was first hooked by the story of the British Antarctic Expedition (1910-1913)
when I heard the dramatisation of Apsley Cherry-Garrard's book on Radio
4. For a long time my heart belonged to the radio play, until I
finally read the book and discovered that not only was there so much
more to the story but all the people involved really were as wonderful
as the play made them out to be. Then there was no turning back, much
to the chagrin of the folks who'd rather I draw Harry Potter.
Drawings are in
roughly chronological order by date of creation. Sticklers for accuracy
may want to find their smelling salts now because most of them were
drawn in meetings and dark corners without recourse to photo reference
- All expeditions that include the use of heavy outerwear and googles
automatically revert to Mignola style. (This is the image I used for
that snazzy title graphic, only bigger.)
with Cherry (I) - Obsessive relistening to the radio play brought
welcome vicarious adventure and catharsis but also feelings of guilt
for deriving so much enjoyment from a true story of tremendous suffering
with Cherry (II) - Shortly after getting hooked on the play I
learned Mr Cherry-Garrard's full nancy posh boy name. I wonder if
anyone ever teased him about it ...
with Cherry (III) - Schadenfreudian guilt aside, I kept coming
back for more. (... and part
Should Like a Receipt - One of those heart-wrenching moments,
captured so well in the TV dramatisation, when Cherry brings the hard-won
penguin eggs to the Natural History Museum. Apparently there is some
doubt as to whether this actually happened this way, but I love the
Cargo - A recording of Mark Gatiss' TV docudrama came in the same
week as his documentary on Doctor Who novelisations aired on Radio
4, prompting an inevitable crossover. I got a bit carried away with
- Trader Joe's carries a juice they call 'Just Cherry.' I was sleep-deprived.
with Cherry (IV) - After finishing a project at work, they had
to let about half the crew go. One day we all found out who would
be kept on and who was leaving. The comparison was inevitable; no
word yet on whether it will have similarly tragic consequences.
in Wheathampstead - I went to London in 2009 and made a day trip
out to Wheathampstead, because stalking Mr Cherry-Garrard in my imagination
quite simply wasn't good enough. I mean, um, I wanted to pay my respects
to the person who introduced me (and countless others) to this amazing
God! This is an Awful Place - Amundsen left a letter at the Pole
for Scott to send to the king of Norway to corroborate his antecedence.
This was bemusing to me, that a man could realistically expect his
defeated rival to voluntarily go through the hassle of proclaiming
his loss, and that said rival would actually do so rather than mutter
a bitter 'screw you' and take no action at all. So of course I made
a comic out of it.
Tends to a Grouse - As I got more deeply into the expedition and
learned more about other members of the party, it became increasingly
clear that Dr Edward A. Wilson was the most wonderful person who ever
lived. Before the Terra Nova expedition, he was investigating diseases
of the grouse in Scotland (which has little to do with his wonderfulness
but does explain the drawing). Aside from being wonderful, he's also
really easy to draw ...
The Birds'-Nesters: Cherry,
- drawn a long way from photo reference
Doodles - Indisputable proof I need to concentrate more at work;
these were drawn on the exposure sheet of the scene I was supposed
to be working on. I'm trying to find a design that emphasises his
youth and naivete but still looks like him ... photo reference,
again, would probably help.
from the Orchestra - There was a 1950s American radio adaptation
of Scott's final journal entries where every entry was separated by
a menacing dramatic chord.
Distracted in Life Drawing - One of the regular models reminds
me of Birdie (while looking nothing like him) so during a break I
amused myself with sketching Birdie
The memory of photo reference is evident, here, but once
and Oat(e)s - I pay attention in meetings, really I do.
I have been quite
taken by Silas' independence in the fashion department but have clearly
not paid as much attention to his face; Titus, I think, fared
better as far as likeness is concerned.
The 6th Inniskilling Dragoon's Lament
- When I'm animating a scene I have a lot of time to sit and ruminate
on things. In this case, what was intended as a simple song parody
turned into a vignette with two fully-rendered illustrations and a
dabble in recreational forgery.
Ton Depot - I know I am not the first to make the pun, but I may
be the first to illustrate it. Is that an honour or ignominy?
in the Sketchbook - During the second winter, when it was 'morally
certain' that the polar party was not going to return, Cherry's sketchbook
hosted some special guests.
Mum, It's a Bit Blowy Today - The Terra Nova encountered
a massive storm on the way south from New Zealand that very nearly
sank her. Birdie's letter home (reproduced in Worst Journey)
didn't quite reflect the direness of the situation ... (this is not
an exact quote)
in Antarctica - While climbing the Beardmore Glacier, Silas Wright
wrote: I ... had found one could do better by pulling at an angle
of about 15° to the side and thus get a grip on the surface without
my ski sliding back. Scott then said to Birdie, 'See, that's the way
to do it,' to which Birdie unthinkingly replied, 'Yes, but look at
the loss of pull due to the angle.' I felt like reminding Birdie that
the cosine of 15° would not lose more than one percent of the
effort of the straight pull. I'm not sure if the equation I came
up with is correct (if you know how to state it correctly, please
tell me) but I loved the
Catch Centenary Fever - The famous Dinosaur Comic did a Scott-themed
miniseries, which I celebrated with a comic of my own. It was
just going to be Scott's reaction, but Bill and Birdie had to get
in on the action.
