canadian history, my intention is not simply to present a didactic history lesson in visual form, but rather to create an emotionally engaging, character-driven narrative centered on the personal motivations and inner conflicts of the French, English and Indigenous participants.  Below are 8 completed pages of the first 60-page sample section I am working on.

One of the parameters I set for myself with the colouring was that all the characters from a particular nation would be depicted in a combination of a neutral grey tone and one characteristic colour -blue for the French, red for the English, purple for the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois), and so on. Similarly, the colour of the lettering in the speech bubbles indicates what language is being spoken. Chief Nissowaquet of the Odawa of l’Arbre Croche appears in yellow, a decision based on the background colour of the present-day flag of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa, within whose reservation boundaries the village of l’Arbre Croche was situated.

In this section, the French commander at the siege of Quebec, General Louis-Joseph de Montcalm, finally returns to his beloved chateau of Candiac, in Languedoc. To fully understand this scene, it is necessary to know that just before the beginning of the siege, Montcalm received the tragic news that one of his four daughters had died. Although from across the Atlantic Montcalm was not able to find out which one, he assumed it was his youngest, Mirète, who had long been sickly.

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“T. S. Eliot’s ‘Little Gidding’: A Visual Interpretation” in Plough Quarterly

A few months ago, the American magazine Plough Quarterly commissioned me to create a comics adaptation of the celebrated final section of T. S. Eliot’s poem “Little Gidding”, the last of his Four Quartets. The comic is now up on their website: http://www.plough.com/en/topics/culture/poetry/little-gidding and will appear in the next print issue, which will be available in a couple of weeks.

Click here for more information about Plough Quarterly: http://www.plough.com/en/subscriptions/quarterly

 

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Malaria Pill Dreams

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The Knocker

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Baroque Light

A watercolour of the interior of the Benedictine convent of Sao Benito in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Based on a photograph by Bernard Hermann.

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