Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Cloudbusting - the graphic novel

pg 1
Whilst working on the blackbird project, I've also been developing a concept for a graphic novel. The concept occurred in a dream after reading Eric Drooker's Flood. I've decided to reveal exclusively the first page. I may update this blog with more pages, unless the government come to destroy my research...


“Cloudbusting” – a graphic novel
Helen Dearnley

The working title for this graphic novel is “Cloudbusting”, it is written and illustrated by Helen Dearnley BA (hons) Fine Art & Illustration University of Lincoln.

The concept occurred in a dream after going to sleep reading Eric Drooker’s Flood, and conflates the dream alongside real events, graduating at the time of the 2008 recession, following previous research.

Entirely conceived during the 2012 UK floods, the events that occurred over a two year period were about as horrendous as anything illustrated in Flood, but from the perspective of a single parent.

The starting point of Cloudbusting is a dream, in which a female and a male colleague are seen working together, heaving a large, heavy, covered object up a hill. They appear as small silhouettes.
The characters in Kate Bush’s original video have been re-appropriated to place the woman as the “Professor”, and her male colleague working together. This is because the concept is entirely from a female perspective, and the male colleague is not in reality working together on this.
In the dream, I was working together with someone that in real life is not a colleague – he is the mysterious male protagonist whose identity remains secret, mainly because he has never given permission to use his image. 

At the point after the government come to destroy the research at the end of Kate Bush’s video, the pair are torn apart from each other, and the style of the illustrations at this point change specifically with reference made to Andrzej Klimowski’s The Depository; the female protagonist finds herself trapped in a vitrine in The Depository.
The storyline then conflates numerous sources, including Florence And The Machine’s Cosmic Love and Lowell’s The Birds, blackbirds in place of the book angels fly across the city skyline to communicate in dreams. 

The blackbird is being used as a metaphor, with direct reference to Fleetwood Mac’s track Rhiannon, Stevie Nicks' project based on the Welsh witch and the Three Birds Of Rhiannon.
Rhiannon has three birds that sing to relieve pain.
Rhiannon also cannot marry a mortal king, for if she does this, she will lose all her wisdom.

Bereavement causes the vitrine to shift into a vast greenhouse, still trapped inside, but now also inside memories of a darkened greenhouse where once she would follow, left alone in the dark. Grief.
From the outside, it appears as The Lake House from the film, an entirely imagined place, located on the Brayford Pool within the city of Lincoln.
And the style of illustration shifts back to the original black-on-white ink drawings, the only colour added is sky blue, in reference to Flood.

In the winter of grief the rain turns to snow. The male protagonist attempts to use the Cloudbuster, but makes it snow instead, and then the story of an evil headmistress looking a lot like a dark floating witch becomes an enemy that is defeated by the 3 blackbirds of Rhiannon. Rhiannon was accused of eating her own children. 

We fight these battles and find solace in a new house. There are three birdhouses of Rhiannon. One, the Merz house, which we escape from. The second is a protective nest for 3 blackbirds. The third is a feathered Cathedral. 

Meanwhile, the woman receives a message, and returns to her male colleague working on the Cloudbuster. She can hear his heart beat again, she can hear the blackbirds singing again, and escape from the vitrines of The Depository involves a paper aeroplane, a reference to the original storyAs in Rhiannon, her hair shines blonde and gold as she returns.

The summer rain is falling, surrounding the Cathedral, it falls and rings like bells, and it is lit by the Cathedral, glowing golden in the sky above, against the dark of the night, only if for a night, but night also shifts to bright sunlit daylight.
And people walk around the city with their umbrellas, much like Flood, but it is Lincoln, summer, 2012.

Together the pair work on the Cloudbuster, testing out new theories from research gained with its application in snow. But now it is summer, and we’re trying to bust those flood-inducing clouds.
The sun’s coming out, and because the sun shines we are making rainbows. And blackbirds are singing.

For almost a joke, they point the Cloudbuster at a copy of Flood, and the ending changes so that the protagonist of Flood survives with his cat and boards the Ark. 

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