I’ve spent five weeks in the city of Oxford, In order to to get a good start on the Tale of the Crooked Imp. David Fickling locked us in his office until things started to shape up; apparently he did the same to Philip Pullman when he was writing His Dark Materials (that might not be true).
Anyway, Conrad, Will, David and I spent many an hour thrashing out the story and how it could be better served narratively and visually. It was tough going, but very rewarding. Will is the editor of The Phoenix, where the Crooked Imp will be first published in episodes, before being released as a graphic novel later next year.
When I was allowed out, I spent my time being stalked, Cato-like, by Alfie the kitten.
I went for a lot of walks by the many rivers – Oxford is the willow capital of the country.
I was often accompanied by the town Heron, who was less bothered by the thundering traffic than I was…
I also did a lot of drawing, between Handel concerts at the Sheldonian. There was a lot of Handel music in Oxford. Here are a couple of finished pages of the Crippled Imp, to whet your appetite…
At the top of this post is an old postcard of one of my favourite bits of Oxford architecture that I often walked by (and Oxford is particularly rich in architectural loveliness) – it looked particularly mad illuminated at night but I’m afraid my photograph didn’t come out very well. It’s counterpointed by a lovely twisty tree that probably was a mere sapling when this picture was taken, but I think it captures the feel of the place quite nicely.