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Gormenghast was written and illustrated by Mervyn Peake, published in 1950-1959.

The books are based around an old crumbling castle. The story follows Titus Groan, the 77th Earl. The book tells us how Titus will adapt to his new role and what he discovers within the vast fantasy land that one day he will own. He will encounter haunting creatures and mysteries along the way which he must overcome to succeed. Mervyn Peake was born 1911 in Kuling, China. The majestic mountains that loomed beside his dwelling were a great influence to him, this encouraged him to pursue his artistic career. It wasnt until 1923 where he permanently moved to England to study at the Croydon School of Art before enrolling at the Royal Academy. From then, until 1940, he exhibited in various galleries in and outside of London and taught at Westminster School of Art before settling down with his wife Meave Gilmore and having their first son Sebastian. It was here that he first started writing Gormenghast which was later adapted for BBC Radio in 1956. I feel Mervyn Peake was inspired to start writing Gormenghast for two reasons; the birth of his son and the experience of the war. As the trilogy is based around one main character, Titus Groan who is the new Earl to the throne. Mervyn could have been influenced by the experience of having a son and what that actually meant, his name would continue on. Another observation are the challenges of being a father and the obstacles they both need to overcome. Secondly, with his experience with the war, we get the feeling the castle is set in Britain and in a baron and remote landscape. The descriptions are not complimentary but rather daunting, assuming this is similar to the conditions he may have experienced during the war.

After reading the extract of book describing the castle I initially imagined a medieval structure. The style of writing reminded me of the Outlaw Chronicles written by Angus Donald, published 2009-2013. As Donald's books are set in the era of Robin Hood where the kings live in tall towers whilst the peasants live in small stone and straw-roofed huts below I couldnt help but imagine the scene in an earlier time period than what it actually was. Also, as the character Titus Groan (Gormenghast) is referred to as the 77th Earl in Donald's books Robin Hood is commonly mentioned as the Earl of Locksley. Though I have now made my scene a little more modern I still want to keep the grittiness and grimness of the British landscape mentioned in both novels alive. Although I imagined Gormenghast to be medieval, when I started sketching out my thumbnails I could see something familiar appearing. After some thought I realised that I had been influenced by some of the architecture seen in Assassins Creed: Brotherhood created by Ubisoft, released November 2010. The majority of buildings within the game are tall, detailed and layered. At the start I had always wanted my castle to have outer and inner walls with detailed turret towers but was undecided when it came to making the towers square or circular. When sketching out my castle thumbnails I started to concentrate and think about what surrounds the castle, did I want it in total isolation? Or a closer view of the castle to limit the surroundings? I did a variety of versions for the environment including cliffs, lakes and rocky surfaces. But the books description gives off an isolating and baron atmosphere that I wasnt sure how to achieve. However, I looked at one of my thumbnails knowing that I had seen a shot in a film similar; The Woman in Black directed by James Watkins 2012. The haunted mansion in the film stands alone and is only accessible at

certain times during the day because it is surrounded by marshlands. With this in mind I too added the murky earth around my castle to add loneliness. For the Hall of Bright Carvings I kept contemplating on how I would draw the emerald horse as I really wanted to dazzle the viewer and challenge myself to evanescent light. I didnt want to draw the horse as a small sculpture on all fours, as I felt this would have a less impact, however, when I drew the horse on its hind legs I first imagined it quite characterised wearing accessories for a rider or a royal member. It then struck me that I had seen this before in Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone directed by Chris Columbus, 2001. This is when character Ron is playing Wizards chess and rides a giant horse statue as a knight. I have since tried to play down the accessories and leave the horse quite bare. Lastly, I recently completed the newest installment of Tomb Raider: A survivor is Born released by Square Enix, 2013. This game and its concept art has really pushed me to think about the weather in each scene, what time of day it is and how these two factors would affect the light. I am thinking about having heavy rain in my castle scene with little sunlight, whilst the Hall scene I would have Autumnal early evening light.

This is my colour palette for my exterior castle scene. I have gathered some leafs and scanned them in to get true earthy colours as the book describes the castle as if it had come and grown out of the ground. I have pinpointed some of the colours and brushed them out using Photoshop.

For my Influence maps I have tried to focus on the textures and possible colour palette. In some images I have included details, such as specific flowers or objects, for example the stag head to encourage me to think about what else there could be in the scene to help get a specific atmosphere across.

I have chosen the exterior of the castle, the Hall of Bright Carvings and the Room of Roots as my three scenes due to the diversity of them. I am hoping to experiment with rocky surfaces and weather for my first scene whereas for my second and third scene I hope to challenge myself to different sources of light and how light would look peeking through branches compared to evanescent light in an emerald horse. I also want to achieve and test myself to a variety of atmospheres whether they be dark and moody or tranquil.

IMAGES Assassins creed

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Tomb raider

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