For your delight and delectation, we bring you… the Hopeless Maine Winter Doom Festival card.
We’ve stolen this name from Merry Debonnaire as it is clearly more suitable for Hopeless than ‘Christmas’.
There is a history to our making seasonal cards, and it is a story worth telling. We started doing them to participate in the Tea and Jeopardy Advent calendars on Emma Newman’s podcast. You can find that here – http://www.teaandjeopardy.com/
Emma is a wonderful author, I love her work. She’s well worth checking out. She’s also on hiatus at the moment having had a hard time of it recently. You can find her books here – http://www.enewman.co.uk/my-books – and you should!
Dustcats are native to the island of Hopeless Maine. It is said that they started out as misty, insubstantial beings who became solid only after eating people’s faces. It is also said of them that they only eat the faces of people they really liked and that it is a great honour if, after your death, a dustcat decides to snack on your visage.
Dutcats are floating, playful things. Their main diet is not in fact faces, but dust, and their long tongues slurp up their food. They like libraries especially. However, you can see from the teeth that dust is not the only thing that might go into their mouths.
Probably best not to let them into your bedroom at night – we have no idea how they tell if you are dead. No one wants to wake up to find one of these chewing their nose.
First and foremost, we are massively excited to share with you the new cover art for Hopeless Maine Inheritance.
This will be the cover for the new Outland edition of this book. This may be a tad confusing, so, explanations….
When we started doing Hopeless Maine graphic novels, we were published by Archaia and two volumes came out with them – Personal Demons, and Inheritance. The covers for those editions look like this…
When we were re-published by Sloth, we and the publisher took the decision to put those two initial volumes out as a single title – The Gathering – to make it easier to crack on and get the rest of the series moving. So, if you have a book that looks like the cover below, you’ve already got Inheritance and Personal Demons. And if you are the kind of completest who needs all the versions, we’re really sorry, we did not mean to do this to you.
Those of you who have read Volume 3 – Victims – will know there’s a silly bit where Owen and Salamandra are going to a party. Salamandra has always been good at illusions and likes messing about with appearances, so she dresses them up. I was vague with the script, suggesting that Owen’s might be more silly and less flattering. Tom decided to give Salamandra a distinctly Japanese look.
This caught Dr Abbey’s imagination, and below is his take on Sal in her party gear.
Of course it raised questions – not least being why Salamandra chooses to look this way at this moment.
There are outside the story reasons – that this is an aesthetic Tom likes, and that he has always wanted to appeal to a Japanese audience is most of it. Manga has been a big influence on Mr Brown and there’s a desire to offer something back. Also, this is how Tom does things – he draws whatever arrives in his head and then someone else (usually, but not always me) has to work out how that makes any kind of sense.
So, why is Salamandra inclined to look this way? Has she seen an image like this in a book? Was there a dream, or a scrying experience? Is there a slightly disturbing doll of her mother’s somewhere, wearing just this attire?
I don’t know. Maybe you do. If you are the person who knows how this story goes, please do get in touch and tell us!
There is an extra story to tell with this one, and on this occasion it is more about the materials than the image. That textured paper was my grandmother’s. I inherited her art equipment, and had quite a stash of paper and oil pastels that were hers. It’s been good putting the paper to use, and I’ve wondered repeatedly what she would make of this process. Hopeless is very different from the kind of art she used to do.
I’m fairly sure that some of the colouring materials used in this were from Dr Abbey’s family as well, and that it is a meeting of people in a rather magical way.
Next to last in the series of These Our Revels, which started with a concept from Hopeless, Maine and has been brought into the world by a concerted creative effort lead by Fiona Sawle and Nimrod Lancaster. This stunning eerie photo was taken by Gregg McNeill of Darkbox Photography during the Sanctuary event.
Gregg has this to say about this plate-
” I love this plate. Exposure time was a trim 4 seconds because it was taken out doors, under a marquee, so lots of ambient soft UV light. It’s only the second time ever I’ve made portraits outside at an event. ”
There were additional challenges due to the weather conditions that day, and their Marquis nearly blew down overnight.
Steampunks in general, and our people in particular are absolutely bloody amazing.
Darkbox Photography have a patreon which can be found here. Please do support their work!
Hello people (and others) Here we continue the story of how an image from Hopeless, Maine was made real by Nimrod Lancaster Fiona Sawle and others in the steampunk creative community. Part one can be found here.
On the making of the masks and outfits
Nimrod made one version of his own mask, but two of Fiona’s
The body of each mask was Fosshape but the attached parts around the edge were mainly EVA foam sheet. plus two of his were wooden dowels. For the edge of Fiona’s I used two layers of EVA foam with stiff wire in between to make it stronger and pose-able. The top spike on his was 3D printed as was his medallion. The glass cabochons were painted using nail varnish and then Mod-Podge behind to give strength. The Fosshape was coated in liquid latex and then acrylic paints mixed with latex were applied over that. Fiona made her handbag from scraps of fabric left over from the outfits. The fabrics were sprayed with Dirty Down spray in various colours. The shells dangling from Fiona’s mask were collected from the beach in the Bahamas in February. Nimrod’s mask also has dangling sharks teeth. Thin black fabric was glued behind the eye and mouth holes. The tentacles are removable for ‘ease’ of storage!
One of the amazing and inspiring aspects of steampunk is the collaborative energy and what can happen when creative people combine their passion and creativity to bring new things into the world.
This project started because we had long admired the outfits and creativity of Nimrod Lancaster and Fiona Sawle at steampunk events in the UK. We met them at Steampunks in Space (which happens here) and gave a print of this image to them in the hopes that they would adopt it as a costuming project.
They took the print away with them and soon we began getting photos like these…
John Naylor was brought in to assist with the masks . He introduced Nimrod to Fossshape and helped him make the rigid part of his mask.
This is the first part of a series on this stunning project and we will show more progress, the outfits and the unveiling at Sanctuary in the following posts…
If you have been following the blog, you will know that we are working with the altogether amazing Dr Abbey on a (growing) number of projects. Here is an amazing complex and utterly gorgeous design of Annamarie Nightshade in his style. The scan does not do it justice entirely as there are touches of silver and gold that catch the light as you move the piece. Below this is an earlier drawing of Annamarie by Tom Brown for contrast.
More of this to come, and news of further collaboration. Please stay tuned!
Hoping, (as always) this finds you well, inspired and thriving.