Charms the Adelies - Wilson went over to the floe to capture
some pengiuns and lay flat on the surface. We saw the birds run up
to him, then turn within a few feet and rush away again. He says that
they came towards him when he was singing, and ran away again when
he stopped. I drew this on my Christmas holidays when I had no
access to a scanner, so it's a photo of the drawing in situ.
of Adventure, the Prequel - While trying to land the Eastern Party
for their studies in King Edward VII Land, the crew of the Terra
Nova discovered Amundsen's party setting up camp. Amundsen invited
Campbell's men to tour Framheim, and Campbell brought the Norwegians
on board the Terra Nova. Under the diplomatic affability
there was a fair amount of suspicion, though, as each party tried
to scope out the other's prospects. Before they departed, the British
left a special souvenir for the Norwegians ... they all caught head
the Hero - On the return from laying One Ton Depot, Scott's dog
party crossed the lid of a crevasse which fell out under them, leaving
the dogs hanging by their traces, suspended from the sledge on one
side and the lead dog, Osman, on the other. The accounts have him
heroically straining to support the line, but it's just possible
he was stuck in a more awkward position.
- I am continually astonished at how much the expedition reads like
it was crafted by an author familiar with Aristotle's Poetics,
but I was still unprepared for this blatant piece of foreshadowing.
At the beginning of the journey to lay One Ton Depot, Scott writes:
We saw a dark object a quarter of a mile north as we reached the
Barrier. I walked over and found it to be the tops of two tents more
than half buried – Shackleton’s tents we suppose. A
year and a half later it would be the top of his half-buried
tent spotted as a dark object in the snow ...
the Signs - Scott is blissfully ignorant of this literary device,
Management - Upon arrival back at Hut Point, Scott reacted badly
to receiving the news that Amundsen had set up his base camp at the
Bay of Whales.
and Birdies - Adelies are adorable!
Reflects - Cherry was in the party that found the Polar Party's
tent ... um ... later. He was tasked with finding letters and journals
and such. I can't even imagine (though, evidently, I tried).
is for Titus who Perished of Fits - According to Frank Debenham:
Oates pretended to have a grudge against the 'medical faculty'
in that certain medical comforts, namely brandy, taken for emergencies
on sledge journeys, were never opened. He asked what brandy would
be given as treatment for and one of the answers was 'a fit.' Later
in the day Oates went out to where Wilson and others were shovelling
snow and threw a very realistic fit at Wilson's feet. An accomplice
said to Wilson: "It looks as if Oates had got a fit." "Yes,"
said Wilson, "he's got a fit all right; rub some snow down his
neck, and he'll soon get over it." (Debenham)
Night Seal Fry - Yesterday Wilson prepared a fry of seal meat
with penguin blubber. It had a flavour like cod-liver oil and was
not much appreciated ... Three heroes got through their pannikins,
but the rest of us decided to be contented with cocoa and biscuit
after tasting the first mouthful.' (Scott) I really need to fix
this drawing ... but maybe the badness is fitting.
- Studies, trying to get a design for Frank 'Deb' Debenham (junior
geologist), who recorded a lot of the little character episodes of
the Expedition, for which I am eternally grateful.
the Management of Horses - Tonight Soldier gave us a ripping
lecture on the Management of Horses. He gave us all a surprise as
his slow way of talking hardly lends itself to the lecturing, but
he lectured really well and his dry smileless humour was splendid.
- Teddy Evans' lecture on the basics of surveying was apparently "shy
and slow, but very painstaking", which doesn't sound like Teddy
"Let Me Show You My Party Trick" Evans at all. But this
face in the audience could put anyone off their game ...
Plane - After Teddy's lecture, Scott decided all the officers
should learn at least basic navigation. Cherry was rather at sea with
math, so Teddy drew up an example of a meridian altitude for him and
asked him if it was 'quite plain.' I thought this might have been
at attempt at a really dreadful pun. (And I really need to learn how
to draw Teddy ...)
the Soldier - They had a great feast at Midwinter (June 22) which
stood in for Christmas. Titus got three things which pleased him
immensely, a sponge, a whistle, and a pop-gun which went off when
he pressed in the butt. ... "If you want to please me very much
you will fall down when I shoot you," he said to me, and then
he went round shooting everybody. (Cherry-Garrard)
Fun Play Time - I dug myself a hole in a drift in the shelter
of a large boulder and lay down in it, and covered my legs with loose
snow. It was so warm that I could have slept very comfortably.
(Scott) I really must request you stop doing this sort of thing, sir.
in the Little Tent - Is it too late to make a jokey reference
to a mawkish American TV show from the mid-90s? Or is it just too
Browning - Before departing for the pole, there was the important
job of choosing what reading material to take. Griff Taylor suggested
Scott take a book on glaciology, if it wasn't 'too cooling,' but Scott
settled on a book of poetry by Browning instead. Behold: an actual
verse by Browning.
the Chef - When the official cook was incapacitated by a fall
from an iceberg in an unfortunate photography accident, other members
of the crew had to step in and do his job. One of them was 'Atch'
Atkinson, the official doctor and parasitologist, who was more accustomed
to working in the lab than the kitchen.
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